When to do what!

I’ve gotten some questions lately about when to send gifts, when to send Thank Yous and of course, how long can you wait to do either?

First of all, if you’re going to the wedding and it’s a reasonable sized gift, you can always take it with you (hint, hint: card with cash!). If it’s a large gift, you’re in the wedding, or you don’t want to make the bride + groom lug the gift home after the wedding, you can have it shipped to them in advance – most websites like Crate & Barrel, Pottery Barn, Bed Bath & Beyond and Target do this for free or a small fee. Most people wait to send wedding gifts until the 2 month range prior to the wedding, or when one can assume showers/engagement parties are over. If the couple sends you a message saying they are having a small ceremony this year or going to the courthouse and plan to do something bigger with the whole family/friends crowd next year, it’s acceptable to wait until the bigger party, but certainly okay to go ahead and send them something (they did just get married!).

If you’re on the receiving end of the gifts, it’s in your best interest to write those thank yous as you receive the gifts – I promise you will be glad you did later! If you just can’t bring yourself to write thank yous before the wedding, keep a detailed list of who sent what so that when you do have time, you’ll be able to write detailed notes. In the event you don’t receive any gifts shipped to your home pre-wedding (doubt this will happen), you have up to 6 months to write your thank yous after the wedding. I would advise you not to take the full six months. Sit down each evening for a week after your honeymoon and split the list with your hubby and bust out 10 a piece each night, you’ll have it done before you know it and guests will appreciate the quick acknowledgement of how much you loved their gift. The Knot has a great guide for Thank You notes that will help you with this task.

As with everything else in life, you’re better off being early than late 😉

 

What a week!

Last week was intense. We were so busy it felt like we only saw each other in passing. But I can happily say that big things are on the horizon for us! Luckily, this weekend we were able to regroup and spend time together now that the hubs is done with grad school til 2014 and we had no planned events to attend (and of course being stuck inside on Saturday voiceless and with a sore throat helped). So here’s a recap of LAST weekend and also a new recipe that left us licking our fingers!
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After spending the holiday with my family and finally getting our kitchen back in order, we spent Friday night watching the Bobcats play (but of course we were wearing our Hornets colors!). We even got cute toboggans for showing up early!
w3While Saturday marked the last day of November (and no-shave november for my husband), it was also the day that we had Fall photos taken with our city in the background. I love this one that our photographer shared from the back of her camera. A little late on the Christmas cards this year, but I am glad we will have these beauties in our home and on our family’s fridges.

w2Later we explored NoDa and met up with our friends to see Matrimony in concert at the Chop Shop. We had dinner at Revolution Ale House and stopped in the Crepe Cellar for some post-dinner drinks (coffee for this girl – who was yawning at 8 PM).

w4We capped off the weekend by picking out our first real Christmas tree together. I love starting new traditions with this guy – and this is one we will definitely continue. It’s all decorated, with a brand new tree skirt and colorfully wrapped presents beneath it now.

While it seemed like a busy weekend, it also seemed normal and calm for us. We’re at “that age” where every weekend holds something (most of the time that other people have planned), so it’s nice when we have a weekend at home where we can pick and choose what we do, hang out in pajamas if we want and curl up on Friday nights and watch a movie on our own couch instead of in a hotel room somewhere. We’re thankful for those moments, but also thankful to be blessed with so many friends and family members that we get to travel to see. We’re especially looking forward to all of the upcoming weddings we’ve been invited to – with a few more that I’m betting get added to the list (wink, wink):

Dec 21 – Pittsburgh, PA
April 26, – Nassau, Bahamas
May 4 – Austin, TX
May 17 – Wilmington, NC
June 6 – Baltimore, MD
June 7 – Blacksburg, VA
Sept 20- Winston-Salem, NC
Oct 11 – Charlotte, NC

Looks like 2014 is going to be a busy one for us! Even more reason to soak up our weekends at home!

Here’s last night’s dinner, which was delicious – my husband told me at least 3 times this morning that he couldn’t wait for lunch to eat the leftovers: Buffalo Chicken Enchiladas (click on the picture once there to go to the recipe)
buffalo chicken enchiladasThis was the perfect meal to accompany Sunday night football. When you want wings but would rather a real meal, go for the enchiladas. Yum!

Licensed to Wed!

Yesterday, I spent the day contacting our vendors and making sure all of our contracts were signed and on file and then issuing some stomach-turning, heartbreaking payments. Pretty sure that was my bank account I heard saying, “ouch!” But, somewhere in the middle of that not-so-fun part of the day, my handsome groom came and picked me up to go get our MARRIAGE LICENSE!
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We had to drive to the middle of nowhere South Carolina to get it but the process itself was quick and painless. Afterwards, we selected wines for our rehearsal dinner and then had a celebratory lunch/drink before heading home to spend our afternoon doing other wedding related activities. Just kidding, he did homework and I took a nap. But, here we are just 15 tiny days away from our wedding and we are licensed to wed! And boy are we ready!

And while we’re talking about being SUPER CLOSE to weddings, tomorrow, my sweet friend Valerie is marrying the love of her life! I can’t wait to see their beautiful ceremony and celebrate with this fun couple. Yay, Valerie + Dave! xo
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Forever films

We have vacillated for most of our wedding planning experience on whether or not we would hire a videographer. The cheapest quote I was given was $1700 – but most were closer to the $2500 range for a base package. I get it, they put a lot of time into following you around on the big day, and also into editing and making sure everything is perfect before giving you those final discs. But once you’ve paid for venues, catering, flowers, coordinators, photography, and all the million other things weddings require… that extra money seems scary to spend. I talked about this a few weeks ago in this post for Carolina Bride.

My groom does not feel passionate about having a videographer or not having one. I am not sure I feel passionate about it, but I think I might regret it if I don’t. It’s not something we can go back and do, after the fact. I was discussing with one of my bridesmaids yesterday and we talked about how frequently it would be watched… probably only on anniversaries and maybe if our (one day) kids wanted to see it. She made a good point though that it’s “live” and you might not always have the opportunity to interact with folks that are at your wedding, and of course, it’s something you can keep forever.

Family members have also offered opinions, similar to my bridesmaid’s opinion yesterday. Again, I’ve also had people say that they don’t regret it. I’ve had people say that the ceremony was a disaster because the priest kept calling them by the wrong name. I’ve had people say that they love their video and it’s so special. And like Michelle said yesterday, heaven forbid something happen to one of us, but we could play the video to each other like Channing Tatum did in The Vow. (Or we could just watch Channing Tatum in The Vow).

So, I spent Monday negotiating with a videographer for the parts that we really care about being caught on camera and was able to get to a price point that I was happy with and my groom, knowing that I want it, said, “do it.” Love him.

1 month to go – and we are EXCITED!
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Do you have an opinion on hiring a videographer? Please leave a comment & share!

Nothing better

To me, there’s nothing better (or sweeter) than a hand written note. Whether it’s a follow up to an interview, a “just because” or a thank-you for the super awesome gift note, handwritten is a MUST. (This is arguable on the interview one, but this is a wedding blog, so focus on the “Thank You” note)!

We display all of our Thank You notes on our fridge  – for probably far too long, but sometimes it’s nice to just look back and relive the memory. Each of these cards reminds us of special times with friends that we feel very lucky to have in our lives.

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Photo and Card by: http://www.essentialsunshine.com

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Timelines tend to differ on the amount of time you have to write these after your wedding (but don’t forget about writing them after showers & parties too!), this one says it should be no later than 3 months after the gift is received. After our engagement party, we divided the list of names of folks that were kind enough to attend and wrote notes to each of them. It took us maybe an hour to do them all  – but best of all, it made us smile all over again thinking about how much fun our night was and how awesome our friends and family are.

There are so many options for thank you notes these days too, you can do folded, postcards (as seen above from Michelle & Ian’s fabulous wedding – HAPPY 6 MONTH ANNIVERSARY, love birds!), you can even have stationary created with your new initials, your married monogram or a picture, and still write the note on the paper. You’ve got options… so there are no excuses! Check out Etsy for some creative options!

Having typed notes isn’t the worst thing in the world… not sending them at all takes the cake on that one. We’ve been to 3 weddings that we didn’t get thank you notes from. The first one, I thought maybe our card got separated from our gift and they didn’t know we brought anything but after the other two happened, I chalked it up to laziness. People are taking time out of their lives to celebrate with you – a thank you note is the simplest thing to do, to show them that you care about them too.

Practice your hand writing now and show some love through the mail!

Happy Monday!

Big White Dress

The dress shopping experience was a little rushed for me… as I didn’t plan to even start looking until December or January (aka when I have a break from school!). However, I stumbled across a J. Crew dress last week that made my wedding-dress lovin’ heart skip a beat! However, I live in North Carolina and the only store that carries that dress lives in NYC. But wait, that’s not the real dilemma… they only have 3 sizes left in this dress… and only 2 of which I can wear! Enter the need for an emergency dress shopping situation and a very much appreciated girlfriend who spent her Saturday zipping and unzipping me!

We started at NY Bride & Groom on South Blvd … so.many.wedding.gowns. But I did like that they let us pick the gowns and my friend was able to come in the dressing room with me. (PS – these are not your normal size fitting rooms- LOVE!).

I’ll share a few of the shots that she snapped (obviously only in the dresses that I am for sure not getting). I only tried this dress on for fun because it was super heavy and detailed but looking back at the pictures… I do kind of love it! For the right setting of course… I pretty much stuck to sweetheart style necklines but the rest of the dress was fair game. I knew I wanted to try on Modern Trousseau gowns, so we went to Hayden Olivia for those. I immediately fell in love with this all-over lace Modern Trousseau (Abbey) gown. I mean, how could you not? It was beautiful in every possible way… and light too. Since I’m planning an August wedding in the South, light is key! However, my heart (and wallet) did not love the price tag on this beauty ($3600+) so I didn’t even ask them to write it down for me. This dress had a little bit of everything, a little lace, a flower, a little ruffle, a little poof… but it didn’t quite do it for me. Honestly, the first dress I tried on was probably the most likely to be purchased. I just got an email from J. Crew though and the beautiful gown I am coveting from there is 25% off with free shipping…

To order, or not to order, that is the question!