On our last day in Italy, we headed back to Rome. After finding our hotel (and sweating like a beast!) we dropped off our bags and were ready for some lunch! Beware of those delicious looking sandwiches in the windows at the local cafe’s…they look like they would be tasty, but they aren’t since they’ve been sitting in a window all morning! Read the rest of this entry »

Ah, one of my favorite destinations in Tuscany…Montepulciano. It has my absolute favorite wine, Vino Nobile Di Montepulciano…and one of my favorite movies was filmed here. I was thrilled to finally be there. And when we arrived, the clock tower struck 12, just like in the movie. See…here’s a picture of it!

Told ya so!!

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One of the reasons Mr. P and I chose Italy for our honeymoon was for the food and wine. A wine tour was high on our to-do list. We hadn’t pre-booked any wine tours. We figured, we would book one while we were in Italy. We didn’t do a ton of planning before we went to Tuscany with the wedding and all, so we kind of just winged it. Not a great idea in hindsight, but we figured it out. We had WiFi at our apartment complex, so Mr. P and I scoured the internet on our iPhones and e-mailed a bunch of tours we found. We ended up booking a tour with Tom Bolden of Tuscan Trails.  Read some reviews on Trip Advisor here…I will be posting mine shortly. We also contacted Angie with Tuscan Wine Tours, but the times she had available didn’t fit our schedule. Although, we read great reviews of her on Trip Advisor as well. I wish we could have taken two tours, but we only had time (and money) for one. They can be a bit pricey, but the ones we looked into were a full day tour including transportation and lunch.

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Our Tuscan apartment  was in Bucine…a very small town. And by very small, I mean tine! It had a supermarket, a gas station, laundry mat, train station, two restaurants and a bar. That’s it! Luckily we had a kitchen in our apartment and managed to buy food from the supermarket to cook a couple of our own lunches and dinners.

Our day  started in Sienna. We had some time to kill before the tour, so we figured we’d stop in Sienna for a few hours. I LOVED Sienna. It had so many restaurants and shops! We bought a few things there…a scarf for me, and some cheese graters for our parents. We had some pizza, walked around the Piazza del Campo and checked out the Duomo of Sienna. It was our first full day exploring Tuscany and it was so surreal. I couldn’t believe we were finally there!!

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I know, I know…it’s been a long time. And I have absolutely no excuses, I’m just lazy! I apologize for leaving you hanging! I still have the rest of our honeymoon and my vendor reviews for you so I promise I will try to be better about blogging!!

Anywho, after we spent the day in Rome, we headed to Pisa by way of Cinque Terre. We had to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa. And yes, I took that picture and made Mr. P do the same!!

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And we’re off to Italy!! We left the Monday evening after our wedding. It was a 9 hour flight from Chicago directly to Rome. I only have one thing to say…DON”T EAT AIRPLANE FOOD!! It’s absolutely disgusting. I know airport food is expensive, but it tastes a hell of a lot better than airplane food!! That is my only complaint though. I was surprisingly comfortable and was able to sleep for a good six hours. When I woke up, we were about an hour out from Rome. OMG…I was finally in Rome!!! Read the rest of this entry »

I’ll keep this one short…not much to tell with this one.

The next morning was the hangover brunch that Mr. P’s mom hosted. Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures…we were all hung over and barely made it. But the breakfast was delicious! It was at Swissotel and I think we were on the top floor, so the views were amazing! I brought the photobooth book so everyone could see how it turned out, and I ate some eggs, toast and a pastry. Oh, and coffee…coffee saved my life that morning!! I wasn’t hungover, just extremely exhausted! It was nice to see most of our family and out-of-town guests and say goodbye to them. After all, we were off to Italy on the following Monday!

I wish I was able to spend more time with family, but it’s impossible when there’s so many people there! After that, we checked out of the hotel and went home. As soon as we got home, we had to start packing for Italy…and by we, I mean Mr. P! He hadn’t even started!! I was nearly done, but we did have some cleaning, laundry and last-minute errands to run. Then we had dinner with my grandparents from Puerto Rico Monday night…our final goodbye before Italy.

It was such an amazing weekend! I had so much fun and there was little drama. I pretty much ignored any drama…it was my day after all!! That’s what my maid of  honor was for…my sister was great and my coordinator was also. I’m not sure what I would’ve done without those two. The weekend ran so smooth…I wasn’t really aware of any issues. They kept everything to themselves, and let me enjoy myself. I owe both of them one!! xoxo to my sis and J…you two are amazing!

I had the best time at our reception! I did everything they say brides don’t get to do…I ate, drank, danced, spent time with my new husband and had a blast!

Let me back up…when we arrived to the reception, this was the first time I was able to see how all my planning had paid off. I was so excited to see the room…and when I did I just had to take a second to take it all in. It was exactly as I pictured it. Everything looked beautiful and I was ecstatic! Then I was rushed to the balcony for some appetizers. My DOC, J, had asked our caterer to set up a table with some apps so Mr. P and I could eat. Who knows if we would have another chance! It was so sweet and delicious! The gave us each one of every app we were having served. I was starving so this definitely helped tie me over until dinner!!

Then we headed outside to the loggia where we were having cocktail hour. The view was absolutely beautiful…I mean, look at this?!

The bar was outside and the line was long…the line for the bar was longer than the line to greet Mr. P and I! And everything was going by so fast! I couldn’t believe we were there already. I ordered my martini, a lemon drop so just in case I spilled or someone bumped into me my dress would be safe! It was good to see everyone…I love weddings because everyone looks so happy and excited. It looked like all our guests were really enjoying themselves.

After cocktail hour, there were the announcements. Some of our attendants were a little out-of-order, but that’s OK. I didn’t really notice since I wasn’t in the room waiting…I was at the back of the line chatting to Mr. P and a few of our attendants.

After our entrance, we had our cake cutting and first dance right away. I am still in love with my cake. It’s exactly what I thought it was going to look like…here’s a picture of what I gave them.

and here’s a picture of our cake!

Pretty good if you ask me! And they didn’t use fondant…that’s buttercream frosting! (cake provided by Bittersweet)

Our cake toppers were a huge hit too…I still have people asking me where I got them and my sister-in-law asked me to buy them for her when she gets married!!

Then it was on to dinner. Everything was as delicious as it was when we had our tasting. And our caterer made sure we were able to eat a plate from every station…we actually had our own server!! It was great!

It seems like this post is going over everything so fast, but that’s actually what it felt like that day. I blinked and the day was over!!

Then it was on to speeches…and right before the speeches, my bustle had ripped!! Luckily I didn’t have that long of a train so it wasn’t a huge deal, but it was a little difficult to dance and not trip over my dress or slip on it. Again, not a huge deal though. The speeches were great…there were tears, laughs and everything in-between. Two of them stand out to me and it was my mom’s speech. She called Mr. P “hot”! Hahaha!! She said “I told Yvette ‘what are you thinking…he’s hot!’” Got to love my mom though…she’s a nut and always makes me laugh!! The best man’s speech was awesome too. I think that was the one that made me laugh the most. And Mr. P’s mom, dad and my sister had me all almost in tears! Our father daughter dance and mother son dance was in there somewhere. Mr. P’s mom was in tears the whole time!! She was so sweet, and my dad told me not to say anything because he didn’t want to lose it either!!

And finally it was on to the bouquet toss, garter toss, then dancing!! Desserts were also served, but we didn’t announce them…and I didn’t get to eat any at the reception. I was too busy having fun dancing with all my friends and family. I had one of the best nights of my life…it was an amazing night and everything ran so smooth! I couldn’t believe it was over!!

I just realized I never told anyone what our final song choices were!! So this will be brief, but in the end this is what we chose for the whole reception…

Since the Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup this summer, and all of our parents are Blackhawks fans, I thought it would be fitting to have them all walk in to the team’s theme song…Chelsea Dagger.

Our usher’s walked out to Black Eyed Peas, Boom Boom Pow…we wanted to set the tone for the evening, and we thought this song was so much fun!

Our attendants walked out to Usher’s OMG…they loved it and all danced on their way out to it!! I could hear all the hooting and hollering outside!

And Mr. P and I walked out to Black Eyed Peas, Meet Me Halfway…I love that song and sometimes in relationships, you have to meet halfway. I think Mr. P and I are pretty good with that.

We cut our cake to Ingrid Michaelson’s The Way I Am…I love this song. It’s so short and Mr. P loves me the way I am (and vice versa of course!)…cause this girl isn’t going to change! He loves all my quirks and I love his.

We decided our first dance should Adele’s Make You Feel My Love. It’s such a romantic song and I love the lyrics. Plus Adele has this amazing, sultry voice…it’s almost soothing and it calmed me down a little to hear that song and be dancing with my new husband.

Our father/daughter, mother/son was to Fleetwood Mac’s Landslide, the live version. I chose this because I LOVE when Stevie Nicks says “This is for you daddy” at the beginning. I made sure the DJ played that part so my dad could here…poor guy almost started crying! He said to me “Stop it kid…I’ve got a knot in my throat and can’t lose it out here!” Ha!! I love my dad!

I know it’s cliché, but I chose Beyonce’s Single Ladies for my bouquet toss…it’s just too perfect of a song!

My coordinator came up with the garter toss son…it was The Donna’s Take it Off! Although Mr. P didn’t take off the garter (I felt really uncomfortable with that) we thought it was a funny song for the toss anyways.

And to get the party really started, we thought Justin Timeberlake’s Sexy Back was a good way to invite our bridal party on the dance floor.

And to get everyone on the dance floor, our DJ chose Black Eyed Pea’s I Gotta Feeling…

The last song will always remind me of our wedding. It was amazing to see everyone at the wedding, young and old, on the dance floor dancing and having a blast with us! It was more than a good night. I was the best night of my life so far!

After the ceremony, the mini bus, along with some drinks, was awaiting us. It was picture time! All of our parents and our bridal party joined us and obviously our photographers. We decided to only go to three places…Michigan Avenue between the Tribune Tower and Wrigley Building, the Lily Pond right by the zoo, and the lake. Everyone was excited and having a good time…our groomsmen brought some drinks on the bus for everyone and the party truly started!!

At Michigan Avenue, all the cars driving by were honking at us, everyone was waving and saying congratulations. People were even taking pictures! I guess this is what it feels like to be a celebrity and be stalked by the paparazzi! Ha!! It was just Mr. P and I taking pictures…since it’s a small space, we thought it would be easier that way. And the party bus didn’t mind either!!

The next stop was the lily pond. If you’ve never been to the lily pond, I highly recommend taking a visit in the summer or fall. It’s beautiful! It’s this small hidden treasure. It’s covered by trees…I can’t believe I’m actually in Chicago whenever I’m there. The only problem the day of the wedding…well it had rained earlier so not only was it a little muddy, but the bugs were out in full force! The bridesmaids heels were sinking into the ground and the bottom of my dress…well, that’s another issue! It was black by the time we left! I guess that’s what happens when you go through mud! We did get some really good pictures there. And since our accent color was green…well it was just a perfect background for a bunch of pictures!

Our final stop was Lake Michigan. We didn’t go to the beach, instead we went to the rocks and I’m so glad we did! The beaches always seem to be crowded…especially North Ave. beach on a Saturday afternoon, and I didn’t want to deal with more crowds. Plus everyone had to go to the bathroom, and there was a bathroom  right by where we were taking pictures so it worked out well and everyone was happy. The only problem…the goose poop on the ground!! I had to make sure none was stuck underneath my dress! I didn’t need to be dragging it around with me everywhere! But I’m glad we picked the rocks instead of the beach…why? Not only because of the crowds, but I think we got better pictures. It was more unexpected in my opinion. Most couples choose the beach…we chose the rocks!

Then it was off to the reception!!

Here’s a few of my favorite shots from our picture time…all photos are courtesy of Pamela Luedeke.

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