OOT Gift Bags

One of the first things I knew for sure when I got engaged was that I wanted to make OOT (out-of-town) gift bags for our guests staying at the Stirling Guest Hotel (reception venue) or the hotel where we have a block of rooms.  I started planning what to include in the bags very early on.  At this point, about 2 1/2 months from the wedding, I have them almost ready to assemble!

First I bought the actual bags.

Gift Bags

Gift Bags

Next I got local maps and a city guide put out by the local chamber of commerce.  I think our guests will find those things helpful during the wedding weekend!  One day, as I was exploring the amazing website that is Etsy, I found a seller who made custom labels for water bottles.  My  mom loved them so much she offered to pay for them, so they went into my shopping cart! I also found cute door hangers on Etsy and purchased them.

Door Hanger

Door Hanger

Aren’t they adorable?

I then put some local chocolates in little cellophane bags tied with ribbon.  And I purchased small bags of pretzels, individual-serving Pringles containers, and granola bars.  Finally, I created a welcome letter….well I actually made three different versions of a welcome letter, depending on whether or not the guest was invited to the rehearsal dinner and whether they were staying at the Stirling or at the hotel.

All that’s left to do is assemble the bags and deliver them to the hotels to hand out as our guests check in!  I’m so excited for everyone to get their goodie bags and think it’s a great little gift for all the family and friends who are traveling to attend our wedding.

What do you think?  Am I missing anything in my OOT bags?


Possible Readings

I am almost at the 4 month mark till the wedding and things are happening like crazy!  Tonight I have turned my thoughts to the possible wedding ceremony readings.

We are planning on having my sister’s husband do one reading, since he’s been like a brother to me for over 10 years, and Scott’s sister do another since they are very close.  These are the three readings I am trying to choose between.

Velveteen Rabbit

1.  Excerpt from the Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams

“What is REAL?” asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. “Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?”

“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”

“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.

“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”

“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?”

“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

Robert Fulghum

2.  Union by Robert Fulghum

You have known each other from the first glance of acquaintance to this point of commitment. At some point, you decided to marry. From that moment of yes, to this moment of yes, indeed, you have been making commitments in an informal way. All of those conversations that were held in a car, or over a meal, or during long walks – all those conversations that began with, “When we’re married,” and continued with “I will” and “you will” and “we will” – all those late night talks that included “someday” and “somehow” and “maybe” – and all those promises that are unspoken matters of the heart. All these common things, and more, are the real process of a wedding. The symbolic vows that you are about to make are a way of saying to one another, “You know all those things that we’ve promised, and hoped, and dreamed – well, I meant it all, every word.” Look at one another and remember this moment in time. Before this moment you have been many things to one another – acquaintance, friend, companion, lover, dancing partner, even teacher, for you have learned much from one another these past few years. Shortly you shall say a few words that will take you across a threshold of life, and things between you will never quite be the same. For after today you shall say to the world – This is my husband. This is my wife.


Kahlil Gibran

3.  Quote by Kahlil Gibran

You were born to be together, and together you shall be forevermore.
You shall be together when the wings of death scatter your days.
Ay, you shall be together even in your silent memory.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heaven dance between you.
Love one another, but make not a bondage of love.
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other’s cup, but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread, but eat not of the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone, though they quiver with the same music.
Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping,
For only the hand of life can contain your hearts.
And stand together, yet not too near together,
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in shadow.  – Kahlil Gibran

Do any of you have a preference?  Did you use any of these in your wedding or have you heard any read at a wedding you’ve attended?  How did it go over?

The Six Month Lull

This Saturday, November 19th, will be the 6-month mark until my wedding day and while that sounds really close, I am currently experiencing a lull in wedding planning.  I have my dress, my sister/MOH has her dress, I have a wedding planner, I have the church, pastor, organist and vintage hankies for guests’ “tears of joy”.


I have the amazing reception venue,

Reception Venue - Stirling Guest Hotel

I have ordered the cake and booked the photographer, DJ and florist.  I have my hair appointment and makeup lady scheduled.  I have created a very cool photo guestbook using our engagement photos.  I found an antique cake topper and an old teal case that’ll be our card box.  I have started collecting various things to decorate the reception venue with.

Bud Vase Collection - Just a small portion!


And I’m working with a friend to design the invitation suite which is almost totally done.  And now I am not sure what’s next!  I feel at a loss.  It’s too early to plan the rehearsal dinner or get the guys’ suits.  It’s too soon to start dance lessons.  What should I be doing?!

I need to find shoes and jewelry, and find a travel agent to book the honeymoon.  But I’m not feeling the urgency to get these things done.  What else should I be working on?


The Great Tent Debate

Scott and I are getting married in a beautiful stone church built in 1889.

The Church

Our reception will be at a gorgeous mansion just down the street.

The Reception Locale

I’m thrilled with both locations.  Here’s the dilemma.  We can eat inside the mansion in five different rooms on the first floor.  The main, largest room will have a huge table for us and our immediate family members – about 22 of us.  The four other rooms will have tables for all our other guests.  After eating, we could either go outside to a tent for dancing, toasts, cake, etc.  Or we could have the Music Room inside turned around very quickly after dinner and make that the dancing room.

The benefits of the tent include:

– It would look amazing! I’m picturing round tables, cocktail hi-top tables, couches, end tables, ottomans, candles, round paper lanterns hanging from the ceiling, pretty uplighting, etc.

Decor Idea 1

Decor Idea 2

Decor Idea 3

You get the picture.
– Guests not into the music and dancing could stay inside the house and relax.

– The weather in May should be nice so we’d be outside enjoying the evening.

The down side of the tent includes:

– cost



– It will cost over $5000 by the time we rent the tent, the sidewalls (in case of rain), the dance floor, the tables, the chairs, the lounge furniture, the linens, and pay the site’s $500 tent fee!  (Everything inside the mansion is included in my site fee – the tables, chairs linens, china, glassware, etc.)

Various Federal Reserve Notes, c.1995. Only th...

Image via Wikipedia

I would LOVE to have the tent but $5000 is a LOT of money.  We could use that towards a down payment on a house after the wedding!  The rational part of my brain says it’s insane to spend this on something that’s not necessary to have a great wedding.  The irrational, “bride” part of my brain says it’s my wedding day!  I want it to be perfect, amazing and wonderful!

Will the guests seated in the Music Room be put off that they have to rush through dinner and leave so we can turn it into the dance floor?  Will the dancers be crowded in there with the DJ table and equipment?  Will it be too loud for those not into the dancing?

So please help me here.  What would you do?