Hair Inspiration

Time to start thinking of my hairstyle for that big day! I’m so undecided on whether I want a pretty updo or my hair down in wavy curls. I’m going for something soft and romantic, but stable enough that I can dance and it won’t get all messed up!

I’m also thinking seriously about a veil. I find it so classic and I feel that it would look better with my hair down. Maybe I’m too obsessed with Kate Middleton…

Hair up?

…Or hair down/half up? Ugh so many options!

My hair is pretty short right now, I really hope by September it’s at my desired length in which I could pull off having my hair down. Luckily I have an amazing friend (s/o!) who has done my hair before and has already done a trial run.

Decisions, decisions. All so lovely!

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The Countdown Begins…

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129 more days to go!

….Oh my lanta, 129 more days to go.

“You don’t seem stressed,” says my friends. Well gee, that’s reassuring. Because deep down inside I am a hot mess. There’s still so much to do! Why does wedding planning have to entail so much??

Luckily, I have a fiancee that really tries to help me not be stressed. He is more laid back, knows everything will work out, and truly does not lose sleep over it. Although I bug him constantly to do this, this, and that.

May is just a crazy month in general, I wish I could take the month off and not plan. What with graduation and finally getting that Master’s degree (!!), moving to Norfolk permanently, my bachelorette, and my fifth half marathon-where’s the time to plan? I have a list of people I need to call, get my bridesmaids to get their dresses, figure out those little details….as you can see, I have a lot on my plate.

Yet despite all this craziness, I find myself looking forward to the little things-having fun with friends, celebrating that I’m moving, getting that degree, and most of all, I’m getting closer to marrying my best friend.

That’s all that matters. Those pesky details and lists that I’m always making, in the long run they really don’t matter. I feel like the concept of having a reception is to impress others with how much money you can dish out on others, and that’s not true. Sure, I want it to be pretty and fun with good food and dancing, but that’s not why we’re having a reception. It’s because Will and I want those that we love near us to celebrate our sacrament of marriage, and we start off our married life with family, friends, and all around goodness.

So, I think of it like this-it’s not a countdown of 129 days to try and fulfill all that I need to do, it’s a countdown until I get to walk down that aisle at our parish and say “I do,” to the man who has helped me grow as a human being and makes me want to be the best person possible. To the man that is so goofy, a hard worker, and friendly to all. To the man that I love with my whole heart and will be the father of our children.

I can’t wait.

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Registry is Fun!

Best part of wedding planning? The registry, bar none.

“Um, yes, I want one of these, maybe this would look nice in the living room, how about this for the kitchen it’s so much nicer than what we have…”

I ended up spending three hours setting up our registry. And I totally recommend Zola!!

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First off, I did try Bed, Bath and Beyond but I didn’t actually like what they had. I think Pottery Barn is just overpriced and super expensive. But luckily my Pinterest board advertised Zola as a unique registry experience, so I figured why not look it up.

What’s so cool about it is that it is very easy to navigate and use. Their products are from all over, and they have items I couldn’t find at Target or Bed, Bath, & Beyond. Looking at the product, there’s a quote as to why it’s liked and what features it has. I also find the prices pretty reasonable.

Zola does a lot of wedding planning for you as well. ALL FREE. I already made a website with The Knot but you can do one on Zola too and just integrate your registry.

And the site is prettyyyyyyy.

I always check the website every now and then to see if there’s anything else I need to add. I just click “add to registry.” What a very dangerous link.

Saying “Hell Yes” to the Dress

I feel like its such a cliche now, but I did indeed say yes to the dress. After finally getting our date settled, I wanted to dive right in and pick the dress. I’m tired of the wide eyes I get when I say I haven’t found it yet or the nightmare stories of dresses taking months for adjustments and alterations. So I made my appointment in Virginia Beach at Here and Now Bridal.

Timing was perfect, Mama was visiting from Italy and one of my bridesmaids was able to come. I was nervous on the way there, but felt a strong determination to find my dress then and there. I hate shopping around for something because then I just get tired and sick of disappointment.

Once there, we were immediately greeted by Jessica, who happened to be the manager. I explained to her what I had in mind (lace. lots of lace), and she and I picked out five dresses to try. The trick is to be open, I honestly added dresses in my pile that I didn’t think I’d buy but what the hell, its fun to try it on! But my heart had totally fallen for the very first dress Jessica pulled out (sorry, can’t describe it, it’s a secret!)-I mean it was breathtaking.

I tried the dress on twice, just to be sure. I really didn’t want to take it off-that’s how I knew it was “the one.”

Funny thing is, my dress is so  not what I had in mind. I’ve heard it said that you really can’t go into a bridal store with a closed mindset. And I definitely recommend just trying dresses on, they may look different once it’s on you. I had this other dress that came in a close second which did fit the bill of what I was looking for, but once I had it on I just couldn’t picture it.

I just knew then and there. Plus, Here & Now switches up there inventory quickly, so if I had waited to come back that dress would have been snatched up the next day. I decided to follow my gut and my heart. I just wish it wasn’t over my budget….

Oh well.

Date

Soon after announcing your engagement, and you get past the congratulations, the first thing people ask is: “when’s your date?”

Two weeks after Will and I got engaged, we went to a bridal expo in Norfolk. In my mind, this seemed like a great opportunity to get ideas on vendors, locations, and a chance to talk face to face with people. Every single vendor asked “when is your date?”

I felt kind of lame saying “we don’t have one yet.” And then I’d get the face like I was a poor bride-to-be with no planning skills whatsoever. And as I tried to set up an appointment, there’d be some confusion because we didn’t have a date. Apparently, TBD is not acceptable in the wedding world.

The thing about it is, Will and I are essentially trying to book the same date with two different venues: the church and the reception. Which mind you, is pretty hard. Especially when you’re getting married at a church three hours from where you live and your point of contact is not there every Sunday when you are there. So yeah, it’s been tough.

But Will and I are looking for Fall of this year. I’m sick of the wide eyes I get in response, because planning a wedding in less than a year is some far-off dream. I’m not trying to be competitive in us getting married in record time. I have always wanted a Fall wedding: crisp weather, falling leaves, cider, pumpkins, the whole thing. It’s also one of Will’s favorite seasons, so what could be better? Waiting until Fall 2018 just seems like…forever.

At this point, we’re looking deeply into September-which is great because that’s the month my parents got married. We have appointments coming up this month to discuss the venue and secure a date (crossing fingers it’s determined before April!)

Once we have our date set-then I feel like the fun can begin. Everything can really move forward from there and I can start to do some real planning.

But mind you, it’s never a race. It should never be rushed, and I won’t settle on some random date just so I can start planning. Prayers please as we try and get this date!!

(Funny story: I’ve tried emailing a couple times with the title “STD” for Save the Date, which I think scared some people off…I was a little slow to pick up on that.)

Money, Money, Money

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The other day I decided to browse the wedding section of Barnes and Noble. I saw titles saying “DIY Weddings,” “Weddings Under $10,000,” “Weddings on Budget.”

I’ve heard weddings are expensive. Oddly, I’ve never gone to a wedding and thought “wow, this must have cost a pretty penny.” I’ve been to weddings in Washington, D.C., performing arts centers, country clubs, bed and breakfasts. But as a bride-to-be, I’ve come to realize weddings are just a euphemism for “debt.”

Sorry, is this a debbie downer? Is it really possible to have the wedding of your dreams and maintain a budget? I’m in that overwhelming what-am-I-going-to-do phase where I feel like no matter what, I’m going to be so broke after this wedding.

I know people say “it’s not about the money.” I agree, it isn’t. But that doesn’t mean it needs to be ignored. I want to be smart about this, save as much as I can, budget like crazy. Cue in woman with a fanny pack full of group-ons.

Norfolk is blessed with some beautiful venues-Chrysler Museum, Hermitage, waterfront, Work I Release. But all I see is money. And because of that, I don’t want those places. I want a venue that I can see Will and I truly happy, hanging out with family and friends. A place where we aren’t squirming because we know once we walk out we owe so. much.money. Basically, a venue where the paycheck isn’t even on our minds.

And I think that’s important as Will and I go venue shopping. I have faith that God will lead us to where we are going to celebrate the sacrament of marriage. I know he’ll take care of us. That has served as such a comfort, because He won’t throw you something you can’t handle. I know money will play a part in this planning, but DO NOT MAKE IT EVERYTHING.

Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. THIS TOO IS MEANINGLESS.

Ecclesiastes 5:10

Engagement

It’s finally happened-I’ve joined the club.

Indeed, I was one of those girls that grew up romanticizing my adulthood, complete with a diamond ring and a handsome fiancee. I had my second made Pinterest board dedicated to my future wedding (later I deleted it, then I brought it back). For fun, I’d look at wedding dresses online. I never went so far as to buy a wedding magazine, but I’d glance at them every now and then.

Then, in May of 2015, I met Will. It happened like it was supposed to-by surprise. Other boyfriends were probably weirded out by how forceful I was to do and try everything-meet parents, go on vacation, discuss our future after one month of dating, etc. I pushed too hard for a relationship, and I ended up feeling like I did all the work. But just when I had decided to let things be, my closet friend and co-worker invited me out for drinks with her kickball team out in Norfolk. And to my surprise, I said yes.

Sitting between my friend and Will, I felt it only natural to talk to him. And once we started chatting, we ended up talking the whole night. We played two games of pool, we went to the Wine Festival the next day and held hands. It just all felt exciting and natural. Nothing forced.

Flashforward, we’re in Italy. On New Year’s day, we went to this old abbey up in the mountains called Monte Cassino. It’s a beautiful church with mountain views, a vineyard down below, and historical art work. I knew Will was going to propose on this trip (remember, my type-A personality has me prepped for almost anything). After asking for both my parent’s blessing, Will pulled me to a balcony and got down on one knee.

Now, we’re in the planning mode. First things first-telling family and close friends. Being in Italy and not able to do a whole lot of international calling, we did have to message people. Otherwise, we told them once we were back in the States. NO SOCIAL MEDIA. That could wait, we wanted to keep this a bit of a secret for as long as we could.

Being a planner, I had my bridesmaids in mind. I went straight to work in making their Bridesmaid baskets, filled with a candle, nail polish, wine, and a wine glass. I bought a couple magazines (I did feel some joy and pride being able to buy them with a ring on my finger) and devoured them. I had a wedding planning binder that I bought with an Amazon gift card.

So you could say I’m working at full blast. Yes, there’s a lot to do, but I need to slow it down. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Will and I are taking this planning thing slow, because I know I can rush into it and end up stressed and anxious and why-can’t-things-go-my-way. The thing about being engaged, and getting married, is that you try and do all this planning, but there are just some things that you got to let go.

I’ve decided to not plan this wedding on my own. God will be with us on this journey and I fully intend Him to be involved at all times. I remember seeing this image in RCIA and I never forgot it, because it nicely sums up exactly what’s going on.

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So when I get stressed and I feel overwhelmed-this will be my gentle reminder.