Engagement Shots: The Woods

It is the end of the road for our beautiful photographs by Dear Olive Photography, but I could not be more thrilled to share this last location with you all, friends! As the snow falls outside my bay window, it is hard to believe these pictures were taken only a month ago. With the fantastic Fall colors and lack of parkas and sock hats, I think it’s pretty funny how I was complaining about the cold during the shoot. The day might have been overcast, but at least temperatures were above the frigid 25 degrees of today.

I’m going to take this last post as my own sort of escape from the cold and blistery weather outside and hope they will hold me until spring arrives…

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Engagement Shots: The Road

Round Two is here, friends! As promised, I’m continuing with the second post of three for our stunning engagement photographs taken by Dear Olive Photography, andย I have to admit, I’m pretty astonished in my own ability to keep these little gems off social media thus far. G and I have already printed all our pictures over the past week, plus ordered a few specialty items such as a photo book for our coffee table. The Christmas season is the perfect time to receive your professional pictures back — all the online stores (Walgreens, Shutterfly, etc.) are having amazing sales! So I am attempting to keep myself reigned in on the buying front and simply enjoy all these images digitally.

This post should help!

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Budgeting 101: Save the Dates

Now that we have our engagement pictures, G and I are ready to begin the trek into the wonderful world of postage, stationary, and all things calligraphy. I say wonderful very loosely though, friends, because as I have started to look into options it seems as if this stage may be one of the most over-looked expenses a bride-to-be has during her wedding planning experience! I mean, I never realized different envelope types needed different stamp costs. Nor did I know that there were so many options for stationary: postcard, petite, classic, folded, etc. When in the world did a card become so expensive?!

That brings me to today’s discussion: Save the Dates.

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Engagement Shots: The Lake

We have our engagement photographs back and we are ABSOLUTELY AMAZED at Staci’s talent (of Dear Olive Photography) and cannot wait for our wedding to be documented by her come June 2018! I am going to /attempt/ to restrain myself over the next three weeks and stretch all her amazing shots out into three beautiful posts because there are just so many pictures I just have to designate this much time to making inspiration boards for each setting she had G and I pose for her.

This is going to be extremely tough for me, friends, and I already can tell you the blog will be the last place you’ll be finding these pictures posted unfortunately. Now that G and I have meticulously gone through the files, I’ll be uploading the pictures to Facebook and sharing them on Instagram over the next few days for my friends and family to see.

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#Inspiration: Head Tables

I’m all over the board, I know, friends. One day I’m thinking about cakes, the next I’m considering the seating chart. I tell you, coordinating someone else’s wedding is 542,568 times easier than trying to plan my own! At least, in the respect that coordinating and planning are TWO. VERY. DIFFERENT. THINGS.

But, let me stay on target with this post before I rant: head tables. Let me give some insight on the wonderfulness that is where G and I will be sitting throughout the Big Day, and how we’ll be spinning away from tradition a bit…

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Vendor News: Music is Booked!

About a month ago I took to Facebook’s recommendation posting and asked my friends for advice on affordable DJ’s in the area. As expected, I was granted far more options than I knew with what to do! However, the worship leader at G’s and my church had also commented on the post that his band, Steadfast, would be willing to consider playing at the reception if a live band was something we were interested in having. G and I talked it over not realizing that Steadfast actually meant the comment more as a joke than anything, and we then approached the band the next Sunday in church to inquire with them on more details.

After getting over a little bit of laughter that we were serious about a live band playing instead of a DJ (due to our wedding’s rustic and laid back feel being more in-tune to their tone as well), we agreed to meet later on in the week and go over a possible set list. Fine tuning a first-dance song as well as other traditional dances was a bit of a struggle, but with some guidance from Steadfast, we have officially drawn together an amazing set for not only our reception’s dance party but also our cocktail hour!

I’ve witnessed Steadfast play around town here and there over at local wineries and breweries, but I will post some of their music on the blog from time to time to share their awesomeness with you as well.ย It is official, friends, our wedding’s music is booked and we are privileged to have our church family join us in the form of a live band. G and I are SO excited!

Engagement Shots Sneak Peek

Last Sunday we were able to catch a break from the wind and rain and venture back to Grand Mere, which was the location of our first date, to have our engagement pictures session. Staci at Dear Olive Photography was our photographer and will also be our photographer at our wedding. I am in love with her eye for photographs and ability to capture natural lighting! Plus Staci is a fantastic person overall, so who better to put our trust in preserving such a precious day of our lives?

Though she said we would not receive all our images for about three weeks, Staci treated us to a sneak peek of a few of our pictures this past week through Instagram and Facebook… and G and I absolutely adore them already! We are going to have a hard time deciding which pictures to use for Save the Dates, our wedding website, and hanging in our future home. With these three already being so adorable, it’s going to be quite the challenge!

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How We Met: His Story

My story with Ashley started when I moved back into the local area. I began attending FCOG (our church) and knew I needed a deeper level of involvement in the church than just attending Sunday service. I found out about a 20-30’s Bible study group called “House” so I gave my contact information looking for more details not knowing what to expect.

When I received the invite to the group, I remember initially thinking how kind the person behind the words in the email must be. As I read further and reached the end of the email, I saw the name of the woman writing, Ashley, and saw her accompanying profile picture. I thought to myself that I had just seen the most beautiful woman in my life. I didn’t want to get too excited as my main intention in joining this group wasn’t about dating, but challenging and maturing my faith. Plus my heart had been broken several times before and I told myself pictures could be deceiving.

So I remember back to a Wednesday night of December 2016 and being very nervous about the prospect of meeting completely new people. What would they be like? What would they think of me? As I took a deep breath and swallowed hard, I gripped the door handle, twisted, and entered into the home of House. To my relief, I was greeted by very warm and welcoming fellow believers in Christ.

As I made my way to the gathering spot and looked across the room, there wrapped in a blanket was Ashley. At that moment I realized I was completely unprepared for this encounter and the way I already felt toward her. As our eyes met, she said, “Hi” and smiled. With a dry mouth and clammy hands, I returned a shy hello and sat on the couch adjacent her. As I sat there, I remember thinking how beautiful her blue eyes were and that she was even more adorable in person. Throughout the night it was hard not to seem like a creeper as I couldn’t help myself from stealing glances in her direction.

Over the next few months we came to know each other better while interacting through the House group. And I came to realize that she wasn’t only extremely beautiful, but that I admired how smart and strong she was in her faith and relationship with the Lord as well.

As some things in our lives shifted for the better, we were better able to pursue one another. I wasn’t sure exactly where she stood with our relationship however, until she asked if I wanted to join her at the Lane Auto Show. I was genuinely wondering if I had died and gone to heaven! My only response was to nearly yell, “Yes!” due to my extreme excitement.

If this wasn’t enough, Ashley also offered to come and pick me up for church that same weekend in her parents’ 2014 Chevy Corvette. By then, it all started making sense, and she had figured out the way to my heart: through four wheels and engines.

When she dropped me back home after church that Sunday, I asked if she would be willing to go out on a date together, just the two of us to get to know each other. I had never been so nervous to ask a question in my life! To my relief, she actually said she would love to go on an actual date.

I felt like I could do back flips, and that my heart had just been jump-started.

A couple of hours later I was in the middle of mowing the grass when I received a phone call. It was Ashley asking if I was busy that evening to take me up on that date. I suggested we go hiking at Grand Mere. Without missing a beat, she said that sounded perfect, and next I knew we were at the dunes, hiking up and down the steep sand hills. Being a part of God’s great creation never ceases to put me at ease and center my soul.

Being with Ashley has made me realize that she is the most beautiful creation in my life. I knew that she was so special to me that day, and we continued to grow closer on a new level and establish our core values, goals, and beliefs together. I knew she was my perfect match, made for me, and my heart was drawn to her and hers to mine.

Considering my life and where I wanted to go, I knew I wanted Ashley by my side. I was not going to let this blessing from God slip through my hands. So, making a commitment to be her man forever and always, I got down on one knee on the North Pier on September 19, and asked Ashley to be my wife. She said yes and accepted my offer, without any doubt.

I will forever be grateful to God and thank Him daily for bringing us together. This is no longer my story, but the beginning of OUR story…

I will forever and always love you, Ash.

How We Met: Her Story

I first came across the name “G” in my email’s inbox. As contact person for our church’s 20-something’s Bible study group, House, G had requested information on learning more about the group. I sent my little happy blurb about our friends and where he could join us for Bible study, and wouldn’t you know the next week in walks this blue-eyed, Clark Kent look-alike.

Over the next few months there were countless studies, dinners, and gatherings that allowed for me to watch and listen to G and witness his character. It was obvious how strong and confident he is in his actions and the type of influence he has on those around him. He is the type of person who demands respect, yet has a kind and reserved spirit. He is a good man.

So, it was easy to fall for him.

But I wasn’t sure of his feelings for me. Was I just a good friend to venture to car shows with and laugh with at parties or was I a bit more? I decided to try my cards and find out.

G’s parents were out of town one weekend and I was lucky enough to be allowed my parents’ Corvette to drive for a friend’s wedding. Knowing how much G would coo over the car, I offered to pick him up and take him to church in style Sunday morning. We cruised around town, him going over all the mechanics of the car, until I dropped him back off at his house. Then, before he exited the Vette (and forgot his lunch leftovers in the passenger seat), he asked me if he could take me on a date “just one on one” sometime. I smiled and nodded. We didn’t define any actual day or time, but I did find out his feelings for me.

I zipped away laughing to myself.

And the funnier part? The date turned out to be that evening! Neither of us had plans and the weather was absolutely perfect, so we went for a hike at Grand Mere State Park. It was G’s idea; after witnessing months of me wearing professional clothes to our Bible studies and always seeming to be so put together, G wanted to be sure I wasn’t too “prissy” for his ol’ country boy ways and could handle getting sweaty in the great outdoors. He says it was a great surprise when I got out on the dunes, t-shirt and ponytail, and never complained about the heat or miles we hiked. We spent hours talking and laughing, and I fell even harder that evening.

And the rest is history…