Executing A Destination Wedding With 130 Guests

Thursday, July 20, 2017


If I were to write a movie about going to a destination wedding, the dialogue on pages 1-100 would look like this,

"So when did you guys get in?"

"Yesterday, what about you?"

"Just this morning."

"Oh nice."

(Turns to next person)

"So when did you guys get in?"

Over and over and over. It would be similar to my lake movie, which goes like this,

"Seems a lot quieter out here than usual, don't you think?"

Which on the next page would be followed by, "seems a lot busier out here than usual, don't you think?" Again, this would go on for rougly 90 pages.

So Tina, thank you for commenting on my last post asking about how one goes about planning/executing a destination wedding with 130 close friends and family. You've given me just one more topic so I can keep this wedding train going. Toot toot.

First things first, plan activities. Lots of them. People want to be included on everything. Having been a guest at several destination weddings, I've seen instances where people plan a lot of activities, and some where they plan none at all. Guess which goes over better? Activities. And if you're reading this and shaking your head no, we'll you're WRONG. Jk. Just hear me out on this one.

A weird phenomenon happens at destination weddings where grown adults suddenly want to be told what to do and where to go, every single day. Take Chris and I for example; we travel quite a bit, are very independent, and yet when we get to a destination wedding we suddenly find ourselves saying things like, "so what's the plan today?" "What's everybody up to?"  We act like we've never been on a vacation before and have no idea what to do.

I'm telling you, it happens every time.

So in my opinion, when people have traveled to be with you, they kind of expect you to be their travel planners for the entire weekend, as well. Which I don't think is too much to ask given the amount of time/money they've just spent on you.

And so we planned a lot of fun stuff. Oh my heart flutters just thinking about the day we had a group of fifty people tubing down the beautiful Yampa river. Obviously everyone doesn't have to come to your activities, but in my experience most will. And most will show up late. Which is fine, it's vacay time.

Which brings me to my next point. Plan for a window of time, not an exact time. We had plans, but did our best to be loose about it so we didn't have to keep an entire group waiting for 2 or 3 people to show up.

One day we planned for a "pool day." But really it was just to let people know, hey we'll be at the pool from 1-3, stop by if you want! Don't want to do pool? There's also a golf outing. Choose your own adventure! 

Steamboat is an amazing town, here's a list of a bunch of other fun stuff to do if you want.....

And guess where all of our guests could access this info? WELCOME BAGS! I love welcome bags. Yes, they're a pain because they always get messed up somehow. But in my opinion, they're necessary for telling people what's going on.

The hardest part to plan was probably the dinners. I get stressed just writing this because it was such an ordeal. An ordeal only because we wanted to include everyone and felt bad when things got in the way. For example, it's hard for restaurants to accommodate so many people, then seating gets hard because people want to sit by certain people, or not by certain people, it's just a lot. We kept it nonchalant by letting people know where we were eating and what time; they were welcome to join or go somewhere else, but most of the time we filled the restaurants and someone was always short a seat.

I don't know, I have no solutions for the dinner thing so my best advice is skip dinner and go straight to the bar. We had a lot of fun bar nights. Our style is cozy hole-in-the-walls, which Steamboat was not short of right next to the river. Several nights we'd fill the small river bars and I'd look around and think, man, this is cool. All of our favorite people are right here, in this tiny bar in Steamboat, Colorado. It was just awesome.

Lastly, I also highly suggest doing a welcome party the night before the reception. I didn't feel so much pressure to greet every single guest at our wedding because I was able to talk so many the night before. We had ours right after our rehearsal dinner and it was a great time for relatives to meet, families to mix, and friends to drink more than they probably should have.

In the end, it all worked out pretty well I think.

*Don't take that last line as an indication wedding posts are done for the week. They are not. I still have one. more. day.*



To see 100 more wedding photos click here.


Scary Bride Moments- Checking Into Our Resort

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

*another wedding post* yay? yay!

"Dear bouquet, I'm not crazy, right? I knew you'd say that, thanks bouquet."
(laughs uncontrollably.)



So we got to Steamboat, got our marriage license, had our Bloodys, and then it was time to check into our resort, the Steamboat Grand.

{Enter Scary Bride moment number one.}

"Hi welcome to the Steamboat Grand, my name is Maureen, how can I help you today?"

"We're checking in for the two penthouses, my name is Taylor Wolfe."

Things you should know: I was already slightly flustered because as the bell-men were helping us unpack our car, two center pieces (tall glass vases) shattered in the process. And yes, It was 100% my fault. Let's just say Chris's and I's cuteness toward each other was starting to wear off just a little. We were also starting to get pulled in different directions as more and more family arrived in town and wanted to know where we were and what we were doing. Chris is a kind soul and always feels the urge to accommodate where as I ... do not.

More on that later because as it turns out, the week was going to get even more stressful in that regard. Going on vacation with 130 friends and family is awesome, but also a wee bit difficult. Who knew?

And yes, I obviously felt very cool saying "penthouses." But I also have to admit the Steamboat Grand is only four stories high, so they're using that term a little lightly.

Going into our wedding I was adamant about wanting to stay in a large room with all of my friends. Most of my girlfriends live all over the country and I rarely see them but once or twice a year, so damn it I was going to milk this for all it was worth. So shoutout to my friends for humoring me and making this possible, the late night parties/early morning coffee talks in the living room was one of my favorite parts of that week.

But back to scary-bride at checkin.

"I actually have you down for three penthouses, Ms. Wolfe," Maureen said as she typed away on her little computer.

What would a normal person do here? I imagine they'd calmly and politely say, "well it's actually only two, would you mind checking again?" Knowing it would be fixed and all would be okay.

What would a stressed out crazy person do, who in a matter of two seconds already went through a scenario in her crazy head where she imagined herself getting billed for a third stupid expensive hotel suite in which she was already feeling strapped on money because oh my god there's so many things you have to buy for a wedding and maybe they'll have to cancel their honeymoon now or maybe they could sell their room or put it on Facebook or what on earth are they going to do, she can't afford ANOTHER penthouse everything is ruined, why god why.

I did option two, which came out in the form of,

"NO. No, no, no, that can't be right, I called several times and said we only need two, I initially reserved three because we weren't sure which suite we'd want, but I cancelled the third 48 hours ago, which I was told is your policy," and cue red face and shaky voice and ALMOST tears.

I know, it was extremely irrational behavior, but for some reason every emotion surrounding that week was heightened x 100. It was bonkers.

Poor Maureen, I'm sure she was standing there thinking, "great, another bat shit crazy bride this week. Why didn't I move back home this summer to live with my parents in Wyoming? I could be on their couch right now with Rover on my lap. It would be so much better than dealing with these assholes. Oh my god is she really going to cry? This is just sad now. If she'd stop yelling at me I could tell her it's not a big deal, but I guess it's kind of fun to watch. Mostly pitiful, but also fun."

Once I stopped barking, Maureen smiled kindly, typed a few magic keys on her computer, and the third penthouse was cancelled.

Having immediately realized how insane I just acted, I quickly responded, "I'm so sorry, you probably think I'm just another bitchy bride, but I swear I'm not usually this bad."

^^^ Things bitchy brides say ^^^^

Lol, keep telling yourself that lady, Maureen thought to herself as she booked her flight home for the following day.

Oh you guys, this was happening exactly one year ago today, on July 19th. Probably at this exact moment. Time is weird. Okay, I'm done. Only a weird person would keep living in the past like this.

Coming tomorrow: 64 more wedding posts!



A Week Away From Our One Year Anniversary

Monday, July 17, 2017

This weekend will be our one year wedding anniversary. So now you've been warned.


You've been warned that I may be feeling extra nostalgic about our wedding and will feel the urge to write a wedding related post every single day this week. I may force myself to dabble in other topics (but that will only be for your sake.)

I sat in bed last night and thought about what I was up to last year at this exact time. And it felt so fresh and yet so far away.

I can still feel the frenzy and butterflies as Chris and I packed up our car, ready to leave Chicago for nearly four weeks. Suitcases packed to the brim with wedding clothes, honeymoon clothes, and everything in between. We usually like to bark at each other when we pack the car for a long trip, but not this time. We were extra cute to one another.

"You want to rearrange everything I already packed? Sure, Chris. No problem."

"I mean, I think it's adorable how you just toss everything in with zero organization, but if you don't mind, I think I could make it a little better. If you don't mind."

"Not at all. And if my suitcase is too bulky I could open it and try folding my clothes rather than just wadding them in a ball like they are now, I mean, if that's what you prefer?"

"It is. You're the best."

"You are!"

Kisses. Cuddles. Hugs.

I remember driving downtown to pick up my wedding dress. Walking onto busy Oak Street carrying the biggest dress bag I'd ever held and hearing an onlooker remark, "oh look, I bet that's her wedding dress inside!"

Snarky me would want to respond, "What gave it away? Was it the bag that says, Ultimate Bride in big bold font?"

But cloud-nine-bride-me just smiled sweetly and gushed, "it is!"

And once the dress was situated just right in the car, we started the eight hour drive toward Nebraska. To-do lists flooded my head. What did I forget? What did I have to do? Hair. Nails. What else?

Chris went straight to his parents house and I drove to my parents to finish last minute things with my mom. On every errand we ran we saw someone we knew (which is common for my hometown) and they'd all stop us and say, "isn't your wedding soon?!"

"Next week!" I'd happily respond. (Or gush.) I did a lot of gushing that week. I usually like to be anonymous when I go to my parents house and rarely leave their home, but not my wedding week. I ate that shit up.

I was supposed to pick up Chris at his parents house Tuesday morning to make the eleven hour drive to Steamboat, Colorado. But instead I texted him Monday afternoon and said, "I'm too excited to wait."

"Me too, let's leave tonight." He responded.

So that's what we did. After a tearful, I repeat a VERY tearful goodbye to Harlow, we headed west toward Colorado.

My heart still hurts thinking about leaving Harlow behind, I was so full of anxiety and sadness about not having him along for such an important weekend I was certain something terrible was going to happen to him. I made Chris call his mom 100 times in those first few hours to make sure he hadn't run away, or trapped himself in a hot car, or who knows what else. I went over every possible situation in my head.

He was fine. Safe and happy playing the lake. It really was for the best.

And once I allowed myself to believe that, everything was good again.

The final road trip to our wedding in Colorado will forever be one of my all time favorite memories. We drove through awful storms, had to pull over in western Nebraska for an hour in search of a gas station, and ended up staying in a roach motel in Kimball, Nebraska. And yet, I'd do it all over again in a heartbeat.

As we finished the trek into Steamboat the next morning, driving deeper and deeper into the mountains, everything suddenly felt more real than it had before.  What we had been planning for the past year and a half (okay seven months) was actually happening. And in that instant I already wished it would slow down.

Upon arriving in Steamboat, before even checking into our resort, we drove straight downtown to get our marriage license, at which point things got even more real.

Immediately after, we celebrated with Bloody Marys at a restaurant on the river, and took a long moment to take it all in, knowing it would be the last time it was just the two of us before things got crazy.

And we were right. Immediately after that lunch everything else became a whirlwind. New friends and family trickled in day after day. Dinners went from ten people to thirty, to fifty. And I was calm, cool, and collected through it all. Until I wasn't.

More to come on my scary-bride moments... Maybe?



How To Shop The Nordstrom Sale Like a Fashion Blogger

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Today's post is called, "How To Shop the Nordstrom Sale Like a Fashion Blogger." Get those selfies ready!



First things first, call it the "N Sale." No one has time to say the full word anymore, you know what I mean? That said, if you have an "N Card," the sale opened to you last week. For everyone else, it will open on the 20th. (I'm pretty sure.)

Before you jump in, I suggest you figure out the necessities you "need." And by necessities I mean all of the cute leisure wear. "Athleisure," if you will.

Think fun sneakers and sassy yoga pants, stuff you'd wear on all of those Starbucks runs. Because bloggers LOVE a good Starbucks run. Below are a few of my favs.



And about those gram worthy sneaks for all of the coffee + legs pics... 



Grey Adidas//  Teal Nikes//   White Nikes//   Pink Vans

Guess what comes after leisure wear? BASICS. Oh boy, oh boy.

This hunter flannel is basic dreams are made of!

Pocket T, yes I'll take 100.  //       And a classic pullover.

But this time in the form of.... wait for it.... CARDIGANS. {head explodes.} Bloggers LOVE cardis. I get goosebumps just typing the word in fact.



And do you want to take that perfect "look at my cardi loosely falling off my shoulders" pic? Of course you do. Then you know what you need to complete it... A delicate satin camisole. I suggest you start with this one.

Guess what else bloggers love? Cozies and pjs. As in cute matching pj sets and comfy little jogger pants (for cozy weekend pics, obviously.)


Blue Pjs (also in three in other colors)   //   Grey joggers.

And if you're feeling fancy, all of these dresses are less than $60. Did someone say wedding guest attire? Yes. I did, just now.




And even though we're still just in the thick of summer, I can't write a post about fashion blogging without mentioning one very important season. FALL. A blogger's time to shine. Oh, how we love fall. Candles, scarves, booties, and lattes, OH MY. It's such a darling season!

Booties!!!


     Tan booties                 Grey booties  


Would you just look at this beautiful wool coat? This has fall photo shoot written all over it.


These are things you order now knowing they'll be back to full price in a week, so you might as well get your fall staples at a discount while you can. It only makes sense.
  


I need that Madewell tote in my life. And also these beautiful loafers and these AG skinnys. AG's are an expensive jean for sure, but they last. I have some I still wear that are from my college days.

I think this is a good place to end. This post took me roughly 87 hours to write, so humor me and pretend it's been very useful to you. 

Hope you're having a good Sunday! Harlow and I are off to the park so he can eat weekend park garbage and I can chase after him yelling "DROP IT! Harlow! Drop IT! NOW. I'm serious! Drop the chicken wing!" 

Should be a good time.


A Life Update Post

Friday, July 14, 2017


I work from home, for myself, on my own schedule, and yet I find myself in a hurry every single day. (Thus the reason my posts have been sparse lately.) Why is this happening? What is this fake rush I'm putting on myself all the time? It's pretty unnecessary.

Here's a little something about me, if I feel any bit of time constraint when it comes to writing, I can't do it. I put myself in a mental prison and just stare at my computer wasting minutes upon minutes until I finally just say screw it and move on to something else.

So today, for old time's sake, I'm just going to ramble my way out of my mental prison and we'll see what happens. I figure it's 3 p.m. on a Friday afternoon so chances are not many will show up to read this post anyway. I'm sure you're all busy getting ready for happy hour, or catching a flight, or dare I say... Nordstrom shopping online. Don't worry, I'll won't shove another Nordstrom sale post down your throat (today!) I may tomorrow. We shall see.

For those of you not encompassed in the blog world, there's a certain sale going on that seems to make people very excited, or very annoyed. "N SALE" posts are flying all over the place in blogland and there's a lot of feelings about it. #blogprobs, AM I RIGHT?

Man, blogging's a weird occupation. It's ironic to me that for how much I enjoy self deprecation I've ended up in a world where I have to constantly be like "Everyone look at me and how great I'm doing life!" You guys get that feeling from me, right? Because that's what I'm going for here. Pure greatness!

Did you know we're called "social influencers" now? I'm not ready to embrace that term yet. Give me a few years.

Speaking of years, my past checked up on me today, as it often likes to just to keep me humble and grateful for where I am. Har and I were on an afternoon excursion downtown when I happened to look up and notice I was at the tiny market near where I used to work.

It's a small corner store that sells diet Sunkist, if you're a diet Sunkist drinker you know this is a hard beverage to find, so I used to get it quite frequently. Everyday around 2:30 p.m., I'd take a quick ten minute break, hustle to the store, buy my soda, and day dream about being with Harlow and away from the terrible office to which I had to return to for 2.5 more hours while my soul was quietly dying on the inside.

Hiding out in a tiny grocery store, while sipping an orange soda, was my haven back in the day.

God, that sounds awful. And I just remembered why I feel rushed everyday. It's because I constantly feel the need to hustle to maintain the life where I get to walk Harlow five times a day and not have to ask for permission to take a ten minute break.

More tshirt sales, more promos, more emails, more of everything.

When I daydreamed about working for myself I knew it would be difficult, but I didn't realize the urgency I'd feel every single day to keep up. It never goes away. And it's not a bad feeling necessarily; it keeps me on my toes, and keeps me excited to wake up every morning. But it's always there.

Don't get too comfortable... Life in a cubicle is waiting for you...Never forget....

It's a scary thought.  So thanks for listening, but I better get back to work now.

Before I go, I'm going to make a list of posts I plan (hope) to write in the next few days to keep me accountable. If I don't get more consistent with writing here I'm going to go nuts. If you have a good post idea, please let me know (how do we feel about Q and A's?) I need some direction right now...


Posts coming up:
Top picks from the Nordstrom Sale (coming this weekend, so skip it if you've already read 100 others.)

7 Year Chicago Anniversary- Things I've Learned
Home Tour Update
The Long Road Home- things noted driving from Nebraska to Chicago
Things That Have Helped Me Be Less Of An Asshole.
New self help books I love.
Probably a post that's 100% self promotion in some way or form! Cool? Cool!

HAVE A FUN WEEKEND!

My Summer Ten Years Ago

Wednesday, July 12, 2017


Ten years ago, after my sophomore year of college, I found myself in that weird summer lull of, do I move back in my with parents until August, or try to stay in my college town of Lincoln, Nebraska until school starts back up? Neither sounded that exciting to me.


So when my friend Tyeler casually mentioned to me one day she was going to be living in Coronado, California for the next few months at her parent's summer house and I could possibly tag along... I was like a cartoon character having to roll up my tongue gawking at Jessica Rabbit, only Jessica Rabbit was the thought of living in elusive California.

Keep in mind when I graduated high school I had dreams of skipping college all together in lieu of moving directly to California to become a. a surfer or b. a movie star. Both were VERY realistic given my talents in surfing (zero experience) and acting (couldn't get a lead role in my high school production of "Annie.") Thank you parents, for not encouraging this.

Two years after high school, I naturally jumped at my chance to live my life as a Cali girl once and for all.

Tyeler's one rule for living in her family's home was this, "Let's just be clearI'm not here to entertain you."

Luckily her mom was. (In the form of cocktails on the patio every single night at 5 p.m. on the dot.)

We worked Monday-Thursday in downtown San Diego at her uncle's law firm. I thought briefly about studying law at this time, mostly just so I could tell people, "I'm thinking about studying law at this time."

Lols.

In hindsight, it's now clear to me her uncle was doing a family favor by allowing Tye and Tay, the two annoying interns, to come to work in his office everyday. Pretty sure we were more of a nuisance than anything else. Even though we really don't look anything alike, no one seemed to tell us apart there. I was called Tyeler. She was called Taylor. Tay and Tye. Tye and Tay.

In true California form, the office was "business casual," and we took that to an extreme. Wearing our gross old sorority keg race t-shirts to work, Hollister cargo shorts (maybe that was just me) and flip-flops, while not thinking twice about it.

Given that Tyeler and I share the same standoff-ish personality at first, we lacked common social norms for a work environment. For example, we ate lunch in our car every single day. And we didn't see anything wrong with it... I mean why not? We were too shy to make friends and we didn't want to be in the way. It only made sense.

Occasionally our coworkers would walk by, see us eating sandwiches from our packed lunches, and look at us like, "are those weird interns eating in their car again?"

Why yes, yes we were.

Our daily tasks included removing staples from files and scanning said files. That was about it. We also implemented a few tasks of our own such as, seeing who could chug water the fastest, who could spin in their chair the most times, and also who could plan their future wedding the best.

Upon returning home around 4, we had one hour to do our summer school work, go on a 10 minute jog, and eat a light snack before Tyeler's mom Beth, would knock on our doors and announce, "girls, cocktails!"

And then we'd sit on the deck, sip our sea breezes by the sea, and talk about what we planned to do with our lives (and how annoying college boys were.) Tyeler was just starting to talk to a boy named Zach and I was daydreaming about getting my first boyfriend...

Her dad, John, counseled us on business and the importance of working for ourselves, where Beth tried to work with us on our social skills and being "less cold." Both areas had room for improvement.

It was the summer I learned to social drink, that I didn't want to study law, and also that I will someday have my own house by the water.

So ten years later, I invited myself and my mom out there for a ten year reunion.

We had drinks at the famous Del, rode bikes by the water, took a cocktail cruise on Good Times Beth (the boat), and drank Bloody Marys at the yacht club. Did I mention Coronado living is pretty damn good?





The summer I lived out there seems ages ago, and yet at the same time it blows my mind it's already been ten years. In the years in-between so much has happened; moves all over the country, husbands, babies, new homes, bad jobs, good jobs, challenges, triumphs. Life has happened.

Whenever I'm given a chance to walk back in time like this I like to imagine myself whispering to that person I used to be everything that's about to happen. And if it excites me, I know I'm on the right path. If it bothers me, I need to rethink some things.

Luckily, I think Coronado-me would be happy to know I finally found a boy I like, a job that doesn't bore me,  I get to live in a city I love, and I have a wardrobe that no longer involves wearing Victoria Secret swimsuit cover-ups as "dresses."


*also my sunglasses are Dior and were purchased at Sam's Club in Omaha. They were VERY special to me*

Moral of the story: if you ever get the chance to live in Coronado for the summer, do not turn it down.


Post Fourth of July Life

Monday, July 10, 2017


I vote no more Fourth of July's on a Tuesday.

I'm still thrown off nearly a week later. We started celebrating last Friday, then Saturday, again Sunday, still a little Monday, and I was so done when it was finally the "actual day" on Tuesday. It was just too much. Fun yes, but too much.




And due to a minor car mishap, I'm still in Nebraska... Nearly ten days after I left Chicago. I'm not complaining but, I'm complaining. I need to get home. I need to get into a routine. I feel off balance and out of sorts and I just don't like it.

I'm out of routine with writing, blogging, working, walking Har, ext ext.

So I'm currently sitting in a coffee shop, trying to get my life together and crossing my fingers my car is fixed today.

Last week while I was driving to the airport for a quick weekend trip to San Diego, my tire just decided it didn't want to be on our car anymore. In one fast move, the tire went flying off while I was driving 75 mph on the interstate. Not in shreds or pieces, the entire thing. It wasn't the most pleasant experience, to say the least.

I've blown a tire before (a few times actually) so I'm pretty familiar with the terrible feeling that accompanies it. One minute it's normal, then there's usually an odd pop, or the feeling like you've hit a bump, and suddenly you have 2-3 seconds to pull over as it feels like your car has turned into a wooden rollercoaster and you have zero control before shit gets real.

Luckily, I made it to the grass median before I lost complete control. I called a tow truck, unlike the last time when I was 18 and decided to just hitch a ride with a friendly semi truck driver because WHY NOT.... (I didn't die that time and he was actually quite helpful.) But anyway, our car was towed to a shop, I flew to San Diego, and five days later it's still in the shop.

And thus I'm sitting in this coffee shop just waiting for it to be fixed so I can get home. Oy vey.

Once I finally get back to Chicago I don't plan on leaving until Christmas. I want to hermit in for the rest of summer and enjoy our city while it's still hot and humid and wonderful.

Apologies for this boring post today. I just needed to get it out of the way in an attempt to break through my blog-funk so I can get back into the swing of things.

(and yes, I'm aware my blog looks like crap right now with images missing. working on that, as well. like I said, everything's been just a little bit more of a challenge lately...)