Saturday, January 4, 2014

*2013... A Year in Review*

 Now that the first week of January is basically over, I figured it would be a good time to reflect on what went on in 2013.  2013 was a CRAZY year for me... filled with mostly good memories but also some not so good memories.  So here goes... my 2013... a year in review...

January marked the beginning of 2013 which I knew was going to be a very special year for me.  It was the year I was FINALLY going to marry my best friend.  I remember being so excited that MD and I were finally that much closer to tying the knot and I was full on into wedding planning at this point.  Early January was also when I said YES to the dress!! My parents came down for the day so that we could go dress shopping and with the help of my mom and one of my bridesmaids I was able to find THE perfect dress and despite being a little nervous about making such a big purchase I took a leap and bought what would end up being my dream wedding dress.
Some of the dresses that didn't make the cut... don't worry... you'll see the actual one later
The beginning of February marked my first ever trip to Chi Omega Headquarters in Memphis, TN and boy was I excited for it.  I went to Firesides as an advisor to two of the most amazing collegiate Chi Omegas I have ever met.  I think I can speak for all of us when I say that we had an amazing trip there and it is a trip that I will always fondly remember.

February was also a VERY busy month wedding planning wise.  In this time we managed to secure a reception venue, a block of hotel rooms for the wedding, the makeup artist and most importantly our photographer!  I remember feeling such relief checking these things off the list because I knew that it would only get harder to do these things as time went on and we got closer to our actual wedding date.

MD & I also went to a few AHL games in February while the NHL was still trying to get their act together and get back to playing after their strike.  We say the Phantoms v. Penguins at the Wells Fargo center and then traveled to Hershey, PA to see the Bears v. Phantoms.  I had forgotten how much I had missed going to hockey games until we actually went to a few AHL games.

March was a pretty uneventful month around these parts because it was the month that I seemed to get super sick.  I spent almost a week out of commission with a fever of over 101 and I was pretty sure that I was dying at times.  Thankfully MD took great care of me (without managing to get himself sick) and I eventually recovered.  March was also the month we headed up to NJ to pick out and order our Save the Dates for the wedding.  We had also planned to order invitations, but that didn't happen as I was still too sick to make a decision and shortly after starting to look at invites I was overwhelmed and starting to get upset.  Thankfully we managed to find save the dates, because at that point we were cutting it close to when they needed to be sent out by!

On probably the rainiest day in April MD and I headed out to Lewisburg to meet with our photographer to take our much anticipated dreaded engagement pictures.  I was personally NOT looking forward to these pictures and didn't even want them included in our wedding photography package.  Thankfully Virginia convinced me that they were a good idea and I am definitely thankful that she did! I discovered that I still hate having my picture taken and that I hate it even more when I am posed for the camera.  The good thing was that as the shoot went on I began to relax a little bit and decided that I would probably be ok with getting my picture taken on our big day.
For more of our engagement pictures you can check our our photographer's blog post here
The other big thing that we accomplished in April was that we set the menu for our wedding.  We always tried to accomplish a lot when we had to head out to Central PA for wedding related activities, so when we scheduled our engagement pictures we also scheduled our food tasting for the reception and scheduled a time to meet with the coordinator at the reception venue to make sure that we could set our menu.  Being the crazy bride that I was I took notes on everything that we tasted so at the end of our tasting it was pretty easy for us to be able to set the menu.

May was a month full of weddings for us.  In fact we had wedding back to back weekends this month.  First we had CS & KD's wedding in the Philly suburbs.  CS was one of MD's fraternity brothers at Bucknell so we were super excited to celebrate his wedding with him!  We were a little nervous about how the weather was going to cooperate because the ceremony was in a pavilion outside, but thankfully the rain held off long enough for the ceremony and for the wedding party to take some pictures outside.  We had a great time at the reception connecting with some old Bucknell friends who we hadn't seen in a while.

The following weekend we attended the wedding of MD's cousin RS to SS.  This wedding was as different as could be from the wedding the previous weekend, but it was one of the most beautiful weddings I think we have ever been to.  SS did such a fantastic job planning every last detail of what I dubbed "A Country Affair".  She seemed to pay so much attention to detail (a girl after my own heart) and did so much of the stuff for the wedding herself.  I was so impressed and loved every last minute of this wedding.

June started off busy as ever as the first weekend in June was MD's birthday weekend and of course it was jam packed with activities.  MD went to his first ever Phillies game... complete with tailgating!  Then the next day we headed on a bus trip to Washington DC to see the USA Men's soccer team take on Germany, a first for both of us!  The weekend left us exhausted, but we had such an amazing time it was definitely worth the exhaustion that ensued!

June was also when MD FINALLY booked a DJ for our wedding.  I will admit, I had been FREAKING out because there wasn't much that I had asked MD to do for the wedding... booking a DJ was pretty much all I asked him to do, and when by June it still wasn't done... well you could definitely say I freaked out a bit.  Thankfully the man got his act together and I was able to calm down a bit and not worry as much about what was going to happen for music at the reception!

The very last day of June I headed up to NJ for a bridal shower for one of my Jersey BFFs (we are no longer BFFs... more to come about that later on) friends.  I remember being exhausted because I had closed at work the 3 previous nights but also being so excited to see AP and to be a part of the celebrations leading up to her special day!

June also marked the fact that we hired a wedding coordinator for the rehearsal dinner and day of.  The more weddings we attended the more I realized that I did not want to have ANYTHING to worry about the day of our wedding so I began the hunt for the perfect person to help me with my wedding.  Thankfully Courtney from By Design Weddings and Events and I managed to cross paths because of another wedding coordinator that I had contacted.  We hired Courtney at the end of the month and that may have been one of the single best decisions I ever made in planning most of my own wedding!

July got off to a rough start as that was when we had our first major wedding SNAFU.  On my parents' wedding anniversary I hopped in the car with one of my bffs MO and we headed out to Central PA to supposedly meet with the florist for my wedding.  Well after driving 2.5 hours out there to meet with her, guess what, yup, you guessed it... SHE NEVER SHOWED UP!  Thankfully the trip didn't end up being a total waste as I got to bring MO out to Bucknell, got Mark his orange and blue bow tie for the ceremony, and managed to book a place for our rehearsal dinner.

The end of July was AMAZING as my fabulous bridesmaids planned the most awesome bachelorette weekend for me at the Jersey Shore.  On Friday night I headed out with one of my bridesmaids, SP, for a quite visit to the grents before meeting my some of my other bridesmaids and my g-little for a fancy dinner on the oceanfront.  After dinner we headed upstairs to the club for some drinks, a little dancing.. and A TON of people watching.  Saturday we headed off to the beach for a day of fun in the sun.  A bunch of my other girlfriends met us at the beach where we lay in the sun, caught up, and laughed at AV as the ocean claimed her bikini bottom and we had to help her get it back together so that she could get out of the water.  Saturday night we went to a low key dinner before heading out to a bar to drink and dance the night away.  Sunday morning most of us made it to brunch and then I headed to the beach with my Friday's ladies for a little more fun in the sun before having to head back to good old PA.

August was a super busy month for us as we pretty much had something going on every weekend and rarely spent any time at home.  In the little amount of time we were at home we spent the time putting together our wedding invitations and getting them ready to mail out.  Thankfully my girl, KT came over to help me finish them up or they would have taken WEEKS before I could have actually mailed them out.

Early in the month we headed up to Lake Wallenpaupak for a relaxing weekend with some of the members of our wedding party.  One of my bffs, VM, was in town so it seemed like a perfect time to head up to ML's lake house for the weekend.  We spent a couple of days going out on the boat, drinking, hanging out and overall just having a great time.  It was definitely a much needed break from reality.

The weekend after the Lake MD and I headed up to NJ for AP & CC's wedding weekend.  I was "Honor Attendant" in this wedding and I was super excited to see AP get married.  I was also excited to be back in NJ for the weekend because well who doesn't love a trip to NJ?!?!?  AP was such a gorgeous bride and we had a FANTASTIC time at her wedding.  Definitely one of the more fun weddings we have been to in our time (and that is saying a lot because we have been to a TON of weddings!)!!

The week after the wedding I thought I was going to have a panic attack as MD and I bought a new car.  Yes, you read that right, we BOUGHT a new car... a few months before getting married... cue freak out now.  Yes I love the car that we got, but it was still super stressful for me and I wasn't sure how we were going to pull it all off especially since we were getting married in a few months.  But thankfully MD managed to calm me down and I was able to sign the papers and we bought a car.
2014 Acura RDX
The end of August marked the time to break in our new Keg-O-Rater.  MD's best man, ML, bought us a keg-o-rater as a wedding gift and well we decided that in order to properly thank him for the gift, we needed to have a party to break it in!

September got off to a really rocky start and at one point I wasn't even excited about my wedding anymore.  And of course all of this happens 3 days before my bridal shower.  On September 11th (as if this isn't already a crummy enough day) one of my bridesmaids hurt me more than I think anyone ever has in my entire life.  She said some pretty terrible things to me and at the end of it all dropped out of my wedding and informed me that she wasn't even coming anymore.  She said some really hurtful things to me and I will definitely never forgot much of what she said.  I spent hours crying over what she said and even threatened not to attend my own bridal shower because I was upset.  No one really knew how to help me and I felt terribly about that.  But I needed to cry it out and to try to accept what had happened and move on from it.  I did accept what had happened, and I did move on... but I am not the same person I was before she said to me what she did.
Right after this bridesmaid disaster I headed up to NJ for my bridal shower.  To say I was not excited would be an understatement.  I was dreading the weekend.  How was I supposed to be happy when someone I considered to be one of my best friends, someone who was one of my bridesmaids, suddenly without warning dropped out of my wedding.  When CS picked me up on Friday to take me home to NJ I was not looking forward to the trip, although I was looking forward to spending time with her.  The bridal shower ended up being exactly what I needed to help me get out of my funk.  I was shown so much love by my bridesmaids, family and friends.  I felt amazing after being showered with so much love and support from everyone that I knew everything would be great in the end!

While I was in NJ I also met with my neighbor who had recently started a floral design business, The branch and the bloom, and who would be doing my flowers for my wedding.  I was so excited that she would be doing the flowers because not only has she known me my entire life, she would also be a guest at my wedding.  After meeting with her I was sure she was going to kill me because I couldn't tell her what I wanted with regards to flowers... all I could tell her was what I didn't want.  She assured me that by telling her what I didn't want that I let her know what I wanted, but I wasn't so sure.  What I was sure of was that she would do a fantastic job on the flowers if I just let her do her thing.

September was also the first time I participated in the Cara Box exchange run by Wifessionals.  I was so excited to participate in this exchange and I met 2 amazing women through it (one of which I still talk to all the time).  I really wasn't sure what to expect when I signed up for the Cara Box exchange... but I am so thankful that I did because through it I have continued to make new friends who I never would have made not given this opportunity!

October had to be probably the BIGGEST month of the year for us because well it was the month that MD and I were FINALLY married.  We had been planning for this day for 11 months and it was FINALLY here!  To say that I was excited would be an understatement... to say that I was panicked would also be an understatement.  The wedding day was more perfect than I ever could have imagined and I am so thankful to everyone who helped us celebrate and who helped us to make our wedding day a day that we will never forget!

After the wedding came our honeymoon trip to Europe.  Let me just say, the trip was INCREDIBLE!  A week was not nearly long enough to spend over there and I look forward to the day that MD and I will be able to travel back there again.  Don't worry, I will have more to say about our honeymoon soon.  I still have a Honeymoon Part 2 post in the works! You can read about Part 1 here!

November ended up being a pretty low key month for us.  I celebrated my 29th birthday... my first as a married woman. We also celebrated our first holiday as a married couple... Thanksgiving!  This year Thanksgiving day was spent in NJ with my family before heading out to Central PA on Saturday morning to be with MD's family for Thanksgiving part 2.

November also brought the 25th birthday of one of my bffs, MO, so of course we celebrated that in style with a night out in Philly at Xfinity!

December was a very busy month.... and it was our first married holiday season.  As usual we continued the tradition of going to cut down our own Christmas tree.  This was the first year that it was just MD and I going for the tree as my dad had just had foot surgery and was unable to make the trip with my mom.

ML also had a joint birthday party for MM and me in the beginning of the month.  We got together with a few of our closest friends for a low key night at ML's house.  Sometimes low key nights in with some of your favorites really are the best nights!
MM & Me with our cookie cake ML baked us
The following weekend we headed to NJ for my first grade bff, AW's, 4th Annual Christmas Party.  This was the first year that we were able to attend and of course it decides to be snowy/icy so the party apparently wasn't as good as it usually is, although we still had a fantastic time!  It was nice to see some of the old crowd from high school who I don't get to see very often and to catch up with them all.
AW's holiday party

The weekend before Christmas we were off to NJ again as the Saturday before Christmas was my dad's birthday and we wanted to be there to celebrate with the family.  After spending dad's birthday in NJ with the family we were ready to begin our traveling for the holidays.

It was a crazy holiday season this year as we spent Monday-Wed with MD's family in Central PA, left Wed afternoon to head to NJ for Christmas Part 2 with my family until Friday morning, and then Friday afternoon headed back to Philly to catch a flight to Florida for CS's bridal shower and bachelorette party.  I am not really going to elaborate on this more as I have a post in the works on this too... so stay tuned (like I said I am trying to be a better blogger in 2014!)

So there you have it folks... my 2013 in review... as you can see it was a crazy year but one that ended with me marrying my best friend.  Can't wait to see what 2014 has in store for us!

As always.... today I am thankful for my bridesmaids.  While writing this post and reflecting on the whole bridesmaid disaster of September I realize that without those girls who remained my bridesmaids I never would have survived it all.  These women have been there for me through thick and thin at all stages of my life.  Some of these women I have known since elementary school... others since college... and others since moving to the Philly suburbs.  These women are my closest friends and I love them all dearly!  So thank you to AW, CS, AV, VM, JG and SP... you women are simply amazing and I love you all!!

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