How to be a Gracious Wedding Guest

June is here: the most popular wedding month of the year! Whether or not you’re getting married this summer, you are probably invited to a wedding or two (or five!) Since every wedding varies based on the couples’ culture and personal preferences, it’s sometimes hard to know how to behave once the big day arrives.

  • When you get the invite, it will likely give you an idea of the format and theme. Take clues from this on how formal it might be and if there is a specific insight you can glean from the upcoming day.
  • You better RSVP!!! And don’t do it last minute. This is so important.
  • Try not to reach out directly to the couple with questions! You can always reach out to an immediate family member or someone in their bridal party. Instead, reach out to the couple with a word of encouragement before the big day. They are likely stressed and have a lot going on. If possible, offer help or take them out to get their mind off of everything going on.
  • Be on time! While most ceremonies never start on time, don’t assume that. Plan your day so you can have a buffer so you’re there before it starts.
  • The bride won’t get tired of hearing how beautiful she is, so make sure to compliment her if you do get to speak! Also, let the groom know how handsome he looks.
  • Take notice of the smaller details because either she or he put thought and effort into putting that entire experience together. Save those things in the back of your mind to tell the couple after the big day. Once things are all over with, they might question all of the effort, so it will be nice for them to hear a kind word of notice and appreciation.

Hope this helps! Enjoy wedding season, I know I will!

With love,

Girl with a diamond ring

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10 Reasons to Elope From a Real Bride

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Newlyed Margaret (Meg) Woodward Herd recently eloped in Dallas, Texas. She and her now-hubby, Joseph, are absolutely beaming in their photos and it’s crystal clear that they made the right decision for their special day.

A shoutout to Swink Photography for capturing all of the special moments from their elopement. The bride contributes a lot of the success from the big day to their photographer, Betsy, who helped create intimate moments that will last for a lifetime.31712215_973795852797341_8724603394645295104_n

Are you considering the upsides of an elopement? Here is what this real bride had to say for her top 10 reasons to elope!

10. Your officiant can provide you with refreshments of your choosing immediately after the ceremony, with NO judgment.


9. Extremely small wedding parties = saved money, less obnoxious outfits, and more time for sister tattoo rubbing.


7. You can pass the time staring at the beautiful sunset while your bride tries to pull off a tearful sneak attack.


6. Your vows can contain inappropriate jokes not suitable for church settings or in the presence of relatives.

5. You save money on flowers. And food. And decorations. And music. And space. The list goes on…

4. Everyone loves a group photo…old friends, distant relatives, wedding party, etc. But you know what everyone loves more? Taking no more than five minutes to complete all different combinations of said photos.

3. Cake for two, anyone?

2. There is little risk of a ring bearer/flower girl melt down when your fur baby holds the title. Also, how adorable is a puppy in a bow tie?! He gives any toddler in a tuxedo a run for his money.


1. Because at the end of it all, you shouldn’t focus too much on the flowers, or the food, or the decoration, or any of the little details that go into the party planning. It leaves more room for focusing on exactly your way and  how he/she looked the first time you saw each other right before you said “I do.” Or how that first kiss as man and wife felt. Or how his/her voice sounded saying their vows. Or how your heart felt, most importantly.


Congratulations! I LOVE that you two threw tradition out the window to make some really special memories together as you enter this new season hand in hand.

Follow Swink Photography to see more of Betsy’s work:




With love,

Girl with a diamond ring

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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


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

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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