Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Wedding planning advice.

Welp, I have bad news. Still no pictures. Which means I can't really give you any real life wedding posts until that occurs. Instead, I thought it might be fun to do a little lessons learned post in regards to wedding planning.

Wedding planning can be tricky - especially if you're not into details. I'm pretty sure the only people who enjoy wedding planning from start to finish (and are still wishing for it to continue once it's over) are OCD/Type A people like myself.

I said from the beginning that I was pretty sure I would never say "I'm ready for this planning thing to be over". Sure, the week leading up, I was ready for all the loose ends to be tied, but that was because I was so ready to marry JC, not because I was over it all!

Anyways. I've definitely learned a ton since JC proposed back in July 2013, so why not share that on this here blog in case a newbie bride feels like she's in over her head.

First and foremost, breathe! It'll all get done and if it doesn't all get done, it wasn't meant to be done. Remember that every step of the way.

Wedding planners. Hire one. I know it may seem like an unnecessary expense and some are definitely expensive, but do some research and I bet there's an up and coming wedding planner out there that you can hire for a reasonable cost. Heck, if you're in the Virginia, DC, or Maryland area, I'll be your wedding planner ;) I can just about guarantee you that you won't regret it (regardless who you choose). I can also all, but promise you that in the end, they will likely save you more money than what you spent on their services.

Give yourself a reasonable amount of time to plan. Of course, if you're like me - the very next day after you get engaged, even if you're still in Boston celebrating, you'll be researching venues and starting to nail down your ideas. But there will come a time when you're kind of, sort of over it for a bit and that's ok. It's nice to be able to give yourself a break here and there so that you don't get overwhelmed. And hey, when you're 2 months out and the majority of the tasks are done because you planned accordingly, you'll thank that Groom of yours for giving you plenty of time to get it all done.

Things will go wrong. Your hairstylist will back out on you. You'll have a ridiculously hard time finding someone to bake cupcakes at less than $1/piece. But it's all going to work out. Go back to step #1 and repeat it a few times in your head. It's likely all the things that go wrong will be turned around before you even have a chance to write a blog post about it ;)

You will never have enough money. I don't care if your budget is $15,000 or $50,000, if there is any sort of cut off, you're going to find something that doesn't fit within those constraints. It's inevitable, but its going to be ok. A DJ is a perfectly acceptable alternative to a band. That donut truck you wanted to surprise your Groom with? The owner will turn out to suck at communication anyways. The bistro lighting you always dreamed of lining the ceiling? Candles and dim lighting will get the job done. And at the end of the day, no one is going to remember any of that (not even you - I legitimately don't remember what everything looked like from that point of view).

People never eat desserts at weddings. Don't spend a lot of money on them. The grocery store bakery will do just fine with the cupcakes and that tiny 2 tier cake will be just enough for pictures/cutting.

Keep some things a secret. Sure, you're probably going to want to shout all your grand ideas from the rooftops, so everyone can tell you how wonderful they are. Try to hold back with some of them - especially with people that will be attending. Leave something to the imagination, so they can be even more wow'd when they arrive.

Allow people to pamper you and give you center stage. If you're like me, you probably hate being the center of attention. But that's kind of what being a bride is all about. Embrace it! You'll never get this chance again (hopefully) and I promise you'll look back and cherish every last moment where you let everyone else worry about things. And if you chose the right people, they will be so happy to be able to do those things for you!

No matter how much time you give yourself to plan, it will fly by. You're going to hear this from every bride you encounter, but I swear it's true. I remember this time last year, I thought the wedding was never going to get here. Now I'm a married woman.

Have some patience. This is more so on the actual wedding day, but could of course pertain to planning too. Even if you have the best of timelines and you're never a minute late anywhere, there's a very good chance you're going to go off schedule from time to time that day. It's inevitable with so many people involved. Take a breath and remember what it's all about. Remember what's most important to you - if being at the party for the longest period of time possible is it, then it's ok to rush through pictures. But if pictures are top priority, then maybe tell yourself it's ok if everything is 10-15 minutes delayed, to make sure you get the most perfect shots and plenty to choose from. Whatever it is, focus on that.

HAVE FUN. I think this is most important through it all. From start to finish. If you're lucky, you'll never plan another wedding again. You'll never have another day that is solely about you and the love of your life. Enjoy picking out those flowers, even if you could care less. Induldge in some extra cake at the tasting. Splurge on that lighting. Laugh at the madness. I promise, it's all worth it in the end.

Wedding Wednesday

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Tomorrow will be the best day ever.

September 26th 2014

It was a day I had been thinking about all week.

The day it all begins.

The day we get to unload all the hard work on to someone else's shoulders, pop the top on a Miller Lite and enjoy our wedding weekend. Because that's exactly what it was: our weekend.

The week leading up to the wedding was a busy one. My initial plan to space things out throughout the week in order to ensure I didn't stress myself out was quickly turned into "I want to have everything done by Wednesday night, so I can relax".You see. Sleep was an issue and I was attributing that to knowing I still had things to do which kept things on my mind. I wasn't stressed. Not in the least. Just had a busy, busy mind.

My plan for completion by Wednesday didn't happen and sleep never really came well that week, but by Friday I had completed every task on my list and was happy with how it all turned out. Although a tad bit nervous all of the stuff we needed to take down to Charlottesville wasn't going to fit into our cars. Thank goodness for family/friends with additional trucks/SUVs. We were packed to the brim!

Once we finally got to Charlottesville, we made a quick pit stop at the hotel to drop off all of the welcome bags. Of course, I couldn't let it be that simple. I had to also explain which bags were for 2 night stayers and which were for 1 nighters, along with giving them the Do Not Disturb signs that I didn't want to risk bending in the bags and explaining my shuttle information sign/signup sheet. Details, people! Thankfully, just as they had been from the start, the hotel employees were amazing and acted like it was all no big deal. They even said "today is gift bag day apparently" and they opened their office door to show me where they were housing the gift bags. I see one bride has already dropped hers off.....let's just say she was a lot more practical than I was and likely didn't need an F150 to transport her gifts. #smartgirl

Then it was time to head to Mount Ida aka "no service land" as I liked to call it. Yippeeeeee! I honestly was extremely excited to be "off the grid" for the rest of the weekend. Not that I would really have time to worry about my phone, but it was nice to know it didn't even matter one way or the other. All the bridesmaids/groomsmen had their directions and there was wifi if necessary.

It's safe to say that as soon as we pulled onto the farm, we were pulling out 2 seconds later and headed to our honeymoon.

Brides, you'll hear it time and time again throughout your engagement and you'll never really comprehend how true the statement is until you experience it. TIME FLIES.

My MOH said to me a couple weeks before, when I was begging for the end of my work week and the beginning of my vacation "don't wish time away now because come wedding day, you'll be begging for time to freeze". And I won't lie. I cried. And another fact. She was SO right.

As soon as everyone started arriving on Friday afternoon, it all flew by in a flash. But we made sure to make the best of the weekend.

Friday afternoon, before the "formal" stuff began we sat around sipping on our cocktails (or water in my case because I was trying to be good), eating chick-fil-a nuggets (what's that about being good?), playing cornhole, laughing and just having an "I love life" kind of day as one of my very best friends would say.

It really was the most perfect day with the most perfect weather. We kept saying how different everything would have been if it had been rainy/cold. Of course we would have made the best of it still, but crowding in a basement watching TV or playing pool does not compare to sunshine and fresh air.

By the time 5:00 rolled around it was time to get rehearsal started! You see, because...

Designed by the lovely Erin!
Thankfully, we didn't need to rush to get rehearsal started since our ceremony would last all of 5-10 minutes because rehearsal didn't actually start until well after 5:30. And it wasn't until well after 5:30 that I met the officiant for the first time (he wasn't late, I was just running around). Yep, you read that right. We had spoken on the phone and emailed a couple times, but never met. Let me tell you, he was FANTASTIC. He was so personable, funny, accommodating and so genuine. I've said it before and I'll say it again - we got SO lucky with the vendors we chose for our big day!

After 2 run throughs, it was time to eat! Food truck style.

I couldn't have been more pleased with Mouth Wide Open and our decision to go with a laid back atmosphere for our rehearsal dinner. The sliders were delicious, the strawberry nutella dessert slider was to die for and everyone seemed to really enjoy themselves!

The remainder of the evening was spent on the back deck of the house, continuing to sip our cocktails (I eventually switched to wine, don't worry), exchange some presents, laugh at people who passed out in rocking chairs and spend some time in the hot tub (that we later learned had a lot of chemicals in it and we're lucky our skin didn't burn off - ok, slight exaggeration, but apparently we shouldn't have used it).

I opted to sleep alone that night. Obviously JC couldn't sleep with me and I assumed sleep wouldn't even happen for me that night. Therefore, I needed to be able to watch tv if I wanted to or use that wifi to occupy my brain a little. I'm happy to report I fell asleep almost instantly and basically slept through night until 5am. Then, it was time for the #bestdayever0927.

Here's to hoping I have pictures back this weekend, so I can begin sharing every last detail of the big day!

Wedding Wednesday

Monday, October 13, 2014

Every wedding planner had their first wedding.

Last Friday I was bored and wondering what the heck I could do to pass the time.

The wedding is over. That means there's no to-do list sitting beside me with things I could get accomplished at work or at the very least research in an attempt to accomplish.

There's nothing left to buy (except Thank You cards, but I need pictures back first).

There's nothing left to design.

There's no vendor left to book.

There's not even a check that's left to be mailed (but honestly thank goodness for that).

It's all made me realize something. I need a hobby.

Sure, this blog could totally be my hobby, but my brain is still not functioning properly enough for that to fulfill this gaping hole in my brain that formally housed the creativity function. So that's out.

I hate cooking.

I love baking, but I've vowed that I absolutely will not gain back that 20lbs I lost over the last 9 months, so I should steer clear of forcing myself to eat sweets. 

The only crafts I'm good at require glitter and let it be known that my husband (I'm kind of obsessed with saying that, even though it sounds SO weird) said he never wants to see glitter again. Don't tell him I saw specs of glitter on his head while on the honeymoon ;) #itsheretostayforever

Honestly. The only thing I keep coming back to is wedding planning. I was good at that. I enjoyed it. It didn't destroy my house. Oh wait, it definitely did that, but then I paid someone to make it pretty again which I totally didn't hate. Anyways.

The day of our wedding, I was heading to our first look with our Event Director and I mentioned something about my love for planning our wedding and wanting to do it for a living. She actually said she'd put me on their preferred list. I laughed at her. That terrified me. They require a day of coordinator at Mount Ida Farm which basically means if any of their brides are like me, they will contact anyone on that preferred vendor list. They are an expensive venue and most people booking there will have expensive tastes and high expectations. I've never done this for anyone else before. What if I screw up!?

Then, last week I found myself typing up an ad on Craigslist to advertise myself as a wedding planner. But before I could hit submit, I was hitting copy/paste into a word document and deleted the ad altogether.

Sure, wedding planning sounds like a dream. But your wedding is one of the biggest days of your life. Most girls have been dreaming about their big day for as long as they can remember. Needless to say, I'm a tad bit nervous to let someone put their biggest dreams into my hands. 

I know you've gotta start somewhere. Every wedding planner had their first wedding and I'm sure they were just as scared, clueless and terrified. But ideally, I'd like to start out helping someone who already knows what they are doing. I thought that was going to be an option with my wedding planner, but that didn't end up panning out as I had hoped (maybe next season). So now I'm left here wondering who to call, what to do and how to start this dream of mine because I really do think that not only would I be good at it, but that I would enjoy it too. And we all know how that saying goes....

And so concludes my extremely random post. Until next time....whenever that might be. Probably after I've got wedding pictures back and have spent approximately 76 days staring at them. Just kidding. I won't make you wait that long.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014


Oh hey, guys! I'm back!

Holy shoot. I can't believe it's all over.

On one hand, I said to myself multiples times over the last 2+ weeks that time was going by at the perfect pace. Besides wedding weekend, I never once felt like time was racing on by. But then somehow I was back at work yesterday wondering how it all happened so quickly?

I honestly don't even know where to begin. It's safe to say I had the most amazing 2 weeks of my life. Well, that week leading up to the wedding wasn't anything to write home about - just lots of errands (including buying 8 more cases of water at Costco than I actually needed) and crafting. Once we checked into the house at Mount Ida Farm, everything was as close to perfect as I could have ever imagined.

Sure, there were things that went wrong. People that were late. Items on the check lists that were overlooked. But overall, it was most definitely the best day and weekend of my life. And in the end, anything that didn't go as planned is likely not something I'm going to remember in 20 years, so I can't really complain.

There are a million and one details that I want to cover (#shocker), but obviously I want to wait until I have pictures to go along with each and every detail. So I'll just leave you with the 4 pictures that I do have because why not be a huge tease? Although it's not really me being the tease, but my photographers!

*All pictures courtesy of Ward Photography

Beyonce ain't got nothin on this diva. 

Wedding Wednesday

Friday, October 3, 2014

Hope: Hope in a Blog.

How did you meet your husband? We met at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC! Spyros was a senior and I was a sophomore! We starting crushing on each other at the beginning of the school year (the end of August of 2009) and the rest is history!

How long were you together before you got engaged? We were together for about 4 years when we got engaged and almost 5 years when we were married :). 

How did he propose? See the story on my blog.

Were you surprised? Don’t lie. I had a feeling it was coming because getting engaged is definitely a conversation people have before it actually happened ... But the way and timing of it all caught me completely off guard!

When did you get married? May 31, 2014 @ 6:30pm!

What was your favorite part about wedding planning? I loved the details of the wedding like the flowers, cake, linens, etc.

Least favorite? The guest list.

Favorite picture from the day? I don't have a favorite!!! But I love this one: 

credit: Kristin Vining Photography
Were you excited or sad when the planning was done? Excited!! That meant the wedding was about to happen!

If you could do your wedding all over again, what would you do differently? Hmmm, I think I would look at the guest list differently honestly. Guest lists can get so political and I would have a different take on the whole process.

What’s the most surprising thing you've learned about marriage so far? It's awesome but it's also an adjustment! Things that you never talked about as much pre-marriage (bills, budget, holidays, etc.) are talked about. Our lives are now completely merged into one and we are day by day figuring out how we as a unit want our little family to do things!

 Do you have any marriage advice to newlyweds? One of my favorite bits of advice we got was, "May your wedding day not be the happiest day of your life, but the days that follow it." I loved it!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Morgan: Believe in the Sparks.

How did you meet your husband? Steven and I met at a bar in downtown Birmingham. I was playing on a local kickball league at the time, and my team would always go to this particular bar after games on Thursday nights. One night I happened to spot this handsome guy across the bar. After making eye contact with each other for nearly an hour, he finally came over and spoke to me. After a few drinks we exchanged numbers. He sent me a text message later that night, and the rest is history.

How long were you together before you got engaged? We were together six months before Steven popped the question. It was fast, but we both knew that we were meant to spend the rest of our lives together. We were engaged for 16 months, so we actually spent more time engaged than we did dating.

How did he propose? Every year the Alabama Theater puts on a showcase of Christmas movies in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Five days before Christmas they happened to be showing my favorite Christmas movie, Elf. Steven suggested that we buy tickets to see it, and I jumped on the opportunity. He also suggested that we invite my parents for a fun night out. I thought it was an awesome idea. That night Steven we all met up at the Alabama Theater to watch Elf. After the movie everyone piled out of the historic theater. Steven said he needed to "use the restroom" and asked me to wait for him. When we finally emerged outside I noticed a big group of people surrounding the marquee. My mom was in the front of the group, and when I walked up she shouted "look how cute that is!" and pointed to the marquee. I turned around to look, and that's when I saw it, "Morgan, will you marry me?" written out. Before I even had time to process it I looked down and Steven was on one knee. I was shocked!! All I remember is a bunch of people yelling "Did she say yes?!" and I turned around to show off my shiny new ring! The crowd went crazy cheering for us. It was amazing!

Were you surprised? Don’t lie. Yes! I was absolutely shocked! Steven and I had talked marriage, but I didn't think it would be happening until at least the Spring. He took me by complete surprise.

When did you get married? We got married on April 12, 2014. What was your favorite part about wedding planning? Least favorite? I loved wedding planning! Between my amazing wedding coordinator and my mother, I didn't have a thing to stress about. I literally loved every minute of it! The only thing I remember being a hassle were getting our invitations out. I didn't think about the size of our invitations being a problem, but when I went to purchase stamps for them, we realized that it was going to cost $1.19 EACH to mail them. Yikes! That was an expense we weren't expecting.

Favorite picture from the day? It's so hard to pick just one! I loved all the pictures of my friends and family on the dance floor. The pictures really capture the fun that everyone was having. 

Were you excited or sad when the planning was done? I was actually a little sad. Like I said, I loved wedding planning! I loved the meetings with my mom and wedding planner. I loved talking about he big day. I loved searching for new and unique ideas. It was all so much fun! Thankfully my best friend is getting married this coming Spring, so I'm looking forward to helping her with her special day.

If you could do your wedding all over again, what would you do differently? I would hire a videographer. That is literally the only thing I would do different. The day was perfect. Everything about the months leading up to our wedding day was perfect. The only thing I wish we had done was capture the special day on video. Thankfully we have amazing pictures to look back on!

What’s the most surprising thing you've learned about marriage so far? We are only five short months into this marriage thing, but so far we are loving it! Steven and I lived together before we got married, so I really haven't been surprised by much since tying the knot with him. Being married to your best friend really makes things easy and fun!

Do you have any marriage advice to newlyweds? Marriage takes hard work, compromise, and sacrifice. As long as you can commit to those three things, you will be in for a long and happy life together.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Steph: Insert Classy Here.

I'm Steph and you can usually find me over at Insert Classy Here.  While Miss Samantha is enjoying her first week as a wifey frolicking on a beach, I'm answering a few wedding related questions for you.  I love talking weddings.  Mine was 6 years ago, but I can still remember the details of that day.

1. How did you meet your husband?

We met at work over a birthday celebration.  If you want the full story, you can read it here.

2. How long were you together before you got engaged?

I was in college still when we started dating, so we dated long distance for 2 years.  It wasn't until I moved back to the Twin Cities and we were finally living in the same city for more than a few months that we got engaged.

3. How did he purpose?

We traveled to Boston for a nice long weekend trip.  It was the first place we ever went as a couple and we love the city.  We took a ferry to Provincetown on Cape Cod for a day by the ocean.  He proposed in the old town hall.  We were able to spend the remainder of the trip celebrating.  It was perfect.

4. Were you surprised?

Absolutely.  My sneaky husband planted the "I'm not quite ready yet" seed early in the Summer, so I thought we were at least another year from a proposal.  I usually don't like surprises, but I was so happy that I got to enjoy this moment exactly like Justin wanted me to.

5. When did you get married?

Six years ago on a beautiful August morning.

6. What was your favorite part of wedding planning?  Least favorite part?

The little details were my favorite.  Deciding what to put on the tables and how to set up the buffet.  I loved the little things.  My least favorite part was the unsolicited opinions from everyone else.  Our wedding was a little unconventional.  We had a private ceremony and then we had a big reception in the afternoon.  Trust me - there were LOTS of opinions about that.

7. Favorite picture from that day.

8. Were you excited or sad when the planning was done?

I was excited to be back to normal life.  The wedding was so much fun, but it was a crazy summer.  It was nice to escape for a mini-moon and then get our weekends back.

9. If you could do your wedding all over again, what would you do differently?

I would eat a little bit more and hang out with friends & family longer.  There are very few days in your life that all your favorite people are in one place at one time.  You might be exhausted and ready to have some quiet time, but soak it all in.

10. What's the most surprising thing you've learned about marriage so far?

Every single marriage is completely different.  Many people will tell you that certain things are "hard" but they might not be for you.  Talk to each other and work things out and don't worry about the warnings from others.  We had so many people tell us that the first year of marriage was so hard.  We never experienced that, but we would talk about it often like we were waiting for it to happen.

11. Do you have any marriage advice for the newlyweds?

The best advice I received is to never discuss things that are annoying you with anyone other than your husband.  When you talk to friends & family about little things, you will move on and forget it long before they do.  Keep those things private and just between you.

Samantha - You are one of my favorite people and I'm so happy for you.  Just remember that your wedding will be the "best day ever", but then make everyday after that even better.  Love each other just a little more each day.  Can't wait to see all your pictures and hear all about it.  Sending lots of love to Virginia.

Wedding Wednesday