The journey of a lifetime.
And so the adventure begins...
Now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story no one on earth has ever read, which goes on forever; in which every chapter is better than the one before.
I can't keep calm, I'm a Bride-to-be!
The ultimate getaway.
This sounds so silly, but choosing our honeymoon destination was easily one of the toughest parts of wedding planning. How long do you go for? How long do you wait to go after the wedding? Do you want a relaxing vacation or an adventurous vacation? You can go anywhere in the world. I think you get the point, but the questions are endless. Before you lock down a place, make sure you do your research on the location, the activities and resorts in that area, if the time of year you're looking at is the best time to go (hurricane season or winter season).
Whether your honeymoon consists of adventures, relaxing, wining & dining, or all of the above, here are some necessities that every girl should have with her.
TAKE A PICTURE
Make it picture perfect.
Yes, honeymoons are meant to unwind and unplug, but it's also meant to make new memories! If you're plunging into the sea, zip-lining or on your way to see a castle, how fun would it be to document it? GoPros are the great way to do this! If you're on a more wallet-friendly budget, Kodak still has the old school waterproof cameras.
THE FINAL COUNTDOWN
30 days left to go.
It's hard to believe that 17 months of wedding planning, preparation, scouting, organizing and fantasizing is coming to an end. Usually in my posts, I have a good idea of what I am going to write and what the post is going to be about.
This one is very different. As I write this, there are so many emotions, feelings, thoughts and memories jumbled in my mind.
This post isn't really about any one thing; in fact, I would say it's the complete opposite - it's about everything. Whether you care to read on or not, I wanted to share my experience of planning a wedding and the things that I have learned along the way. Hopefully you can relate or maybe it might just help you with yours someday :)
It's not a marathon: Whether you set your wedding date a month, a year or two years after you get engaged, take your time. You're getting married, right? So what's the point in rushing to the alter at full speed? People say that once you're engaged and are in the midst of planning a wedding, the big day comes in a blink of an eye. And they're right. However in our experience, I would say that I think it went at a good pace. We knocked all the big stuff out of the way and actually took a few months off of planning. Now, the past two months have really flown by and I have been holding on by the edge of my seat, but when I look back at this experience, I am happy when I say that I didn't feel rushed or pushed by anything.
Enjoy the ride: Yes, wedding planning can be stressful, but it doesn't have to be. I would be lying if I said I wasn't stressed at all during this process. One, it's a lot of work and two, it's going to be one of the biggest and most memorable days of your life, and you want everything to be perfect. As our big day creeps closer, I definitely have had more on my mind and have been a little anxious as far as last-minute details and any unexpected bumps in the road, but I'm not going to let it rule my life. It's all going to be ok and come together the day of (or at least that's what I tell myself!).
Rely on others: (I hope my fiancé isn't reading this because he would say I should take my own advice!!!). In my defense, I have always been Type-A personality and a little OCD, so there are things that I prefer to do on my own and do it my way. At first, I tried to do everything on my own. Now with little time left, I am trying to pass off some responsibilities onto others and concentrate on the bigger things. I would say that having a wedding coordinator month-of, week-of or day-of (whatever your budget allows) comes in very handy in this department!
Take a moment for yourself (and your fiancé): One of my favorite parts about planning a wedding is knowing that your friends and family -- all the people you love -- will be in one room together. Friends from different points in your life, family members who have never met before -- all in one room. That's a pretty remarkable thing when you think about it. No matter what, I think it's safe (and realistic) to say that not all family members or friends are going to agree with you every step of the way. Not even you and your fiancé will agree all the time. There are going to be issues and dilemmas that pop up during the planning process that are going to make you and your fiancé work together and find the best way to compromise. That's the best way to test a relationship before marriage, right?!
I've always had an amazing family and friend group, and going through this process with them has been a surreal experience and something that I will never forget. You really appreciate the people in your lives during this time.
At the end of the day, this is a magical moment for you and your partner. A beginning of a new chapter. A journey of starting your lives together. It's an overwhelming but also amazing feeling when you're with the right person, and I'm lucky to know I'm with mine.
Here's to the next 30 days until we become Mr. & Mrs.
Bridal Shower Bliss
My Breakast at Tiffany's
My mom, Maid of Honor and bridesmaids threw me the picture-perfect Bridal Shower in the beginning of May. Since traditionally the Bride isn't supposed to plan the shower, I tried to resist my urges and allow them to put it all together - and they did an amazing job! My love for Audrey Hepburn and Tiffany's came to life and I had the best brunch surrounded by lots of love, friends and family and mimosas.
My mom knows my obsession and deep love for peonies and made it a point to add them at every table! They were inside Tiffany-colored boxes with pearls coming out of the sides (how cute?!).
Yes, desserts, as in you can't just have one type! There were these adorable little Tiffany box cakes for all the guests as well as 'X' and 'O' macaroons because they are my favorite! I had always been inspired by bridal shower desserts and my Pinterest board was brought to life!
The day was filled with so much love and laughter. It was overwhelming (in the best way) to see all the special people in your life in one place and celebrate you. Looking back, it was a surreal day and I'm so glad to look back on such a positive and loving memory that I can and will cherish forever.
I love being interactive with people and playing games, so my one request for my shower was that there would be fun games and not just sitting around and opening gifts. For the shower, we had a polaroid camera and fun Tiffany props, quizzes and questionnaires to win prizes and a surprise recorded video from my husband! After the shower, I had a lot of people reach out to me saying how much they enjoyed themselves and commented that they loved all the games!
Going out with a bang before the big day.
I recently had my Bachelorette party in Disney World and it was the best time! It was a weekend full of laughs, photos, drinking and dancing with my best girlfriends and I wouldn't have had it any other way. As a bride, there's not much for you to plan for since your Maid of Honor and Bridesmaids plan everything, however, I can give you some advice on how to prepare and what to bring!
Where are you going?
Depending on your bridal party (and your preference), your location may or may not be a surprise. In any case, you should get some hints or prepare accordingly so you're not missing anything in your suitcase!
Make a Checklist
Every outfit counts!
Now, once you know where you are going (or have an idea), it's going to be almost impossible not to overpack. I did a lot of planning and online shopping (oops) to make sure that I had the perfect Bachelorette-style outfits. If you're going to be out and about during the day, it's nice to have an idea what you're doing so you're appropriately dressed. If you want to have the bridal vibes all weekend, some sites with great white collections are LuLus, Hello Molly and Born to be Chic. You won't be disapointed!
Time to make those appointments.
Before you go, you should definitely make time to get your nails done, hair cut, facial, spray tan, etc. You want to look and feel your best for your girls weekend!
You’ve picked your dress, now it’s time to find the perfect dress for your bridesmaids.
The more girls you have in your wedding, the harder it can be to accommodate everyone’s comfort and needs, but it can be done! There are different routes you can go down when it comes to picking your bridesmaids dresses and I’m here to help you (or at least try)!
MIX AND MATCH
Your bridesmaids dresses should go well with your dress. Not in the sense that they should match, but if you have a tighter dress or a mermaid-style dress, your bridesmaids dresses should not be poofy. You should still be the center of the attention. Think of it as their dresses should be a nice compliment to yours.
MAKE A MOOD BOARD
Get inspired through Pinterest, Etsy and magazines. Sometimes it’s good to cut things out in order to see everything that you like that’s not on a computer screen.
VOICE YOUR VISION
Share your thoughts with your bridesmaids. Once you’ve put some thought into what you like (and don’t like), show your bridal party what’s on your mind. Maybe they will have some input that can be helpful.
How I Said Yes to the Dress
and how you can too.
OK, so probably one of the most important decision you make while you’re engaged is finding the dress…and I’m not talking about just a dress, but the dress. You know, the white one you wear on your wedding day where you take photos in looking like a princess? Yeah, that one.
When you try on the dress, you should immediately feel it. When I tried on my dress, it was the fifth place I went to that weekend and my hopes weren’t high. I was tired and started feeling doubtful but as soon as I tried my dress on, I looked at my mom and my two bridesmaids and said “this is it.” I will share the rest of the story after my wedding with specifics, but the point about this post is that there are some things to really think about when you’re trying on dresses. Don’t go into an appointment seeking out your dress. You will find it when you find it-whether it takes you a month after you get engaged or six months. Take photos, twirl in it, laugh in it. These are moments that you will always treasure!
Time is ticking
In my wedding research that I’ve done so far, I’ve read that you should get your dress a year or ten months in advance of your wedding day. When I say you should “get” your wedding dress, I mean that it should be ordered, since it can take up to eight months for the dress to even be made and shipped to you or the store. After the dress has been shipped, you go to your first fitting and then you get the alterations, which can take another couple of months. You see how time is starting to add up?
What is your budget? (This is the most important question). With this question especially, and if you’re on a tight budget, include everything in your overall dress budget: shoes, vail, jewelry and alterations. If you say your budget is $5,000, you have to ask yourself if that means just for the dress or all in because if you’re thinking only about the dress, it will easily be an extra $1,500-$2,000 for all the other things. *This is an important one!!*
Not just a LBD
What is your style? A-line, mermaid, princess…the list goes on and on. If you’re reading this and have no idea what any of these styles even look like, that’s totally OK! Do some research. Go on websites and start looking at dress styles and pick ones that would appeal to you and your body type because *shocker* everyone has different body types!
How does it make you feel?
Now, some other pointers that I’ve learned along the way is that you should consider how comfortable your dress is. I mean, you’re going to be wearing this thing all day. I tried on a few dresses that were not on my radar (and for a reason). It’s pretty and looks good in photos, but I can’t move! How will I walk around all day? For example, the dress pictured below was gorgeous, but I was waddling in it like I was on my way to the bathroom. To me, that does not seem very bridal!
Planning for Your Happily Ever After
After I got engaged, I would get advice to just “enjoy being engaged” and then start planning. Now, I have a very Type-A personality, which means that planning is part of my nature. Any given opportunity where I can plan, I will do it. So as you can imagine, it was a little hard to take this advice.
With that being said though, I did take a couple of weeks (and I really do mean a couple) to enjoy my engagement, but then it was crunch time. Even though we are getting married in spring of 2018 (recently decided), it’s important to start getting all your ducks in a row because i’ve quickly found that there are girls who literally have their entire wedding planned out by the time they get married. Though I am Type-A, I am also very indecisive but I’m getting better!
Whether you are getting married in six months, a year or even two years from now, it’s always good to take a step back before you start any planning just to get a sense of where to start. Now, there are many ways you can tackle this. If you’re a list person (eh-hem like me), this is probably the best route for you. If you’re flustered and aren’t sure of where to start first, there are different resources you can (and should) utilize to keep yourself organized and sane.
Kate Spade has a “Love Is In the Air” binder that has pages filled with checklists, sections for notes, more lists, budget information and even pages to create your own mood boards. (I have one of these binders and it’s been great so far)!
The Knot is also a great source because once you create your own profile with basic information, it creates a dashboard for you and has a digital checklist for you (if you prefer typing over to writing). It also has a checklist for all the vendors and breaks it down into a timeline and when you should be completing those duties based on your wedding date. Obviously, you don’t have to stick to the timeline verbatim, but if you like that precise timeline then this is a great outlet for you! You can also put your overall budget for the wedding and each time you mark off vendors and deposits, it will automatically subtract from the total budget.
Google Spreadsheets is a place maybe you wouldn’t think of using, but works just as great! If you like spreadsheets and having multiple tabs, this would be a great outlet for you. Also, there is no specific layout and you can tailor it to however you and your fiancé will best understand it and keep track of things. To my surprise, my fiancé made one of these very shortly after we got engaged and it’s been a great source for us. We have a main page with our budget and two columns broken down to the main elements of a wedding (venue, catering, florists, photographer, music, etc.) and we have a “low ball budget quote” and a “high ball budget quote” so that we can see roughly what we can work with and how these different categories will fluctuate as we move forward.
Once we lock down that category, we mark it in green and keep track of the deposits we’ve made, how much more we will owe later on and then the numbers will automatically change based on what you put. The tabs come in handy because you have a tab for everything: vendors, music, florists, catering/bar, photographer/videographer, guest list, other wedding services, etc. For each tab, you can keep track of your research and store all of the information because everything will start to seem similar and you will forget what quote that person gave you or what information you told them. Once you start talking to more and more vendors of all categories, start making notes of why you liked them or maybe why you didn’t like them (bad reviews, too expensive…) and it will help immensely down the road!
You're Engaged...Now what?
So…I just got engaged. Now what?
I’ve been engaged since the end of November (Thanksgiving) and within a week, we had people texting and calling us if we’ve not only picked a location…but a date too! Now, I get that some women have their weddings planned to the tee so when the planning actually happens, they are all set. But, this is not my case.
My fiancé (I’m still getting used to calling him that!) and I have of course talked about marriage and things that we would like and wouldn’t like at our wedding, but now it’s show time and all those hypotheticals have become our reality. After getting good advice from friends and people who have gone through this, I have reassured myself (several times already) that everything will be ok in the end and we will make the best of it no matter what!
Now, for those of you who are also newly engaged or are on your way to that point, here are some obstacles that I’ve had to overcome and let me tell you, it’s not easy. I'm not a wedding planner or an expert by any means, but the below points have seemed to be a good starting point!
The Wedding Budget: Now, this can be an easy or difficult topic depending on if you know you will be paying for the wedding, or will go a more traditional route and have the bride’s parents pay for it. Personally, enjoy being engaged for at least a week before this topic comes in play. It won’t be an easy convo, but it’s something that needs to be established early on so you can start browsing and set some boundaries. (The Knot has a budgeting tool that I found useful to look at just as an average per topic).
The Bridesmaids and Groomsmen: Another tough topic to figure out. If you have a sibling or a family member who you are very close with, well then that’s an easy solution as to who you can pick to be in your wedding party. It gets tricky when you and your fiancé don’t have the exact number of close friends who you would want by your side, so I suggest each writing down a list your closest friends/family who you want by your side and go from there.
The Guest List: (Groans). This has easily been my least favorite thing to tackle so far. Not in the sense that you don’t want to invite people, but because you really have to consider size (especially if you have a venue in mind already). After naming off family and close friends, the list is already at about 100 people. “What about your second cousin and their family, and the neighbor from down the street?, etc.” I say, leave it. If you’re really unsure and don’t want to hurt feelings, make an A list and a B list. The A list will consist of family members and close friends (i.e. wedding party), and family friends. The B list will consist of maybe some high school friends, those friends who you keep in touch with once in a while and maybe any parent’s friends. If you send out the RSVP and find out that more people can’t make it than you thought, then it may be a good idea to invite some people from your backup list. To me, it was pretty black and white (with a few exceptions) as to who I wanted to invite because for me, I don’t want to be shaking people’s hands all night or have a business meeting feeling. This is our wedding and we want to be surrounding by people who we really love and cherish. If you’re unsure about them from the start, I say it’s probably not worth it sending an invite (but that’s just me).
The Venue: This area can be a tricky one, depending on how big both of your families are and where they are located. No matter where you get married, people are always going to have to travel. I had always imagined a destination wedding in Mexico since it’s very near and dear to my heart and also so full of culture. We recently went down for Christmas and very quickly realized that it would be a logistical nightmare to ask about 150 people to travel to Puebla, Mexico. We live right outside Manhattan so for us, we are thinking that Manhattan is a great place to get married (aside from it being expensive!)– it’s a great hub for everyone to fly into and there are many ways to access the venue (we are leaning towards the Upper East Side). It never hurts to look around though, because you would be surprised as to what you’ll find and it’s also a good way to get ideas as to what you both like and don’t like in a venue. I treated venue shopping like apartment shopping- photos will always be different from the real thing (this could be both a good and a bad thing) and you don’t want to look at too many, because then you could start to get too picky as to what you want. It’s always good to ask as many questions as possible and get a sense of what’s included with the space, otherwise things can add up veryyy quickly.
The Dress: Yes, the dress. That long, white, beautiful dress that you’ve been dreaming about all your life. This is a big decision (especially if you can’t even make up your mind what you want for breakfast…or maybe that’s just me). Now, we are looking to get married in late spring of 2018 so yes we have time, but at the same time, I’m new to all of this and you think you know what you want in a wedding dress until you start trying them on! For this one, I say it doesn’t hurt to start looking early because it may take a few months to find the one and you don’t want to feel rushed in the process!
This is about all I’ve had to deal with so far, and I take all advice with a grain of salt. You will get the pushy people who ask if you’ve got it all figured out, the ones who ask if you’re stressed yet, and the ones who will tell you to just relax and enjoy every moment. As mentioned above, take everything with a grain of salt. Write down the things you want, the things you don’t want, cut stuff from magazines for inspiration, make Pinterest boards, do it all!
I’m learning all of this along the way and I’m sure it will get to me and I’ll be doubtful, overwhelmed, and I’m sure much more but this is an exciting journey that I’m on and I’m ok to mess up along the way. If you’re in the same boat as me, I hope you will follow along as well and that I can provide some sort of intel that can help along the way.
A Thanksgiving to Remember
November 24, 2016.
My fiancé, Ehrett, and I have been dating for over five years. We met in college and were assigned a group project together the first day of class. He was from Seattle and I was born in raised in New York, so of course I fell for someone who was from across the country!
Fast forward five years later and we live happily together right outside of New York City. With the holidays coming up and with little hints he was dropping about an engagement, I had a feeling it was coming soon, but of course I didn’t want to get my hopes up!
We drove up to my parent’s house for Thanksgiving and I didn’t expect much to happen that weekend (except for consuming a lot of food and wine!). Thanksgiving day, I was preoccupied helping my mom in the kitchen and getting the table set up.
Although I didn’t know it at the time, everyone was in on the secret to come later in the evening, but I didn’t suspect a thing. After a successful dinner, my family and I transitioned into the living room to talk and play some games. I noticed that Ehrett was MIA for a while with my mom, but I still didn’t suspect anything of it. After maybe a half hour, he comes into the living room and asks if I could come outside with him to “take a photo.” It was dark, cold and snowing outside so of course, I said no. After a few pushes, I finally sighed and followed him to the door.
I grabbed my coat before going outside and I didn’t notice until then that he was squeezing my hand and walking quickly to the gazebo in our backyard. As we stood in front of the gazebo, I noticed how beautifully decorated it was (I later found out my dad decorated it for the special occasion) and there was a towel covering one of the flower beds. My heart started pounding as I was intrigued and also anxious as to what was going on. He removed the towel and there were two bouquets of roses and my favorite…macaroons!
I kind of looked at him in confusion as he pulled me into the gazebo to “talk.” Hearing the shakiness in his voice, my heart was beating out of my chest as my mind was yelling “is this going to be it?!” (but of course my first concern was that I hadn’t looked in the mirror since before dinner).
There wasn’t much talking however, since he then followed with “I need to ask you something” and knelt down on one knee (on the very muddy ground). He opened a little black box and said “You’ve always been my best friend, and I want you to be my best friend for the rest of my life. Will you marry me?” I stood there in amazement, not really sure if this was really happening and at some point, I proceeded to say “yes!"
Everything about it was so magical, and pleasantly surprising. Regardless of the weather, the christmas lights wrapped around the gazebo and the roses couldn’t have made it more perfect!