Revisit: The Vows

Today marks our first anniversary. One year ago we said “I do.” To say the past year has been one of wonder would be an understatement. I never knew the kind of love I could share with another person until I spent a year as G’s wife. We’ve had both ups and downs, but overall this past year has been a dream. We have wrestled through job changes and school schedules. We bought our first home and invested in a number of house projects. We’ve welcomed a nephew into the family and a puppy into our home. We’ve found ourselves stranded on the roadside, lost in unknown cities, and scratching our heads at the mysterious substance slowly continuing to crawl down our walls. And through all the trials and troubles and momentous memories, I could not be prouder of the man God has placed into my life to witness it all by my side. They say the first year is always difficult, but if the rest of our years roll the way this past one did, I will be completely content.

So, in honor of our one year, I’m throwing a flashback to our wedding vows and the promises we made on June 16, 2018 and continue to make every single day to one another…


G and I both wrote our own wedding vows. It took me several weeks to come up with the exact phrasing I wanted to vow to my husband while at the altar. And since I wanted to be mentally, emotionally, and spiritually present when I wrote them, I waited until the night before our rehearsal to finalize them completely.  For once, I was intentionally last minute!

As we stood before the Lord and our family and friends to exchange our vows for the first time, we met one another’s eyes and shook our heads in acceptance and agreeance of the promises being made.  It was the moment that I looked forward to the most on our wedding day: becoming one before God and the people we love. As beautifully surreal as this moment was, I was so caught up in emotion during the moment that it was difficult to focus on the words we were vowing to one another. I remember the sincerity of G’s voice though and the genuineness of his words.

With two weeks of marriage behind us, I decided to reread his vows to me and WOW.  His words have an impact on my heart, but a thousand-fold more than on our wedding day. I do not believe I can ever read his promises too many times. My heart is so full.

Exchanging vows beyond your wedding day is a powerful thing. For years to come, G and I will have these written promises to one another to revisit. In hard times, during fights, when that honeymoon phase finally diminishes — our crumpled paper vows will be waiting to remind us of the plans we have as a couple and the reason why we made those plans.

His Vows

My Ashley, I could never have imagined the magnitude of God’s love before He brought us together. I will never forget the first time I looked across the room of our Bible study group and our eyes met. I knew at that moment I would never be the same. Now, here we are standing before each other and our loved ones in the presence of God. I’m extremely humbled and at the same time ecstatic to step into eternity with you as my best friend, lover, accomplice in mischief, teacher, and comforter. With God as our source of strength, we can accomplish anything, weather any storm, and love more than could be imagined. You are the most beautiful woman, in every aspect, that I have ever laid eyes on. You were put into my life to fill what was missing and to compliment what was already there. You make me want to be the best that I can be and the man you deserve. You encourage me through struggles and rejoice with me through triumphs. There is so much I expect out of myself to be your husband. If I fail at everything else but am the husband God has called me to be for you, then I will be content and consider that a success.

Sweetheart, I promise to honor you at all times. I promise to love you with all that I am. I promise to forgive you when I am offended. I promise to always be your rock and source of strength when you are weak. I promise to cherish you until my last breath. I promise to set a godly example as the leader of our family. I promise to always pursue you and never stop growing together. I promise to give you all that I am.

Ashley, I will love you forever and always.


Her Vows

Grant, today I take you to be my husband.

I am making a commitment to you, and with God’s help I promise to you these things:

I promise to give you the best of myself.

I promise to honor you and trust you and respect you for the person you are. I promise to treat your needs, interests and goals as I do my own.

I promise to grow and change alongside you, to become the people we are meant to be together for the remainder of our lives.

I promise to share your joy, to bring my joys to you first, and to choose joy in our relationship each and every day.

I promise to let you win every now and then on game nights. I promise to equally split our Netflix watching between the Office and everything else available. I promise to try and choose a restaurant by at least the third time you ask. I promise to continue to pretend knowing what you’re talking about when you discuss TIG welders and all other machining lingo. And I promise to hold you accountable to early morning workouts and evening sunset walks.

I promise to not only be your partner in life, but your best friend.

And most of all, I promise to love you with my whole heart forever and always.


To G: just as our first dance’s song lamented, “We’ve come so far since that day, and I thought I loved you then…” I’m excited to walk into this second year of marriage with you, and for all the blessings and challenges God has waiting for us. Thank you for not only being my best friend, but the answer to my prayers, my partner-in-crime, and both my biggest fan and biggest opponent. You keep me humble. You keep me steady. You’re my everything, babe.

All my love, friends, 

Wedding Shots: Bridal Party

It has been awhile since I did a Wedding Wednesday, eh? I’ll be honest: I forgot. As with most people, Life sometimes gets away from me but I am still here and am still very much in love with weddings. Especially my own wedding. It is hard to believe our wedding was almost four months ago already. Marriage is phenomenal and I continue to thank God every day for this adventure in which He has placed me.

I was all up in the feels this past weekend as I was going through our wedding album and attempting to choose some pictures to display in our newly remodeled living room. I chose a few family pictures, but also had to go with two bridal party options. I am biased towards these photos already, but I love the people in them even more. And so, I’d love to share my bridal party with you today in this week’s Wedding Wednesday:

I am lucky enough to have some amazing friends in my life who have taken the place of the siblings I never had. These people have been with me through some difficult times, and have helped piece me together following failings, heartbreak, and deaths. I would not be the woman I am today without their love, laughter, and advice.

Focusing on my girls, I could not be happier to call these ladies my close confidants. I have my cousin who has been a role model to me since I was a little one wobbling around and following her at our grandparents’ house. Then there is Toto, one of the most generous and kind girls I’ve ever met. Toto and I met by a whim of luck when a mutual friend brought us together to go on a cruise our senior spring break. One week on a ship, and now she’s who I turn to whenever I need some calming words of reason. Next I have Courtney. Courtney came into my life through my brother-from-another-mother and is my closest girlfriend. We can roll our eyes together over wine while our husbands talk mechanics and I feel secure knowing she is always just a quick call away if I need a girls’ night out.  Finally, my Panda. We lived together for an entire two weeks in college before she moved back to her parents’. Fortunately, even without a residence in my apartment, she would faithfully come back each week to force me to watch the Bachelor. Since graduation, her laughter has continued to brighten my life and I love knowing that no matter how much time and space may sweep into seeing each other, we can pick up like no time has passed.

I feel blessed to have such a great connection with the guys in our party also. Of course, Mascot’s husband was actually my Man of Honor. Growing up from our Dairy Queen days, Josh has become the closest thing to a brother I can imagine. We word-joust constantly and can squabble like the best of them. But we also have gone to war for one another and been by each other’s sides through our darkest days. Passing through your teen and college years with someone can be a difficult thing to do, but we always stayed in contact and witnessed the highest and lowest points of one another’s growth.

Speaking of brothers, when G and I married I actually gained a sibling. Legally. G’s brother was his Best Man, and it has been amazing to not only form a family relation with Colt and his wife, but also become an aunt when they had their first son at the end of July. As an only child, becoming an aunt was not something I envisioned for myself. Yet it is one of the biggest blessings in my life to date.

G’s other groomsmen, Aaron and Floyd, have been amazing supporters and encouragers of our relationship, well-being, and faith. Aaron and his wife are a couple we not only enjoy double-dating with, but who we also see as inspiration for a happy and healthy marriage. Neither are hard to approach if we have questions or concerns. Marriage is wonderful, but it doesn’t come with an instruction manual. So it is nice to have fellow couples in our lives to turn towards and lean on.

 

All in all, I cannot say enough good things about the members of our bridal party. We wanted to keep the numbers small, but we also couldn’t imagine the day without having these eight people by our sides. Be it the little hand squeezes, tight hugs, or tearful laughs, some of my most precious moments of the day were those where these ladies and gents made G and I feel peaceful and unrushed. And so, so loved.

As I said, I’m pretty biased with these photos already simply due to their beauty. (Dear Olive Photography is fricken amazing!) But I’m truly in awe of the people that make these photos so wonderful. From G and me, thank you so much to our lovely friends for being more than friends — thank you for being our family.

With love, 

Little Black Dress Meets The Bridal Party

A few weeks ago I was honored to stand beside one of my best friends when she married her soulmate. The wedding was one of the most beautiful celebrations I’ve ever been to, and I couldn’t get over her color choices. She has such an eye for elegance and the day radiated class and romance. Weddings with black dresses were not new to me, but it was new to see one done in the warm month of August. So today’s topic is all about a wedding color palette centered around this sophisticated color.

There is no doubt that the Little Black Dress is a fashion staple for a reason. True to its fashionista of a sister, black bridesmaid dresses can be amazing assets to any wedding also. It’s a classic, sleek look that almost every woman can pull off because it’s flattering for every body type. Plus your girls will actually be able to wear a LBD again! Not saying she won’t want to wear that lime green dress in the future but… you do you, friend.

My friend accented our black dresses with gold jewelry and red rose bouquets.

It seems to me that the LBD can be chic enough for any wedding, given care put into the rest of the ensemble. However, there are complaints all over the Internet that black does not belong at a wedding because it is a color of depression. Personally, I disagree completely. Weddings are, of course, supposed to be happy ordeals! That means the depressing attitude surrounding black-dressed parties needs to be made cheerful. An easy route to take is adding splashes of color along with your girls LBDs. Choose accent colors that really POP! to make the wedding party’s clothing an entertaining and exciting one. Maybe this can be accomplished through fun heels, statement jewelry, or bouquets. There is always a way to accent a color that fits true to your style.

Another option to make black work in any setting is fiddling with textures. Whether you choose lace sleeves, flamboyant ruffles, or loud flowers, texture can make a big difference in the attitude of your wedding. Without even focusing simply on black, any color can be increased with a new texture. Plus, is there anything better than mismatched bridesmaids dresses for a modern and trendy wedding? You know my answer to this question already.

The dressed differ in style and texture, and the flowers offer unique style in both size and color.

When it comes to seasons, black CAN be worn year-round: think reds and oranges for fall, blues for winter, pastels in spring, and bright, bold choices for summer options. My friend chose deep red and took most of our pictures outside. Against the rocky walls of the venue and the fresh greenery, the red definitely made a statement!

For a more comfy feel at outdoor summer weddings, stay away from floor-length dresses; tea or knee lengths are the most ideal. Fortunately if your wedding is indoors, long dresses work with any season though. This idea also falls in line with the main reason why LBDs are so great for weddings: they can be worn again! Try choosing dresses that are fit for your wedding but also classy without the “bridesmaid” air about them. Our dresses came from Azazie and had fun halter necklines which tied in the back. They also had a sexy slit which provided air movement while outside taking pictures.

 

Finally, my last piece of advice: be different! To reiterate: pick a bold flower bouquet, choose adorable and unique accent necklaces, don colorfully-loud heels, etc. There is nothing better than a bride who has fun with her girls during her wedding planning by helping express her relationships (those with her fiance and with her best girls) through special methods. The LBD might be a classic, but there are so many possibilities to put your own spin on the idea and make it yours.

Go bold with printed black and white dresses, a truly modern and chic look.

How would you wear black at a wedding? Brides, would you ever choose black for your bridesmaids? I would love to hear (and see) your ideas! Please DM me on Insta @uncorkingpeonies or comment below.

Happy planning,

Wedding Shots: Ceremony Details

Incoming: the next few weeks my “Wedding Wednesdays” will be featuring none other than OUR WEDDING PICTURES! I was beyond excited to find the adorable rose gold flash drive in our mailbox this past Friday from our amazing photographer Staci of Dear Olive Photography. Over 500 images captured our wedding day beautifully, and, yes, some tears may have been shed.

Now I’m not going to share every. single. photo. But I am going to share a few highlights of the day including our ceremony details, bridal party portraits, couple portraits, and reception details. I am so in love with these pictures, and am excited to share them with the blogging world. I hope you enjoy the next few weeks!

G and I fell in love with each of our rings upon first viewing. As someone who wears jewelry every day for work, I have a bit of OCD when it comes to matching metals. I like to wear all gold or all silver, and only mix when necessary. So I chose mixed metal rings so I would always match no matter what necklace/earring/etc choice I make. My engagement ring is platinum and my wedding band is rose gold. I plan to get another rose gold band for above my engagement ring in honor of my first child. G’s ring is rose gold as well with a tungsten carbide center. He chose the rose gold due to its uniqueness, and it just so happened to match mine as well!

Our main decorations were candles at both the ceremony and reception. Otherwise, I kept things as simple as possible. The candles were all mix matched in styles and heights. For the guestbook table, I used a wooden trough I found antiquing for our programs, and a galvanized “S” given as a gift. The church had a hydrangea arrangement downstairs I was able to borrow. Our friend drew a beautiful chalk board welcome sign. We wanted the aesthetics of the day to be downplayed as the ceremony itself was the most important part, so we kept everything effortless and rustic.

Inside the sanctuary, I kept the woodsy/outdoorsy feel. My cousin had a few cherry trees needing removed on their farm, so my dad went and cut ten logs about two-feet tall. The logs were weathered and mossy, and were so beautiful for acting as runners of the aisle. I printed snippets of 1 Corinthians 13 and rested them against the logs so the passages were read as you walked to your seats:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

The last phrase, “Love never fails.” sat at the altar where our tree ceremony was set. (You can find out more about our tree ceremony here.) A rose gold sequin runner lay across the altar under our little evergreen, and other pops of pink were found in scattered bouquets placed along the aisle.

Ugh. I adore that smile G gave me when our eyes first met when I began my walk down the aisle.

And then about twenty minutes later…

… we were officially Mr. and Mrs. G.

Next week I’ll be sharing a few more, but until then, friends, 

How To Write Wedding Thank You Cards

Now that the wedding is over, there are a few items on G’s and my to-do list to complete such as legally changing names and addresses, reviewing vendors, and finding a place for all our wedding decor. Yet the most pressing of these necessary post-wedding items is writing our thank you cards.

Our friends and family traveled from near and far to celebrate with us on our Big Day and we received many nice gifts as well. The task of writing close to 100 thank yous seems a bit daunting, but it’s an oh-so-important task and we plan to block out time on our calendars to take care of these notes every night over the next week.

Are you at this point as well and are avoiding the task because you don’t know what to say? I gotcha, girl. Knowing how to word thank you notes is something many brides struggle with after the wedding. It is easy for wedding thank you cards to feel like an overwhelming and anxious task! But as long as you can muster up a few heartfelt words, you are free to use the same thankful wording over and over… and I’ll even help get you started!

First off, always address all guests who attended and/or were mentioned in the wedding card. After your Dear So-And-So, keep the message short and sweet. Wedding thank you notes do not to be long — they are notes after all — but they do need to sound genuine. Provide details such as the gift item received or a personal inside joke or how you’ll be using cash gifts. So, in short, keep you notes short, detailed, and light-hearted.

Thank You Wording for Physical Gifts

Thank you so much for coming to our wedding! The day would not have been the same without you in attendance. We were also so happy to receive [the gift/s] and look forward to [using it for years to come/having it as a beautiful reminder of our wedding/etc].

Thank You wording for cash gifts

Thank you for attending our wedding! It was the best day imaginable, and your presence was a big factor in that! We are so appreciative of your generous gift, and plan to [add it to our down payment on a house/use it to make our honeymoon wonderful/etc]. Thank you again for celebrating with us.

Thank you wording for attendance only

Thank you so much for being at our wedding! It was wonderful to see you and be able to spend time celebrating what was such an amazing day. Your attendance warmed our hearts and made our wedding day THAT much better. Sending you the warmest well wishes until we see you again.

Thank you wording for a loved one unable to attend but sent a gift

We are so sorry you were not able to make it to the celebration on our wedding day. It was a wonderful day, but you were missed. We wanted to make sure to say thank you for [the gift] and plan to [use of gift, physical or cash] in the future. Thank you for thinking of us, and hoping to see you soon.


A few other things to keep in mind while you’re writing those notes:

  • Be timely with your thank you cards. Enjoy your honeymoon and a few weeks of “getting into the swing of married life,” but then knock this task out. Most guests expect a thank you within 2 to 3 months of the wedding.
  • Write notes to everyone, even if they didn’t give you a gift. That friend or family member made the journey and spent their precious time (and most likely a bit of travel expenses) to celebrate your union, remember? Thank everyone who showed up to be a part of your wedding.
  • Both partners should be a part of the thank you writing process. You both got married, right? You both had guests attend, correct? Then, ladies, this is not just your post-wedding “party.” Start your marriage off on a good page by tag-teaming this task into completion.

Good luck and full steam ahead!