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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Hey guys! So today I’m letting Dan take the reins for the Christmas for Him guide. Let me know how you think he did in the comments below! Let’s jump in.
Are you having a hard time shopping for the man (or men) in
your life? An astounding number of women spin their wheels endlessly around the
holidays trying to find the right gift to buy their husband, brother, or even
father. As a member of the male species, I find this to be extremely puzzling
as we are pretty easy creatures to please. In this post, I dish out some tips
on what you might want to add to your shopping cart for the men on your holiday
When it comes to experiences, men generally can be pretty
easy to buy for. While women crave elegant and intimate experiences such as
musical theater shows coming to town, couples cooking classes, winery tours,
and yoga/spa sessions, guys can be more easily satisfied. The manliness inside
of our bones is super content with any experience where we either get a thrill,
a beer, or a little of both. Check out below where I highlight some of the hot
experience gifts to buy for the lucky dudes in your life.
On The Range: This experience
would fall into the thrills category that I mentioned above. Men are
competitive beasts and also tend to have a natural knack for the thrill that
comes with weapons. To take advantage of this characteristic, you can put
together a day where you take the man in your life out to the range and shoot.
You can turn it into a contest between the two of you to see who is a better
shot, or if shooting shotgun, who can hit the most clays. Is he not really into
real guns? No matter, you can substitute in a day shooting archery bows (which
is really super fun if you’ve never tried it) or even play some open paintball
at a local course. Either way, this man will appreciate you spending time with
him being active and engaging in an area where some women generally like to avoid.
And if the man is a family member, it is a perfect way to get away from all the
technology of the world and bond for a while.
Night: Has your father, brother, or significant other ever cracked a
joke during dinner that got on your nerves? The answer is most likely yes. Men
love humor and all the silly dad jokes you see on the internet on a daily basis
stem from this very passion. We may not always be funny, but it is the effort
that counts. Do and quick search online of comedy clubs in your area and see
who is on the schedule to perform in the beginning of the year. You can turn
this into a night out on the town with dinner, drinks, and a show where you
will both laugh so hard, it hurts.
What’s manlier than jumping out of plane from 10,000 feet in the air with
nothing but a parachute and a pair of goggles (well hopefully he’s wearing
clothes too)? The answer is nothing and skydiving is the thrill that most men
truly crave deep down inside, but are too anxious to mention or they need a woman’s
motivation to complete. Do a quick Google search and see where you can have
this experience nearby. Usually they have some pretty good Groupons on these
experiences as well. And, if you live in a hip city, they now have these indoor
skydiving places where you get the sensation of jumping out of a plane without
actually doing it. They are super cool, you can check out if there are
locations near you at this link: https://www.iflyworld.com/find-a-tunnel/
If experience gifts aren’t the right fit, there are still
plenty of material gifts that guys love to receive that you can add to your
list as well. See below for the material gift suggestions for guys.
Kegerator: Best Buy $499.99 / Wireless iPhone Apple Ear Buds: Apple $159 / New Sneakers: Nike $100 / Cigar Box: Bed, Bath & Beyond $73.99 / Watch: Fossil $125 / Watch Box: Amazon $37.99 / Poker Set: Target $24.99 / Projector TV: Amazon $99.99 / Sound system for TV: Walmart $198 / Grill: Lowe’s $229.99
Welcome back! If you’ve been following me, you know I got engaged in May of this year, May 12th to be exact! It was a day full of more love than I could ever imagine or put into words. Today is a post that I’ve been going back and forth about sharing, but figured- why not! I’ll break up the post with the setup, the day it happened, what I learned after the fact, and my ring.
Leading Up To The Big Day In the beginning of the year, we were going through a lot. Between changing jobs, Dan being a bone marrow donor, and traveling constantly, we were burnt out. Dan knows how much I’ve been missing home and surprised me with plane tickets back to Rochester for Mother’s Day weekend! I was ecstatic that I actually cried. I couldn’t wait to be home and just spend time with family. When I pack to go home I like living in yoga pants and comfy shirts, well because I’m home. This time around I was told we would be doing a brunch on Saturday so I packed a few nice things. I flew into Rochester and couldn’t wait to see the kitchen remodel my Godparents completed. While I was there, my Godmother gave me a present for our pup. I wanted to show Dan so I went to Facetime him and he didn’t answer. He finally called me back and told me he was at a sports bar with some friends. Honestly I hate traveling without him to see family, so I missed him. That same day we spent some girl time getting our nails done and I skipped on a trim…which I still regret, but it is what it is.
The Big Day The next morning I was getting ready for brunch, running late and annoyed that everyone else was moving at a snail’s pace. My Godmother told me that we would leave and everyone else would meet us there so we didn’t lose our reservation. As she drove, she wouldn’t say where the reservation was, but that “she was following Papa’s directions”. At this point I was very hangry and was so confused on why she kept getting lost in a city that she knew so well.
Finally we turned into Castle Park leading to Warner Castle and Sunken Gardens; a beautiful place I went to often during high school just to be alone and think. My Godparents also had their wedding photos taken there. When we got there my Godmother pretended not to know where we were, which was not amusing to me (facepalm). I reminded her and asked her why Papa would send us here and she only said “Maybe he has a picnic setup.” and you can only imagine my hangry rebuttle. Again- FACEPALM.
As we turned the corner of the castle, there was a photographer and I thought we were in someone else’s pictures as it’s not uncommon for people to take wedding, senior, and family pictures there. I kept stepping back telling my Godmother to move away and do the same…until I saw the handsome man that is my future husband now in his best navy suit carrying flowers. He completely surprised me! He walked me down the beautiful cobblestone stone stairs I used to spend hours on until we got to the middle of the garden. I couldn’t stop talking since I was so nervous until I asked him if this was it and all he did was smile, got down on one knee, and asked for my hand in marriage.
We took pictures and my head was still spinning. I cried, laughed, and was speechless the whole way through. We went to brunch with my God family and Dan told me that we would actually be driving an hour to go and see my mom, sisters, and extended family since my Brother-in-law had his graduation the same day. Later that day we drove down and celebrated my Brother-in-law’s achievement and it was the first time in a long time that all five of my mother’s daughters were all together. The day was so much more well thought out than I could’ve imagined. I was so grateful and full of joy and honestly words can’t even describe my feelings that day. We didn’t share the news until three days later after we had time with my family and to ourselves.
After The Fact There were some things I did not put together throughout all of this which I’m sure you guys could tell. Actually I missed a lot, so this is going to be a list as I sit here and laugh at myself.
Dan called my Godmother to ensure they would be home that weekend. And yes, he did ask both my mother and God parents for my hand, which I found thoughtful.
When he saw me packing, he made my Godmother call me and tell me to pack something nice for a “brunch”.
When I called him the night before he was already in Rochester. Instead of being at a sports bar, he was in his hotel room with ESPN on in the background.
The morning of, he was texting my Godmother as she was getting “lost” in the city.
He started planning this in March, which I find to be so impressive.
He chose the date 5/12/18 for a very distinct reason and I cried twice as hard.
5: The day we had our first kiss.
12: Our anniversary day.
18: The day I shared the Sunken Gardens with him.
He built my ring based on a picture of a ring I had saved from more than two years ago.
Dan had my ring custom made locally at Allen’s Jewelers, which is owned by the most amazing family! Their diamond dealer is actually from Rochester which only made my ring more special. So here’s the breakdown of my dream ring! It’s a 14kt yellow gold band with a white gold head holding the main diamond of the trilogy setting. I have a princess cut diamond in the middle with two round cut diamonds on each side. Within my band, there are 16 smaller round cut diamonds as well. I have detailing within the band which is one of my favorite things about the ring itself!
Wow- that was a lot, but I loved writing this! I’m so glad I was able to share such a special day with you all. I would love to know about your special days, so leave me a comment below! If you have any questions, feel free to leave them below as well. As always, thank you for stopping by and I’ll see you next time!
Hi guys and welcome back! This wedding post was going to be more about the proposal itself, but I thought it would be more important to talk about my relationship with Dan, as well as another important issue that I’ve mentioned before- mental health. I’ve rewritten this post about four times making sure I was being transparent, but also going back and editing things out of fear, but I reminded myself that I promised relatable and truthful content to you guys. That’s what you all deserve.
Dan and I have been together for over 4 years, but have known each other for 6 years since we met sophomore year in college. Two of those four and some years were actually long distance, making trips back and forth between North Carolina, Ohio, and New York. When I moved down to Charlotte in 2016, it was the best and worst year in our relationship. We were adapting to living together, I was home-sick, and we hadn’t spent over a week together in two years! Through all of this, it’s worth knowing I’ll be marrying the man that has supported, fought, and loved me through some of my hardest and darkest times. While raising me higher, building me even stronger, and loving me harder at my best times. (I know mushy, but I mean it!)
Now our journey has been anything but smooth. Just like any relationship, we worked through trust issues, past burdens, future aspirations, and priorities. We challenged and continue to challenge each other on personal opinions, career decisions, our goals and more. Most importantly, we struggled to understand each other mentally and emotionally. It takes a lot to understand how someone thinks and feels, which we have worked so hard to communicate and share with one another to learn.
With that said, this week has not been an easy one unfortunately for me. I have probably cried more than five times for a multitude of things…and yes I’m aware it’s only Wednesday. For seeing my family on Facebook and feeling like I’m missing out. For losing some unsaved pictures and items on my computer. For the fear I have of my upcoming genetics tests. For just feeling alone and stagnant. I can’t explain every overwhelming moment and how in less than two seconds I found myself crying hysterically. What I can explain is the love and light that wrapped around me once Dan caught me in the moment or I talked about it with him after.
This post was important for me to write because I think it’s so important to praise your partner. To thank them for what they give you every day that’s intangible. Dan is my person. He is why I am comfortable sharing my struggles. When I am at my lowest, he will bring me to the highest point of happiness. He is the man I will spend the rest of my life with and I couldn’t be luckier because I found a person willing to invest in me just as much as I invest in him. We are partners, we are equal, and we do not judge. We lift, support, laugh, love, and most importantly listen to each other.
We are still a work in progress because individually we still are as well. Embrace this because life is ever-changing and I hope we are still like this at 50 because that will mean that we have never just settled. I urge each of you to find that person. It doesn’t need to be a significant other. I truly believe everyone needs at least one person to go to that will understand that their feelings are valid and although they may not be able to describe them, they still support you. You are not mentally unstable, you just work through things differently. I got lucky and found mine at 19, but it was an acquired adjustment. I also wish for all of you to find a supportive significant other in life at some point, so that you have a consistent listener. Everyone deserves to break down once in awhile and have someone else help put you back together, especially in the comfort of your home you’re building. I do not find that to be weakness, I fully believe that it takes strength to do such. It takes strength to struggle, be vulnerable and ask for support or help.
Mental health should never be ignored. That is why I am so grateful to have a future husband that believes in its importance just as much as I do. A man that when down, does not blink an eye when I shower him with love just as he would me. This post may not have been a wedding update, story, or list. But it was a post dedicated to the true reason for even having a wedding…because I have found my person that makes me better, wiser, funnier (although he doesn’t agree), and stronger- in every facet of my being.
If you made it through this, I thank you for letting me pour my heart out today. Thank you for letting me share my appreciation for this wonderful man. For allowing me to express one of the biggest reasons I wake up everyday and love him more. Why it was so easy to say yes when he asked for my hand in marriage. And for being able to be open and honest talking about my mental health. I hope you all find calm, patience, and strength in someone as I have because I sure have needed him this week. As always, thank you for stopping by and I’ll see you next time!