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In last week's edition of Wedstravaganza, I took you through a virtual cornucopia of meal selections, RSVP count updates, cake styles and selections, reception ballroom pictures, and photographer choices. We're now at week six of the eight-part series, so I'm going to attempt to wind up many events in this edition, and prepare you for what my final wedding day looked like and how everything came together.

After deciding to rent a projection system from our chosen wedding place, Marci and I set ourselves on a mission to locate a bunch of old photographs. You know, those yellow, 1970s-era (oops, I let me age slip there, heh) Polaroids and crusty images found spread amongst photo albums from family members on both sides.

Marci's mom and dad obliged with over six albums full of pictures from infant age through college, and my parents did the same. In fact, we had so many pictures at our choosing that it was hard to pick out 150 images or so that would work for the final reception presentation.

With a 15-foot screen and a projector setup at our disposal, I opted to use the "Slide Show" feature inside the Windows Photo Gallery program that comes standard with Windows Vista. Normally, I would have used PowerPoint to get a presentation underway, but I was impressed with the newer slide show feature within Vista that was super easy to use, and with a time crunch looming, I opted for that. Now that the tool was selected, I underwent the arduous task of scanning in 150 pictures. Thank goodness the Canon LiDE25 scanner sitting in my office was able to scan four pictures at once and crop them into individual images. That alone saved hours of time.

So, once all the photos were scanned in, I set them all up to be shown in the slide show starting with the youngest pictures to the oldest. In other words, chronological order. The show alternated between her pictures and mine, and ended up being fantastic. After running through several tests to determine slide length and presentation style, I backed up the photo folder and set it aside for the wedding night. Thank you, Windows Vista.

Being so close to the edge, I figured finding a DJ wouldn't hurt (heh). We planned on a festive but laid-back reception, so I was looking for someone with their own equipment who was willing to take the playlists I created. Through a family contact (my mom), I located a DJ in my area and we booked the date. Now, on to the music.

I had about 2.5 hours to fill, and at an average of four minutes per song, I needed a specific number of tunes. It took Marci and I days to hone the list down to a manageable size, along with songs for kids to dance to as well as the 'first dance' song and a few other very romantic choices. I was torn between Don Henley's "For My Wedding" and Big and Rich's "Lost in this Moment" for the first dance song.

I never let Marci know which one I picked -- she'd just have to wait until the wedding night to hear which one I'd chose for our special moment. Sorry, you'll have to wait also. Al, my friend, thanks for working with me on playing our reception songs in the order we wanted them, and for being so flexible in the music cues we set up for our reception to make it appear that we had the music and entertainment under control. You were the wizard behind the curtain, man.

So, onto the next project: to have or not to have adult beverages at the wedding. We had our wedding in a smaller town away from the main metro area we live in, so driving would be an issue. Although there were many hotels in the area, some folks would be driving home -- hopefully without being inebriated in any form. Well, we chose to have wine (Cabernet and Chardonnay) present at the reception, in addition to the supplied fruit punch, water, tea, and coffee. Also, some champagne was in order for those special toast moments.

My brother went to bat for me and delivered a toast (thanks Brandon -- your toast touched my heart and I own you one), and Marci's lifelong friend Amy delivered one to her (Amy, dear -- thanks for sharing some of those memories. Seriously!). So, with enough champagne in the house to make a few toasts, we decided that wine would be the only alcohol that night. It complimented the food nicely, of course, and I was given help on calculating the right amount to have available that night. Thanks, dad, for ponying up for those bottles. It did mean a lot to both of us.

So, with the wine and champagne calculations out of the way, and the bottles purchased at wholesale, on we moved to the next project. Actually, the final printing of the wedding programs was the next project. I had completed the design in Microsoft Publisher, and had already put on the finishing touches. I confirmed that all the names were spelled correctly, and other details with all those involved, and then set my Samsung color laser printer up to print 130 copies. This took a few print runs on some very high-quality paper, but the end result was fantastic. The hard part was sitting there for an hour folding them perfectly and stowing them away in one of the supply boxes being piled up with all the goods that would travel down to the wedding ceremony with me.

That's it for this week's edition of Wedstravaganza. We have two more weeks remaining in this feature, and I'll wrap up a few more details next week before we get to the "big day" that happened August 3, 2007. I have quite a few pictures to choose from to build a gallery for readers of this feature, so stay tuned! See you right here next week.

P.S. -- at this point, I can't help but sneak in a post-wedding ceremony photo of one of our flower girls -- Reagan (Marci's niece). She is so cute, and this picture was just screaming to be posted today. Enjoy!

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