Dance Lessons

We really needed to take dance lessons. OK, actually, I needed dance lessons. My fiancé went to finishing school during his pre-teen years and learned how to dance. I, on the other hand, have a problem being led and… let’s just say, I’m not the most coordinated person in the world.

We decided to take lessons with Monica Maj, a former professional ballroom dancer. Since we live in the city, she taught us at Dance Center Chicago. Monica generally recommends four lessons. We took eight to make sure that we were pretty smooth for our big first dance.
Depending on your instructor, some teach one choreographed dance timed to the music. Monica, however, teaches you a series of moves that can be changed to whenever you want. The bonus is that these steps can be used to other songs as well.

Overall, I would highly recommend dance lessons. However, if you aren’t going to practice in between the lessons, you probably won’t remember as much as you had planned. My point: if you are going to pay for dance lessons, make sure that you practice!
Our first dance was a success! We had the band play At Last by Etta James. Although it was obvious that we had taken lessons (since I didn’t know squat before them), we focused on enjoying the moment. There was no counting or stern looks between the two of us. It was just a few semi-private moments between husband and wife.
Monica Maj

Our Wedding Vows

We decided early on that we would write our own vows. We both agreed that it would be a lot more personal.

Denton’s vows to Melissa
Melissa, you have meant many things to me and been many things for me since we first met. In the beginning, you were:
My co-worker.
My audience, and as a result,
My critic.
My work mate.
My neighbor.

And as we got to know one another, you became My friend.
The source of
My excitement.
My nervousness.
My every waking thought.
My love interest.
And finally–finally–
My girlfriend.

From then on, you’ve become
My teacher.
My role model.
My schedule maker.
My Starbucks break.
My fashion consultant.
My financial planner.
My biggest critic.
My staunchest Ally.
My organizer.
My list maker.
My travel partner.
My guide.
My best friend.
My shoulder to cry on.

And in the past year, you’ve become:
My fiancée.
My motivation.
My project manager.
My task master.
My boss.
My bride to be.

All of this has occurred over the course of four years, and yet, it is only the beginning.

I promise to never let this list, of who you are and what you mean to me, to ever be truly complete. It will continually grow and adapt, just like our lives together. I vow to be honest and true, loving and supportive, kind and trustworthy, patient and forgiving. I vow to be the best I can be for you because I know you will do the same for me.

Today, with our friends and family here to witness and help celebrate, Melissa, you are becoming:
My everlasting bond.
My family.
My freedom.
My future.
My wife.

From this point forward, I vow that you will always be My Honey Bee.

At this moment, the entire female bridal party was tearing up. I looked over at his parents, they were both crying. I was too.

I was also dreading to share my vows…because they weren’t nearly as good!

Melissa’s vows to Denton
I, Melissa, take you Denton, the great love of my life, as my husband.
I promise to love you for who you are, just as you love me.
I promise to stand by your side, to bring out the best in you, and to be there for you.
I will be the one you lean on when you are in need.
As we travel through life together, hand in hand and heart in heart, I will love you always.

At the cocktail reception, my Greek Mom turned to me and said, “He kicked your ass up there.”

Go with your Gut

I don’t think that I will do a long bridal advice post, but let me say this, Go with your Gut.

During the wedding planning process, I was driving myself crazy lately. Usually, I am super decisive type A personality that has no problems making decisions. Then, there were decisions around the wedding.

I ponder each and every idea.

  • Do I want to wear my hair up? I thought I did but then, I wasn’t so sure.
  • Should I have a more formal rehearsal dinner than we had originally planned?
  • What type of ring do I want?
  • Should I wear d’orsey heels?
  • I love color but all of a sudden, I was having dreams of Marie Antoinette inspired fete with pastels and ecru.

Part of the problem is that I have officially ODed on weddings. After surfing the Knot, perusing online blogs, watching Get Married, and reading a multitude of wedding magazines, everything seems so overdone.
In reality, I was just losing focus. I took a break from blogging and other wedding media outlets to enjoy myself. It helps.

Bed, Bath and Planning

Bed Bath and Beyond is a popular retailer for brides and grooms to register at. It’s also a great store to get some pretty cool software. Complimentary to all couples that register, the software includes:
  • Wedding Website: It’s a pretty cool wedding website by I prefer
  • Timeline/ Task Manager: I really like the software. It’s a pretty comprehensive list that can be sorted in various ways, unlike theKnot. Users can add tasks to the sheet. The major negative point is that it appears in a pop-up window. I hate pop-up windows.
  • My Guest Manager: The load time was really long, especially considering that I was online at midnight. However, I was blown away. The tool has reports! I loved the many different ways that I could segment my guest list. (I’m a dork like that.)
  • My Seating Arranger: I was able to do my seating assignments in less than 30 minutes so I opted not to use it. I would recommend the software to anyone that doesn’t have an idea in seating in advance OR if the wedding is going to be really large.

Wedding Blog

I recently had a reader send me her blog, Mr. Jazz Man’s Ring. The blog is to help sell CDs of her fiance’s music so that he would be able to “happily and willingly” buy her a ring.

Apparently, my reader isn’t a long time reader. I don’t really think a ring is necessary to to be engaged. In fact, my ring finger has remained naked during our entire engagement.

I am not one to really judge or criticize others. So I decided to share it with my readers. What do you think? Would you help someone so that they could buy an engagement ring?

New York Times Article- Cyber Friends

The New York Times wrote an article about making friends on the web with fellow brides-to-be. How often does this happen? I bet more often than you would expect!

From the web, I’ve met fellow wedding vendors, as well as clients. It’s a great resouce. I will warn brides– be careful. There are some weird people out there.

My Chicago History Museum Wedding

While I am very happy with my wedding plans, I often come up with different wedding plans. Call it an occupational hazard.

If I was getting married at the Chicago History Museum
I would have a huge black tie affair in the evening.

My guests would drink champagne out of glasses like these Marc Jacobs Irene champagne saucer

I would need something amazing classic invitations, like these letterpress Jordan and Michael Ceci New York

My bouquet would have to be anenomes.

Bachelorette Party Ideas

While I am a gracious bride, I did have a list of demands for my Bachelorette Party. Or a list of things that I did not want:

No Thank You

  • penises

  • sashes

  • oversize jewelry

  • tiaras

  • veils

  • hats

  • strippers

  • rush & division

  • bar hopping

  • sports related

  • drag queens

I was pretty sure that my bridal party was going to ask for my help. Therefore, I came up with list of options. Ultimately, they planned a fantastic evening and I wasn’t a part of any of the planning.
Here are my ideas! I hope that they help someone else.

Motel Bar w Michelle L’Amour

Watch Michelle L’Amour and other burlesque beauties shake their pasties and jiggle their tassels to live swinging sounds. Enjoy drink specials at one of my favorite lounges in the city.
Moxie Classes

Moxie has all sort of classes, including strip tease classes and fellatio workshops. It reminds me of that one Sex and the City episode!

Wine Tasting- Randolph Wine Cellars

Randolph Wine Cellars is a great place to grab a glass of wine — or champagne. Events are scheduled regularly.

Sheque events
Sheque throws parties around the city about five times per month. You can also hire the girls at Sheque to throw a private party for you. They combine beauty with drinks for a fun girls night out.

S Factor Pole Dancing
Why not learn how to pole dance? Sheila Kelly offers many different types of classes that can be made private.