Friday, December 16, 2011

It's The Vow Renewal! Part One!

It all started with an idea from Tom.

I had no idea he had been contacting friends and family about renewing our vows even before he left for Korea.

I only happened to find out when I was in New York with Jennifer and saw an e-mail he had written saying that he hoped she would be able to attend our vow renewal.


Still, it was okay. In fact, it worked out that I discovered his secret. It meant I could shop for a wedding dress. I had never shopped for a wedding dress before. When we were married ten years ago I wore black because it was the only dress that would fit over my seven months pregnant belly.

Purchasing a wedding dress was a new experience for me. I did it with my mother, who was thrilled that she’d finally be a mother of the bride. She wasn’t at my first wedding. We went to a wedding dress boutique that ended up having dresses that started at $5000. Since neither of us poop money, we almost left.

Until the saleslady said the magic words…

…clearance rack…

I had no qualms with the clearance rack. Especially when the dresses were just like the $5000 ones—only marked way down.

The saleslady asked what style I wanted and I thought back to the show Say Yes To The Dress. What was that style called? The one where the dress hugged your figure? I chewed my lower lip. I should be more prepared! I was positive most brides marched into the store armed with a huge folder about the wedding she envisioned—something she had started working on since she was 5.

I was never like this.

I never pictured my wedding.

“Mermaid!” I shouted and I instantly pictured Ariel. “I like the mermaid style. And the ball gown style. The only thing is, I don’t think I could do strapless. Because I have no boobs.” I even gestured to my chest area in case the woman forgot where boobs sit.

The saleslady flinched a little. I don’t think many brides use the word “boobs” in the store.

“If you get the dress tailored to you, the dress will be fine,” the saleslady assured me. She was a perky young thing. She probably had a wedding folder.

I tried on about five dresses. It was awkward coming out and having a stranger clip the back of your gown. I kept thinking, “I should have worn prettier panties.” Then I had to step on a podium in front of a mirror.

Two dresses stood out to me. The one that I ended up with and another one with lots of sparkles. Ball gown style. I wish I had a picture but unfortunately cameras were not allowed in the store. The ball gown style dress was also heavy, thanks to the sparkles. I feel for the women who play Disney Princesses at Disney.

“What should I get?” I asked my mom.

“What do you like?” she replied.

I liked both dresses! If only I were a Kardashian—then I could wear them both.

“I don’t know,” I wailed. “Help me, saleslady!”

I didn’t say that last part. It would have frightened her. She stood off to the side, waiting patiently to unclip me.

I went with the lighter dress. Not as many sparkles but still pretty. Plus, it made me look thinner than I actually was without the power of Spanx.

I had the dress alternated so the top wouldn’t come down and expose my small boobs by a tiny Chinese woman who kept saying, “Oooo. You getting married?” to the point where I was thinking, “Is she taking one look at me and wondering how someone like me could land a man?” Also, I wanted to be sarcastic and go, “No, I’m not getting married. I just bought the dress for fun for a night out in the town.”

Here’s the issue with having the dress alternated 3 months before the wedding though: it meant I couldn’t gain weight or else it wouldn’t zip OR button up. This is why I made sure to work out at the gym. And, you know, watch what I ate. Sort of.

Before I knew it, December rolled around and it was time to go to Branson, Missouri. I’m going to point out now that Tom arranged everything for the vow renewal. He had it planned for the Titanic museum all along because he remembered how much I wanted to go there.

On the day of December 10th, I went to have my hair and makeup done because I’m clueless on how to do either. Thank goodness Jennifer was there. She speaks hair because she went to hair school so she was able to tell the stylist what I wanted. If she wasn’t there I’d have gestured to the top of my head and would have said, “I’d just like my hair…um…up there...on my head…um…area..”

Naturally, getting my hair up took awhile because my hair is so thick. And naturally, the stylist said, “You have a lot of hair!” I don’t think I’ve ever had my hair done and had the stylist NOT say that. I almost want to say as I’m sitting down, “I know I have a lot of hair.” But then I worry the stylist won’t speak sarcasm and might “accidentally” cut a chunk of hair off the back of my head, post a picture on Facebook with the words, “This is what happens when you mess with a beautician,” and she’ll get like a thousand likes with people commenting, “Man, customers have gotten so RUDE these days!”

This is me getting my hair done:

At 130 Jennifer came over and was like, “Are you almost done? We have to be at the renewal at 3.”

Cue panic.

I mean, we all had to get ready!

I didn’t have my dress on!

My hair wasn’t even UP yet!

I think we ended up leaving at 2 and by then Tom texted me and was like, “Where are you?” I said we were on our way back and he was like, “You might want to hurry. It starts at 3.”

My palms went sweaty. What if I was late to my own vow renewal? I hate being late! I can’t believe it when brides are late on Four Weddings. It seems rude to keep people waiting.

What if I couldn’t get my dress zipped up?


By the time we made it to the hotel, it was close to 230. Mom helped me into my dress and it was the moment of truth. Would it zip?

It didn’t, near the top.

I’m not kidding.

“We’re having issues,” Mom mumbled.


I sucked in my gut.


Would I have to renew my vows with a pin keeping my dress closed?

How unattractive would that be? And my hair was UP so it couldn’t even cover the pin with it. Maybe I could stick a flower back there and be like, “Oh this? It’s ALL the rage in France..”

Mindy helped Mom figure out. It turns out I wasn’t fat; it was some clasp thingy back there. Phew. (Or maybe they just told me that to be polite..)

Before I knew it, I was ready to go. I had the flowers Tom’s Mom made for me. She’s incredibly crafty. I don’t have a crafty bone in my body. I try, bless my heart, but I usually make disasters.

Tom’s Mom brought Natalie in and she took one look at me and said I looked like a princess and that she wanted my dress. (Natalie, not Tom’s Mom.) Seriously. She WANTED my dress.

Doesn’t she look like she’s thinking, “I’m totally taking this dress?”

We were able to take some quick pictures before we left:

(Oh, this was my Mom putting on earrings borrowed from my Nana Jo. My ears aren’t pierced. She sort of jammed them in and—I’m kidding—clip ons.)

Then it was time to meet my husband, who was no doubt panicking because it was 251. He’s big on getting places fifteen minutes early (it’s the military drilled into him) so I can picture him pacing the Titanic museum going, “Confoundit, where IS she?” (Maybe minus the confoundit part. This isn’t the 1800s.)

This is me walking towards the van that would take me to the museum..

And this is me, seconds before I saw Tom…and before he saw me in the wedding dress for the first time…

Part 2 to come Monday.

(Please don’t hate me)

(Fine. Hate me. But here, have a cookie.)



  1. Damn it. Thanks for keeping us in suspense. You look fantastic.


  2. Confoundit! Why are you making us wait:)

    Now I wanty to do a vow renewal. I think my husband would be annoyed with me though because I've already got our 10 year planned out.

  3. love it..your hair color omgosh looks great on you. You look so pretty ..I love the picture with you looking at natalie. Can't wait to read part 2!

  4. I only wish I had that much hair! You look amazing.

  5. So happy you go to have your "bridal moment" with the white dress and all. You look beautiful! Also, my hubby (USMC) does the 15 minute early thing too. If he tells me he wants to leave at 1, he's pacing by the front door at 12:55. For the record, I'm always on time :)

  6. You look beautiful! The dress looks so great on you! And your hair is gorgeous, too. Perfect!

  7. Love this. You look so amazing. I love your dress and Natalie's.

    Can't wait to hear the rest.

  8. You're BEAUTIFUL!!!!

    LOVE the dress! and your hair!!

    Can't wait to read the rest. You're like a GOOD soap opera... where they leave you on a cliff hanger over the weekend! haha

  9. Absolutely beautiful! Now I really want a vow renewal!

  10. Thanks for the cookie, I'm assuming it's coming in the mail (We British call it the post, but whatev, you're the bride, call it what you want). You make a beautiful bride, seriously. If you weren't already married with gorgeous kids, Tom'd totally want to do that. Also, you can't mention boobs in a wedding dress store? What else is there to talk about?

  11. You know I was going to hate you until you offered me a cookie. But really suspense! WHYYYYYYY

  12. Look at you! You look beautiful! And what a great guy you have!

    But I just have to say (and I'll apologize in advance) but holy cow, girl! You really DO have a lot of hair!

  13. You're gorgeous and i love the brunette look on you!

  14. You look great!

    And your man is more of a romantic than you let on, for him to do all THAT planning so FAR in advance.

    You need to give him more credit.

  15. I have so much hair envy right now I can barely leave a civil comment! You look gorgeous, my dear!

  16. hair and dress...gorgeous! And Natalie looks precious :-)

  17. You are gorgeous!
    What a wonderful thing to do and to have your kids see!

    Have a wonderful weekend.

  18. You look so pretty. Can't wait to hear the rest.

  19. Awe! :) I love it!
    ..not the cliff hanger part.. And you tease me with a chocolate chip cookie. I know you won't really give it to me. No fair!
    You look great!!!!! Can't wait to hear the rest! :)

  20. **and by "hear" I mean "read"....

  21. Thank you , I love chocolate chip cookies. (and you do look gorgeous)

  22. You look fabulous!!! I'm jealous! I want a vow renewal too, LOL! I wore a church dress and we got married fast and ran (we were on the lam. Sorta.) Maybe someday.
    Anyway, you look fabulous, I LOVE that dress, I LOVE the Titanic, and I can't wait to read part 2!!!!! :)

  23. Georgeous!

    And I always think it's more fun when the kids can experience it with you. Just sayin'

  24. Meet me in Heaven, girl, and let's have a tonOfun for the length and breadth of eternity. God bless you.

  25. You look absolutely gorgeous and so happy. That's the most important part. Looking happy. And I will have that cookie even though I'm not upset with you! haha.

  26. You looked gorgeous!! And Natalie looked adorable, too. I just love that Tom set this up for you.

  27. You look so beautiful! And MAN you have a lot of hair! :)

  28. You looked sooo beautiful. And you totally rocked that dress. What a great occasion!

  29. Awwwww...makes me want to renew my vows too.

  30. Beautiful! The dress, the hair, everything. Can't wait to read part two!

  31. Oh many, many congratulations. I realize that after all this, i shouldn't be stuck on this one thing, but, I thought you were blond...not that it matters, but I swear in other pictures you had blondish hair...maybe that's just because Natalie does? I know...fixating....creepy... I'll stop now :)

  32. Love it. The shot of you and your daughter is so utterly precious. Hairdressers say the same thing to me. I have thick hair and tons of it.

  33. You looked beautiful! The dress was perfect! I love the picture of you and Natalie, so pretty. And the black and white one of you. Since I have been a hair stylist for 17 years, I can tell you the reason they all say "you have a lot of hair" is because it's more polite than what they're really thinking, which is "holy crap, how am I going to get her hair up?!" :). Seriously, you have gorgeous hair...but I'm guessing you don't put it up much or you end up with a killer headache! Can't wait for Monday! The cookie was delicious thanks!

  34. You are beautiful and look so happy! And you DO have a lot of hair. I do, too, and when I get it cut I always get comments on it.

  35. So beautiful. I'm glad you enjoyed your day. :)

  36. Aww you look so beautiful. I can't wait to read part two! Damn suspense.

  37. Love both the hair and that dress. Perfect fit and perfect color on you. Simply beautiful.

  38. Absolutely stunning! I'm so glad you got to have such a wonderful opportunity with a guy you already know for sure is 'Mr. Right'. And it was his idea? Double keeper!

  39. Amber you look gorgeous....I love weddings! Can't wait for part two!

  40. I absolutely LOVE the black & white photo of you in your dress with the flowers upside down at your side. Gorgeous! You look beautiful :) The strapless looks great on you :) I'm looking forward to the rest tomorrow :)

  41. OK, so I'm late in commenting but I'm reading this thinking I need to take your lead. We didn't have a wedding either. I am sooooo not the wedding-type girl. We went to the Justice of the Peace, said I-Do, and hopped a plane to Vegas AFTER the vows. (I wasn't pregnant either.) Hmmm....

  42. You looked so beautiful! I hope to renew our vows too next year when we hit 10 years... I too was 7 months pregnant when I got married and had to wear a dress where my mom sewed a size 0 dress top to a size 11 dress bottom just to make it fit over my huge belly!

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