Our story began with my physical therapist putting her elbow on my butt cheek. Weird I know, but true. If you've ever had any sort of physical therapy, you know that your therapist gets to know you in many ways and when she puts you in a compromising position you talk to take your mind off the pain. After three years of physical therapy my therapists was a genuine friend. So one session she is releasing some sort of muscle in my behind with her elbow when she asks if I'd like to go on a double date with her and her husband and their friend. I'd said sure, why not. I've got nothing to lose. So I met my FH for lunch which turned into hours of playing arcade games, followed by dinner and then playing cards. It was an eleven hour blind date and we've been inseparable ever since. The really cool part is that my therapist is now a dear friend and we've continued to go on double dates. We've celebrated holidays together and the birth of their son. It's amazing how a horrible back injury has brought me so much joy in the form of beautiful relationships.
To make a long story short, I have a twin sister who is very much my better half. Before my FH, she was my soulmate. We've done everything together, every big moment in life, she was there for me. I even witnessed the birth of her child, my neice. Needless to say, my neice is like my own. I adore her. My family and I just finished eating our mother's day meal when I heard my neice crying in her nursery. Of course I went to go get her. Halfway to the room I see that she is walking to me with a new outfit on. First of all, I didn't know she had learned to walk yet so I was marveling at her little legs going when I realized she was wearing a t-shirt with a picture of her and my FH (my favorite picture of all time) and underneath the pic it said, "Auntie Blue with you marry Hai?" I immediately started crying, scooped her up in my arms, turned around and there was my FH down on one knee with the ring. All of my family was surounding us. My mom was crying of course and my sister was taking pictures. It was perfect! My mom said it was the best mother's day gift of all. I couldn't believe my sister had kept it a secret for 2 weeks! I could not have asked for a more perfect proposal.
My fiance' and I had our engagement pictures taken using our camera and my brother in-law. I think he did a pretty good job. We went to Grand Marais which is way up in the upper peninsula of Michigan. My family goes there every summer. In fact, you can't go any farther north and still be in the United States. I was worried about my fiance' in front of the camera. I didn't know if he would be super shy or not. He wasn't at all. We had so much fun being silly and lovey for the camera.
My DH and I are were married at a Bed and Breakfast called the Rosewood Inn in Lansing, Michigan. Our ceremony took place on the foundation of an old barn. A tent for the reception was set up on another part of the sprawling grounds. We did not need to do much decor as the grounds themselves were stunning enough. It also provided many photo opportunties, not just for us, but for the guests as well. And there was plenty of space for all 30 kids to roam and run.
This dress was the second one I tried on. I knew it was "my" dress because I burst into tears in it. Of course I tried on a few more dresses and none compared. I bought it within two weeks of getting engaged and never had a single regret about it. It's a La Sposa, "Galilea" gown.
I realized I hadn't posted a pic of my e-ring. It's absolutely beautiful. I'll admit, the fiance' had a little help. He kept saying, "you're going to look at this thing a gazillion times a day, I want it to be perfect." He knew I wanted white gold and something vintage but classic. They don't make a wedding band to fit next to it so I'll have to find a band to go on my right hand. I don't mind that, more bling on both hands!
My wedding band
This is a picture of the vintage brooch I'll be wearing in my hair. I have to add a hair comb but other than that, I think it's a perfect bit of bling.
Here are my earrings. An etsy.com purchase of course. I think they will go well with the hair piece and shoe clips.
Here's my bracelet. purchased from Bel Canto Designs on etsy by my fiance. It is my wedding gift from him.
I loved the loose romantic updo that Jenny did. The best part was that even despite the wind and dancing, it still looked great. It allowed the messy pieces to look like they belonged.
I had both my ceremony and reception outside so I needed a wedge heel. My middle name is Blue (really, it is) so it was only fitting that I wear blue shoes under my wedding gown. My sister found the vintage shoes clips at an antique store for $5 ! I love them!
They are Jim Hjelm in the color cornflower blue. I thought it was very flattering on all the girls' bodies. One of my BM's ordered extra fabric to make small cap sleeves and her seamstress did an amazing job. I also think the dress would look nice with a wrap.
My FH and his groomsmen wore this tan suit for our outdoor summer wedding. My FH wore an ivory shirt and ivory tie to match my ivory dress and his groomsmen wore wear white shirts with cornflower blue ties.
I'm no where near being done with them but here are my diy invitations. My colors are cornflower blue with apple green as the accent. I will have only blue and green hydrangeas at the ceremony and reception site.
These are the chair tags for the ceremony.
These are the table numbers.
My sister and I made these shabby chic napkin rings. Each one cost about 33 cents to make. Our event coordinator purchased 100 of them after the wedding. I also kept a set of 12 for myself to use after the wedding.
I'll admit, I'm a bit burned out from my DIY projects. And I knew the map project was one I didn't want to take on. So I purchased a custom map from Designs by Tine on etsy.com. I love it! You can't tell that I didn't make it! It totally keeps with the rest of my invitation suite. I'd highly recommend saving this job for the pros. She saved me countless hours and tons of frustration I'm sure. All I had to do was print. Did I mention it was 20 bucks?!
Petal Cones - I was strolling through a whole sale craft store here in Michigan called The Flower Factory when I came across these 8 inch paper lace doilies. They are usually used to fancy up cake plates and serving trays. I bought a package of 92 of them for $4.80. My wedding is all about the vintage and lace so I'm thinking of using them for petal cones. My little label says, "When we exit as a pair, please toss in the air."
These picture frames set on the favor and guest book table. They were originally black and gold but a little white spray paint and some imagination go a long way. At first, I wasn't sure about the bird motif but I totally think it fit my shabby chic theme and besides, I don't like things being too matchy matchy.
Bathroom Basket -
Bridal Chamber Sign
Card Birdcage--I added two white wooden brids to sit next to it.
Kid's Bag-Each child under the age of 12 found a kids bag at their table. They had a package of goldfish crackers, fruit snacks, a bouncy ball, bubbles and a small cannister of playdough. My nephews bag,had a disposable camera. He loved taking pics of the other kids with it.
Fan basket to keep guests cool.
Hai and I made our guests jam as their favor. I remember picking berries with my grandmother each summer and watching her make jar after jar of jam. She'll be at my wedding in spirit and in her favorite recipe. The jars also served as thier escort cards. Each person found their name and table number on the tag that I attached.
My husband and I decided that our priorities did not include a DJ. So we did the next best thing--borrowed sound equipment and a mixer from family, enlisted a friend who interned as a dj and made a gazillion playlists on iTunes. The music was just what I wanted without the hokey cheesy dj and flashing lights.
I absolutely love The String Quartet Tribute group. They have tributes to everyone I love--The Beatles, U2, Queen, Coldplay, you name it, they got it.
All of our ceremonny music was string quartet tribute stuff.
Lighting of Candles & Seating of Mothers
Bridal Party Entrance: Yellow by Coldplay
Bride's Processional: Somebody to Love by Queen
Unity Candle: I'll Stand By You by Carried Underwood
Recessional: All you Need Is Love by the Beatles
My fiance and I are on a very tight wedding budget. There are many frills and luxeries that I will not have as a bride--no cute bride t-shirt to wear on the day, no day at the spa with my BM's before the big day. And I'm ok with that. I have enjoyed every minute of being a bride to be. With all that said, my sister (my twin) gave me the most precious birthday gift. A handmade hanger cover for my wedding dress. It's beautiful and will make the pictures of my dress that much more special. It's a luxury item she knew I would not typically be able to have. That kind of thoughtfullness is what makes her my better half.
As I've posted before, my twin sister truly is my better half. She is an amazing wife, mother and sister. She's also pretty great at gift giving. For my Christmas gift, she took the belt from our mother's 1978 wedding dress and had FH and I's wedding date embroidered on it. We cut it down to size and mom sewed it into my wedding dress. A very cute idea for your "something old."
Something new of course was my dress.
Something borrowed - the paper lanterns. They were a part of my BM's wedding and will be in two or three more weddings.
Something blue--my favorite because Blue is my middle name. My shoes of course!
We went for a very shabby chic/country garden look. Many of the items we used for decor, I already had or found from family and friends. We didn't need much for decoration as The Rosewood Inn was stunning enough and provided the perfect backdrop for our day.
Kept it pretty simple for the programs. Just a full sheet of paper, printed on both sides with our hydrangea stamp on the front.
At our rehearsal dinner, my husband and I honored our elders with a tea ceremony. I was a nervous wreck during it because I didn't plan it and really had no idea what to do. But my husband's mother and aunt walked us through it. There are many parts of a tea ceremony and I thought we were only doing the part where we served tea. But my MIL surprised me by having her and my mother put jewelry on me. My in laws also brought the traditional gifts of wine, sweets, tea and fruit to my parents. I was overwhelmed. I cried when my MIL gave a speech about supporting us, loving me as her daughter and being proud of me.
Our tea ceremony began with my FIL an dMIL explaining the tradition of giving gifts of wine, furit, sweets and tea to the bride's family and then they presented my parents with red trays filled with these gifts covered with traditional red and gold fabric. Then my husband ande I had my grandparents sit down in the middle of the room. We served them each a small cup of tea. They only took sips of it really. Then we presented tea to our parents. I alwasy served the women, my husband served the men. After this, my MIL and mother presented me with jewelry. They took turns placing each piece of jewlery on me. First earrings, then a necklace and finally a bracelet. Then of course we feasted on egg rolls, rice and vegetables. We had pinapple slices and cocunut icecream for dessert. I was much more emotionally throughout this than I thought I would be. I loved the kind words of my MIL and enjoyed honoring my family in that way.
I had fun playing with the different colors for this event of our wedding. My Ao Dai is bright pink and gold is the traditional color of Vietnamese weddings so I used both for the rehearsal dinner invites. They were put into a black envelope with a gold lotus flower seal and gold ink on the front. I was able to find the dragon and pheonix symbol with the double happiness symbol from an etsy seller. She used it for an invitation suite. I asked if I could just have the .jpeg for my own designs and she said yes.
Our cake was beautiful but more important to me, it tasted divine! We had about 110 guests that day and the staff served over 150 pieces of cake. They were to die for!
My dad is a pretty handy guy so when I saw a beautiful custom wedding sign on etsy (for $60!) I knew it was a job for him. He had the wood and the applique out in the garage. I showed him a picture of the etsy sign and he cut the wood and glued on the applique. I then took it to a local antique store (they paint old furniture to look shabby chic) and the owner paintd it for me. For a total of $20 I have a custom wedding sign. I love etsy but let's face it, some things are better left to dear old dad.
At our engagement party and at each bridal shower I had, I asked the guests to write their well wishes or words of wisdom onto squares of fabric. It was my plan to sew the squares together to make a quilt to display at the wedding. Well, it never got made but we displayed the squares anyways and many guests enjoyed reading them. I even noticed a guest putting their square onto the display as they hadn't returned it right away. I'll get it sewn together eventually.. For now, its fun to go through the box and read everyone's wise and kind words.
My wedding colors were cornflower blue and granny smith apple green. Hydrangeas are my favorite and lend themselves well to my color scheme. Not too mention they have huge blooms so I only needed a few for each centerpiece and bridesmiad bouquet.Our coordinator at the Rosewood Inn blew me away with our floral decor. Everything was bigger and more beautiful than I ever dreamed.
So its a good thing my fiance's has sworn on the birth of our first child not to look at this site because I found his birthday gift. It will also serve as the topper to his groom's cake.
yes, they are in fact, Princess Leia and Hans Solo wooden dolls. And yes, he will love them. He will probably designate an enitre shelf in his man cave to display them.
And here's part of his wedding gift
I work with some amazing women. They inspire me everyday with their wisdom, their compassion and their friendship. I have tried to learn all I can from them, as a teacher, a woman, and now as a wife. For my shower, they threw me a beautiful "Bridal Tea." Complete with feminine tablecloths, pretty tea pots and cups and plenty of delicious food! *baking is still on my list to learn from them* I knew that it would be a special time for us to get together but I was completely overwhelmed by their show of encouragement and kindness. I had to share some pics!
My amazingly talented BM's, Amy and Sarah threw me a beautiful bridal shower at my favorite restaurant, Kruse and Muer in Lake Orion, Michigan. It was certainly more than I ever expected or deserved. It was small and intimate and I really got to spend time with all the women that have played a part in my life.
I honestly don't think I could get married without my sister. And its not just that she's my twin, and better half. She has poured more of her heart, time and talents into my wedding than I deserve. She threw me a gorgeous Breakfast at Tiffany's themed bridal shower--complete with the movie playing on a projector, a Tiffany's box cake and everyone in their most glamorous black dresses and gems. The centerpieces were to die for and all of her hard work was appreciated by the 25 guests. It was definitely a memorable day--how often does a girl get to dress up like her idol? Thank you Rhianna Laine! You know I love you and you will always be my better half.
I never dreamed I would have a makeup artist or hair stylist come to my venue to get me ready. I found Daelynn the MUA on craigslist. She's just finishing school and starting her profile. She was so much fun to hang out with! Jenny has been my hairsylist for seven years and drove an hour and a half to get to the venue. I would have invited her to the wedding even if she wasn't working it!
I enjoyed every minute of my time getting ready with the girls. We all deserved the pampering. Especially my MOH and mom.
This is a piece of the belt from my mother's wedding dress. My sister had it embroidered with our wedding date and mom sewed it into my dress. They thought of everything.
My maid of honor was my twin sister, best friend and better half. She was truly amazing throughout the whole planning process. But more than that, she is my example of a Godly wife and mother. She will continue to inspire me with her talents and virtues throughout our lives.
This is Jo, the girl that reminds me to seek out all of life's adventures.
This is Amy. She makes me laugh and is trying to teach me her laid back style.
This is my sweet Sarah who gives such amazing advice and is always so wise.
All of us together!
Yes, she deserves a whole page to herself. The dress was an etsy purchase and her mother made her shoes.
It's very popular right now to put a spin on the first dance by doing a few minutes of slow dancing and then a crazy fast dance. When I told my then fiance about it he scoffed at it and said what we should do is a light saber fight. Now if you've looked at the rest of my bio, you know that his groomsmen cake had Princess Leia and Hans Solo on it and that my husband wore Yoda cuff links. So of course a light saber battle would make sense.
Our bridal party was introduced with Darth Vader's Imperial March playing.
We were introduced with the Star Wars main Theme playing.
And here's the battle that ensued once we got to the dance floor.
We danced to Ray LaMontagne's "You Are the Best Thing."
My sister was particularly nervous about this part. Probably doesn't help that I call her a hillbilly all the time. But her speech was perfect!
Here's a snippet:
"Being in a twinship is a lot like being in a marriage. It is a commmitment to each other, through the good times, like the birth of a child and the bad times, like failed relationships, through sickness that she probably gave you and in health, for richer and for poorer which we've both been at times. And Hai, I say to you, that if your marriage to Heather is anything like the relationship I've had with her, she will be the most loyal, thoughtful and generous counterpart you could have ever hoped for.
Heather, as you enter this new phase of life I want you to know that I will always be the Peat to your Repeat, the Baby A to your Baby B, the sissy to your sis. And Hai, I will always be the Gestpo ready to take your lunch money, and may the force be with you both.
Audrey Hepburn, Heather's idol is quoted as saying, "if I'm going to be married, I want to be very married." So here's wishing you a very married life together, with love, laughter and happily ever after."
I danced to the song, "Go" by Plumb. My dad's not extremely sentimental but I'm still his baby girl. He told me "you picked a good one Blue." He was meaning my husband, not the song of course. That's about as sappy and sweet as it gets for Dad. I loved getting to dance with him.
Our reception was very laid back. Kids ran wild (which I loved), we had cotton candy, good music and plenty of time to talk with each guests.
One of my favorite photos is the group photo we took after the ceremony. Our pastor announced for everyone to meet the newlyweds on the front lawn for a picture. We didn't quite get everyone in it (grandma moves too slow) but its still a cool pic.
All of the groomsmen and my brother in law (who helped with everything) got comic book hero t-shirts. And this is what they decided to do with them.
It has been my dream since I was 16 years old to visit Paris, France. I could care less about Italy or Greece or the Caribbean. For me, it has always been the City of Lights. My husband is making that dream come true! We just booked our Honeymoon for 4 days in Paris, France and 4 days in London, England! Through Costco of all places. I had no idea what that little membership card was capable of! Our Paris hotel is right on the Champs Elysees and our London hotel is across the street from Buckingham Palace. If you haven't booked your honeymoon and are Costco members, I would definitely check them out!
The Rubens at the Palace Hotel
The Champs Elysees
I love my shutterfly site. On the back of my programs I included the information for our guests to upload photos to a photosharing website. I've had 8 guests upload pictures with several guests uploading more than 50 pictures each. Our guests got some great shots of other guests enjoying the wedding as well as fun ones of the bridal party. My family that couldn't attend love being able to see how the day went. I'd highly recommend a site like this. I plan to keep it to share photos of the honeymoon and hopefully a baby soon.
Westminster Abbey Big Ben
The London Eye The London Bridge
Red Phone Box Ready for our "fancy dinner"
This is just a start. We took several hundred photos in Paris.
Hai and I began trying to conceive the day after the wedding. 5 months later, on a Sunday night, in my blue, fuzzy robe and pink slippers, I took a test. We couldn't believe that we saw two lines so at 10:30 p.m. I drove to Walgreens to get a digital test. We both stood there with goofy grins in a fog of excitement as it read pregnant.
When I met Hai, I told him that I have three goals in life: 1. to be a good wife, 2. to be a good mother and 3. to be a good teacher. He has made every dream come true. I am blessed by his companionship and partnership and I know that he will be an amazing father.
We told our parents at Thanksgiving. I made place cards with everyone's name on them for the table. My mother's said. "Grandma" with a 5 next to it as this will be her 5th grandchild. My sister's said, "Aunt Nana" as Nana is what I called her when we were little. Hai's parents had grandma and grandpa written in Vietnamese. It took them several minutes to understand what was going on. But when they did, I've never been hugged tighter or kissed so much.
Here's our journey so far:
12/8 I'm 10 weeks - waiting for the nausea to go away!
first baby bump pic at 10.5 weeks
12/28 Week 13 We had our 2nd prenatal visit. The midwife "thinks" there's only one baby. She couldn't find the heartbeat with the doppler so she did an ultrasound. She kept going around and around my stomach saying, "I'm pretty sure that's the same baby." Our baby will either be a master ninja or a ballerina. It was kicking and punching all over the place. It was the most beautiful 6 month anniversary gift I could have ever gotten.
2/14 Week 20
Audrey Laine is one active little girl! The ultra sound tech caught her waving, sucking her thumb and flip flopping like its nobody's business. It was such an amazing moment for DH and I. We could connect with our baby on a whole new level. She's measuring just as she should and weights 9 oz. And I must admit, she has the cutest profile ever. But I'm a lil bias.
Here she is. Can't wait to meet her in July!
oh and here's me at 20 weeks:
26 weeks I think
Photoshoot with a friend at 31 weeks
Update: 41 weeks and counting
As some of you know, my lil girl's name is Audrey Laine. Audrey is after my idol Audrey Hepburn. Laine is my twin sister's middle name. In true Audrey Hepburn style, my lil girl is fashionably late. 7 days and counting! If she is still being stubborn on Wednesday, July 14th, I'll be induced. Here's the last belly bump pic and her smiling face.
After 24 hrs. of active labor and an emergeny c-section, Audrey arrived weighing 7 pounds 6 ounces and is 21 inches long.
Audrey 14.5 weeks