Getting to Geraghty: Let’s Talk Stationery

Getting to Geraghty: Let’s Talk Stationery

Welcome back to another wedding post! Now although I’ll start by sharing how I found my perfect save the date; as requested, I’ll also be sharing some great places to find your stationery needs! The holidays are right around the corner, so if you’re looking to find some great, affordable options then this post is for you!

I’ll be going over each website; including the sales they have going on, what samples I ordered, where I purchased my save the dates, my stamps, the post office experience, and some invitation sneak peeks!

Almost all of these have discount codes and sales going on, so I linked them for you! A handful of these have email coupons when you sign up for newsletters as well. Each of these places have great options for wedding, birthday and holiday stationery!

I personally ordered samples from Zola, Minted, Basic Invite, Truly Engaging, and Zazzle. Definitely a lot more than I remember ordering…BUT it really did help me wrap my head around what I wanted. I had no clue what I was looking for in my save the dates. It helped me to narrow down paper vs magnet, matte vs glossy, and sizing options. I would highly suggest you order samples if you’re not sure what you’re looking for, but you definitely don’t need to go as crazy as I did.

After all the samples, I decided to go with a magnet and I chose Truly Engaging/ Magnet Street! They had a great selection and an awesome sale going on that included a discount on foil. The increments that you can also order were spot on to what we wanted which is something I was concerned about. Some sites are by 25, but they have 10 unit increments which fit our guest list better! You can see a peak of how they turned out below.

On our Save the Date, we included our names, the date, and our website. Usually people include the location and although we would have liked to, we didn’t have space. I chose to include the website instead since all the information is there anyways. We have almost 90% of our guest list traveling so accommodations and flight information have already been put up. I think leading people to the site now will also help when it comes time to RSVP as well, since we’re doing it all online through our website!

In addition to a peek of our Save the Date, I also wanted to share the Christmas card we did through Kodak Moments. They have great options and are also affordable.

Now let’s talk about how we sent these out. We decided to print our own addresses as I was obsessed with a font from DaFont that we went with. I also made a sticker with my Cricut to include on the back for a personal touch. As for the mailing process, if you are considering a magnet, know that you need to buy a special type of stamp for non machinable mail. I went to my post office to ask before anything else and I’m glad I did! If you aren’t doing a magnet, anything under 1oz can use a regular forever stamp, but just in case, go into your post office and check!

So now I’m onto the task of finding an invitation! Although we have not chosen just yet, we’ve gotten closer to picking one. We have looked at clear options, letterpress, foil, and so much more. I’m so excited to keep planning as we are just about at the 6 month mark! To leave you, below are some invitation samples I’ve been looking at. Anything catch your eye?

Let me know if you have any questions and as always, thanks for stopping by!

xx Alicia

Getting to Geraghty: Engagement Session Reveal

Getting to Geraghty: Engagement Session Reveal

Happy Wedding Wednesday! I’m so excited to share my engagement pictures with you all today. It was such an amazing day and our photographer was absolutely amazing. Every shot was stunning and made me reminisce back on the day over and over again.

We took our engagement pictures in Wilmington and were able plan two outfits. We decided to dress up for the look downtown and went casual for the beach. In each outfit, we still wanted to play off of a similar blue that will be a part of the wedding! I loved that we did it since it makes all of the pictures look cohesive.

I highly encourage you to make sure that you not only get along with your photographer, but that you LOVE their work. Something that drew us to Erin was the effortlessness in her photos. We didn’t want heavily edited photos that were blown out or moody- both which are beautiful, but not us. Not only did we love her style, but her personality was a true fit. She was laid back, joked with us, let us have a pit stop for beer (BIG WIN), and made us feel like we were in our own little world for a few hours! I have linked her below so you can check out more of her and her team’s work.

I plan to post about my prep for the day and additional details next week, but for now…here is a window into our engagement session with Erin Costa!

The weather was perfect, we couldn’t have asked for a better day! We took these photos mid-week on a Wednesday right before the Fall weather decided to visit NC. We chose both downtown Wilmington and Wrightsville beach as it’s where we spend most of our time when on the coast.

Dan and I have spent many nights walking the cobblestone streets and many days laying out in the sun on this sand. It was so important for us to take these pictures in the places we love since we are getting married away from home. We wanted to make sure that these photos were colored with our love and showed off what we call our “2nd home” here in NC. I think we accomplished both!

Picture overload? I just couldn’t help myself! I can’t wait to continue sharing more wedding updates with you guys. Always let me know if you have any suggestions for the series. See you next time!

xx Alicia

Touché Digital Age

Touché Digital Age

Hey there! Let’s just jump in, shall we? Recently, I had the bad luck of my phone breaking and I had to wait for a replacement. What that led to was a two week hiatus that started off VERY rough, but ended up providing me more self-awareness I didn’t know I needed.

I think we all know that the digital age we are in right now is very impactful. We are constantly depending on technology and more so, our phones. We keep our memories, messages, and so much more on a small device that fits right into our hands. In the beginning of the year, I tried following the trend and writing about my vision for 2019. You can read it here, but spoiler, I did not do so well. I will give myself a solid 2.5/5…awkward. Either way, one of my goals was completely about my use of technology and using the screen time feature on my phone.

Long story short, two weeks without my phone was a struggle. In the beginning of the hiatus, I used my laptop to constantly still be on social media. I thought I was missing out on so much and I hated not being able to check on my accounts. I genuinely thought this would completely derail the work I put into the blog.

Half way through I reflected on a recent coffee date I had with two amazing women. On this coffee date, I opened up about the stress of writing and how I fall out of love with ideas and how I don’t use my time properly. I took this memory and just started writing in my journal. By day 5/6, I would check my accounts, but not nearly as often, especially since I had work to push me through the day.

I thought it was so crazy that I was actually aware of my change in mood without a phone. I started off as antsy and annoyed, then upset that I may be missing out on something, to at terms with the situation, to finally realizing the blessing in disguise this was. It’s not often that you can be completely disengaged and not have people have an easy way to reach you. Although I can see the convenience, I now also see the benefits or as I have been saying… I think I finally understand Ed Sheeran’s madness. Now don’t get me wrong, by the end of the two weeks, I was extremely happy to have my phone back, but I definitely can feel the difference and recognize the difference.

So, here are a few things I learned about myself:

  1. I’m awful at directions. I rely on Google Maps constantly, so having to drive places without it truly made me use my memory and take time to plan ahead.
  2. Holy moly, people aren’t kidding about phones being glued to your hand. While out, I was the only friend phoneless and it was obvious as everyone was looking down. There would be times the space got quite and I don’t think anyone noticed except for me.
  3. I didn’t miss anything life changing. I was so worried I was missing out on something exciting and important and I didn’t. This made me realize that limiting my time going forward on these apps wouldn’t hurt and is honestly needed.
  4. I have a lot of time in my day and without my phone, I was honestly more productive. I indulged in Netflix; don’t get me wrong, but I also crossed things off my list that have been on there for MONTHS. I got wedding things done, worked out, and took time to write and read.
  5. I am so much more excited for my content. I don’t know the last time I had time to actually write; paper and pen. By doing so, I was able to outline so many things I want to write about as well as making lists of entrepreneurs to reach out to for CLT BTS. For two weeks I stopped comparing my content to others and it was really refreshing.

At the end of the day, I’m not a consistent blogger and I’ll own that. What you can expect of me though, is that the things that I write are all topics I feel inspired by, that I’m excited about, and that I enjoy. I am 100% in on each post that I publish.

So, do you ever just take a few days off from your phone. Put it down, maybe on silent or do not disturb? I challenge you to do so. I think I’ll try doing it again around the holidays to make sure I’m as present as possible.

What started off as a simple inconvenience lead me to a much needed time of reflection before the end of the year. What’s something you wish to take time to do before 2019 is done?

So as I started this post off, I’ll tip my hat to this digital age and say touché. You really have changed the world we live in. Now it’s up to us to decide how we use it and how much importance we put on it.

xx Alicia

Local Spotlight: Charlotte Collective

Local Spotlight: Charlotte Collective

Collective- col·lec·tive

When used as an adjective, it means “done by people acting as a group”. As a noun it’s defined as “a cooperative enterprise”.

Charlotte Collective fulfills that textbook definition and more. This shop is a retail experience showcasing so many of Charlotte’s small businesses that we often see online, at pop-ups, or within other stores around the city. They have created a beautiful retail space, an anchor for the community, and a supportive space for each other as well.

With the work of local makers, creatives, and passionate entrepreneurs splayed across this prime location in Plaza Midwood; 1222 Central Ave, you automatically feel that you’re walking into something so much bigger than yourself. You’re supporting someone’s dream as you’re shopping through the items for your closet, home, technology, and more!

I got to take a look into the Plaza Midwood location before the grand opening. As I walked into the space, the sun was flooding in through the large garage doors putting an instant smile on my face. I was ready to learn more about where this concept came from and get a behind the scenes look at all the work that’s been put in to get here.

When I reached out to my friend, Amy from Worthy Figures, I couldn’t help but jump right in. She explained that this concept all started out of chance. Although Area 15 in NODA is a close comparison, she has always identified a need for an incubator spot for small businesses to test out having a small shop of their own. When the opportunity came in South End, she jumped at it quickly and started building her list of businesses to bring with her. This list being made up of entrepreneurs and creatives met on the pop up market scene for almost two years.

When looking at the line up, I couldn’t help but then ask a few of the business owners why they took the leap with Charlotte Collective. Lauren, the owner, creative and maker behind Feminist Goods Co., said “At the core of everything I do is the drive to create a community and safe space for womxn to be exactly who they are. For me, Charlotte Collective makes sense because it provides the opportunity to pull together and collaborate with other CLT businesses I love and founders that I admire to create a space where we can build closer relationships with our customers and community! Also, as a plaza Midwood area resident I LOVE that I get to be part of our neighborhood culture.

Talk about a mission. It seems that the biggest overall goal for this space is to give small business owners the opportunity to have a store front without all the risk or expense. To connect with their customers in person and to grow a community not just with their customers, but with each other. It’s a task they all commit to. Amy noting that the biggest obstacle being the time commitment. Some of these businesses have full-time jobs- talk about hustle! If their mission didn’t sell you on taking a visit, I truly hope their hard-work, hustle, and passion do. The collaboration that goes on to run a store with 16 different small business is no small feat.

Alley, the powerhouse behind The Alley Way Market, confirmed how comforting the concept of the Charlotte Collective is. She said, “I joined Charlotte Collective because my dream has always been to have a brick and mortar shop! At this point in my business I wouldn’t be able to afford a solo stand alone shop.  So when this opportunity came around I knew it would be perfect for my business.  What I didn’t realize is how much I would learn from all the other business owners! It has been a great experience being around like minded people..

I shopped my way through the store grabbing more than I’d like to admit. More than anything though, I left inspired. It takes a lot for a small business to take a leap on physical retail space. For all of them to come together to make each other’s dreams come just a bit more true can’t leave you anything but inspired.

Here are the brands at the Charlotte Collective along with their Instagram!

Feminist Goods Co.| Glory Days Apparel| Golden Reeds| LA Suds| Pretty Honest Candles| Rachel Tenny| Shani Amara| TayFlower| The Alley Way Market| Winnie’s Boutique| Worthy + Badass| Worthy Figures| The Cactus Club| Cosmic Creativ| Elise Design Company

Their official grand opening is tomorrow, July 13th from 10am to 8pm! You can RSVP here. I’ll also link all of their social media stuff below as usual so you can follow their journey. Their normal hours of operation will be Tuesday- Friday 11am to 7pm, Saturday 11am to 8pm, and Sunday 11am to 6pm.

Do not sleep on this CLT shop- keep an eye out for what’s to come for Charlotte Collective. They may be small businesses, but there’s nothing small about their passion, business savvy, hustle and impact within the Charlotte community.

You can follow their journey here: Website | Instagram | Facebook

As always, thanks for stopping by and I’ll see you next time.

xx Alicia

Getting To Geraghty: My Bridesmaid Proposals

Getting To Geraghty: My Bridesmaid Proposals

Happy Wedding Wednesday! Today is 10 months from our wedding and is also just a week after I asked all my bridesmaids and maid of honor to stand by me on my special day.

The rule of thumb is to ask them 8 months to a year before the wedding so I figured right in the middle worked perfectly; especially as some are not here in NC. As I was preparing to ask them, I figured a call would honestly do. Then I really started thinking about everything they’re about to commit to… everything that I committed to at some point as a bridesmaid. The travel, cost, time, and patience is no joke, so I wanted to treat them and make them feel as special as possible!

Since I had to ship a few of these boxes, I wanted to keep the “breakables” to a minimum as well as not sending anything liquid or that could melt in transit, so I kept it as feasible- and as cute- as possible. Some of the items I made with my Cricut and some things I purchased.

You’ll notice that I did end up blacking out a few details on my card, but in time I will share that with you guys. I didn’t necessarily pick a theme for the boxes, but I just wanted it to feel beachy and fun. With everything I included, I’ll let you know where I got everything from below!

Box from Michael’s | Filler from Michael’s | Straw from TJ Maxx | Glass from Target – Created the etching myself| Stadium Cups from Amazon- Created the vinyl myself | All snacks from Target | Bubble wrap for shipping & tissue paper from Office Max | Cards & Envelopes from Michael’s | Notepad from Target | Daily Planner from Hadley Designs

All the informational papers were cut with my Cricut and printed at home on nice cardstock that I purchased. I made a card for my colors, attire & accommodations, information about our day and the days leading up to the wedding, as well as a cute note about being a bridesmaid! Although this seems like a lot information right off the bat, I just wanted to ensure they had all the information they needed right away; especially since I have some out of state.

So if you’re been in a bridal party, what’s been your favorite gift or gifts you’ve received? Let me know, as I can always use ideas! Thank you for stopping by for another Wedding Wednesday post in the “Getting to Geraghty” series. I’ll see you next time!

xx Alicia

25 Things I’ve Learned As I Turn 25

25 Things I’ve Learned As I Turn 25

I feel as though this is a pretty typical post you see for big milestone birthdays. I wanted to put a bit of a spin on it and let you guys into how my last 24 years have shaped and molded me into what’s about to be one of the best years of my life! I have a lot to look forward to this 25th year, so it’s been extremely refreshing to look back and reflect on how far I’ve already come.

In the past 24 years, I have graduated college; technically not high school- long story, gotten a big girl job, moved states, have lived overseas, gotten a dog, purchased a house, started a blog, and have gotten engaged!

Then there are the struggles. I have lost those that I have loved, I have left a job, I have had major surgery, been rejected, had my heartbroken, and have struggled with myself.

Good or bad, I’m so grateful I opened my eyes on my 25th birthday, ready to take on another year. So without further a-do, let’s jump into it!

  1. Self-love and self- awareness is a journey. You get better and better at it, but it doesn’t happen overnight.
  2. Self-confidence does not equal self-love. I said it. I find myself still battling my confidence in other places in my life other than the love of myself.
  3. Some people just don’t love, respect, and/or support you as you do for them. That’s okay. Recognize it, evaluate the relationship you have with them and figure out whether it’s a healthy relationship to keep in your life.
  4. Emotions are not a weakness. Learn to communicate your emotions, but understand that being “more emotional” doesn’t make your emotions less valid.
  5. As you grow, some people will always see you for the person you were. Those people are probably not in your life anymore…you know who you are. You don’t need to prove you’ve grown. Your actions will speak for you.
  6. TREASURE YOUR ALONE TIME. Being comfortable being alone only makes you stronger when you’re with others. It keeps you balanced.
  7. Just do it. Life is too short. If you want to travel, find a way. Want to start a new hobby, try it.
  8. Spend time on what brings you joy.
  9. De-clutter your life and refocus on people, goals, dreams, and versions of yourself you want to work on. Anything that doesn’t serve that purpose, let go.
  10. Fail, fail again, and then try again until you succeed. Success comes from failure. The failure to try does not bring you success.
  11. Let your mom continue to teach you…especially when you think you can sew, but can’t.
  12. There’s not one way to do something. Honestly, don’t get stuck in your ways and realize everyone has their way of doing something.
  13. Everyone falls on the dance floor at least once in their life and everyone dances on a table at some point or another.
  14. Everyone has something to contribute and something to teach you. Listen up!
  15. Just because you’re right does not make you smart. Be smart and know when to be right.
  16. Stop pacing your life to those around you. Do things in your own time.
  17. Dear college, you were the best and worst.
  18. Family isn’t always a title given to those that are blood related.
  19. TAKE CARE OF YOUR SKIN. Skincare before makeup 100%.
  20. Making friends as an adult is so much harder.
  21. Take time and truly learn to have a healthy relationship with money. Financial independence is where real adulthood kicks in.
  22. In general, take care of yourself. Seriously, go to your annuals and don’t skip the dentist; although I’m not a fan. Just take care of your body.
  23. Get off your phone, be present.
  24. Your life isn’t over when you make a mistake. You’re alive right? Okay then, clean slate, keep living.
  25. Seriously- call out people commenting on someone’s body. It’s not cool. You don’t know someone’s story so zip the lips.

Bonus 26- Drink the beer, eat Chick-fil-A, and just be content with the fact that all your clothes will always be covered in dog hair.

Well that’s all folks. What would you tell your younger self? Let me know!

As always, thank you for stopping by.

xx Alicia

My Birthday Buys

My Birthday Buys

No birthday is complete without a few “treat yo self” moments, right? I hope so because I sure did go for it! Here are a few things that have caught my eye and I decided to grab for my birthday this year.

Although I purchased a few things, I was able to enjoy some great experiences this past weekend as well! We went to a local speakeasy, Top Golf, got my nails done, and ate so much good food I’m still full!

For everything I did purchase, it’s linked below. So, what are your favorite items to buy for yourself on special occasions?

All pictures are product pictures from their respective websites.

Self Love Sunday Tee from ShopGoodToBe.com | Thirsty Palette & Jawbreaker Palette from Jeffree Star Cosmetics | MAC Pro Longwear Paint Pot (purchased from Ulta) | Hair Scarf Scrunchie from Girl Tribe Co (purchased in two colors) | Jewelry from Baublebar

As always, thanks for stopping by!

xx Alicia

Getting to Geraghty: Wedding Dress Shopping

Getting to Geraghty: Wedding Dress Shopping

Hi there! Today is the big day. The day I share my experience wedding dress shopping and what I learned along the way! If only you could see my giddiness behind the screen.

Two days and twenty dresses later- I said yes. With my mom and mother in law by my side I wouldn’t have changed anything. Since my mom lives in PA and my MIL doesn’t have any girls, I felt that it was extremely important to have dress shopping be very intimate and almost like a girls day. I knew I didn’t want a large entourage, but I wanted to ensure I was going to share this experience with family and women who meant a lot to me and that I don’t get to spend time with often.

Due to my mom not being in town often, I set up 4 appointments split up in two days. I was not aware of what I wanted in my dress, but I had an idea of what silhouettes I was interested in based on my body shape. On day one, we had two strong contenders. One from each boutique that I loved on and felt beautiful in. I had to walk away since I wanted to make sure that I would continue loving the dresses and seeing if I had an attachment to a specific one. After day one I thought I had a grasp on what I wanted in my dress, but man was I so wrong! So a day went by and we were on our way to two more appointments.

I would like to say that day two started well, but then I’d be lying- it was a rough experience. My first appointment did not go well. I will not name the boutique, but I will simply state that any consultant that puts you into a sample gown and then proceeds to say “This dress is great because it’ll make you look more skinny” and “I’m sure you’ll lose a few pounds” is not doing her job well.

DISCLAMER LADIES: Your body is a swimsuit body. It’s a wedding dress body. It is a crop top body. Your body doesn’t need to conform for your clothing. I’ll get off my soap box now….

I wasn’t going to let one appointment put a damper on my day. We had lunch and one more appointment to look forward to. Since we ended up leaving that appointment quite early, my mom roped myself and my MIL into going thrift shopping to kill time. Honestly, I can’t complain now as I look at my new vase I just scored!

As we went into our last appointment, I described the dresses I liked to the consultant Heather and started pulling dresses to try on. The pictures below were what I liked on the first day, but I pulled things that were so different this time around. Since this was our last appointment, I pulled anything that caught my eye and made me excited regardless of the shape, style, and details.

Boy am I happy I did that because my last appointment is where I found my dream dress! I will admit my actual dress is SO different than what I thought I wanted like my previous contenders. I had my bridal moment. It wasn’t just a moment of feeling beautiful. It was a moment of never wanting to take the dress off. Of feeling so overwhelmed with happiness when I looked at myself in the mirror. My intention was never to say yes on the spot, but there was no way I was leaving there without claiming the dress I fell in love with. Guys, I cried, I laughed, and I smiled so hard. It was a resounding yes in the room from my mom and MIL, which just confirmed my feelings times ten! So thank you to Classic Bride & Formals and my consultant Heather for helping find my dream dress. So although I cannot share my dress right now, I can’t wait to share in just about 365 days!

Now I leave you with the main three points I think are the most important things to keep in mind when you’re prepping to go wedding dress shopping. These aren’t your normal pointers: stay in budget, undergarments, and timing, so keep reading for some lessons learned!

First and foremost, at each boutique I made sure to stay open-minded for each dress a consultant or family member pulled. The hangers don’t do them justice! Throughout the process it was so important to take time to learn more about wedding dresses. The more dresses I tried on the better I got at articulating what I liked about the dress and what I didn’t. Spending the time understanding the shape, style, and details of wedding dresses honestly made my experience go so smoothly. I did not know much walking into each place, but I left almost everywhere feeling confident and happy.

As you continue to learn, be vocal. This is your time to shine. You’re not hurting the consultant’s feelings. You can appreciate a dress and find it beautiful and it just not be for you. That’s okay. I held back at first to not hurt feelings when I didn’t like something, but at the end of the day- they’re dresses! It’s a big investment, a big decision, but most importantly, it’s a big moment you’ll never forget.

Secondly, do not get discouraged when it comes to the bridal sizing. I literally said yes to my dress in a size 10 sample and I ordered a 20 due to my bust. The number means NOTHING. All that matters is that you found your dream dress which will end up fitting you like a glove! I got stuck in two dresses and instead of immediately putting myself down, I simply asked for helped and said “next”. This is an exciting experience so do your best to remind yourself that your body is the perfect wedding dress body!

I want to note that I don’t think I had my bridal moment in my first two contenders because I was battling the idea of whether I loved the dresses because I fit in the sample or because I truly loved the dress itself. Keep this in mind! You should love the dress regardless of the sample size you’re trying on.

Lastly, stop comparing. Stop comparing what you look like in a dress to others. Stop comparing your wedding planning process. Stop comparing the timing of you buying your dress. I bought mine a bit over a year to my wedding and I still feel confident in that decision. As you go through this experience, just remember that you’re planning the perfect wedding for yourself and your significant other. Your dress is only one part of the big picture. Please stop putting so much pressure on yourself. Some find their dress on their first trip, for others it takes days or months and that’s okay. So enjoy this exciting time with good thoughts, a glass of champagne, and a little wiggle of that ring finger!

See you next time and congrats to all my brides out there! Let me know how long it took you to find your dress.

xx Alicia

Getting to Geraghty: Venues

Getting to Geraghty: Venues

Happy Wednesday, I’m back with Wedding Wednesday and I could not be more excited! With the new year, Dan and I wanted to start planning the wedding to give ourselves plenty of time. I’ll go over some small details we have decided on as well as our venue selection experience.

We are aiming for March/ April 2020 and we know we’ll being getting married in the Wilmington, NC area. Ideally, with everyone having to travel, we’d like to treat this as a mini-destination for our guests! Dan and I are open to a Friday or a Saturday wedding that would start later in the afternoon. As we nail down more details, I’ll continue to share them with you guys, but that’s it for right now.

This past weekend, Dan and I were able to experience Courtyards and Cobblestones. This event is an innovative wedding tour that showcases multiple venues and wedding industry professionals in the area. Each venue was set up as a “show room” as a wedding with food, music, drinks, and décor. We identified this event as the perfect way to scout our venue since we were interested in each venue on the list!

Dan and I living in Charlotte means we are three and a half hours away from the Wilmington area and so we wanted to get the biggest bang for our time when starting to look for venues. We found that this event was perfect for us for a few reasons.

  1. Visually, we were able to see each space set up. As visual people, it was helpful to see how people maneuvered through the space, where you could set up items like the bar or a photo booth, and more importantly, we saw how the owners and event coordinators interacted with guests and vendors.
  2. Since we were interested in the venues included, it helped us focus on the facts of each option. This helped not to get too swept up in the extravagant set up at each place. We often asked if our guest list would fit comfortably, could we see ourselves getting married there, did it fall within our budget, and how convenient it would be for us and guests on the day of the wedding and for accommodations.
  3. Lastly, to be quite honest, we had no clue where to start! An event like this was perfect for us since we took six months not thinking about planning at all. Although we will have help going forward, the process of finding the venue was something we knew was important, but wasn’t sure when we would find time out to the coast to do. An event like this was a day and a half and as long as you go in with no expectations you don’t get overwhelmed. Instead you really identify your options for your wedding.

I know this is not everyone’s way of finding a venue and that’s okay! Dan and I didn’t want private tours and one on ones. We wanted to see the space in action and be able to dream up our vision within it. Honestly, we ate, drank, and danced a bit, which was the perfect date night out while planning for our wedding!

While in town, we also met with a wedding planner that we’re really excited about. I hope to share more about that experience as well at a later time! We have some big decisions to make soon, but I’m just grateful that our experience doing it has been an enjoyable one.

So although we have not decided on the venue yet, we have our favorites and will be making a decision by the first of February. I’m not sure how I’ll share our decision, but I will ensure that through this series I give you guys an honest look at our process. Anything from décor to invitations to events around the wedding. If you’re looking to have me share something specific, please reach out to let me know!

How was your experience finding your wedding venue? How long did it take you and was it in an area far from where you live? Let me know in the comments below. I love being able to connect with you guys through your experiences, everyone’s is different! I hope you enjoyed this recap of our weekend venue “shopping”, I look forward to writing more wedding content for you guys soon. See you guys next time!

xx Alicia

Local Spotlight: Black Fathers Rock!

You ever meet someone by chance and you can’t help but know their story? That sentence is the absolute description of my experience with Ryan, an author, speaker, host, father, and founder of Black Fathers Rock!. This local spotlight is all about a local non-profit organization that started as a dream, turned into an event, and is growing as an organization. This organization’s mission is to disprove and dismantle the stigma around black fatherhood.

You may be asking my connection and interest in this movement, right? Well, I don’t actually know my dad. An organization willing to help fathers in the community re-unite, better, and connect themselves with their family is something I definitely can get behind. Ryan put it perfectly when he told me, “You often overcompensate as an adult where you had an absence as a child.” and although he was primarily connecting this to fatherhood, I believe it’s a blanket statement for life.

Ryan and His Family

Do I have your attention? I hope so because this story is not one you’ll want to skim over. Growing up as the oldest of two boys with a single mom, Ryan came from a household in Ohio that was filled with his mother’s love, but absent of his father’s presence. Growing up with no longing for kids, he now has a baby boy and adorable daughter to dote over as his wife continues to grow her career. Then life hits you. Imagine the summer of 2017 and having an overwhelming feeling come over you that just inspires you to build an event. An event comprised of two and a half pages of notes that come to life the following year. Then once that event is over you receive a large donation from someone outside the community that pushes you to start an organization. Literally within a year, the course and mission of your life has changed and grown. That is the synopsis of Ryan’s story.

From a small black book; that he carries around to this day, to building an event almost 150 people attended and extending six awards to deserving fathers in the community, and to now having a non-profit to push the boundaries of what’s possible in the community. While also being able to support and assist fathers in building success stories- all the while ensuring you’re growing and balancing your family life. That’s Ryan.

When you meet Ryan, the conversation comes easy and you can tell that the mission he has for his organization comes from the fire in his belly. He has lived his mission full circle. This year’s award celebration for Black Fathers Rock! will consist of six fathers in the community being recognized as well as two performances. It is this coming Saturday, January 19th at 6pm. This award celebration will actually be the LAST event at Pease Auditorium, so if you would like to experience this amazing event, make sure you buy tickets!

As I pulled information from Ryan, I couldn’t help but ask him what’s next once Saturday passes and he didn’t disappoint. He mentioned that he has two book concepts he will be working on, the organization will be aiding the initiative to place changing rooms in men’s bathrooms, and there will be a lot more programming being built for the community. He mentioned his wife will be helping and leading the programming, so we can expect to see some events coming up like “Donuts with Dad”, a parenting workshop, and a Fatherless Forum.

Ryan has big goals for Black Fathers Rock! this year. He described the organization as a necessary movement and explained that he hopes to see more success stories this year; at least one a month. 2018 treated Ryan well and the organization even better, when he told me a success story that made this all just a little more real for me. An honoree from last year was able to reunite with his children after a custody hearing, with the BFR award being a part of his story. These men that are being honored are fathers that take that title seriously and continue to find ways to better themselves in order to be their best for their families and community.

Truly, if you have the time to dig into your community and find organizations with great stories, take the time to listen. That’s what this series is all about! Not only is this organization starting a conversation and a movement, but it’s giving back to the community in so many ways. I couldn’t have picked a better Local Spotlight for this week.

2019 Award Recipients are below as well as how to follow Ryan and the Black Fathers Rock! organization. A link to donate can also be found on each of these pages.

Black Fathers Rock! | Ryan’s Instagram | BFR Instagram | BFR Facebook

xx Alicia