Making the Cut

We’ve been working on our invite list since… oh, ’round about October and I do believe that it is in its final form now. That was TOUGH. Do we invite all the great co-workers? Do we invite the college friend that was a really good friend but we haven’t talked to in years? Do we invite the sorority/fraternity members? Do we invite those people who believe that they are “best friends” with us but we consider them acquaintances? So hard.

Modern Manners Guy had a great post about who to invite to your wedding – and who you didn’t have to!

  • You don’t have to invite who your friends or parents want you to invite – it’s YOUR wedding
  • You don’t have to invite all of your co-workers (or any of them!)
  • You don’t have to give everyone the option to bring a date – maybe they’ll meet someone!

I’d like to add to his list that it’s okay to tell people their children aren’t invited. Yes, they are cute, and we like them, but we don’t want children in the mix on the dance floor or screaming during the ceremony. Please leave the munchkins at home.

I have found it incredibly rude that people ASK if they are invited to the wedding. Who does that? I feel like if you have to ask, you probably aren’t invited and if you are invited, you wouldn’t feel the need to ask. If I haven’t seen you in 7 years and have only talked to you via Facebook every 10-12 months since then, yeah…. about that.

Our plan was to have 125 people at our wedding for a quaint, outdoors affair. After a first try, our list was at 168. We tried to modify, but for everyone we removed, we added someone else. And what about the great grad school friends we’ve made? So many tough decisions with this wedding stuff (eloping is NOT off the table! Just kidding, Mom). After my biggest decision, some people helped remove themselves from my list (15 to be exact).

So as of last night, we were at 153, including our pastor and photographer. Obviously, we know not all of those will show… it will be vacation time or a baby will arrive, and we’re okay with that. But our list finally reflects the people that we want to share our big day with and we’re so excited to finally get our save-the-dates out in the mail!

We’re still in the running for winning a Sandals Honeymoon package! You can vote for us once a day here – all votes are VERY MUCH APPRECIATED!

Workout Wednesday!

You may remember, I posted a while back about my workout plans for 2013. And anyone who knows me, knows I love to work out (read: Run. I love to run). I’m really trying to incorporate weights and classes again this year so I can tone up before the wedding (and honeymoon!). I’ve been running as much as possible – mostly to stay on track for my half-marathon in March, and on Mondays I’ve been taking Group Power (similar to BodyPump), and this morning, I busted out my newest workout DVD. Okay, I may have purchased 2 DVDs… one  (Body Toners) at EarthFare when I was supposed to be getting food in case we got iced in and the other from Amazon (Wedding Workout). This morning, I tried the Women’s Health DVD.  workoutI had no clue what to expect when I hit play because I honestly just bought the DVD because it said “Wedding Workout.” I was pleasantly surprised when I was given the Strapless Dress or Short Dress workout options. AND then it gave options for DAILY workouts. How nice is that to have your whole week of workouts planned for you? I chose Thursday because I wanted the “upper body, core & cardio” workout, even though I opted out of the cardio. IMG_3960I thoroughly enjoyed this workout and think I could do it every morning. It’s nice to have that available when I’m traveling for work and taking 3 graduate classes this semester. I can get everything done before 7:30 AM and feel energized for the rest of the day.

Review of the Workout:

  • I liked that it incorporated moves I don’t typically do. This challenged me and made me feel like I was hitting new muscles and areas that I don’t normally focus on.
  • I loved that it had planks and push-ups. Using both weights and body weight in workouts is proven to be more effective, so I was a happy exerciser when these moves came up.
  • The abs part started with “standing abs” which again made me feel like I was doing something new and challenging new muscles. (I was already sore from my Monday abs workout so I can’t confirm if this had an effect).
  • Downfall: At one point it asked you to combine your weights in one hand. A) I don’t normally use 10 lb. weights but by combining both of my 5 lb. weights, that’s what I had to lift. B) I have tiny hands, so grabbing 2 dumbells is not an easy task. I would have preferred a screen telling you to have multiple weight options available – and I would recommend that to others.

Overall, I liked this workout. I recommend it for other brides-to-be and for people who just want to tone up (it does feel a bit like Spring out there today, eh?). I didn’t get much feedback last time I asked about your favorite workouts, but I would love to know if you’d be willing to try this one based on my review. Or if you have other favorites that you recommend? Or please share if you have another butt-busting method of getting in shape for the big day!

Sunday Funday Bridal Showcase!

On Sunday, I road-tripped it to Chapel Hill to hang out with the best MOH a girl could ask for – and to attend the Carolina Inn’s 18th Annual Bridal Showcase! A special “Thank You” to Jenna at Southern Bride & Groom magazine for the tickets to the show. To say we were underprepared for what awaited us, would be an understatement. I’m still trying to figure out how many calories I took in at all of those cake tasting booths! IMG_3956We had a day full of paper products, flowers, cake and petit fours … and champagne. How can I forget the never-ending flow of champagne? Sarah was giddy over the supply of macaroons that were on-hand – and as a bride who is loving the idea of “mini-desserts”, I loved seeing all the options available. What talented caterers the triangle area has!
bs1One of my FAVORITE cakes was from husband and wife duo Ashley & Co in Raleigh. This burlap delight made my heart skip a beat. And since I met my beau at work and we still work together, I love that they do too!

Ashley & Co burlap beauty!
Ashley & Co burlap beauty!

We hit up the hors d’ouevres pretty early on since neither of us had eaten lunch. Lots of deliciousness going on in that tent – and of course, we were smitten with the Carolina Inn ice sculpture!
IMG_3922Since my wedding is being held in South Carolina, I really just used this event to gain some ideas and not so much vendors. We did meet LOTS of vendors – and we adored the goodies that they were giving away. Check out this ADORABLE cooler bag from Erin McLean Events! I have been back and forth on whether or not to hire a planner/coordinator to make sure things go off without a hitch – and I loved the idea of just a “day-of” coordinator. Plus, I’ve only heard good things about Erin. And Martha Manning took the cake with her giveaway… Krispy Kreme? Who can say no to Krispy Kreme doughnuts? While I’ve already chosen my photographer, Martha was able to give some recommendations on videographers which was much appreciated. IMG_3952Next on my “to-do” list is to secure a florist for our big day. I want simple flowers (I really want the hydrangeas from my late-grandmother’s bush back home in VA, but that’s a little far-fetched). And since green is our accent color, I was hoping for green flowers – but the fiance insists on them being naturally green and not dyed. So, we checked out some booths at the event and got to actually hold some bouquets (it’s AMAZING how big some of them are!). I like the idea of adding something fragrant to the bouqet – like freesia or mint! IMG_3953We got to see a fashion show while we were there – and I immediately recognized the Southern style of Lula Kate in this dress – and also saw Christy, the owner of Bella Bridesmaid in Raleigh. She sold us our stylish dresses for my friend’s wedding this past August. We somehow missed the bridal part of the runway show, but we did catch the grooms and groomsmen and they sure did look dapper!
IMG_3935I had several totebags full of information and goodies as I left, including wedding magazines and honeymoon magazines. We definitely have some reading to do (and decision making on the honeymoon front!)! IMG_3954I LOVED the experience of the bridal show, especially sharing the fun with Sarah. I have to point out one vendor that I was head-over-heels for before we went to the show and I’m so glad I got to see their stuff in real life. I am even more in love now… if that’s possible. Pressed Cotton has some of the CUTEST things I’ve ever seen – and not just for gatherings but for your household. If anyone is interested in a special offer on their items, leave a comment and I’ll be sure to share the deal!

I want to say thank you to all of my readers! Almost to 1500 views (in less than 3 months!). Stay tuned for a very exciting announcement that has to do with ME, this blog, and you reading it!

Birthday Blog

As promised, here is an update on my FABULOUS birthday weekend. Many thanks to all those who texted, emailed, called, tweeted or Facebooked to wish me a wonderful day!
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I woke up to my beau making me breakfast, complete with hot apple cider (best Keurig K-cup yet!). I had to have a birthday workout, so he informed me that when I returned we should get ready to keep up with all the plans he had for our day. But when I returned, I walked into present heaven! I got a new pearl necklace, bracelet and a fancy jewelry box to keep them in. I can say this about him, he’s always listening when I say I want something. He got the exact strand of pearls I was wishing for!
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We went to the Mint Museum uptown to explore their wood work collection… but not before stopping by Halcyon for a light lunch. Halcyon has creative meals and drinks, that they try to create with all local products. It truly is a gem to have here in Charlotte. We greatly enjoy their drinks and the food has been good the few times I’ve actually eaten there. We shared a cheese plate and some chicken & collards soup on Saturday, since we were preparing for a delicious, surprise dinner.
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We explored the Mint for a few hours before popping in Aquavina for a pre-dinner drink. And then my surprise dinner… at Bernardin’s! This place is special to us because it used to be Ratcliffe on the Green. We had a very special and romantic 6-month anniversary dinner there and we really fell in love with the place, the atmosphere and our waiter, Asa. Bernardin’s is slightly different but still delicious. We very much enjoyed every aspect of our meals. The butternut squash soup was delicious!
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A very wonderful birthday weekend… and my sweet in-laws (soon-to-be) sent me these gorgeous roses that I am still getting to look at every day! How was YOUR weekend?
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Happy Friday + Happy Birthday!

It’s FREEZING (literally) outside today and my birthday is tomorrow. I always wished I had been a summer baby so I could have fun birthday parties instead of Super Bowl themed ones or being snowed in for the celebration. Oh well. We’ll make the best of it! My sweet, sweet fiance has a day o’ fun planned for us and ending with a delicious dinner – but it’s all a surprise to me, so I’ll let you know ALL about it afterwards!

This week was a good one. We met with the caterer, I met with a magazine editor (eeek!), our best woMan ordered her dress, and I got to have lunch with a dear friend who is also one of my bridesmaids. So although it’s cold outside, I’m still a happy camper this week!

I’m sure everyone is wondering who my bridesmaids are and I’m happy to introduce them!

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Sarah was my FAVORITE college roommate. We met the summer before junior year and were inseparable from that night on. I think people were probably surprised if we showed up somewhere without the other one attached to our hip. She is the definition of PIC and BFF and I could not be happier that she is my MOH. I am one lucky girl to have her by my side for so many years, and on the best day of my life!

MOH - Sarah
MOH – Sarah

Amy moved to my high school sophomore year, and I can’t exactly pinpoint the moment that we became friends – because I can’t remember ever not being friends with her. Although she was only at our school for a couple years, we’ve remained the best of friends – I even lived with her in Wilmington for a summer. I’m so incredibly excited to have her in my bridal party – and to also be celebrating her upcoming nuptials with the love of her life!

Bridesmaid - Amy
Bridesmaid – Amy

Brittney and I became friends one night over AIM. We had attended middle school together but didn’t become friends until high school… but when we became friends, it was forever. We shared all of those classic high school moments – some that can still make us laugh until we cry. I’m blessed to have friends like her that are still in my life after so many years, and so many miles between us! Excited to celebrate my big day with my Bre!

Brittney - Bridesmaid
Brittney – Bridesmaid

Michelle waltzed into my life on my first day of college in Jacksonville, Florida. Her sweet southern accent and charm let me know right away that I was going to LOVE being this girl’s friend. We ended up in the same sorority (same family too!) and came to find out that we both knew & loved Claytor Lake in Virginia. Now she and her sweet husband live in Charlotte and we are elated when our schedules align and we can get together with them for a fun evening. We adored everything about their chic wedding this past summer – so I’m glad to have her helpful hints when it comes to my own!

Michelle - Bridesmaid
Michelle – Bridesmaid

Katie, last but not least, my “little” cousin. I have always cherished any amount of time that we get to spend together, so I’m over-the-moon excited about all the quality time we’ll be spending together. Katie was supposed to coordinate our wedding, but having her as a bridesmaid means so much. And I know I can still count on her for anything that I will need. I’m so happy that she’ll be standing on my side on the happiest day ever!

Katie - Bridesmaid
Katie – Bridesmaid

I feel like such a lucky and blessed girl to have wonderful friends and family in my life to share this time with. With every turn of the planning process, we are reminded how much love is in our lives and it makes our little hearts so happy. We can’t wait to celebrate with each & every one of y’all!

Don’t ya wanna eat my cornbread?

The hubby-to-be and I have a joke going about a Dave Matthews Band song and cornbread being at our wedding. I told him if we have it, he has to go around to all the tables offering it up and singing “Don’t ya wanna eat my cornbread?” It’s probably not as funny to you… guess that’s why it’s an inside joke. Regardless, we are having cornbread at our wedding.

We met with our darling caterer yesterday – I loved that she hugged us instead of shaking our hands. We narrowed down our menu and trusted her opinions on what foods were “must-haves.” Now, I’m not going to TELL you everything that we’re having but if you are lucky enough to join us, you’ll see for yourself the delicious spread of southern goodness that will fill our guest’s bellies.

www.tickledred.com
http://www.tickledred.com

I opted out of fried pickles for an appetizer (too greasy + messy) and also out of a shrimp & grits bar. I originally INSISTED on having this because it’s one of my FAVORITE foods (top 5, for sure!). But my Virginia family, although they are in Southwest Virginia, they aren’t quite Southern enough to love grits with the same intensity that I do. Or at all. I’m actually pretty sure they would all turn up their noses at grits. Maybe for a shower or something we can do a shrimp and grits bar… with andouille sausage, cheese, texas pete, bacon, mushrooms, onions… all the fixins!

We will have 3 delicious hor d’ouevres to accompany cocktail hour (with our signature drink!) and two very Southern, very delicious meats, with 4 sides, 3 kinds of bread and dessert… well… dessert is the most important part and I cannot pick just one. So I’m thinking of 5… and we just have to figure out what those 5 are going to be, then we’ll dedicate a whole post to desserts.

Anyway, now that we have picked what we want (well in advance!) – we are going to taste it on March 16th and confirm or change the menu. Y’all, it sounded so good, we were both hungry when we left! Is it August yet?

Honeymooners

I thought today’s post would be about food, especially since we were both starving after talking about food with our caterer. Y’all get ready, our wedding food is going to be DELISH! But today… I’m going to talk about our honeymoon.

We have been ALL over the place with where we want to go… I started with a hut in Bora Bora which was countered by Europe/Greece from my sweet Fiance. Then, I compromised with 2 islands in Hawaii (Maui & Kauai) so that we could do the exploring that he wanted, along with the butt-in-the-sand time that I wanted, and was countered with several options in the Caribbean. With it being August, I’m hesitant to visit ANYWHERE in the Caribbean, even though my favorite co-worker tells me Aruba is far enough out of the hurricane belt that I shouldn’t have to worry about anything. We both LOVE the idea of the Galapagos Islands (flora + fauna + GREAT WHITES, oh my!) but it appears to be next to impossible to find lodging there.

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We have ruled out Jamaica, Bahamas and anywhere in Mexico since we’ve traveled there before. Although each of them have their pretty and near perfect spots, we don’t feel the need to revisit any of them.
37423_640368798943_6875587_nLuckily, we still have time to make this decision. A timeline in Carolina Bride magazine recommends booking 4-6 months in advance. Our countdown is at 6.5 months and I’m not feeling TOO much pressure on this issue. Now that we’ve knocked out the catering, our next task is the flowers. And your next task is to vote for us to win this trip to the Caribbean from Wedding Paper Divas + Sandals. If we win, you will have helped select our honeymoon destination – but we need your help to win! All you have to do is click here, “like” Wedding Paper Divas on Facebook, and then click “vote” once a day for the rest of the week. Got it? Ok, go! (and thank you in advance!)

 

Bride Wars

Many of you may remember me mentioning that a very good friend, a best friend, got engaged two weeks after I did. We were both going to be experiencing this exciting time in our lives, at the same time. Let me go back… we’ve been best friends since we were 15. We spent summers together, we celebrated birthdays and graduations together, we visited each other in college, we shared everything for the past 11.5 years. And here we are, growing up and getting married and we won’t be sharing that.

A few weeks ago, I changed up my wedding party. This was not a rash decision, but a well thought out one (and that’s becoming more clear as the days go on). It was weighing heavy on my heart for a while before the decision was made – but with two weddings being planned, it felt like only one of them was being focused on. I should have prefaced this post with “THIS IS HOW IT FELT TO ME,” because of course, every story has 2 sides. I understand that living within 5 miles of each other makes it much easier to get together and talk weddings but part of me, the little girl in me, the bride-to-be in me, wanted to stand up and scream, “I’M GETTING MARRIED, TOO!” But I didn’t do that… I didn’t do that when our other 2  “best” friends were asked to be Maid and Matron of Honor in the other wedding, or when she browsed for wedding dresses on the day that MY bridesmaids were looking at dresses to wear in my wedding, or when she announced she was using the same colors as me, or even when a slightly edited version of an email I sent to my bridesmaids was sent from her to her bridesmaids just 2 hours after mine. Nope, I kept quiet. I did mention it once, and was told, “It’s the time in our lives where everyone is getting married, we just have to deal with that.”

I don’t want to deal with that. I want to (and deserve to) to be the center of attention, the star in the spotlight, and at the least, the focus of MY bridal party. But I wasn’t (with the exception of two fabulous friends!)… and I was starting to feel like not even a friend after taking the highroad and offering to host a bridal party for the other bride and being told “We’ll be hitting up all the bridesmaids to help.” And just like that, I was lumped into a group of people that were not life-long friends, but just bridesmaids. I did not list out everything that had hurt my feelings over the past months and I was not mean in my request. I was honest and open, and hoping that my best friends would understand. I actually hoped (that maybe just ONE of them) would have apologized and asked how they could fix the situation, but no… they all immediately opted out.

I am not bitter and I still 100% believe I made the right decision in asking them to step down. They have all made it clear that they do not wish to be a part of my wedding planning, my wedding day, or even my life. Some of their family members have made similar decisions, which hurts, and sucks all at the same time. I do not regret my decision. I have taken the highroad. My attempts to contact them have gone unanswered. I’ve been unfriended on Facebook by some. Yet, I still have plenty of people in my life who are caring, understanding and WANT to be involved in my planning, my happiness and my big day. And yes, it’s MY day – so this is the one time in my life where I can be selfish and soak up all of that attention. I just had to surround myself with people that could enjoy it with me – and I can’t express how thankful I am for each and every one of them.

“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.” -Martin Luther King Jr.

MMM, MMM GOOD!

Y’all, it’s been a good week! We are still reeling from that spectacular engagement party last weekend, gifts were still trickling in this week (Kate Spade towels + glass mixing bowl set, LOVE!), our save-the-dates arrived last night and look AMAZING, we made a purchase today that is going to raise the level of fun at our wedding from a 12 to 15 (GET READY!), and on top of that – it might snow tonight! Doesn’t get much better than that!

But NEXT week, we are meeting with the caterer… whose name is Evelyn and I LOVE that because it was my grandma’s name. If I could have it my way, we’d bring in Mac’s BBQ for the reception, with chicken wings and fried pickles for appetizers and collards, mac & cheese and baked beans for sides – unfortunately, the deal they have worked out with the caterer works better if we use THEIR choice.Pinned Image
I knew this would be the part of deal when we signed our contract – and either way the food will be delicious, even if it isn’t Mac’s. We LOVE us some Southern food, and comfort foods too. I think our biggest decision will be between biscuits or cornbread. I actually see it as a blessing that they have a deal with a caterer, so that we don’t have to go out and search for our own. As much as I love food, and would enjoy food tastings, I am happy to clean anything off of my plate that will simultaneously remove stress.

We’ve had some really good food at weddings… carving stations, jumbo shrimp, and the 5-course wedding in Cleveland that we still talk about! I love food so much that I’d probably have them do one of everything if it wouldn’t cost a fortune!

More to come on the catering after our meeting, this will just be a walk through to see where things will be set up and what we’re envisioning. Food tasting to come next – yum! I would LOVE to hear what you all would pick for the perfect Southern food at a wedding reception! Ready… set… post!

Happy Thursday + fingers crossed for snow!

How fitting!

My left hand is bare as my ring is off being sized to fit my tiny ring finger. Feel a bit naked without it… and I may have tried to point to it yesterday when telling someone about it, only to realize it wasn’t there. Whoops. I did get sized, before my groom purchased my big sparkler, but I even knew then that size 5 was a tad big on my finger because my other rings were loose. I definitely recommend being sized and knowing how it should fit before purchasing.

We took a trip to Diamonds Direct back in the summer (your fingers are more likely to be swollen in the summer) and checked out the styles I thought I liked… and used it as an opportunity to get sized. I had spent (countless) hours on websites creating the perfect ring. I had a stunning $20,000 sparkler created on the Tiffany website. Enough to break the bank, but quite possibly totally worth all that gorgeousness being on your hand to stare at day after day. A friend at work emailed me about the Tacori website one day and said you could “virtually” try on rings. Um, awesome? Another website to create your own ring on is Blue Nile which has all the offerings of other jewelers online, but a lower price tag.

I knew I wanted a round cut but beyond that… I was clueless. I thought I might want a halo? They all looked so pretty online, but until I actually tried them on, I had no clue what I really wanted. Some swallowed my hand, almost touching my knuckle. Others, looked too “old” or smaller than I had hoped for. I ended up picking 3 styles that I really loved and leaving my future husband with those in mind.

Some people said it took the surprise away by going to look at rings, but it didn’t. I was still completely shocked when he asked, and blown away by the diamond he put on my hand. It was necessary in my mind, because we had totally different ideas about what would be “cool” and since I have to wear this every day… I wanted him to know my personal style. He ended up creating my ring all on his own, and it is absolutely perfect.

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