Update 18: 140 Days to go!

I hate to admit it, but I have a few drafts sitting in my account that never got finished. I’ve gotten into the strange habit of starting to write, but then allowing myself to get distracted (usually by wedding items), and the next thing I know, it’s hours later and I still haven’t finished the post. With our schedule being what it has been, that’s meant I needed to either cut things short and rush, or they didn’t get finished at all. My mantra for the next 140 days (eek!) is “one thing at a time” and right now, that thing is writing.

It’s a wedding update!

Wedding Bands: When it comes to the wedding, we’ve been busy. After a few visits to the jeweler, we have officially ordered our wedding bands and we can’t wait to see them in a week or so. Word to the wise: confirm business hours before you make an unscheduled trip to see a wedding vendor.

Honeymoon: Last week, we had the exciting task of speaking with our travel agent to get the ball rolling for our honeymoon. If you didn’t know already, our original destination was Bali, but after it was announced that a volcanic eruption was imminent, plans changed. While we were able to get past the disappointment pretty quickly, the reality of starting research from scratch set in and I wasn’t about it. I knew how much we had going on and starting that whole process over didn’t interest me. Fortunately, we were pointed in the direction of a travel agent who is now taking care of the details for our honeymoon to Thailand.

The consultation call we had went very well. We think she did a fantastic job of hearing what was important to us and where we wanted to focus our attention. All her suggestions were in line with what we really wanted to do, so we felt confident leaving things in her hands at the end of our call. We did receive an email telling us that a third city was recommended to us, based on the things we deem priorities, so we’re just waiting to hear back on a proposal so we can get that wrapped up!

Registry: Last weekend, we finally set up our registry. We went to two locations to get the ball rolling and, for the most part, it went very well. It took some adjustment when we got there to keep all parties focused on the task at hand, but when we got into a groove, it was pretty fun. To be quite honest, my anxiety was getting the better of me, but I was blessed with one of those “here’s some perspective” moments when—oddly enough—I lost Nick in the store for a minute. When I went looking for him, I rounded a corner to see that silly fiancé of mine across the store, looking at a toaster, but with his hand inside, pretending to be electrocuted—effectively sending me into a fit of uncontrollable laughter. It was my favorite part of the day and a reminder that, no matter how stressful this process has become, that incredible weirdo will be waiting at the end of the aisle for me… and that’s all that matters in the end.

Frost Yourself: The next day, I enlisted the help of one of my bridesmaids to come shopping for shoes and earrings with me. A task that I thought would take an hour or so ended up being an all afternoon/evening affair (I guess I cared after all—who knew); but we were determined to find the perfect set. I originally planned on going alone, but was happy I decided against it; she got me through with flying colors in more ways than one and we had a lot of fun. Now that the shoes I ordered just came in the mail yesterday, I’m all blinged out for the big day! Just need some extensions and unmentionables (oh la la), and I’m all set!

Moving forward: I have set an ambitious goal for myself of wrapping up as many of the details as I’m able by the end of March/April, so we can sit back and relax in the final months leading up to the big day. I’d rather tackle the necessary last-minute details when the time comes and not add to the list unnecessarily. This weekend is all about purchasing a few items we need for decor, favors, and my personal ensemble, plus starting our wedding stationery—all tasks I am very excited for.

That Crazy Life I Mentioned

Here’s where I want to get real. I promised as much transparency as possible with this section of my blog, so long as it doesn’t affect other people, and I’m going to give that.

Fact: In the grand scheme of things, I haven’t enjoyed planning my wedding very much.

We have had some pretty great moments in planning this wedding and—don’t get me wrong—I can’t wait to see it all come together and know it’s going to be worth it in the end; but, there have been so many unforeseen obstacles and disappointments that I’ve been left with a sour taste in my mouth.

We have a lot going on in our lives right now and, let me be perfectly clear, we did not plan for all this to be happening simultaneously. However, that’s how things worked out and we just have to roll with the punches. It’s safe to say Nick and I simply can’t wait for the dust to settle. We’ve been caught in this sandstorm for over a year and a half now, with the house hunt, wedding planning, and work just swirling around us incessantly. So yeah, we can’t wait for the day we wake up on a beautiful Saturday morning in our new house—as a married couple—with nothing to do, knowing that all of this is behind us. But that aching desire to see it all over has made it that much harder to enjoy ourselves during a time we will not get back. Throw in those obstacles, disappointments, and personal struggles with anxiety, and you’ve got a difficult mindset to overcome.

But… I’m trying.

I don’t want to miss these last 140 days. I don’t want to let obstacles, distance, or other people ruin my experience anymore. Because I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the day I get to wake up and say, “I’m getting married today,” will be the best day of my life… and none of this will matter when I am walking down that aisle, saying my vows to my best friend, or dancing the night away with the people we love the most in this world.

For the first time in a while, I feel genuinely excited about what we have left to do. It isn’t all that much, but the goal is to be mindful, present, and remember what it’s all for in the end. This process may have looked different than I always pictured, but it’s time to embrace and celebrate every twist and turn before it’s gone.

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Update 17: 154 Days to go!

So apparently I’m not so great at having a Saturday morning without a blog post. Hey, I’m not complaining—I love when I feel the urge to write… and CAN. Question is, what on earth do I want to talk about? I have bits and pieces from different sections that I could touch on, but I’ve got the wedding on my mind, so I’m running with that (as you probably guessed from the title).

Ring-ing in the new year

Yes, I already used that pun on Instagram, but it works. Last weekend, Nick and I paid our first visit to our jeweler to discuss wedding bands. It was an exciting day for me, but mostly because I was excited for Nick. This is a kid who doesn’t wear jewelry, with the exception of watches and the bracelet set he asked for at Christmas, so I was excited to see him try wedding bands on. For me, things were simple; I have my engagement ring and want a band to match. I had already made the decision to do a plain band to save money, so the hard part on my end was over.

The band on my ring is custom, so a custom band with diamonds is more money than I’d like to shell out for myself. So, I’ve decided to start with a plain band that matches the contour and width of my engagement ring, with the intent to perhaps get the diamond band down the road for an anniversary, if feasible. I could note here how people have already done the “disappointed head tilt” at hearing me say I am not getting a diamond band, as if there’s something inherently wrong with that, but I will just leave it at the passive aggressive statement and move forward. 🙂

So, my half of the consultation was easy. Nick, on the other hand, had to take in and digest all his options: gold vs. titanium vs. cobalt, vs. all the other metals rings come in. I could see we had two price points: one around what mine will be and one… higher. I knew where Nick’s head was going as I listened to the jeweler do his sales pitch, but Nick isn’t a diamonds kinda guy, so it’s not like we were talking anything too extravagant. I felt that, at the end of the day—though any chance to cut costs has me intrigued—I’m sitting here with my beautiful engagement ring… the band budget goes to Nick.

We are going back today and Nick is ordering his white gold wedding band haha.

Breaking it down

We are three days away from the 5 month mark (eek!), so I’ve been feeling ready to get down to business and start wrapping up the loose ends. I started a wedding notebook a while back and it’s been put to good use. I needed a space where I could simply write notes, reminders, lists, etc., so this seemed to be the best solution. Because organization is incredibly important, I start with a “just get it on paper” list every so often. There’s no order to it; I just get it out of my head. Once that slows down, I can then break it into relevant lists.

Each night in the second half of this week, I’ve dedicated some time to working on the updated list and its contents. But, let me tell you, this is definitely the fun part. Besides transportation, the honeymoon, and our registry, the remaining big items are done; I can’t describe what a relief that ends up being. So my list is now filled with follow up emails to vendors, budgetary to-dos, purchases, and the “little things.” The list is long, but certainly more fun than stressing about choosing a vendor before someone else does.

Budgeting Blues

One of the things I had on my mind was the impending influx of payments we’ll be dishing out. To book most vendors, we’ve had to put down a deposit, so we’ve already made a number of payments, but since we’ve crossed the six month mark, more deposits have been made and, as I said, it’s time to tackle the little things (which means spending money on the little things). I found myself suddenly (and unnecessarily) fearful of our larger payments coming due for vendors and not having the funds available.

To put myself at ease, last night, I sat down and took a look at our payment sheet. I essentially took the total cost for our current vendors, subtracted what we’ve already paid, then subtracted that number from what we have currently saved in our budget, in order to see how much we have left to play with. Our honeymoon budget was then subtracted, to give me a final number for how much I had available for everything else (based on our current savings).

My nerves kicked in because I have us saving until we move into our house, which will likely be after the wedding. It was the mentality that if we are saving up until the wedding, what happens to the 100% of payments that need to happen at least a few weeks before? However, after my reality check, my nerves were silenced and I know how much we have available to keep the ball rolling.

All in all, we are in a really exciting spot. We have a busy 5 months ahead of us, but again, we’re to the fun part, in my opinion. I have to wrap this up quickly because we have to not only go order our rings, but sign off on the blueprints for our house!!!

THAT MEANS DIGGING AS SOON AS THE GROUND IS READY! AHH!

Ok, more to come soon!

Update 16: 175 Days to Go!

Good afternoon everyone!

First, I want to start off by saying that I gained a few new followers recently and I genuinely can’t tell you how much that means! So, thank you and welcome!

Today is another gorgeous, just-the-way-I-like-it Saturday here in Delaware. As an adult, I don’t watch the weather so religiously as I did when I was a kid (which is only because “snow days” aren’t a thing for someone who works from home). With that being said, yesterday’s snowfall was a complete surprise to me until someone mentioned it a few hours before it started! We’ve had a bit of snow already this season—nothing major—but today is the first day I woke up to a snow-covered morning and it was positively perfect.

I’ve actually been very much looking forward to this weekend, since I don’t actually have anything planned. I don’t have anywhere to be, but have plenty to do. If I play my cards right (and smart), I will have a relaxing, but productive weekend. It’s a blend of Christmas prep, work for clients, freelance work, and various shopping endeavors. Throw in some reading, movies, and staring at the Christmas tree and you’ve got my weekend in a nutshell!

Get to the topic

As the title reads, today is dedicated to a wedding update and, my goodness, it’s a big one (at least from my perspective)! We have officially finished all the “big” items in our wedding planning endeavors!! As of yesterday, we have completed the following:

  • Venue
  • Catering
  • Photography
  • Wedding gown
  • DJ
  • Hair and Makeup
  • Coordinator
  • Officiant
  • Bakery
  • Bridesmaid Gowns
  • Florist
  • Rentals

Yesterday, I took a few hours off from work to head to two wedding rental locations. The first stop was a small shop right in town that rents wedding staging items. I was able to get a number of items we’ve had our eyes on, such as a sweetheart table, items for centerpieces, a display table for dessert, the ceremony backdrop (notice how I’m keeping things vague hah), and a few other items for decor. Once that was completed, I drove down to Dover to set up rentals of extra banquet tables, chargers, cocktail tables, and extra ceremony chairs.

Rentals were becoming a source of stress for me, as I knew the longer I waited, the more likely it was I would miss out on the items I wanted; so, I promised myself I would get it done before Christmas. To have succeeded in that endeavor feels incredible and the realization that, besides our honeymoon, rings, and transportation, all big ticket items are complete. Heck, Nick is out getting his suit as we speak!!!

The big picture

I wouldn’t say I’m someone who’s been “dreaming” of their wedding day since they were a child. I pictured it, yes, but the image continued to change as I changed. It wasn’t until I was in college that I really began to think about my wedding day and it still transformed even more since then—specifically since meeting Nick. A few years ago, I would have said a fall wedding with rich jewel tones. Now? We’re having a spring wedding with dusty neutrals.

With each passing check off the to-do list, I see the picture coming together. It’s as if I’m filling in pages in a coloring book—it becomes clearer, brighter, and more beautiful with each space filled. I think once we settled on flowers, it became impossible to not tear up at the thought of everything. Again, Nick is out getting his suit right now and I’ve cried twice haha.

There is still so much to be done—almost annoyingly so, but I’m starting to feel more resolute in my decisions. I’ve also promised myself that, now that the biggest things are out of the way, I would try to have fun with the rest. It’s easy to get caught up in the stresses of wedding planning and wish it would all just end, but I also don’t want to miss out on this time; I’m only doing it once! So my plan is to slow down to enjoy the holidays, then pick up in the new year and go to town!

Update 15: 178 Days to Go!

So to get myself moving (I hope), I decided to start my morning with a post. Even better, it’s a wedding update! Last night, we met with our florist to get a quote on the flowers we want; I’m using exclamation points, so that should be an indication that it went well!

A Bridal Confession

Let me quickly tell you something about myself: I completely lost interest in reaching out to a million of the same type of vendor so I could compare. I did it for catering like no other and it was exhausting and time consuming. To my other brides, some unsolicited advice: do your research, but listen to your gut. Wrap yourself up in a blanket, grab a glass of wine, and spend a couple of hours doing the research. Send some emails, do the back and forth, make some phone calls if need be; but if someone is jumping out at you, focus your energy on them.

Some vendors required more effort than others, but with our photographer, baker, officiant, and florist, it only took one meeting with each to seal the deal. Now, let me tell you why. In case you didn’t know, wedding planning is not easy (*insert gasp from the audience here*). There are a million things to be done and it’s very hard to keep track, even with the plethora of resources. When we looked for a venue and caterer, it was incredibly time consuming because we searched every. single. nook. and. cranny. to find them. However, I have been fortunate enough to have a vision and, for everyone else, as soon as I realized they fit the vision (and budget), our deposit was in their hands. I only scheduled one meeting with one florist, because I was almost positive this would be the right fit for us.

A Vision Confirmed

When we sat down at our consultation, I was excited, but nervous. I had no idea how to approach flowers or how to estimate that portion of our budget. I had even less of an idea if my vision would match what we budgeted. Luckily, there was some flexibility in our number, but I was still praying we wouldn’t have to stretch too far.

The consultation was primarily walking through each of the floral elements: bridal bouquet, bridesmaid bouquets, boutonnieres, corsages, ceremony, centerpieces, fillers, hair flowers—the list goes on. I brought my neurotic wedding florals Pinterest board with me and, believe it or not, that paid off BIG time.

Pinterest, in my opinion, has become a staple in wedding planning. I had a board entitled “One Day” since I was in college—well before I met Nick. When we got engaged, I’ll admit it: I broke the wedding portion of my Pinterest down into categories… and it gets worse. I had a Flowers and Decor board for most of that time, but realized that there was significant variation in many of my pins. Now was the time I needed to make decisions, so I broke it down further.

I brought that deconstructed Pinterest board to her and she said it made her job so much easier because all of my pins had the same exact flowers in them. I knew the primary florals and greenery I wanted, but this board helped her to choose the rest of the elements to create the vision. But then the time came when there were no more sections to fill in, no more arrangements to discuss, and that meant it was time for the estimate. We sat there, thinking about all we had discussed, and were convinced there was no way we’d stay at our budget. We guessed she was going to come in at $800-900 over what we budgeted. She came back in, sat down, and I actually let out a cry of relief; we were under budget by $300. There were still elements we hadn’t estimated yet, but regardless, that was wonderful news.

And then there were six

I forgot to post on the actual day, but we are officially under the six month mark until our wedding! So far, we have completed venue, caterer, photographer, DJ, officiant, coordinator, baker, and now florist. We are hopefully finishing rentals and booking our honeymoon by the end of this month, and then it’s on to details—of which there are many.

I feel really good about where we are and what we have left. With each check off my list, I see the day coming together. I think about how exciting it will be to take on the little things and put the final pieces into the puzzle. To me, we are really getting to the exciting part and, after almost a year of engagement, it’s an incredibly welcomed time in our lives. I hope to update you soon with the news that all the big stuff is really done, so that we can roll into the new year and have some fun!


Photo by:
unsplash-logoAnnie Spratt

Update 14: 202 Days to Go!

Two days in a row; who am I?! Well, I’ve come to learn that I’m a when-the-scene-is-set type of writer. For example, this morning has brought another sunny, bright, though windy day my way and my hubby-to-be is still sleeping on his day off. I woke up early with wedding planning on the mind, as today will be partially devoted to just that. I decided to get out of bed and put my mind-racing to good use, which led me here about an hour later.

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To add to the beautiful morning, I’ve got a comfy sweatshirt on, my morning cup of coffee, and this beautiful new gem playing in the background. The other day, Nick told me he got us an early Christmas present and it came yesterday! After finding a treasure trove of vinyl in the basement of his grandparents’ house (where we are staying), he felt inspired to buy us a record player of our own, so he did and I am in love.

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For those of you who don’t know, I am a very big fan of jazz, which is why I can guarantee my hunt for our own vinyl collection will include a large amount of it. This morning, to further set the scene, I’ve got Jackie Gleason plays Romantic Jazz on and, seriously, what else do I need to feel inspired to write?!

As the title and category suggest, this post is—in fact—a wedding update. In my last update, I covered a myriad of topics, including hiring a coordinator, cake tasting, and our honeymoon. Since then, we haven’t gotten anywhere on the honeymoon planning, since we were busy vacationing, but we did  button up the cake decisions, as well as the bridesmaid gowns!

HOW SWEET IT IS

As I mentioned in our 230 day post, I had another appointment scheduled to go back to the bakery up in Wilmington to try some more spring/summer-centric flavors for our cupcakes. When I arrived (by myself since Nick had to work), I was presented with five additional flavors we asked for, in addition to the original flavors we tasted during the first round—talk about every kid’s dream! I only tried about a quarter of each cupcake and brought the rest home for Nick to try.

In the end, the owner and I were able to talk a bit more about icing options, decor, and the wedding cake details. After Nick tried the cupcakes later that day, he and I agreed on the flavors we’re going to go with and, while I have a few more items to tackle in this area, for the most part, the bakery is set and ready to go!

THE BRIDEY BUNCH

Two weeks ago, I had 4 of my 6 bridesmaids come down to Delaware for our gown shopping weekend. I was excited to see the girls, as most of my bridesmaids live hours away and I don’t get to see them often. I was disappointed not everyone could make it, but that’s only because I miss them all so much and can’t wait to have them all together for the first time! Let me tell you, thank goodness I have the girls I do: they know me well enough to know what sends my anxiety through the roof and they were incredible the entire weekend.

So how did it go?! Well, we started at the shop where I bought my gown in town: Louis Marie Bridal. I gave the girls a few small guidelines and had them start pulling gowns they liked. It felt a tad chaotic at first, but it worked. I knew certain elements I wanted to see, but more than anything, I wanted them to feel comfortable. So, after each gown was shown to me—unless I hated the style—I had them try it on. I tried to be as objective as I could, often replying “maybe” if it was a contender or “no” the second they got out of the dressing room if it wasn’t right. I apologized halfway through because I realized my beautiful girls were coming out in lovely gowns and there I was coldly saying, “no” sometimes almost immediately. With four girls trying on countless gowns, I just knew I wouldn’t be able to make decisions if I thought too much. Of course they understood!

At the end of the first store, we had three gowns: the first two were very similar, but we liked one element of the first dress and another element of the second dress. What didn’t work on each was a dealbreaker for that specific gown, so we were in search of a happy medium and unfortunately, it wasn’t at that store. We did find another gown that was simple and elegant, so we kept that in the back of our minds as a backup. However, I knew in my mind as time went on that it wasn’t the one.

So off we went to the second appointment we had scheduled. We ended up being late to the appointment, but when I knew we wouldn’t be on time, I got in contact with the shop to let them know and they seemed fine with it. This is where the day took a dip.

We arrived at this other store, which had wonderful (and plentiful) reviews, and my instincts told me to turn around immediately. I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to just up and leave, but we were on a mission and my girls weren’t going to let me walk out before we succeeded. To begin, we were shuffled into this tiny, dank, and dirty store in an old house, where we were promptly and excessively told how the owner had somewhere to be by 6, so we needed to be done and out well before… good start.

She then walked us through the house, pointing out the racks we could pull from, before leaving us to our own devices in a small back room overrun by a sea of gowns. Thank goodness we knew what we were looking for because we each took a rack and pulled what worked. I stumbled on a navy gown that didn’t appear to have what I was looking for, but it stood out and I added it to the pile before sitting on a quaint, oh-so-stained chair while I waited for the fashion show.

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Cozy, right?? No wonder there was a sign saying “no photos.”

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This was their organizational system for the swatch books…

With a number of gowns in hand—none of which appearing to be my happy medium gown—the three girls that were left had to go into one rickety dressing room together and try them on. It was like speed dating for gowns. One by one, they were nixed as my anxiety got worse and worse. Of course they knew I was over the store and was convinced we weren’t going to come out of there with a gown, but they worked their butts off to shift the mood and eventually did.

Did I mention how much I love my bridesmaids??

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After a few rounds of different dresses, there was one gown left: the navy dress I picked up for the hell of it. They went back into the dressing room and it got quiet. My cousin proceeded to walk out in the most perfect happy-medium gown I could have imagined. I would have loved to say, “wrap it up,” but there was no way I would give that place my business; so, we took the information and went on our way.

DESPERATION

The one piece of useful information from this awful shop was that this gown’s brand (D’Zage) was, in fact, a child brand of one of the designers carried at Louis Marie (Bill Levkoff). I knew the brand itself wasn’t carried at the store, but perhaps they could get it in for me since it’s technically part of the Bill Levkoff brand. So on Friday, I went in to Louis Marie and explained how I’d rather put my girls in a burlap sack than purchase from the store we went to; but, my spiel was met with a disappointed “I’m so sorry” head shake. So, in a last ditch effort, I pulled out my horse of a different color. She had never heard of D’Zage, but made the call anyway.

Apparently, D’Zage is a sort of guinea pig brand for Bill Levkoff. The line is put in about 100 stores nationwide and, if certain styles sell, they are added to the main line. So what did that mean for me?!

We were set. I put the order in on Friday and my girls will have their bridesmaid gowns!

IN CLOSING

Before the year is out, we have a lot to tackle. My goal is to get as much done as early as is feasible so we can enjoy the months leading up to our wedding instead of scrambling. By the year’s end, we should have all our vendors, outfits selected for the adults in the wedding party, preliminary rentals, and solidified ideas for all decor elements, so we can focus on fine tuning from that point on. It’s a lot, but once it’s done, we will be so much better off for it (especially since they should be breaking ground on our house before the year’s end as well)!

That’s all for now, though… Until next time!

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!! ❤

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/