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{Barbara + Katierose}

I know that at its core, this wedding is really about Tony and me and the life we’re creating together, so this may seem silly to say, but (aside from the day Tony proposed), the wedding has never felt more real than this past Saturday, at my bridal shower. I’ve been planning the wedding for so long that Pinterest is haunting my dreams. I’ve spent more time agonizing over the logistics of parking and who we’ve forgotten off the guest list than I have thinking about what I’ll say to Tony in my vows (I know. I’m ashamed.) But this Saturday was all about the women I love who love me, coming together to support and celebrate me. It was one of the happiest days of my life and, for a very wordy writer, I’m having trouble finding the words to adequately express how thankful I am to Katierose, Jax, Barbara, my parents and grandma and bridesmaids – not to mention all of the girls who came, and all who were there in spirit – for making the day perfect.

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{The closest to a group photo I have, as it didn’t occur to me to take one until several girls had left. Sorry!!}

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{My heart}

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{Katierose. I LOVE HER SO MUCH. Somehow, this is the only photo from the entire party of just the two of us.}

Because the thing is, this wedding isn’t just about Tony and me. If it were, we would have eloped the day we got engaged and been done with it. But we want to be surrounded by all of those loved ones when we get married. And the bridal shower was the beginning of that experience actually, really happening. I have never felt so loved. It was overwhelming. The entire thing was a surprise, planned by my co-Maids of Honor Katierose and Jacquelyn and my bridesmaid Barbara, and co-hosted by my bridal party. Katierose loves surprises. Earlier this year, she threw the most epic surprise birthday party for her boyfriend that took months of planning. So when people started saying to me, “Do you have any idea how much Katierose loves you? I don’t even love anybody that much,” I knew that she was enlisting the girls to put something spectacular together. (It turned out I was right.) Never in my life has someone planned something so elaborate for me. Tony himself would agree that the level of planning and effort matched that of the proposal itself. So much thought, love and detail went into every aspect of it, so many people worked so hard to make the day incredible. I can’t wait for Katierose to get engaged, so I can attempt to plan something even half as special for her.

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{Watching The Notebook at Drybar while pampering for the party}

In fact, all of the details of the party were such a surprise that Katierose was horrified to see me walk into Drybar while she and our friend Kate were there… I couldn’t see her hair or it would ruin the surprise! And my mom and grandma (who I picked up at the airport that morning), wouldn’t let me see them after they got dressed. Something big was coming.

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My only requests to Katierose and Jax were that they tell me the date and time (so I’d shower and put clothes on), and that they put “No gifts” on the invitation. When I moved into my first big girl apartment, my mom took it upon herself to single-handedly fulfill the wedding registry in her mind for my new place (seriously, how many 19-year-olds do you know who have a 7-quart stand mixer?!) Also, I wanted that hour of opening presents to be dedicated to eating more cake instead. And if people donate to the ASPCA, then perhaps that money will save a dog that I can secretly adopt in the future! (Just kidding, Tony. Sort of.)

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{Jax, however, went for a gift for everyone that made all my dreams come true: A peanut butter chocolate marble wedding cake from my personal heaven, SusieCakes}

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{Party favors: Mini champagne bottles with Heels in the Hills stickers Katierose made}

I also want to share that it wasn’t just the women in my life coming together for me. So many people I love bent over backwards to make the day special. My friend Corey’s boyfriend Dave (who has the best music blog, Holy Soul), knows I love soul music as much as he does, and he put together a playlist just for the bridal shower. Kate allowed Katierose to make her Kro’s personal assistant for the day. Katierose’s friend Greg (whom I’ve only ever met once) spent hours photoshopping for a party game (more on that later). Anyone who happened to show up early helped decorate – here is Allison designing the cake like a pro:

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My sweet mom, grandma and bestie-since-I-was-a-baby/co-Maid of Honor (who left herĀ own baby, husband and job behind for a few days to take time to be with me!) flew down from Sacramento just to be there. (Jax also wrestled me into my dress, and didn’t even complain when my boobs hit her face. That is true friendship.) It was a weekend-long slumber party at our house with 4 ladies, 3 lady dogs and Tony, and I don’t know if anything could make me happier.

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Mom

And Tony’s childhood best friend Rob, who is currently serving in Afghanistan, is the magician behind that gorgeous dress I wore. Back story: I’ve been obsessed with this dress on Pinterest for the past year:

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{Delphine Manivet}

But, it was outside my budget (by a lot). Long story short, Rob told Tony he found a tailor in Afghanistan and wanted to have it made for me as a gift. I sent him my measurements, Rob and Tony coordinated everything, and Saturday morning, just hours before the party, it arrived. Tony rushed to the post office to pick it up, and here he is steaming it (reason 1,101,286 I can’t wait to marry him):

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Recap: Tony’s best friend, who is currently serving in the military, had my dream dress made for me in Afghanistan. LADIES, HE IS SINGLE. (File girlfriend applications in the Comments section below.)

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{Flowers from Tony’s sweet mama Nancy + Z, who were so missed at at the party!}

And the girls dreamed up a bridal shower that was the perfect celebration of all the things I love. They decided on an Old Hollywood glamour theme, and Katierose scouted locations until she found the perfect one in Saint Felix. One of the aspects that made it perfect was the fact that it was located across the street from Big Wangs, a divey sports bar, so Katierose crafted a prank to (lovingly) poke fun at what a (lovable, I hope) snob I am… She had Tony drop Jax and I off at Big Wangs, and Jax pretended that was the location of the bridal shower. I think Katierose’s favorite part of the day was watching me walk past it, smile frozen on my face, like “Nope, it’s not really here, I’ll just keep walking and it will be somewhere else!” And it was. I finally spotted her and all of the girls behind her, dressed like Old Hollywood movie stars in front of the beautiful venue across the street.

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Arrival

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Like our engagement party, it was overwhelming (in the most beautiful way) having all of these people all dressed up in one place just for me. We stayed hours past the “end” of the party, and I still didn’t have enough time to talk to everyone as much as I wanted. I can’t even imagine what a blur the actual wedding will be. Luckily, Katierose designed a “photo booth,” using the Polaroid Instant Printing Cameras my uncle got Tony and me for Christmas, so I’d be sure to have photos of everyone. And, before I arrived, she instructed everyone to be the “official photographers” of the event, and so many people sent me such fun photos of the moments I missed:

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The girls all came up with such fun games. I’ll preface this by saying I hate games. “Game nights” give me deep anxiety. I do not excel at team sports (or sports, period). I believe everyone is a winner. But these weren’t stereotypical bridal shower games, they were personal and hilarious. I’ve been pretty vocal about missing the hair Tony had for the first few years of dating:

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So, Katierose photoshopped this horrifying picture of Bald Tony, and everyone got to design the haircut they thought he should get for the wedding in the Groom the Groom game. And, like I stated above, they were all winners:

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And, to include Tony and my show TONANNIE in the festivities, Katierose and her friend Greg photoshopped our faces onto the posters of famous romantic comedies, and everyone had to re-title them for the next TONANNIE show. A few favorites include: My Fair Skinned Lady, The Princess Bride Forever, Tonannic, Say Anniething, Casabarka and Rape With the Wind:

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{That’s our bestie Justin. My favorite for this one was The Sunday Story, because we met performing in the Sunday Company}

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The only “traditional” bridal shower games we played were ones I absolutely love: All of the girls were given strands of pearls to wear when they arrived, and were instructed to only call me The Bride; if someone caught them referring to me as Annie, they had to give them their pearls. I loved this because I would legally change my name to Bride if people wouldn’t hate me for it. (Katierose won this one because she called everyone else out, but never gave her pearls away when people caught her because she wore the invincible Maid of Honor shield. She really wanted the prizes she bought, which included fake eyelashes, pens to write on wine glasses, fingerless gloves and cocktail rings. I would have done the exact same thing.)

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{Prizes!!!!}

And, Barbara emailed Tony a list of questions about himself, me and our relationship. I had to answer them and, if I got them wrong, I had to put a piece of bubble gum in my mouth. I have the tiniest mouth (when I go to the dentist, he has to use child-size contraptions for anything that goes in), and so I looked like a chipmunk by the end. A few highlights:

Tony question

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QUESTION: What is Annie’s least favorite food? ANSWER: Food from any chain restaurant. {True, sadly. I told you I’m a snob.}

QUESTION: How many children does Tony want to have? Bonus points if you can guess the names. ANSWER: 2 boys named Ronjohn and Shackleford. {I answered correctly AND got Ronjohn right. Blocked Shackleford from my memory.}

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QUESTION: What does Tony think is your most annoying habit? ANSWER: Saying “thank you” for me. {I didn’t know this, but I do now! THANK YOU, Tony!}

QUESTION: What’s Tony’s most annoying habit? ANSWER: Farting. {HE was wrong. I said “Only using dishes I have to handwash for him, instead of using ones I can put in the dishwasher.”}

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QUESTION: Which movies does Annie most quote from? ANSWER: Clueless. {As if! I cannot remember one time I have ever quoted that movie.}

QUESTION: What does Tony think is your best physical feature? ANSWER: Her boobs. {Wish my grandma hadn’t been there for that one.}

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QUESTION: Who first said, “I love you?” Answer: Me (Tony). {True! He said it on his way out the door to his SNL audition. Then came back in, said “I didn’t mean that. It’s too soon,” and left.}

QUESTION: What’s Tony’s favorite thing about you? ANSWER: Her love, her care and how sweet she is! {I said “my sense of humor,” but I will take all of these instead.}

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And, at the end of the party, Tony showed up to surprise me with a bouquet of peonies and roses, my favorite (person and flowers):

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This was after he waited in line half the morning at the post office, steamed my dress, drove my mom and grandma to the party, and then came back and drove me and Jax to the party. He was an hour late to the School of Rock wrap party, just so he could be there. May 30th also happens to be our “dateiversary” anniversary, and it was the best anniversary ever.

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The Saint Felix is already gorgeous, but the girls had transformed the place – feather boas, pearls and flowers were everywhere. And the service was amazing; there was a “food area” to nosh on treats, and the staff also circulated with passed snacks (my favorite were the fried mushroom risotto balls). I love sit-down teas and brunches for bridal showers too, but I personally think this was the perfect set-up for a party; it made it possible to circulate and chat with everyone, rather than being confined to one chair (although my feet did hurt so much from standing by the end of the party, I still can’t feel the last two toes on both feet. That is no one’s fault but my own for hardly sitting down, and Christian Louboutin’s for making shoes that destroyed me.)

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I always wanted a sister (so much so that I only referred to my baby brother Billy as “Kirsten,” for a long enough time my parents considered sending me to a psychologist). I love my brother, but I am so lucky to have found women in my life who’ve become like family, too. I loved watching everyone mingle and meet new people; Jax commented at the end of the day, “All of your friends are so nice.” They are. I won the life lottery with Tony, and won it all over again finding this circle of intelligent, hilarious, selfless, loyal and driven women in this insane, selfish city. One of my friends came up to me at the end of the party, and I think her statement pretty much sums up the heart of the event: “I thought I didn’t want to get married. But now, I think I do, just so I can have all of my friends come together for me like this.” Beneath all the fun and drinking and frosting and games, there is something almost tribal about the tradition of a bridal shower, all of the most important women in your life surrounding you with love and support. I’m so grateful. It was one of the happiest, most unforgettable days of my life. Thank you so much, Katierose, Jax, Barbara and Ali, Michelle and Julia! I love you girls so much.

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{Me + my Maids of Honor, Katierose + Jax}

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{Bridesmaids: Katierose, Michelle, Ali + Jax}

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{And Barbara!!}

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Here are a few more photos, because they bring me so much happiness I just can’t help myself:

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{Staring at cake, Pt. I}

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{Staring at cake, Pt. II}

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{Katierose’s FABULOUS shoes}

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{My brother’s sweet girlfriend Kelsi + Mom + Grandma + Me}

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{Flowers from Tony’s mama + Z at home next to my favorite new purse}

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{Tony + me at the School of Rock wrap party}

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{Jax + me at Universal Studios, post-shower and wrap party. After this, we went home and ate a lot of cake. Perfect ending to the perfect day.}