The rehearsal dinner.

At this point, we have been married for a little over a month, and this month has been one of the best ever.  It’s been a month of change, a month of emotions, and a month of getting to know one another better.  I absolutely love being married, and I really hope I can maintain this feeling like everything is awesome forever.

So, as far as #weddingwednesday, let’s talk the rehearsal dinner!

I wasn’t a million percent sure what the purpose of a rehearsal dinner was going into planning the wedding, very similarly to how I wasn’t sure what the purpose of engagement pictures was.  But as we planned, it became clear – despite the fact that my parents were absolutely more than willing to meet each other, because everyone was working and living their separate lives, there wasn’t a whole lot of time for our folks to meet each other and bond before the big day.

So, as we were trying to figure out how and where we would do our rehearsal dinner – someone on an online forum someone pointed out the absolutely obvious, that we should use the services at our amazing hotel, the Proximity in Greensboro, and set up our rehearsal dinner there.

And what an amazing suggestion that turned out to be!

So the Proximity is a green hotel in Greensboro, and I can’t describe to you how incredible it was to walk up to that building.  The service was spectacular, and at about 7:30pm the night before our wedding, I walked into a room that looked like a dream.

Lights, a beautifully set table, food, and all of our best family, friends, and bridal party in the same space.

There were a few tears, especially when my sister made a really sweet speech about my time spent at home for when my mother got sick last year.

But long story short, as you kind of go through some of the expenses you want to spend/don’t want to spend, a rehearsal dinner is definitely one of those things – it helps you to get your mind right and relax with friends and family before the big day.

Speaking of the tears that I shed at my rehearsal dinner, when was the last time you cried?  

 

 

If I had to plan my wedding again…

So, it’s wedding Wednesday, which we haven’t done in a lot of weeks, but you all will deal because I got married and bought a house in the span of the last 30 days.

Helene blogged an excellent post about if she had to plan her wedding again.  Yesterday is our one-month anniversary, and quite honestly, I’m still floating on the clouds, however, I thought the post was really interesting, and really pertinent, as it seems like every single person on my Facebook feed is engaged – so here it is…

WeddingIf I had to plan my wedding again….

First off, this is really really hard, because I honestly feel like the day was perfect.  But it was more because of the company I think.  Being with my friends, being with my husband, getting pictures taken, and dancing all night left very little to want for.  But as far as planning goes?

  • I would have spread the planning out a little bit more.  When we got engaged, I was really really overwhelmed.  My grandmother died immediately following our engagement, and I really didn’t get into planning until months before the big day.  Everything got done, but it made that time right before feel a little crunched in the weeks before.
  • Knowing how much it costs, I would have saved a little more leading up.  You think you have all the costs together.  But I absolutely guarantee, future brides, you will bleed money in the month or so before your wedding.  Even if your family is paying for it all, you’ll  need to buy this or that at Michael’s before.  You’ll forget that there are favors to be purchased, and jars to be crafted. Trust me on this one.
  • I would have delegated a little bit more, sooner.  My friends were absolutely incredible.  One bridesmaid registered me at Target and BBB.   One ran to Michael’s for chalk the morning of.  My brother put together some gifts for some of the folks for me.  But I wish I had realized just a little bit sooner that it is okay to ask friends for help.  A lot of times, they want to help, and would gladly do whatever it is you want to.  They have no stake in this.  They don’t care if you want pink flowers and yellow walls with  kites hanging off of them (just an example, and not at all indicative of what my gorgeous day was about).  But they will do what you tell them and be happy to do it.  <-to be fair to this point, I also hate to relinquish creative control to anyone, so the delegation I did was hard, but worth it 🙂

And that’s really it.  My wedding was such a gorgeous celebration, I have very little to say about the day of.  But leading up, there were definitely things I could have done to reduce my stress level.

What would you have done/what are you doing to streamline your wedding planning process?

Summer’s Best

I kinda stole this idea from Gracie at Girl Meets Life, but it was such a good one, I had to immediately put it to good use before I forgot.  So without any further ado – here are my Top 5 for Summer. 

My brother graduated high school.  

Not only was the fact that he graduated cool, but it was cool because it was one of the first times in a long long time that all of the siblings had been together.  We finished off the night by going to Ihop with my brother, who happens to share his sister’s love of breakfast foods.

Derek Graduation
Derek ended up on the nightly news!

My sister got married.

Deb had a pretty fast courtship and engagement – she was maybe engaged for a month or two before her and her husband decided that they just wanted to get it done, and we headed to York, SC one weekend in June to watch their nuptials.  It was really cool, plus I got to see my parent’s new party pad that they moved to promptly upon becoming empty nesters.

York Wedding Chapel

I got a new job.

Three years ago, I interviewed for this job, and was rejected, and heartbroken.  I spent a few days in bed, cried at the drop of a hat, and made my husband listen to me whine about it for weeks.  Fast-forward to a few years later, and the job almost fell into my lap, and I took it.  Best thing I’ve ever done, and I can honestly say that I love my job, and I feel so fortunate to be a part of that organization.

Pool at the job where I do a little bit of water running :)
Pool at the job where I do a little bit of water running 🙂

Les Mills Body Pump™ Certification

In July, I went to Wilmington to do the first part of my certification for Les Mills Body Pump™, and it was one of the most incredible experiences of life.  I have never come out of a weekend more sore in my life, but it was the best kind of sore, and I got to walk on the beach in the 5 seconds I had between the two days of certification.  I would gladly do it again.

This was pre-training, and pre-shoulder shredding workout!
This was pre-training, and pre-shoulder shredding workout!

….and last but not least…

We got married!

Which I’m fairly certain you may be tired of hearing about, but what’s a girl to do?

photo 5
image via Blest Studios

Now with all of that – Gracie also included what she’s looking forward to for the fall – and I feel like I’m still in such a whirlwind, that I can barely tell you what I’m excited about.  But with the new house and stuff, I’m pumped for:

  • Crunchy fall leaves.
  • Running when it’s not 90 degrees and 77% humidity out.  It will be nice to to not be nauseous immediately following a run.
  • DIYing around the new house – painting, setting up a workspace for me to work at, and kind of exploring my creativity a little bit.

And that’s about all I can think of right now.

What are you excited for this fall?  

Wedding Wednesday: The Engagement Sessions

It’s really fun to do these Wedding Wednesday posts now that I’m married, and I’m not taking any time away from doing any wedding things. Yes, I could be writing some more thank-you notes at this precise second, but I’ll get to that in a moment.

So I have a confession to make.  A big, huge, horrible confession.  A confession that I’m ashamed to make.  But…years and years ago, I asked myself as I looked at a friend’s engagement photos, I thought to myself – “What is the point of engagement photos?”

Even after we were engaged, I wasn’t necessarily sure what the point was of getting these photos done.

Couldn’t we just save the money, skip the photos, create a really cute save-the-date without our faces being plastered all over them?  And I suppose we could have…until we saw the engagement photos of this gorgeous couple I went to school with.  The engagement photos literally took your breath away, and suddenly, as we were gathering a down payment on the house that would be our first home together as a married couple, I envisioned a home with zero pictures of us when we were young and freshly-engaged.  And I couldn’t do it.

So a year after we were engaged, I contacted the gentleman that I knew wanted to do our photos, and explained our weird situation to him.  He seemed open to the idea of it, even a year after our engagement, and he agreed, with all the grace that a human being could have with a silly couple like us.

image via Blest Studios
image via Blest Studios
image via Blest Studios
image via Blest Studios
image via Blest Studios
image via Blest Studios
image via Blest Studios
image via Blest Studios
image via Blest Studios
image via Blest Studios
image via Blest Studios
image via Blest Studios
image via Blest Studios
image via Blest Studios

And once we spent the afternoon with Cole of Blest, it became extremely clear why engagement photos were important, perhaps even necessary, when you’re getting married.  

  1. Luckily, I knew Cole, and Blest Studios long before I was engaged, and I knew that the quality of his work was head and shoulders above what I’d seen from other photographers.  However, taking this photos really got me comfortable in doing photos with my husband.  You might think you’re really comfortable with someone – until you have to take photos of you making out and groping your husband on camera.  It really, really gets you comfy with each other. 
  2. Taking these photos gets you comfy with your photog.  Especially in cases when you don’t know your photog or his or her work, this can be really important.  I mean, you don’t want someone to eff up your memories, right?  If it takes some money for you to find out that you don’t jive at all with your photographer, why not, right?
  3. They serve as memories of an incredible times with your spouse.  We didn’t take the photos right after we got engaged, however, even after waiting a year, the pics, even taken a month-and-a-half ago, remind me of a beautiful time, where we met up in a park and met up with a friend to take some photos.  I remember being nervous, I remember showing Cole the spot we got engaged at, and I remember feeling so close to Austin as our story seemed to unfold for Cole. I won’t be forgetting that anytime soon. 
  4. You know what you’re gonna be getting for your wedding.  Direction, organization, light, editing.  We got the good stuff – and we knew that. And you will know that with engagement photos. 

I can admit when I’m being kinda rude, and kind of judgey.  Engagement photos?  Worth it.  

Check out Blest Studios, whether you’re engaged, pregs, celebrating an anniversary, or if you just want some gorge photos of yourself.

Annnnd they’re not paying me to say this.  I mean, it would be cool if they were.  And I’m opening the floor now for some payment 🙂 but Blest is just that good. 

Did you do engagement/pregnancy/anniversary photos?

Doomsday Preppers

Have you guys ever seen this show on Nat Geo?

image via http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/channel/doomsday-preppers/
image via http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/channel/doomsday-preppers/

It’s kind of like Hoarders, in that it’s sort of freaky to look out, but you really can’t look away.

So the premise of the show is that these folks, usually the male heads of households, are prepping for whatever disaster they think is going to befall our society.  Now, I think preparedness is awesome – there is nothing worse than being that idiot who doesn’t have any candles or a flashlight that works when the electricity goes out.  But these folks are the extreme cases – they’ve stockpiled ammunition, dehydrated food, coffee, alcohol, weapons, and usually built some sort of underground bunker as well.  Usually, their teenaged children are extremely embarrassed, and their wives pretend to go along with it, but wish their husbands were into normal things, like paying $50 to be a part of an imaginary football league.  

By the way, I’m going somewhere with all of this…

So, in the course of planning this wedding, I managed to get nearly 200 mason jars together, most of them purchased from folks off of good ‘ol Craigslist.  Since we’re moving to the new house soon, I needed to move some of this stuff quickly, so I threw up an advert on Craigslist, and got a response from a man who seemed normal.  In fact, we’ll just call him Mason to be safe. 

So I played it really safe, I had everything packed up for him, had one of the neighbors watching out for me, and let my husband know what time, and where me and Mason were meeting up with the jars. 

Here’s where stuff gets weird. 

Mason and I met up to do the exchange of goods, when I made the fatal mistake of asking him what it was that we was doing with all the jars.  Now, you have to imagine this in a southern accent to make it legit.

Mason: Ya ever heard of preppers?

Me: ::incredulously:: Yeah…so…but what is it that you’re canning?

Mason:  Oh EVERYTHANG.  I already have dehydrated food, enough for 4-6 years….

Mason went on to share the following.  

  • He has 60-70 guns STOCKPILED on his property somewhere.  He also gives stuff to his son to hold onto when he runs out of space.
  • He does not drink, but that he is thinking about starting to stockpile alcohol.  It is very multipurposeful and could be a good bartering tool.  However, should disaster befall our society, he “might not be in a sharing kind of mood” <-direct quote
  • He recently built himself an assault rifle that fits nicely into a tennis racket.  However, he does not carry it in his car because it makes police officers really nervous, and he doesn’t want the hassle of trying to get it back if it gets confiscated.
  • He has a lot of ammunition in his car just rolling around in the backseat.
  • That he needs to stock up on fishing line in case he needs to do some emergency surgery on anyone when doomsday comes.

And THAT is my one and only interaction with a real-life doomsday prepper.

Now legit question – all weirdness with Mason the prepper aside, how prepped are you and your family for normal emergency situations?

I witnessed a fantasy draft.

So wayyyy back when we were looking at wedding venues (it feels forever ago now,) we almost got married on the 6th of September.

I say almost because Austin took one look at that date, and said something along the lines of “Babe, we can’t get married then because I might miss my fantasy draft!”

I was dumbfounded – NFL is not really my thing, and I had so much fun with this wedding, I literally thought he was kidding when he said he couldn’t have it then.  Then I realized how serious it was when a friend of ours got married on a Sunday mid-September.  Austin begged for me to see if I could get the televisions at the venue turned on (absolutely not), and then left the wedding with like a millions guys in tow to find a television to watch the game.

Well, I witnessed a fantasy draft on Friday night, and it was one of the most incredible things I’ve ever seen.  12 men sat around at a table.  They hung up this…paper poster thingie on the wall and they had printed stickers of all the players.  They each brought in $50 for the pot.  And then, for three hours, three hours, they went around the table, drafting players, while I looked on in astonishment.  I have never seen 12 men so attentive and focused on anything in my entire life – and it was incredible.

Apparently, this fantasy thing is kind of a big deal?

Engagement Photos

So, this a little bit of a right turn, but instead of being a normal couple, we waited over a year after our engagement, just weeks before the wedding, to do our engagement photos.  I’ll talk more about that on Wedding Wednesday, because the entire process of doing the engagement shoot was really interesting and fun.  But originally, we weren’t going to do the whole engagement shoot thing, but I got a little sad when I saw how beautiful a friend’s turned out and blah blah blah you get it.

So anyhoo, one of the best gifts I received on our wedding day that I forgot that I was going to get was a beautiful jump drive with ALL of our engagement photos on it – and lucky day – I’ll share a couple of them with you!

Photo via Blest Studios
Photo via Blest Studios
Photo via Blest Studios
Photo via Blest Studios
Photo via Blest Studios
Photo via Blest Studios
Photo via Blest Studios
Photo via Blest Studios

Obviously, I have well over 100 photos, and I will gladly share them with you via email if you’re curious, but these were my faves!

Happy Labor day, beautiful people, and stay safe! 

Our wedding.

If you’ve ever gotten married, you understand why I’ve been disappeared for the last week or so.  The lead up was crazy – but I don’t even need to get into that right now.  You want to get into the good stuff right?  The stuff I’ve been talking about for the last year or so?

We got married on Saturday!

I will break down the whole thing a little more in detail in a few days, but I will give you guys a little taste of what we did this weekend.

Our wedding was gorgeous.  It was perfect.  It went off without a hitch.  And I am officially a Mrs!

  •  I heard from someone at the venue that our food was the best.  We did fried chicken (tofu for me), collards, mac and cheese, potatoes, and biscuits.  It was straight-up as southern as it gets.
  • My dress.  Ahhhhh that dress.  It was delicious, and I never ever wanted to take it off.  After we got back, I kinda flopped down on the bed in our suite for a good 20 minutes before I had to take it off.
  • I danced literally for 100 hours.  I had to shower after.
  • The day was perfect, and I love my family – my family family, and my new family – new husband especially!  Feels cool to finally call him husband!

A few photos to tide you over until I do the FULLLLLL recap?

photo 5
This was a quick screen grab that stopped me in my tracks. We actually got into a tobacco field for this one. Photo via Blest Studios.
photo 4
A drunken groomsman who charmed the pants off of all of our parents snapped this quickly at sunset.
photo 3
A guest snapped this as my father escorted me down the aisle. He’d been talking about wearing this tux for months and it TOTALLY came together. Love it!
photo 2
This was us, the HOT day of the rehearsal/rehearsal dinner.
photo 1
All lined up to practice walking down the aisle!

So, this is just a little taste, as I ease back into my life.

What I can say, however, is that I feel SO loved – by friends, by family, by my husband and I’m looking forward to years and years of celebrations like these.  I love you all, and thank you all for an amazing weekend.

That said…what did you do this weekend?

Stress Dreams

I’ve stressed dreamed since some point during high school.

In high school, I would dream that I’d get a report card and I would have all F’s and D’s on the report.  I would dream that I was being attacked by dogs during exams.

In college, even though report cards weren’t a thing and we’d just go online to check our grades and transcripts, I would dream that I’d failed classes.

When I first started teaching fitness, I’d dream that I was late to class (huge no-no) or that Yoga music would come on for a Zumba class.

I’ve stress dreamed (dreamt?!) that I’ve shown up late for races, another thing that could screw up a race day in a heart beat.

And now, I’m stress dreaming about the wedding.  The last few nights have been horrible.  Absolutely horrible.  And it’s not because I have a single doubt in my mind about this guy…

Knife…Pictured here holding a knife he just added to our Zombie Apocalypse bag.  (Seriously, and I have not seen him beam like this or talk about any object like this since the last fancy pocket knife I bought him.)…

But it’s more because I want everyone to have a good time.  I want to look pretty.  I want everyone to have enough food.  And I want for us to have good memories of the day we got married.

So last night, I dreamt that the day was here, my shoes had not yet arrived in the mail, and that I had no one to help me the day of.

Eek!  I talked it over with a planner who happened to come into my office at work, and she eased my worries a little bit.

But what I need is to chill chill chill, have a tea, and hear about your stress dreams.

What do your stress dreams revolve around?

 

Blogging the Bach.

Pretty sure that’s what bloggers say when they’re talking about blogging about the Bachelorette, but I’m literally talking about my bachelorette celebrations that I had all weekend in Charlotte.

I made it clear from the beginning of planning this shindig, that I wasn’t really the type of lady to want to go to a Chippendale’s Show.  I really don’t like the idea of a Magic Mike type gentleman rubbing all over me.  It’s not that nudity in itself offends me, but being touched and swung around by a random guy baby oiled up just doesn’t do it for me.

So after this perk of my job…

Snake Turtle

(This reptile lady came to the Y on Friday for the kids, and showed them slithery crawly things).

And this one….

Sno Cone

(I went for a run after work, and sort of stumbled on the campers eating shaved ice and running around in bounce houses).

I trekked down to Charlotte in the pouring rain for my bachlorette, and we started Friday off by going to the Harris Teeter for some food for dinner and Saturday morning’s breakfast.  What was really really neat was that my friend and bridesmaid, Melanie, opened up her family home to us in Charlotte and allowed us to stay there, so we wouldn’t have to spend a million dollars on a hotel and eat out for every meal, which is like my worst nightmare.  Not because it’s super unhealthy, it doesn’t have to be, but because with my gastritis, I really can’t take eating out left and right without being really uncomfortable and ill the next day.

So we cooked dinner, drank some wine, and caught up on friend things on Friday night and planned to get sweaty on Saturday.

Lucky for us North Carolinians, we have the White Water Center available to us, and after waiting for the rain to let up, all of us caravaned over the the Center.  I’ve been once before to actually do some rafting, but this time, we went and spent time on an obstacle course, walking around, eating at the little restaurant they had on campus, and my fave, ziplining!  The second we got there, I almost regretted not rafting, so we started talking about how we will be back to raft.  I’ve never considered myself much of a naturey outdoorsy person, but something about being at a place that let’s you get physical and push yourself will really bring it out of you.

Panorama

After almost a full day at the center, we headed home to freshen up, and officially got the party started, in the best way that a few 20-somethings with full-times jobs can.  It’s funny – had we been doing this four or five years ago, we would have TURNT UP no question, but the turnt level was pretty mild.  We drank, we danced, and generally just really enjoyed each other’s company.  It just felt good to get all the people I care about (minus some really important ones that couldn’t make it) in the same spot, and getting them to know each other.  It was really cool to see the ease with which these folks were able to get along with each other, and it makes you feel confident in your friendships.

Bach

Finally, on Sunday morning, we woke up, grabbed showers, and met with Austin’s mom and my mom for a kinda bridal shower thingie.  It was SO nice, and once again, having all that love in the same place was really trying to make my head explode.

photo 5 (2)

18 days and counting….!!!!

How was your weekend?