Just Engaged? 5 Things No One Tells You About Planning A Wedding

Ok so with everything that has been going on…it feels a little bit like we are kind of starting over with the wedding planning.  Just a little.  Luckily, we were able to keep ALL of our vendors, which was incredible!  But, we have learned a few things through this process that I thought I would share…

1) Soak up the Initial Excitement & Celebration

Be present in the moments that will go flying by…the time goes by way faster than you can ever imagine.  I think it’s important to really soak up all of the love during this really special time.  Pop the champagne, kick off your heels and really delve into that issue of Martha Stewart Weddings that you have been eyeing for umm 6 months or so before you got engaged.


The good, the bad, the ugly…share everything with your partner.  I’m not talking relationship communication…that goes without saying.  But, wedding communication is HUGE! The saying, two heads are better than one, is a saying because it’s true.  Trust! Keeping something from your soon to be spouse because you think you are protecting them is not advisable…even if it seems to be.  If you really want something to be part of your BIG day talk about it, even if it seems like it might not fit in with what your significant other may want or it may not seem to be in the budget.  If you talk it through you may come up with a great solution.  Instead of holding onto something and being disappointed or bitter without thinking it through.

3) Spreadsheets are your new way of life. 

Well that is if they weren’t before, like me.  They are SOOO many variables and they change constantly.  Excel will save some of your sanity.  Create one for your overall budget, your floral budget, your catering budget, your everything! It makes your life so much more simple.

4) Know your limitations.

While getting married and planning a wedding is incredible…you have found the love of your life, you want to declare your love to the world, and start a life together.  It doesn’t get much better than that!  It is also pretty stressful: emotionally, mentally, physically…. Know what you can and can’t do and don’t sign up for more than you can handle.  It makes things way harder or you and your partner when you do.  If you really just can’t handle that DIY project tonight, just share that with your partner…if you need a break from working out, take it.  Something’s gotta give sometimes.  Just make sure you share that in a supportive, loving way (see #2).

5) Be Proactive.

You never know what curve balls life might throw you.  Be as proactive as possible, which will help you bounce back from some hiccups.  When we were weighing our options about whether or not we would have to push back the wedding we called ALL of our vendors to see what would happen if we did postpose the wedding.  We asked about our deposits, their availability to rebook late in the year, etc.   Once we had all of the facts we made a decision together and got to work.  I was immediately researching ways to infuse a little more fall into our original spring wedding.  We have come up with a few ideas that we are both really excited about.


It’s Been a Year…Already

I have decided to take a little holiday “break” from the blog this week & next, but I couldn’t let today’s special occasion pass through my finger tips.  Today is the Mr. & I’s 1 Year Anniversary of our engagement…wow! Time has really flown by! Some snapshots of the year :)

It’s All in the Details

Hey guys! I decided to unplug this holiday weekend and spend some quality time with the future husband, which is why there wasn’t a post on Monday.  We had such a nice relaxing weekend, wedding planning free.  But, yesterday was back to work and back to planning.  As we continue to work on all of our fun details for the big day I got to thinking where all the inspiration came from and I must say a lot was from Pinterest, see my wedding board here.  But, also when I first got engaged I was desperately trying to figure out what type of wedding would best represent the Mr. and I.  So, I bought a few wedding books to try to spark some inspiration and hopefully to help me hone in on what would be our approach to our BIG day.  By far one of my favorite wedding books that did just that was Style Me Pretty Weddings.


After reading the intro I knew Abby was speaking my language, see what I mean:

Details that are fun & spirited & full of soul. Details that mean everything to you & your other half, both exquisite & immensely personal.

I am all about the details.  So, this was right on point.  The 8 step process that is outlined to plan the big day provides you with a really great outlook on how to manage the whole planning process.  Plus, I loved the Teen-magazine style quiz to figure out our wedding style.  How fun?!  Our results revealed that we were Whimsically Fabulous. Duh!  Lol!

Whimsical Weddings

Then after flipping through the beautiful pages of real weddings it was obvious to me that the quiz was pretty accurate.  All of the handmade, silly, personal details spoke to me and I can’t wait to see all of our fun projects come together, which were all somewhat inspired from the guidance of Style Me Pretty Weddings.  I definitely recommend to pick up your own copy if you are newly engaged. More info here.

asking my ladies

with the engagement party behind us and a few packages arriving to the long distances lovies in my life i can finally share with you how i asked my ladies to be in our wedding, the craft project i alluded to here

being in a friend or family member’s wedding is a big deal. i am a firm believer that no one should half-heartedly say yes to being a bridesmaid. it’s a commitment. a commitment of time, money, sometimes emotional stability. lucky for me the brides that asked me to be in their weddings were incredible. XO Lisa, Donna, & Ashley! but, i really think it is definitely what you make of it. and i think the #1 key to making the best of this incredible time with someone that cares a ton about you is to be honest. if you can’t make it to something let a girl know…if you can’t afford a crazy expensive bridesmaid’s dress just say something (at least that’s my opinion). i don’t want any of the women in my life to feel stressed or uncomfortable about anything i just want to share this special time with them and look back on great memories when i’m old and wrinkly

knowing all that, i wanted to ask these awesome women in my life to be my maid of honor/bridesmaids in a way that showed how much i care about them and how excited i am to marry my best friend and have them be a big part it.

i did my best to outline my expectations for their role in the whole process and our big day to ensure that no one would stress out about the upcoming parties, dress fittings, craft projects, etc. this was included in their, “will you be my bridesmaid?” package…

your role

i hear weddings can get a little crazy for bridesmaids. please don’t get overwhelmed. if you can’t make the bridal shower or bachelorette party it’s not the end of the world. your presence on our wedding day is the most important.

as my bridesmaid your main focus is to:

feel beautiful.

hold gorgeous flowers.

wipe away my happy tears.

understand how much your presence means to me.

know how much i love you.

basically you are to have a complete blast and maybe challenge me to a dance off.

i also included the following note to help my ladies pick out their own dresses with just a little guidance as to what i was thinking

your dresses

more than anything i want all of you to feel comfy and gorgeous. you are all so beautiful in so many ways and i want what you wear to reflect that.

and who’s better suited to pick out your dress than you! each of you will pick a dress that says “you.” i’m onboard for a great mix of eclectic dresses if it means my girls will feel fabulous. enclosed you will find a few paint chips to get a feel for the colors i’m digging: 50 shades of gray (come on: are you surprised?!) i’ve included some sample photos for inspiration, but your options are pretty limitless. just a few guidelines:

keep it short: knee-length give or take a few inches

go sleeveless: you have the right to bare arms!

send me photos before purchasing: i just want to make sure all of the dresses are unique just like you.

i’m still deciding on accessories + shoes, but i will keep you updated.

and i included these notes as well as some wedding day inspiration in a crafty personalized memory box:


i topped it all off with a personal note in these fun cards that i designed and ordered on zazzle

Front of Card

Front of Card

Inside of Card

Inside of Card

i feel so lucky to have all of these ladies in my life and i am so excited to have each one of them be a big part of our day.

A Modern Gray & Yellow {Engagement Party}

John and I had a blast planning and partying. We joined forces and DIYed just about everything with the help of friends and family. The inspiration started with, “He Popped the Question.” So we set up a popcorn bar with my personal favorite Parmesan truffle, my Mom’s famous Caramel Nut, and Peppermint White Chocolate flavors. Then our beverage of choice was a delicious concoction of light beer, vodka, and lemonade aptly named “Sunshine Lemonade.” John has sweetly been calling me “Sunshine” for years, even before we began dating it was my nickname. He says its because of my ever-present smile and optimism. Hopefully, he still feels that same way after he experiences all that is entailed with wedding planning.

We asked our favorite restaurant around the corner, Artful Gourmet, to cater the fete. As, it is our Friday night tradition to stop in for martinis and crab wontons. The crab wontons were of course on the party menu as well as a great selection of paninis, John’s favorite Nouveau salad, and some delicious pasta salad. Our favor for the party were the super fun stick figure proposal cookies that I made. A yummy family recipe for butter cookies topped with royal icing and marshmallow fondant, stamped with our names and the cute stick figure proposal design.

We had so much fun celebrating with all of our close friends and our parents it was a beautiful day surrounded by all of the people that we love so much.

Catering: Artful Gourmet 

Photographer: John Smith of Smith 3 Designs 

Party Design: 

Custom Designed by us, Popcorn Bag Labels, Popcorn sign, Sunshine Lemonade sign, Menu sign, Cookie Favor sign, Cookie Favors

Tissue Paper Pom Poms, Honeycomb Tissue Balls, Paper Lanterns, PartyCity

Sparkle & Shine Tissue Tassel Garland, EverlyLaneDesign

Popcorn Chevron Bags, Straw Flags, CherishedBlessings

Polka-Dot Cocktail Napkins, Paper Straws, BHLDN

Wedding Hair Trial #1

The fun begins.  Hair Trail #1 happened this weekend among other various wedding related fun! But, more to come on that soon…

The Inspiration:

vintage wedding hair

The Results:

Step 1

Step 2

Step 3

The Details:

Salon: FX Studios Hunt Valley, MD

Stylist: Kristin Lemmer

Guest: MOH, Katrina

Katrina got an early start as my Maid of Honor, haha!  Lucky her :) As most of you may know our Wedding Date is still TBD, but will probably be Spring/Early Summer of 2014.  But, what a fun way to start out at MOH! Hair Trial #1!

I know most brides hold off on the hair trials but, I am a super planner and also have no idea how I want to get my hair styled for the big day.  Hence, starting with the hair trials now! There is really only one thing I do know and that is I wanted some vintage inspiration to be sprinkled around our attire, decor, entertainment, etc.  So, I thought I would begin the hair trials with a vintage inspired do.  I loved how it turned out and lucky for me, my stylist, Kristin shares my love for vintage and we chatted about the vintage inspired fun that she incorporated into her recent wedding! While, I absolutely loved Kristin and everyone at FX Studios I don’t know if I will be able to go with them for the big day because it’s not standard practice for them to do on-site wedding day styling…a deal breaker.  But, Kristin is checking in with the management so, fingers crossed.

I must say she did a pretty amazing job recreating the photo I gave her! Check out the side by side comparison:

vintage wedding hairClose up

Let me know what you think of Hair Trial #1. Also, if any of you have any recommendations for a hair stylist that can do the finger wave curl.  I am having a tough time finding someone so, any help would be appreciated.

Venues, Venues and more Venues

There are way too many beautiful options when it comes to wedding venues.  Who knew?! Certainly not this lady!!

Luckily for the Mr. and I we have come to an early decision to keep the wedding outdoors. So that has eliminated a lot of choices but, there are still way too many.  It’s a little overwhelming.  I must admit.  I have been doing some preliminary research online.  Along the way I have been sharing little bits and pieces of the good stuff with Chadwick and I feel blessed that he is so receptive and has a lot to contribute.

I guess the biggest problem for me is my borderline stubborn commitment to not have a typical wedding…I am so determined to have our fete be so uniquely us that everyone leaves our celebration saying this was a wedding unlike any other.   My goal is not being the best wedding ever and certainly not the most elegant and no where near the most expensive, but the most US!  As most of my friends and family will agree I have a big personality and Mr. Chadwick is right up there with me with his, so I want to make sure I do both of us justice.

So far this is some of the inspiration that has gotten the wheels turning as to where to host our beautiful day:

The gorgeous Victorian rose garden at Antrim 1844, a classic choice.

The gorgeous Victorian rose garden at Antrim 1844, a classic choice.

The rooftop terrace at the Maryland Science Center, a more urban, funky  spot.

The rooftop terrace at the Maryland Science Center.  A more urban, funky spot.

Roop's Mill, a hometownish historic landmark in Carroll County.  When the Mill was deserted I always hoped someone would restore it and they have and it's beautiful.

Roop’s Mill, a hometownish historic landmark in Carroll County. When the mill was deserted I always hoped someone would restore it and they have. And it’s beautiful! Plus, Mr. Chadwick has spoiled me with the Spa treatments here so, it’s been a special place for us.

Chadwick and I have both enjoyed frequenting the Baltimore Farmer's market and supporting local farmers.  Plus, it's a true homage to both of our families.

Farm to table: Chadwick and I have both enjoyed frequenting the Baltimore Farmer’s market and supporting local farmers. Plus, it’s a true homage to both of our families’ histories.

If any of brides or grooms out there have some advice on what helped you choose a venue PLEASE SHARE!!

Getting Crafty

When Chadwick and I first talking about taking our relationship to the “next level” somehow we started talking about how long we would be engaged…before we even got engaged (I know I can’t help it I like to plan, haha).  So, I would always say 2 years and he would look at me with the cartoon-like bug-eyed face and gasp “WHY?” every time!  Then I would have to go on and explain and reexplain my crafty plans and I think he would tune out…. I can’t blame him.  There are a lot of plans, which is why I need the time.  But, we have compromised on how much…we are thinking Spring 2014!  Soooo exciting! I can’t wait to start looking at venues and actually setting our date!

I wanted to get to work right away on my crafty plans as soon as he popped the question.  But, I had to contain myself through the holidays.  Since yesterday was officially the day after Christmas, I got to work.  I know, such restraint!  Yay to finally beginning some of the crafty plans that I have been dreaming of!

Here is a sneak peek of Project #1:

Polka Dots Yellow & White




Unique Gray Bridesmaid Dresses

Once the project is finished I will share my inspiration and the finished product, so stick around for the good stuff.

In the beginning

Today marks one week since Mr. Chadwick popped the question.  Thinking about that today inspired me to look back at the beginning. Beginnings are always such an interesting part of your life and when you really take some time to think about it there are almost an infinite amount of them throughout your life.  The beginning of your life, the beginning of your education, the beginning of your adulthood, you get the idea.  So, I welcome you to yet another beginning: the beginning of Mr. Chadwick and I.  Our love story, the engagement, and everything that is about to commence in the way of our wedding planning.

Our little love story all began with the modern day love letter, email.  I am a self professed hopeless romantic. (I blame on all of the Disney movies) So, I of course saved every one.  When preparing to begin this blog I reread the majority of them and it was such an incredible experience to tap back into that mindset of our budding romance.  I really just can’t help myself so, I have to share some of the love with you. Here are some of my favorite little quotes,

it’s strange how a day can pass and it seems as though I haven’t seen you for a week!

how the sound of your voice can put a smile on my face!

I’ve always had a crush on you….there was just something about you that I found irresistible.

you make me smile!

Such sweet little glimpses into some of our first moments of realizing how happy we make one another by just simply being a part of each others lives.  I can’t believe how lucky I am to have found my Mr. and I can’t wait to be his Mrs.

One of the earliest photos I could find of the two of us. We had been dating for a little over a year here.

Inspiring Photos Forever

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After my 105 pound weight loss, I started this blog to inspire and motivate others to live a healthy lifestyle!


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