Rachel: Countdown to the Wedding


Mercury is in fucking retrograde

by Rachel W. Miller, Contributor

Rachel: Countdown to the Wedding | A Practical Wedding

I’m getting married this weekend! As you can probably imagine, the past few weeks have been a blur as we get into all the little details that sometimes feel too granular to put onto a to-do list. (On the other hand, nothing is too granular to go into our spreadsheet.) It’s been busy, but it’s been surprisingly not stressful and honestly… pretty fun.

Three Weeks to Go

At the end of January, it felt like we still had a lot to do… and yet it felt like we still had a good amount of time to do it. Here’s what we were doing with three weeks out.

  • Spray painting everything gold and then covering it in glitter, including the banner for our guest book table and the vases for our paper flowers.
  • Trying not to die from the fumes coming off of the clear acrylic gloss coat I used to seal my projects.
  • Shampooing our carpet and unclogging our guest bathroom’s tub (which was filled with enough dog hair to make a coat).
  • Buying everything we’ll need to assemble our wedding favors. We’re… going overboard in that area. Most of our guests have never been to Texas so we want to send them home with good souvenirs.
  • Starting a love affair with Zazzle and giving them all our money. (Except not really because everything is always on sale!) Rehearsal dinner invitations, favors, stickers, labels—Zazzle has been so good to us.
  • Getting a package delivered at least once a day. Seriously, we’re buying everything we can online.
  • Shopping. Because we can’t buy everything online, we’ve still been spending a lot of time shopping and running errands. This weekend we picked up an assortment of things including socks for Eric and his groomsmen, paper on which to print our programs, and candy and mini bottles of liquor for our piñata.
  • Loving my wedding watch. I had no interest in getting a second ring to replace or accompany my engagement ring, so Eric bought me a vintage watch from the 1930s instead. I’m really excited to start wearing it!
  • Looking everywhere for affordable cake stands, ordering them, discovering that one was broken, and then realizing it didn’t matter anyway because the domes that covered them were tiny. Like, the-only-cake-that-could-fit-under-there-is-a-pancake tiny. I had all but given up hope on finding new cake stands that fit our budget with domes that fit our cakes when Lisa, Eric’s friend who is baking the cakes that will be going on said stands, found lovely Martha Stewart ones that fit the bill on super-clearance at Macy’s. Wedding magic!
  • Shouting at each other. We had a huge fight at the three-weeks-out point but we’re filing that under “the last huge big fight before we got married” and moving on!

Two Weeks TO GO

Rachel: Countdown to the Wedding | A Practical Wedding

The first weekend in February was the weekend we set aside a few months ago to get shit done. We’d still have one more weekend after this one, but I didn’t want to spend that weekend running a ton of errands or feeling stressed out. So the first weekend in February was our deadline for pretty much everything. And… it went great! Busy but not exhausting and not too stressful at all. The highlights:

  • Having our house deep cleaned. I think this is why the rest of the weekend felt relaxed… our house was literally sparkling after the two cleaners were done with it. Now we just have to keep it clean for the next two weeks.
  • Coating all glittery DIY projects in Mod Podge, which works way better than the clear acrylic spray. I can now confidently say our vases will not shed more than our dogs.
  • Assembling all of our packaging and starting to put our favors together.
  • Decorating the broom for our jumping the broom ceremony.
  • Having little moments of wedding magic. At Target, after grabbing two boxes of Crest Whitestrips (one for him, one for me), I found a gift set containing two boxes… and it was on clearance for less than the cost of one of the boxes I had already picked up. And when I received the custom monogrammed handkerchiefs that I ordered as gifts for my mom and grandma, there was a third one included. Apparently they had printed one in the wrong color at first—and their mistake solved my “something blue” problem.

TEN DAYS TO GO

We have a marriage license! That went about as smoothly as one would expect from what was essentially a trip to the DMV. Wrong time, then wrong location, spent fifteen minutes looking for a Chase ATM only to learn that the right location did, in fact, take credit cards. It was ridiculous. The funny part is that if we’d just gone to the nearest Houston branch (the one we figured would be super busy and inconvenient based on past experience) from the start, the whole thing would have been totally painless.

This week has been a little weird; it feels like this lull where there’s not a ton we can do, but we also know that there will be a bunch of things to do next week that we simply can’t do right now. It’s been odd. But getting the marriage license made me feel like we’ve crossed that threshold and now it’s “final tasks” time. My brain flipped a switch today and now I’m in “OMG my family arrives in a week!” mode and “Eeeeee it’s almost time to get a manicure!” mode and then also “DAMNIT WHY DID OUR DISHWASHER JUST SUDDENLY STOP WORKING!?!” mode.

I’m beginning to regret our decision to get married during Mercury in retrograde.

Nine Days to Go

The repairman just left. We’re now shopping for new dishwashers. God dammit.

Eight Days to Go

Et tu, printer?

One Week TO GO

Eric and I get up and go shopping for a new dishwasher. After spending twenty minutes looking at different models and calculating the cost and the installation of each, we finally settle on one that can be installed on Tuesday or Wednesday. We found something in our price range, but ugh, I hate spending a bunch of money on some big-ticket item that I can’t even be super excited about.

After we buy our new dishwasher, we go to a beauty supply store so I can buy new hair, as I’m getting a new weave sewn in on Tuesday. I buy four extra inches because I want it to be extra fabulous for the wedding and the price increase for the longer hair is significant. I walk out feeling quite sad about this and say so to Eric. He agrees that it was pretty steep. “Yeah,” I say glumly. “And I still have to pay to have it installed!”

Six Days TO GO

Rachel: Countdown to the Wedding | A Practical Wedding

We have a lot to do today because we spent the majority of Saturday shopping because I’m suddenly bound and determined to wear a midi skirt for our rehearsal dinner, and despite the fact that every fashion website has been calling them a hot trend for months, and the fact that I’ve seen every fashion blogger photographed in multiple cute ones online, they do not exist outside of the Internet. And the best ones on the Internet are sold out. I finally just ordered one of my second choices online; I paid for rush shipping and I really hope I like it and that it fits.

In other shopping success(ish) stories, we finally found a cake knife and server that fits our style! I learned I should probably get both the knife and the server after I sent Team APW a confused, “Cake cutters: how do they work?” email. I had fourteen tabs open and needed some assistance.

Five Days to Go

THE DREAMS WON’T STOP.

And I wake up from them before 5 AM each day, which seems… unfair. On the flip side, I’ve been working out quite a bit, because what the hell else is there to do at 5 AM?

Four Days to Go

Our to-do list is winding down. A man put our new dishwasher on Monday. A woman is putting my weave in this morning. Once that is done, I think I’ll feel ready. But…I just woke up to a text from my mom that her flight to Houston for the wedding has been canceled thanks to bad weather in Atlanta. Apparently Mercury still has a few more things on its to-do list this week.

Photos by Rachel for APW

Rachel W. Miller

For most of her life, Rachel has loved the sound of her own voice. She loves reading, doing yoga (she still refuses to call it “practicing”), hanging out with her dogs, and talking Eric’s ear off. She lives in Houston, TX. You can read more from her on her blog.

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  • Kelsey

    Thinking about you, Rachel!! I hope the rest of the week goes as smooth as can be and that your dishes are super, super sparkly.

  • Kina

    I have a feeling your wedding favors are going to be the best your guests have ever received. Good luck with everything and enjoy what I’m sure will be an amazing weekend!

  • Kendra D

    Best wishes for your wedding! And thanks so much for the link to Zazzle! I just found my invitations there!

  • Elisabeth S.

    THE DREAMS!! God, the dreams. PS, I just had another sexy dream about my…guitar teacher. Oh, self. At least they’re giving you a reason to work out. So excited for you, Rachel! I will be sending good woo to the stars and yelling at mercury to get it’s shit together. Can’t wait to hear how it all goes!

  • KW

    I can’t wait to read your wedding graduate post. :) Best wishes this week!

  • sarahtheresa

    Is that a real handkerchief you can buy somewhere? I need one. My etsy searches are proving fruitless!

    • http://www.thehousealwayswinsblog.com/ Rachel Wilkerson

      I just had it custom made through BumblebeeLinens.com!

      • sarahtheresa

        Thank you!! And best of luck! It’s been so fun to watch your journey.

      • Rebekah

        Thank you for this link! Not only is it PERFECT for what I’m trying to do (all female relatives’ initials in lieu of a bouquet), but the are located 20 minutes away from me. Bless you.

      • Alyssa M

        OH! this is so perfect! Classy and (relatively) inexpensive attendant gifts! They’re pretty easy to do with respect for my gender spectrum of bridal attendants too!

  • Jenni Kissinger

    Crossing my fingers for your mom rebooking a flight!

  • Lauren from NH

    Loving how you phrased days 8 and 9. Clearly your humor is still intact despite Mercury’s best efforts ha!

  • AG

    Congratulations and best of luck! Have so enjoyed reading about your planning process on APW.

  • Stephanie B.

    The run-up to the wedding seems to be designed to incorporate as much chaos as possible. (Our officiant [my brother] forgot to register in our state, the bakery confirmed our order…which was totally wrong, my hairstylist of 20 years had to have emergency hip replacement so I had to find a new stylist, and our trip to get the marriage license was one giant Katamari ball of mistakes and badness, including having to drive back home because I left my wallet at home, going to the wrong building, and walking out of the bathroom in a huge public building with my skirt tucked into my panties.)

    My theory is that there’s so much chaos because when something beautiful is about to be born, it’s a loud, messy, tearful process.

    Thank you for the gift of sharing your story with us over the past months. Have a wonderful wedding and weekend

    • Caitlin_DD

      Extra points for the Katamari reference…!

      • Stephanie B.

        Heh. I even told my husband, as the marriage license chaos was happening, “This is like one giant Katamari ball of mistakes!” His reply? “You don’t get to drive home, okay?”

        • Caitlin_DD

          Excellent response.

  • mimi

    Everything will work out and you’re almost there! Thinking good wedding thoughts for the weekend!

  • Molly Pollard

    The stars will align at the perfect moment, and it’s going to go great!!! Good luck to you, sending good vibes your way!

  • Laura C

    Bookmarking this for my own countdown weeks. Pretty sure I’ll need it.

  • macrain

    Wedding stress dreams, OMG. Totally relate. I had a dream the other night that my tailor ended up being an acupuncturist and started sticking pins in ME rather than my dress. Also I’m having a recurring dream that I’m trying to get home on the subway and I just can’t seem to find the right train to get me there. It’s like I’m at a major crossroads in my life or something! :)
    Will be thinking of you this weekend and hope all goes well! Can’t wait to hear all about it!

  • emilyg25

    I couldn’t really read this because I still kind of get hives about how crazy things were in the few weeks before my wedding! We actually had everything mostly done, and super planned, and most of the craziness was excited anticipation. But still, what a whirlwind! I spent a lot of time lying in the bath, drinking tea, and deep breathing. (I don’t handle transitions terribly well.)

    • http://www.pinterest.com/katerees711 kater711

      I was just thinking about how this post made me feel all panicky, like I felt before our wedding, but without much I could do about it then or now. I didn’t even try the bath thing! Add that to my (small) list of things I would like to have the chance “redo”, but “shrugs.” The shrug is getting easier.

  • Ashlee

    I feel like APW should have a monthly “Get Shit Done” award, and give it to you right this second, Rachel. It’s like you’ve shown me this snippet of a world where things are crazy and appliances break and ice threatens the South (again) and oh-right-there’s-a-wedding-happening-must-craft-favors and government offices confuse, but you can still make funny jokes, spot magical clearance deals, post insightful commentary, and, of course, get shit done. Thanks for that. Sometimes I get too caught up in the crazy, and reminders that things can be crazy *and* work out awesomely are wonderful.

    Also, I’m super curious how one decorates a jumping-broom.

  • http://www.devabydefinition.com/ Deva C.

    I hope that the rest of your week goes smoothly :-) Happy wedding week!

  • http://breckwinokur.com/ Breck

    So excited for you, Rachel! And I’m so glad we got to see your watch–it’s beautiful!! Sending out a special prayer to the Appliance Gods that everything else continues to function this week. Have a wonderful wedding day, and congratulations!!

  • M.

    I’m SO excited for you! Hope you have just a wonderful start to your marriage.

    I still have about 2 months left, and my wedding dreams have stopped. But, my fiance’s have STARTED! He dreams we start 4 hours late, my dad/officiant doesn’t show up, etc. My most vivid one was that everything had gone well, but I forgot immediately. I would ask, “what about pictures? did we take our pictures?” “Yes, three hours ago!” “Did we get married?” “Yes!!” ::shudder::

    Have a KICK ASS WEEK and a lovely wedding.

  • jhs

    Congrats! I hope it goes so fantastic! Also “Eh tu, printer?” had me dying laughing.

  • Jessica

    This is the song that should be on loop for you in the next few days: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jK-NcRmVcw

    • ItsyBit

      YES.

    • Stephanie B.

      We watched 3 seasons of Arrested Development in the months before our wedding, and tried to figure out how to incorporate this song into our wedding. (Not 100% seriously, but…a little.) We opted no, but it was hugely entertaining to figure out where it could happen.

  • feelingfickle

    I hope everything smooths out for you! I know there’s bound to be some stress but everyone who loves you will be there to help take care of it. Also TEXAS. (Sorry not sorry, Texan through and through. Well. Minus the horse and the evangelical conservativism and everything else attributed to us.)

  • Lindsay Rae

    Happy Wedding Week, Rachel! It’s inspiring that you’re able to take the chaos and bumps in the road with humor :) I hope things smooth out a little, but it sounds like you still have things under control.

    Also, thank you for the Zazzle link and bumblebe linens link!

  • http://writemeg.com/ Meg

    So many warm wishes for your wedding, Rachel! I had awful stress dreams for months leading up the wedding — the typical “no one shows up, my dress is all wrong, I’m running late, etc.” variety. But everything will be lovely. Your mom’s flight will get sorted out and everything will be splendid. Can’t wait to hear all about it!

  • Laura

    You are getting closer to the wedding zen, i can feel it. Mercury be damned!

  • ItsyBit

    Aaaah congratulations!! It’s going to be great. Also, if I may be shallow for a moment, THAT WATCH in the photo on Facebook. Oh. My. Gawd. I knew I liked old watches, but damn. That takes the cake of all cakes. I can’t stop looking at it.

  • http://www.pinterest.com/katerees711 kater711

    RACHEL!!!! <3 eee!

  • macrain

    Okay, THANK YOU for Zazzle. I LOVE IT.

    • Alyssa M

      aaand now my wallet is trying to convince me that spending twice what I spent on save the dates on custom stamps is silly… but… but…

  • Kayjayoh

    Major crossed fingers for your mom’s travel (as well as any other traveling guests).

    So, any cake cutter/server pointers you’d like to share? Will there be a round up? I’ll admit, this is not a thing about which I’d given any thought.

    • Laura C

      Agreed! Do we need a cake cutter/server if we’re not doing a cake cutting ourselves? I mean, the caterer should be able to handle the mass cutting and serving, right?

      • KC

        If you’re not doing a “cut a slice of cake as a couple and feed it to each other” thing, then no, you totally don’t need a cutter/server. Any sane caterer will use an *actually sharp* knife (plus a bowl of hot water, plus a towel or bowl edge [or similar setup], for cleaning the knife between cuts to eliminate frosting buildup on the knife) for cutting the cake.

        (if, um, you *do* want to do the Cutting The Cake Photo Op Thing, though, make sure you know where some sort of implement and ideally some sort of plate are. When I brought a cake to the wedding of some friends of mine, I totally misunderstood them when they asked something like “uh, is there a knife somewhere for cutting the cake?” – I responded “oh, the caterers will do that”, since the caterers had just reassured me that they would [some won't do "outside" cakes] – but my friend looked really baffled. On the drive home, I realized that they were probably inquiring if I’d brought cake-cutting implements along with the cake for the “cake cutting moment”, which they then just didn’t do. Oops.)

        (as an unrelated-to-that-wedding side note: if your cake is covered in fondant, marzipan, or solid chocolate, or has sugar flowers all over it, please consider using a metal knife. Plastic decorative serving sets can definitely slice through buttercream and whatnot, but there are limits to what they can handle…)

  • ART

    Dude, Atlanta! Best ice-melting wishes there.

    I’m now pricing out a hankie to read “If you’re gonna cry, cry into this,” a la Garth…why did I click that link!?

  • LB

    I just want to say how happy this website makes me. As someone trying to turn around a wedding in 5 months, I am in the deep throws of wedding planning (and therefore, wedding blog reading), and I have been getting so disappointed by the WIC nonsense spewed out by these other blogs.

    It’s a little things here that make me happy- the way Rachel nonchalantly mentions that she has chosen a wedding watch, instead of a wedding band, and then moves on to the next point. It is SO refreshing to have a community that supports the idea of doing sh*t the way you want to do it!

  • http://cafeaubride.blogspot.com/ Catherine

    Oh my goshhhhh I am so excited for you! I love that we get to watch the interns on their journey. And can we talk about mercury in retrograde some more?? It’s hitting us hard here!! Congrats Rachel can’t wait to hear all about it :)

  • Gina

    Oh, the dreams, the dreams.

    Congrats! May the day pass slowly and the memories sink in deeply.

  • JDrives

    Go Rachel Go!!

  • http://www.smittenchickens.com/ Sarah Hoppes

    Family travel in inclement weather is a bitch. Many crossed fingers for your mom’s flight!!!!

  • JenClaireM

    Aaah! It’s so exciting! Best wishes for a great wedding weekend. Are you getting married on Saturday? If so, you will share an anniversary with my parents – this year is their 45th! And they live in Houston! (Yay Houston – it’s my hometown.) I wish you as many years (and more) of love and happiness with your soon-to-be husband. Have an amazing, crazy, love and joy filled weekend! Congrats!

  • HJ

    As a fellow Texas bride with the majority of guests coming in from out of town would you mind detailing your Texas themed wedding favors?! Thanks so much!! Great article :)

  • Amanda V.

    Good luck, Rachel! I hope your wedding is meaningful and fun! Answer this 13 years from now when all the wedding madness has passed, but where are those cake cutters/servers from? BEAUTIFUL!

    • http://www.nthdegreedesigns.com/blog Seshat

      Agreed! I saw that picture and thought “Holy crap! A cake servings set I *like*!” I was so bummed to not see a source. Rachel, please tell me those are available somewhere (and good luck with the rest of your week! It’s sounds like you’ve been handling everything spectacularly!).

  • Kelly

    I’m so glad for this post! It seems that everyone is wildly busy in the two weeks leading up, but I’m never exactly sure…. with what.

  • Cat

    This post makes me want to strap on some killer pants, pull on some bad-ass boots and GET. SHIT. DONE. for our October wedding

    Fist-pumps and high-fives of support coming at you Rachel! Can’t wait to hear how it all goes down, I’m sure it will be EPIC.

  • Aj

    oh Rachel! since you’re getting married exactly a month before me, I look to you to anticipate how things are going to be. you’ve got your shit together girl!

    I see this mentioned down thread but HOLY SHIT do I need a cake serving set?!?! I guess I should ask my venue/bakers. We didn’t even know we would need a cake stand….thank buddha the bakers are providing it.