Real Wedding: Rachel + James

When I think of my childhood, there is one smiling face that shows up in more than half of my memories and that is the face of my friend Rachel. Our friendship has been nothing short of adventurous: from riding ATVs up north with no helmets and watching her cousin bite worms in half in order to “fish better” to staying up ungodly hours of the night to watch trash TV to cruising the Caribbean twice to witnessing drug busts in the nation’s capital to acting as one another’s wedding Plus One’s to surviving puberty, high school, and a number of break ups, we have done so much together!

Needless to say, when Rach texted me one January morning to tell me she was now engaged to her high school sweetheart, my heart was bursting! Not only because IT WAS ABOUT TIME, but also because our conversation turned to wedding plans and logistics. As an event coordinator at the Winery still, I started to cry when she took me up on my offer to host her intimate nuptials at my venue AND allow me to help coordinate the Big Day.

Continue reading “Real Wedding: Rachel + James”

Advertisements

Expectations of Your Bridal Shower

If you’re totally new to the whole bridal shower thing, you are not alone! Last weekend my future MIL graciously threw me a bridal shower with G’s side of the family in his hometown, but going into the celebration I really didn’t know what to expect. I have only been to one shower prior so I was completely unaware of what the event would entail.

In short, at your bridal shower you are the guest of honor as your closest friends and relatives gather to eat, chatter, and lavish you with a truckload of amazing gifts. This is one party you do not need to worry about planning on your own, but it may help to know what to expect so to best be prepared. So read on to discover a few more details on this traditional pre-wedding party used to celebrate and shower the bride-to-be with many well-wishes.

Continue reading “Expectations of Your Bridal Shower”

4 Wise Tips on Preparing for Marriage After the Wedding

I know I’ve said it before, but here I am saying it again: the wedding is only the beginning of what should be the rest of your blissful married life. As husband and wife, you’ll be embarking on years of new adventures after the one day of festivities. Your wedding day is only a grain of sand in the grand beach of your entire life. It is best to prepare for life following the Big Day and not only the day itself.

I am a big believer that if you adequately prepare for something — that is, to prepare mentally, emotionally, spiritually, physically, all of the above — then your chances of success increase substantially. Though I know there will never be enough wisdom and information I can gain to fully prepare for marriage, I do feel I’ve gained a few gems of advice in which to set a firm foundation as a newlywed.

These four gems include advice on communication, clarification, adjustment, and agreement between both the husband and wife in order to have a happy marriage. They touch on possible challenges once you’re married and encourage you to invest in your partner following your vows. They are all examples of how G and I plan to enter our marriage, and I would love to share them with you!

Continue reading “4 Wise Tips on Preparing for Marriage After the Wedding”

Knowing Where To Draw the Line on Your Wedding Budget

Okay, time for some tough love. My average wedding while I was a wedding coordinator was $17,000, and I simply received that amount for the venue, tables and chairs, linens, the dinner catering, and the bar tab. For those couples who wished to add music, photography, desserts, decorations, and any other basic wedding niceties, you could be looking at a minimum of another $10,000 added to your budget. The Knot actually stated that the typical modern wedding averages $35,000. My jaw dropped reading that article, actually. For G and I, this *clap* was *clap* not *clap* an *clap* option.

Continue reading “Knowing Where To Draw the Line on Your Wedding Budget”

#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…  Continue reading “#Inspiration: Head Tables”

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.

Reblog: Here’s What My Parents 1974 Wedding Would Cost in 2017

With our list of all-things-wedding-related (vendors, rentals, objects, songs, guests, etc.) ever increasing, I just had to share this blog post with you as it hits STRAIGHT. ON. THE. HEART. of what I have been saying lately: weddings are ridiculously expensive! And it is simply due to the word “wedding” that vendors and other event-aimed businesses are able to increase prices. Ugh! DOUBLE UGH!! Now, with this handy little monster of a post at my disposal, whenever someone feels the need to say, “We didn’t pay that when we got married!” I’ll be able to cheerfully hand this wonderful explanation as to why the world hates on true love and makes the wedding planning situation so much more difficult than necessary. (Please excuse the language.)


Reposted from Buzzfeed, originally posted on October 22, 2017 and written by Meg Keene.

I got engaged in San Francisco, exactly 35 years after my parents’ 1974 wedding. Their San Francisco wedding cost about $2,000, which in today’s money is roughly $10K. So naturally, when we started planning, my mom thought that if I made the same good practical, frugal choices that she and my father had made, I should be able to pull off something similar for $10K. I just needed to be smart about it.

In fact, when most people get engaged, I think we generally assume it should be possible to get married for $10k BECAUSE THAT IS A FUCK TON OF MONEY. And yeah, if you cut some corners, in many parts of the country you actually can pull off a pretty nice wedding for $10K. (Hell, I’ve built a whole business around helping people do just that.)

But by today’s standards, my parents’ wedding was BEYOND. They got married in San Francisco’s reigning massive church, Grace Cathedral, three days after Christmas. They had a whopping 300 people in attendance, and a cocktail reception at the swanky Marine’s Memorial Club. Their cake alone was so big that when we tried to re-create their wedding, we couldn’t even find a baker that still made cakes that large.

And yet their budget was only $10,000 in 2017 dollars.

Continue reading “Reblog: Here’s What My Parents 1974 Wedding Would Cost in 2017”

How to Choose a Meaningful Wedding Theme

Wedding planning has been in full swing since the proposal on September 19th. Being an event planner and ex-wedding coordinator, I have found the process to be somewhat of a breeze. However, I know that I’m very fortunate with my connections in the wedding world, and want to do my part in making any of bride-to-be’s journey to the aisle as easy as possible also!

That being said, where do you even start after your beloved has popped the question?! That was probably the most difficult question for me to answer following that amazing day on the pier. I all of a sudden had all these wedding ideas floating around in my head, all of these checklists to complete, all of these inspiration boards to browse through on Pinterest… it was all a bit overwhelming.

So, I began from the beginning: creating a meaningful wedding theme.

Continue reading “How to Choose a Meaningful Wedding Theme”

“That’s What She Said.”

I knew something was awry when G was adamant we go for a walk on the North Pier at 7:00pm Tuesday night. The walk didn’t cause suspicion, but the change in scenery and necessity of time frame made me suspect this Tuesday night might not be like any of our other typical one-night-of-the-week lazy nights. His suggestion of us going to a fancier restaurant for dinner that night (when we had plans to go grocery shopping anyways) made my eyes slant a little deeper too — what did he have planned? Being a Tuesday evening, though, I wasn’t quite sure what to think of all these oddities.

After watching an episode and a half of our latest Netflix binge “The Following” (Yes! He made us pause in the middle of an episode — that guy!), we prepared to head over to the opposite side of the river for our walk. As I put on my shoes, G disappeared outside for a minute — another odd behavior. I ended up meeting him at the door to leave and noticed he was putting his phone away. He took me by the hand, opened my car door, and we left for the Northside.

When we pulled into the beach’s parking lot, I really began to question what this walk was going to entail because there was a professional photographer setting up his tripod on the sidewalk leading to the pier. G, checking his phone quickly, never even glanced at the camera. Instead he steered me to the pier and its lighthouse.

If you have never been to Michigan, then I definitely recommend you make a trip sometime during the summer to come and enjoy our numerous beaches and lighthouses scattered along Lake Michigan. Sunbathe during the day and witness the breathtaking sunsets at night. They truly are incredible! G and I walk down to the beach very often to watch the sun set; I live only a quick minute’s walk away (thus the unusual request to drive to a different beach for this night’s walk.)

Tonight’s sunset was one of the best of Summer 2017. With only a handful of dates remaining of summer, the days of our pier walks were numbered before the cruel winter months would make the piers icy boardwalks, unsafe for anyone to attempt to trek. Tonight, though, was a perfect 70-something degrees, cloudless, and still on the water.

G and I strolled along the river towards the pier hand-in-hand. We talked about the ducks diving in the water, the light waves crashing on the sand, the fishermen along the sidelines, and the lighthouse looming ahead of us. We stopped several times to marvel at the sunset, to look back at the coast, to talk about God’s glory, to just enjoy one another’s company — our typical type of walk.

Our walk took us to the end of the pier. We meandered slowly, taking pictures like tourists to document the evening. My mind kept flashing to the photographer on shore and I attempted not to keep looking over my shoulder to see where he had ended up setting his camera. Was he here for us? Did G plan for him? On a Tuesday night? It seemed odd but…

Then we began heading back to shore, walking on the same side of the pier as we had come. The side towards the river, away from the beach where the cameraman could possibly be catching any snap shots of us. I started to doubt my suspicions and physically felt my heart beat slow a few beats. This was just a typical walk after all.

With his arm around my waist, G was still steering me to shore. As we passed beneath the main lighthouse, however, he halted and stepped sideways to face me. He pulled me into an embrace and I could feel him fumbling for something in his pocket. My heart soared; this was not a typical walk after all!

I was smiling as G pulled away with the box in his hand, and asked, “Babe, do you remember what we’ve been talking about?” Then he dropped to one knee. I was nodding and smiling like a fool as he continued simply, “Well, I think it’s about time we made it official. Will you marry me?”

I said, “YES!” and we kissed as people on the other pier clapped and cheered. There were also the unmistakable sounds of camera lenses shuttering. G pointed towards the lighthouse where not only my parents stood waving, but also his parents did as well! He had orchestrated his proposal to be witnessed by our closest loved ones!

G and I had been discussing marriage for some time leading to the proposal. We knew God had brought us together and that we were made for one another. There was something about our relationship that simply clicked like nothing else before. It is kind of amazing how quickly you can know you have found the One with whom you’re supposed to live out your life…

G’s persistence to take a walk at 7:00pm was due to our parents meeting and hiding out on the pier that Tuesday night. As family is incredibly important to both of us, G wanted our closest family members to be a part of the evening. I’m an only child, so my parents loved being involved, and G’s parents look at both of us as their kids. It was a beautiful decision on G’s part and one I (and they) will treasure.

On a side note, the actual photographer was not part of G’s plans at all, and he was actually pretty upset when he saw the man in the parking lot. He figured I would begin to wonder what was happening having seen him.

After the proposal, G, our parents, and myself walked the remainder of the pier to our cars and went to dinner together to celebrate. Following dinner, we began calling our closest friends and family members to tell them the exciting news. It has been a whirlwind since that night with wedding planning and enjoying being engaged, but I could not ask for a better partner in life and future husband. I could not have imagined a more perfect setting for the two of us, and the inclusion of our families meant the world to me.

I love you, always and forever, G.

Cheers to a bright future ahead and many fun and exciting projects to come!

21766691_10156724626417222_6448387020056858636_n