Favorite Wedding Gifts

Last night, I had dinner (and a quick run) with a sweet friend who is also a newlywed. While catching up, the topic of wedding gifts got brought up: Do you HAVE to buy from the registry? Do couples prefer cash? Is it okay to get creative with the gift? It got me thinking about our own wedding gifts.

We had 3 registries: Honeyfund, Crate & Barrel and Bed Bath & Beyond. Honeyfund is awesome because it allows you to put gifts from any site on there (you can link to it), or you can ask for monetary gifts towards a larger item. Some of our “larger items” were a new bedroom set, honeymoon dinners, honeymoon excursions, and honeymoon splurge money. We reserved more traditional items such as dinnerware, silverware and appliances for Crate & Barrel  and Bed, Bath & Beyond.

Some of our most used gifts are our: griddle, Kitchen Aid stand mixer, serving utensils, dishes, Keurig drawer to hold our K-cups, cutting board, and our knife block that we were able to buy with the money we were given for our wedding. Also, the specific dinners and excursions people got us for our honeymoon were also BEYOND AMAZING.

Some of the more creative and not on our registry gifts were:

photo-1Honey or “Honeymoon Honey” straight from Chatham County (where my husband hails from). We have devoured this entire jar of honey – including my first peanut butter & honey sandwich. Seriously delicious. We thought this was such a thoughtful gift, since a dear family friend of my husband’s family (who is also a bee keeper) gave us the honey.

plateThis plate made us “ooh” and “ahh” when we opened it. How sweet to give a personalized gift that is so very thoughtful. While we never would have registered for this, we love it so much! It’s proudly displayed so you can see it when you walk in our home.

mapThis map/painting is hanging in our stairwell. My sister-in-law (the best woman at our wedding) gave us this gift. She took a map and painted over it so we can mark all the places we travel to in our life together. It says “Home…. is wherever I am with you.” Pretty darn sweet!

We were so thankful for every gift that we received and would have been more than happy just having everyone there to celebrate with us. Back to my original questions, I don’t think you HAVE to stick with the registry when giving gifts, but I do think you should be familiar with the bride/groom’s personalities/tastes if you are going to venture off of the registries.  What do you think? Would love to have some readers weigh in on this subject!

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That’s not my name

I wish I could tell you how frustrated I am with changing my name. When I first took time off work to do it, was the day the government shut down (thanks a lot) and the two additional times they were closed. You can read more about that here, but basically, I’m going to be stuck with my maiden name forever at this rate.

We are finally almost done with our “thank you” notes from the wedding. Someone (thoughtful, little ol’ me) wanted to send out some pictures to folks with their cards but our envelopes weren’t big enough and we had to order more. So now that those are here, we can finish up that task this weekend and be done with notes for a while!

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Our calendar is quickly filling up with weddings for next year, May, 2 in June, September and October. I’m sure at least a couple more will be added. There is also one in April but it’s in the Bahamas and with planning our own European vacation and also (hopefully) a trip to Colorado, I’m not sure a tropical trip is going to happen. We are looking forward to beach time with our families and still very much looking forward to the holidays. I got this adorable print from Craft & Candor yesterday which will proudly be displayed as we host our first Thanksgiving.
Also, this weekend we celebrate 3 months of marriage. Hard to believe it’s going by so quickly, but still as happy as can be!
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Natural Pool, Aruba

Bridesmaids, Breweries and Books!

We are almost half-way through November (wasn’t I just exclaiming that I couldn’t believe it was already November???). I’m succeeding with “No Shop November” although it was exceptionally hard for me to hit “Skip this Month” with Fabletics (Kate Hudson’s work out clothing line – and I have a total girl-crush on Kate) since I got my first outfit and am in love with it. I joined as a VIP because you get your first outfit for $25. Yes, OUTFIT for $25. Unbelievable, right? And of what “quality” is this outfit? Perfection. That’s how I would describe it. It’s uber comfortable, holding up to me wearing it multiple times (and washing it multiple times), and hello, it was ONLY $25. Now, the deal with VIP is that each month after your first $25 purchase, you are given outfits to choose from to purchase for $50. However, you have the option to skip if you don’t want to spend $50, or don’t need more work out clothes at that time. OR, you can even cancel after signing up for VIP and getting your first $25 outfit. I doubt you will after you get it though, you’ll be totally in love. Interested? Try it now.

I blogged about bridesmaid dresses and the easy choice of black dresses for your ‘maids for Carolina Bride. Seriously, you can’t go wrong with adding black into your palette. It will go with any array of flowers that you choose and your BMs will be able to wear most black dresses again (as we promise all bridesmaids they’ll be able to do with that $200 dress they’re buying for the wedding). You can see some of my choice black bridesmaid dresses here on Pinterest.

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We checked out Charlotte’s newest brewery “The Unknown Brewing Company” on Saturday. Quite the turnout for a grand opening. They seem to know how to do things – and understandably so, since their owner has previously worked with other large and successful brewing companies.

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In one day, I read Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman (after blowing through Season 1 on Netflix). The book is totally different than the TV show, but in a raw and honest way. The TV show is exciting, graphic and will totally suck you in. I can’t wait until 2014 for more episodes.

More things I’m reading?

The Good Men Project (Happy Couple, Happy Life)

A Practical Wedding

Smitten Kitchen (for December Book Club)

Skipping a Beat (Sarah Pekkanen)

Daring Greatly (Brene Brown)

Waiting List: 

Happier at Home (Gretchen Rubin) – I loved the Happiness Project so much (as did my husband) that I have pre-ordered Gretchin’s latest book *released 12/31

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Okay, enough recommendations from this self-proclaimed book worm. One more weekend wrap up piece of news: OUR WEDDING IS GOING TO BE PUBLISHED IN A WEDDING MAGAZINE!!! I found out on Friday while in a cab on my way to Logan Airport in Boston. So excited to see what photos they chose for publication! Stay tuned, I’ll announce the magazine once it’s available and you can all go snag your copies 😉

PS – there’s still time to enter the Inaugural Ornament Swap. It’s free, you get a brand-spankin’ new ornament for your tree and you get to connect with a new friend. What more can you ask for? Sign up today and share it with your friends!

Secret Swap!

It might seem a little early to be discussing the holidays, but Christmas is only 7 weeks (+2 days) away! Hard to believe, right? I’m with you on that one. This year has literally flown by. After looking for our traditional Christmas ornament (and the first one as a married couple) I had an idea to do something fun to celebrate the holidays this year …

Secret SwapThat’s right – a holiday ornament exchange. I’m leaving it open as to whether you purchase or make the ornament. There are a ton of ideas on Pinterest and Etsy! Go with whatever holiday ornament you think will make someone’s holiday season merrier! The exchange will be a secret, you won’t know who or where your ornament is coming from until it arrives!

So here’s how it works:

1. By November 15th: Leave your name and 5 words that describe you (e.g.: Ashleigh runner who just got married)
(*this will give your partner an idea of what type of gift/ornament you might like)

2. By November 15th: Email me (ashfar3@gmail.com) with your mailing address (this will only be given to the person who is sending you an ornament)

3. All ornaments will be mailed by November 29th (the day after Thanksgiving when it is acceptable to begin decorating for the holidays)

4. HAVE FUN! What a great opportunity to brighten someone’s day, make a new friend and spread the love during the holidays!

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Be sure to share this with your friends, the more the merrier! And if you’re trying to save a little during the holiday season, join me in No-Shop November!

 

No-Shop November!

Holy cow! I cannot believe it’s already November. I can’t believe it’s been 2 months today since we said goodbye to my sweet Paw Paw. I can’t believe that we are hosting our first Thanksgiving this year (and I only have 27 days left to prepare!). And I can’t believe that it’s officially no-shave November! no shave novemberJust kidding. I couldn’t resist posting this after finding it yesterday when sifting through hundreds of Halloween pictures shared with my college roomie (MOH). This was one of the “conservative” nurse costumes available when we were in college. These days, I search for the warm costumes, or the funny ones, or at least something that covers my skin (e.g. Thing 1 and Thing 2, Mario & Luigi, Pacman & Mrs. Pacman, etc.). I will not be growing a beard this month, although I’m sure my husband will continue letting his grow.

I am going to participate in No-Shop November. I got my friend Courtney on board the other night. Basically, this means that when I go in Target, I will leave with what I went in for and not running clothes, new pajama pants or shirts for work. I won’t “swing by” the mall on the way home and I won’t spend time in the evenings browsing online (please stop emailing me this month, J. Crew and LOFT).

I will buy for others this month while we approach Christmas (and birthdays for both of our mothers!), but I won’t buy extra little things for me. I’m excited to see how much I actually save this month. I’m sure Mint.com will let me know that I didn’t break the bank with a shopping spree.  And I’m sure my husband will be happy to hear that, as well. Mostly, I just want to stop buying things that I don’t have to have or need. I’m lucky enough to be able to buy the things that I want, but I don’t always need to make those purchases.

Speaking of Christmas, I plan on sponsoring someone through Hope Match this year, to help make their Christmas a little brighter than it might be otherwise. If you’re financially able and have a big heart, you should consider this as well. You can be matched with an individual, couple or family based on the size of your donation and you get to pick out the gifts for the family. While I didn’t grow up in need, I did grow up with a single mother and I now realize it can be hard to buy all the new things that your children are asking for when living on one salary – and what parent doesn’t want to make their child’s holiday happy? If you can’t sponsor a whole family, you can make a smaller donation which Hope Match can use to help a family in need. It’s a really great organization and you can count on your gift – of any size – being very much appreciated.

Anyone else joining me and Courtney in No-Shop November? Can you resist the urge for 30 days to buy superfluous things that you don’t NEED?

Happy November, y’all!