Monday, August 30, 2010

Ceremony a cappella?! A ca-hellyeah!

I can finally tell you about some of the little touches that made our wedding personal! Yes, I didn't tell you everything, and I'm sorry for that. You know I never want to keep anything from you baby... it's just, I didn't know who else was out there reading this blog. I didn't want my wedding invitees to know about all of our wedding details before they got there, and if one of them read my posts, well then, they'd all know everything. I hope you can trust me again one day.

The first wedding detail I want to tell you about is so cool. We had a college a cappella group at our wedding! They performed before the wedding, and then during the ceremony! It was AWESOME. People are still talking about it. It's something that I've wanted to tell you about for so long, but had to keep top secret.

A while ago Rebecca and I were talking about ceremony music. I was absolutely appalled when I saw how much money some musicians charge to come out and play for an hour (tops). When you weigh that against the price of a DJ that plays music for several hours, or even some wedding bands that play entire receptions, some of these ceremony musicians need to get off their high horses and charge a little less. You have to pick from a list of generic wedding music that they already know, and then if you want them to learn something special they charge you more money. It just seemed like a crazy expense that was an easy cut for someone on a budget. Additionally, I've never been a huge fan of conventional wedding music - ie the violins, the string quartet, etc. That's not to say that I don't enjoy it at other people's weddings - it just means I didn't really ever see it fitting into mine.

I've been to weddings where people had interesting musicians play their ceremony. A cousin of mine had a jazzy horn trio (that had a rocking tuba) and they were great. It was the first time that I really enjoyed the song "Stand by me". Her musicians stuck out cause they were awesome. It was a cool touch. Many people have the option of having a friend or a relative sit in as their musicians. I think that's a really cool idea - but it wasn't something that was an option for us.

So I thought about what type of music I would want during my reception. I wanted something fun. Something that people would enjoy while they waited for the ceremony to start, something that I would enjoy walking down the aisle to, and lastly something FUN to run back down the aisle to as man and wife! Unfortunately, and downright surprisingly, I never heard back from Ben Folds, so I had to cross him off my list and look to my backup plan. Ben DID, however, assist in helping me come up with the idea! A while ago, Ben released a cd of college a cappella groups singing a few of his songs. He hosted country wide auditions on his myspace and website. He asked college groups to send in versions of his songs.

I LOVE a cappella music. I think my love for it was conceived during my adolescence while watching "Where in the World is Carmen San Diego?" on television every afternoon. A group called Rockapella would sing us in and out of segments and then rock us out at the end of each episode. I'm a little embarrassed to admit that they were one of the first bands I typed into Napster years later when you could search for music to illegally download. I was shocked to find out that they had other songs... pop songs... classics... etc. It opened my eyes to a cappella. An a cappella group singing "No Diggity"?! Awesome. So, I love a cappella music.

Flash forward years later, and I'm searching for college a cappella groups to come sing at my wedding. It seemed like a natural fit to our relaxed, different, fun, wedding. Something that screamed us since Mrs. Temple of Groom loves a cappella as well (in fact, sorry Ben, but Rebecca listens to that a cappella cd in the car more than your original music sometimes!). So I listened to a cappella groups sing on their sites, and youtube, and sent emails out to the ones I loved. One of the groups I was most excited about was the first one to respond back to my email: Cloud 9 A Cappella from UCSC (University of California Santa Cruz). They were so excited, and very open to learning the new songs that I wanted for our ceremony.

I have to admit, hiring college students for something as important as my wedding day was a little unnerving. When I thought back to how reliable I probably was in college, and how SOBER I was in college, it scared me a little. But I have to say, Cloud9 was professional all the way. They delivered everything we asked for, and more. They set the tone for our guests. Everyone knew that they were in for a night that was going to be unlike any traditional wedding they'd ever been to. It was the PERFECT start to the day.

We told Cloud 9 that we didn't need them to sing lovey-dovey songs before the wedding. It's just not us, so we didn't require it. So Rebecca and I were happy to pick songs from their list of already performed music. For the pre-ceremony music we chose "Higher and Higher" by Jackie Wilson (you know it "your love, keep lifting me higher! Higher and higher", "Wonderboy" by Tenacious D, a mashup of "Kids" (MGMT) and "Poker Face" (Lady Gaga), and "Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey. The sucky thing is that we didn't really get to hear the music! The group sang while we signed our ketubah (Jewish marriage documents), BUT we could hear our wedding guests going wild! When we lined up for the wedding ceremony, we could hear everyone getting into the music! They were LOVING it. Clapping after each song bobbing their heads, it was a success.

When the ceremony started I walked down the aisle to another song that they already knew, but I love, and was very appropriate: "Grow Old With You" by Adam Sandler from the movie "The Wedding Singer". The song is fun, light, and in a way, oddly romantic! When it's sung by live singers, it's classic and many people came up to me and said they loved the version even more than the original.

Then in one of the most moving moments of my life the group sang the first song we asked them to learn for Rebecca's entrance: "In My Life" by The Beatles. It was unbelievable. Not only do I think that it's an incredibly touching song when it was sung live, with feeling and heart, we just got so more than I ever expected. It was overwhelming. Yes, I think I probably cried a little bit. I do know for certain that I took a lot of deeeeep breathes because I literally was so excited and so overwhelmed by every emotion I forgot to breathe! Rebecca walked down the aisle, circled me 7 times (a conservative Jewish tradition), took my hand, and we walked underneath our chuppa (Jewish wedding canopy) to the lyrics "and I know I'll never lose affection, for people and things that went before. I know I'll often think about them, in my life I loved you more." and because these kids were so professional and came to our rehearsal, we were able to PERFECTLY time our entrance under the chuppa with the end of the song - when they re-sing the last line "in my life, I love you more". It sent chills down my spine. Even the first time we practiced it at our rehearsal, we knew we were in for something incredible. Something we didn't expect to be as moving as it was. I'm not afraid to tell you that I'm emotionally moved as I type this blog post! It was AWESOME. Below, listen to an mp3 of a practice session that Cloud 9 sent us a few months before the wedding. Keep in mind this is a practice session where they were first learning the song. Listen to it!

THEN, if that wasn't enough, Cloud 9 learned one last song for our wedding march back down the aisle: "Crazy In Love" by Beyonce! When they blasted the "horns" at the beginning of the song as we ran back up the aisle, it was AWESOME. We could hear them belting out their song from back inside of the house on the venue. There was SO much energy. Our guests stood and danced, and when the group ended you could hear everyone go crazy for them. It started the day on the right foot, it brought so much energy to the end of the ceremony that we carried on through the rest of the night. It was just US. We successfully injected a little of our personality into something that sometimes either gets overlooked. (Okay, not as much of our personality as the group of people that danced to Chris Brown down the aisle, but enough of our personality without making a youtube spectacle - Rebecca wouldn't allow it.....) Before they left, we were able to go thank the group but I don't think they'll realize how special it was to us. They were moved during the ceremony and the songs, and I think everyone else was too.

So there you have it, the first detail I kept from you guys. A college a cappella group as our ceremony musicians. Something I haven't seen before, and something I kept close to my chest. I can not endorse this idea enough. Lastly, here's a couple great pictures our photographers (Callaway Gable Photography) took of the group!

(visit Cloud 9's website to listen to their music and watch videos of past performances!)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

My Photographers Could Beat Up Your Photographers!

Let me just say how extremely happy I am that we chose to go with Callaway Gable Photography as our wedding photographers. The way I see it, a good photograph will transport you back to the moment it was taken. You'll feel it with all of your senses. That's what Brian and Allie gave us. I can't say enough good things about these two. If you're serious about having photographs that you'll actually look at for a lifetime, artistic images, beautiful wedding shots, you need to add Callaway Gable to your contact list. At least give them a call and talk to Brian. Let them work out a package that best suits you. This goes so far beyond me saying "hey, I think I had a great wedding, and you should use my vendors". This falls into the category of, "Look, if you're someone that's looking for a photographer you can trust and with whom you'll feel absolutely comfortable - I've done your homework." Prior to our engagement session, Rebecca and I had probably about 2 nice pictures together that we liked. I'm telling you, the two of us never thought we photograph well, and when we try to take a picture together it usually looks mediocre at best. We figured that in our wedding pictures we'd look fairly awkward and posed. I was completely afraid that we would never look like a wedding couple. Instead, two kids playing dress up. Callaway Gable proved us wrong. While they both have the eye it takes to be a photographer, Allie really knows the right poses to highlight your best features. We looked like ADULTS. We looked like models. And most importantly, we had a blast. Brian and Allie were EVERYWHERE and yet they felt like they were nowhere. They were complete pros. Again, if you don't at least contact them then I have to assume you aren't really serious about your wedding photography needs.

I've decided not to do one massive photography post, but also to mix in their pictures throughout all of my wedding recap posts. Any picture you see was taken by them. I figure instead of just telling you about wedding details, I'll show them to you!

I feel like Brian and Allie drove up the coast not only to shoot our wedding, but to be with us as well. Over the last year and half, these two became our friends. In fact, the first time I called Brian to inquire about our wedding photography I was on my way to Vegas for a friend's bachelor party. We spent roughly an hour on the phone talking about wedding photography, my blog, what we wanted out of our pictures, and about life in general. I have to admit, before the call I questioned why Brian couldn't just correspond over email, but AFTER the phone call I was so happy that we spoke. It made me realize that Brian wanted to know me as a person instead of just an email address. We became friends. I instantly trusted him, and knew that he was a wedding photographer because he loves the work, he loves weddings, he loves LOVE. A work done by a vendor that has such a passion for what he/she is doing is always going to be better than the work by a vendor that is doing it for a paycheck. I felt Callaway Gable was perfect. They aren't photographers that pigeon hole themselves into one style. So many photographers I was looking at either did that "photo journalistic" approach OR traditional photography. The way I would describe their work is a casual approach to high fashion images. On their blog they call it "New Fashioned Wedding Photography" I like that a lot... it's basically capturing life the most beautiful way possible...

Brian and Allie got to our venue and immediately started casing the joint... they walked around and got a lay of the land and you could get a sense that without even having taken one picture - they knew every shot they were going to get that day. I didn't have one of those "I hope they do well" or "I hope they take a picture of..." moments, because I knew we were in good hands. I'm sorry - I know I'm rambling on and on about them, but in a moment you'll see why.... Brian and Allie came to me before I started getting ready for the day and chatted for a while. Just about cool details I had planned for the day and about how excited we were. Then they said they'd been driving around town for about 30 minutes and found incredible spots (fields, barns, etc) and if I was up for it, they'd like to go off site to do our wedding portraits. I was down because I knew if they thought it was cool - we'd love it. They went and asked Rebecca. She was game because it took her mind off of being nervous and anxious before the wedding! Below are the incredible images of us getting ready for the day, our first look, and our pre wedding portraits. Later I'll post pictures when I talk about specific parts of the day (ie, when I talk about the ceremony I'm going to post Callaway Gable ceremony pictures, when I talk about the awesome dance party that the reception turned into, I'll post Callaway Gable reception pictures....).

Monday, August 23, 2010

Before I Was Spoken For...

I'd like to think that we were pretty damn prepared. The week before the wedding I continuously emailed our coordinator (With Bells On Productions) and asked her what we were forgetting. We did well... we were on it. For some reason though that seemed to stress me out even more. I was stressed that I was leaving something out, and spending restless nights trying to think about what I was forgetting seemed to be my business leading up to the wedding.

The week before the wedding we had family come to town. They all stayed with us. All together 10 people at our house for the few days leading up to the wedding. Family that had never even met one another, living in close quarters. We went 0 to 60 QUICKLY. Thank God we each have friendly families, because that could have been bad. MRS. Temple of Groom's family was the first to arrive to our house, then my family filtered in. Reality quickly set in that the wedding was coming. Mistakenly I figured that the days leading up to the wedding would be filled with lounging and relaxation - feeling more like when we go back home for the holidays and less like a hurricane of wedding related content.

We decided to have a huge bbq for extended family that was in LA at our house 3 days before the wedding. With the help of our families we pulled it off, and it was a very nice night. Looking back though I kinda have to ask ourselves if we're gluttons for punishment! We could have spent that night relaxing with our families...but it was their first time with one another - it called for celebration. Additionally one last large detail that needed to be planned - our parents really wanted us to turn the guest house at the Cass House Inn (where we got married) into a hospitality suite. The night before the wedding, we had a meet & greet and invited anyone that was already in Cayucos to come have a bite to eat, have a drink or two (or 5), and hang out with my family. Also, they bought enough alcohol to stock in the suite so anyone that wanted to party after the wedding reception was over, could filter in and get his/her drink on - This proved to be a LOT of work for our families. Well all the work was worth it, the meet & greet the night before the reception such a nice evening and a way for our families to meet one another. Maybe planning two huge parties before the wedding was not the best idea - but it was the first time we had our entire family together - so it just seemed like we should take advantage of that fact.

Rebecca and I did a good job organizing everything we needed for the wedding into our storage room, but when you added all the hospitality suite necessities to the mix, it was overwhelming! So much stuff. Luckily my sister-in-law brought her boyfriend who was trying to make a good impression on the family and seems like an overall workhorse was "happy" to do the heavy lifting when it came to loading the car! While I wouldn't do anything differently if I got to relive the week over again, I do wish that there had been time for our family to just be with one another and relax a little bit. Rebecca and I were getting no sleep due to the wedding jitters and spending the nights on the couch. It was making for a pretty stressful week even though we had everything under control. That's the worst part of weddings. They are more stress than just about anything and you tend to take your stress out on loved ones. At least they understand.... it just sucks. The whole thing is so backwards - your family comes to town BEFORE the wedding, and you want to scream because you've got so much to do - then you have the wedding and it's perfect, then when you're so relaxed and calm, the family leaves. It seems so backwards. Our families left right when we were ready to just veg out and enjoy them! Alas, that's not how things work out - and it's a good thing that they are family and can understand we're just at our wits end w/ stress.

The night before the wedding I actually slept pretty well. I'm not sure if that's because I had my own room, with a bed, instead of the couch, or if it was because I knew that everything I worked SO hard for over the last year and a half was about to pay off in a major way. It was so weird to say goodnight to Rebecca and then leave her in her own room. I like the fact that not sleeping with one another the night before the wedding and not seeing one another before the festivities start builds anticipation, but it's just so weird to be apart before such a monumental occasion. Before bed I considered writing my last blog post as a single man, but i just decided to take in the moment. So many people have given me the advice to relax and try to take in everything because it will blow by so quickly. So that's what I did. I laid in bed by myself and just relaxed. There was not one nerve coursing through my veins that was nervous about marrying Rebecca. Instead I was nervous/excited to see what the day would look like. For a year and a half we spent so much time working on each individual detail of the wedding - it became hard to step back and see the big picture. I was so anxious to see what the entire day was going to look like. Would the details that we'd come up with really going to pay off, and would our guests think they were as cool as we did? I couldn't WAIT to see everything and everyone come together. It almost felt like it was never going to happen. I feared that something wouldn't go as planned. It's been my experience, with most events, that there's bound to be a hiccup somewhere. Murphy's Law rears its ugly head somewhere and things don't go exactly as planned.... what would that detail be that didn't pan out? Right before bed I took one last stroll outside around the grounds of the Cass House. I walked down the lawn where we'd be married, and around to the opposite side of the house where our reception would be. The calm before the storm. A chilly central California coast night. I was glad that we upped the amount of heaters we needed. That walk around the house got me so excited, and made me realize that no matter what - if Murphy's Law bites us in the ass, everything will still be okay - we will still get married, and that's the most important element of the day.

I'm Married!

I haven't posted anything for a while. My last post was so long ago that I'm a completely different man than my previous posting self.... Now I am MR. Temple of Groom. That's right. I'm MARRIED! What an awesome whirlwind the last few weeks have been. What an incredible release of stress. I can't wait to tell you everything. Ceremony details, things I learned, etc etc... I think this week will be filled with blog posts!

There's so much to cover. I can now give you details to things I didn't want to talk about on the blog, which wound up being a smart decision. I quickly realized that more of my invited guests read my blog than I originally thought. The fact that I broadcasted that I was going to wear converse shoes with my suit caused more confusion with my male invitees than it should have. "We know that the invitation says 'cocktail attire' but we also know that David plans to wear converse with his suit, does this mean we can wear t-shirts?" I'm slightly exaggerating, but it did cause issues. SO, I left out a lot of my wedding details with the knowledge that soon after the wedding happened I would post about them. And it will keep me blogging for a little while.

I'm trying to think of the best plan of attack to post I do one huge post about the wedding, do I post about things in chronological order?

For now, I just want to post that I'm married. It was the best day of my life. Everything was so perfect. The day was flawless. The day couldn't have been more catered to Rebecca and me.... god, I wish we could do it all over again.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Bubble Boy

The wedding is officially "THIS WEEKEND". You have no idea how in-fucking-sane that feels to say that. I'm getting exponentially more excited as each day passes, but at the same time I'm getting exponentially more scared.

It's definitely not nerves or cold feet - I'm scared that I'm going to either physically or cosmetically fuck myself up before the wedding. By the way, I'm totally writing this blog post as I wear a crest white strip on my teeth. I have 27 more minutes to finish up before I have to go take this off.

People, I'm downright nervous to leave the house. Every time someone cuts me off on the freeway I ask myself if this is the asshole that's going to ruin me for my wedding. I keep waiting for that giant underground zit that I get on my nose from time to time to rear its ugly face. So, I wash my face thoroughly... but can I overwash my face? I'm scared of that too.

I've been taking a vitamin that my parents got me a few months ago called Purple Defense. I have no idea what's in it, and for all I know it could probably just be crushed up kool aid powder - but honestly it helped me fight off a sore throat last week. I haven't gotten my annual cold yet this year. When I get a cold, I get a fucking cold. I do it right. I'm anticipating getting one on friday and it scares the shit out of me.

A few weeks ago I planned my bachelor party. I will post more about that later this week, but basically I rounded up about 20 of my friends on a saturday morning and we played flag football on a high school football field. Oddly enough I wasn't really scared that I would hurt myself there because it would be TOO perfect. Of course the groom that schedules a football game when he's lost 85% of his athleticism would get hurt at the party... it was just too perfect so I actually wasn't scared. BUT you can bet your ass I was afraid running down the stairs of my house to leave for the game. A trip and a fall because I was too excited to go play ball seems like it would be perfectly fitting. Side note, the game was fun and I couldn't move for a week because my muscles were so sore, but it was great.

Lastly I'm completely fearful to go outside without a proper SPF because I do burn pretty easily. That's what I want, my face to be peeling the morning of my wedding. On the complete other side of the spectrum I'm nervous to stay IN the house because my white pasty face can and will only get pastier... there's no way to win here. I guess the only way to win is to stay inside and then get someone to come in and fake tan me! You think I'm joking but I'm completely serious. I recently had a conversation with Chris from The Man Registry about tanning. He said that while he doesn't want to out any of his friends, he's known quite a few guys that have tanned before the wedding. I think it's a pretty solid idea. I'm worried about looking orange, but I think I've found someone incredible that could potentially do a great job. Her name is Jenna and she runs a company called Here Comes the Sun. The name is worth hiring her alone. She'll come to the house so I don't have to be seen sneaking in and out of a tanning salon. I'm really considering this because she PROMISES me it'll be completely natural. A few weeks ago she tanned the wedding party of a wedding I attended, and they all looked natural.

SO, all that being said, I'm kind of ready to purchase a giant bubble, a hazmat suit, or ANYTHING else that will shield me away from society for the next week. I refuse to touch shopping carts with my bare hands, and prior to eating food from any restaurant, I think I'm going to need to talk with the cooks to make sure they aren't, haven't been, or getting sick. I'm seriously freaked out. Is this normal before the wedding?

Comment away. I'm going to go take off my crest white strip and I'll be back to see if you all think I'm crazy.

What to do?

I've got so many damn things to post about. Just a few days away from the wedding I don't have any shortage of things to talk about. So many awesome great things to type and the excitement is really setting in.

That being said, I need to get something off my chest because right now I'm really upset. One of my all time best friends just wrote me an email telling me he's not coming to my wedding. Thanks for the 6 days of notice. He says he's just got budget issues right now and can't afford to come out here. That would have been a great and fine excuse had it come 2 months ago when our invitations were sent. I definitely understand and empathize. However, all this tells me is that he obviously had no intentions to come if he's looking to score cheap airfare a week before the wedding. Of course it won't fit in your budget if you're just planning the trip now!

My question to you, is do I write him an email to let him know how I really feel? Tell him how upset this makes me, or do I just swallow this, and type back something along the lines of "okay, we'll miss you"? I keep going back and forth in my head. On one hand what will an email really telling him I'm upset accomplish? He'll feel bad, will I feel better? Is it worth it? On the other hand, what he did isn't okay, and he should know, right? I just don't know what to do. This really sucks that I have to even think about this a few days before the wedding.

What should I do?