Monday, March 31, 2008

Wedding Bands for Abroad

Mike wanted to get inexpensive wedding bands to take with us on our honeymoon. Even though my ring is insured, he didn't want to take the chance that a pick pocket would try to lift it while we were abroad.

So we got matching titanium infinity groove bands from e-weddingbands. The 08/08/08 and the infinity kinda go together, so I liked the symbolism. His rings says "Pam & Mike Always ~ 08/08/08 ~" and mine says "Mike & Pam Always ~ 08/08/08 ~." Mine is 6mm and his 8mm. It was a bit difficult to find a titanium band that came in a 4 1/4. The smallest Jared would make a titanium band was in a size 5.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Emily's Flower Girl Basket

Here is a picture of Emily's flower girl basket. She will be tossing orchid heads instead of rose petals while coming down the aisle. The basket is in ivory to match my dress. The men in the bridal party will also be wearing ivory shirts instead of white.

I purchased the basket online from Beyond Bridal because it had the cheapest price out of all the bridal retailers that I saw online. Some vendors were selling the basket for up to $45.

UPDATE: We got the flower girl basket in the mail today, and it is T-I-N-Y. I guess most flower girls are younger than Emily, but this basket is just silly. I think I will have to list it on eBay and find a new basket more suited for an 8 year old.

So, I found this basket at Michael's on clearance. It isn't a traditional flower girl basket, but I think it will go well with the dark brown color scheme we have for the wedding. We may try to dress it up a bit with some ribbon or something.

UPDATE UPDATE: So we decided against having Emily throw any kind of flowers. Instead, we are having our florist make a kissing ball (aka wedding ball, pomander). This will work well because the garden requires you to pick up anything that is thrown on the ground after the ceremony anyways.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Meet Pam and Mike

I realized that some of you may need introduction to one of us, so here are brief bios to serve as introduction.

Meet Pam

Pam is 28 years old and was born in Gainesville, Florida. Her father passed away when she was seven, but her mother Helen is alive and well - currently visiting Pam's middle sister Kim who recently had her first baby Max! Kim and Tony live in Chicago while Mom and sister Lisa live in Florida. Pam has two sisters, Lisa and Kim, who are 18 and 7 years respectively her elders. Lisa and Steve have three children - Rachael, Ryan, and Emily (Pam's nieces and nephew).

Pam graduated from the University of Florida with a Masters of Science in Decision and Information Sciences in 2002. She has worked as a systems developer in the financial services and medical consulting industries. She is currently a PhD candidate at UNC Charlotte in Information Technology as well as a part-time business analyst for a large financial services organization.

On a more personal note, Pam is a non-denominational Christian. She is half Cantonese from her mother's side. She has two cats named Chiaroscuro and Ra. Strengths include proactiveness, a commitment to self improvement, and organization. Pam values loving God and others and is very happy that she is on the path toward building her own family.

Meet Mike

Mike is currently 31 years old and was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan. His parents are Barbara and Joseph Wisniewski, who are divorced. Mike's dad and wife Julie live in California while Mike's mom lives here in Charlotte. Mike has one sister who is about 3 years older, lives in California, and has a PhD in Biochemistry; her name is Michele.

Mike graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a bachelor degree in mechanical engineering. He worked for IBM for eight and a half years in various roles from consulting to technical sales. He currently works from home for a software services company as the Strategic Services Manager for the Southeast US. He sells embedded software solutions.

Mike was raised Catholic and went to Catholic school all the way through college. After having religion beat out (or in?) to him, he recently began voluntarily practicing his Christian faith again. He has a one year old adolescent Australian shepherd named Uluru. His strengths include intelligence, sense of humor, and versatility. Mike values hard work and close family.

Afterward: All animals mentioned above - Scuro, Ra, and Ru - have since been adopted by both parents and are loved as one big, happy family.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Wedding Party Attire


The females in the wedding party will be getting their dresses from David's Bridal. They are probably the largest bridal chain with the most locations. We decided to let the women of the wedding party decide their own style for their dresses except they will be wearing truffle (brown) knee-length dresses. We figured knee-length would be a lot cooler for the summer and my mom just looked silly in tea-length.

Color: Truffle
Style: Knee-length
Deadline for Ordering: July 1, 2008 (need to give 8 weeks for delivery)

Here is an example:


The guys are going to be wearing tuxedos from Men's Warehouse or MW Tux because they carry the coordinating colors with David's Bridal. It is also nice because they are a national chain with a pretty good reputation. We decided to go with ivory shirts to match my dress instead of the bright white. Mike will be wearing a champagne colored vest while the groomsmen will be wearing truffle.

Group Name: Wisniewski-Karr Wedding
Group ID: 1665931
Fitting Deadline: 7/25/2008
Pick up in Charlotte, NC: 8/6/2008 - 8/7/2008

Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens

I told Mike even before we were engaged that I wanted to get married on 08/08/08, and that if he wanted to get married at the Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens (which he has always liked), then we needed to reserve about a year in advance. (I am gutsy, I know!) He thought about it, and he thought some more, and then he decided that we should go for it! So he went to the garden on August 10, 2007 to put down a deposit for the garden. (We got engaged on September 22, 2007).

Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden
6500 South New Hope Road, Belmont, NC 28012
P: (704) 825-4490 | F: (704) 829-1240

It is the best botanical garden in the area even though it is still fairly young. They recently built an orchid conservatory which opened to the public this year. Along with the garden, DSBG has a really nice building for events which is where the reception will be held.

Some negative points we have encountered since booking:

-You have to choose out of 4 caterers that work exclusively for the garden.
-The caterers pay a fee to the garden to be a preferred vendor, so this fee may come straight back to the customers (namely us).
-The rate to reserve the garden is pretty high, but it does not include anything other than access to the garden. We still had to pay for catering, decorations, event facility/equipment rentals.
-Management at the garden has recently changed. At first they were going to give us a price break on renting the orchid conservatory, but they will no longer hold up what they told us.
-Reaching anyone in the sales department at the garden is nearly impossible. I think they have so much demand that they really don't have to care about their customers.

The rental company we have to work with is called Creative Solutions. So far, one benefit is that they are very familiar with what is needed for the garden. We haven't had any problems with them.

Creative Solutions

So, in retrospect, we may have chosen somewhere else for the wedding. However, we still love the garden itself.

One neat story about the garden is about the beautiful stained glass dome on the main building. A company called the Looking Glass restored a 22-foot antique stained glass dome which was found at Great Gatsby’s in Atlanta. It was disassembled and the panels were shipped in crates to The Looking Glass for restoration. The stained glass is now one of the beautiful accents to the Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens.

April's Floral Expressions

We chose April to do our flowers for the wedding. She actually does silk arrangements instead of real flowers. I liked the idea of having silk flowers to keep as a keepsake. They are also cheaper.

April's Floral Expressions

(704) 536-5111

We are going to have phalaenopsis orchids as our wedding flower possibly with bamboo accents.

Orchids can impart a wide variety of messages, but historically the meanings of orchids have included wealth, love, and beauty. To the ancient Greeks, orchids suggested virility, and after the rise in popularity of orchid collections in Victorian England, the meaning of orchids moved towards being symbolic of luxury. Orchids have also been believed to carry various healing and protective properties, allowing them to ward off disease. The Aztecs were said to drink a mixture of the vanilla orchid and chocolate to give them power and strength, and the Chinese believe orchids can help cure lung illnesses and coughs.
Today, the meanings of orchids are generally regarded as a symbolic of rare and delicate beauty. Orchids are the most popular houseplant, a top honor they share with the peace lily. Their charm and mystique delight those who receive them, for few other flowers have the ability to impress their recipient in the same way that the orchid can. Among the many different types of flowers available, the orchid holds a special place as one of the most alluring and captivating, making them a special choice for the treasured people in your life.

Mike and I both really like orchids. I also like the fact that they have an Asian influence to them. One website I found said that orchids were the Chinese symbol for "many children." As long as "many" means two, we are very cool with that! :-)

Wedding Insurance

Since we will be getting married at a very nice garden and are providing guests with alcohol, we decided to buy wedding insurance. We don't want Uncle so-and-so kicking over a $10 K plant or anything!

WedSafe Wedding Insurance Program

We purchased the following policies:
1) Special Event Cancellation Insurance Policy - $ 221.00
2) Special Event Liability Insurance Policy - $176.00

Wedsafe was the most highly recommended and largest wedding insurance place we found, so we went with them. After the wedding, I will post a review if we had good/bad/indifferent experiences with them.

Wedding Transportation

We are using CLT Express for our wedding transportation. We talked to the owner Jeff today, and we will be having a shuttle service from the hotel to the gardens for the entirety of the wedding. I think we are also going to get a limousine for part of the wedding party.

CLT Express
3929 Morris field Drive
Charlotte, NC 28208

Here is a picture of the 25 passenger mini bus:

Their prices were relatively affordable, and the owner was easy to work with. I have never ridden in a limo before!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Important Guest Information


If you are flying, you should be flying into the Charlotte-Douglas International Airport (CLT). Charlotte is a US Airways hub, so you can definitely find a US Airways flight to our Queen city.


Main Wedding Hotel: The main wedding hotel for our guests will be the Sheraton Charlotte Airport Hotel. The group rate is $89/night, and we have reserved a block of 25 rooms. You will be able to get the group rate as long as you tell them you are with the "Wisniewski-Karr Wedding" party. Please book your rooms by July 1, 2008.

>>Reserve your hotel room.

Sheraton Charlotte Airport Hotel
3315 Scott Futrell Drive
Charlotte, North Carolina 28208
Phone: (704) 392-1200


We have arranged for transportation so that you will not need to rent a car while you are in town.

Hotel/Airport Shuttle
When your plane arrives, simply follow the signs to the baggage claim area. There will be a courtesy phone labeled "Sheraton Airport" that you can pick up to have the shuttle come pick you up. It is important that you call because pick ups do not continuously run, and the hotel needs to know you have arrived. However, when you are leaving the hotel for the airport, the shuttle runs every half hour. You just need to be in the lobby 5 minutes before the shuttle departs.

Hotel/Our House

We will have family members who have vehicles help carpool guests without transportation from the hotel to the rehearsal cookout on Thursday. Please email us if you need a ride.

Hotel/Wedding Ceremony and Reception

There will be a professional shuttle bus service (provided for free to wedding guests) to bring guests from the hotel to the wedding. The shuttle service will run back and forth to the hotel for the entirety of the wedding for guests who may want to leave a little early.

Shuttle Bus Schedule:

To make it ON TIME to the garden for the ceremony, you will need to take the shuttle listed at the times below. However, each shuttle ONLY CARRIES 25 PASSENGERS at a time. Therefore, you will need to plan accordingly because not everyone will be able to take the last bus. There simply won't be enough seats!

Pick up from Hotel: 4:15 PM, 4:45 PM, 5:05 PM, 5:35 PM, 5:55 PM (times may vary by a few minutes depending on traffic)

Continuous Shuttle: A shuttle bus will be making trips back and forth from the wedding to the hotel. It takes approximately 50 minutes for a round trip (25 minutes each way). If you need to leave early or forgot something and need to come back, you are welcomed to take advantage of the free shuttle service.

Pick up from the Garden: 9:40 PM, 10:10 PM, 10:30 PM, 11 PM, and 11:20 PM (times may vary by a few minutes depending on traffic)

Since the reception ends at 11 PM, guests will need to also coordinate which shuttle bus they would like to take back to the hotel. Again, not everyone will be able to leave exactly at 11 PM and fit all on one 25 passenger shuttle bus. By that time, Mike and I will have better things to think about, so please make sure you don't get stranded at the garden!

Bachelor Party - August 6, 2008

Michele, Mike's sister and best man, will be throwing Mike a bachelor party the Wednesday before the wedding at the US National White Water Center. Those invited to the bachelor party will be receiving the details via eVite.

Rehearsal Dinner - August 7, 2008 @ 4 PM

EVERYONE attending the wedding is invited! Since we are blessed with many out of town guests flying or driving in for the wedding, we decided against having an intimate rehearsal dinner for only the wedding party and will be having a cook out at our house on August 7, 2008 - the day before the wedding. In town guests are welcomed to bring a side dish. Out-of-town guests need only to bring themselves.

Wedding Ceremony/Reception - August 8, 2008

Both the wedding ceremony and reception will be held at the Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens in Belmont, NC. We are planning to have a shuttle running between the hotel and the gardens for the entirety of the wedding. Guests are expected to arrive at the gardens at 6 PM. This should give you a few minutes to enjoy the garden before the ceremony begins. We will have access to the whole garden (which is what we paid for!) for the ceremony and reception so please take the time to walk around the beautifully landscaped gardens between eating, dancing, and generally being merry. We have DSBG reserved until 11 PM at which time they will kick us all out. And yes, Mike has made arrangements to make sure there will be alcohol at the reception.


Believe it or not, it is really HOT in Charlotte in August. However, since the wedding ceremony will be outside in the evening (and fairly abbreviated) and the reception will be held indoors, it should be bearable. Suitable attire would be nice summer dresses for women and slacks and button up shirts for men. No ties or jackets are necessary if you don't want to wear them. However, Mike and I will be in formal wedding attire. The groomsmen will be wearing tuxes, and the bridesmaids will be wearing knee-length formal dresses.


Directions between all points of interest concerning the wedding events will be posted here for your convenience. We have to figure out a few more details through before posting maps with driving directions. Stay tuned!

How We Met

Pam's Version

For two geeks, it is pretty appropriate that we met on-line at I actually had my profile hidden and sent Mike an email. I think he thought I must have been a porn site advertisement at first because I included the link to my website, However, either in search of some good porn or actually genuinely interested, Mike went to my website and wrote me back pretty quickly. His first e-mail back to me had the subject line "Never too geeky" because I had mentioned in my email that two techies might be a little too much. Within a few days he gave me a call. At the end of the call, I asked him if he was going to ask me out or not. ;-)

So we officially met on his 30th birthday for a cup of coffee at Starbucks. The first time I saw him, he was opening the door for some Asian girl in the coffee shop. I smiled because I realized he probably thought that was me. We had a nice conversation, and he asked me out again for the upcoming Friday. As we were leaving he said, "I won't try to kiss you since you warned me that you might duck if I tried to kiss you on the first date." It was cute, and we had a good time. As Mike put it, "I had a wonderful Birthday, I met this really incredible woman for a two hour cup of coffee ;-)."

I like to think that I was what God gave Mike for his 30th birthday present.

Mike's Version

I had been on for a few years and meet a number of interesting people but never the "one" until one day I received an email from a girl with no profile, just a website stating that we may be way too geeky to be together. This had always been a bad thing in the past, but I decided to check her site out... I'm glad I did. I decided to write back and then call her. Pam sounded perfect, though a little more forward than I was use to... she stated that she actually "ducked kisses on a first date" and actually ended the call with; "are you going to ask me out for coffee or something?"

So we met for coffee on my birthday at a Starbucks by Northlake Mall. I was there a few minutes early and got a tea (because it was afternoon and I did not need the caffeine). So I was looking for an "Asian-looking" girl at Starbucks in Charlotte... what was the chance of another Asian girl to arrive at Starbucks at exactly the same time Pam was suppose to arrive. So I opened the door and asked "Pam?" though she did not exactly look like her picture and she was not Pam... I looked toward the other door and there was Pam, not a good start! I walked over to Pam, who had a questioning look on her face asking; "who was that?" In the end I stated that Pam was a lot cuter than the other girl (which is VERY true). Pam proceeded to buy a mocha and we decided to get some dinner at Moe's.

At Moe's, Pam spilled her drink on herself and I ran to get her napkins. I knew she was a good one. We ate dinner (starting outside and ending inside, because it was cold) and she had to leave early to read to elderly people... very sweet and thoughtful. At the end I asked if she would duck if I tried to kiss her and she laughed. I asked her out for another date and we went our separate ways.

I will always remember that day as the best birthday present ever!

Friday, March 7, 2008

My Wedding Dress

I know, I know, it isn't very traditional to show Mike much less EVERYONE my dress before the wedding, but, heck, why not?

We ordered my dress from a Charlotte Bridal Botique called the Lily Rose. We decided on the Casablanca 1831 in ivory. I think it is simple yet very elegant. It is a rich taffeta with buttons down the back. It gathers around the waist and has a very minimalistic bead work on the front. One of the things I was looking for - which was surprisingly hard to find - was a dress that had straps. I didn't want to feel like I needed to pull up my dress all night.

So now I have 22 weeks before the wedding which means I need to lose a pound a week! I ordered the dress to fit me now, but I am hoping by the time the wedding comes around, we will have to take it in, not just up!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Honeymoon - Hotel St. George Roma

We booked a hotel room for after the honeymoon cruise in Rome at Hotel St. George. It has a great mix of the old world style and new world comfort. It is centrally located near the Vatican, the Pantheon, and the Forum. And they have high speed Internet.