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.


Wedding Date TBD

Hey guys! Time for some real talk…the Mr. lost his job, which is obviously a really difficult, stressful experience.  Then you add-in the fact that we are planning for and paying for the majority of our wedding and you have your basic nightmare.  The past few days we have been frantically trying to make our wedding date work and figure out a plan to survive on just one income. But, in life something has got to give and it looks like it is going to be the wedding date.  Obviously, we are both devastated! While we are more excited than anything to get married, we want to make sure we are financially responsible and delaying the wedding is really the only option.  It is really important for us to start our marriage together without resorting to adding any debt to make it happen.  If we are lucky it will just be a few months, but we haven’t gotten a final answer from our venue yet.  So keep us in your thoughts & prayers.  We will update everyone with more info as we get it.

Hopefully, I can glean some sound advice to other brides-to-be out there to help you prepare for something like this as we go through it all and turn it into some great blog posts.  I am trying to be positive…indulge me.

Writing Your Own Wow Vows


One of the things that was really important to me about planning our wedding ceremony from the beginning has been writing our own vows.  For me the traditional vows are beautiful but, a bit impersonal.  Plus, I think there is something so intimate about sharing your heart with your soon to be spouse.   The love we feel is always there but, we don’t always take the time to say it nearly as often as we should.  I started working on my vows almost immediately after getting engaged.  Finding the right balance of sweet, funny, personal, and short is much more challenging than I thought.  So, I started poking around online for some inspiration which is when I found The Wow Vow.

The Wow Vow is a personalized vow writing or rewriting service that aids you in writing the promise you make to one another – simple and pure in meaning, but often times the hardest to write.

Karen Leigh Hopkins is an Emmy nominated and Humanitas Award winning screenwriter, known most for her work in films like ‘Stepmom’ and ‘Because I Said So.’ As part of The Vow Wow service she will get to know you on a personal level and guide you through the vow writing process. Most importantly, she will help you say what you mean and mean what you say.

After all, with all the time, money, and promise put into your BIG day, you don’t want to not say all that you wished you had. You deserve that, so does your partner, and anyone else lucky enough to witness such a life affirming, and life changing vows. They should be left saying only one word – ‘Wow.’

While, I didn’t hire The Wow Vow I did get a lot of inspiration from their portfolio and their general approach to writing some of the most important words of your life.  Check our The Wow Vow here if you are in need of some inspiration like me.

DIY or Buy?

I am loving all things chalkboard for our wedding decor…but it was tough to incorporate with our Art Deco vibe at first.  Until I saw a great DIY on pinterest of course.  To up the glam factor the “chalkboards” are made out of silver platters…just the right amount of sparkle for me.  So, get yourself to the good will store there are plenty of them there.  They range in price from like 50 cents to like $5, depending on size.  Then all you need is some chalkboard paint and chalk it’s super easy & a definite DIY in my book.  Here is what inspired me to DIY:

I have begun to make these for our BIG day but, I couldn’t wait to put these beauties to good use.  Check out my Hot Chocolate Bar sign from this weekend:


There are 2 Sides to Every Story

weddingcaketoppersPhoto from Shannon Leahy Events

I don’t know if you guys have seen the recent viral posts on Facebook and other social media outlets, but they have really resonated with me because they are all about marriage advice.  From both sides of the story: a man and a woman.  I thought there were a lot of great points so, I wanted to share them with you.

There is the original post, which is from a man recently divorced who shares advice that he wishes he would have known…things he wishes he would have done differently.   AND then there is a woman’s response about the 10 Marriage Tips Every WIFE Needs to Hear.

Here are her tips:

  1. Respect your husband.  
  2. Guard your heart.
  3. God, husband, kids…in that order.
  4. Forgive.
  5. Over-communicate.
  6. Schedule a regular date night.
  7. Never say the “D Word”.
  8. Learn his love language.
  9. Never talk negatively about him.
  10. Choose to love.

There were a lot of aha moments for me as I read through her explanations. Read them here. But, one of the things that I wanted to start right away  after reading it was #6 Schedule a regular date night. I have allowed myself to get caught up.  Caught up in the stress of my career, my commitment to the gym, and wedding planning that I just have lost sight of spending quality time with my future husband.  Lucky for me my fiance is so patient and understanding…he doesn’t make a fuss if I fall asleep on the couch at 8:30 because I am exhausted from everything that is going on, but I know he misses me and I miss him.  So, this weekend I am planning a date night and taking time to just be with him and I can’t wait! While trying to come up with a fun idea I found these Out of the box date ideas , so I think I might try one of these out. 

Groupon Can Save Your Wedding Budget

Ok so I know it sounds crazy, Grouponing your way through wedding planning. However, Groupon has been a huge moneysaver for us.  DIYing all of our wedding stationary has been a huge help, but we wouldn’t have been able to have them printed at such a huge discount without the help of our new friend Groupon, look at the savings


Source: Association of Bridal Consultants

Obviously we were thrilled! So, now that I have learned what a difference a Groupon can make I have been on the look out for anything that could help me trim off some of the fat of our wedding budget.  Just this week I was able to get a beautiful Aiden Mattox dress for our rehearsal dinner from Saks for 80% off, saving over $100 thanks to Groupon.  Check out the Groupon deals available now in the Baltimore area & see if Groupon can save your wedding budget too.

Fitness Friday with Larisa

Confession: I am completely smitten with Halloween! It’s one of my favorite holidays…it’s like a theme party on steroids and there can never be enough theme parties in my life.  I love the costumes, I love the decorations, I love haunted houses, I love Hocus Pocus, and I love the candy!!!  If no one was watching I could probably eat the entire bag of the REESE’S Peanut Butter Pumpkins… they are my kryptonite!

But, I will resist! And instead of stuffing my face with 170 calories, 10 g fat (3 g saturated), 16 g sugars in each one of those I decided to look into an alternative. Enter Black Bean Brownies.  Sounds gross I know! I was skeptical…and a little angry when I tasted the batter and it was disgusting! But, something magical happens in the oven when you bake these bad boys.  They come out fudgey and chocolaty and delicious! Go ahead and let your kids eat their Halloween candy. Don’t be the parent who steals from their child’s trick or treat stash.  Bake these Larisa approved treats instead…trust!

black bean brownies

recipe adapted from chocolate covered katie


2 15-oz cans, black beans (drained and rinsed very well)
4 tbsp cocoa powder (Ghirardelli Unsweetened Cocoa is my fav budget friendly option)
1 cup quick oats
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup pure maple syrup
4 tbsp baking truvia
1/2 cup coconut oil
4 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1 cup shelled walnuts


1. Preheat oven to 350 F.

2. Combine all ingredients except chips & walnuts in a good food processor, and blend until completely smooth. Really blend well.

3. Pour the blended batter into a bowl and then fold in just 1 cup of the chips.

4. Spoon the batter into cupcake liners. I use an ice cream scoop with the little release to make it easier.  This way you make little individual brownies with all of the yummy crunchy edges, so no one has to fight over the corners of the pan :)  Then sprinkle the extra 1/2 cup chocolate chips & shelled walnuts over the top.

4. Get these bad boys in the over and bake them for 15-18 minutes, then let cool at least 10 minutes before trying to eat them.  It’s worth the wait! It makes 20-24 brownies depending on how big your scoops are…

5. Enjoy!

Dress for the Wedding

So, I am switching up roles this weekend…I am taking a break from planning a wedding and I will be a guest at our friends’ wedding.  This is the first wedding I have been to since getting engaged and boy has my perspective changed.  Knowing all that goes into the BIG day, I can’t wait to dispense a copious amount of praise for all of the planned details, lol! But, really isn’t that what makes it all worth it! Seeing your vision come together and having your guests appreciate it :)

Anyway, while preparing for our friends’ wedding and answering the all important question what am I going to wear…I stumbled upon this website DressForTheWedding.com IT AWESOME! It kind of reminds me of Polyvore.com but it specializes in weddings…just what I was looking for. If any of you will be attending a wedding this fall there are a multitude of ideas to get the creative juices flowing.  Here are some of my favorites:


orange fall wedding

Fall Outdoor Wedding Guest Attire

outdoor fall wedding


classic dress for the wedding guest

DIY or Buy?

Good morning! Welcome to my new series, “DIY or Buy?,” throughout my wedding planning thus far there have been lots of crafty projects that I have attempted.  Some have turned out so great and others have been epic failures.  While Pinterest may make all of these projects seem so simple, they aren’t!  I am hoping to save you some time & money by showing you which ones you should DIY and which ones you really should just go ahead and Buy.

OK, so onto Project #1.  This was an early on project.  I think we were only a few months into planning.  Lucky for me it was an easy one.  This one is a definite DIY.

Pom Poms.

They are so cute!  And they add such a whimsical element to your BIG day, not to mention they can be used in sooo many different ways.  First things first let’s get to the how to:

What you’ll need:

  • yarn
  • pom pom maker (I used this one)
  • sharp scissors

What you’ll do:

  1. Snap the two halves of the pom pom maker together and open up one of the sides. Wrap your yarn around the open side. Be as even as you can and wrap as densely as you can manage.
  2. When you get to the end of that side, close it and clip it into place.  Then bring the yarn around to do the opposite side in the same way. 
  3. Close up both halves and use some sturdy scissors to trim all the way around in the center groove. 
  4. Now you have to tie a piece of yarn inside that groove as tightly as you possibly can. Use a long piece to tie it, so that I have something for later when you use the pom pom in your wedding project.  
  5. Open it all up and pull out your creation. Fluff it up to make it pretty. Celebrate with a happy dance! I did :)

Here’s how you can use them:

pom pom DIYsfinal

1 Shoe Clips 2 Flowers 3 Boutonniere 4 Backdrop 5 Placecards 

Fitness Friday with Larisa

Happy Friday! Today we are taking a look at a day in the food life of Larisa. Seeing what she eats may help us learn from her example.  She not only talks the talk, but she walks the walk!


Inspiring Photos Forever

Inspiring People

pretty little loser 22

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


DIY Wedding Invitations For Your Perfect Day

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"She lets her imagination run away with her"