300 Days and Counting...

Many of my fans have been encouraging me to post again. And when I say fans, I mean my parents and Shannon McCarthy-Antinori. And when I say encouraging, I mean harassing and/or begging. So, here I am...posting for my fans...

Our wedding is exactly 300 days away. To be more exact, our wedding is 9 months, 3 weeks and 5 days away. It seems like forever, but I remember when the count down was at 400+ days! After the start of the new year, we will work on getting more of the "little" things done. We still need to find a florist and order a cake. We need to book a limo service that will be wheelchair accessible. We need to also find a hotel near White Eagle. Then registering, planning a rehearsal dinner, getting invitations, choosing music...I guess we have more than I realized...

As you know, I have my dress already and found out that I need to get in for my first fitting 3-4 months prior to the big day. I have not wanted to be one of those crazy brides that works out like a fool, but I have decided that I need to do something since I generally don't like how I have been looking in recent pictures. I'll start off with working out on the equipment in our building and using the Wii Fit again. This will all begin over Christmas break. I'll keep you posted...

The bridesmaids' dresses have been chosen...officially. I had an idea of one that my sister tried on in August, but I recently began thinking that it wasn't fancy enough. My sister graciously agreed to try some different dresses on when she was home over Thanksgiving break and we found a beautiful dress that should be flattering on everyone!

The dress I am holding up shows the color, truffle. My sister is modeling the dress itself. Doesn't it look great on her? And doesn't she look thrilled?

I'll write more as more developments are made...happy holidays to all!


Too Hot to Handle

I can't get over how warm it has been this weekend and it is causing me to worry about what the weather might be on 10/10/09.

I chose that date for our wedding for a few different reasons.

1. It will be a three day weekend for me and will give me a chance to recover from the weekend before going back to work. (We'll try a honeymoon later....)

2. It has a nice ring to it...10/10/09. Chances are that I will be able to remember it better! Randy is great with remembering those things...me not so much!

3. I always wanted a fall wedding...but September is too early and my birthday is in November. (Don't want to have too many celebrations in one month!)

and most importantly...

4. The weather in October is beautiful and just the right amount of "cool." But after feeling the temperature this weekend, I hope it really be cooler in '09!

Let's start praying for cooler temps now!


One Year and Counting...

Our wedding day is exactly one year away!!!!!

I can't wait to marry Randy...I am a lucky woman!

Check out his blog: http://randybeal.blogspot.com/

To all my teacher friends...enjoy your three day weekend!



I know that I haven't blogged in a while, but since we planned so much over the summer, I haven't had much to update!

We recently went to have an engagement photo taken. It was complimentary with our package and needed to be taken a year prior to the wedding. We wanted to have it taken before our next payment was due in order to kill two birds with one stone. We went to the studio on Tuesday and had it done. We went with a casual style...Randy wore a black button-up shirt with jeans and I wore a shirt with a green, black and white pattern with jeans. The whole experience took less than a half hour and our photographer, Larry, made me feel like a superstar! I don't really like having my picture taken since I don't like most pictures of me. However, Larry made me feel like I was made for the camera! We will get to see the proofs in about 10 days or so and will go back to the studio to make a decision on which one we like best. If I can, I'll post it on here...or you can look for it in the Joliet Herald News since my father will be posting it with our engagement announcement as soon as he gets his hands on it!

After leaving the studio, Randy and I felt even better about our decision to go with Fred Fox and our photographer, Larry Fox. He is fabulous!

Wishing it was September 2009...


Random Thoughts

School is back in session, so our wedding planning is not as active as it was. I have been very busy with the start of the school year, but (yet) have had the time to think of these very random thoughts...

1. My license is up for renewal on 11/08/09. By that time, I will be Emily Beal, not Emily Daoust. Weird.

2. The students I have this year will be the last students to know me completely as Ms. Daoust. (However, since most of my students just call their teachers "Miss" or "Mister," I guess it doesn't really matter!)

3. This will be my last birthday, Thanksgiving & Christmas as Emily Daoust.

4. Will it be confusing, in the future, for people at school when my stuff is labeled with Daoust?

5. Beal is a great name to adopt. Much easier to spell and pronounce than Daoust. (However, Daoust is still a kick-ass name!)

6. I am getting married! (With all of the school activity, I actually forgot that we will be having a wedding! I even forgot about my dress! Gasp!)

OK...that is all for now! Hope all of you are doing well!


Mission Accomplished!

I accomplished my mission on Thursday: I said "YES" to a dress!

The whole experience was wonderful, but was both mentally & physically exhausting! I had no idea that it would be such a difficult decision to make. We started our mission at 12:30pm and didn't make our final decision until nearly 7pm!

I printed out a few ideas to take with me, but I was definitely willing to try on anything. While my consultant went to pull a few of the ones I found online, I browsed a rack that was right near my dressing room. That is when I came across the dress that eventually became "the one." It is a few sizes too big and is being discontinued, so it was the only one of its kind. It was the first one I tried on and I just loved it. However, I knew that I needed to try on others as well. (Pictures of some that I tried on are at the bottom of this post.)

Between 12:30pm and about 3:15pm, I tried on less than 10 dresses. I narrowed it down to three. I simply could not decide and my mom & sister were torn as well. I needed back up...and more time. I called my dad and best friend, Heather. I asked them both to meet me at David's at 5:15pm. Mom, Lizzie and I took a much needed break to get something to eat. We returned at 5:15pm and worked on making our decision. I ruled one out immediately once I saw the extra back fat that I had going on. (Hell to the no.) Now we were down to two and they were both very similar. I switched back and forth between the two and we finally decided!

I am so tempted to post a picture, but I don't want Randy to see it. It is beautiful and elegant and has beautiful detailing. It is ivory and is described as "strapless organza a-line" on the tag. I am shocked that I ended up with a strapless dress because I was determined to find a dress with sleeves. (I hate my arms.) When I put on "the one," my consultant brought over the sleeves that could be attached. My sister was NOT impressed and said that it made the dress look cheap. Looking at myself in the mirror again, I had to admit that I agreed with her. She told me that my arms didn't look as bad as I thought and that it wouldn't be difficult to tone them up for the wedding. Having them more tan will help, too. In addition, I completely forgot about them once my consultant put on the veil...and, wait for it....the tiara. I did not expect to want a tiara, but it, coupled with the veil, just completed the whole look.

Now, my next mission is this: find a veil and a tiara that will NOT cost $200 each. If anyone has any suggestions, let me hear them!

I have already "visited" my dress on my camera about 20 times since I got home that night. I uploaded the pictures to my computer and they look even better on a big screen. I haven't yet went to my parents' house to see it...but I just might soon! (We got to leave with it because it is being discontinued. We'll take it back early next summer to begin the alterations.)

Thank you to Lizzie, Mom, Papa and Heather (& Connor) for helping me decide. Another thank you to Mom for buying! And, to my sister who hates shopping, thank you from the bottom of my heart for going and being so great!

I can't wait for everyone to see it....especially Randy!

This was one of the finalists.

Too plain...which is originally what I thought I wanted!

One of the final three.

I tried this one on for my mom only. Yikes.

I liked this one from the very beginning, but it looked terrible on my short stature.

This one just didn't hold a candle to any of them.


Is it 10/10/09 yet?

We are continuing to get ready for the big day...and I wish it was here sooner! :-)

Last week, we booked the photographer. We are going with Fred Fox Photography. Many, many, many people suggested that we use them, so we made it easy on ourselves and checked them out! We met with one of their photographers and I learned that there is so much more to the world of wedding photography than I imagined! Who knew that we could have up to 1000 pictures to choose from or that the process of choosing how your album will be laid out is so detailed? Without much hesitation, we were able to choose the kind of album that we wanted and even decided on who would be our photographer that day. We really liked the guy who filled us in on everything, so we asked him to be our guy...he accepted! I think he will do a wonderful job!

I am going dress shopping with my mom & sister on Thursday. At this point, it seems almost surreal to me that I am going to be trying on wedding dresses! Hopefully all goes well with the day! I don't want to put pressure on myself, but I really would like to find a dress that day. I suppose we will see...

I can't think of too much else to share right now...and I thought it might be nice to post a shorter blog this time! :-)


Busy Bees

Randy and I have been busy little wedding bees this summer. Our plan has been to get a lot of the big stuff done before I have to go back to work. (Side note: That day is fastly approaching! I have to be back at work on August 14th!) As planned, we are getting the big stuff done. Randy deserves credit for keeping us on track. He does a lot of research and has made appointments for us. That means a lot that he is doing all that he does since I know that a pig roast is more his style!

In addition to booking the reception/ceremony venue, we have also booked the DJ. We decided to investigate Tone Productions. Randy’s sister and her husband used Tone Productions for their wedding in February and they had nothing but great things to say about them. Randy made us an appointment to meet with the owner earlier this month. Tone Productions has a Joliet office in a subdivision near the mall. I wasn’t sure what to expect when Randy told me that the office was in a house. I was also worried that it would be difficult for Randy to get inside. He was told that the house had a few steps and I was just hoping that it wouldn’t be too bad. When we arrived, the owner met us outside and told us that he built a ramp out of some extra lumber he had in the garage when he found out that Randy was coming. (This warmed my heart!) As we entered the house, I was blown away! This was not an ordinary house—it was a house devoted solely to the business. (In fact, we later discovered that the owner lives next door and “commutes” to work each day.) The owner, Dan, led us to an office where we found a nice leather couch and not one, not two, but 3 computer screens. One screen was a large, flat screen and was mounted on the wall. The second screen was mounted on an arm that extended from the wall and was for Dan’s use. The third screen was mounted on another arm from the wall and was for Randy and I to use. Dan took us through the whole online event planner and showed us how easy it was to plan the entire reception. As the bride & groom, Randy and I have the ability to choose everything for the evening. We can decide what type of music we want played during cocktails and dinner, what types of dances we want during the night and specific music for all of the big moments: entrance of parents, entrance of bridal party, entrance of us, cake cutting, father-daughter dance, mother-son dance, first dance, etc. There are suggestions for all of the big moments. We can listen to excerpts of thousands and thousands of songs. If we want to hear the full song, it can be emailed to us. If we decide on a song that they don’t have in their music library, Tone Productions will purchase it for our event. We can specify must-play songs, songs to play if there is time and songs that should not be played. We can decide if we want the DJ to take requests. We can put notes on certain songs, like “make sure the bride is on the dance floor before playing.” Needless to say, Randy & I were impressed. And in addition to all of this, Tone Productions will communicate with the reception venue and coordinate everything. They become the master of ceremonies so that Randy & I can enjoy our night. Dan gave us a moment alone and came back with the contract. He said that we could mail it in if we decided to go with them. There was no deliberation needed—we signed it on the spot and paid the deposit!

Thinking about the reception has made me more excited about the whole event! Working on the online event planner has made the whole thing even more real to me. It was so amazing to talk with Randy about what songs we want for our entrance and the entrance of our bridal party. My dad and I have also spent time thinking about our song for our first dance. (I have already had some tears well up thinking about it!) Randy and I have talked about our first dance. We have thought about one song in particular and want to have our dance choreographed. I have never danced with Randy before and want to make sure that we don’t look like we are at some junior high dance. We googled wheelchair dancing and were blown away about what we saw! We will have to practice! I have entered in the names of my bridal party with pronunciations and have thought about the best man’s/maid of honor’s toasts. My dad has told me that he wants to say something at the reception, so I’m sure that, too, will cause tears!

I have contacted musicians from orchestra and asked them to play at the ceremony. Thankfully, they said yes! I am thrilled to know that I will have a string trio/quartet at our wedding!

We plan on making an appointment with a local photographer soon and get that squared away before school starts. My mom and I (and hopefully Lizzie, too) are going dress shopping on August 7th. I really would like to find something that day, but don’t want to put too much pressure on myself.

It is hard to know that our wedding is more than 400 days away! I want it to be here sooner! I can’t wait to marry Randy and share the night with our friends and family!


I Would Like to Introduce...

...my bridesmaids!

My sister, Lizzie, will be my maid of honor. There really was no question in my mind about this, but Lizzie seemed a bit surprised when I asked her. We haven't always gotten along that well, but we have grown much closer as the years have gone by and I couldn't imagine getting married without her as my MOH. When I called her to let her know her MOH duties (from one of my wedding guides), she added that another one of her duties would be to tell me to "shut the hell up" if I get out of control! That is classic Lizzie and I love her!

Side note: One of the MOH duties listed is "unofficially calms the bride's nerves." My question is this: what is the difference between unofficially and officially calming one's nerves?

Besides my sister, I will also have three of my girlfriends beside me on the big day. Two of them are my friends from college: Christine and Becky, and the third is my friend that I met at PSHS: Heather.

Christine was actually one of my residents when I was an RA in Haynie Hall at good ol' ISU. I think one of my first memories of her was having to reprimand her for having her boyfriend on the floor without an escort. (Haynie Hall was, at the time, an all-girls dorm and men had to be escorted at all times.) We became fast friends and grew close even when other residents complained that I was showing favoritism. This may lead you to believe that I let Christine get away with things, but she can tell you that was definitely not the case! She was always causing problems! One of her favorite pasttimes was doing little things to get under my skin. (And Becky was often her partner in crime!) She lived on my floor for one year before moving to Hewitt. We remained friends and eventually rented an apartment together with two other girls. Despite the fact that Christine and I are quite different, we never stopped being friends. We have gone through some issues together, but we have always come around. Christine is a lot of fun and always makes me laugh. I'm looking forward to sharing this experience with her.

Becky was also a Haynie Hall resident, but lived on my friend Bova's floor. I don't really remember how we became friends...I think Bova might have introduced us...but I like to joke that I wished for her to be my friend when I would see her in Linkins Dining Center! (Ah, Linkins!) I have so many memories with Becky and will never forget that we always had the best times together when we weren't really doing anything. In fact, we spent almost an entire summer together doing nothing...including not going to class! She would spend the night at my apartment and when the alarm would go off, we would look at each other and ask, "Should we go today?" More often than not, the answer was no! After graduation, I would visit her in St. Louis and she would come to Joliet, too. We even took a road trip to Texas where I received my first speeding ticket! Becky and I have had some issues as well, but when it comes down to it, we will always be friends!

Coincidentally, Heather also went to ISU, but I didn't meet her until she came to work at Plainfield South High School. She didn't start there until January and I wasn't sure how to take her. I couldn't really read her and I wasn't sure if she liked me. However, we clicked and soon became inseparable. We worked together very closely at South and were always there for each other. It was difficult for me to leave her and go to Joliet Central (and she didn't make it that easy!). She was one of the main reasons that I would have stayed! We have stayed close even now that we are not working together and she is always there for me to vent. I don't know what I would do without her. She is always blunt and honest with me and wants nothing but the best for me. She is a great friend. Oh, I almost forgot...she is the one that introduced me to Randy! If she hadn't taken me to that birthday party, I wouldn't be planning this wedding! Thanks, Heather!

I may be biased, but I think I have an awesome bridal party. They are fun girls and will help make the big day run smoothly! I look forward to sharing everything with them!


Signed, Sealed and Soon to be Delivered...

Randy and I signed the contract for White Eagle this evening! Randy has to call and deal with the deposit and then we will send it on its way...

I get more and more excited about all of the things yet to be decided upon and planned. Randy and I bounce ideas around pretty much every day. We haven't disagreed on anything...yet! ;-)

My mom and I have a date to go dress shopping on August 7th. I'm very much looking forward to that, too!

COMING SOON: Announcement of bridesmaids! Woo-hoo!



Many people have been asking for wedding planning updates, so I created this blog for their reading pleasure…enjoy!! (And to those of you who doubt my blogging consistency, I will be doing my best to improve and post more regularly!)

After our return from Mayo/Minnesota, Randy and I decided that we needed to get our wedding planning in gear. We decided that booking a venue needed to be our first priority. We needed to find a place where we could have both the ceremony and the reception. We already decided on some definites: indoor ceremony, Saturday night, and plated dinners. We decided to visit a few places: White Eagle Golf Club in Naperville, DiNolfo’s in Homer Glen and Broken Arrow Golf Club in Lockport.

On Wednesday, we went to White Eagle and met with Lillian. She was very helpful and informative and made our first venue visit very pleasant. She gave us a lot of information and showed us the beautiful ballroom. This place met our criteria and had other additional perks: no extra charge for the ceremony, a guarantee that only one wedding/reception would be occurring at a time and free valet parking & coat check.

After visiting White Eagle, we went to DiNolfo’s. The gentlemen we met with there was knowledgeable and experienced. This place was beautiful, had a lot to offer and met all of our criteria. However, we just weren’t feeling it. We left there thinking that White Eagle just might be the place for us.

An appointment was also scheduled to go look at Broken Arrow. We contemplated canceling it and going with White Eagle, but we decided to just check it out anyway. This morning, we went and met with Pete. Like the other banquet managers, he was very informative and experienced. He was a straight shooter and was open with suggestions. He showed us around the facility and explained its amenities. The prices were less than DiNolfo’s and White Eagle, but we would either have to get married outdoors or in the center of all of the dinner tables with our guests seated at them. That was not something either Randy or I liked. We talked in the car in the parking lot and decided that White Eagle was the place for us. It just felt right. We had a few questions that we wanted answered first, though. Randy called Friday afternoon and left a message for Lillian. She called him back in the early evening and answered each of his questions. He must have liked her answers because he reserved the date for us! (By this time, I was at work.) She will be sending out the contract for us to review and sign. We will also make our deposit when we return the contract.

I am thrilled! We have a date! We are really getting married! I will become Emily Beal on October 10, 2009! Yippee!

It also means a lot to me that Randy has been so willing to work with me on things. If it were up to him, we would get married at the courthouse and follow it up with a pig roast. (No offense to those of you who may like that! It is just not me!) I am lucky to have someone who loves me enough to spend such a large amount of money with me to throw a beautiful and wonderful event! I love you, Randy!

We still have tons to do, but I feel a huge weight has been lifted off of our shoulders. We can move on from here. If anyone has any suggestions about vendors (DJ, photographer, bakery, etc.), bring ‘em on!