Wedding Planning Tips from Real Bride Lauren

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Today I want you to meet Lauren Rote Youash, a newlywed, one year as of November,  who found a brand new life passion when she was going through the wedding planning process. (Sound familiar? The same thing happened to me!) Like myself, Lauren continues to share her own tips from her big day. I think that you’ll find that her perspective is unique, tips are incredibly helpful, and it’s all tied together with her beautiful vision and exquisite level of taste.Lauren_And_Edmond_1782-1.jpg

  1. Hi, Lauren! I know you have a new-found passion for weddings, what was so special about the wedding planning process that gave you the desire to create wedding content for other brides? This is a great question. I definitely didn’t plan on the social growth that occurred after my wedding day. I started to receive messages from other brides at all different stages of the planning process. And I was often asked the same question over and over, so something just clicked in my mind. If brides are seeking my advice, I want to give it to them. For me, being able to play even the smallest role in a brides decision making for one of the greatest days of her life, is truly the greatest joy.
  2. What was the best part of your personal wedding planning process? Ah this is so hard! I loved so much of it. Designing our invitations was really fun for me. We worked with a custom invitation designer who really brought my vision to life. Choosing the cardstock, colors, fonts, etc. was so much. I really got to be creative and imagine my guests opening each invitation and thinking, “wow, this is stunning.” At least that’s what I hope they said! I also really enjoyed planning the personal touches to the event; napkins (“I been drankin”), bar decals (Drunk in Love & Bad & Boozy), petal toss (It just got real). I wanted to bring our sense of
    humor and personality to our wedding. Guests LOVED it!
  3. Do you have any regrets on how you handled wedding planning? If you could do something over, what would it be? Stress less ;). As if that’s possible. Overall I actually was really organized, and I managed to find a wedding planner that was just as type A as me. However, the weeks leading up to our wedding I was definitely stressed. Mostly about the weather. Even though we got married in Los Angeles, November can still be tricky. 6 days before our wedding, it said it was going to rain. Cue the panic, the tears, and the stress breakouts. But hey, it didn’t rain. All that stress was for nothing. Ultimately though if it still said rain the day before the wedding, we would have had a backup plan. I think as long as brides really plan ahead (meaning 1 year+) and organize what needs to be done each month, the process can be really seamless.
  4. Do you have any tips for events leading up to the big day like showers, bachelorette party or rehearsal dinner? I chose not to have a bridal shower. This concept seemed really old school to me, and the thought of all the women in my life handing me unnecessary gifts was daunting. Of course my family tried to persuade me to have one, but I held my ground. The bachelorette party should be nothing but FUN. Don’t get worried about the friends who don’t all know each other. We’re all big girls. I think a lot of brides stress out about conjoining friend groups, understandably. But, try to remember you don’t need to play host and worry about making everyone happy. The girls will play nice. They are all there for the same reason, to celebrate YOU. I even had friends that didn’t know each other before my bachelorette, and hit it off that weekend, and stayed talking long after! I love it!
  5. What was your experience like when planning the details of the wedding ceremony? Where did you go for inspiration for all of the details? I studied wedding videos on YouTube for weeks. I quickly learned what I liked and what I didn’t like. I always knew I wanted a short ceremony that was really personal. This is why we chose to have a friend marry us, and why we wrote our own vows. The ceremony was a whole 20 minutes of laughing, crying, and more laughing. It took some time to figure out what songs I wanted for the ceremony (processional, bridal, and recessional). I spent hours looking for the perfect songs. I think I stumbled across Daniel Jang on Instagram. My bridal party walked down to his cover of “All Of Me”. The song I walked down the aisle to was Hailey Reinhart’s cover of “Can’t Help Falling in Love”. And our recessional song was “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” by Stevie Wonder.Lauren_And_Edmond_1356
  6. How about planning the reception? What was your theme and can you tell me more about the incredible lights?! Our wedding planner really helped in planning the reception timeline; when to start the speeches, first dances, cake cutting etc. There is a method to the madness. I knew I wanted our reception to be magical & romantic. So of course, LOTS of candles & flowers. I found a photo of similar lighting set up on Pinterest. Lauren Rote YouashI brought the photo to my Rental vendor and he said he could do it! I couldn’t believe it. The lights were above and beyond our expectations. I pulled from both Pinterest and Instagram for reception inspo. I made a public Pinterest board of my bridal inspiration for anyone to check out.
  7. Do you have tips for working with wedding vendors? What about working with creative wedding vendors like photo and video, in particular? Yes. This applies to all vendors – be as specific as you can. You have to remember, these guys have done hundreds, maybe thousands of weddings. Instill your trust in them, but also be as precise as you can. Bring photos, drawings, any kind of examples as you can so it’s crystal clear what you want. Most vendors will appreciate this because it usually makes their job easier! Keep the guessing game out of it. For photography, make a shot list. And if there are photos that you know you want to recreate on your wedding, send them to your photographer in advance! Same goes for video. If there are YouTube videos that you love parts of, send them to your videographer in advance so he/she understands what shots you love, and how you like your videos edited.
  8. Now looking back, is there a wedding planning detail that brides often overlook, but shouldn’t? Yes. I think brides often overlook lighting. I recently did a post on this. The post is pretty specific to brides who are getting married outdoors, but the lighting is still, if not more important indoors. Understanding where the sun sets, what time it sets, and where shadows will be during your ceremony can really make or break your wedding photos.
  9. What’s your top tip for how to keep the wedding planning process focused on you and your future spouse so that the final outcome is a reflection of your relationship? Ah. I love this question. My best advice is to be strong. I know some parents can be very hands on, and insert themselves as it’s their own wedding. There is always going to be some give and take, but the best thing you can do is be honest with what you want and what you DON’T want. This applies to your parents, vendors, and your planner. Be sure to play with personal details where you can, like signage, napkins, songs, pictures etc. Writing your own vows is a great way to personalize the ceremony- adding those inside jokes only you and your spouse know. Ultimately, stay strong and be decisive.

Vendor Love:

Venue: Hummingbird Nest Ranch
Planning: Encore Event & Design
Photographer: Jordan Voth
Videographer: Rayne Films
DJ: Vox Djs
Catering: Contemporary Catering
Florals: Unique Floral Designs
Rentals: A Rental Connection
Dress: Galia Lahav

Lauren, thank you so much for sharing your wedding experiences with me! For any of my readers that are interested in learning more of her tips, visit her website at www.allsherote.com or follow her www.instagram.com/lauren_rote (…you will NOT be dissapointed!)

With love,

Girl with a diamond ring

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What I Didn’t Know About Marriage

6 years ago today, we got engaged! What I knew at that time: I wanted to be with him for the rest of my life and he would be a great husband. He would protect me and make me laugh. He would provide for me and teach me new things. He would take me out on dates and on exotic trips. I didn’t fully know what to expect, but I was right about these things.

What I didn’t know at the time: 

    Marriage is truly a forever-thing, and that means that it’s not like a Hallmark channel movie where romance is layered into every scenario. When you’re dating, there’s enough separation between the two of you to amplify the romantic feelings and situations. Think about it: when you’re dating, you might be planning to go on a date on Friday night. You get through the work day and are excited about what’s to come, thinking about what you will wear. He sends a text message with an emoji saying that he’s excited, too. He picks you up and then pays for dinner at the end of the night. Fast forward to when you’re married; you both wake up together and start your individual morning routines. You probably check in at least once during the day about pets or finances. And then you are home together doing your individual ‘relaxation’ routines post-work, pick up the dirty socks, before you get dressed to go out on a date. You ride there together and pay from your shared bank account before you come home together. While things can still be romantic, it’s in a different (yet still very comforting) way. 
    I always heard that learning to compromise was a big part of marriage but I didn’t fully understand what that meant. This isn’t about who is going to do the dishes or how you will share your groceries. It’s about getting used to each others habits, families, and cultures, and knowing that they come to you with an entire life that was before you. They are shaped by their past, they saw examples of compromise, life and relationship norms, from people around them, and their view on relationships is likely very different from what you once knew.
    News flash: people change! Marriage will change you simply because life changes you. It can be for the best or in negative ways and will happen to you both so it’s important to keep each other accountable. Think about it…if you were the same person 5, 10, 50 years into marriage, does that mean that you are growing? No. As individuals change, so will the relationship, and that’s ok!
    It’s not as much that marriage is hard but that life is hard, and marriage means there are DOUBLE the joys or the challenges. While one might be on the highest high, the other could be in the deepest valley. You then share the load and support each other in the best way you know how.  

Marriage is a beautiful thing and I am thankful for my life partner. I wanted ‘the ring’ so bad and am thankful that he got down on one knee 6 years ago. There was so much hope and anticipation leading up to this day and it then allowed me to have one year and two months planning for the very best day of my life. 

With love,

Girl with a diamond ring

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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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