2018 In Reflection

My Facebook Year in Review has officially chosen the most liked pictures and created a little video for me to reflect on 2018 so guess what else that means? It is the time for my own reflections as well! The fifty degree weather, lack of snow, and limited holiday decor at our home are leaving me a bit on the Grinch-side. However, I am looking forward to 2019 and feel so incredibly blessed to have had all the experiences of 2018.

In tradition of the past few years, 2018 is being hailed as the newest Worst Year of All Worst Years. I didn’t get the message though. 2018 was by far my best year yet. 2019 has a lot to live up to when I look back at this past year, but I am so excited for what the future has in store.

But I am getting ahead of myself. Before welcoming the New Year, I want to take a second and be grateful for all this year has given to me.

January: I knew coming into 2018 my life would be different by the time the ball dropped at its end. In January I was busily planning G’s and my wedding and prepping to become a wife. I had no idea what all was in store, so I took the year one day at a time. I was able to be a part of coordinating one of my best friend’s weddings after the new year celebrations, as well as a few holiday parties at the Winery. Then at the end of January I made a life-changing decision. I left my career path in the wine and event industry to join the finance department of a nonprofit. The transition was huge, and it ultimately placed me back on track of what my degree is focused. I miss the wine industry but am content with this decision — it feels good to know my job helps to make a difference in my community.

February & March: Luckily I am fortunate to continue event planning through my volunteer work. For the fourth year, I was on the Pink Tie Ball Committee. This year’s gala raised over $24,000 in funds used for research and awareness of breast cancer. Plus, one of my goals for 2018 was to strengthen my friendships and grow my Tribes. I am blessed to have grown even closer to this group of Pink Ladies and know I have an army of support behind me moving into 2019.

I also was invited to assist in planning my church’s first IF:Gathering event. This women’s retreat took place in March and allowed me to meet more women in my church and grow those relations as well. In addition to my volunteer work, I continued to play in the YMCA volleyball league and tried out a few different types of yoga classes. As Spring rolled in, I was staying active in the community, my relationships, and wedding planning.

April: Every month seemed to gain more momentum as we neared our wedding date. April brought a slew of bridal showers and traveling to visit family members, scheduling vendors, and purchasing wedding items. G and I had to block off weekends simply to keep our sanity. We attended House’s annual Spring Retreat with twenty of our friends over a long weekend. Then the last weekend of the month, the Pink Ladies and I held a slumber party in remembrance of our dear friend Denise. 2018 marked two years since her passing, and the anniversary of April 19th remains painful. Spending time with one another always helps us, so we took a break from our hectic schedules in order to be together.

May: By the time I flipped to May on the calendar, most of the wedding plans had been secured. Perhaps we had a project here or there, but overall G and I took the month of May to complete our marriage counseling, move him into my apartment, and enjoy the remainder of our engagement. Over Memorial Day weekend, we went camping for a joint bachelor/bachelorette weekend. G and the guys did some “manly stuff” while my girls and I jumped into a limo for a wine tasting tour. It was the perfect way to wrap-up our wedding preparation with our closest friends.

June: June was an overall unremarkable month. šŸ˜‰

Just kidding…

June was the month I stumbled to an altar in front of my loved ones and locked down the best man in the world. The accumulation of the entire first half of 2018 came to a peak on June 16, 2018 when I married G. Our wedding remains the pinnacle of this year.

Following the wedding, we escaped to Tennessee for our honeymoon and then returned home to begin our married lives together.

July: As G and I started our journey as newlyweds, I shifted the focus of Uncorking Peonies from a wedblog to a Lifestyle blog. We began house hunting and welcomed our first nephew into the family. Life was perfect our first month as husband and wife.

August: I witnessed one of my best friends marry the love of her life on August 18, 2018. I will never forget watching the beautiful bride glow with happiness throughout the entire day.

G left his job in August after being sought by another company. He has been enjoying his new position since the change, and is also being sent to school to receive his Journeyman in machining. Though this switch threw a wrench into our schedules, we have become accustomed to his late workdays and take advantage of any time we have together. I am excited to see where he goes from here and find myself in awe of the man I married every single day — he is the most hardworking and dedicated partner.

September & October: After a few months of horrific house hunting adventures, G and I became homeowners in September! I said goodbye to city-living and my cute little apartment, packing up my bags to move to our fixer-upper. Since September we have redone the electric throughout the house, demolished a wall, replaced all our external doors, repainted and refloored the first level, and finished quite a few do-it-yourself projects. We are currently in the midst of gutting and remodeling our one and only bathroom this week as well. (Wish us luck! Eek…)

Besides all our house renovations, G and I also ventured over to Iowa to meet our handsome nephew for the first time. It was a fun weekend spent loving on little Z, exploring the area, and laughing with family. When we returned, I learned my work had nominated me to be a student in a leadership institute instructed by our State’s Community Action foundation. This was a pleasant surprise as the institute takes only 30 students a year across the state. I have had two classes thus far, and will graduate with a leadership certification in July 2019.

November & December: All in all, the last couple of months have been relatively quiet for me. This is a welcome relief from the beginning of 2018 though. I find myself with a lot of free time in the evenings. During that free time, I am busily planning Pink Tie Ball 2019, crafting, writing consistently on Uncorking Peonies, playing YMCA volleyball, and hanging out with my husband, family, and friends. I love not having every second of my day scheduled anymore. I love being able to do more of what I have passions to do. And I love the Life I’ll be rolling into 2019.

Life has never been better.

Happy New Years, my friends,

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.Ā 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 anĀ 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 aĀ 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 aĀ bold flower bouquet, choose adorableĀ 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,

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You – G&A

It is crazy to think I have been married for almost two weeks already. As most couples would say, the wedding day itself flew by and there is so many parts I wish I could go back to in order to snap more memory shots of them. Though the day was a humid, sunny day with temperatures into the lower-90’s, our wedding was absolutely perfect. There is not one thing I would change and everything flowed so incredibly well. Plus, we are still hearing from guests on how exceptional the ceremony and reception were. Family and friends have said it was the most meaningful, most beautiful, and best organized wedding they have ever attended. My heart is soaring! Yet there are some very key individuals I would like to thank because without them, the day would not have been half as amazing as it was:

First and foremost, I am so thankful for my wonderful husband. How many times have we looked at each other and wished we had just eloped? Far too many, right? Well, the Big Day has finally come and gone and I could not have been more excited at the prospect of walking down the aisle to you, even if it meant I was the center of attention. You have been my rock through this entire experience and I love our partnership in this planning because it has given me a secret look into what our marriage will be like. And I am ecstatic. You gave my dreams wings far before we even started talking about weddings, and you continue to do so every single day. XOXO

My Parents
Following close behind my groom are my parents. Mom and Dad, I cannot express how thankful I am to have you as my parents. I know I can be a handful of emotions and stubbornness, but I love you both so much and am so appreciative of all you have helped me get through up to this point. G and I would also like to thank you for going above and beyond in terms of catering for the wedding. The food was an absolute killer and I know that guests will be talking about this “Wall Party” for years to come. And lastly, I hope I’ve made you proud as a bride-to-be and will make you proud as I move forward as a wife.

My Parents-In-Law
It is only customary to thank my new parents-in-law for raising the man of my dreams which is exactly what G is to me. I am thankful you raised a man passionate for God, strong in his values, and fully invested in his relationships. G would not be who he is today without your nurturing, guidance, and love. Besides G, though, I am grateful for the love you have both shown me since the beginning of our relationship. You were my parents before this wedding, and now the government can attest to that sentiment as well!

My Godparents
What. A . God. Send. Seriously! My godparents were completely open to G and I hosting our reception at their farm from the very first message I sent. Even though I didn’t know much past “we want something rustic” and “we’re paying for this out-of-pocket, so inexpensive would be nice” when I first began researching venues, my godparents were more than happy to assist us. As the wedding grew closer, they also helped us with a number of projects to get the reception set-up which we could not be more grateful. Mowing, being present for the tent vendor, allowing us to barn-dive for decorations, etc. G and I could not have pulled our Big Day off remotely close to how wonderful it turned out without you two!

Luke & Leia
Luke and Leia not only stood up with G and I at the altar, but they were our best worker bees. No matter what new project I brought to the table — be it constructing invitations or building a DIY photo booth — these two never complained and only offered more help. As a couple, they’re amazing and as individuals even more so. Leia was the supportive girl friend I needed to get through all my planning breakdowns and to remind me to have fun during it all. Luke was my comic relief (#typical) and calming voice when the nerves finally hit the week-of the wedding. All in all, I don’t think I could have made it through the past few months without you two, so thank you from the very bottom of my heart. Next DQ visit is on me!

My bridesmaids
All of my girls were amazing. All were willing to give advice, share supplies, and provide support whenever it was necessary. I couldn’t have imagined the day without any of you standing beside me, and I am so thankful for your friendship and love.

Our Day-Of Coordinator
A friend from the Winery, our coordinator offered her services graciously the day she found out I was engaged. G and I were floored by her generosity, and honestly cannot imagine how the day would have flowed without her expertise. I’m a very organized woman and I know weddings, but being the bride at this wedding made for a very different experience. Obviously, I could not be at the reception venue early to be sure everything was set and ready for guests’ arrivals. Our coordinator went above and beyond in making sure the reception was absolutely perfect and that the itinerary for the day moved along at the right pace. When its your day, girl, you know I got your back — wine date soon!

Then there are those who helped in such amazingly large ways, and G and I just want to mention you all and how appreciative we are of you:

  • Aunt Patti for your delicious cupcakes — they were so good and the guests all want your recipes!
  • Saki for my “something borrowed”
  • Roxanne (and Bill) for all your help in and out of the kitchen
  • My House Girls for providing much-needed chatter while working on small (but necessary) projects
  • David and Crystal for your loving support and memorable counseling and mentoring
  • Cindy and Steadfast for all your musical abilities
  • All our guests from far and wide who journeyed into the Michigan heat and showed us your love and support

(I know I’m probably forgetting some very important individuals and I apologize — vacation brain is a real thing and I’m still reeling in how much has happened in less than two weeks.)

However, G and I could not be more thankful for everyone who suffered in the heat to make our day the very best ever. If there is one thing I will forever remember about June 16th it will be how loved and supported I felt being surrounded by those family members and friends who are most dear to us. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your continued encouragement and care as G and I move forward into newlywed life.

YOU are what made our day spectacular.Ā 


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.

When G proposed and we began our engagement and journey into wedding planning, one of the first things we did was sit down and realistically draw up a budget. We began by setting a maximum amount we were willing to spend ($10,000) and a goal amount of which we wanted to spend ($7,500). I use the word “wanted” extremely loosely because it physically hurt both of us to fathom spending even $7,500 on 8 hours of our lives. However, a wedding was our/my dream — “I’ve planned over 70 couples’ weddings, shouldn’t I get my own?” — so we worked to set items in stone to not overdo our budget.

As we listed the things most important to both of us, we also did research on those items in order to predict their expense. Photography was my biggest want, as photos are the pieces of the wedding you truly keep for years afterwards. Photography also happens to be one of the most expensive parts of a wedding — who knew, right?! Being married in the church was also important to us as it is where we met. Unfortunately, our church charges close to $1,000 for a ceremony on its grounds. So once we covered photography and a church ceremony on our budget, we had a little over half the $7,500 goal left in which to cover food, venue, music, clothing, etc.

Suffice it to say the first few rounds of attempting to budget brought a lot of tears and curse words in front of our spreadsheet.

“They want to charge us how much per person for a taco?”

“They have to be joking that it’s $13 per table linen!”

“So that DJ provides only three hours of music for $1200 and doesn’t bring his own sound system?”

“Why are weddings so expensive?!”

Continuing to write our budget line item by line item, there came a time at which we simply had to draw the line.

I am a huge fan of those beautiful sequin linens and the thought of having one for a sweetheart table was enticing. So enticing. I kept thinking of the photo opportunities, of how perfect seeded eucalyptus would be lying across the rose gold coloring, of how gorgeous the overall look would be… Then I looked at every website I could find who carries such a linen piece as well as called rental vendors on them. Guess what? I could use $75 for one linen on a whole case of other types of decorations. It was an easy decision with the price tag in front of me.

I also have always loved the idea of a globe guest book. You know, a cute antique globe with all our loved ones signatures able to sit in our future living room? Perfect, right? Not so much when the cheapest one we found (of worthy-enough quality) was over $60. Nope, I decided to spend that additional little “pocket change” on other necessary pieces of our wedding instead.

When it comes down to it, you have to know where to draw the line.

With the money I could have bought that rose gold sequin tablecloth, I instead found an amazing deal (TableclothsFactory.com) and paid for an order of 32 linens for all our tables. That $75 fulfilled half the cost of these linens, and now we do not need to worry about renting ivory tablecloths for double the price of what we purchased. Plus, a friend has offered to borrow a beautiful striped ivory cloth for our head table which can be decorated just as beautifully as the sequins.

And for a guest book, I opted for a more functional and less expensive option: a calendar. Confused? Hear me out. I bought a large calendar from VistaPrint for only $12 with our engagement pictures littered across its pages. My plan is for guests to sign their names on their birth dates, thus so functional and still a spin on a traditional book. I was happy to have found this inspiration on Pinterest!

By and by, my main points when it comes to your budget are these: figure out the essentials, save for the necessities, research high and low for various options and best costs, and know where to draw the strike-through on an idea that simply doesn’t fit the bill.

Your wedding is about the marriage, after all. Why spend a down payment on a house for only eight hours of your life? There’s no reason to create unneeded stress following your wedding when you should be enjoying the beginning stages of being husband and wife.

I’m curious, are there certain aspects of your wedding you felt were high necessities on the budget? If so, what were they? And was there a time you had to draw the line on a wedding piece you deeply wanted but knew wouldn’t truly be missed in the long run? Please feel free to share in the comments below or DM me at @uncorkingpeonies on Insta. I’d love to hear what trials you have been through or are going through when it comes to your own budget.

Until next time,


Vendor News: Videography Decided

We have been going back and forth on the topic of videography since we solidified our budget five months ago, and some great questions are been risen: should we hire someone, should we buy a video camera, who would we have film everything, would a cellphone work just as well, won’t photographs be just as good, where could we place a camera rather than have someone hold one, who do we know that can edit, what fits our budget, where could we elope, etc. And we have finally decided on an answer! (Plus we’re proud to say discussion on elopement has dropped from 10 times daily to nearly three…)

We are going with the online videography option called WedIt. With WedIt, we will have five iPod Touches delivered to us the week of our wedding in which we can disperse among our guests, set up in special locations, or pretty much do what we would like with them in order to film/snapshot the important parts of our ceremony and reception. Then, once the wedding is over, we can either download all the pieces on our own in order to edit them or send them back to the company and have a edited video made for us. Though we aren’t sure exactly how we will edit the camera footage, we do feel this is a great option for us while trying to safe-keep memories without spending an arm and a leg on a professional videographer.

Thinking ahead, I plan to have two of the cameras stationed on tripods to capture the ceremony and one camera at the reception’s photo booth in order to capture all that fun. The other two I am going to ask a few artsy friends to safeguard and capture some important moments throughout the night. All in all, we are excited for this Pinterest find and for another budget-beater!