The world is your oyster!: September 2013        
 
                 
     
       

These are a few of my favorite things:

summertime
pina-colada flavored italian ice
ribbons
sisters
i.n.s.t.a.n.t...o.a.t.m.e.a.l.
dance parties
pearls
flamingos
America
missionaries
s.u.n.g.l.a.s.s.e.s.
playgrounds
dressing up
love :)
     
       

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My name is Heather.

I am 22 years old.

I am an East Coast girl
who also loves Utah.

I love my life. How could I not?

The world is my oyster :)
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Saturday, September 21, 2013

Maryland, my Marryland

"Friday, Friday, gotta get down on Friday..." was stuck in my head all. day. on August 9th. And as Friday was the biggest day of my life to date, you can imagine how I felt about the fact that Rebecca Black was such a prominent part of it.

Friday was also probably the most stressful day of my life to date, I have to be honest. I guess that's what happens when you dream of a day your whole life and then it is finally there and you still don't know who is doing your hair or how they are going to do it, and it's supposed to thunderstorm all day, and the maid of honor's flight was delayed so she didn't arrive until 11 hours before the wedding, and you still need to pack to go back to Utah, and the wedding schedules are printing so small that no one is going to be able to read them, and you still haven't made up a folder for the photography like you meant to.....

But those are all little things, in the end. And even with all the stressing over the details, I can honestly say that Friday was also the happiest day of my life. Everyone says you should write down your memories of your wedding day, because it goes by quickly and then you forget, so here goes. 

Friday actually kind of started on Thursday morning, when I went through the temple with my parents, Stephen, my friend Amy, and whoever else was there. After the temple, we had lunch at Panera and then went back home to get ready for the First Look photo shoot. I thought about this shoot a lot and scoured Pinterest for ideas and sometimes even got a little choked up when I was imagining it. (But let's keep in mind that birth control does weird things to your emotions....)

All I'm trying to say is, it was kind of the thing I was most excited for about all the pre-wedding stuff. We decided (aka, I decided and Stephen really nicely agreed to go along with it) to write letters to each other, read our letters, and then take pictures of the first look. In my mind, it would all be very relaxed. And sweet. And smooth sailing.

We wound up at 4:30 on Thursday, a half-hour before we were supposed to meet the photographer at the reception venue, sitting next to each other at my kitchen table with a cardboard box in between us, writing our letters while Stephanie curled my hair and the photographer drove to Maple Lawn (an hour earlier than I had expected her to arrive). And outside, it started to rain.

We drove to Maple Lawn, finishing up our letters in the car ride there. Stephen's family was just getting in from a 10-hour drive, so they were all freshening up in the bathroom. His mom and sisters helped me get ready while I finished up my letter and introduced myself to Jenny, the photographer. The sun reappeared and the storm clouds blew out just in time.



I barely got a chance to read Stephen's letter before it was time to go see him. This part was closer to how I had envisioned it; I walked through the reception center and outside, where Stephen was standing with his back to me. Jenny took pictures of the whole thing as I walked closer and he turned around and we saw each other for the first time in our wedding clothes.

We took a lot of pictures of just us then. Here are my tips for if you want to do a 1st Look Photo Shoot:

1. How long do you think it will take you to get ready? 2 hours? Okay. Start getting ready 4 hours before the shoot.

2. Put someone in charge of setting aside food for you and your man. Otherwise it will be all gone when you are done with pictures, and you will tengo some hambre.

3. Put someone in charge of walking around with you and the photographer. This has to be someone you trust. Someone who can fix your hairs and your dress and tell you if your face looks stupid.

4. Create a Pinterest page of pictures you like. Jenny asked me to do this, and although I am not very Pinterest-savvy, I did it. I'm so glad I did because then we were able to get the poses I wanted!

5. Hire Jenny. Obvi.

Here are some of my favorite pictures from this shoot:



















That night I probably should have gone to bed early, but I didn't. And honestly, I feel okay about that. If you are busy the night before your wedding and you don't get to bed by 10 or 11 when you wanted to, you'll survive. I know lots of people who would disagree, but let's be real: you're probably going to be too excited to sleep anyway. So don't worry if you are late getting to bed.

Wedding Prep

On Friday morning, Stephen's sister Stephanie helped my friends Alyssa and Sister Davis and my sister Nicole do my (very uncooperative) hairs. [On Friday evening, it was my sister-in-law Stephanie who perked up my wilting hairs and put them back together for the Maryland reception.]


After getting ready for about 2 1/2 hours, we headed home for some breakfast. The parents, Kelly, Dahl, Eric, Natalie, Stephen and I all rode to the temple together in Coco. As the MOH, Kelly was in charge of remembering my little pill and probably my favorite part of the morning was her climbing into the passenger seat next to Dad (she still had to do her makeup), waving it in the air, and saying, "Okay Heather, I got it! It's right here! Don't worry, I'll hold onto this for you, okay?" and my dad having a fit ["Awwwwhh, GOSH, Kelly! I don't want to....that is my....have a little dec....I'm getting out of here"] and jumping out of the car because he didn't want to hear about anything related to that pill.

Temple Sealing

I didn't wear my dress for the sealing ceremony, so I just wore normal church clothes to the temple and changed into my temple clothes when it was time to get sealed. President Johnson (my stake president from when I was younger) sealed us and it was a really nice ceremony. Not too long, and a lot of people came to support us. I liked it because while President Johnson was talking, Stephen and I just got to hold hands and listen.



At the end, President Johnson had us stand up and look at ourselves in the mirror. And you're supposed to see yourselves going on forever and ever, but I think the mirrors were broken that day or my eyes were because I only saw 3 reflections of the two of us. Which was a little awkward, but it's okay. The promise of forever isn't contingent upon your eyesight, so I think we're good.

Stephen and I stood by the door and thanked everyone for coming, and then I headed straight back to the dressing room to get in my wedding dress. Stephanie was really the biggest help with my hairs, and then Nicole, but neither of them has gone through the temple yet and so I just had my mom, Mama Shimp, Kelly and Alyssa to help me get my dress on and my hair re-curled. I thought that was a little bummer because the changing room they have for the bride is so beautiful and big and it would have been so fun to have my sisters all in there helping me get ready, but we ended up just putting my dress on and then going downstairs so that I could have some help with my hair. We had to use the bathroom off to the side of the recommend desk, but it was fine.

Temple Photo Shoot

We left the temple hand-in-hand

 
 



Natalie, Julie, Kelly, me, Nicole, Stephanie, and Sarah were such beautiful bridesmaids! I had thought that Sarah would be the flower girl and wear a different clo than everyone else, but she was gorgeous as a bridesmaid!

It was so nice of so many people to be there when we left! We've both been really blessed to have such amazing friends and family in our lives. And thennnn it was time for photo shoot #2!
Stephen had to lift me up over the flowers and onto the ledge of the fountain while I held my dress...this is not a stunt for the weak of bicep.
 Our parents are very beautiful people, I think.
 
All the brothers and sisters were the groomsmen and bridesmaids! I loved how the colors turned out!

 

 


 




Note to future brides: Pack a lunch for yourself and your man! We were very happy to have a little break where we got to eat before taking some more pictures. 



I just want everyone to know that I came up with the best name for this: the sister and the mister. Go ahead, Pinterest. It's your's. 

Stephen was seriously perfect for the whole shoot. It was a hot day, but he didn't complain at all or ask when we would be done. One time I turned around and saw him massaging his cheeks :) and that was as close as he came to complaining. He carried my train, and my flowers, and my shoes, and sometimes he carried me, too. 
 



The Drive Home

"Oh, that sounds boring," some of you readers might be saying now. "I'll just skip this section. The drive home? That will just put me to sleep!"

Well. What you don't know is that we did not drive ourselves home. The MOH did. And if you have never been the passenger when Kelly was driving, allow me to paint a picture for you.

Stephen and I were hot and tired from our long day taking pictures in the sun. And we were also happy and excited to finally be married after our long, drag-a-muffin summer. And we just wanted to get home and change clothes for a few hours and eat a little more and pack our stuff for the reception and honey-weekend.

Unfortunately, I forgot that Kelly hates driving with the fire of a thousand suns. Here are 5 things she would probably rather have done than drive us home after the pictures:

1. box Rocky Balboa
2. get a haircut by Miley Cyrus
3. give Jabba the Hutt a lap dance
4. babysit Nicole after she gets her wisdom teeth out
5. plan and throw 500 other bridal showers for me. I know this one at least is true because she said so while we were driving.

So it was quite a treat being driven home by her. As in, the drive was a harrowing experience, punctuated by car horns, 4-letter words, "I can't"s, and the occasional perfectly smooth 3 minutes of normal driving. Nonetheless, we made it home safely, with everyone in mint condition.

Reception Prep

This was kind of a stressful time because we got home later than expected and didn't have as much time to change, eat, and pack as we had thought we would. I couldn't find anything. Bridesmaids were taking naps. Groomsmen had changed and didn't seem too eager to ever change back into their suspenders and gray pants.  No one believed me when I said I needed to start on my hairs by 4:00. Not surprisingly, we were late getting out the door and late getting to the reception venue.

We got there at about 5:30, and we had told Jenny we wanted to take some more pictures of just Stephen and I at Maple Lawn at 6:00. We had taken a lot already, but my hair had quickly straightened for both shoots, and I really wanted some with my hairs curly. So when she was there, all ready to go, I was still curling my hairs for the 3rd time that day and hadn't even started putting my dress on or eating dinner. Since my dress had a corset back, it took about 15-20 minutes every time I put it on.


It turns out that we told everyone the reception was going to start at 6:30, and then we forgot about that and operated all day under the assumption that it was actually not starting until 7:00. At 6:30 when I was finally ready to take some more pictures with Stephen, someone threw a plate of (really delicious!) Belgian waffles at me and instructed me to eat. So I stood there and ate with my teeth, trying not to smudge my lip gloss, wondering why the freak so many people were there a half hour early and where the freak Stephen had wandered off to.



The Reception

After I got over the initial shock of, everyone is not here early, we just had the times wrong, and I am not going to get any more pictures with just Stephen and I at the reception place, the reception was really a beautiful and kind of perfect event.

The food

Was a Belgian waffle bar, some Greek-ish pasta-ish salad that I apparently invented, fruit, I think some little chicken salad sandwiches....I don't really know. I didn't eat anything besides the plate waffles and the bite of cake later on. All I know is, it was delicious and beautifully displayed.





The Cake

I told my mom that the cake is something I really didn't care about. I never even eat the cake at other people's receptions, so I didn't want to spend a lot of money on it. I didn't want anything too crazy, I just wanted simple and nice. And the cake we got was exactly what I had in mind:



Stephen and I talked a lot about the cake-cutting. As in, we started talking about it before we even got engaged. It was casual then - at a wedding reception, when I mentioned that my mom didn't like when people smashed the cake in each other's faces, and then sneakily gauged his reaction. I was very glad when he responded that he also doesn't like that, and he thinks it's kind of unclassy because it's a formal event. Very good, very good response. Still, that didn't stop me from bringing it up repeatedly in the months of our engagement, just to make sure he still felt the same way.




He did, and when we cut the cake, we both put the bites really nicely in each other's mouths. I didn't even really mind when he had a teeny-tiny lapse of judgment and smeared some frosting on my nose. It was actually perfect.

The decorations






My mom hemmed and hawed and fretted over the decorations pretty much since May 17th, when we got engaged. I can't tell you how many times we were on the phone when she said, "So today, I went to Maple Lawn and set up one of the tables to see what it will look like...." But in the end, that, too, was perfect.




The Bouquet Toss

I didn't throw my own bouquet. Instead, I threw one of the bridesmaids, and I'm not sure whose, so, sorry, whoever went home without one. A Mexican Jew caught it. Shalom and felicitaciones.



The Garter Toss

In keeping with the trend of keeping it in the family, Stephen's brother Michael was the one who caught the garter.


And then this kept happening. I don't know if he knew that came off of my leg. 
The Daddy Daughter Dance

is something that I have both looked forward to and dreaded my whole life, ever since I knew it was a thing. Kelly said that when she had her Daddy-Daughter Dance, Dad was really good at making jokes and talking the whole time, so she didn't cry. I felt very relieved when she told me that and thought that it would be the same way for me.

 
 

No. I bawled all through the entire thing. I couldn't even look up for half the dance. My dad started out trying to talk to me, like he had done for Kelly, but then he said "I told Kelly a bunch of jokes, but I can't think of any jokes to tell you right now. So, sorry." He is just the best dad ever and I guess I should have known I would be emotional about it.

 
PS - our song was "Stealing Cinderella" by Chuck Wicks.

The Mother-Son Dance

was "I Won't Give Up" by Jason Mraz. I wish I had more pictures of it because it was really cute! But for now, this is what I've got.



The First Dance

as Mr. and Mrs. Shimp was another thing I did not expect to be so emotional about....but my gosh. Stephen's lapel got a real nice watering.

 
 
Back in June, I was feeling pretty overwhelmed with wedding prep and everything else and I just put Stephen in charge of coming up with the first dance song. So it was a surprise to me, but I loved the song he picked: "Wanted," by Hunter Hayes.

 
 

The Getaway

The plan was, after all the dances, cake-cutting, and wedding traditions, everybody would dance for about 30, 45 minutes while Stephen and I got ready to leave. I had a blue bag that I had packed with the clothes I was changing into and a few other things, and I asked a few people to find it. It was a very important stupid blue bag, and when no one could find it, I went outside to look for it myself.

Then, everyone thought that we were leaving, stopped dancing, and followed me outside. Someone started handing out sparklers and someone else started lighting them. Which just made me want to close my head in Sabie's trunk.

At this point it became clear that we were not going to find the infamous blue bag, and I still needed to get changed anyway. So I told everyone sorry for the confusion but I wasn't leaving yet, went back inside, and changed out of my dress by myself. I think all my bridesmaids were looking for the blue bag. I don't even know. I just know that taking off a 10-lb wedding dress with a corset back all by yourself when you are the one wearing it, is very hard.

Someone suggested that we do our sparkler exit, drive away, park somewhere for like 15 minutes, and then come back to the reception center to find the blue bag, so we decided to go ahead with that plan.When everyone had their sparklers lit, we ran down the stairs, jumped in the car, and drove off.





Sparklers are a good idea if
- you set aside 15 minutes or so to take pictures with them. Not that this is mandatory, but I really wanted to do that, and with all the confusion about the blue bag, we didn't get a chance to.
- you give the lighters to 2 or 3 very responsible people and tell them not to light a single sparkler until you personally tell them to. Otherwise the sparklers will be lit early and they'll burn out and you still won't be ready.

- you have a wide stairway or ramp or sidewalk that you are running out on. If you have a small staircase and a skinny sidewalk, you might get burned in the face. And sparks flying might sound romantic, but Taylor Swift never experienced it in such a real way.


- you tell people to hold the sparklers up in the air. Otherwise people will point their sparklers out in front of themselves as far as they can, and you will be terrified.

Stephen and I drove down the road and pulled off somewhere to see if we could find the blue bag anywhere in the car. It was still being very elusive, and I was this close to laying down in the road and ask for Stephen to run me over when Nicole's friend Gina called to tell us that they had found the blue bag! It was at our house. It had never made it to the getaway car. We were elated! We drove home, got the blue bag, and went on our merry way.

The Wedding Night

Wouldn't you like to know ;) Just kidding. I will share that I had to go back to teaching the Monday after we got married, and then I had to teach for one week before my 3-week break. So we only had a weekend of time for just us before it was back to real life for a week before it was off to the Caribbean for our real Honeymoon. We called that weekend our Hweekend.

Hwhat? Hwhy am I saying hwhat hwhat hway?
We spent our Hweekend in B-more, at a hotel called Embassy Suites. Some huge African-American family had chosen the same hotel as the site for their family reunion, and the hotel had given away our room to some of them. Which meant that we got upgraded to the deluxe suite and we didn't even need to play the "we just got married" card!

The hotel was set up really cool. Our room was on the very top floor, and you took a glass elevator to get there. All the rooms were arranged in a circle around this atrium in the picture above. On the ground floor is where they had breakfast every morning.  
Since we got upgraded, this was our room. And we got a living room and a bathroom and a little baby refrigerator too! So spoiled. 
We left all our suitcases and stuff in the car when we got there on Friday night, which meant that we had to go to breakfast in the same clothes we left the reception in....
I was wearing a nice white dress and sparkly silver heels. Stephen was wearing a dress shirt, dress pants, and a coral tie. On the one hand, we looked very swanky. Especially for 8:00 in the morning.

But on the other hand, I literally hadn't brought anything into the hotel. As in, no hairbrush. So my hairs looked about as good as you can expect them to look the day after they got hair sprayed and curled 3 times over, and after I tried to fix them up with just my hands. So Stephen looked swanky, and I looked Ke$ha-swanky.

I thought, maybe no one will notice. Maybe....just maybe....we will be allowed to eat our breakfast in peace and swanky quiet.

Our hotel had literally the most amazing wonderful breakfast buffet you could ever hope for at a hotel. They had everything you have at a normal hotel buffet breakfast - cereal, toast, bagels, and muffins. But then they also had this fantasy omelette station with a guy who yells "GOOD MORNING HOW CAN I HELP YOU??" and you tell him what you want on your omelette and he makes it and yells his greeting to the next person in line. Then, after you get your omelette, a nice lady puts some pancakes and hash browns on your plate, if you want them, and you wander off to get yourself some cranberry juice and honeydew melon. Delicious, okay.

So there we were in line, and I got up to the front. I responded very competently to the "GOOD MORNING HOW CAN I HELP YOU??" and so did Stephen. But then the omelette magician strayed from his script.

"You guys look nice," he said. "Where are you going so early?"

"Ohhhhh...." I said. And then I was incapable of speech.

"We're not going anywhere," Stephen said. All smiley. Happy. Whatever. "We just got married yesterday." :) :) :D

Cover blown.

The egg connoisseur stopped. He smacked his spatula on the grill. "What!!" he shouted. "Y'all....yesterday? You two got married yesterday. Awwwhhh shoooooot!"

I'm not sure which was redder, my face or the tomatoes in my omelette. And I'm not sure which was cheesier, Stephen's omelette or the grin on his face.

"GOOD MORNING HOW CAN I HELP YOU??"

Whew, I thought. He's moved on to the next person in line.

"Look at her, look at that pink, whooo! She's blushing!" Nope, he's back to paying attention to us. He smiled hugely.

"Congratulations you two!" bubbled someone in line behind us.

"Thanks," Stephen said, all charismatically.

"GOOD MORNING HOW CAN I HELP YOU?? - Can I give you a present?" the omelette king said to me while the next customer stared at the menu of toppings available. "I won't embarrass you. Would I embarrass you?? Come on, girl!"

"Sure," I said. My face was still 50 shades of pink.

"Okay. GOOD MORNING HOW CAN I HELP YOU?? Don't worry, now. I'll get that for you."

My present actually was very nice; he chopped up some strawberries pretty and put them on the plate next to my omelette. It was a very non-invasive, non-embarrassing present. I was very pleased.

Stephen and I took our fantasy omelettes and found a nice little table. We were sitting there enjoying our meal when our new friend, the Einstein of Omelettes, found us and put his hand congenially on Stephen's shoulder.

"What's your last name?" he asked casually. I wondered if I should slide under the table.

Stephen said, "Shimp."

"LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, MISTA AND MISSES SHIMP, JUST MARRIED YESTADAY!" announced the omelette genius who apparently sidelined as a bugler. Everyone cheered. And then a few people came over to congratulate us and wish us well.

After that, we were pretty famous at that hotel. We would be moving stuff from our car to the hotel, or back to our car, or going out to eat at Chili's, and someone would stop us and say, "Best wishes to the both of you!" or, "You look a lot more casual than yesterday ;)" or just hum the wedding march. It was kind of embarrassing....but also kind of fun :)

In Conclusion

My biggest piece of advice for girls getting married is to make sure that everyone knows their responsibilities. In the end, it is true that the important thing is that you are marrying the right person at the right time and in the right place. But the only way you'll be able to focus on that and how much you love that person is if you don't have to focus on 15,385 other things.

So just assign those things out to whoever you want to take care of it - your sister, your mom, your father-in-law, your YW president, or your best friend. I'm not saying you need to turn into Bridezilla and ask everyone to bend over backwards and lick their toes for you, but it is perfectly fine when people offer to help for you to give them a task.

And make sure that the person you assign to be the groom is your favorite person. Because they stick around after the wedding. Forever. Which is a good thing :)


Also, don't forget the blue bag.