Thursday, December 19, 2013

Thanksgiving, Bridal Shower & Bachelorette Party Recap (finally)

Oh, hey. It's safe to say blogging has pretty much disappeared off my to do list lately and I'm gonna go ahead and say it's probably only gonna get worse. I sent an email to my clients this morning letting them know the dates I'll be out of the office for my wedding which is happening in oh, about two weeks. This made me realize I should probably attempt to get caught up on my blogging because things are getting crazy around here and I don't know when I'll have time as we get closer to the big day. I guess I'll start with finally filling you in on one of my most wonderful weekends in recent history...Thanksgiving weekend, which also happened to be the weekend we celebrated my bachelorette party and bridal shower.

Thanksgiving is already my favorite holiday and adding to that, my bridal shower and bachelorette party were the same weekend. To top it off, my sister and Matron of Honor was here to celebrate all of this with us and even brought my niece and nephew along. Thanksgiving was perfect and full of family time and an abundance of things to be thankful for. My bridal shower was so absolutely lovely and perfect. My mom and bridal party worked so hard putting it together and I loved every minute of it.

My bachelorette party was an absolute blast and I had the time of my life. I'm even proud to say I didn't puke, fall or cry that night and if you know me at all in real life, you know this is quite the accomplishment. As my gift, My Maid of Honor hired a photographer friend to take professional photos at my shower and I can't wait to share some of those shots as soon as I get my hands on them. In the meantime, here are some snapshots of a truly magical weekend, one that I will never forget.

My nephew, Ashton, the major contributing factor to my baby fever as of late. 

My niece and flower girl, Alyssa. It was so special having her here :)

I could have stayed at this table forever!

My niece absolutely fell in love with Jonathan and it was the cutest thing ever. I can't blame her, really.
My bridesmaids surprised with a stay at the Grand Bohemian Hotel in Downtown Orlando. The hotel is gorgeous and it was so fun to get ready together and not have to worry about getting back home after celebrating all night.
My get-up for the night. Reason  number 23,657 I love my bridesmaids: they know me well enough to avoid all the typical bright pink bachelorette party attire. Here with my homemade sash and veil. It's safe to say everyone knew I was the bride to be all night. 

Yes, there were penis straws. And yes, my sister (middle) was poking men in the face with hers at one of the bars. #penisstrawsuccess
I looooove this picture of us getting ready to go out. The funny thing about this is I was posing even though I didn't even think I was going to make it into the photo. I just love it.

So glad these ladies all came out to celebrate with me!
This concludes my Thanksgiving recap less than a week before Christmas. I guess if I stay on track my Christmas recap should be up sometime by Easter. We have quite the list of things to do this weekend including basically all of our Christmas shopping, lots of Christmas baking and attending a potluck Christmas gift exchange with our friends on Sunday. I also may have convinced Jonathan to wear matching footie pajamas with me on Christmas Eve, so I can't wait to scoop those up this weekend, too. Now that I think of it, I may want to get a few beers in him before we get to this point!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Wedding Wednesday: 23 Days

Hi and happy Wedding Wednesday!

There are just 23 days until we say "I do" and although I feel a tad bit overwhelmed by everything we still need to do, I really am just so excited to see everything come together and celebrate with our loved ones. I think we did a really good job of getting as much done as we could earlier on so this last month wasn't quite so stressful, but it still amazes me how long our to do list is. Just yesterday we applied for our marriage license so I'm happy to cross that off our list!

Photo by Lora Rodgers Photography

Here's what we have left:
  • Finalize our music selection and send it to our DJ
  • Put the finishing touches on our vows.
  • Finish preparing gifts for my bridesmaids
  • Wrap groomsmen gifts
  • Finalize the cupcake order and display with the bakery
  • Submit a final headcount to our caterer
  • Decide on the table layout for our reception
  • Seating chart for our reception (I am kind of dreading this one so I've put it off as long as possible)
  • Buy beer for reception (we've already purchased all other alcohol, so this should be an easy shopping trip)
  • Have my final dress fitting (this weekend!)
  • Finalize the wedding day plans and photo schedule with our photographer
  • Schedule an appointment for a haircut/highlights the week of the wedding
  • Schedule nail appointment week of wedding
  • Develop wedding day timeline
  • Pay for our wedding night hotel
  • Send rehearsal dinner information and wedding day schedule to wedding party
  • Shop for our honeymoon (I'd love to scoop up a new swim suit, floppy hat and maxi dress for our trip to Punta Cana, but this is if and only if I can find some extra room in the budget)
Now that I have a visual of our to do list, I have to admit I'm feeling a slight sense of panic. I'm hoping I can get a lot of these crossed off before next week so the next few days are going to be busy, that's for sure!

Linking up for Wedding Wednesday

Monday, December 9, 2013

Weekend in Photos

Happy Monday! It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas in our house and after this weekend, we now have the most adorable Christmas tree in our living room! Here's what else we were up to this weekend:

Saturday morning my momma and I had our hair and makeup trials for the wedding. It was the most perfect mother/daughter time and we were sooooo happy with the results. Side note: this will not be how my hair is for the wedding. I obviously couldn't have Jonathan see the actual style so I had them take it down before I left. After our appointments, we met up with my sisters and brother for a super fun lunch, then did a little shopping. It was SUCH a great day.

Later that night, I was looking so fab that I told Jonathan we just needed to head out on the town to take advantage of my fancy hair and makeup. We went out for a few drinks, just the two of us and it was wonderful. After a few drinks, we headed home to camp out on the floor and watch Elf. I may have spilled red wine on our beautiful carpet less than 3 minutes into the movie and we both proceeded to pass out not even 30 minutes in. This was a perfect night and I have zero photos to prove it which is totally okay with me.

Sunday we overslept quite a bit but were able to watch church online. After that, we pulled ourselves together and headed out to run what felt like a thousand errands. We had gotten a Bath & Body Works gift card from Jonathan's aunt and uncle, so first we headed to the mall to stock up on soaps and whatnot for the house. About 30 minutes and one $50 gift card later, it was safe to say we wouldn't need to buy soap for our house or any goodies for our guest bathroom for quite a while.

Funny story: We sent this photo to Jonathan's aunt to thank them for the gift card and show her all the awesome goodies we bought. She responded saying she thought she had gotten us a Bed, Bath & Beyond gift card...oops! Either way, we were able to put it to good use and this made me laugh because Jonathan originally thought what they gave us what a gift card for BB&B!

Our next stop was Target to buy some Christmas ornaments and some lights. Also on our list: Santa hats. Reason #64,503 I'm marrying the perfect man for me: When I broke the news to him that it is really important to me that we wear Santa hats while shopping for and decorating our Christmas tree, he said "Absolutely I always do that!" It only makes sense to follow that up with this photo:

I do have to say shopping for a Christmas tree when it is nearly 90 degrees out isn't exactly ideal, but we live in Orlando, so that's life. After just a few minutes of searching, we found the absolute perfect tree. It's like a lot of things in life, when you've found the right one, you just know. We scooped up our adorable tree and headed on home to decorate! 

But first, we had to visit our neighbors house so Jonathan could show me his chicken coop. Yes, that's correct. My fiance' has recently become obsessed with getting chickens of our own and has been trying to sell me on the idea for weeks. I'm actually not totally against it as long as we  Jonathan builds a nice coop and whatnot. I just don't want chickens running rampant all over our yard because God knows I won't be able to get them under control if they try to run away. So yeah, our neighbor has three chickens and Jonathan was dying for me go see what was going on over there.

First of all, they have three chickens and call them "The Dixie Chicks" which I just love. I'm starting to come around to the idea seeing as we go through eggs like it's nobody's business in our house, so this would make sense for us. Plus, Jonathan says we would get them really young so we can raise them from little chickies. How cute! Chickens I'm just okay with, but little baby chicks...that I love.

After hanging around the farm our neighbors' for a few minutes, we finally went home to decorate and cook dinner. I can't even tell you how much it melted my heart to watch Jonathan setting up our tree. I was cleaning up the kitchen a bit and preparing dinner and I couldn't help but stop and take in this view.

Once our beautiful tree was finished, we sat down for the most amazing dinner, grilled chicken with the most delightful wedge salad and a glass of red wine. By the time 8 p.m. rolled around, we laid down a bunch of blankets and pillows in the living room and snuggled up for Home Alone next to our first Christmas tree.

Days like yesterday are the days we'll always remember. I'll always remember picking out our first Christmas tree, watching Jonathan string the lights and adjust the tree until it was just perfect, standing there when it was all done with his arm around me "soaking in the moment" and crying the happiest tears because this is all I've ever wanted in my life.

This concludes the longest post in recent history. How was your weekend?

Linking up for Weekend Shenanigans.

Friday, December 6, 2013

So much to do and I've decided tonight, I won't be doing any of it.

Life has been nonstop lately and while that does have a lot to do with wedding planning and the holidays, I'm quite sure that with Jonathan and I's personalities, this is just the way our life is and will always be. We both love to stay busy, but lately I feel like we have so many things we need/want to do and not enough time to do any of it. Or we make time to do everything we need to do and we don't carve out enough time to just hang out and relax together or alone for that matter. Jonathan was hired to DJ a Christmas party tonight and I was invited to join him. Normally, I would be all about tagging along, but I decided against it. After being away last weekend and never really getting back into the swings of things this week, I wasn't really up for the party. Immediately I started thinking of all the other things I could do instead.

I could try to get together with my sisters or friends I have absolutely sucked at making plans with lately. 

I could knock a thing or two off our wedding to do list.

I could get some of my holiday baking done early. 

Those all sounded great until I stopped myself and decided that those things can wait. What I really need is some downtime to do absolutely nothing by myself. I'm going to pick up a bottle of wine, make myself a light dinner, get comfortable on the couch and find myself a movie to watch. I'm not great at forcing myself to just chill because I always change my mind and find something to keep my busy, but this is absolutely necessary. I feel like with just a few weeks left until our big day, I need to relax when I have the opportunity. I don't want to wear myself out and risk getting sick or anything in the next few weeks. My night of rest can't get here soon enough.

This is absolutely necessary and deserved, if I do say so myself! Now I just need to figure out how to navigate our television/Apple TV/Netflix situation because holy cow finding a movie can be so complicated these days. Happy Friday, everyone. I hope you enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Wedding Planning Survival Tips

Heyyyyy....remember me? I've clearly been spending too much time living my life to and not enough time actually writing about it. Oopsies.

My Thanksgiving was absolutely perfect and was followed by my bridal shower and bachelorette party on Saturday. I want to tell you all about it but I feel a bit overwhelmed with my to do list now that we are just a few weeks away from our wedding. I'm hoping to have some down time later in the week to fill you in on the fun and happiness that made up my Thanksgiving weekend. In the meantime, I'm linking up for Wedding Wednesday today!

We're less than a month our from our big day so we are busy wrapping up the last few details. Being in the home stretch of this whole wedding planning business, today I want to share a few tips that have helped me deal with the stress that comes with planning a wedding:

1. Don't go crazy on Pinterest. I know you're probably thinking I'm crazy seeing as most of us ladies start pinning to a wedding board well before an engagement is on the horizon, but hear me out. There is such a fine line between using Pinterest for wedding inspiration and being completely overwhelmed with ideas. Pinterest is such a great place for finding inspiration and helping you plan your wedding, but there is soooo much out there. Yes, there are great guest book ideas on Pinterest, but if you over-do it, you could end up making it more stressful on yourself having to narrow down your ideas and settle on one. So yes, use Pinterest. It has been super helpful in my planning, but once you have most of the big details figured out, I recommend scaling back a bit so you don't start to overthink and re-evaluate every decision you've already made.

2. Focus on the marriage more than the wedding. It was pretty early on in our planning when it occurred to us that the wedding can start to seem like something you are doing to appease everyone else but yourselves. At the end of the day, you know it's going to be an amazing day for the two of you, but it's easy to get frustrated making decisions that seem so insignificant to you in the big picture. My only advice is when the little details start to seem completely stressful and overwhelming, slow down and focus on the marriage part...the part where you say your vows, the part where you walk down the aisle, the part where you are announced as husband and wife. Those thoughts will bring you back to the most important thing, you as a couple. Your marriage and the life you're about to start together. Focus on that.

3. Take a break every now and then. Especially in the early stages, there are times you'll feel like all you do is discuss wedding stuff with your fiance'. No matter how excited you are about your wedding, there are times when you just won't be in the mood to talk about it. As much fun as wedding planning can be, it's a lot of mostly expensive decisions to make and tiny details to think about. It's absolutely necessary to purposefully take time off from anything wedding-related. What we've tried to do is have an overall goal of the things we want to talk about or accomplish each week and try to plan ahead what days/nights we are going to tackle those items. This way you have time together to just be together and enjoy some down time and not let the wedding take over your life.

4. You can't please everyone. The sooner in the wedding planning process you accept this, the better off you'll be. After getting engaged, it won't be long before you encounter the many, many opinions people want to share with you. For the most part, everyone of these people have the best of intentions, but there's just no way you can make everyone happy. There's also the possibility of people you weren't able to invite being upset with you and a million other things people might not be thrilled about. All you can do is show appreciation for input from others, be apologetic and straightforward with people who may be unhappy and move on from it. At the end of the day, this is your day and you have to do what's right for the both of you, even if others don't understand it or agree with it.

5. Keep it in perspective. It's just one day out of the very long and happy life you'll have together. In the very beginning of planning our wedding, I realized the chairs our venue provides aren't exactly the style chair I would prefer on our big day. After looking at how much it would cost to rent fancier chairs, I quickly came to the conclusion that I don't think when I look back on our wedding many years from now, I will even remember what the chairs looked like and I made up my mind to not worry about it again. I wish I could say I've been that laid back about everything throughout the process, but I do try to keep in mind that at the end of the day, we are going to be married and the little things that seem like a big stress aren't really going to have a huge impact on the happiness of our life together.

What would you add? Is there anything that has helped you remain cool and collected during the wedding planning process?

Next week I'll finally be back with an update on what we have left on our to do list!
Linking up for Wedding Wednesday!