Friday, December 2, 2011


I know, I know, I haven't written another recap in weeks. And I need to finish writing them soon or I'm going to start forgetting things I want to be sure I have written down!

In the meantime though, I wanted to post the official, long-time-coming news that I am legally Kelly Lawler! It's honestly a little weird that the name I've had my entire life is now gone and not on any of my ID's or credit cards... but my new name is growing on me (despite the abundance of the letter L), and it really just kind of feels like I'm a "real" adult now, all married and whatnot.

In other news, we got our wedding pictures!!! If anyone that's reading this hasn't seen them yet, give me a shout and I'll pass along the gallery login information!

Here's my number one absolute favorite of Dan and I -

Never able to sit still for long, I'm hard at work designing our first ever Christmas cards with one of our other favorite pictures, and we're also doing some exciting work over at the house that I can't wait to finish up. I allowed myself to start getting into the holiday spirit BEFORE Thanksgiving this year, and given how fast these last couple months have flown by I'm glad I did so I can enjoy our newlywed holiday season together for a little longer :).

Happy weekend!!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Big Day - Part 4

In the frenzy of learning the ropes in my new position at work, trying to get our house in order, and FINALLY writing thank you notes... I sort of forgot I had only made it through the ceremony in my little recaps. So, thanks to both Allie and Kevin for reminding me that I'm way overdue for a post :).

After our official announcement as husband and wife (woot!), Dan and I walked down the aisle to clapping and cheering, and I loved every single second of it. We stopped at the back of church and came right back around to the front while our bridal party processed out, and immediately started to try and gather our families for pictures. I didn't know that my mom and a few others had planned a little "bubbles sendoff" for us - the problem was that we had already arranged with Ben + Mindy that we would NOT go outside, as we needed to do family pictures quickly and get on our way to the locations they'd scouted for the rest of our photos. We heard from Jeff that a crowd was gathered outside of church waiting for us with bubbles... but he had to go and tell them we weren't coming out for a good half hour or so. So, apologies to anyone that stood around waiting for us!!!

Family pictures with the Lawlers were a little crazy because the family is bigger and there were little kids involved, but I think we did a pretty good job of getting everyone finished quickly so Kim could leave and get the boys down for naps. I had to tell Nikki that we wanted her in some of the pictures - she wasn't going to be in any of them! Seeing as she will be our sister in law in just a few months, it was important that she be in the photos, so I'm glad she was there for them. My family was quick and easy since there's less of us, and soon enough we were corralling the bridal party on to the limo to head out for the fun pictures!

Mindy was awesome and agreed to ride on the limo with us to the first location, which was right in Oak Park. She had explained to me that they usually don't go on the limo because there's not a whole lot to take pictures of, but because they're so great she came with us for a bit anyways. I have no idea if anything will come of it as far as photos go, but she was there for Thomas' toast and the popping of the champagne, so there could be some fun shots. The first location for photos was up by the el tracks, where we actually did some of our engagement pictures. We randomly saw Bridget's mom when we got there, and people in their cars kept stopping or honking as they drove past us, which I got a kick out of. Ben + Mindy set up the entire bridal party and did their thing, and just from looking around at how they had us all lined up I already know the photos are going to be incredible.

Dan and I decided that we wanted to be the first ones to post a wedding picture on facebook, you know, since it was our wedding. I thought it was insane that literally within an hour of posting it I had nearly 100 "likes" and a ton of comments!

I have no idea where the second and third photo locations were, but know that the second one required all the guys to cross over a VERY busy 4-lanes of traffic. Ben eventually came back across the street for me so we could do photos of Dan and I, and when I got bored of waiting for the traffic to break I stuck out my thumb for a "hitch hiking bride" picture that Bridget took :).

When Ben finally got me across the street and I walked up to where they had the guys standing, I think I actually squealed - I can't even explain how awesome the location was, but the pictures are going to be A.MAZ.ING. The guys all looked so good lined up in their suits and the ties... oh, the ties. They sure were a source of stress throughout our planning because I wanted them to be perfect, but I could not be happier that we waited until we found something we really loved, because I am STILL thinking about how great they looked. Once the pictures of the groomsmen were done I got to get in close with Dan for some more couple pictures, and Ben + Mindy had fun telling us to kiss... and then kiss again... and again. They crack me up.

When we went to cross the street back to the limo I saw Bridget and Jeff standing and waiting for us. As we got closer I realized Bridget had my phone... and as soon as we crossed over to them she said to me "OK, so don't panic..."... which is never a good sign. With a quick explanation we learned that one of our rental companies didn't deliver this lattice screen thing that was a CRUCIAL part of the reception decor. It was supposed to cover the awful "tree wall" that was literally my least favorite thing about our space, and it was also going to have our place card hand wipes and pinwheels clipped to it. Poor Rachel was at the Levy Center in a total panic trying to figure out what to do seeing as she knew how excited I was about that whole part of the setup... I felt awful that she had to deal with it but if there's anyone that I knew would figure out a solution, it was her! Back on the limo we paused the party so Dan and I could try and get in touch with the vendor, who was of course nowhere to be found and totally unreachable. Eventually we called my cousin Jason - the only person we knew with a truck - and asked him to please RUSH to the hardware store, buy two 4x8' sheets of lattice, and get them to the Levy Center as quickly as possible. He was (understandably) not happy, but agreed and ran out right away. As our guests were starting to show up at the Levy Center around this time, we got a couple more phone calls and learned that they figured out a different solution and everything was going to be fine. Unfortunately Jason was already on his way from the hardware store with the lattice... which then didn't get used... but he was a good sport about it and it was really huge to me that he went so far out of his way for me that day. 

The last photo location was for the girls, and I freaked out when we got there and I saw the front cab of a semi truck in SOLID TEAL. It literally matched the girls dresses perfectly, and I asked right away if that was where we were taking pictures. Turns out Ben + Mindy are pros for a reason - they explained that the girls dresses were so close to the color of the truck that they would blend, and pointed 15 feet away at an amazing little weathered red barn kind of building that was where we were actually taking photos. Ben + Mindy are also pros at making a girl feel like the boss on her big day and took a few quick shots of me on the truck cab that I can't wait to see. I somehow managed to get dirty grease all over my hands while climbing up on the truck, and Ben saved the day with hand wipes from their van. The last few shots were of me solo and then Dan solo by the red shack, and I still giggle when I think of Dan's face while he hammed it up for the camera and mocked Mindy's pose direction. :)

To be continued...

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Big Day - Part 3

I didn't do a very good job of focusing during church. (If anyone is actually surprised by this, they must not know me too well). Whenever we were standing, Dan kept trying to get me to just stare at him and look him in the eyes, and I would giggle and look away to see what else was going on. When we were sitting, we were off to the side up front, so I had pews and pews full of my family and friends to look at - so many things to distract me! Once towards the beginning of the ceremony I realized the pew decoration right next to my mom was crooked, and I spent the next few minutes trying to silently tell her and my dad and brother from across the church that I wanted it fixed. My mom eventually got it, fixed it, and rolled her eyes at me. I'm glad she figured it out or it likely would have driven me crazy throughout the entire ceremony.

Although I felt better once I was down the aisle, there was one point while everyone was sitting that I started to have a major hot flash, and immediately felt like I was going to pass out. I started to sweat and could feel myself getting red, and my brother noticed and made gestures to me to breathe in... breathe out...

I remember all of the readings clearly. I have a great bond with my Aunt Renee, and Dan and I both agreed early on that we wanted to ask her to do a reading, and I loved that she was so honored to be a part of our ceremony. Rachel did the second reading with only three days notice because my cousin decided to tell me he didn't want to do it at the last minute. I thought I would be more hurt by him "dropping out", but it was mostly anger and frustration only because the programs were already at the printer with his name in them. Thankfully, our friend that was printing them had asked to see a proof the following morning, so the change was quickly made and no money or time was lost. I was surprised at my own reaction to the entire thing - sure, I was mad, but I also just said (and meant) "It's important to me that the people that are a part of our wedding WANT to be a part of it. So if he doesn't want to, then I don't want him to either." Rachel stepped in and did an awesome job, and it was just one of the many ways she saved the day. Seeing as we got much closer than we ever had been throughout my engagement, I took the last minute switch as a blessing in disguise because it gave me the chance to have someone that was crucial in our planning be a part of the ceremony. Allie and Alex split the petitions, which Dan wrote. As they were reading them, I knew the one about praying for the sick was coming up, and the one about praying for those who were not with us would be after that. I got a little choked up when we prayed for my friend Eva who has been battling cancer, and cried more than any other time throughout the day when my Aunt Debbie's name was read, along with all of the other relatives and friends who have passed away. Bridget snuck me a kleenex the next time we were standing, and I forgot the "blot, don't wipe" rule and probably messed up my makeup. Oh well.

It was hard for me to hear my Aunt's name and really think about the fact that she wasn't there with us that day. I obviously still miss my grandmother and other relatives who passed away when I was younger, but it was different with Debbie because it never occurred to me that she wouldn't be at my wedding until she was gone. When I was 15 and my grandma passed away, I wasn't even thinking about my wedding, so it was always a given that she wouldn't be there. But Debbie met (and loved) Dan, and I used to talk to her about our fantasy wedding before she got sick, so it always just seemed like she would obviously be a part of it. I can't even imagine what that will be like for my cousins when they get married, and I hope that I can help in honoring her on their wedding days like we tried to do at mine.

I probably shouldn't admit it, but I don't remember a single word of Father Larry's homily - which is odd, because I truly did listen to it. I remember liking it, and smiling, but I was in such a blur overall that I don't remember any detail from it. Even though we walked through the ceremony several times, I never did realize until we were there that our vows were completely separate from the blessing of the rings. I liked that these parts were spread out through the ceremony, and we also had a nuptial blessing song in there that Mr. Anderson lead, which I loved. When we were exchanging rings, Father Larry started to have me say "I, Dan..." and everyone laughed when he corrected it to "I, Kelly..." I appreciated his mistake because it got me to laugh and calmed me down a bit when I was just getting choked up again.

I didn't get to see Mr. Lawler before the ceremony, so I was so thankful that we had decided to go around to all of our bridal party as well as both of our immediate families during the sign of peace so I could finally say hi to him. I love that there are certain moments throughout the day that really stick out in my memory, and seeing my father in law right then is one of my favorites.

I had asked Father Larry specifically to wait until the very end of the ceremony to have us kiss... and I was VERY adamant about him saying "you may now kiss the bride!" because to me that is the most classic and traditional line from any wedding. He waited like we asked him to, but when he announced us as "Mr. & Mrs. Dan and Kelly Lawler!" everyone started clapping and Mr. Anderson started playing the organ from the choir loft... and we hadn't kissed yet. There was a hilarious 30 seconds or so of Mr. Anderson playing, everyone half clapping because they weren't sure what else to do, and Father Larry trying to get his attention so he would stop playing... and then finally he was able to tell Dan he could kiss me. Someone got a picture of Dan and I looking up to the loft kind of laughing, and I'm hoping Ben and Mindy also caught this moment because I found it absolutely hysterical.

I tried several times before the wedding to get Dan to "practice" how we were going to kiss, but of course this continuously just turned into a joke and we never actually had any idea of how it would all go. In the end it all worked out just fine :)... and to me, that was the "official" second we were married!

To be continued...

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Big Day - Part 2

A couple weeks before the wedding my mom started talking about how she would "take care of" myself and my bridesmaids getting to church from my gramma's house. Considering it's literally a 3 block trip, I joked around a lot about walking to church, but of course nobody was having that (looking back, I'm glad nobody listened to me on this one). While I was getting my hair done someone said "oh, the limo is here", which was when and how I found out my mom somehow swung getting a limo last minute, even though I was facing away from the window and couldn't see it. After rushing out of my gramma's house with Amanda behind me carrying the train of my dress I sort of just stood there by the limo and took it all in - and cried a little because I knew I was going to see Dan just a few minutes later.

Bev got appointed to help me get in and out of the limo, which I found amusing only because I would have just jumped in and shoved my dress in behind me, but seeing as we hadn't even made it to the ceremony yet I needed to at least pretend to try and keep my dress wrinkle-free. Kadence was sitting across from me and was in total awe of the fact that she was in a moving vehicle and didn't have to wear a seatbelt. Bev reminded me that I had asked her before the wedding if she would say a prayer with the girls before we left for church, and I'm so glad she remembered because it is literally one of my most vivid memories from the entire day, and it was the perfect moment to just stop and take a deep breath and have a minute with just my bridesmaids and flower girl. She of course threw a bit of humor into the prayer, which made it so perfectly Bev. She also made me relax with what can only be described as a breathing exercise, and for that I could not be more appreciative. I was grateful for those few minutes sitting next to her chatting and praying considering there were 160 other people around for the rest of the day.

I didn't realize that when I got to church my dad would be there waiting for me - all I had focused on was preparing myself to see Dan so when the limo door opened and I saw my mom crying and my dad about to, all of the breathing and relaxing was gone (sorry Bev) :). Our videographer caught me yelling "Mom!!! STOP!" from the limo when I saw her crying, and there's a funny shot of me fanning my face in an effort to not ruin my mascara when I saw my dad.

Mindy got me situated and brought me around to the "backyard" of the parish center where Dan was waiting with his back to me. It was quieter than I expected it would be, and I felt like it took forever to walk to Dan. Ben told him to turn around when I was a few feet away, and when he said "hi honey" I think I experienced every emotion imaginable in a matter of half a second before I was close enough to hug him. I got makeup all over the shoulder of his suit coat (and the shoulder of every other guy's suit coat that I hugged all day), so I'm sure Ben and Mindy got some funny shots of me trying to wipe off his coat while he attempted to get me to just leave it - which is so typical of our relationship I couldn't love the moment any more. I knew our first look would be a little awkward, and Ben had prepped me to have a few minutes of "us" time before having the "ok, now what..." feeling, and it was sort of exactly that - except that instead of "now what" I said "ok, I'm ok now" because I felt like I could finally breathe. Mindy posed us for a couple quick photos and the mood lightened a bit when a bug flew in my face and I had a very spastic reaction. Awesome.

I was rushed into the bathroom when I got over to church to avoid every single guest seeing me prior to my walk down the aisle. This was the moment I realized Mindy was right that it was ok I was a little late to see Dan - had I actually seen him at 1:00 when I was supposed to, I would have been REAL bored and antsy sitting in the bathroom for 45 minutes waiting for the ceremony to roll around! Thankfully I only had to sit for about 20 minutes, and the first half of that was spent with Allie, who I was excited to spend a little time with. I thought the lady that was supposed to be our "church coordinator" did a crappy job of getting everyone ready for the processional, but there are worse things that could have happened and again - the imperfection of it all was so "us" that I wouldn't have changed it anyways. I missed some things by trying to stay off to the side so people didn't see me, but I think Manda (who walked first) may have been the only bridesmaid to make it down the aisle how and when she was supposed to. Right after she walked we realized the kids were about to go, so there was a shuffle to get them to hold back and wait their turn. I realized Michael didn't have his "here comes the bride" sign so Bridget ran back into the church to find it. Kadence didn't want Erin to walk away without her, and Brendan jumped in to try and hold the kids back. The other girls did an awesome job of working around the commotion to get down the aisle, but I think it would have been amusing to see from the pews how it all looked. Michael got nervous and shy and started to cry, and Kadence quickly followed. I think they ended up both running down the aisle half in tears, but I didn't see it so I have no idea. I have no doubts the photos of this will be adorable.

They did the whole thing where the doors close so my dad and I could get situated, and then reopened for our "grand entrance". I'm surprised my dad didn't tell me I was hurting him because I was clutching onto his arm so tight. Although I would have liked to just stare at Dan and only Dan as I walked down the aisle, I knew well before the wedding that I am far too easily distracted for that, so I had a few people in my mind that I HAD to find in the crowd - if only for my own comfort and sanity. Amy was first and I spotted her bright face right away. The next were Dan's cousins who had promised me they would cover their eyes when I walked down the aisle because I was nervous about all of the attention I would have on me - I never did spot them to see if they really did this, but I have a feeling they'd forgotten seeing as we were all drinking when we had the original conversation. The last person I searched for was Lauren, who I found... and who was a mixture of smiling and crying and trying to hold it together... just. like. me. I had to look away because her crying only made me cry more, but knowing she was there was my first "ok I can relax" moment in church. And then I focused in on Dan, who looked so damn handsome in his suit (with a cleaned up shoulder) that I think I blushed when I caught his eye even though I had already seen him. The whole process of my dad giving me away and me hugging my mom while Dan hugged my dad and then switching was of course a little frazzled, but then we were standing at the altar and Father Larry was welcoming everyone.

I couldn't stop looking at Manda, who was up next to the piano with her guitar - she played when I walked down the aisle and it was honestly one of the most amazing parts of our day. She also played during the gathering song, and Dan and I just watched her and tried to smile and silently cheer her on because she was an emotional wreck (just like her big sister). I gave her a thumbs up when she finished and I think that was when we both finally started to relax a little bit.

To be continued...

(For the record, I had no intention of these recaps being so long... but I am loving reliving every moment of the wedding as it is in my mind, and will love looking back on all of these tiny details years from now when the memories are a little more fuzzy. So, bear with me) :)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Big Day - Part 1

I've thought a lot in the last couple days about how I don't even know where to start with wedding recaps. I have a million things I want to write down, but I can't quite figure out how to organize them, or what to write about first. I figure I'll just start writing... and if it doesn't make sense, so be it! I keep telling people that ask "how was it?" that everything was amazing... but half the time I was in such a blur it didn't even click that the whole day was literally all about US. I would stop dancing/talking/running around every now and then and it would hit me that I was living MY wedding, it wasn't just a dream or something I was counting down to anymore... it was actually really and truly happening. I can't quite describe the feeling, but I assume I'm not alone in that sentiment. In the end, all I can really say is that it was incredible.

I started my wedding day with the most insanely nervous stomach EVER. Typical. I guess I knew it would happen, but considering how calm I felt the rest of the week, I suppose a part of me thought I'd somehow remain calm that day too. I was wrong. I barely slept Friday night, and when the hair and makeup girls knocked on the door of my gramma's at 6:30am I knew my chances of sleeping just a little bit more were over. I started a pepto-bismol and half a xanax routine bright and early, and unfortunately didn't manage to keep much of a breakfast down, so I switched to pretzels and ginger-ale and tried to keep myself busy. I had all of my bridesmaids with me, and despite my stomach telling me otherwise, everything was surprisingly calm for most of the morning.

The lilies my mom and I picked up Thursday morning were ALL still closed at 11pm Friday night, so it was literally a miracle that they were suddenly open on Saturday morning - just in time for me to realize I didn't have the floral tape with me to make the bouquets. Thankfully, Jeff had stayed at our house with Dan, and was able to drive the floral tape over for me, and after I wrapped one together the girls took over and finished the rest in no time. The flowers didn't hold up through the day at all, but I sort of actually appreciated not having to carry them around. The not caring was half the point of buying farmers market flowers in the first place, but I am a little nervous that the lack of flowers in all of our hands is going to look "off" in the bridal party photos. We'll see I guess!

When Ben and Mindy showed up things suddenly got very REAL for me, and although I immediately went into a frenzy, I also immediately got a new sense of calm... because that's what amazing photographers do for you I guess, without even trying. I knew that the day was (in a way) in their hands at that point, and I trust them immensely, so I started to let go and just... be the bride.

All of a sudden my hair was still in curlers and I knew I was going to be late for my first look with Dan. Mindy gave me a pep talk and pointed out that the "updated" timing would still work out perfectly. Getting dressed happened insanely fast, and I realized too late that I wanted all of my bridesmaids there and they weren't. But, I had my mom, Manda and gramma, so I'm sure the pictures will be treasured in my family forever, and I will cherish them.

At some point Bridget gave me a little box. In it was a charm bracelet of sorts that she made for me - it had something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue on it. She wrapped it around my bouquet for me and once it is restrung into a bracelet I will wear it regularly to remind me of how much our friendship grew throughout my engagement, and how I never would have made it through it all (laughing the entire time!) without her. I also had my gramma's bracelet as a something borrowed, my turquoise shoes and a pin Mr. Lawler gave me years ago as something blues, and the flowers on my shoes made of my mom's veil and button of my late grandmother's attached to the flower in my hair as something olds. I loved that I had so many little "tokens" of special people in my life with me all day.

I remember walking down the stairs focusing only on not falling. My aunt and uncle were there and I didn't know it, and I likely started to cry when I saw them. My 8 year old cousin who is usually hyper and off the wall was just sitting there grinning ear to ear and waving at me. His sister who I still imagine as a little kid was wearing a strapless dress and was seriously gorgeous. I am still talking about how pretty she looked that day, and seeing her is the last thing I remember about being at my gramma's house.

To be continued...

Monday, October 3, 2011


WELL, my kitchen is officially too small for all the wedding goodies we got, and I've spent a good chunk of the last 3 days staring at my pantry and cabinets trying to figure out where I'm going to store everything. I've also filled a cutlery tray with our gorgeous new flatware, wallpapered the back walls of the hutch, and refilled those shelves with all of our new glasses and some serving pieces, and I am in LOVE with how it all looks. I've broken down enough boxes to build a fort the size of my house, and I've oohed and aahed over my Kitchenaid mixer that I've decided to give a permanent home on our itty bitty counter top - the fact that I'm willing to give up valuable counter space to the mixer is a solid indication of how much I love it... and I haven't even used it yet.

On top of trying to adjust to a "normal" sleep schedule again and going back to work today... basically, I haven't had any time to blog, and it is driving me insane. I have SO many stories from the week leading up to the wedding, and more importantly - SO many more stories from the actual wedding - and I absolutely cannot wait to journal them all here on the blog. With recaps, vendor reviews, a writeup of my favorite wedding gifts of all (they weren't on the registry!), stories and photos, I'm fairly certain I can keep this blog going for several months... which should give me just enough time to figure out what on earth I'm going to write about now that I don't have a wedding to plan anymore ;).

I'll be back to write my little heart out just as soon as I can get my newlywed life in order! In the meantime, here's one of my favorite photobooth pictures :). It's a great indication of how fun our bridal party was, and I truly had a blast with them on the big day!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Pizza Pizza

So, we're married! Lots of day-of goodies to document later, but for now I'm busy enjoying our mini-moon... With some of the best pizza I've ever tasted!