From my Hart: Wedding Do’s & Don’t s

Herro friends! Today I come to you with a list of things that I’ve once again, complied based on experience wedding planning, in conversations with friends and or all on my own.

Our wedding is only 141 days away and I cannot wait. I’m also trying very hard to be present and soak up these wonderful moments.

Without further a due- lets dive into my newest wedding do’s and don’t s.

RSVP:

Do: RSVP in accordance to the date listed on the invitation.

Don’t: RSVP late, RSVP in a way other than instructed (texting when an RSVP online or via mail was requested) or assume the couple knows you will attend.

Bonus don’t: Don’t try and accomplish it all. If you have another predetermined event, RSVP no.

The exception to this is if the wedding is more casual in nature or events are at separate times.

A good rule of thumb is that your “yes” RSVP will reflect you attending the entire event: ceremony through the dinner & so on.

Do: Respect the way in which the invitation is addressed.

Don’t: Add additional guests that were not listed in the addressing of the invitation. For more clarification see this previous post.

Communication:

Do: Send congratulations, support, and best wishes to the happy couple

Don’t: Ask financial questions, send personal requests, berate or speak negatively towards decisions the couple has made.

Bonus Don’t: Constantly compare.

There have been countless weddings in the history of time. The couple is going to do some things similar to and different from other weddings you’ve attended or been in. While it might seem helpful, constant comparison to a way another couple chose to execute their big day, is not.

Wedding Website:

Do: Use it!

If a couple send out a wedding website, please consult it! There will be cute anecdotes about how the couple met, who’s in the wedding and pictures.

However, important information, such as hotel reservation, travel, registry and day-of / venue information is listed there for the ease of communicating with guests!

Don’t: Ignore it or share it.

Check save the dates, invitations, and other means of communication to see if the couple is using a wedding website. If there is a passcode, it’s safe to say the couple wants to keep things among invited guests (for whatever reason their heart desires) and you should respect that.

Attire:

Do: Respect the dress code, if there is one. There is a great chance the Happy Couple is trying to include their guest on setting the mood for their big day.

Don’t: Push the boundaries. It’s a wedding- not a night club.

Our wedding: We have asked our guests to please wear semi-formal attire to our evening, adult only affair. I’ve included the Google definitions below to help as an example.

Women: “Women have a wide range of choices with semi-formal attire. This may include a pantsuit in a dressy fabric, such as silk, cashmere, or satin. A dress or dressy suit with a dressy top, with heels, strappy sandals, or dressy flats may also be worn.”

Men: “Semi-formal means wearing a full suit, with vest optional. A tie is also optional and the shirt should be a simple button down. The biggest difference here for semi-formal attire is that a tie is not necessary.”

Home stretch:

141 days! It sounds like so much time but considering how Christmas is now almost a month ago, these days will fly!

It’s so easy to get caught up into all the nitty-griddy of wedding planning. Thankfully we are done except for our walk thoughts and all the fun to come: bridal shower, bachelorette/bachelor weekends, rehearsal dinner, etc!

As we progress, I’ll be sure to keep you all up to date! Please let me know what other kinds of posts you’d like to see in 2019!

Cheers to the weekend- lets make it fantastic!

From my Hart: Asking the Groomsmen

Hey all! I’m back with more wedding updates! I’m super pleased to have a fun and quick bridal party update today for you all.

My fiance was so excited to ask his groomsmen, and he had a brilliant idea!

He asked each of them what their favorite liquor was, under the white lie that he was curious what kind we should supply for the wedding. Once he knew their favorites, off to the liquor store we went!

My fiance has a connection with an engraver, and he took the bottles to him to be engraved! HELLO HOW BRILLIANT! I’m obsessed with how great they turned out.

 

 

His groomsman all were so excited to be ask, and plan on keeping the bottles, unopened, forever! I just love this idea. It could be used for any life event. Think of a bottle of champagne engraved as a wedding gift or an engraved wine bottle commemorate buying a home! I wish I had thought of this for the bottle of pink bubbly I bought my cousin for the birth of her baby girl!

Have a wonderful weekend everyone. I cannot wait to celebrate another wonderful friend’s wedding & attend a huge craft festival that is tradition for my Mom and I. See you all next week!

Thank you to Nick at Smyth Jewelers for the feature image

From my Hart: Popping some Questions

Happy Friyay all! After a week of moving, and celebrating one of my dearest friends wedding, I come back to you with some fun, DIY and wedding updates.

It was officially my turn to pop the question!

I needed to gather my gals & ask our officiant if they would do us the honor of being part of our wedding. If you happen to have social media, which I will assume you do since you are reading this, there is a good chance you have seen bridesmaids proposals. There are so many fun way ways in which this can be done!

I knew I wanted to keep it simple, informative & save money so I could give the best gifts to my maids on our wedding day. It was important to me that the proposal set the tone for the wedding, informed the gals of the plan so far & was adorable & fun!

With some tissue paper & pretty boxes, it was exactly what I was envisioning… thanks to HomeGoods of course.

In each box was the following:

Informative: the wedding colors

the day of information: date, time, location

the goal image for the bridesmaid’s dresses

Fun: a gold bag that could be used for pencils, essential oils, medicationss, makeup, etc.

a picture frame or nail polish

a card popping the question

and finally a sweet treat!

IMG_7889

IMG_7888
For my best friend, who is gluten & dairy free, I found some delicious turmeric tea in place of the Italian wedding cookies!

 

For our officiant, I took a similar approach.

I curated a box similar to the maids boxes. I switched things up by including a notebook & inside of the picture frame was a note from my fiance and I asking her to be our officiant.

IMG_7892 2

All together, I am ultra pleased. These were so fun to make and I’m so happy with how they turned out! I’m so excited to share this idea with you all!

Next week I will share how my fiance asked his groomsman… It’s over the top!

From my Hart: Venue & Home Updates

Happy Friday once again everyone! Today I come to you with news that has been brewing since we got back from our blissful engagement in August. Today’s blog post is two fold & I’m so excited to share the news!

We bought a house!

After over a year of searching, we finally settle on our first home next week! It was nothing short of a blessing that we put an offer in that was accepted, on my cousins first heavily birthday. We’ve lost count of all the homes in which our offers were declined, never looked at, or that we lost before we could get our offer in.

I certainly never would have picked two weeks after our engagement for our home buying process to kick in, but I’ve taken it in stride as best as I can, knowing God would never give us more than we could handle. The saying is true: God’s timing, not mine.

So here we are! After a month of paperwork, phone calls, excitement, stress & all of the above, we are just four days from settlement. We are humbled and completely blown away by the amount of blessings coming our way. Our realtor / mortgage and insurance team are incredible and have made things so simple! Our families & friends are going above and beyond too & we cannot thank you all enough!

In other exciting news: we picked a venue!

We will officially be getting married in the summer of 2019 and I so look forward to sharing more home and wedding updates with you all! I’m sure there will be fun and serious posts to share; especially since we picked the venue that is closest to our families, but that has a cap on the number of guests we can invite.

With our exciting news out there- I am breathing a sigh of relief! I’m so excited to share with you guys these two huge milestones. I had planned on blogging next Friday, but I have decided to take next Friday off, both from work and blogging, so that I can clean, paint and move into our home!

I will be back on the 5th of October with more wonderful updates & insights! Thank you all for following along: let the adventures begin!

From my Hart: Wedding Thoughts

Happy Friday once again friends! Today I wanted to touch on some wedding “issues” that I’ve seen pop-up a lot over the last few weeks. These three items I’ve either been personally asked about for our wedding, or I’ve seen come up with friends of mine as they plan their big days & thought I could give my opinion! Let’s get into it.

Guest List

guest list

First up, the guest list, and quite possibly the most agonizing item any bride & groom will face during the planning process. We’ve all seen the dramatics played out in TV and movies, family members threatening not to come, feuds erupting, and people unable to sit near certain people.

In planning our wedding, the biggest road block has been the size of my family. I have approximately 196 family members, who I see on the regular. I’m blessed to have an army behind me, and love spending time with each of them.

For any bride and groom, depending on their venue, the guest list may have to be cut. We’re fairly confident we may be choosing one of to two venues: one of which is close but has less room while the other has ample room for guests but is located two hours away.

An important fact I want to stress, and cannot stress enough, is that the guest list is not a list of who is loved versus who is not. The guest list is not a list of who is loved versus who is not. Trust that the bride and groom have put their heart and minds into the guest list. They, and whoever else is involved in the planning, did not throw caution to the wind when selecting the attendees.

Also, don’t get discouraged! I’ve seen couples have a “B List” ready and waiting and as no RSVPs start flowing in, those “B list” invitations start going out. However, I have seen people get cut from the B list for how poorly they reacted after not getting an initial invitation, so please tread lightly. No guest or couple wants to deal with dramatics about who was or wasn’t invited. As I’ve mentioned above, it was most likely not an easy decision to make and does not reflect the amount, or lack, of love from the couple.

RSVP

c83ed45ae9299f47719b9d2d9f47323a

Once you get “the number” of guests, the invitations and the way in which they are addressed, tends to extend the guest list issue. I’ve written other blog posts about this issue alone, but as a quick recap:

Mr. & Mrs. Joe Shmoe = husband & wife invited (the same can be said for same sex couples)
Ms. Suzie Q = just Suzie is invited, no plus one
Ms. Suzie Q & Guest = Suzie & a date get to attend
The Shmoe Family = the parents & children are invited

Let’s not forget how important it is to RSVP on time. It doesn’t matter if you are in the wedding, or live in the bride and groom’s basement, they need the RSVP card and they need to know what you’re eating. Expect a phone call if you don’t RSVP in time, but please save everyone the stress.

Also, the line on some RSVP cards that reads “M__________________” is for you to write your name. The M is for Mr. / Mrs. / Ms. and then your name. Please DO NOT forget this- it is the ONLY way the bride / groom will know who is RSVPing back to them. Yes, some brides have tricks for tracking this, but I won’t divulge, because y’all need to do this step haha!

Also, the blank line for you to write in the number of guest(s) attending does not mean you get to fill it in with any number you wish. Please refer to how the invitation was addressed. If the invitation was for Ms. Suzie Q but she fills in the number 4, as her total number of guest- she will be getting a phone call to explain that only she was invited.

And if day of something terrible has happened and you are unable to attend, you need to let someone in the bridal party know! Also, “I don’t feel like going” is not an acceptable reason, don’t let something that would not keep you from work keep you from attending. Or at least lie and say you’ve been throwing up all day. Not showing up is just terribly rude.

Now as a disclosure- we are just beginning to review our guest list, and our final venue choice has not been made. Please remember the above is a combination of my own thoughts from my planning process as well as what I have witnessed other friends agonize over.

Unplugged Ceremony

Screen Shot 2018-09-13 at 2.00.21 PM

Unplugged ceremonies are quite a new concept but something I la-la-love! As you can imagine, cell phones have become so popular and so ingrained into our daily lives, the thought of whipping out your cell to capture a moment is knee-jerk.

However, imagine with me for a moment, you are trying to watch your best friend get married and someone’s cell is blocking the view. Or perhaps you are the bride and look out expecting to see the faces of those who you love the most as you stand next to your husband to be, and all you see is the back of cell phones. Or you get back your wedding photos and the ceremony pictures are scattered with cell phones.

Not to mention the distraction of a cell phone going off or an unwarranted and distracting flash. If this doesn’t bother you- then more power to you! I will speak for my fiancé and myself here and say, our wedding ceremony will be unplugged. Please turn off your cell phones- we want you to be as fully present in the moment as we are. Take all the pictures you wish during cocktail hour and the reception!

Final Thoughts!

Bottom line, for all three “issues” above, whatever the bride and groom request of you, you should respect. If they want an unplugged ceremony, please be respectful. If they do not give you a plus one, please do not argue or bring one anyway. If you were not invited or some other issues arises, please understand it doesn’t mean they don’t love you.

Oh- and don’t wear white to a wedding 😉

With all my love & happy planning to brides-to-be, happy FriYay everyone. Enjoy your weekend!

Feature Image from Caitlin Joyce Co
Unplugged photo from this article
RSVP image from Pinterest
Guest list image from Pinterest

From my Hart: Engagement Party

Happy FriYay all! As promised, today’s blog post will be all about our engagement party!

My godmother threw us the most incredible engagement party so my, and my fiancés, immediate family could come together and meet! Let’s dive right into it!

For invitations, my Aunt used Paperless Post to send the most adorable electronic invitations & they were free!

IMG_7624

There were balloons set in our wedding colors (navy, blush & gold) in bunches around the house. We had a photo wall that was 100% created thanks to HomeGoods. With $3 wedding wrapping paper & some photobooth props, the scene was set!

I had purchased a white Instax Mini 9, instant camera, from Walmart that I set out with the props and extra film. I plan on using this at every event leading up to the big day!

backdrop
$3 Wrapping Paper from HomeGoods

IMG_7713

We had pictures printed out in frames & on a canvas that we are going to hang up in our new home, placed around the food, photo wall & fire place. It was the perfect touch to help each room feel like it was apart of our engagement celebration.

We also had a photobook of our engagement pictures out on the coffee table for all to view. Additionally, and possibly my favorite, was a banner we had created from our engagement pictures. The prints, banner, canvas & photobook were all created via Walmart!

 

 

The food was an absolute feast! With some homemade dishes in addition to some of our favorites from Wegmans, the table was set. There was pulled pork, curry chicken, salads, pastas, a delicious cheese board, wraps/sandwiches, desserts galore & a mimosa bar! I have always wanted a mimosa bar & this surprise was the icing on the cake for me!

IMG_7716

We so thoroughly enjoyed our wonderful day hanging out and celebrating our forever with our families. Thank you so much to my godmother & grandparents for this incredibly & magical affair!

The best is yet to come indeed! We cannot wait to continue all of the celebrations to come with family and friends!

From my Hart: We’re Engaged!

If you are a close friend of mine, you’ve seen me plaster the good news all over social media- I am just so excited, and cannot believe… I get to marry my best friend!

The Proposal

While at the lake with my family, we all gathered around the fire during golden hour- which just happens to be my favorite time of day. The setting sun paints everything this beautiful golden hew & being at my favorite place, the setting could not have been better.

I took notice that everyone was outside, but this was not unusual- and I settled into my chair by the fire to watch my cousins try to beat their parents at a game of badminton.

That is when my (now) fiance came up behind me, and asked if I wanted to take a walk. This was also not unusual, as while cooking dinner earlier, he suggested it as I rattled off a million things I wanted to talk to him about.

As we started down towards the dock, I asked him where he wanted to walk to- our options were limited as we walked towards the lake. He suggested the boat, then quickly suggest this large rock, then changed his mind when I questioned the rock, admitting “right here is perfect.”

Confused, I stopped, turned to him and asked what he was doing. It was then that he got this huge smile, his eyes were evening smiling! I must’ve caught on because all I remember was me saying was… “nooooo…… are you really?” and busting into tears as he got down on one knee in front of me.

I could hear my family screaming behind us as they looked on, between the tears I was able to lock eyes with him, then more tears, then look at the ring to make sure this was seriously happening, then more tears.

He asked, I said yes, and I cried some more.

 

 

Happily Ever After

As we hugged and kissed, I still cried and laughed and smiled all at the same time, I could feel his heart beating out of his chest- it was the sweetest thing! My family swooped down with congratulating hugs and I held out my hand for them to see the ring that somehow ended up on my finger.

38914331_447466202433469_7170910558844092416_n

My Uncle caught the moment & all the wonderful moments after for us, and these pictures are so so treasured!

We spent the rest of the night calling family and friends to tell them our great news! I couldn’t believe that he had the ring since May and was holding it for our trip to the lake. I couldn’t believe that his family & mine had kept such a secret- though, I’m so glad they did.

The moment was perfect, white socks & all. It was with my family, at my favorite place, at my favorite time of day, with the man of my dreams! I’m so blessed that God walked this man into my life & I cannot wait to spend forever with my best friend.

More Engagement Pictures!

My parents wanted to set up a photographer to capture the big moment, but with too many things that could have altered the timing- like the nap I decided to take at 4 p.m. that pushed back our dinner plans- I’m am glad now, that my fiance looped my Uncle in  to capture the moment- organically!

However, my parents were able to set up an engagement photo shoot for us with the wonderful Jessica Fike a few days later! We received our “sneak peek” and I’m so excited to share some of those photos with you!

JamieStevenEngSneakPeek23

JamieStevenEngSneakPeek17

JamieStevenEngSneakPeek25

JamieStevenEngSneakPeek12

Happy FriYay & let the wedding planning begin!