I cannot believe we are in 2019! Another new year, another time for resolutions and a new start. I agree that anytime is as good a time as any to start up something new or work towards a goal, but there’s something about the feeling of doing it with everyone else that makes you feel like you’re supported.
2018 was good to me, so it is going to be a tough year to beat. Andrew and I got married (!!!), went on our honeymoon to Jamaica, started another new school year, and bought a house! Big life changes. I got to celebrate my best friend getting married and host some events for her, and I got to spend lots of time with two of my bridesmaids’ babies! I went on a few amazing bachelorette parties, attended wonderful and happy weddings, and did all the wedding things. I also got to help renovate a playground with my Early Childhood Education students with a grant we received! I went to Chicago with my family, celebrated turning 31, and got to see a lot of baseball and football games that Andrew coached. A great year 🙂
I always make similar resolutions (see here and here for 2018 and 2017’s posts), but this year I’m really trying to be thoughtful about what is realistic and what is practical for my life in this season. Last year I did so-so with my resolutions and failed hard with my weight loss goals, so I’m really trying to stick to a few simple things this year! Here are my 2019 resolutions:
Stick to Weight Watchers! I just re-joined and spent a lot of time meal planning and writing my grocery lists. I know I can do it and I hope to continue seeing progress! I have a considerable amount of weight to lose, and I want to do it the right way.
Be more active.
Andrew and I both want to set an early bedtime for school nights and read for 30 minutes before bed.
Less screen time. This one is hard just due to society in general, but I’d really like to limit my mindless scrolling on social media. I also want to be more intentional about when my phone is out – like during meals or when I am visiting with friends or family.
That’s it! All doable, all realistic, and all important for me at this time in my life. Whatever your new year resolutions are, I am sending good vibes for us all to be successful! Here’s to 2019, and 360-something more days to try to get it right!
I’m writing this post as we wait in our apartment for hurricane Florence to hit NC – super scary! So I’m trying to keep myself busy by reliving our big day!
I tried to be really thoughtful and intentional about all of the little details of our wedding. My jewelry, my something borrowed/blue/old/new, etc., gifts that I gave bridesmaids and other important family members, you name it. I love to give little gifts, and I love meaningful touches, so those were all throughout our wedding day.
My jewelry was an Elisabeth Ashlie crystal bar bracelet and a dainty gold chain necklace with a diamond my mom let me wear – my something old (and also borrowed)! I like simple and classic, so they were perfect. My earrings were the Virginia drop earrings from Anthropologie, and that was special to me because my grandmama’s name was Virginia, and it just felt right! I mentioned a long time ago that my engagement ring was Andrew’s mom’s 30th anniversary gift from his dad, so that was already very meaningful to me. Our bands came from Etsy; mine is thin and dainty and his is wooden, which I thought was so cool! But day to day he usually wears his silicone bands for coaching!
For my something blue, I had a handkerchief from my granddaddy that my mom saved for me with a blue emblem on it, and I also asked Andrew’s mom if I could use one of his dad’s old blue handkerchiefs. I sewed a heart from his old handkerchief into the back of my wedding dress and inside her gift that I’ll describe later, and I sewed a patch on the inside of Andrew’s jacket. For honoring Andrew’s dad, we had a memory table with photos of all the family members that couldn’t be there with us, and we laid a rose on the chair next to Andrew’s mom. We also listed Andrew’s dad as honorary best man on our wedding programs, and Andrew didn’t have an official best man. I know that there is nothing we could do that would come close to him actually being by our sides, but we tried to honor him every chance we could.
My real something borrowed was Whitney’s cathedral length veil – she wore it in her wedding in April! And for something new, I had lots of those things! Probably my shoes 🙂 I got them before I even got my dress because I knew what vibe I was going for! They are from DSW but no longer available. My aunt found a note from my granddaddy before he died and he had set aside a sixpence for all of the girl cousins’ shoes for their wedding day! It is supposed to be good luck. That was so special, and I taped it in my shoe on our wedding day. I also bought a new perfume for our wedding day which everyone suggests so that when you spray it, you’re reminded of that day.
Our flowers were just gorgeous! We used Amy from Knots ‘N Such, and everything turned out so perfect. She decorated our pergola that my dad built us for our ceremony backdrop and all of the colors were amazing together and complimented everything else perfectly. We repurposed my bouquet and the bridesmaid bouquets for the head table, sweetheart table, and our family tables. Otherwise, the tables just had greenery garlands and candles for centerpieces. Simple and pretty!
For signs, we had our talented friend Lisa from Bull City Ink create several for us! She had done the signs for Whitney’s wedding, too, and is so great at what she does. I knew I wanted a big mirror for the seating chart so we could keep using the mirror in our home as a memory and for functional everyday use. One of the teachers in my department at school also does beautiful hand lettering, and she had made us a “happily ever after” sign for our wedding shower at school last semester, so we were able to use that, too! Everything tied in to our accents of gold and wood. We also rented mixed metal votives and wooden and gold candle lanterns from Green House Picker Sisters! For pictures, we rented a LOT of these simple gold frames from IKEA…and now we have plenty to use in our new home! Our guest book was a polaroid station with props, sharpies, and washi tape.
For gifts, I spent a lot of time looking on Etsy! That’s my favorite place to get unique gifts, and I always rely heavily on the reviews of the shop from other customers. I also used my favorite go-to for shopping online, Elisabeth Ashlie.
I got my bridesmaids matching jewelry to wear for the wedding. They each got these bracelets with a clear jewel and these blush stud earrings to match their blush pink dresses. I also have the earrings and love them, so I hoped they would too, and would wear them again! I wear my bracelet that Whitney got me for her wedding every day and I love it. For their gifts, I also included a frame with some favorite pictures of us inside of it, and a mug (also from EA, I can’t help myself), and these really pretty pouches with their names in gold foil. I had already gotten them these robes in champagne and personalized champagne flutes when I asked them to be my bridesmaids back in January! We also all wore the nail color I gave them on our toes – a sparkly gold called “To have and to GOLD.” Andrew got his groomsmen their blush pink ties and these really cool baseball bat mugs with their names engraved on them!
My aunts threw me a beautiful afternoon tea for my bridal luncheon, and that was one of my favorite things from the weekend! And of course Andrew’s mom threw the rehearsal brunch after our morning rehearsal, which was delicious food from Flying Biscuit Cafe in Raleigh and was such a nice event. It was just such a special weekend all around. So for the aunts and for my mom and Andrew’s mom, I got these great candles in different varieties – “aunt,” “mom,” “mother of the groom,” and I also got a “sister in law” one for Andrew’s sister in law! The owner of the shop was so helpful and I ended up going back to that shop to add on orders throughout the process. They had really nice packaging, were high quality, and smelled wonderful!
For the moms and also my step mom, I got these lovely clutches that you can personalize with a photo on the inside of it. I loved that idea and loved that I got to include a picture of Andrew’s dad in his mom’s clutch, too. Look how cute Andrew was as a high school baseball star 🙂 I did the gold color for my mom and Andrew’s mom, and the dark purple for my step mom because I knew her dress was lavender and she loves purple!
For cards, I ordered a bunch of cards from this Etsy shop that said “to my mom, dad, brother, husband, sister,” etc., some with names, and some that just said thank you. I used these for vendors, my bridesmaids, and anyone I wanted to thank on our big day for being there for us along the way. The print was lovely, and the blush pink matched our color scheme! For calligraphy and for wedding invitations/RSVPs, programs, and place cards, we used Tiffany at Raleigh Calligraphy and she was such a dream to work with. She helped design everything and answered my millions of questions. I ended up going back to order matching thank you notes from her!
I love the way everything turned out. Our reception turned out so much prettier than I imagined and I loved all the greenery and simple accents! The Merrimon-Wynne house is already so beautiful that you really don’t need much to decorate it – just a few personal touches to make it feel like your own!
We had a southern comfort menu from Donovan’s Dish with bourbon meatballs, fried green tomatoes, and chicken and waffle skewers during cocktail hour. For diner, it was a summer salad, pimento cheese stuffed chicken breasts, roasted potatoes, the most delicious shrimp and grits, and bundles of asparagus wrapped with prosciutto. Our dessert was cupcakes from the Cupcake Shoppe with a lemon cutting cake on top!
I still am so excited that my dad built us the pergola and bench that we get to keep at our new home. Like I said in my last post, my mom helped me with all of the planning and was so excited with me as Andrew and I were making decisions on linens, plates and silverware, and everything else. I couldn’t have done it without her! Whitney and some of my girlfriends decorated our car for our sparkler send-off and getaway, and my brother and dad helped pack everything up afterwards and get it back to our apartment for us. We had such a special day surrounded by family, friends, and little touches that made things so special and memorable for us!
Our wedding seems so long ago in some ways, and in others it seems like it was just yesterday that I was waking up to marry my best friend! I finally have had time to adjust to our new busy schedule with school, coaching, and house stuff, so I’m excited to share some details from our big day!
We got engaged December 5, and I knew I wanted a summer wedding since I adore the heat even though Raleigh summers are torturous. Since we are both high school teachers and with Andrew’s coaching commitments, it didn’t seem very doable to have a wedding during the school year, much less a honeymoon, and I never wanted to have a Christmas wedding because it’s already such a busy time. So summer it was! We went with a Sunday wedding because the venue we both loved was PERFECT, but also came with a nice price tag. Sundays are always less expensive, so that’s what we could afford. We settled on the Merrimon-Wynne House in downtown Raleigh because it was just gorgeous, but mostly because they had a beautiful indoor space with air conditioning for the ceremony – a must for a Raleigh July wedding.
the main house and carriage house where we had our ceremony + reception
Since I’m already an organized person, I wasn’t terribly worried about taking on the planning itself. I knew I would have the first part of summer off to be able to focus on all the small, last minute details before the big day. Still, planning a wedding is very stressful. It is just so many decisions – and I’m pretty good at making decisions – but when it came down to a final guest count, who to invite, where to seat everyone, etc. it became almost impossible at times. I never want to hurt anyone’s feelings, and no matter how many people tell you, “It’s about you and Andrew, don’t worry what anyone else thinks,” you still worry that you’re upsetting someone at every turn. I made several lists and edited them along the way. I had a master list when I first started planning, then I made a 3 month, 2 month, and 1 month list, and then I counted down by the weeks! There was just so much to do that keeping everything in an organized list saved me. I also set a lot of reminders on my phone and made a separate email folder for wedding stuff. My mom was helping from Asheville, so being able to send her emails of all of the confirmations from vendors was really helpful! It also helped that my best friend Whitney got married a couple months before me, so I was able to ask her advice on a lot of things or write things down as they came up for her so I wouldn’t forget this or that.
Our colors were blush pink and accents of gold and wood. There was also a lot of greenery and then pops of color in the florals throughout. I guess for a theme I’d say we went with just classic and elegant, but not too over the top. It wasn’t glam or blingy because that’s just not my style or taste, and the wedding wasn’t super formal, either. A couple of my favorite details were that my dad built our arbor/pergola that we stood in front of for the ceremony, and he also built our bench that we sat on at the head table! We will get to keep both of these things in our new home and I can’t express how special it was that he built them for us! He surprised us with a music box built in underneath the bench that plays the wedding march and has A + J carved in it – I cried when he told me! My dad builds beautiful handmade guitars and has built many things in his life, but these two items are the most near and dear to me.
my brother & dad both walked me down the aisle; when my dad gave me away he tripped on my train and it was comic relief! that’s the pergola he built us!
The day of the wedding, I woke up and got in my soft clothes and packed everything I needed for the day – so much to remember! I called Andrew and talked to him to just check in and calm my nerves. The girls spent the day in the bridal suite which was amazing, getting our hair and makeup done, taking pictures, having snacks, and just being girls! Andrew’s mom got ready with us, too, which was so nice! The guys arrived in the afternoon after all of our photos were done (that way Andrew didn’t have a chance of accidentally seeing me!). We didn’t do a first look because we are both very traditional. Andrew and the guys got some time to hang out in the groom’s suite across the hall, with a TV and foosball.
Right before it was time for the ceremony to start, the venue planner came to get all the girls and I had a moment alone to myself. I listened to “Found a Heart” by Emily Hearn – look it up! The perfect song to listen to before getting married. Our first dance song was also by her: “Like Ships Need the Sea” – the acoustic version. My bridesmaid Lindsay who works in the music industry GOT EMILY HEARN TO MAKE A VIDEO OF HER AND HER HUSBAND PERFORMING THIS SONG for our wedding gift!!! So incredible that we will always have that video to cherish of our first dance song.
Our vendors were incredible, and I loved working with all of them! The only bad experience was with the person I selected to do my hair – but we got that worked out and I am listing the salon that actually ended up doing the bridal party hair for the wedding, which I was so delighted with! I can’t say enough good things about these people and the way they made our vision come to life! Guests have continued to rave about how delicious the food was, how beautiful the flowers were, etc. and I’m just so glad everything came together for Andrew and I to be married without a hitch! The day went by in such a blur so I am forever grateful to Erica and her second shooter Zoe for capturing these amazing moments throughout my favorite day of my life!
Those are all of the main points, but it was such a fantastic day and weekend – and I can’t believe we have already been married for over a month! I hope to post about all of the little details soon, but here are some photos to hold you over until then!
Our honeymoon to Jamaica was amazing! We started planning our honeymoon pretty early on, since we got engaged in December and only had about 6 months to plan everything for our wedding! We both wanted to go somewhere tropical where we could just relax and be at the beach, and we both loved the idea of an all-inclusive resort. We had never been on a trip together, and we wanted it to be fun, beautiful, and laid-back. We started looking into Sandals resorts, and we picked Sandals Montego Bay after looking at lots of reviews and talking to friends who had been there. We booked the resort and our flights, and then it seemed like something far off that would never come. After the wedding, it seemed so surreal to finally be married and to be boarding our first flight together – and as husband and wife!
We were both so pleased with the Sandals experience! Everything was so beautiful when we arrived, and they took care of everything for us, including a waiting room at the airport with drinks and sandwiches, a shuttle to our resort, and taking care of our luggage every step of the way. Our room wasn’t ready yet when we arrived, so we went out to the beach to sit and look at the views. We were so excited and felt so fancy to be at this big beautiful resort on such a beautiful island!
just arrived in the sandals open air lobby!
the view from our room and a bathtub on the balcony!
The water in Jamaica was so clear and beautiful, calm with very little waves. We went snorkeling one day and got to see so many beautiful fish and the reefs were amazing. We also saw TONS of jellyfish! They were tiny and almost clear with a hint of pink – that’s the only way you could see them. We got stung but it just felt like tiny electric shocks, nothing major. But the really great thing about Jamaica is that there are basically no sharks…my worst fear! I made sure to google about that before we booked. We spent our days having breakfast at the main buffet, lathering up in sunscreen, and then hitting the beach for a few hours! We mostly ate lunch at the beach bar and grill because we were right there, and then we would come in to the room in the afternoons to cool off, shower, and rest or nap. At night we would get ready and go to dinner somewhere on the resort – we had Italian, Asian stir-fry, and English pub food. There were several restaurants on the resort, but two required reservations and we only did that once. We loved Tokyo Jo’s, the Asian stir-fry restaurant – and it was right outside our hotel room so it was easy to get to! The English pub was close, too, just steps from our room. We went to the piano bar one night and also did karaoke! Mostly, we enjoyed the water and the sun and just spending time together with nothing to do. I read one book and a few trashy magazines, and we reapplied the sunscreen as often as we could. This skin was not made for the sun, but Andrew always gets a great tan. So unfair! 🙂
We were at the resort Tuesday to Tuesday, and Sunday was the one week anniversary of our wedding! So we booked a candlelight private dinner out on the Greek Gazebo location – our dinner actually did not go according to plan, because there was a mix-up and they had reserved our location for another couple, as well. So that was a little bit of a bummer, but we still had fun and got to enjoy the beautiful sunset out overlooking the water!
The last day we were there, we rented out a cabana over the water, and that was probably our favorite thing about the trip! We spent the day covered by the shade, catching such a good breeze, and they served us breakfast and lunch out there with a private butler for the day! His name was Cory and he was so great. He talked to us all about Jamaican culture and we just loved being able to relax in the shade all day for our last full day of vacation.
We loved our experience and would love to go back for an anniversary! I would love to go back every year, but you know…teacher salary! It was hard to come back to reality but we have so many amazing memories from our first trip together as husband and wife! The only tip I would give is to pack even lighter than you think you should. I’m not a super heavy packer, but honestly I could have done without several makeup items, and could have packed wayyyy less clothes! All you really need are sunglasses, bathing suits, cover ups, flip flops, and a few dresses or outfits for dinners! Thank you to Sandals for making our honeymoon so much fun!
It’s official! I am a married lady now! The wedding day and even the entire weekend went by in such a blur, and I tried to really be in the moment like so many people have advised – but it still goes by quickly and you feel like you got bits and pieces of a lot of things, but it’s hard to put everything together as a whole, if that makes sense. Our wedding day was sooo wonderful, minus my hair stylist not showing up – but we got that fixed pretty quickly and the rest of the day was smooth sailing! There’s always got to be a story, right?! And our honeymoon in Jamaica was amazing!!! Just what we needed. A week with my husband (!!!), relaxing in the clear water and white sand, getting some sun and rest, with no responsibilities and no commitments.
What a WHIRLWIND this summer has been. I thought this would be a summer where I could relax, work on the blog, lay out by the pool, run errands for the wedding…I barely had time for any of that! What it really ended up being was hours of final details, emails, and meetings for the wedding, trying to work out and meal prep so I was feeling my best, my sister was studying for her board exam to become a Nurse Practitioner (she passed and starts her new job in Charlotte TODAY!), Andrew was working on summer school and summer baseball and football coaching…the list goes on! All of that mixed up with other weddings and showers, my bachelorette weekend, and trying to pack up my sister’s things, move Andrew out of his apartment and into mine, unpack all of our wedding gifts and donate tons and tons of clothes and household items, and try to pack for the wedding and honeymoon! There was stuff EVERYWHERE for weeks and weeks and for someone like me, that’s a nightmare. So now that we are home from our honeymoon and I’ve been able to unpack every last box and make a few decor swaps, it’s starting to f i n a l l y feel like a home – our very first home together!
It has been raining since we got home from Jamaica, so that’s no fun – but other than that, I’m so happy to be back to real life, to finally have all three dogs back together with us again, and to be able to catch up with people after the hectic last few months!
So now there are about 2 weeks left until school starts up again and I am trying to just really enjoy every moment of them. I need to get my name changed, so I’m working on getting that done ASAP, and other than that, it’s mostly just settling in to our new home and finding our new routines until school begins and our routines change completely again! Haha! I’m planning on some blog posts about wedding details, the honeymoon, and maybe our apartment, as well as regular non-wedding related posts in the next little while, so stay tuned – don’t give up on me!