Category Archives: Music

Wedding Recaps: Unforgettable

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One sort of ingenius idea that we had (not that I’m bragging or anything…) was to have one big combined dance for our parents dances. Instead of just me and my dad, then Shaun and his mom, we decided to have three couples out on the dance floor at once – me and Shaun, mom and dad, and my new in-laws. After about a minute, our DJ called for us to switch partners, so I got to dance with dad, Shaun got to dance with his mom, etc. We switched up a couple of different times, and it made for some really fun photos. The song that we all danced to was “Unforgettable” by Nat Cole (re-recorded after his death by his daughter Natalie Cole, so the version we used included both of their voices).

Unforgettable, that’s what you are
Unforgettable, though near or far
Like a song of love that clings to me
How the thought of you does things to me
Never before has someone been more


Unforgettable, in every way
And forevermore, that’s how you’ll stay
That’s why darling, it’s incredible
That someone so unforgettable
Thinks that I am unforgettable too

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Wedding Recaps: Our First Dance

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I’m going to let you in on a little secret about the first dance – it’s pretty awkward. It’s a little strange to have an entire room full of people staring at you while you awkwardly sway back and forth to a chosen slow song…we didn’t take dance lessons or choreograph anything, so that’s exactly what our first dance was. Still, I’m glad we did it and that we have a song that’s got special meaning for our relationship now.

Our first dance was to “Something About the Way You Look Tonight” by Elton John.

There was a time I was everything and nothing all in one
When you found me, I was feeling like a cloud across the sun
I need to tell you how you light up every second of the day
And in the moonlight, you shine like a beacon on the bay

And I can’t explain, but it’s something about the way you look tonight
Takes my breath away
It’s that feeling I get about you deep inside
And I can’t describe, but it’s something about the way you look tonight
Takes my breath away
The way you look tonight

With a smile
You pull the deepest secrets from my heart
In all honesty
I’m speechless and I don’t know where to start

And I can’t explain, but it’s something about the way you look tonight
Takes my breath away
It’s that feeling I get about you deep inside
And I can’t describe, but it’s something about the way you look tonight
Takes my breath away
The way you look tonight

Wedding Recaps: The Ceremony

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The ceremony itself was relatively short and sweet, but very meaningful. Since the wedding, we’ve received many compliments on our ceremony and officiant, which is really special to me because…well…that’s what the whole day is really about, right? We were also lucky enough to have a few of Shaun’s family members film our ceremony, so in a few months we should receive the DVD and be able to relive the moment again. I can’t wait! But in the mean time, here’s how the ceremony went down:

My dad handed me off to Shaun, saying “Here you go!” (a la Howard and Bernadette’s dad on Big Bang Theory)

We declared our intention to get married, then each of our godmothers read a passage to us:

This Marriage

May these vows and this marriage be blessed.
May it be sweet milk, like wine and halvah.
May this marriage offer fruit and shade
like the date palm.

May this marriage be full of laughter,
our every day a day in paradise.
May this marriage be a sign of compassion,
a seal of happiness here and hereafter.

May this marriage have a fair face and a good name,
an omen as welcomes the moon in a clear blue sky.

I am out of words that can describe
how spirit mingles in this marriage.

Ephesians 5: 21-33

Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Wives, be subject to your husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. As the church is subject to Christ, so let wives also be subject in everything to their husbands.

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. Even so husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no man ever hates his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body.

“For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is a profound one, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church; however, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

We said our vows:

“I take you to be my partner from this day forward, to join with you and share all that is to come.
And I promise to honor, respect, cherish, and be faithful to you throughout our journey.
Because you are my friend. My loyal and respectful partner.
My one true love.
This is my solemn vow.”

We exchanged rings…

…prayed…

…and locked our love letters into the wine box. All of that in less than 30 minutes!

All photos by Tricia DeWar Photography.

Joyous Sounds: Let’s Party!

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Like many other couples, we’ve chosen to kick off the party part of our reception with some special dances. Like our ceremony songs, we put a lot of thought into choosing these tunes, so I thought I’d take some time to share some of the meaning behind them and why we chose them to play a prominent part in our wedding reception.

First Dance:
Something About the Way You Look Tonight (Elton John)

Shaun and I don’t always agree on music, but when we do…we prefer Elton John. (Dos Equis, anyone? Ok…bad joke…) Anyway, we do both really love Elton. When we were first trying to pick the song for our first dance, we easily narrowed the options down to a handful. “At Last” by Etta James was a top contender for a while, but that’s definitely more my taste than it is Shaun’s. And then we found/remembered this song…and there was no longer any doubt in either of our minds which one it would be.

We’ve grown even more attached to this song, if possible, since picking it for our first dance. It’s become so much more than our first dance song…it’s become our song. I’m glad that I let Shaun make the ultimate decision on song choice, because it means so much to me that he loves our first dance song as much I as do. And this song is definitely one that we both connect to.

Father/Daughter, Mother/Son Combo Dance:
Unforgettable (Nat Cole, with Natalie Cole)

When it came to dancing with our parents, Shaun and I decided that we would combine the traditional father/daughter dance with the mother/son dance and just get them both done at the same time. While we want to dance with our parents and think it’s important, neither of our families are really comfortable in the spotlight and so multiple slow dances with everyone watching could get awkward for them and us. This way, there will be two couples out on the dance floor for people to focus their attention on, so I can just enjoy dancing with my dad, and he can enjoy dancing with his mom.

Why this song? Well, this is most definitely my style of music. And at first, I was having a lot of trouble picking a father/daughter dance song. While I love my dad to death and I think he is an amazing and supportive man and I wouldn’t trade him for the world…we don’t have that “daddy’s little girl” relationship that so many traditional father/daughter dance choices focus on. Especially the country ones. Then, I was introduced to this song in a class I took my senior year of undergrad – “Legendary Performers” with Mike Leckrone. (If you haven’t heard of the guy…he’s the director of the UW Marching Band. Hence the reason I was in the class. Because the guy is a legend himself.) As soon as I heard it, I couldn’t let it go from my mind. I loved the song as Nat recorded it originally, but when I saw the version that added Natalie (his daughter) and created a duet between them after Nat had passed away, the song took on a whole new meaning for me. And truly, I love the lyrics and I think they do describe my relationship with my father, and Shaun’s with his mother. They’re unforgettable to us, we are unforgettable to them and we do have a deep and profound love for each other…even if we don’t always say it.

In addition to the “first” dances, a few other songs will play a prominent role in our wedding reception. First of all, we’re keeping the old tradition (at least it’s pretty popular where I’m from) of having a “grand march” of the bridal party around 9:00 pm. Then later on, of course, we’ll have the bouquet toss and the garter toss. All of those things are much more fun with music involved, so here’s what we picked!

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Joyous Sounds: Ceremony Music

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So now that we’re back in the swing of things school wise, I figured that I can take a little time to fill you all in on some more of the vendor meetings that Shaun and I accomplished over break. Today’s topic, ceremony music!

As I mentioned earlier, ceremony music is incredibly important to me (and to us) because music plays a large part in both of our lives. This being the case, we were thrilled to have the opportunity to sit down with the classical guitarist who will be playing at our wedding over break and decide on the actual songs that will fill up our wedding ceremony.

A photo of Dan in action.

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How We Chose Our…Musicians!

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When Shaun and I first started planning our wedding, the first details that we squared away were our venues, naturally. After that, we kind of went a little out of order from the vendors that are normally booked early in the engagement. For example, an impromptu trip to a neighboring town resulting in a cake contract with a local bakery that we love (more on that later) and my first trip to the boutique where I would eventually find my wedding dress. Keep in mind that all of this was only about 2 months into an 18 month engagement!

Another “strange” thing we focused on booking pretty early on were our ceremony and reception musicians. Music is something that has played a huge role in my life. I played french horn from middle school until I graduated high school. In high school, I also learned how to play mellophone for marching band and trumpet for jazz band. My senior year, I was the drum major of our high school marching band and sang in the Chamber Choir. Then, in fall 2007, I joined the University of Wisconsin Marching Band and my life changed forever.  Music taken me from Tampa Bay, Florida to Pasadena, California. It has been the vehicle for so many amazing opportunities in my life, and I’m extremely grateful for that.

Aside from performing music, though, both Shaun and I are the type of people who are deeply affected by music and lyrics. I strongly associate songs with certain memories, people or times in my life. Shaun is a walking jukebox…he can basically name any song that comes on the radio before the first few bars are completed. Needless to say, music is going to be an important part of our wedding day. Choosing the people who would make the magic happen was also very important to us.

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Vintage with a twist – finding our wedding inspiration

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Today we’re back to blogging about wedding things. Specifically, I’d like to let you all peek into my head and see (momentarily) where I’m drawing a lot of my inspiration from for the wedding. But first, you have to promise not to laugh. Seriously. If you’ve checked out my Pinterest account (and specifically the board titled “Wedding Style Ideas for Me“), you’ll already have caught a glimpse.

Yep. It’s the movie Titanic. I’ll give you a few moments to judge. … Moving on.

Yes. It’s a movie based on a real-life tragedy. No, that is not necessarily the most romantic place you could think to draw inspiration from. No, we are not having a Titanic-themed wedding. But you have to admit, it’s a freaking beautiful movie. Besides Kate Winslet being the most gorgeous woman alive (and one who I respect as a person, based on things I’ve read about her), it’s got Leo. As in #1 on my elevator list Leo. I probably didn’t need to add that qualifier. Sorry, TMI.

So aside from the gorgeous actors and the love story that makes my heart hurt (a phrase that my friends and I use to describe those perfectly painful but glorious moments on a TV/movie/etc. where you love it but almost can’t bear to watch all at the same time), there are tons of beautiful little details that I think would translate well into wedding decor. We’re not going for a full-on vintage theme for our wedding, but there will definitely be vintage-y elements throughout. And man do I love turn-of-the-century vintage.

Let’s start with the style. I knew from the moment we started planning (before I had a dress or anything else, really) that this is the hair that I want for our big day.

(Source 1 and Source 2)

I love the soft, face-framing curls and the all-up hairstyle. I love everything about it. I love the little bits of sparkle that run throughout (which we might modify to a simple headband, with the veil coming from the bottom of the bun). It’s simple but elegant. Exactly what I’m looking for.

Best of all, the wonderfully amazing chica who will be doing my hair (as well as my girls and probably the mothers too, she’s going to have a busy day!) told me that this simple but elegant style will go very nicely with the style of my dress. Yay! Ok, I know I said I wasn’t going to show anyone, but she had to see. She had to let me know whether this look would work with it, and it will. I hope. Even my dress is in the spirit of the vintage-with-a-twist theme we seem to be developing here, with its gorgeous lace and beading. But that’s all I’m saying on that subject for now.

I’ve also looked to the movie for help with things that I don’t care so much about, but that others insist are important. For instance, centerpieces.

(Source, Source, Source)

The above are recreations either of movie sets or the actual thing. I love how all of the rooms are simple, but elegant and luxurious. They’re inviting without being overpowering. I like those things, and will probably do something similar, with some modern elements added in to fit the overall look of our day. So, based on that, here are my ideas for our centerpieces:

(Source: The Knot)

This particular cake has icing details that remind me of all of the intricate woodwork and detailing seen above. (For the record, I hate the topper) It’s got vintage elements to it, but we’d make it more modern with a cake whose tiers are different shapes:

(Source: Weddingbee)

So the moral of this post is that a) I love the movie Titanic and b) I think that a slightly updated version of vintage is a good overall “feel” for our wedding day. Between my love of lace and Shaun’s affinity for old trains (no lie, another post on that soon), a few elements inspired by the 1900-1910’s era are right up our alley, I think.

What do you think? Think I’m crazy? Like any of these things? Hate any of them?

What’s Important

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One thing that keeps coming up over and over as we talk wedding (and especially wedding budgets!) is figuring out what’s important. In other words, what are the things that are worth spending the extra money on, and where should we try to save? It seems that everywhere we turn, different people have different opinions, and I’m extremely interested to hear what they (and you!) have to say.

My grandma once told me that the pictures are the most important thing on your wedding day. Everything else will be basically done after that day, but you will keep those pictures forever. You want a good photographer, and one who makes good prints, in a style that you appreciate, because these are the photos you’re going to cherish the rest of your life. All in all, I agree with her – and we ended up putting our photographer on the top of our “splurge” list, even though we are getting an amazing price for high quality photos from our photographer, Tricia DeWar!

When talking to my mom about flowers the other day, I mentioned that I “don’t really care” what they look like as long as they’re pretty. I mean, flowers die. I have some ideas of what I’d like the flowers to look like, but they lie mainly in color schemes. Specific flowers and arrangements aren’t something I consider super important, at least not enough to break the bank over. My mom revealed to me that flowers were one of her most important things on her wedding list! We still haven’t picked a florist. I haven’t even started talking to any, really. That will be a summer job, because choosing a florist is more about getting a feel for their personality and style. But I don’t want to break the bank over flowers. I want them to be pretty, and the color that I want. That’s about it.

I was also recently talking to one of my bridesmaids (who just got married herself last summer) about how expensive DJ services are. Again, a DJ is not something I consider high on my list of “splurge” priorities. As long we get our special songs (first dance, father/daughter, mother/son, etc.) and as long there is music playing and people enjoy it, I will be fine with that. But she said she’s been at several weddings where a bad DJ really ruined the party. Shaun and I finally picked a friend of ours who does DJ’ing to play at our wedding, and I think he’s going to be really great (plus we’re getting a great price!)

With all of these opinions all over the place, and so many conflicting with each other, I’m wondering what other people consider their “most important” splurge for the wedding. Obviously you want everything to be nice, but priorities have to come into play somewhere, unless you’re throwing a million dollar extravaganza (which we are not). Food? Music? Pictures? Flowers? The Dress? So many choices…so little money.