Our Wedding // Overview

mr. & mrs. mcclannon!

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!

Amazing vendor team

Photography: Erica Akroyd Photography

Makeup: Michelle Clark

Hair: The Parlor Blow Dry Bar

Flowers: Knots ‘N Such

Dress: Lana Addison Bridal

Catering: Donovan’s Dish

Cupcakes: The Cupcake Shoppe

DJ:  All Events DJs

Linen & Dish rentals: Party Reflections

Decor rentals:  Green House Picker Sisters

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!

Wedding update // 39 days to go!

I can’t believe that in a little over a month, we will be walking down the aisle and saying, “I do!” Such a crazy and surreal feeling. All of our big things have been taken care of, and here’s an update on the few things we have left:

My dress is currently being altered, and I can’t wait for that to be finished so I can have my hair and makeup trial and bridal portraits done by Whitney! Once it is done, I’ll invite my mom and future mother-in-law for the big reveal at the bridal salon. So exciting! I have a perfume for the day of, all of my jewelry, shoes, and I’m excited to finalize a hair style soon. I’m borrowing Whitney’s veil from her wedding in April, I have something blue from my granddaddy and Andrew’s dad, and I have lots of old and new!

All that’s left now is finalizing small details and conducting final meetings with vendors. We will meet with our DJ soon, and we have our meeting with the venue planner tomorrow! We will finalize menus, head counts, the day of timeline, our ceremony, etc. We need to have some signs made and get programs printed once we have everything set in stone…and that’s about it! The rehearsal and meal are planned, and I’m so excited for the day before the wedding to see family and friends, get nails done with the girls, and have my last day as a “single” gal! I’m planning on having a little slumber party with my bridesmaids in the hotel suite the night before the wedding.

We have had four – FOUR – showers thrown by the most kind people who have made us feel so loved. We have one shower left and it will be an around-the-clock themed shower thrown and hosted by my sister and best friends. I can’t wait! Then, a bachelorette weekend with my bridesmaids and favorite ladies at the beginning of July, and after that, it’s just a final countdown until the wedding weekend! I’m trying to stick to a fitness routine and skin care routine, and just make sure I’m taking time to relax so I don’t get stressed out or overwhelmed! I am mostly just thrilled to be marrying Andrew and starting our new life together (with the three doggies, of course).

I may check in once more before the big day, but I definitely plan to share more details afterwards, like pictures and details from the day itself, the gifts I selected for the people I love, how I handled the planning process, etc.! I have enjoyed planning our wedding for the most part, and we’ve done it in about 6 months! I know the day will be a blur, and I know everything will NOT go according to plan. So I just plan to soak up and enjoy all of it, and forget about minor issues. At the end of the day, we’ll be married – and that’s the whole point!

Wedding update // #planninonmcclannon

photo by j parker photography

There is so much going on and so much to keep up with when you are planning a wedding on top of regular life. I totally see why people hire people to do this for them! I love planning and putting things together, but these are big decisions, and  with a full-time job, new classes to teach, a part-time job, and other major life events happening along the way, July is coming faster than I thought! I thought I’d give a little update on where we are for anyone who is interested!

Things we have done:  We have booked the venue, photographer, florist, caterer, DJ, and I have a makeup artist and hair artist for all the girls! We have our Save the Date and invitation suite templates, so the next big thing is getting the Save the Dates out! We have also booked our honeymoon flights and resort and I CANNOT wait to spend a week in the sun with Andrew. Neither of us has ever been to an all-inclusive resort, and we have never been away together, not even for a weekend! So it’s going to be so exciting to relax and have no responsibilities together. It will be weird without the doggies, but I know we’ll have such a great trip.

Things we need to do:  The next BIG thing on our list is to choose our rentals for catering and decor. We have to choose our table linens, dinnerware, glassware, flatware, all the wares. I have an appointment with the Greenhouse Picker Sisters to look at rental items for decor and furniture in March and I can’t wait to see what they have! If you’ve never checked them out on Instagram, they make beautiful weddings come to life! This week I have been working on blocking off hotel rooms for our guests, and when you’ve never done that before it feels like a lot of pressure to make the right choices.

Soon it will be showers and parties and a bachelorette weekend! But that’s the fun stuff that I don’t have to make decisions about, and I can just spend time with the people I love! Speaking of showers, last Saturday was Whitney’s bridal shower and her mom and our friend Kelly and I were planning for months! It turned out so beautiful and I hope she loved it!!!

I know that all the planning will come together and I can’t wait to see our vision come to life on our big day, but most importantly, I can’t wait to marry my best friend and start our lives together! It will be here in just about five months and I’m counting down the days!

Valentine’s Day

our amazing engagement pictures by j parker photography

Happy Valentine’s Day! I know this is a late-in-the-day post, but it’s still February 14th, so it counts. I had a meeting off campus today so I’m just popping in here between that and my shift at the pub tonight to write a quick little love note.

Whitney delivered our engagement photo gallery yesterday morning, just in time for me to obsess over our pictures and pick my favorites for a Valentine’s Day post!

I love love love these photos for so many reasons. First of all, because all three of the doggies are in them! Secondly, Andrew and I have had zero professional photos before and these are such BEAUTIFUL photos of us. Third, I love to have so many pictures of us laughing together, because that’s our favorite thing to do. Finally, these are so special because my best friend in the entire world took them for us and I couldn’t be more thankful for such a wonderful and beautiful gift.

Tonight, Andrew and I are apart because I’m at the pub and he’s got baseball tryouts after school. If I get off work early we may get to see each other, but we are going to celebrate tomorrow night. Our tradition is just to stay in with the doggies, order take out, and spend time together – that’s what it’s all about! I hope everyone enjoys some time this week with people they love.

So here’s to the man that I love, my best friend and partner in crime, the person that keeps me laughing and balanced and happy. I cannot wait to marry this man.

Here are a few several favorites from our engagement session!


 

People patience

source, and a place to purchase the print!

I have always been very patient with people. Things tend to be a different story. If I’m waiting for something to arrive in the mail, for instance, or waiting for payday so I can get something I’ve had my eye on, or for a birthday or last day of school before a break…those things I can certainly get impatient about. But people? I have always had a soft spot for people and have always had a high threshold for giving the benefit of the doubt.

If you ask me, we all deserve a second chance. We are all fighting different battles that no one knows about, yet as humans we still tend to judge someone based on one exchange we have with them, or we get impatient or irritated and snap at them or write them off. As soon as we do that, we’ve lost the opportunity to learn something about that person or help them through something that they may greatly need support for.

I guess it shouldn’t come as a surprise that being a teacher is a great way to use my people patience. I am an understanding and forgiving person, and some would probably say that I give too many chances. But when I look at some of my students who come from homes filled with violence, neglect, substance abuse, poverty, or dysfunction, it’s hard for me to be a stickler about a particular due date or a quiz retake. We are all worth noticing, we are all worth fighting for, and we are all worthyTo be impatient with people is to say we aren’t willing to consider what they might be going through. We aren’t willing to understand where they are coming from, put ourselves in someone else’s shoes, or change our opinion of someone due to a new perspective. We aren’t willing to step outside of ourselves and really think hard about someone else. I think that people, for the most part, are good. Developmental psychology studies tell us that we need people to trust and count on, and that we need a place to belong in order to feel secure. We depend on these things in order to live a fulfilled and content life. So before we write someone off, or lose our patience with them, maybe we can remember that we’re all in this together, and it takes all of us to make it through.

As the holiday season is most certainly upon us, I think people need a little extra TLC. For some people, this time of year is difficult due to loved ones who have passed away or can’t be here. For others, there is the stress of having family in town, traveling out of town, packing, shopping, preparing…and for those who have families who just don’t do family stuff very well, the holidays can be painful.

We need more kindness in the world, and not just at the holidays. We need people to understand each other better. We need more people patience.

 

Gettin’ hitched!

We are engaged!!!

I wrote about our story/how we met a little while back, and Monday was the 2 year anniversary of when Andrew asked me to be his girlfriend. On Tuesday, he asked me to be his wife! It is so surreal to even write this post, and it has only been a couple of days, but the week has been packed and full of emotion and excitement!

Tuesday at school, Andrew told me he had made us reservations for Sullivan’s Steakhouse in downtown Raleigh, and so I was already excited and looking forward to a fun evening out together. We were getting ready to leave for dinner, and he stopped me in front of my Christmas tree and said he wanted a REAL reason to celebrate, and he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him! I was so shocked I asked him if he was serious or if it was a joke! We were so excited and all of a sudden the shock wore off and I started boo-hooing (of course!). I made Andrew tell me all of the details of how long he knew, did anyone else know, allllll the questions! We headed to dinner and he told me all the things he had rehearsed in his head all day to say – when he actually proposed, he was so nervous he forgot everything he wanted to say! We had such an exciting and happy dinner. The manager brought us a glass of champagne, and we just enjoyed ourselves so much!

at sullivan’s after our dinner!

The ring was Andrew’s mom’s. His dad gave it to her for their 30th wedding anniversary, and with his dad being gone now, it is such a special reminder every time I look at my ring. It is beautiful and exactly what I wanted! I was giving Andrew a hard time because I have been getting regular gel manicures for months, and the weekend I decided to do my own nails and stop going to get them done professionally, he proposed! That’s how it goes, right?

Hopefully soon, we’ll be picking a date and starting to nail down some details, but for now, I am just so excited and trying to soak it all in!

We’re getting married! 🙂

My best friend’s wedding

Most of you probably know by now that my best friend is a wonderfully talented photographer. She started her own business last year and she has really worked hard to get to where she is. Needless to say, I’m so proud of her for pursuing her dreams, hustling, and maintaining her life and other job all at the same time. A large focus of her photography sessions is on weddings, engagements, and couples – so I’m tickled pink that now the tables are turned and she’s going to be the one getting married!!! She asked me to be her Maid of Honor, and at the risk of sounding cheesy…I’m really honored to stand by her on her big day and support her through this planning process. What an exciting time!

Whitney and Romain make a great team. Romain is practical, a little Type A (like me), and really loves Whitney (that’s my favorite part). Whitney is a little more carefree, spontaneous, and they both share a love for food and exploring local events! Romain is the other half of Whitney’s photography team, and they support each other’s dreams like any strong couple should. I can’t wait to watch them tie the knot!

Plus, Romain is a f a n t a s t i c cook, so I never mind going over to hang out, if you catch my drift!

Lovebirds 

Last week, Whitney invited our friend Kelly and me over to have dinner. We are her two bridesmaids – they are keeping their wedding pretty intimate. We were excited to just have some delicious food, wine, and to catch up a little bit. Life is busy when you get older; I’m realizing that now more than ever. Little did we know, Whitney had put together a sweet bridesmaid surprise with gifts for us! This was the cutest idea, and I wasn’t expecting anything at all. Everything was color-coordinated and it was the perfect touch to an already exciting occasion.

I’m stealing these photos right from Whitney’s camera roll – my measly iPhone camera can’t do it justice!

A silky robe for the wedding day, kleenex, a candle, and champagne!

I am thrilled to be celebrating these two for the months to come (and beyond). Congratulations and best wishes to my BFF and partner in crime!

Valentine’s Day


My three furry valentines

I’m always interested to learn how people celebrate holidays. I love any chance to celebrate and be festive, but Valentine’s Day is one of those holidays that either makes people starry-eyed or annoyed and angry. My high school students are quick to flash around their teddy bears, flowers, chocolates, but if they don’t have a boyfriend or girlfriend, they are grumpy all day!

Andrew and I do celebrate Valentine’s Day, but we don’t do anything major. I love having something to look forward to, but I can’t justify spending big money on a holiday designed to, well, make money! Last year was our first Valentine’s Day together, and Andrew cooked dinner for me, something simple but really special in my opinion. We stayed in, rented a movie, wore soft clothes, and had the best time staying in with all the dogs. This year was similar; I was in charge of dinner, so I picked up Mexican from one of our favorite places down the road. I made a “Perfect Size” chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. We do cards and flowers/chocolate, but nothing too crazy. We recently started watching Friday Night Lights together, and I’m officially hooked, so we watched a few episodes of that. It was a perfect Tuesday night Valentine’s Day together! The dogs got some extra treats, too 🙂

It really was the perfect little cake!

Even if you’re like my grumpy students when it comes to Valentine’s Day, remember that the real idea should just be to share and appreciate love, and spread a little more of it around. We should be thankful for the love we have every day, but it’s nice to have a little extra day set aside just for that.

I hope everyone’s Valentine’s Day was LOVEly…see what I did there?