let the wedding festivities begin!

This is going to be one of those wedding type blog posts. Trust me, it's a thing. 

Yesterday officially marked 100 DAYS until John and I say "I Do" on October 8! It's crazy how fast this engagement is flying by and awesome that the wedding will be here so soon. 

So far wedding planning has been fun! Despite the fact that I've always been a bit of a tomboy at heart, I actually like things like flowers, dresses and cake, so the little details interest me.

The only downside has been the fact that I've sort of put my business to the side for a while. I did plenty of "Dizzy" related events in the Spring, but as the wedding gets closer I'm slowing down. That being said, since I'm quite accustomed to working outside of my 40 hours a week at the Zoo, it's been easy for me to replace my "Author Time" with "Wedding Planning Time" which I think helps with the process. 

Last weekend the wedding events officially kicked off with my Bachelorette Party!

I have always, secretly, wanted to go on a cattle drive a la City Slickers for my bachelorette party. As this is insanely expensive (who knew?) I settled for the next best thing. 

You know in the movie Bridesmaids when Kristen Wigg's character, Annie, is planning the bachelorette party and she suggests going to the family lake house? In the  movie, everyone shoots her down and they attempt to go to Vegas. In my life, no one shot me down and we actually headed to the Lake! (Much more fun than Vegas, and definitely more fun than getting kicked off a plane...). 



My sisters and Matrons of Honor (yeah, they're old) took up the planning from there and did an excellent job. On Friday, I drove down to the Lake house in Ste. Genevieve, MO with three of my best friends, later to be joined by my two sisters and three more friends that afternoon. 

The most exciting thing about the bachelorette weekend for me was that so many of my friends traveled to Missouri for it! I had besties come in from Florida, New York City, Boston, Indiana, Michigan, Colorado and Kansas City! I am so grateful that they could all make it. 

We spent Friday afternoon laying out on the Lake and enjoying some cold beverages from a floating bobber cooler (which my sister, Nancy, had the foresight to gift my dad a few father's days ago...). 


Nothing better than being at the lake with friends. 


After some good sun time and a little beer buzz, we proceeded up to the porch to eat chips, dips and pizzas. Delish. We had grand plans to maybe make a fire or take a walk or something that night, but we ended up spending the entire evening on the screened in porch talking and playing games! The lights on the porch were not working, so we gathered every candle in the house and lit them on the table, making it feel like we were camping. Kristin and Nancy bought us glass mugs, which we got to decorate. 


Piggin' out. 


Our makeshift campfire. 

I seriously loved soaking in this time with my sweet, hilarious and crazy friends. When I was a kid my family would go on vacation to a dude ranch in Steelville, Missouri every year. I never understood why the adults spent the entire week sitting on the screened in porch when, in my mind, there were so many other interesting things to do (tether ball! ping pong! looking for crawdads!). It hit me this weekend that now I'm the adult on the porch, and there's seriously nothing I'd rather do! So, it was perfect. 

On Saturday morning we woke up and my sisters, like the two MOH machines that they are, concocted large breakfast casseroles for us, which we enjoyed with mimosas and bloody marys on, where else, but the porch. 

Alex enjoys her bloody mary. Her shirt embodies the #aintnuthinbutmammals theme. 

During breakfast, John's sister, Rachel, arrived, along with two other friends from college. We all got ready to go before our bus came to take us to a few local wineries. 

The bus ride to the wineries was...interesting. Actually, it was like a bus ride from hell. It was about 95 degrees that day and the bus' air conditioning was not functioning. In fact, hot exhaust air seemed to be blowing up from the ground. This, coupled with the fact that the country roads to the wineries were extremely hilly, windy and bumpy and that our driver, Tammy, drove like a crazy bat out of hell, made for a fairly traumatic ride for my friends who were prone to carsickness. We were giving them ice for their necks and salty pretzels, but there was not much we could do but hang on for our dear lives and wait. At one point, we opened the windows, which helped (even though the wind felt like a blow dryer). Let's just say that when we pulled up to our first stop, Cave Rock Winery, there were a lot of sweaty butt marks on bus seats. 


We did NOT know what was coming before we boarded that bus! 


No matter--after some good ol' fashioned AC and oyster crackers MOST of us were feeling up to a wine tasting. Our wine guide was Marty--an old man whose mono tone and dry sense of humor suited our rowdy crowd perfectly. My friend, Betsy, met us here and as Betsy had driven up from St. Louis in her own vehicle, she quickly became the best friend of the carsick lot. 

Wine sampling with Marty. 

We enjoyed a round of Missouri wine samples and were feeling pretty good before heading down to explore the room where the wine is made, the vineyard and a cave on the property. 

In the cave! 

While we were all enjoying this good fun, my MOHs (who seriously could be hired as professionals in this endeavor) had secured us an air conditioned bus, so by the time we were ready to leave Cave Rock we were all pretty happy. 

Boarding the bus, I realized that my iPod had been left playing, so when we turned the speaker on it belted out "Little Drummer Boy" rather than the mix I'd created for the weekend, making for some fun memories. Bus ride number two was much more fun and we arrived in rowdy form at Weingarten, our next stop. 

Weingarten was beautiful, with tall windows commanding views of the rolling vineyards and an impending summer storm. As we walked into the building, my friend, Jaymi, told me to give her the somewhat inappropriately shaped inflatable I'd been carting around. "Trust me," she said. "You're not going to want to be holding this right now." 

When I walked in I was surprised by a full on Bridal Shower! 

Surprise! It didn't help that I was encouraged to enjoy several more beverages on the bus just before this photo...

I knew there would be some kind of shower element to the weekend, since so many of my bridesmaids live out of town, but I thought it would be more along the lines of opening presents in our bathing suits later at the lake. I certainly wasn't expecting the beautiful shower my sisters and bridesmaids put together, or the fact that many of my friend's moms had made the trip as well! 

The shower was a "Marrython" theme which was so cute! My sisters had created flower vases out of Gatorade bottles (also very eco-conscious...) and a super fun game called "Race to the Altar" which included a funny video interview with John. They decorated the place with some framed photos from our engagement shoot and a "Marrython" book that included photos from each "Mile" of our relationship. Seriously, so cute and clever. 

The "Marrython" themed shower! 

We all enjoyed cheese, wine and too many nice gifts before going outside to take pictures and watch the lightening over the vineyard. It was seriously so perfect, well planned and fun. I was really grateful for everyone who was there. Engagement/Wedding planning really makes a gal feel loved! 

Some of my favorite people! 

Best planners ever. 

After the shower was over, all girls and moms retreated back to the lake house where, once again, my sisters turned into MOH machines and cooked us up a feast of bread, salad and "festively shaped" pasta, if you get my drift. 

I loved getting to visit with everyone and another highlight of the weekend for me was watching friends from all walks of life bond and get to know each other. I was really happy for my friends and aunts to get to meet John's sister, Rachel, and it was fun for me to see two of my most hilarious friends, Katie and Casey, play off of each other. 

We spent the night, once again, hanging on the porch, stuffing ourselves, drinking and laughing by candlelight before we all collapsed exhausted from the day around midnight. It wasn't the wildest bachelorette party there's ever been, I can assure you of that, but for me it was perfect. 

I honestly could not have asked for a better weekend. The generosity of my friends and their moms was just incredible and my sisters are truly amazing. They pulled everything together so perfectly and made for a wonderful time full of memories I'll never forget. 

So, there we have it. T-minus 99 days 'til the wedding and the official celebrations have started! I couldn't be happier. 

Except, maybe, if there had been a cattle drive, of course.