Category: Getting Hitched (Page 1 of 3)

Creative Non-Fiction | Curtains

The final curtain call of a performance holds a mix of sadness and relief. You can take off your costume now, wipe off the makeup, and finally eat the bag of curly fries that’s been calling your name since you arrived for call 5 hours ago. You get to see your loved ones again. You don’t have to say, “No, I’m sorry. I can’t. I have rehearsal.”

But once there was a curtain call that changed my life.

In May 2013, I watched Conor, one of our leading men and Pride & Prejudice’s producer, address the sold-out audience after we made our bows. My smile was fixed in place as he rattled off his thank yous to the men, women, and teens hoping to get extra credit in English for attending our 1960’s take on the Jane Austen classic. It was funny and heartwarming. There was a good energy. I was tired, but the beehive itching on my head was well-worth the sacrifice. My cast mates and I could go downstairs to the after party when this was over. There would be chips, champagne, and finally, some time with my boyfriend, Brent, who hadn’t seen much of me in the past 6 weeks. My ears perked at the flat creaking with Conor’s turn toward me.

“Mandy, can you come up here for a minute?”

Um, what? Was I getting thanked for laying out the program? Reaching out to sponsors to fund this thing? Shit, I mean, it was InDesign and email but it wasn’t like it was rocket science. He reached out for my hand as I stepped toward center stage. We, and the audience, laughed. Conor was smiling at me but said nothing. This was awkward.  Bingley holding hands with Charlotte? Was it some kind of joke?

I heard a stray, “Wait a minute!” and frantic whispers from the back of the stage. All eyes turned to the back of the set: an open doorway. Brent walked through it.

“Ladies and gentlemen, we have more more quick special announcement.”

Were they thanking us together? Me for the program and him for the promotional photos? He was dressed up, clean shaven but there was the unmistakable sheen of nervousness on his forehead. Then he spoke.

Before you pass out, your heartbeat sounds loudly in your ears and the whole world gets quiet. That slowing of time you saw in the movie “Big Fish”? Yep. That’s real. For a moment and longer it was me and him and the floating particles of dust in the spotlights.

“For the past five years you’ve been my confidant, my partner, my best friend and I…can’t imagine life without you. Mandy Leigh Boyle, will you marry me?”

Two sentences took hours, days, months, years, a lifetime. Inward, I was smiling and screaming and jumping up and down but I couldn’t say a word. All I could do was cry and nod. He’ll tell you that I made a noise like a motorboat.  The answer was always, “Yes.”


75 Thoughts You’ll Have Getting Ready for Your Wedding Day

A few months ago, Brent and I tied the knot. It was…perfect. Absolutely and in every way.

But internally, while I was surrounded by all of this perfection, my mind raced. So many thoughts and feelings.

They sounded and felt a little something like this…

The Morning Of

sleep sleeping wizard of oz judy garland the wizard of oz

1.) Zzzzzz….. (*alarm blasts waking you from sweet, sweet slumber*)

2.) Five more minutes…no…WAIT. I’M GETTING MARRIED TODAY.


80s vintage kiss retro 1980s


5.) Note to self: Do not forget deodorant. Also wear a button down shirt so you don’t jack up your hair like some animal.

6.) Headpiece? Check. Jewelry? Check. Random assortment of pharmacy essentials in the event of a sudden headache diarrhea indigestion attack? Check.

On the Commute

7.) Let’s go get spiffed up! OMG. What if there’s construction? PLEASE DON’T LET THERE BE A DARK RED LINE ON THE MAP, GOOGLE!


9.) NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! (stares at sea of brake lights).

no the office michael scott please no

10.) God? Are you there? It’s me – a frazzled bride in search of meaning and a clear roadway.

11.) If you let this traffic pass and I’m not late for everything, throwing off the entire flow of the day and ruining it for everyone, I’ll be eternally grateful!

12.) What’s this? MOVEMENT?!

13.) Whew. False alarm. We’re moving again. People will make it to the wedding and we won’t have to eat 900 pounds of shrimp by ourselves (though that wouldn’t be so bad…)

tina fey hungry shrimp happy eating

Getting Hair & Makeup


film musical gtkmm get to know me meme natalie wood

15.) Why did I never learn to use a curling iron like a real person?

16.) Maybe I should give YouTube another shot. BRING ON THE HAIR TUTORIAL VIDEOS.

17.) Can you just be here to do my hair every day?

18.) Do celebrities have healthy hair with all of that styling and hot tool usage?

sad zooey deschanel frown pout the new girl

19.) Who am I kidding? I won’t suddenly start doing my own hair. I’ll watch YouTube videos and mourn.

20.) Ooo! This makeup looks delightful!

21.) Why don’t I wear makeup more often?

22.) Oh, yeah. Because it takes time and effort.

23.) My eyes are…how you say…on fleek?

24.) Brow game is strong today.


princess diaries celebrities

26.) I’m like a fairy princess in this flower crown.

27.) *sneaks peek in another mirror* WOOOOOOO!

28.) Okay. Now what?

29.) I’m going to watch my friends and family get their hair and makeup done too!

28.) *fidget* *fidget* *fidget* WHEW. OKAY. THIS IS REAL.

29.)  Everyone looks so great!

30.) *hears Madonna’s “Like a Prayer”* LIFE IS A MYSTERYYYYYYY

madonna like a prayer 80s music video

31.) Where is Madonna right now? She’s probably not in an Ulta. I’m in an Ulta.

32.) I’m so happy this button down fits me right now. #buttongap


34.) *sniffs every perfume*

35.) Imma dance right now right here.

dance feeling it 80s films bored


37.) Okay, Mom. I’ll stop.


39.) Why is my stomach so flip floppy?

40.) Flip floppy. Flip floppy. Such a weird phrase.  Andy Samberg.

grace helbig hannah hart mamrie hart lonely island on a boat

41.) I’M ON A BOAT!

42.) We’re all ready? Awesome! Great!


44.) This car feels so hot.  It’s October. What is this nonsense?!

airplane sweat sweating

45.) *cracks window* No. Yes. No. YES.

46.) Aww, Mom. You’re getting me all teary looking over here!


48.) Wow – we’re here already. That went quick!

Getting Dressed


matt ren thumbs kylo

50.) Wait. Gotta put on deodorant again.

51.) Wait. Gotta brush my teeth.

52.) Wait. Gotta change bras into that undergarment thing I paid way too much money for but is integral to the structure and shape of my dress.

53.) Getting married is a con.


movies audrey hepburn funny face

55.) Okay. Dress. On. Yes.

56.) This is slipping.

57.) Anyone have a safety pin!?


59.) No, Mom, don’t cry! If you cry, I’ll cry too!

60.) I wish I brought a sweater. Might get a chill.

61.) My Nanny would be proud. I’m in her pearls and thinking about cardigans.

62.) Okay. I’m dressed. I’m ready. LET’S DO THIS.

awkward jim carrey ace ventura primping

63.) How do I sneak out without Brent seeing me? I know he’s next door…

64.) Is the coast clear? The coast is clear. Let’s book.

65.) Wow, walking in a dress like this is…interesting.


community awkward alison brie bye annie edison

67.)  Am I ready for this? I’m ready for this.

68.) Do I need to pee? No. I’m good. This is just nervousness.

69.) Everyone is looking at me in the lobby. How…do….I….respond to this?

70.) Do not close dress in car door. Do not close dress in car door. Do not close dress in car door.

71.) Do not mess up hair. Do not mess up hair. Do not mess up hair.

72.) *smile at Mom*

73.) I can’t believe it’s here already.

tv excited mom arrested development screaming

74.) It’s all happening.

75.) This is the best day. I’m with the best people. Everything is the best.





Let’s Talk About the Wedding Food

When I think about what excited me most in planning our wedding, choosing the food was ranked right up there with the dress.


Food is a big deal in my life. It brings me happiness. I enjoy cooking and baking. Trying a new food? Thrilling.

I think the whole love affair with food comes from having a grandmother and a great-grandmother who both put a lot of focus on ensuring everyone in their nests were well fed.

For a 2-year stint in junior high, I wanted to be a pastry chef. Today, I get my fix by hosting brunches for the theater ensemble I’m in and trying Chopped challenges in our kitchen.

Picking the food for our wedding was a fun experience. It was pretty stress-free, too (thanks, Appletree!) But, I did take away a few lessons from it:

  • Pick things you like. Both the Mister and I chose foods that we personally enjoyed eating for our menu, but we balanced that out with things we knew everyone would like or appreciate.
  • Be sensitive to your guests. We have a lot of food allergies and lifestyles to be mindful of, so when we planned our menu, we kept that in mind. Having our guests have a good time is really important, so we thought about what people could and couldn’t eat. We chose a good variety of dishes so that there was something for everyone.
  • Don’t take yourselves too seriously. The best wedding food I ever had was at a backyard BBQ. Keeping things simple is usually the best way to go. Don’t try to do something super fancy if that’s not your gig. Don’t know what it is? You don’t have to serve it. We went with what we considered to be our comfort foods.

I’m really excited to try what we have planned. Here’s a teaser including a few of the items:

  • Mini Assorted Grilled Cheese & Reuben Station Featuring Tomato Soup
  • Mashed Potato Bar, including Buttermilk Ranch with Jack Cheese and Scallions, Cheddar, & Homestyle potatoes
  • Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms with Roasted Grape Tomato and Green Onions in a Bourbon Glaze
  • Sculptured Fresh Fruit & Cheese Display with Signature Dip & Assorted Crackers
  • Carved Encrusted Fresh Pork Loin Encrusted w/ Italian Seasoning, Lemon, Garlic & Panko
  • French Vanilla Ice Cream with Hot Fudge

Hungry? So are we.


Saving the Date

We made and sent out our save the dates. And they’re quite lovely, if I do say so myself!

Busy morning making save the dates in the Boyle-Pennington household! #literarywedding #bookish #wedding #library

A photo posted by Mandy Boyle (@mandyboyle_) on

When we started the journey of wedding planning, we were on the fence as to whether or not we wanted to even do save the dates. The desire to use library cards in some fashion was just too great.

To make these puppies, we started by gathering up library cards and sleeves. Luckily, Brent’s mom volunteers at a school library and was able to rescue these from the trash.

Next, we scanned the library card and created a template in Open Office (can I get a hell yeah for open source tech?!). Brent had the patience to do this. I did not.

Then, we found a typewriter-ish font that could work and started populating the template. When we were happy with the details, we printed them on a borrowed inkjet printer (thanks, Paul!) and got to pasting those sleeves on index cards.

But the hardest part of save the dates – and so far the mot stressful thing in wedding planning I’ve encountered – was getting everyone’s addresses.

Holy moly. Next to narrowing down the guest list (more on that in another post), this has been the toughest thing to get done. Even now, I still have a few address labels that are empty as we’re trying to track down updated address information (and in some cases, any contact information at all!).

The next big project is to start with the invitations. We have some designs we like picked out and the big question now is whether or not we’re going to try designing it ourselves or using some sort of template. Time will tell :)

Who Remembers Napkins?

LOADS of progress on the wedding front, folks.

The Mister and I met with our venue and we made some progressive decisions. The menu, the linens, the cake, the start and end time, the bar, the beers, the napkins…this wedding, it has everything.

The meeting lasted about an hour and when it was over, we both felt exhausted.

Who knew choosing napkin colors would take so much out of you?

Okay, not really, but it’s part of a greater problem: decision overwhelm.

Planning a wedding is like getting put on a beach and asked, “So, which grain of sand are you going to go with?”

There are a thousand options for everything. And that kind of sucks.

It sucks because it puts the focus on all of these THINGS instead of the getting married deal, which is the most important part.

I don’t remember the napkins I used at the last wedding I attended. I don’t remember what colors were used. I remember what the food was like, how much fun we had, and how lovely the bride and groom were. I remember how cute the flower girl was as she danced and twirled.

Thinking back further to the last three weddings I’ve been to, the themes are all the same: I remember the food, if the music was good, how beautiful the bride and groom looked, and how much fun we had.

(Note: our loved ones throw some damn fine parties, too.)

When thinking about what we wanted in our day, the things we remember about weddings were the things that were most important, so that’s where we’re putting more of our energy.

But damn, being offered 15 different color choices for napkins is a little crippling.

I picked burgundy – because it looked nice with the champagne tablecloths and fit the carpet and upholstery in the event space.

And that’s all I really have to say on the subject.

If you’re planning a wedding, don’t worry about the napkins. They won’t be remembered and it’s one less thing to worry about.

Just have a good time – it’s going to be wonderful.


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