Update 13: 230 Days to Go!

Good morning and happy Saturday, everyone! We are 230 days away from the big day and, my, do I have a lot of updates for you! In my last post, I shared the woes of having to cut the guest list and it received wonderful and supportive feedback. Since writing that post and making those decisions, we’ve worked hard to apply the sentiments across all areas of planning. The goal has been to put our happiness, well being, and marriage above all else. It’s meant pulling back when needed, sticking to our budget, and finding ways to lessen the stress of planning the day.

COORDINATION IS KEY

The first way to cut back on stress, particularly in the weeks leading up to and the day of the wedding: hiring a coordinator. We had multiple meetings with two coordinators (after doing a ton of research to narrow the focus) and our decision came down to a few things. First on the list was price (of course). We loved meeting with a local coordinator, but the pricing was too high for us to get on board with. After all we had gone through to make recent cuts, we couldn’t justify blowing the coordination budget (we’re talking a jump in price of $800 here). Beyond that, our other option—and chosen coordinator—felt right to both of us. She is younger, more hands-on in the ways we need her to be, and only slightly over budget.

So, what were we looking for? When it comes to a day-of coordinator (or in our case, a month-of coordinator), they are responsible for helping us create a timeline, keeping us to that timeline, and coordinating with vendors to make sure everyone is where they need to be when they need to be there. But here is where our coordinator had me: set up and break down. Our venue only books one event per weekend, meaning we have the place from Friday thru Sunday morning. The venue staff sets up tables and chairs Friday morning, our caterer comes in to lay out the floor plan and linens, then we will come in with a small army to do as much of the decorating as we can. My goal is to have this so organized, it gets done quickly and without too much pain involved.

But here’s the thing. At least until the next day at around 4:45, my last name is Kreischer… that means: what can go wrong, will go wrong. I can hope and pray for a seamless set up, but again: Kreischer. I wanted the comfort of knowing our coordinator would step in the morning of to oversee final decorating, floral placements, dessert placements, etc. If you know me, you know that my level of fine-tuning is not something to be implemented the day of my wedding. I need to be far away from “details” and enjoying a relaxing, exciting day with my loved ones.

On the other side of the day, I’d love to do a send-off with Nick. We haven’t decided on plans for that yet (and I’m still bitter they don’t allow sparklers), but we’ll figure it out. Once we are gone, I’d love to have someone step up as the ring leader to ensure everything gets where it needs to go (and not have that fall on my mother or other family members). So yeah, she had me at “set up and break down”—romantic, right?? Safe to say, Nick and I are continuing to create a team of vendors we trust and know will have our backs.

HOW SWEET IT IS

Just over three weeks ago, Nick and I ventured up to Wilmington for our first cake tasting! Through our catering package, a cake via and one of four bakeries is included, so we went to the one we felt came with the most recommendations to start. We sampled some lovely flavors and chose one for our cake. However, I will be going back next Saturday to taste some additional spring/summer-centric flavors that are more in line with what we’d be looking to do for the rest of the dessert selection. I’ll leave it there for now on this subject, but it was a very successful day!!

THE HONEYMOON

This weekend, Nick and I will be starting our honeymoon research over, as our previous choice is no longer a viable option. Nick and I have been to Aruba, Puerto Rico, and are going to Jamaica in a few weeks. We love island getaways, but have done them together before on multiple occasions. We’ve also been to Europe separately and, while that’s certainly on our list of trips to take together, it wasn’t what we wanted for our honeymoon.

What did the checklist include?

  • At least a pool, beach, or both
  • Yoga (would be a plus)
  • Things to do/see, but not so much that every second is filled—we’ll need some serious relaxation!
  • A culture neither of us have experienced before

So where did we end up choosing??

Bali.

And where is there now an imminent volcanic eruption?

Bali.

Luckily, we hadn’t booked anything yet—though we were a matter of days away from doing so—but we were definitely disappointed. Safe to say we accepted that a new location would be a better choice. After Nick had a brief love affair with Bora Bora (which averages $11,000 for a honeymoon—no thank you), we ended up going with our original tied-for-first location of…

Thailand!!! 

So now the more in depth research begins. We are both incredibly excited and know it will be the trip of a lifetime (that’s the goal, anyway)! More to come on that as we move forward, of course!

IN CLOSING

Planning our wedding continues to be topsy-turvy. It has its highs, its lows, and plenty of in betweens. We’re chipping away at our list and have just a few more things to tackle before we hit the lull, but one thing remains constant; I can’t wait to marry my best friend at the end of it all. We’re trying to get beyond looking at planning as just another collection of to-do items we can’t wait to check off, and are trying to find the excitement in it as often as we can—we don’t want these next 230 days to pass by in a blur of hazy memories.

Next up, we’ve got save the dates (which I’ve been putting off), honeymoon decisions and bookings, cake tasting round 2, a very exciting weekend with four of my bridesmaids to choose gowns, and then it’s off to the florist to button that up!

So sorry for the length, but I needed to play catch up! Until next time!! ❤

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Update 12, Part II: 299 Days to Go!

Good morning everyone, and happy Sunday! I have a bit of information to cover in today’s post and, as I mentioned yesterday in Part I, it’s not all sunshine, but, I promise it gets exciting at the end.

As I have expressed in the past, it often feels like I’m treading in uncharted and dangerous territory by sharing these details. At every turn, every article tells me, as a bride, what I should or shouldn’t be doing or sharing, and guess what; each article says something different. But to anyone who may silently feel that way, I’ll say this: we are excited about this time in our lives. My memory is pretty much crap and I don’t want to forget the little things. I’m writing to preserve my memories—the good and the bad.

I also have family and friends spread out all over the world who can’t always be as involved as they’d like and, to that point, I can only make so many phone calls and repeat my updates so many times. Sharing what I know I could easily preserve in my journal is for them, too.

So why am I talking about this again? First of all, because my email has been flooded with the dos and don’ts, wastes of money/time in weddings, and the comment sections of all those. I, quite frankly, want to spread the message to other brides and grooms to do what feels right by them, but with an appropriate amount of sensitivity to others. But mainly because of my next, often taboo subject: the guest list.

THE GUEST LIST

It’s a topic of many articles because it’s a stressful thing when planning a wedding, yet a rare topic of actual conversation because it can be very uncomfortable. I am sharing this today because I have the platform to express what can’t always be expressed, but should be, in my opinion. When we first approached the guest list, we did our, “in a perfect world” list. It was anyone and everyone who we would love to have at the wedding—not guests for the sake of having more guests, but people we would genuinely love to have there. The count was over 225. First, our venue can only hold 190. So, we made our first cut. We’ve also done another cut since then.

As many of you know, because of our housing situation, Nick and I have been living with his grandparents for a year now. That time has allowed us to really focus on saving as much as we possibly can for our wedding, our new house, and the start of our lives as a married couple. Because of this time, diligent cut backs and savings, and a lot of hard work, we have managed to save amounts we are really proud of.

But here is what we’ve come down to: the more we save, the less we want to spend. We’ve worked very hard to save in a unique and fortunate situation; to see it all disappear on one day would break our hearts. So where does that leave us?

We are working to cut back on costs where we can. We are foregoing a videographer because I got the photographer I wanted, even though I’d love to have one. I may be opting for a simple wedding band and getting the matching band to my engagement ring for an anniversary down the road. Our catering menu is pretty simple and our bar selection isn’t extensive. But the easiest way for us to save money is through the food/drink—and the only way for us to do that any further is to cut our guest list.

I am writing this because that means we are cutting people I, frankly, do not want to and want that message out there to anyone who may be following that we cannot invite. It’s taboo to talk about this; I know it is. But I can’t imagine taking this step and not getting the reasons out into the universe. I wasn’t invited to a wedding I would have loved to go to and, at the time, I didn’t understand and felt very disappointed. But my perspective has radically shifted since going through this myself.

Nick and I are buying a house. It’s a house we have to first build, move into, furnish, and maybe one day expand upon. It’s also a house we plan on starting our family in. That family comes with expenses. Our lives as a married couple comes with expenses. Right now, we are set to have a cushion when all is said and done—a cushion we have painstakingly filled feather by feather. If we don’t make this cut, that cushion will take a serious hit.

In short, we have made the decision to have a smaller wedding in an attempt to balance having a special day with the rest of our future. I would love to throw a bash that reunites friends we haven’t seen in years. I would love to invite everyone from all our circles and leave no one out. Believe me, this decision brought me to tears as I sat and stared at names and thought about each friendship (I have a couple of witnesses that can attest to it); but we have to do this. Even if someone donated 10K more, we’d still have to do it.

I hope that by putting this out there, people will understand our position. We want a beautiful wedding, but the bigger picture of our marriage needs to come first. If I won the lottery, different story; but we need to think about our future and the future of our family. It’s not easy and maybe people don’t really care about being invited or not, but I wanted to share this in case it helps even one person we can’t afford to invite that wishes they were. Maybe I shouldn’t have shared this at all, in some people’s opinions, but I needed to do what felt right…

*Deep breath* And with that, I will switch topics.


A WOODWARD WEDDING

17-08-13_WebsiteMockupAfter a few weeks of making tweaks (killer rhyme, Kat), our wedding website is officially live! I opted to build the site with Squarespace, since I couldn’t find any templates via the go-to wedding website engines that had what I was looking for.

It’s simple, features many of our favorite shots from the engagement shoot, and above all else, provides our story, updates, and information about the day itself. It will be an ongoing endeavor to keep it updated, but it is officially live and ready to view.

So take a look at our new site, awoodwardwedding.com, and let us know what you think!

Until next time ❤

Update 12, Part 1: 300 Days to go!

Good morning and Happy Saturday my loves!! I am back at it again and thrilled to be doing so! Sadly, I am so behind, this post has to be written in two parts. We have quite a bit to share, as much has happened regarding the wedding and all things related. Some is good, some is tough, but all sharable!

This post is all about our engagement party! Two weeks ago from today, Nick’s parents threw us a party to celebrate our engagement. Originally, we were only supposed to know the date, which we picked ourselves; but in the end, we knew the date, the location, the time, and bits and pieces of who was coming. Apparently both the Woodwards and the Kreischers have a tough time keeping secrets (ahem!). In the end, we didn’t mind because the day was absolutely wonderful.

The weekend began on Friday after what were two very difficult weeks at work. I’ve now received the paychecks for those two very difficult weeks and feel much better! But my parents made the trek up to Delaware for the weekend and I got to spend most of Friday with them. The joke of the day for me was that I was getting parental approval on some of the biggest “adult” decisions I’ve made recently—wanted to make sure my mommy and daddy liked the venue for the wedding and the neighborhood we are building in!!! They are thrilled about both, so I felt pretty good about myself!

After making our way to their B&B, it was time to pick Nick up to meet some more family out to dinner in Chesapeake City. We took them to Schaefer’s Canal House and got to have a delicious meal with my parents, grandmother, aunt, brother, sister-in-law, niece, and nephew. Surreal was a good way to describe the entire weekend of having my family in Delaware for the first time!!

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Saturday was met with some hiccups, as the impending rain called for a change in location for the party, but the backup plan was soon set in motion and Nick and I were sent off to enjoy our morning. We had plans to head back to Schaefer’s for brunch, which is typically our normal spot, but on our way there, I decided to check to make sure they are open Saturday mornings (since we usually go on Sundays). Alas, they were not. We, instead, found a little hole-in-the-wall breakfast spot and ate there before going to the salon and getting all dolled up. I got a blowout and Nick got a haircut.

When we were both done, we made our way over to the new location where most of our guests were ready and waiting for us. In short, the day was overwhelmingly wonderful. First of all, the place looked beautiful. My future mother-in-law did an absolutely wonderful job of organizing everything and chose the perfect aesthetic! Second of all, the day was so much fun. We had delicious food, though I have to admit there was so much socializing, I wasn’t able to enjoy a large amount of it; but what I had tasted delicious and the reviews I kept hearing were wonderful. In true engagement party fashion, we also played some fun games about how well Nick and I knew each other and how well everyone knew us.

By the way, here’s a shout out to everyone who knew the name of my blog!! That was a highlight for me, for certain. It’s easy to feel like this blog is just sitting out there, not reaching people (comments would be nice once in a while, folks! lol). But to hear that answer come out of so many mouths made me very happy—thought you should know!

The game which stole the show was definitely what we called the “drag race.” I had never seen it done before and it was unbelievably hysterical. Two chairs, set a distance apart, the bridal party on one side, the groomsmen on the other. The mission: a relay race which involved putting on the contents of two black bags, running around the opposite chair and back, and passing off the contents to the next person, until everyone has done a lap. The girls got a suit jacket, pants, and rather large men’s dress shoes. Cute, right? The boys? You’re piecing it together now; yes, I got to see my future husband, brother-in-law, and all the groomsmen run around a lawn wearing a beautiful white wedding gown, a set of gorgeous heels, and.. wait for it.. a bouncy blonde wig.

I don’t think there was a dry eye in the entire bunch, we were laughing so hard! Safe to say the girls won and the boys got a better understanding of our struggles to get ready. So really, we all won hah! I can’t add videos unless I upgrade, so here’s a little sample clip from the race!!

All in all, the day was amazing; it went entirely too fast (thus serving as a lesson for our wedding day and the need to slow down), but it was unforgettable. At the time of the party, Nick and I had been engaged for 7 months, so to finally start the wedding celebrations was very exciting for us. This is the sentiment I shared at the party with everyone, but I don’t think people truly understood how much the day meant to us. Nick and I have been together for three years and have been separated from many people we love for pretty much that entire time. Our family and friends live all over the country and even all over the world; so to have both our families and some of our best friends all together for the first time was surreal. We were missing a few people, but were so grateful for all who had made the trip; whether it was 5 minutes down the road or a plane ride away.

Our families and friends are the foundation of our lives. They are one of the main reasons Nick and I aren’t just having a teeny tiny wedding or eloping; we want to finally share this incredible love we’ve found in one another with the people who got us to each other. Doing it any other way just wouldn’t feel right.

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And with that, I think I will wrap this post up. We had the most wonderful time and it only made us more excited for the rest of the wedding events coming our way next year. We are so grateful to Nick’s mom and dad for organizing and executing a beautiful day, and to everyone who played a part in making it happen for us—it was perfect.

Like I said, there is a second part coming; I may write it now and share later today or tomorrow, but it’s coming. Not likely as light-hearted as this post, as we’ve had to make a difficult decision regarding the wedding plans, but I need to utilize this platform to share our decision and our thoughts. But we also have some exciting updates to share in addition, so I hope y’all take a look!

Until then!

Update 11: 343 Days to Go!

Oh this is going to be blog post overload this weekend! I posted a life update yesterday (Part 1 of 2) and there is still so much to cover from this crazy week. I am grateful to be sitting here on my favorite morning of the week, Saturday: my day to regroup, reorganize, and just be in some of the best ways I know how. This weekend will be spent with Nick at the beach and it’s safe to say long weekends with just the two of us are my absolute favorite, so I can’t wait!

As promised in a number of posts now, this is my spot to share our engagement photos! There is no way I could include them all, as we were given a gazillion, and choosing a selection was a massive feat. Seriously, I have 67 images coming your way. I’ve shared a number on Facebook, but there are far too many good ones to only share a handful. All credit to their greatness goes to our photographer, Elizabeth Baxter. After a very hard start to the week, receiving these was a turning point. If you want to hear more about the engagement shoot itself, you can read my recap post on it!

Before the incredibly overwhelming reveal, I have one bit of news to share today as well! On Sunday, we got to see my cousin, her husband, and their three girls for the first time in years. They were living in Japan before moving to their current home in Hawaii, so visits are few and far between. Next time we see them will be at our wedding where… drum rolls… Caitlyn, Claire, and Emily will be three of our flower girls!!!

In true Kat-can’t-do-anything-half-a$$ed fashion, we put together little proposal cards for the girls, which we followed up with tiny flower necklaces I put together for them. They, of course, said yes and were very excited by the “fluffy stuff” in the necklace boxes. I stupidly forgot to take before boxes of everything, but my cousin snapped a picture of me with our little ladies!

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We are so excited to have these beautiful and oh-so-lovey girls be part of our day! Nick and I are two very lucky ducks! Can’t wait!! ❤


Without further ado, below is a (large) sampling of our engagement photos! I threw in some funny ones and some captions to explain the ones needing explanation. I also opted to do all single photos so you can actually see them and know when the end is in sight. Since I have the enormous task of picking some favorites to feature in a few places, so I’d love to hear which ones everyone likes the most!!

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One of our first photos when we had absolutely no idea what we were doing and felt oh-so-incredibly awkward!

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This was the famous “hissing” moment. Elizabeth told Nick to make me laugh, so he started hissing in my ear haha

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Nick thought butterfly kisses would be a good photo. It wasn’t lol

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One of my favorites

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One of those pictures that does a good job of capturing “us.”

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The look he has when he thinks he’s telling me something very interesting and important.

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Love how natural this feels

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My favorite face of his.

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Another favorite picture

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We thought putting a girl with vertigo on a fallen tree 3 feet off the ground without her glasses was a good idea.

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When it completely slammed into Nick

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Not the most flattering, but I wanted to show a couple of these shots!

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My favorite of the kiss photos, I think. Contouring for the win.

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I learned on this day just how weak my fiance is haha. This came out well though!

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Nick felt left out of the whole foot popping pose

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More hissing, most likely.

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After a very fake, very obnoxious laugh.. hey, it worked, didn’t it??

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The oh-so-happy couple!

Hope y’all enjoyed these pictures as much as we do!! Again, let me know some of your favorites—we have so many to choose from!!

Update 10: 357 Days to go!

As promised, I am doing a recap of our engagement photo shoot, which we had last Sunday evening with our photographer, Elizabeth Baxter. What a strange experience, but very fun! To give y’all a bit of background on how we found and chose Elizabeth; I reached out to my friend, who is both a fellow graphic designer and a photographer. I gave her some samples of photographers who I loved, but could never afford (starting prices between $7,000–$9,000—um, no thank you). She then sent me an Excel spreadsheet (clearly a woman after my own heart) filled with potential vendors. Not to be dramatic, but Elizabeth stood out from the bunch in every way for me.

If there was anything in this wedding I was not willing to compromise on, it was the style of photography I wanted. There are talented photographers everywhere—that there is no denying. But as with all artists, they each have a style. For us, I wanted light, romantic, and organic—not dark, heavily saturated, or staged. With that said, it fell into place with Elizabeth and I think we made the best decision.


So now for the shoot! 

We met up with Elizabeth at Brandywine Creek State Park, not far from where our first apartment was. We’d never been there and were quickly regretting that—what a beautiful location! I asked Elizabeth (or coerced—whichever you prefer) to choose a location since nothing came to mind that had all we were looking for. She couldn’t have picked a better spot. We went to two locations within the park and moved around in each a few times.

We ended up in the middle of fields, on the ground, in the woods, sitting and standing on a fallen tree (not an easy feat for a girl with vertigo and without her glasses on), on top of a hill—really all over the place. While I have yet to see the rest of the pictures, I’m sure the multiple locations and our two outfits created some great variation.

What was it like?

I don’t know about you, but it’s not often I’m in a photoshoot. The only other shoot I’ve done was for a “sexy” calendar with my packaging class—not exactly the same situation! It was definitely a strange experience; I often felt like maybe I wasn’t doing the right thing or needed to switch it up. However, I had such confidence in Elizabeth; I knew she wouldn’t let it get stale. Of course, one of the first things Nick and I said when we got in front of the camera was, “this is awkward.” It wasn’t awkward because there was a camera right up in our kisses or capturing our loving looks; I just wanted to make sure we were doing it “right.”

But it stopped feeling awkward pretty quickly. Elizabeth was amazing at guiding us, even if we didn’t always do a good job at following directions (I apparently didn’t know my right from my left at one point). I had the advantage of pouring over engagement photos for a long time prior, so I often knew what Elizabeth was trying to achieve, making it easier for me to run with things. Nick had a tough time getting out of his head throughout the shoot (which is safe to say for us both), but I think we navigated pretty well!

The funny stuff

One aspect I always thought about in looking at other engagement photos was how often the smiles appeared genuine and the couples appeared to be laughing. This was where I got caught in my head, “what on earth do they talk about and what the heck is so funny?”

The first time Elizabeth said, “make her laugh,” I couldn’t believe what Nick decided to do. All of a sudden, I hear Nick whispering unintelligible words in my ear, followed by cat hissing. It cracked me up and confused the heck out of me. As we went on with the shoot, it became harder to find genuine laughs, so I took matters into my own hands. Each time she told us to laugh, I let out a massive fake laugh. It was obnoxious, but always turned into real laughter afterwards. I hate to see any pictures she captured during those first few seconds, as they couldn’t have been cute.

We were able to poke fun at ourselves when we were getting too deep in our heads—it was our way of pulling us both out of it.

The mushy stuff

In a photoshoot dedicated to loving on each other and involving someone whose whole blog is about noticing the tiniest moments, there was bound to be some mushy realizations!! I had two notable ones throughout the process:

First, when things got awkward, our safe space was each another. When we felt like we were in a pose for too long or didn’t know where to look or put our hands, we’d just come back to each other. I’d look at him and he’d look at me and somehow, things felt calm again.

The second came when we saw our “teaser” photo. As I said, I’ve seen so many engagement photos and poured over how beautiful and utterly romantic they are. Standing on the other side now looking at ourselves in that kind of photo? Strange.

Nick made a comment about it being such an intimate, romantic moment—almost feeling unnatural. But then my wheels began to turn. In many instances, we see other people’s romances unfolding in front of us. Sometimes in movies, others in real life. As outsiders, we can pick up on that brief moment just before a kiss or the way two people look at one another for just a second or two, but when it’s your own life, you can’t see it from that perspective, so it doesn’t always seem to have the same magic.

Yes, it was a photoshoot and we were guided in what to do, but the tiniest nuances are all us. The way Nick was looking at me in that photo was all us (though I do wish my eyes were open hah). To me, we can finally get a glimpse of ourselves from an outsider’s perspective and I absolutely love it.


I will end the post with the teaser photo we have and will include some more of Elizabeth’s information below. We are so excited to see the rest and are waiting anxiously in anticipation!! I am spending the day finally starting our wedding branding, so more to come on that!!

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Website: elizabethbaxterphotography.com
Facebook: facebook.com/elizabethbaxterphotography/
Instagram: instagram.com/elizabethbaxter/

Update 9: 363 Days to Go!

Holy Hannah! Two updates in a matter of two days—I’ll take it! Today’s update is brought to you by a beautiful Sunday morning—oh so perfect for writing—combined with an insane excitement for today’s agenda, but the need to wait until this evening!! As I mentioned in Update 7, we are doing our long-awaited engagement shoot today!

When it comes to having a longer engagement, I personally feel there are more perks than disadvantages. It was the right decision for us, but there are times when I wish that timeline was a little shorter. Take today, for example. I’m so excited for this day because it’s been just shy of 6 months since Nick proposed. While we’ve kept very busy since then (and it often feels like time is flying), it can sometimes feel like so much time is passing between wedding-related milestones.

I know what y’all are going to say: “don’t rush this time in your lives,” and, “it’ll be over before you know it.” Yes, yes. I hear you. I know these things. I don’t want to rush through it either, but time is going to pass as it shall. In the meantime, I will comment on my excitement for the next step—experience tells me that it won’t speed time up or slow it down haha.

THE SHOOT

It’s not every day you get to do a photoshoot with your best friend, especially in the hands of a very talented photographer. We are so excited to start working with Elizabeth of Elizabeth Baxter Photography, who we met with for the first time a few months back. Photography was not something I was going to compromise on, as I really wanted to be sure we had, not only the right look and feel, but the right photographer with the right eye. Everyone knows I’m A-Type and, as a fine arts major and designer, I know what I want from a visual perspective. To walk into what is, in my opinion, a creative shoot, and have absolute confidence in our photographer makes me feel so at ease.

We playfully joke about Nick’s “forced” smile—the one where someone says, “smile for the camera!” It generally reminds me of an episode from Friends (shocker, I know), where Monica and Chandler are getting their engagement photos taken and Chandler cannot put on a nice smile for the camera. Nick is nowhere near the level Chandler is, but as an obsessive Friends fan, I can’t help but think of it.

With that being said, Nick’s smile is my favorite feature of his, besides the jawline that can cut glass; but it’s his natural smile that still gives me butterflies. It makes me happy to see him happy and to finally capture those kinds of genuine, real moments has me through-the-roof elated. Combine that with a natural setting and sunset and you have a girl that cannot contain her excitement, even finding a way to make a whole blog post about it!

THE OUTFITS

This afternoon, we are putting the finishing touches on our photoshoot prep, as I finally picked out my second outfit yesterday. After two full days of what felt like endless shopping, I finally found a really sweet dress to wear during the second part of the shoot. As a girl who, for the most part, operates in navy, brown, gray, and black, the likelihood of stumbling across a light, flowy, floral dress in her closet wasn’t promising.

I cannot bring myself to admit tell you all where I ended up purchasing said dress, but it works and that’s all that matters! Shout out to Nick for putting up with Day 1 shopping last week and to Brittney for getting me through Day 2 yesterday! Today, we are choosing Nick’s outfits and doing some final shopping and primping—oh woe is me!

Safe to say, we are really excited for this evening and can’t wait to share the sure-to-be-amazing photos with y’all!! I’m sure nerves will kick in, but we’ll find our way!

Until next time! ❤

Here we go: 365 Days to go!

Our first major milestone has officially arrived—let the countdown begin!!!

That’s right! We are exactly one year from our wedding day and I have been sitting on the brink of happy tears all morning just thinking about where we’ll be on this day a year from now. I will, no doubt, be yelling to my bridesmaids and anyone within a 50 mile radius, “I’m getting MAAAAAARRIEDDDDD!!!!!” (which they already have experience with, of course—Lord help those girls).

THE DATE:

I know I covered this in another post after we picked our date, but I’ll reiterate. Originally, Nick and I were looking to get married in the fall. It has always been part of my vision and I was adamant about it. When we got engaged, the first venue we were interested in didn’t have a single date in September or October. It was at that point where I started to let go of the fall requirement.

The venue we chose had fall dates available for 2018, but after getting engaged, neither of us wanted to wait almost a full 2 years. So, we chose May 19. It was the perfect day for us because it was the day before the anniversary of our first date (and falls on a Saturday). But, because our luck isn’t the greatest, May 19 was the only date taken at the venue. We ultimately chose—you guessed it—JUNE 9!!!

It worked out beautifully because June 9 is four days after my parents’ wedding anniversary and four days before both Nick’s parents’ and grandparents’ anniversary. Our wedding date becomes symbolic: the products of these marriages coming together as one—we kinda like it 😉

IT ALMOST STARTED WITH A HANDSHAKE…

I began writing about this on our 3 year anniversary (which was three weeks ago), but today is the perfect chance to get it out there! One of the great anecdotes we have from our first date was at the very end when Nick was dropping me off back home. We both felt that awkward tension as our minds raced to figure out how the other wanted the date to end. Was it a, “thank you, I had a great time,” and get out of the car? A hug? A kiss, perhaps?? I settled on the hug and we both began to move in.

I looked down and, though he swears otherwise, I saw him going for a handshake… a handshake?? Nah. I verbally shut that down and gave him an awkward car hug as we both laughed about the whole thing. To this day, he insists I was the one moving for the handshake, but we all know the truth.

It’s a silly little story, but one I came back to on our anniversary this year, as we sat in the restaurant where we had that first date. I couldn’t help but think about how symbolic that almost-handshake was. That day, I not only met the love of my life; I met my partner. Nick is many things to me, but what I believe will help us through all of life’s adventures is that we are partners in everything we do. We are each others’ support. We are each others’ lifelines. It’s one thing to have someone who will hold your hand through the tough times; it’s another to have someone who will lift you up and help you forward.


Our wedding day will be one we continue to painstakingly plan for, a day we will look forward to with such eagerness, and a day that will likely come and go way too fast. But on this day, 365 days from now, we will embark on one of the biggest adventures we will ever go on. It will be the foundation for the rest of our lives together and all the exciting challenges we’ll face.

We have a crazy number of things on the horizon for the coming year, but it fills my heart with such excitement to know that one year from today, I will be getting ready to marry my best friend.

Update 7: 369 Days to Go!

Good afternoon everyone! It is a rainy Monday here in Delaware and I am unfortunately under the weather, but itching to write. I have about 3-4 blog posts sitting in my head, so there is a good chance you may see a few of those today/tonight!! First up: the wedding!

Our Wedding Team

Throughout our meetings, emails, and phone calls with potential vendors, I got in the habit of referring to them as our “team.” When it comes to the day of our wedding, I see the people we choose to have on our team as the pillars—the ones responsible for having our backs, so we don’t have to worry. I’m sure it comes as no surprise to many when I say I am a Type-A personality and I genuinely believe that may make my wedding day hard. With so many details that need to come together, I know we need a strong group of professionals who I can hand things over to… a feat that I do not consider easy.

I am really happy to say we have our biggest, on-site, day-of vendors booked! That’s right—venue, caterer, photographer, and DJ are all set. We still have to find the vendors like florist, bakery, and officiant, but to have the others set one year in advance is a weight off our shoulders!

The Real Stress

Now here is where I get as close to “real talk” as I can without getting too specific. Nick and I have faced some hurdles throughout this process; that we all know. But some of our hurdles go deeper than finding the right vibe for a DJ. In every wedding planning story, you have the people—the friends and/or family that can sometimes make their way into the horror stories. Maybe “horror” is a bit dramatic, but it’s certainly no picnic.

We have been very fortunate to have a ton of support, but not without some hiccups. We’ve already experienced the reality of getting input we aren’t huge fans of—which is really only an issue when not properly and/or respectfully given.

I love having people involved; it’s truly one of my favorite aspects of all this—I want people who want to have a hand to have it. But sometimes, the delivery of input isn’t as graceful as one would hope. I’m referring to the comments such as, “You’re not having [blank]?!” or, “Why on earth would you do [blank]?!” etc. Yeah, those really don’t sit too well.

However, I will follow up with this: recently, I had to make a very, very hard wedding decision regarding some people I love. It was something I didn’t anticipate and something I wish I didn’t have to do; but it needed to be done. I spent weeks and weeks deliberating, stressing, getting looks of disapproval, and yeah, there was plenty of the kind of “advice” I’m not a fan of. But it was finally resolved last week and here is what I have to say about it:

I am constantly humbled by the amount of love and support we’ve received. This decision was so hard because we’ve surrounded ourselves with some of the best humans we could ever hope for in life. While the situation wasn’t ideal, I was reminded of how lucky I was to have that kind of problem—to have so many amazing people by my side.

People may make this time a tad more stressful, but people are also constantly reminding us of how lucky we are to be surrounded by so much love, support, and friendship.

Next Steps

Up next in the planning to-do list, we have some smaller things and some very exciting, big things. The most exciting thing coming up is that Friday will mark one year until we say I do! To celebrate, it worked out that we could get our engagement photos done Sunday, which we are both SO excited for. We spend so much time together already, but to have an afternoon dedicated to capturing our love and relationship sounds like a beautiful way to spend a day! We officially chose a location, thanks to our already-amazing photographer, Elizabeth and we are all set for a beautiful sunset shoot!!

After that, I get to move to our wedding branding—yes you heard that correctly. As a designer, I’d love to have a cohesive “brand” for our wedding so that every single element works in tandem, from monogram, to website, all the way to our thank you notes. I’d love to have that up and running by the end of July so I can get our Save the Dates out in August!

In Conclusion

Being a year out means we aren’t crazy busy planning for the wedding. We have things on our to do list, but nothing to drive us too nuts. We’ve tackled quite a number of the hard items, so it’s a relief to head into summer with that all settled. Now, we are moving towards the “fun” stuff. Having a long engagement is the best wedding decision we’ve made thus far, but it also has a downside: we have to wait!

I’m hoping to find my way back to this section soon to tell y’all all about the engagement shoot and our one year mark! Until then!

Update 6: 409 Days to go!

With each month that passes, I am more and more grateful to have a longer engagement. I think about doing everything in less than a year and it makes my stomach turn!

Today’s post is a little different than the others I’ve done in this part of my blog. As an update, since getting my gown, we selected our caterer and photographer for the big day! We are thrilled to have those secured so we can wrap up the process of finding our main vendors. Now, we only have DJ, florist, and bakery left! Our goal is to have them chosen by the one year mark (or somewhere around then) since we’ll be getting ready for our new home this summer. To have the big stuff off the wedding to-do will be a huge help.

It just so happens that tonight’s entry is actually about these vendors and our experience thus far. Over the past few days, I’ve had the pleasure of speaking with a potential DJ about his company and services. Let me tell you something; whoever wrote the primary “sales pitch” email knew what they were doing. It was personable, kind, and incredibly appealing. Unfortunately, he is out of our price range.

The more we do for the wedding, the more we want to come up under budget. I had to politely tell this DJ that he was just too far out of our price range for comfort, but he was incredibly kind in his response. Now, here is where the point of this entry comes out: I am sad to say that not everyone has been so well spoken in a similar situation.

If you’ve read this section of my blog, you may recall our experience with the first vendor we met with… well, ever. You can read my post on the subject, but here is the gist: the owner was defensive, not concerned with our experience, oh, and drunk. So far, I’ve spoken to at least a dozen different vendors and only a couple have been poor experiences; but if you’ve ever planned an event and had to deal with it, then you know they stand out.

I hate sales. I don’t like sales pitches. But I understand them. I work in a business where sales is a necessary evil. BUT, what do I hate more?

Passive aggressive sales pitches.

I don’t like having to tell a vendor “no.” I understand that they are trying to gain my business and what that feels like. Plus, I have a heart, so it’s not “easy” to tell someone I don’t want to work with them. But the most notable instance of a crappy response was a DJ I reached out to (referred to henceforth as DJ 1). I won’t throw out a name, but the response I got was passive aggressive and made me feel ‘bad’ for having a budget. Safe to say, I didn’t respond after that.

After politely telling DJ 1 we didn’t have the flexibility in our budget to afford his services, he responded by telling me that they recognize they are more expensive and that is because of their quality. The gentleman I was speaking with the past few days (DJ 2) said the same thing, but in a much nicer way. DJ 1 decided to tell me their clients are the brides and grooms who have witnessed DJs single-handedly ruining a wedding (something I mentioned as an experience of ours) and that they are willing to pay more for a “premium” service. The email was cold overall—fine. But he ended the spiel after all that with “how important is your wedding entertainment to you?”

-_-  Is it just me? Maybe you had to be there.

For my own confirmation, receiving the email I did this morning from DJ 2, which had the same point, though expressed in a much more respectful way, made me think even less of the email DJ 1 sent. Even when I sent DJ 2 a second email saying it still wouldn’t work, he sent me the loveliest email saying that I will have a “fantastic wedding, a beautiful home, and a beautiful family!” This guy was so nice, I contemplated saying “screw the budget!”

Here’s my point: if you are a bride or groom: be on the lookout for this kind of behavior. Maybe it doesn’t bother you, but I see our vendors as members of our team. I am so excited to work with our venue, caterer, and photographer (shout out to Elizabeth, if you’re reading this hah). They should be respectful, make a great connection, but most of all, give you confidence that they are on your side and are eager to make your day special.

If you are a vendor (or in sales in general): let this be a lesson—I’m certainly going to remember it in my line of work. Words are powerful… they have the power to make or break a sale, so choose wisely and here’s a tip: don’t go the passive aggressive route. Be kind. Be understanding. And don’t be a jerk.

Because you probably won’t get the sale, and you may lose potential clients as a result.

🙂

Update 5: 430 Days to go!

Wow! Do I have a wedding update for y’all! As most people know by now, this past weekend was the one many brides are most excited for (you know, besides the wedding itself): dress shopping!!!

We are in a funny situation, as my mom and dad live in Florida. That meant we had to plan this event far in advance. Schedules needed to be checked, flights booked, reservations made, etc. Our goal was to have my mom come up in May sometime, but in trying to coordinate a weekend with both her and my future mother-in-law, we had one weekend free between April and the end of July and this was it.

Now, our wedding is just over 14 months away—not really any rush to find a gown. However, the thought was, “If I can’t find a gown during this first trip, we have to start the whole process over again, but now we’re looking at August or September—9 months before the wedding.” I wasn’t going to push it.

I decided to go with just the moms on Friday. As special a day as it would be for me, I knew how special it would be to them as well, so I wanted to dedicate the first day to just us for a more intimate appointment. Saturday was with the moms again and four of my bridesmaids. The thought of a large entourage was nerve-wracking leading up to the day, but it turned out to be wonderful. It makes a huge difference when you go with people you know, love, trust, and who know you well enough to find a good balance.

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The sea of gowns!

I tried on approximately 30-35 gowns at 3 different stores. I had great consultants, so one had me in the poofiest gown in the store from Saturday (shocker: we loved it) and another was my Friday consultant’s pick for the ugliest gown in the store (which I included a picture of below). Believe me, putting those on for fun made my life as the bride better. My head was killing me this weekend from all the thinking I had to do, so it was nice to break that up with some fun.

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The dress that went through a lawnmower…

In the end, we had some real contenders. Friday, we had to narrow it down from 5 gowns. Saturday a.m., while the store was gorgeous, it was mostly out of my price range and the dresses I saw weren’t for me. Saturday evening, we had some contenders, but one in particular rose to the top. That sounds good, right? Nope. I had already had my “bridal moment” on Friday. That’s right! My flexibility in silhouettes turned into loving two completely different gowns. Now I was faced with this existential question of, “what do you want to say about yourself on your wedding day?”

HA! You try answering that when you have a million dominant personalities.

Safe to say, I was distraught. Thank goodness for my amazing group of ladies who were there to give their support and help me through it. After some dinner, wine, and sleep, we came up with a plan. I needed to try on both gowns again. The first at the store from Friday and the second at the store from Saturday afternoon. We were set to go to both the following day to do just that.

BUT. To throw a wrench in the mix, there was one more gown I had fallen in love with in my searches leading up to this weekend and it felt like the perfect blend between the two. We found out the Saturday afternoon store could get it in for me to try on, so I opted to hold on going back there until they could get it in. So Sunday, we went back to the original store here in town. I was grateful that Bridget, one of my lovely ladies, could come to this appointment because I needed someone who hadn’t seen me in the original gown to do so (which should have been a sign right there).

I walked out of the dressing room and we all knew without a shadow of a doubt. I was already in my dress.

It all came down to a feeling. I now understand the concept of “you just know” when it comes to your wedding gown. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I felt a blissful silence. I wasn’t thinking about any other gowns; I wasn’t thinking about other possibilities or nitpicking at tiny details. I was there… in my gown… and I didn’t want to try on another dress ever.

Fun fact: my bridal moment on Friday didn’t come immediately. I thought you walked out and just started bawling. Turns out, my emotions don’t work that quickly. What happened was that, after trying on the gown multiple times, when my thoughts finally settled (because there wasn’t anything left to say—unlike every other gown I tried on), my mind was quiet enough to able to envision walking down the aisle to Nick. Guess what! That’s where the tears came from!! (and not cute ones either).

As you can gather by now; I very excitedly said yes to the dress!!!

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I am so happy with my decision and genuinely can’t wait for the day I get to put it on and marry my best friend. It was a rollercoaster weekend that went entirely too quickly, but I am yet again reminded of how incredible my support system is. A special shout out to my bridesmaids Bridget, Charlotte, Maddie, and Melanie, my fantastic future mother-in-law to be, Susan, and my other best friend/Mommy! Having you all there this weekend was an absolute blessing and I couldn’t have picked a better group!!

While I am grateful to never have to try on another wedding gown (who’d a thunk, right?), this was a weekend I will always remember… and now I have my gown!!!!