3 Things To Do Right After Your Engagement

7-18-2017 5-30-31 PMSo you just got the ring. Now what? Your emotions will probably be all over the place so here are my tips on what to do RIGHT after your engagement!

  1. Take a selfie with your mate. Your enthusiasm will be at an all-time high and it will be a special and authentic memory to capture in your relationship. Don’t be too “posey” with the pictures you take because it might take away from the genuine emotions.
  2. Then, take a deep breath and spend a moment with just your fiancé. Let it sink in. Don’t be so frantic to rush and tell everyone because this is time together that you won’t get back. If your now-fiance told you some really romantic things when the question was popped, take some time to reciprocate and share your feelings, too.
  3. Talk about who you’re going to tell and in what order BEFORE it goes on to social media! (This article from The Knot has some good tips.)

And once you share the news, don’t be surprised that everyone will respond with “when’s the date?” but don’t rush this process. It’s important to treat your engagement as a new phase in your relationship, and not just a period of time that you skip right past before walking down the aisle. My number one tip to any new bride-to-be is to enjoy this time! Once you have the “married” or “spouse” title, you will be able to have that f-o-r-e-v-e-r. You only get to be “engaged” and a “finance” for a short period of time so don’t let it pass you by without taking some time to focus on the beauty of this life season!

With love,

Girl with a diamond ring

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From the Archives: An Open Letter to My Single Self

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Dear me,

I know that your hearts desire is to be a wife. This is something you have hoped for and prayed for over the years. Not to be a wife, just to be a wife. But to have a life partner and companion to walk through every day adventures with you.

You’ve been single for a few years and I know that has felt lonely at times. While you had some special relationships in high school, the last one really broke your heart. You’re going to date one more guy before you find the one. He will make you more open for marriage and help you grow up.

And when you’re ready, you’ll meet your “future” when and where you least expect it. It will actually be out in public, and you’ll meet him in a way that you never had met a past mate. This will make it special and really stand out.

You’re going to fall in love quickly and date for a few years. He’ll propose later than you want him to, but it’s going to be when he’s ready. That’s most important. Give him time, because you will end up together and have a long and happy life. Marriage is going to be work but it will be the biggest blessing and a clear answer to your prayers.

In the meantime, single self, be patient. Remember that there are a few things that need to happen during this time of waiting.

  1. Get your priorities straight. Learn to love God, love yourself, and then you’ll be able to love someone else.
  2. A concept someone recently shared with me that I LOVED is to “practice” being married, even when you’re single. This might sound weird, but it’s something that’s important. Is there something you would want to do differently when you’re married? Like not being so quick to anger or needing to improve at listening? Or…making your bed daily or getting your laundry done (because soon it will be x2). It’s crucial to get into these habits now so you have less of an adjustment when you are living with someone else.
  3. Enjoy all of the alone time you have today. You’ll still have it when you get married, but it will be different.
  4. Start to look at your budget. All of the money that you’re spending on pedicures and shopping might begin to change once you have a shared bank account with someone else. Get used to saving your money now, so you have more of a foundation to bring to your marriage. When you come together, you’ll both bring some bad spending habits to your relationship, so do what you can to get ahead of this.
  5. Lastly and most importantly, don’t underestimate this: timing is key. While you might be ready TODAY to meet the one, and ready to marry him TOMORROW, he might not be ready. He is still going through life experiences right now that will prepare him to be the husband that you will need. Allow him to have this time before he comes into your life.

Marriage is a forever thing and if it is meant to be then trust that it will be. So while you dream of one day having a ring on that finger, you will get it in a few years and never ever ever have to take it off. So enjoy this time and stop freaking out over who, when, and where. You’ll end up being the happiest you’ve ever been, so get excited!

Patience is waiting. Not passively waiting. That is laziness. But to keep going when the going is hard and slow – that is patience. – Unknown

With love,

Girl with a diamond ring

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Helpful Wedding Planning Resources

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When I was planning my wedding, I found a ton of great  resources that helped alleviate some of the wedding planning woes. Here are a few that I’d like to highlight to help you on your journey:

  1. Grab a girlfriend and attend a bridal expo. Depending on where you live, bridal shows might be few and far between, so this is something that I’d recommend researching soon after your engagement. Most only cost a few dollars for an entrance fee, and you’ll likely find valuable connections and wedding tips. Not to mention, you’ll get swag and it will really help you get in the mood! Here’s a website to start, but a simple google search will find all of the options near you.
  2. Visit Etsy— it is literally a gold mine for unique wedding decor touches. Etsy is an online marketplace where small businesses and local artisans can sell products. I had actually never used it before my wedding and I am so glad that I found it when I did. You can order anything from a custom sign, in the exact color that you need, to a fun garter. If you download the app on your phone, don’t say I didn’t warn you! (You can spend HOURS just looking up search terms like “shabby chic wedding!”)
  3. Speaking of apps…I LOVE this list from Mashable with the “7 apps you need to de-stress your wedding planning“!
  4. Find local wedding vendors via The Knot A collection of businesses from venues to DJs that can put you in touch with some trustworthy recommendations in the area of your choice. Take some time to really research your vendors so you find the right fit. (Or…just do a destination wedding!)
  5. And don’t forget about the people right in your sphere of influence! Talk to your married family and friends (especially local newlyweds) and keep an eye out for wedding vendors or bridal stores near you that you might not have visited before. There is no downside to going in to say hello!

With love,

Girl with a diamond ring

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My Top Social Media Wedding Tips

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Within the last decade, the usage of social media for wedding planning and sharing memories from your wedding day, have increased exponentially. Here are my top tips on how to use social media throughout wedding season.

BEFORE: Consider a wedding hashtag and encourage your guests to use it by printing it on your wedding invitation and putting it on display in key places of your wedding. It can be something silly, romantic, or straight forward, just make sure it isn’t popular already because your feed will be mixed with photos of other weddings! Can’t think of one? Hashtag generators are super helpful! My favorites are from Wedding Wire and Shutterfly. A bonus: come up with one early enough and start to use it during your pre-wedding activities like the Bridal Shower, then ALL of your wedding content will be in one place!

DURING: Have a member of your bridal party take one photo of you and your spouse right after the ceremony and have them post it to your social media pages (from your account.) This ensures that most people will see the first wedding photo come from you, instead of the 50 images that will tag you posted by your guests (including some that are likely unflattering!)

AFTER: Sign out of your social media accounts during your honeymoon! Your phone will be blowing up with notifications from your social channels for days following your wedding with comments. By signing out, you can truly enjoy your time with your new spouse. The kind notes from loved ones will be waiting for you once you get back home, and they’ll allow you an opportunity to look back on your big day all over again. (Even better? Turn off your phone completely during the honeymoon!)

In this new day, choose to use social media how you best see fit, but don’t let it get in the way of being present in the moment throughout your wedding festivities.

With love,

Girl with a Diamond Ring

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How To Have Realistic Expectations for The Big Day

cropped-7-18-2017-5-30-31-pm1.jpgAs I look back on my own wedding day, I think about all of the expectations I had for the big day as I went through the planning process. Think about it. You date your beloved for (what is often) years, to then get engaged. And then you spend months on wedding planning. All planning for ONE day. You will sit and day dream about the details. You will have borderline- panic attacks over the growing to do list. And you will second guess yourself while making (what feels like) a million decisions.

All of this leads to high expectations for your day, and hopes of “perfection.” While we know that perfection is impossible, it’s ok to have high expectations. However, make sure to add some flexibility in your mind so you can more easily go with the flow when things don’t go your way. Here are a few thoughts on expectations for the big day.

  • During the planning process, take some time to talk to other newlyweds. Ask them about their wedding expectations, what they might have changed, and what they wouldn’t have done differently. Their insights will likely be extremely valuable!
  • The day will go by incredibly fast. It’s not going to be worth having expectations that won’t ever be met because you’re going to miss out on some of the best parts of your big day by being too wrapped up in the details.
  • Your guests might not appreciate or recognize your effort put into every single detail, but they will remember the holistic wedding experience and cherish those memories. Some of the smallest details are more for you and not for them.
  • Things will go wrong, but they will likely add to some of the memories that you and your spouse make together.
  • No matter what, it is likely not going to end up being the “dream wedding” that you have had in your mind. It will be different, probably not as grand as what you’ve been dreaming of, but more magnificent and heart-felt in ways you couldn’t imagine ahead of time.

With love,

Girl with a Diamond Ring

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Spring Wedding Ideas from Pinterest

I have a little (or a big) Pinterest-addiction. My GWADR Pinterest account consists of over 10k pins! To build on my blog last week with 5 Reasons to Have a Spring Wedding, I thought it’d be nice to feature one of my Spring-related wedding boards, Wedding Theme: Spring Pastels. Here are a few of the highlights, visit my Pinterest for more.

Spring Wedding SignSpring Wedding Table DecorWedding CenterpieceSpring Wedding Ideas

Spring Wedding Bridesmaid StyleSpring Wedding Ceremony Decor

Unique Ceremony Exit Toss

Spring Wedding Dessert Ideas

Unique Wedding Favor

With love,

Girl with a Diamond Ring

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5 Reasons to Have a Spring Wedding

Spring officially begins on March 20th—-that’s right around the corner! As the snow begins to melt and the sun starts to shine, that means that spring weddings are here.

1 According to “BrideBox”, January, March, April and November are the cheapest months to throw a wedding celebration. Try a weekday or Sunday if you really want to save your money, too.

2 The weather is likely going to be perfect. Not too cold, and not too hot; a great time of year for an outdoor soiree. Do check the weather though and have a backup plan for spring showers.

3 Most people aren’t going to be traveling at this time (other than the peak spring break weeks) which means guests should be not have as many conflicts. Winter and summer can be spotty with availability, so this is right in the middle.

4 You can leverage unique themes like a brunch themed wedding, garden tea party, or spring pastels and it will feel right on trend.

5 Go overboard with flowers, and it won’t even be noticeable (in a negative way.) Whether it be a floral invitation, a bridal flower crown, or floral print bridesmaid dresses, flowers can be such a special addition to elevate the magic of your big day.

If you’re a bride-to-be planning a spring wedding, I’d love to hear why you chose this time of year! Here are some additional resources for you:

How to Have a Spring Wedding by The Knot

11 Expert Tips for Planning a Spring Wedding by Martha Stewart Weddings

100 Ideas for Spring Weddings by Bridal Guide

With love,

Girl with a Diamond Ring

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A Newlywed Tradition

My husband and I recently celebrated our wedding anniversary. Recognizing another year is really special because it allows us to see how far we have come, both as individuals and a couple.

When we were first married, a friend of mine recommended that my hubby and I start a tradition: to watch our wedding video every anniversary.

While I initially brought up the idea to my husband, he wasn’t a huge fan of the idea, but over time I think he’s come to enjoy the sentiment behind the memories. The full length video is about 30 minutes and it shares the entire ceremony and highlights from the reception like the first dance.

It’s been fun to watch the video again and be reminded of things like the way my wedding dress flowed behind me as I walked and the cute jokes from the MOH speech. Now that we’ve seen it a few times, we’ve even recognized some of the talking parts!

The best part of the video is to listen to our vows again. It’s so nice to be reminded of the words that we based the foundation of our marriage upon and it helps us get recentered and focused on what matters once a year. We chose vows that weren’t completed traditional but that had special meaning to us, and they become more true in our lives every day that passes:

“I take you to be my best friend, my faithful partner, and my one true love.  I promise to encourage you and inspire you, and to love your truly through good times and bad.  I will forever be there to laugh with you, to lift you up when you are down and to love you unconditionally through all of our adventures in life together.”

With love,

Girl with a Diamond Ring

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Wedding Tips from a Newlywed: Q&A with Bride, Amanda

Amanda Fox (previously Margedant) is a newlywed. Her wedding photos are still being framed, thank you cards are being addressed, and the couple just hosted the first party in their new home! As with all brides, she has some really special memories, along with a few things that she might have done differently, so I wanted to sit down with her to learn more.

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What’s the biggest piece of advice you have for the newly engaged woman?

Everyone will ask you, “when is the big day?” It’s ok to not have a date yet. You can simply reply, my husband-to-be and I are still deciding when it’s right for us.

How did you create your wedding planning timeline?

Many of the vendors that I hired had a typical timeline document and I was able to get a copy from 2 of our vendors and merge/edit to our liking. The event coordinator at the venue was the best person to run the timeline as she knew the venue’s in’s and out’s.

Was there something that surprised you about the wedding planning process?

I was surprised how easy but time-consuming the entire process was.

For the most part I was calm throughout the entire process. On the day of, my bridesmaid helped keep my nerves down by keeping me distracted and occupied.

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What role did your now-Husband Jay play in the planning process?

Jay was super planner fiancé, each night we would try to get 2-3 things done in the last 3 months of our engagement. Some nights we would divide and conquer and other nights we would work together on projects. A few of the details I found he didn’t think were necessary, these I took care of behind the scenes (ribbon color, fonts on the invites, etc.). This worked well as he was very engaged in things like the music and food.

What was the most stressful part for you?

Bridesmaid dress shopping….trying to get five girls to agree on one dress was by far the biggest challenge of the wedding planning process.

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How did your wedding vision end up coming together?

I chose a venue that had gardens, waterfalls and a victorian house. By having the gardens and waterfall on site, I was able to stress less by not having to arrange decorations. This option fit my timeline best!

The location was one of the biggest parts of our wedding (or any event) running smoothly. While Jay and I were off taking photos or talking to people we knew that the staff was taking care of our guests. It’s good to look at a venue from a functional view as well, does it have accessible bathrooms, capacity, food on site, beverages on site, staffed appropriately, suite for bridesmaids/groomsmen, parking, etc.

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Is there anything you would have done differently in the planning process?

It’s super easy to go over your budget, I wish I would have made sub categories for my budget. Here is how much I have for cake, here is how much I have for a DJ.

What is your best memory from your wedding day?

My best memory from our wedding day was when the DJ gave my husband Jay the mic and he thanked all of our family and friends for coming. I remember standing next to him in front of everyone, thinking, “Wow, I just married that man” and feeling all of the moments of happiness that led up to this day hit me at all at once.

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What’s the best part of being a newlywed?!

Getting a shorter last name, doubling the size of my family, traveling together and having Jay as my ‘forever date’ !

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Wedding Vendor Love

Venue and Catering: Grand Tradition Estate

Photography: Jason Berry Photography

Hair: Beni Brambila

Wedding dress: Mia Bella Couture

Shoes: Designer Shoes Warehouse (DSW)

Photobooth: Pixter Photobooth

*Amanda, I am so happy for you. Thanks for taking this time to share your thoughts with my readers! I know that you and Jay will have a long and happy life together.*

With love,

Girl with a Diamond Ring

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From the Archives: Planning for Your Honeymoon

Since my husband and I did a destination wedding, we stayed behind after the wedding in the same resort and spent a few extra days for our honeymoon. Not only was this totally economical for us, but it allowed us to spend a full week in the place where we got married.

Since we dated for 5 years before this, and I had always dreamed of getting married, I had this perfect vision in my head of what our honeymoon might have been like. While it was absolutely magical, there are a few things I didn’t think about beforehand that might have helped me better prepare.

  • If you do take your honeymoon immediately after your wedding, you will both likely be exhausted! Allow one another to relax as much as you need to and make sure you’re on the same page about the activities you want to do together. We were really excited about doing some adventure sports (like 4-wheeling through the jungle) but we honestly were so tired that put all of our remaining spending money on spa credits at the resort!
  • You will still want to do some things on your own. One morning, my husband went to get a massage and I enjoyed a mimosa with breakfast in bed. I wouldn’t have anticipated that we would have done activities like this separately, but just think about all of the planning and emotion that leads up to a wedding. You will both need a little bit of time to decompress and mentally prepare for the next season of life. After all, you will go from being the center of attention at a ginormous event, to doing dishes!
  • The wedding will be behind you, but you’ll both probably spend a lot of time reminiscing on all of the little details. Like “didn’t you love that toast?” or “did you see XYZ’s dance moves?” Make sure to probe each other with questions, like what your most special part of the day was or what happened that might have surprised you. These will be really special conversations to help bridge you through the rest of your vacation before you jump back into real life.
  • You might have a little tiff or argument! There was probably so much pent-up stress and a lot of emotions that come up because of the wedding. Don’t overthink this and just move through it. Try not to hold onto anything too long because you don’t want to ruin a special time.
  • Make sure you buy something that will remind you of this special place! My husband and I spent a lot more on touristy items than we planned on (and I was a tad bitter about it). But in hindsight, I am SO glad that we did because now I have things like a key chain, coffee mug and flip flops that will always remind me of my honeymoon. It was totally worth it.

Just remember that this will be a moment in your history that you won’t be able to get back and you and your spouse will likely have a special bond with the place where you honeymoon. ENJOY!

With love,

Girl with a Diamond Ring

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