Friday, May 29, 2009

"The Boys" & the Best Mom in the World

E and I haven't seen our dogs, Itchy and Moose, since Christmas, and it feels like ages. I've said it before, but they really are like our kids. We are "those" people. We look at their photos and sometimes watch videos of them, but nothing suffices for actually having them with us.

And this week has seemed harder than normal. While the photos and videos usually bring comfort along with a longing to see the "boys," this week they seemed to just bring a bit of heartache.

Melanie Acevedo

But that heartache will be remedied for at least a few days-- enter the "Best Mom in the World." After I expressed how terribly much we've been missing them, my super sweet mom decided to drive "the boys" down to our house over the weekend. The drive is not a short one for her; it can take upwards of 10 hours, especially when traveling with the pups in tow.

I know how very lucky I am to have the mom I do.

I can't tell you how very excited and happy E and I are right now! I can't wait to get on the road. Whatever your weekend holds, I hope, like mine, it will be filled with love and joy.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Real Wedding {Andi & Joe}

I am so excited to share this wedding with you for the first "Real Wedding" here on Under A Paper Moon. Andi and Joe's wedding, as you will see, is classic and elegant with a perfect touch of New Orleans thrown in the mix.

The Couple: Andi and Joe
The City: New Orleans, LA
The Location: French Quarter-- St. Louis Cathedral & Omni Royal Orleans
The Day: December 13, 2008
The Photographer: Chris Williams of Zoeica Images

Getting Ready

A carriage ride through the French Quarter on route to the church.

The breathtaking St. Louis Cathedral

The Ceremony Begins

Off to the reception with a perfect New Orleans tradition- a "Second Line."

The exterior of the Omni Royal Orleans decorated beautifully for the holiday season.

With a New Orleans wedding, surely you were expecting a party... looks like this one did not disappoint!

And, finally, some action on Bourbon Street.

How did you decide where to hold your wedding?

Andi: I always knew that we would get married in New Orleans. It is my hometown, and my favorite city in the world. It also helped that Joe really likes New Orleans as well. It's just the general "feel" of the city... there is such a vibe of happiness and love... and the people are what make the city. It's something hard to explain unless you have visited before.

That being said, I knew that I specifically wanted to get married in the French Quarter. I love the architecture, and we wanted everyone from out-of-town to be able to come to the hotel and walk to everything from there. So, we chose St. Louis Cathedral in Jackson Square as the church and the reception was at the Omni Royal Orleans, which is about 2 blocks away.

What special touches did you incorporate into your wedding day?

Andi: We incorporated some New Orleans touches. We did a traditional Second Line with a brass band from the church to the reception. Everyone in the bridal party had umbrellas, and the wedding guests were given handkerchiefs with our logo for the Second Line.

And, this would only happen in New Orleans, the police blocked off an area outside of the church where a bar had set up tables to hand out drinks, which were "something old" (old-fashioned,) "something new" (mojito,) "something borrowed" (cosmopolitan,) and "something blue" (blue hawaiian.) This started the party off right!

Also, for Joe's groom's cake we did Baked Alaska brought in from Antoine's, which is a traditional New Orleans dessert and Antoine's is the oldest-family run restaurant in the country. Joe loves ice cream cake, so it was a surprise for him. The waiters brought them out with the band and paraded around the ballroom. It was a hit.

Lastly, my "something old" was my Nana's holy medal of the Blessed Mother. We wrapped it around the base of my flowers.

Do you have a favorite memory of the day?

So many! I would have to say it was our vows. I started to cry and TOTALLY had not thought that I would. I remember Joe's smile when my voice broke, and it was priceless. Also, as a while, the recption was a blast! I danced with my Dad to "Ain't No Mountain High Enough," and everyone was clapping along. We had a "routine" :) We also had an after-party at the Bourbon Street Blues Club, and it was great... 8 hours of open bars, so it was naturally New Orleans!

A big "thank you" to Andi and Joe, as well as Zoeica Images, for allowing me to share this gorgeous wedding. There were so many beautiful images, it was difficult to chose which ones to show, but you can see all the images here.

Also, if you missed Andi's bridals portraits earlier today, be sure to take a look at the stunning photos, taken in New York City on a blustery November day.

*Update: Chris wanted to make sure that he credited his second shooter Amy Brassette for her work on this wedding too.

A Bride in the City

Coming up later today, I am excited to bring you the gorgeous New Orleans wedding of Andi and Joe, but up first, we have Andi's accompanying bridal portraits taken this past November by Chris Williams of Zoeica Images.

Andi had lived in New York City for a number of years, and Joe grew up in the area. Knowing they would eventually leave New York, the place where they were first a couple, Andi thought it seemed a fitting place to take her portraits.

"Eventually" happened much sooner than Andi had expected though, as in January of this year, shortly after their wedding, Andi and Joe moved from the city. These photos will surely serve as a beautiful reminder of this special place in their history.

Also, a hat's off to Andi who braved below freezing temperatures in late November to take these gorgeous photos! Had she not told me, I would never have guessed it was 25 degrees Fahrenheit the day of her photo shoot. What a pro!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

As those of you who have been reading for a while know, E had two deployments, one to Iraq and one to Afghanistan, while serving on Active Duty in the military. On a day like today, I am reminded of how lucky I am to have him home with me, and I think of those who didn't come back.

Memorial Day often feels like any other federal holiday, a day for family, friends and relaxation, but I believe it is important to also take a moment to reflect on the reason for this day.

The following video, of country artist Trace Adkins performing "Til the Last Shot's Fired" with the West Point Glee Club, seems a fitting song for a day of remembrance. For those of you who aren't fans of country music, surely this song will sum up your feelings and impressions about the genre, but, I dare you to listen through to around minute mark 3:35 when the Glee Club joins in the song and see if there isn't at least the slightest pull on your heartstrings.

And, as you listen, like the soldier who introduces the performance says, remember, "It's not about the war, it's about the warrior."

Performances of this version of the song are available on iTunes. Net proceeds benefit the Wounded Warrior Project.

Wishing you all a peaceful Memorial Day shared with the ones you loved.