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, 

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!

5 Things I Would Do Differently While Wedding Planning

For those of you who have been following Uncorking Peonies since September 2017, you know I had big dreams when it came to my wedding. Having coordinated and planned over 100 weddings and events, it was finally my time to plan my own Big Day.

My color palette was dusty rose and navy with silver accents. I’ve always loved the more rustic and laid back parties, and my wedding was no exception. I opted to have my bridesmaids choose their own dresses to fit their personal styles and budgets. I created my own decorations with hodge-podge findings and borrowing from family members and friends. I utilized my resources to design the look and feel of the perfect wedding. And the perfect wedding it was.

I loved our wedding day down to the very last detail. But would I do anything differently? Yes. Now that I am past the sparkle and glamour that made our wedding so spectacular, here are five “bigger picture” details I would consider changing should I ever happen upon a time machine:

1. I would change our ceremony location.

G and I met through our 20’s and 30’s Bible study group at church. We are both very active in the church and center our lives around our love for God. Most of our closest friends are from our church and we even hired a band made up of our fellow church members. You could say our church is pretty near and dear to our hearts.

But I never envisioned getting married in a church. I’m not sure if it feels too traditional or perhaps church ceremonies seem too romanticized for my own personal liking, but being married in front of an altar was not my forte. Instead, I had always pictured myself saying my vows under a blue sky or in a meadow surrounded by trees. I love the natural settings which more and more ceremonies are taking place in.

Compromise is a beautiful and necessary part of any relationship though. Being married in a church was important to G and to many of our family members. So that is what we did. Looking back, I would make the same decision for the sake of our family’s wishes, but I might also push for the natural setting a bit more. After all, our church cost nearly $1000 to rent for the ceremony, and simply the price differences in holding the ceremony elsewhere might have been persuasive enough to break tradition.

2. I would have made a Thank You speech.

One of the little pieces I loved about some of the weddings I coordinated is when the bride and/or groom got up during the reception to give a thank you speech to their guests. It was a rare occurrence, but a memorable one each and every time.

In the rush of wedding planning I completely forgot to plan a quick ‘Thank You’ myself! We spoke with our best man, man of honor, and fathers about their speeches, but this little gem skipped over my head as other wedding details took over. It would have been nice to tell our family and friends how much we appreciated having them at our wedding and in our lives. That was definitely a missed opportunity!

3. I would have bought and worn a reception dress.

Before my wedding day I actually had never heard of a reception dress, but I guess they are quite the trend nowadays! A reception dress is, obviously, a dress the bride dons after the ceremony to be more comfortable for dancing, eating, moving about, what-have-you.

Now, I really did get my dream dress and it only cost me $150! I felt beautiful and confident in this dress and it photographed incredibly well. But it was floor-length, had a long train, and turned out to be quite heavy and difficult to dance in. Plus the temperatures for our outdoors reception were high into the 90’s along with boasting Michigan June humidity. With the low price of my gown, I easily could have found a cute, white reception dress to change into once we finished pictures and headed to the festivities.

Unfortunately, no one mentioned this trend to me until I was walking around after dinner and visiting. “I can’t believe you’re still wearing that dress!” “Aren’t you hot?!” “How will you ever dance with that thing?”

But dance I did — and I had a blast even with the river of sweat flowing down my back all evening.

4. I would have spent more time working out.

Don’t any of you @ me! I’m not talking about starving myself to fit into my dress, or spending every waking moment in the gym to tone my arms. I had good reasons for not making my health and fitness a bigger priority during my wedding planning days, but I wish I’d recognized those various reasons as excuses. The biggest being that I was more stressed with planning every detail than I felt I was at the time. Looking back, I realize I gained 25-30 pounds while working on wedding plans because I allowed myself to “treat myself” whenever I felt a bit tired, stressed, or celebratory.

I was not at my happiest weight on my wedding day, and I know I’ll be able to see that tension and discomfort in my wedding pictures. Even if no one else can. And since these are the pictures documenting one of the most important days in my life — meaning they will be hanging in my home for years and (hopefully) passed down to my kids in the future — I wish my instinct wasn’t to cringe when looking at some of them. I felt beautiful and extremely happy at my wedding, and that is apparent in the pictures as well. I just think that with a little more effort and cognition, I could have felt even better in my own skin.

5. I would have lived more in the moment of the day.

One thing G and I agreed to do on our wedding day was take steps back, breathe, and enjoy the little pieces throughout the entire experience. There are moments I remember verbally saying this out loud to him, “Let’s stop for a second to remember this.” And we did.

However, looking back, there were so many missed moments to do this! The entire day is a blur to me, a very happy blur, but a blur nonetheless. I never worried about having a perfect day but I also didn’t focus on the little details of the wedding. I wish I had. I wish I had taken the time to go around and look at every table of decorating for the wedding. I wish I had taken a moment to step aside and do a panorama look at the entire reception. I wish I had forced myself to slow down, because maybe that would have made the day slow down as well.

At the end of the day, though, I really wouldn’t have changed a thing. Our wedding was an absolute dream and even if I went back in time, nothing could have been more perfect than becoming the wife of an amazing man in front of God and our closest loved ones.


Hopefully some of these thoughts are helpful to you if you’re debating between details of your own wedding. Is there anything you are considering changing in your wedding plans, or perhaps you wish you had been able to change? Feel free to share in the comments below!

xoxo,