Pictures at Powell Hall

When Chris and I first began to think about where we wanted to get wedding party pictures taken, we knew we needed indoor venues.  It didn’t take us long to decide on Powell Hall (home of the St Louis Symphony).  Since Chris plays with the Symphony, it wasn’t hard for us to get permission for photos in the lobby.

So…the recap continues! 

After the first look photos at the Omni, we all loaded into the white limo and rode to Powell Hall. 

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Our limo!  But first, we ran over to look at a building nearby (attention:  photo shoot)  Note the faux fur jacket AND the smitten mitten:  you can hold hands while keeping your hands warm!  It was a surprise for Chris. 

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And…my veil blew away!  It was COLD and windy.  Don’t worry, we caught it!

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Then it was time to get in the limo and head to Powell.  It was tough getting in the limo—I wasn’t yet used to moving in my dress, and I was very afraid of messing it up.  I was also afraid of messing up my flowers!

We had approximately two hours of photographs scheduled so it was looking to be a long afternoon!  It was a bit tiring, but Sarah Crowder did a great job keeping us going and not letting it get TOO boring ;)

Here are some of my favorite shots from the afternoon.  I love that the Christmas decor was still up!  Some of these could be awesome Christmas card photos for next year.

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Admiring Chris’s picture in the lobby.

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One of my absolute favorites from the day!

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Aren’t we romantic??  I also love my earrings!  I had thought they might be too "white" or something, but I was really pleased with how they looked in pictures!

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This picture is amazing, but even better in black and white—I have to get this one from Sarah in black and white to frame!

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This is another favorite, probably one of my top three or four of just the two of us.

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My bridesmaids!  Leslie, me, Sarah, and Carrie.  There were a ton of great photos of them!

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Leslie’s hair is very fancy!  They all have matching earrings and I think you can see them pretty nicely in this picture.

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The groomsmen.  In the formal picture, John, Norbert, Chris (groom!), and Dave.

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I know this is done all the time, but I still wanted it!

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I think this is funny because Leslie is taller!  (I was wearing flats ;) )

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How gorgeous is the setting?  I know the purple and red isn’t amazing, but the shiny gold and cream colors are.

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So there you have it—my favorites from our photo shoot in Powell Hall!  After that, we loaded back into the limo and headed to Moulin for the CEREMONY!!! 

Team Tough Chik

I haven’t written much about my running and working out lately, have I?  That doesn’t mean I haven’t been doing it, it just means I haven’t felt much like writing too much about it.  First off, because I feel like I’m terrible at it right now!  I took two weeks off running over the honeymoon, and only lifted some weights on the cruise.  I’ve gained five pounds since the wedding (and 8 to 10 since Thanksgiving) so I feel clunky and out of sorts.  Basically I haven’t been terribly happy with my fitness or my body…but I’m working towards changing that now.  I’m giving myself a month to get back to where I want to be, which is plenty to get back on track.

One fun thing I did for my running this year was join a team.  It’s a team for women called Team Tough Chik.  This way when I feel lousy about myself I have some support, and the team is for runners and athletes of all levels (including clunky, like me!) Oh, and there is a team shirt involved which I don’t have yet but will.  And free stuff!

I’m currently officially training for the Go! St Louis Half Marathon in April, but in between I’m doing a couple of trail races (including the Castlewood Cup), the Alton Half Marathon, and anything else that comes up that somebody else would like to do (friends, always up for suggestions!).  The best way I know to get my butt out the door running is to think of how I want to improve my times on the races. 

Another thing I’ve been working with mentally is the comparison trap.  I’m so guilty of comparing myself to other runners, especially my friends.  I need to remind myself that taking a walk break and then running again is NOT considered a failure.  What’s important is running again, not giving up.  It is okay that I am slower than everybody I know (or it certainly seems that way) because what is important is that I am out there running and improving.  But then somebody will say something (either on purpose or inadvertently) that makes me feel like I’m not a real runner and I feel bad about myself all over again. 

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Team Tough Chik helps with that!  We have a facebook group too, and it’s not all gross nauseating inspiring stuff, but sometimes it’s just nice to know that other people feel like you do. 

Losing a few pounds will help too…I finally broke down and bought two new pairs of pants to wear in the meantime until I fit back into my jeans.  I talked with another friend who got married six weeks before we did and she said she’s gained 5 pounds too—which made me feel better, because she doesn’t look it, and because I felt like perhaps that was normal.  Darn you, cruise food!

I have to remember when I run, that I need to do it my way, not somebody else’s way.  That’s what will help me run better and happier!

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Oh, and in the air! 

First Look

After I finally got dressed and ready to go, it was time to do our "first look."  If you are new to weddings, traditionally the bride and groom wouldn’t see each other on the wedding day until the ceremony.  However, since we were taking pictures in the afternoon before the ceremony, we did a "first look" where it was the first time we saw each other that day (and the first time Chris would see my dress!)

I went downstairs with Sarah Crowder to where Chris was waiting in a corner of the hotel’s restaurant. 

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It was weird that I hadn’t seen him yet!  He looks kind of nervous in this picture.

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Oh Hai!  He heard me coming but wasn’t sure if he was supposed to turn around.  Then he did!

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He looked excited that I actually looked all good and stuff.  Not sure what he was expecting—I suppose he had seen me pack my grey sweatpants…

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It was funny because we were supposedly having this private moment while surrounded by several photographers.

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Evidently we were able to ignore the photographers, as usually Chris and I are not ones for public displays of affection.

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This is one of my favorite pictures! 

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After the photo shoot here it was time to gather all the bridesmaids and groomsmen and get in the limo and head to Powell for pictures!  It was all happening really fast, and the other funny thing was that almost all of my relatives were hanging out in the lobby of the hotel hoping to catch a glimpse of me (I hear there might be video around…anyone?) walking through, and I was trying to avoid them.

(I’m sorry I’m drawing this out so much, but I really want to show a nice amount of pictures without making any posts super long.  I hope you are enjoying my recaps!  So much more to come!!)

Next:  Did you know I bought a faux fur winter white bolero coat?  You’ll see it!

Getting ready and getting pretty

So my wedding ceremony was at 5:30 pm.  If you thought that meant I got to sleep in, you’d be wrong.  The bridesmaids were told to meet in my suite at 9:00 am for hair and makeup.  They were to be dressed by 12:30, and we were to meet the limo at 2:00 pm to go for pictures at Powell Hall.  So that meant I got up at 8:00 am to eat breakfast.  The Omni had a nice breakfast that was included with the room price—a good variety of hot and cold food.  I was ravenous (stress eating!) but tried to choose stuff that would give me good energy.  I was up in the room before 9 am in case the hairdressers got there early. 

I had two hairdressers meeting us and one lady to do makeup.  All the bridesmaids were getting their hair done, and Leslie and I were doing our makeup.  Additionally Chris’s mom was getting her hair done, and we convinced Mom to get her makeup done!

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Before an updo, you have to curl all the hair, evidently!

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What a beautiful bride!  Oh wait, thank goodness this wasn’t the finished product…

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I am not sure if Sarah’s hairdresser knew she left a brush in there.  I really liked this look…

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After hair came makeup!  Our photographer, Sarah Crowder, arrived around 10 am with three assistants in tow.  They took a few pictures of us getting ready and also started taking pictures of my dress and accessories all alone. 

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The final hair product, and getting my makeup done!

After we were all done with hair and makeup, it was time to order lunch.  Our photographer was in and out, and she went down to take pictures of Chris (I think) and said she’d be back after lunch to start taking pictures of me getting dressed.

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Those girls have some fancy hair and makeup for those casual tops. 

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My accessories:  purple shoes, clutch, smitten mitten, bracelet that I ended up not wearing, necklace, and earrings!  (The smitten mitten was a surprise for Chris—if you don’t know what it is, it’s a mitten that two people can wear holding hands.  I love it.)  The clutch, bracelet and earrings, and smitten mitten were all from various sellers on Etsy

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My necklace with my engagement ring.  The necklace was a gift from Chris for our first anniversary.  I used to wear it a lot and I rarely do these days, just because I don’t wear necklaces—but I thought he’d be tickled if I wore it.  He was!

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My dress…oh how I love my dress!!  I love it so much.  (I wish I could wear it again for another event…)

We got our lunch, ate a bit, and then the bridesmaids got their dresses on.  Then it was time for me to get dressed!

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Carrie was very excited to get the dress off the hanger.

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It was a getting ready party!  Though a bit stressful.  Note to everybody:  corset backs are way harder to lace up than it seems when the professionals do it for your fitting.  Luckily Sarah Crowder was able to help us out a bit…otherwise we might have taken even longer! 

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In the meantime the florist had brought by all the bouquets.  Our florist was Becky Huffman and she did an amazing job!  She dropped off the bouquets and boutonnieres before heading over to Moulin to put together the centerpieces.  

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Finally I was ready.  From left to right:  Sarah, Leslie, my mom, Carrie.  For the record, Sarah is drinking Diet Coke.

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Next it was time for pictures of me alone in the suite.  I ended up not wearing the bracelet because the clasp wasn’t working.  Oh, and the veil was ALSO from Etsy.  I guess I was an etsy bride!

(And yes, we had a really tough time getting those bumps out of the side of the dress.  One of the problems that day!)

Next: time to go downstairs for the "first look" with Chris, and then into the limo for pictures at Powell Hall! 

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I will just say:  Strauss Opera is hard.

Come see us perform!  I play pretty much throughout the whole performance.  My fingertips are sore, my back aches, and my brain is exhausted.  Good times!

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I was going to run outside today, but it’s raining and I decided to postpone until tomorrow (was going to rest tomorrow, so it works out).  Yesterday I did an awful treadmill workout suggested by Mike:  set the incline at 6% (or up to 8%), run for 25 seconds, rest for 35 seconds.  Repeat for 30 minutes.  I ran at 6.2 mph, slightly faster than I usually run on the treadmill.  You want to be able to keep it up for the whole time without slowing down.  I found 6.3 mph to be just a little too challenging (crazy, right?).  Anyway, if you want to try it, choose a speed that works for you.  It wasn’t so bad, but mentally was really tough to keep it up for so long.

I spent the running time writing thank you notes instead.  I got 10 done!  My hand was really starting to cramp, so I’ll do more another time.  I need to practice anyway.

We got our professional photos from the wedding on Monday.  I want to continue my "wedding recap" posts, but I don’t have time to do a nice one right now.  If it’s okay though, I’ll share a few more pictures here!  Sarah Crowder did a wonderful job :)

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My handsome groom!

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My gorgeous Maggie Sottero dress…

Rehearsal Dinner

I know I am getting more and more behind on my wedding/honeymoon recap!  Okay, it’s now time for the rehearsal dinner.  Warning:  this and the following recaps will be very picture heavy.  Just warning you!  I would apologize, but I’m not sorry!

I sent out invitations for the rehearsal dinner.  I think I showed them to you already, but here they are again!  I got them from Etsy, like I did my wedding invitations and tons of other stuff.  Here’s the link to the shop I worked with for these.  They were great to work with!

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Chris and I had a hard time finding a good rehearsal dinner venue, since we wanted to have our dinner on January 1!  Many restaurants were closed, or were willing to open up for a price, and that price was generally more than we wanted to pay.  Eau Bistro at the Chase Park Plaza seemed to fit our needs though, in that they were already open, had a private room, and the food and ambiance was what we wanted:  nice and classy.  We selected a limited menu that our guests could order from.

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I wanted to wear something spectacular for the rehearsal dinner.  I thought of red, but just couldn’t find anything suitable, until I went to a wedding in late October.  One of the guests was wearing a stunning long red gown, and I knew I would look great in it—I asked where she bought it, and then ordered one online.  I was right, it was fantastic!  And floor length!

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We had planned for our guests to arrive between 6:30 and 7:00 pm and that we would mingle and get to know everybody before sitting down.  We had an antipasto platter out, and also ended up getting a cheese platter because the antipasto was significantly smaller than we thought it should be.  We had invited our immediate families, my grandmother, our attendants and their dates, and a few other special friends.  I think there were 25 people there.

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Chris’s parents

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Everybody mingling!  They had the table set with the menus on each place setting.  The table was a really long (and wide) table with chairs all around.  It ended up being slightly larger than we thought and it was challenging to talk across the table, but it all worked out well. 

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We planned just to eat a nice meal, get to talk to people, have a few toasts, and give out gifts to our attendants.  As the evening progressed, we decided to wait on the gifts.  I also brought my guest book along, because I had made a photo book on snapfish with our engagement photos and I wanted people to sign it as if it were a yearbook.  I thought it we started it at the rehearsal dinner people would be more likely to continue writing on it the following day!

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Chris’s family

Leslie and her fiance Peter

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You can see everyone was having a good time chatting and visiting!

My brother Jesse and my dad.

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Sarah and her boyfriend Sam (Sarah was one of my bridesmaids.)

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The place setting!  I had the baby spinach salad, lamb, and creme brulee. Chris would have enjoyed the steak but he was still feeling a bit queasy so he tried the vegetable wellington instead.  People said the steak was great, and so was the sea bass.

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My family’s corner of the table…

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Our friend Sarah in the middle!

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The creme brulee—really more of a pudding—was served in eggshells.  Very cool presentation!

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My parents, and the other dessert…gigantic cookies with ice cream!  Good thing we all had a lot to eat at dinner, since obviously the next day there wouldn’t be much ;)

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Carrie and Jesse, and you can see Leslie hard at work signing the guest book beside her.

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My dad daintily eating his creme brulee.

After dessert we opened the floor for toasts.  Chris’s dad gave one, followed by Carrie and then John (one of the groomsmen.)

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The three sisters together!

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Dave and Dacy (guest book in lower right corner)

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Jon and Laura

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Chris with Vanessa

It was a wonderful dinner!  After dinner, I went back to the hotel with the bridesmaids.  I wanted to give them their gifts and then we were going to do facials (yes, yes, I know.)

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I gave them all earrings to wear the following day, and I gave Sarah and Carrie "Missouri" tote bags.  I gave Leslie a clutch that matched the one I got for myself. 

{source} Babbs Boutique

We didn’t want to stay up too late, however, because the next day we were meeting the hairdressers at 9:00 am in my suite!  So by midnight the girls left and I was left on my own…I read a bit, and tried to sleep.  I was SO excited…I know it sounds cliche, but I had thought of this day for so many months, and WOW it was here!!  Everything just seemed so surreal…it’s hard to explain, but I just couldn’t believe this was all really happening, that our planning was truly paying off, and that I was finally getting to wear these awesome dresses!

(to be continued…)