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Love and Marriage

About a month ago, I was hunting around for a wedding photographer. Without having the official wedding date picked out, I was really just browsing for photography that caught my eye. I kept hitting a snag in the process. I’d find a photographer that seemed perfect and then I’d check out their pricing. I couldn’t fathom spending more than $4,000 for a photographer! Really? I’d wimper at my computer screen with my figurative tail between my legs.

I’ve learned in this wedding planning process to stick to what is true to Joe and I. So, I continued to hunt for the perfect photographer that was in our price range. I wasn’t about to settle on something so important as our wedding photography.

I found Feather & Twine Photography after I stumbled upon Brides of North Texas. A few clicks into their site and I was completely hooked. Hook, line and sinker baby!

Picture 12Kelsey and Talon are the geniuses behind Feather & Twine Photography. I immediately contacted Kelsey and within a day or two she was getting back to me with extra information including wedding packages, their online brochure and a sample contract. My heart nearly skipped a beat when I checked out their pricing. It was reasonably priced and the package included bridals which I wasn’t sure I’d get considering the photographers I was looking at were way out of our budget. About this time, we had narrowed down the wedding date to two different dates. I checked Feather & Twine’s calendar and it was an easy decision from there. One of our dates was already booked. I just needed that little push to make the other date official and lock down the date with Kelsey and Talon.

They have such a beautiful photo style. I love how they capture light and how effortless the subjects seem to be in everyday life. Their couples are relaxed and comfortable. They aren’t placed in weird, awkward poses or doing something that doesn’t come naturally to them.

We have an engagement session date picked out for late February. We’re brainstorming good engagement photo locations. Any ideas? I can’t wait to get started.

For more amazing photos, click the photo above or head on over to the Feather & Twine Photography website. Leave a good hour to do so. You won’t want to leave their blog. The best part? Kelsey and Talon are willing to travel, so if you know anyone getting married check them out. They don’t limit themselves to just the DFW area. They’re pretty awesome.

Have an awesome Wednesday guys!

Something interesting happens when your relationship status changes from “in a relationship” to “engaged.” Parents begin giving you marriage advice. Marriage articles seem to pop up on your internet homepage. Married friends graciously bring you into the “club.”

My parents are divorced. It’s no secret that their marriage was anything but perfect. By the time I was 12 months old, my parents had finalized their divorce. By age 4, my mom was re-married. My memory of my parents together is like a barren hole. The only thing collected there is dust, not memories. As marriage goes, my step-dad and mom had a typical one. Love was plentiful, but fights were still common. As a blended family, the odds were agaist us tenfold.

The complete opposite rings true for Joe. His parents have been married for over 30 years. He didn’t experience the familliar arguments in a grocery store parking lot as my parents switched kids or the awkward moments when the holidays came around. But each marriage is different.

As an adult about to embark on one of the most santioned unions, my drive to learn the tricks of the marriage trade have become something of a slight obsession. My parents, particularly my father, simply stopped trying in their marriage. I don’t expect the road to be easy, but at the end of my life, I want to look back on that road and see a beautifully, tattered, well-worn road that my children will want to re-create for themselves.

photoSome things that I try to keep in mind:

1. Never speak poorly of your spouse. How easy is it to sit with girlfriends on a Friday night with a glass of wine and complain about your partners little annoying habits? I can’t recall ever saying something outwardly rude about Joe to my friends, but a quick comment about certain irritating flaws or couch potato tendencies may creep out of my mouth from time to time. Though I don’t find this to be extremely harmful, I think highly of Joe and would never want to slander him in anyway way.

2. Fight smart. I don’t believe Joe and I “fight.” I believe we disagree more than we fight. I view fighting as verbal brawls as each person takes low blows. I don’t expect our relationship to be fight-free, but it’s something we both have to work on. Two people are never going to agree on everything. I’ve always heard that fighting is healthy. It means you care enough to get angry about something. It means you’re willing to fight for something even though your spouse may think differently. It means that even though the two of you make a team, being an individual should still be a priority. One thing I try to remember during disagreements is to view the argument from Joe’s perspective. I can be completely irrational, so putting myself in his shoes may be the perfect solution. Another important thing I remember is to not bring in other disagreements. Focusing on one particular issue is the right dose of humility. Nothing says resentment like multiple arguments with no resolution.

3. Have a bit of humility. Or shall we call it shame? I’ve learned that bathroom habits become something of a public display. Bodily functions are daily tidbits of humility. Embrace them. Living with someone becomes a little bit easier when you lose a bit of your inhibitions and just let things loose. On any given week night, you can find us both in sweatpants, sprawled out on the couch, belching out tunes from our recent dinner. I’m not wearing a bra, my glasses are plastered to my face and I’m usually barried deep in a blanket because I’m always cold. No bra. No makeup. No problem. Plus, a small part of me believes we both actually enjoy this version of each other.

us4. Make time for each other. It’s easy to get wrapped up in work, school, working out and errands. My Sundays are a prime example of this. I never make plans on Sundays because they’re spent making breakfast, running errands, picking up groceries, making dinner, and preparing for the week ahead. It’s rarely ever considered a day of rest for me. If this was everyday, I don’t know when I’d ever see Joe. Making time for each other is one thing that I’m learning to make a priority. For the month of December, Friday nights are Christmas movie night. Certain Saturday mornings are spent grabbing breakfast at our favorite spot and shopping together. These small acts really do go a long way.

For all the marriage veterans out there, what works for you guys? What’s your best marriage advice for us? I’d love to read all about them!

I didn’t forget about Wedding Wednesday. With a lack of planning and my work’s Christmas party Tuesday night, I found myself very sleepy by the time we got home. That may have had something to do with the 4-hour access to free booze. I’m now realizing my recent posts have included a lot of alcohol consumption. I’m not usually such a drunkard, but hey, it’s the holidays. Don’t judge. Santa doesn’t judge. Or does he?

So what do I have for you?

I must tell you I don’t have a ton to update you on. I mailed our deposit for our photographer yesterday, so I’ll be sharing that later since they aren’t officially our wedding photographers…yet. I haven’t done a lot of wedding research because I’ve been doing a lot of online shopping for Christmas. Best. Christmas Giver. Ever! So, bear with me as the Christmas holiday approaches.

My favorite part of getting married is hunting around for the perfect honeymoon. I’m the type of girl that would rather skimp on the wedding and have an awesome honeymoon. Traveling and experiencing new places is so exhilarating. Joe and I haven’t actually gone on vacation together except for that one time we jetted off to Indiana for his cousin’s wedding. You can expect that I’m really excited to get started on the travel itinerary.

honeymoon

This place looks pretty good, right? Joe for sure wants a tropical place to relax. I’m looking for a place that has some cool historical places to tour. Any ideas from the peanut gallery would be much appreciated!

One big piece of news is we finally picked an official date. I’ve gone back and fourth with multiple different dates for the last two months and it took finding our photographer to make a decision. As I checked out their schedule, one of the dates I was thinking about was booked. Process of elimination and we have a date!

I guess you want to know the date. Drum roll please…

We are officially getting married on … November 2, 2013!

It’s going to be a beautiful fall wedding and I’m just looking forward to marrying my best friend. Don’t expect this date to change. I’m dead set on it since I spent many days going back and fourth. Joe kept telling me that people are asking about the date and he can’t ever give them a definitive answer. Mark my words. November 2nd is D-day or W-day really.

I think I’ve finally made an official decision on the date, but I won’t be sharing it just yet. May 10, 2014 will not be our date. We’ve bumped it up a bit so I’ll let you in on that later. I’m also looking into rental setups and photographers so those posts will be coming soon.

For today, I wanted to share with you all my inspiration and vision for the big day. Thank you, Pinterest! I don’t think I could do this without the help of Pinterest and all the previous brides of the world. It’s been a serious blessing in the last few weeks and for those that follow me, you know I’m either pinning wedding inspiration or food. Mmmmm food.

Ever since I knew I wanted to marry Joe at the lake (for realzie), I’ve imagined a quaint backyard wedding with tons of personal touches.

All links are embedded in the photos.

This is my ideal wedding setting. A pretty tent, twinkling lights and plenty of space make this the perfect way to celebrate the start of our life together. We find the tent the most practical. We’re able to get the ambiance we want while being prepared for inclement weather. I want to make sure our tent rental has the same open feeling. The lake is beautiful so it’s imperative that everyone can experience the scenery during the ceremony and reception.

Speaking of ceremony.

How beautiful is this backdrop? I can imagine draping these from the trees instead of doing a traditional wedding arch. Fresh flowers wouldn’t be cheap, but it makes for some great photos and a unique place to tie the knot.

One idea I’m about dead set on is having a grand exit as we are confirmed man and wife. As we walk down the aisle as husband and wife, guests will throw rose petals from pretty white doilies like the photo above. I love this approach because I’m not sure we’ll have any other “exit.” Logistically speaking, Joe and I probably won’t leave before the rest of the guests since we’re getting married at a home and not a venue. I’m able to still get that exit I want without leaving the property.

Grey, plum/eggplant and touches of green will be our colors. I love this look. It’s formal, but not so formal that it turns into a black tie affair. We’re going with classy casual. Black tuxes would be too much and any other color would just look odd for the groom and groomsmen. I think it’s a really great look that isn’t too tacky and our kids won’t automatically cringe when they check out our wedding album years from now. Yes. More classy. Less tacky.

Something that’s always on my mind is the budget. We haven’t set a budget, but I think I’ve got a good feel of what I’m willing to spend on each wedding necessity. When I feel like I’m losing sight of sticking to that budget, I come back to these budget-friendly weddings (click the photo for the specifics). This is where the true inspiration comes out. Since I’m more focused on saving money for a house then spending it on a wedding, this site just secures my doubts with wedding planning. If I know that real brides made it happen on such a tight budget, I’m willing to do the same.

On to the reception.

Corn hole is a must for a little entertainment. Picture a backyard party with craft beers and a corn hole competition. That’s my kinda party. There’s nothing traditional about this even though it seems to be gaining popularity. Corn hole is such a fun game and since we aren’t big on dancing we may just omit a dance floor altogether and have mini corn hole games instead. I’ve done some research on custom corn hole boards and them seem a bit pricey. I’ll keep hunting but I have a few ideas in mind.

Other entertainment inclues a little smores party. A couple summers ago, Joe helped build a fire pit in the lake house backyard. We’re big smores people. Joe’s mom always has the essential ingredients to create the perfect smore. I even bought her a 10-piece marshmallow roaster so we could get maximum smore love.

Can you get a good feel of my wedding style? Come follow me on Pinterest if you want to see my complete wedding board. Are you planning a wedding? Has Pinterest helped you as much as it has helped me?

After two months of venue shopping, my thoughts of what I want for this wedding may have changed. Joe and I began the search for the right wedding venue about 2 months ago. I know I don’t want a cookie cutter wedding, however finding a unique place that feels like us has shown some challenges.

As of today, we’ve visited a few places that have their good and not so good qualities.

Fairy Tale Manor

When I was in college, I would drive by this wedding venue a few times a week. Even before meeting Joe, I knew I wanted to check it out one day when I got engaged. So of course this was the first place we checked out. The name was intriguing. I mean who wouldn’t want to get married at a place called Fairy Tale Manor?

A cute little house situated off a main road in Frisco, Fairy Tale Manor gives us the option to have an inside or outside ceremony. The feel is like a backyard wedding with all the necessary amenities for a detail and expensive wedding. This place is the all inclusive type. You can simply pick and choose preferred vendors and let the Fairy Tale staff do the work or bring in your own vendors. The flexibility is nice, but I found their pricing to be a little high for our budget. After walking through the place, we sat down to create a detailed spreadsheet of all the “extras” needed like catering, photography, cake, etc. These are all things that are necessary for a wedding, right? At the end of putting all the details together, we got an estimate of how much it would cost. I won’t give you the specific number, but it didn’t really surprise me.

Pros: flexibility, all-inclusive aspect, small enough to feel intimate with plenty of room for entertaining, not very centrally located for Joe’s relatives (not a deal breaker)

Cons: Still a bit cookie cutter for me, pricey, not nearly as pretty/romantic as I originally thought

Chapel at Ana Villa

Chapel at Ana Villa is a Walters Wedding Estate property that is currently being built. They’ve started taking reservations for weddings as early as June 1, 2013. With Spanish architecture, the property serves the duel ceremony/reception event just like Fairy Tale Manor. I learned that it was ideal to have it this way so guests won’t have to drive to another location for the reception. Luckily, they’ve done a fantastic job with mockup videos and photos that any bride can get a really detailed feel of what the property will look like. We met with representatives to discuss our vision and ask any necessary questions. These reps were by far the nicest people I’ve talked to regarding the wedding so far. They were very engaged and very interested in making sure our wedding was perfect for us. They cared about specific details we liked and were very open to working with us regarding Joe’s food restrictions.

Pros: Would be great to work with these reps, duel ceremony/reception site, church feel (not required), better within our budget but still not ideal

Cons: Construction underway, still a bit cookie cutter for me (I found a pattern…)

Stone Creek Terrace

Stone Creek Terrace is your quintessential backyard wedding. They place a cap of 60 guests total with plenty of foliage for the right ambiance. This place I was most excited about to check out. The price was absolutely perfect here. We could even splurge on a Saturday wedding instead of a Sunday wedding like we are looking into. They are very DIY friendly. They have a few preferred vendors, but they really leave it up to you to create whatever you envision for your day. I liked that they had multiple areas for entertainment. After the ceremony, guests can be lead to a cocktail hour and then moved to the reception location around the corner. The property has a really nice flow.

We met with the owner last Sunday. She seemed nice, but preoccupied. She rushed through the meeting fairly quickly and left us alone to discuss things. I just wasn’t that impressed with her. It felt a bit cold and she really didn’t do a very good job selling the place. Another concern I thought of was the cheap look of a few things. Chairs and tents looked very cheap and I really wasn’t that impressed about the only ceremony option set up. A fountain would basically divide the guests from the wedding party at the ceremony. It was just weird. I think the price ended up being too good to be true.

Pros: Budget friendly, the perfect, romantic, intimate feel we are looking for, lots of lush foliage so other decor would be minimal, DIY

Cons: Some areas look and feel cheap, not the best customer service, DIY (yes, it’s a pro and con), located in an unattractive location

Conclusion: I kept hunting for that place that felt like us and had sentimental value. I want people to walk away from our wedding saying the wedding celebration was us. I felt like I was trying to find a needle in a haystack. A backyard wedding feel at the right budget with DIY accents and personal touches. That’s what I’ve been looking for. Ideally, I want to get married under a big oak tree with a great dinner party afterward. I just wasn’t finding what I was looking for and finally made the realization that this place does exist and it’s been staring at me right in the face. I’m exhausted with the venue hunt and we’ve decided that Joe’s parents lake house is the perfect location for our wedding. The sentimental value is there considering it’s where Joe proposed and where we spend our summers. It has the backyard feel at our perfect budget price. We’ll have to do a lot of DIY, but I think it will all come together beautifully.

Here’s to a lake home wedding. Pray for my sanity. Happy Wednesday everyone!