Tips for Engagement Season and My Personal Story

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Just one of the reasons that I love the holiday season are the incredible engagement photos that fill my social media feed! It’s a time of year where sentiment and romance are at an all-time high.

I was a girl that grew up dreaming of becoming a wife. I would say dream about our life together, our wedding day, and our proposal story.

I kissed a few frogs and then when I met my hubby-to-be, I knew there was something special about him. It was pretty early on that I fell in love and shortly after began to recognize that he might be ‘the one.’ We talked about marriage and I knew that it was far from what he had dreamed of but that he’d be open to it when the time was right.

About three years into our relationship I was ready to move to the next step, but he wasn’t. At almost four years together, we took a trip overseas to spend Christmas and New Years with my family. We explored my hometown, saw some incredible places, and were in many romantic settings. I knew this would be it.(What most around us had not realized is that not only had we talked about marriage, we had previously talked about an engagement taking place that year.)

It didn’t happen. And yes, I cried over that…the second the clock went past midnight and it was January 1 with no ring. We returned back to the States and it was a week later that he got down on one knee. We went out to a nice dinner. Came back to my house and played with our rescue-bulldog and then he grabbed me and started to dance (to ‘silent’ music, which is something we would do at times.) He then started to say sweet things and got down on one knee. We both cried and called our loved ones before sharing the news via social media. 

Our proposal story (truncated to fit into this blog) is not what I envisioned it would be. However, it reminded me of a few key things.

  1. Your love story will play out at a pace that allows you to both be ready. One of you may be ready to move forward earlier than the other, and that’s ok, but give it time.
  2. While it’s important for your future-spouse to know your desires, don’t be surprised if their proposal reflects more of their personality than of yours. Remember that they are likely going out of their comfort zone with the planning, the ring purchase, and all of the details, so it’s even if it ‘feels’ more low-key than you’d like just remind yourself that it’s not.
  3. Don’t compare your relationship, proposal, or wedding planning process to other couples that you know or to strangers that you see in Hallmark channel movies or on social media feeds. Your relationship is unique in its very own ways and that alone is worth celebrating!
  4. It really isn’t about the proposal or the wedding planning. Almost 5-years into marriage, I can truly say that the shiny ring is just scratching the surface. There is so much more to your future together and this step will simply allow you to move forward.

With love,

Girl with a diamond ring

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Diabetes on My Wedding Day

In honor of World Diabetes Day (November 14) and Diabetes Awareness Month (every November), I wanted to throw it back to a blog post that I wrote for Medtronic Diabetes over at The Loop Blog. It was published just a month after my wedding in 2015 and I love hearing my ‘newlywed voice’ again. So here it is, a throwback to my blog post on what it was like to be a bride living with type 1 diabetes. I have lived with it now for 18 years and while it is a very big part of me, it didn’t take away from my big day, and that’s what I was hoping for!

One of my favorite types of blog posts to read is how women with diabetes manage their diabetes on a wedding day. How does it fit in with the dress, the menu, the event flow? I’ve come to realize the reason a wedding stands out from other couple-of-hour events, like prom or a birthday party, is because so much planning goes into it, and it is a day that puts you in the spotlight. In my case, I spent one year focusing on all of the details.

On March 8, I married the love of my life at an intimate destination wedding. To say it was the best day (and week) of my life is an understatement. Since it was a destination wedding, we had both the wedding and honeymoon in the same location during a week-long vacation. We chose Jamaica, and 50 of our closest loved ones were able to celebrate the big day with us! There was unlimited food and drinks at our resort, and a lot of variability that had the potential to impact my blood sugar, so I had to be cautious while still finding ways to relax. I was able to find this balance and was so glad I did because I was able to truly enjoy the day of the wedding.

The Dress and Insulin Pump (Most Important Detail, Of Course)

I selected my dress a year prior. I did a lot of research ahead of time on the types of dress I liked and went in to my appointment with a few arranged on a Pinterest board. I mentioned my insulin pump to the person helping me select dresses, but let her know I didn’t want to plan the dress around the pump. I knew that if I found the right dress, there would be enough options to figure out how to include my diabetes device. I fell in love with a blush colored (!) multi-layered dress. It didn’t have pockets and wasn’t a good silhouette to have pockets tailored. I considered wearing my pump in a thigh pouch, but wanted it to be more accessible.

I decided the best place to wear it was clipping it on the front inside of my bra. There was enough material to cover it so you couldn’t even tell. The great thing about the placement was I could get to it when I needed it and allowed me to clip the pump on the outside of my dress for some pictures. It also worked out that my pump matched my dress, and since it’s a big part of who I am, it was important to capture it in some shots. I also found the PERFECT pump skin that captured the texture of my dress. This was a small detail, but something that was very special to me.

The Reception

The reception décor had a nod to my diabetes: the color blue. To most, it seemed to be a typical white-and-blue nautical theme, but the color blue was important to me for more reasons than that. A few of the toasts made by loved ones referenced my diabetes and how it has shaped me, a very special reminder for me.

 The Food

We had a lower carb dinner with Mahi Mahi as the main dish, so I was able to enjoy a piece of cake and our specialty drink. The resort we got married at didn’t have carbohydrate counts available, so I had to guesstimate when I bolused, but it turned out just fine.

The Blood Sugar

It’s really important to prepare ahead of time for what you think your blood sugar might do. How do you usually react during high stress or emotional moments? I typically run really high and then drop back to normal, but sometimes keep dropping until I go low. The morning of the wedding, with all of the hustle and bustle, I ran in the 300s. But once the rest of the activities went underway, my blood sugar started coming back down to normal because of all the adrenaline (and champagne). By the end of the night, I dropped back to 81 and was able to enjoy the rest of the dancing with the people closest to me.

The Biggest Take Away

Here’s what surprised me most the day of the wedding. As much as diabetes is engrained in who I am, diabetes was not at all on my mind. There was too much going on: people, music, the big dress, the scenery, the décor… and the roller coaster of emotions!

My biggest tip would be to designate at least one person who can help to think about your diabetes on your behalf. In my case, it was my amazing Matron of Honor, my sister. Think of someone who:

1) Already knows your diabetes basics

2) Will be around you for most of the day

3) Is responsible enough to make sure to prioritize your health over all of the wedding day tasks.

My sister carried my glucometer and fast-acting sugar with her, and had me check my blood sugar before the wedding, during the post-wedding photos, and a few times during the reception before the night was over. This was absolutely invaluable and helped me to stay on track with someone watching over me so that I didn’t have to worry about it.

It’s true, a wedding goes by in the blink of an eye. But it’s also true, that with diabetes, you can enjoy and savor life’s special moments and I am so blessed that I was able to do that.

With love,

Girl with a diamond ring

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From the Archives: Seasonal Wedding Details

Update: Since Halloween is now behind us, it’s ‘ok’ to begin to focus on Thanksgiving and Christmas (YAY!) Here’s a throwback blog that I posted this time last year. Enjoy!

Christmas and New Years weddings are the best, but since they often overlap with an already well-known holiday, it can be easy to become too cookie cutter. Think outside of the box and make this season your own.

Here are a few of my favorite ideas to implement for weddings taking place in December and January:

  • Have a hot chocolate bar. It’s unique, budget-friendly, and super easy. Don’t forget flavor additions like candy canes, marshmallows or even cinnamon! You can also take advantage of seasonal whipped cream flavors like pumpkin or peppermint (just don’t put the cans out, please! Place them in another container that feels more wedding-appropriate.)
  • Consider adding a s’mores bar if the venue you’re at can help you figure out the logistics.
  • Have some cozy blankets or pairs of gloves available for guests. Consider matching them to your wedding colors.
  • Speaking of colors, don’t get caught up in what you ‘think’ you should do. A red and green or blue and silver wedding theme has been done a million times. If you have other colors in mind, go for it. They won’t feel out of place if you keep the seasons in mind.
  • If you are fans of Christmas, Christmas trees and poinsettias can make for beautiful decorations. Wrapped Christmas boxes that look like gifts can be cute for your table centerpieces, too. Just be careful not to overdo it because it’s a wedding and not another Christmas party.
  • Don’t forget that you can use candles as part of your decor! They can be super romantic and easily set up the environment. Throw in some that are scented like pine or cinnamon.
  • On the sweetheart table, wrap super thick and luxe blankets around the bride and grooms chairs. Then you can use those in your future home.
  • Get creative with a signature drink with seasonal colors, alcohol flavors and drink names.
  • Tie in the season with your favors. Think, hot chocolate pouches, peppermint coffee or mini-liquor bottles and ornaments can be great ideas for your guests can enjoy after the big day (without breaking your bank!) If you want to invest a little more, you can give away blankets or snow globes that help represent you as a couple.
  • Light up the dance floor with glow sticks and confetti. If it’s around New Years, bring in a disco ball or fun hats and sunglasses.
  • For your grand exit, bring in a snow machine…if there isn’t real snow coming down!

At the end of the day, remember that this is your wedding and it’s important that you don’t get too caught up in the seasonality of details. Incorporate the ideas that feel true to who you are as a couple and don’t force it! For more seasonal wedding ideas, visit my Pinterest at http://www.pinterest.com/girlwithadiamondring.

With love,

Girl with a diamond ring

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Wedding Planning Tips from Real Bride Erica

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For newly engaged ladies: the best kind of person to get advice from during this life season is from someone that just walked through it so I hope this blog is helpful for you! I connected with a beautiful newlywed named Erica a while ago on Instagram. I followed her wedding story closely and was inspired by her attention to detail throughout the planning process. From a custom Hayley Paige bolero to 26 unique centerpieces, she takes you down her path of becoming a bride…so here you go, 10 Q&A with Erica!

  1. Hey Erica, once you had the ring on your finger, where did you begin with the wedding planning process? I actually took my time with the planning process. My now husband and I were together for 8 years when he proposed. I never put pressure or expectations for marriage. In so many ways I am so happy we waited to get married. We had everything in a perfect place before taking the next step in our lives together.  I enjoyed every second of dating and wanted to savor all the precious moments of being engaged. It wasn’t until at least 6 months later I started to look for venues. I knew I wanted something more formal and elegant and our wedding size was on the larger side. I needed a venue that could hold 300 plus people. For me it was a no-brainer…The Tropicana Atlantic City. Mostly because I work here and have seen lavish parties throughout my tenure. The food is outstanding and fit my vision perfectly.
  2. Was there anything that surprised you during the planning? A great deal was surprising. However, what I found the most surprising was the responsiveness of the vendors. Some were so attentive and their responses were swift and informative. Others wouldn’t even respond until I would call or email several times. For someone in sales, this was extremely disappointing. You are seeking out these vendors for a service you are paying for and to not even get a response is unacceptable. In the end, it all worked out.
  3.  What was the hardest part of planning your wedding? The hardest part was actually picking a ceremony spot. Tropicana Atlantic City acquired The Chelsea Hotel in 2018 and I knew instantly I wanted to get married there. It embodied a vintage art deco architecture with deeply rooted history to Atlantic City. However, they did not have a wedding in this building for 5 years. In addition, all the weddings were less than 200 people. We had the tough task of working through construction, layout changes and space constraints. With some first-rate problem solving skills, the Chelsea 5 Cabana Pool was the answer. It flowed perfectly into the cocktail hour and I loved the unique outdoor landscape it provided for the ceremony.
  4. What was the best part of planning? The best part was by far was the day I got my wedding dress. I thought it would be fun to take a trip to Kleinfeld with my mother and two sisters. It was literally like heaven. I remember opening the doors and just being in complete awe, even the waiting room was gorgeous. There were over 20 appointments going on the same time as mine and felt apprehensive that I wouldn’t get the time and attention needed in order to Say Yes To The Dress. As I was waiting for my consultant, Lisa Furhman from SAY YES TO THE DRESS introduces herself and instantly felt like the only bride in the store. She escorted me to the dressing room and asked me questions. I told her I was looking for something clean and timeless, almost vintage old Hollywood. She literally nailed it on the first try.
  5. You were such a glamorous bride! How did you come up with your wedding style for the big day? I saw the bolero first in my favorite wedding blog Green Wedding Shoes. The mIMG_2220oment I saw it, I knew I had to have it. The problem was trying to locate it. I literally called over 200 stores in the Tri State area trying to locate the Hayley Paige Bolero. Each and every bridal salon that carries Hayley Paige within a 6 hour radius I called….nothing! I even called Hayley Paige corporate and they did not have any on hand I could try on. I finally found a place in Hammonton, New Jersey called Meadows Bridal Shop who decided to take on this task in finding the bolero for me. They took my measurements and sent to Hayley Paige. They had to make it custom. This was a huge risk because I wasn’t able to try it on and if I didn’t like it I couldn’t return it. Luckily it was gorgeous and I fell in love all over again when I put it on for the first time. My bridal inspiration came from the vibe of the venue. I wanted a vintage, art deco feel. The elaborate sparkle and design of the bolero paired with the clean satin gown was a combination made in Hollywood heaven.
  6.  I understand that you had a really unique wedding theme! How did you go about selecting it? The theme I chose for the wedding was Whimsical Summer Garden Party/Alice and Wonderland. I wanted bright florals, stripes and white draping in the ballroom. I wanted to create a feeling of being outside even though the reception was in a ballroom. (Some other themes considered were Great Gatsby and Kate Spade.) In the end I loved the theme of the wedding. I did not want to go over the top in your face Alice and Wonderland. All the details were very subtle and understated. It all tied together when you walked into the ballroom/rabbit hole.IMG_2833
  7. Once you selected your theme, how did you bring it to life? All the little details tied it together. I got inspiration from Alice and Wonderland. The cocktail hour had subtle details that touched on The Alice and Wonderland theme. For instance, our wedding had a Gin Bar featuring my Husband’s Gin Company Mr. Finger’s Alibi Gin. The signage focused on the “Drink Me” message from The Alice and Wonderland book. The drinks also were custom crafted by my Husband and garnished with an edible disk that displayed our initials. Moving into the reception, the seating chart was done with mini gin cocktails in little glass jars containing their table assignment with the message “Drink Me.” The welcome sign for the reception was an old wooden door with a glass door knob with the message “Welcome to Brian and Erica’s Wedding Come Join Us down the Rabbit Hole.” I wanted to give the impression the guests were opening the door to a whimsical fairytale taking them to a place of wonder and love. The wedding cake and dessert station had signage that said “Eat Me” and the guest book had signage that said “Sign Me.”Not one of the 26 centerpieces were the same. Each one unique with vintage clocks, teacups, tea kettles and lush bright florals. It was truly the best feeling in the world to see my vision become a reality.IMG_3276
  8. What was your best memory from the wedding? IMG_2214The best memory from my wedding was our first dance. We walked into the reception hand in hand with over 300 people watching and came together to dance to our song “Tenessee Whiskey” by Chris Stapleton. Although everyone was looking at us, I felt like we were the only two in the room. As we got into our first dance, the sparklers went off and everyone’s faces lit up. It was truly priceless. I also did a surprise father and daughter dance with my dad and the entire room went nuts—it was hilarious.
  9. Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently? The only thing I would do differently is I would have gotten pictures during sunset or golden hour. I love my pictures but it would be nice to have some variety of pictures from day to night outside.
  10. What’s your biggest piece of advice for other brides now that you have gone through this process? My biggest advice to brides is to focus on the love you and your fiancé share. Sometimes you get so focused on the details trying to make everything picture perfect. The truth is, it’s not going to be perfect and things won’t go as planned. At the end of the day it’s not about the pictures or getting your wedding mentioned on social media, it’s about celebrating your love and coming together as Husband and Wife and sharing a beautiful life together.

Vendor Love:

Venue: Tropicana Atlantic City

Wedding Planner: Kyle Holzemer

Bolero: Hayley Paige

Dress: Pnina Tornai

Dress: Kleinfeld

Photography: Magdalena Studios

Video: Flagship Studios

Hair: Regina Halper

Makeup: Brielle Zangari

Flowers and Decor: Janet Chester’s Flowers and Events in Atlantic City

Sparklers: White Isle Events

Stationary and Signage: Petal and Paper

Cocktails: Mr. Finger’s Alibi Gin

Ceremony Entertainment: Marc Diomede

Cocktail Hour Entertainment: Hildy and The Peptones

Reception Entertainment: The Exceptions

GIF Machine: Flagship Studios

Bridesmaid Dress: Hayley Paige Occasions

Groom and Groomsmen Attire: Tommy Hilfiger

Thanks for a great interview, Erica! Best of luck to you and Brian as you embark on upcoming life adventures as newlyweds.

With love,

Girl with a diamond ring

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New Seasons Bring New Wedding Inspiration

 

As we are heading into fall season- which will just as quickly become winter- there is a dose of new wedding inspiration that comes to life. No, you don’t have to have maroon bridesmaids dresses for fall, or a blue and white winter wonderland theme. There is so much more that you can do to incorporate the season into your wedding.

Think about these things:

CLOTHING can make your look feel relevant. Bridesmaids getting ready in flannel button ups or pjs? Yes, please. And for the bride, some of the classiest brides that I have seen are wearing a faux fur shrug or carrying a muff (instead of a bouquet.) Grooms can really step up their game with a maroon and black tux or navy separates. You could also both stay warm with matching monogrammed or customized leather/jean jackets.

FOOD is a great way to tie in seasonal details. For fall, you could serve pumpkin pie at the reception or have a candy bar with candy corn. For winter, have a hot chocolate bar or serve peppermint tea/liquor. And don’t forget about your cake flavor and design—incorporate the season into the color, style, and even your cake topper.

DECOR is a given, but don’t feel like it needs to be too literal. Think beyond colors. Use textures like soft velvet or glam feathers. Patterns like leaves or snowflakes can also bring the season to life. And if you’re showcasing photos of you two (like from an engagement shoot), make sure to plan ahead and take some seasonally-relevant photos together. For example, even if you’re doing a spring shoot, you could bring some scarves or blankets for a few extra shots to share while at the big day.

FLOWERS that grow successfully year-round or specifically in this part of the calendar year will be a lot easier to obtain. (Do this research before you dream up your flower details! Here’s a great link from The Knot. According to their guide, Chrysanthemums peak in fall and the Calla Lily can be a good flower choice for Winter, for example.)

FAVORS can help send your guests home with a small piece of the season. From s’more kits, mittens, to snow globes, you could do some really fun things with favors.

Lastly, know that you don’t have to incorporate any seasonal components if you don’t want to. If you’ve had a vision of what you want in your mind and it doesn’t completely match the time of year, do it anyways. Pastel in November, why not? Hot apple cider in spring? If you want. Don’t force yourself into a box that is bound by the calendar, but know that you can still use the time of year to your advantage.

With love,

Girl with a diamond ring

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