I’m back!

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Hi friends!

I’m back from my break this summer and happy to be here. I attended a few beautiful weddings during my time off, watched all of the Hallmark June wedding movies, and watched way too many Say Yes to the Dress reruns! I also read some great wedding magazines and a few event planning books. Oh, and my blog got a makeover! So yeah, it’s been a FUN summer! I’ll be documenting everything I have learned over the next few months. And if there’s something you’re interested in hearing about, please leave me a comment with your topic of choice!

There is something so special about the memories made during weddings and I’m really passionate about this space. Everything I do reminds me of my special day 2 1/2 years ago and I couldn’t be more happily married today. Join me every Saturday to hear more on this blog! In the meantime, check out the regrams I shared on my Instagram channel for these last few months @girlwithadiamondring.

With love,

Girl with a diamond ring

Summer Vacation, Blog Vacation

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Hi there

I’m taking a blog vacation for the summer. I have so enjoyed writing about weddings for the last few months and I’m looking forward to being back in a few months. I’ll be taking the summer to prioritize my health and take a step back from all of the chaos around me. And there may or may not be a stack of wedding magazines waiting for me to read during my upcoming free time. I’ll continue my Instagram channel (@girlwithadiamondring) so catch me online there!

With love,

Girl with a diamond ring

Meeting Expectations

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I have a confession to make.

I have been binging like CRAZY on the show “Say Yes to the Dress” recently. Since a new season is back, they are also airing past episodes. I have literally been watching at least 5 episodes every weekend. Some, I missed so they are new to me, and others…I am watching again! Even if I remember the bride and WHAT DRESS SHE CHOSE! It has honestly made me very happy, though.

As I’ve been watching these, I keep thinking about how so many brides expect that they are going to cry when they find the dress of their dreams. Or if not them, at least someone in their group, like mom or dad. They would literally be beaming (in what we all know is ‘the one’) and then their face would fall and they’d say “I thought I would cry if it was the one for me.”

It got me thinking about all of the preconceived notions we have in our head when planning a wedding. Like, we’re going to cry when we find the dress, or when we walk down the aisle. Or we have to wear high heels, or we have to serve dinner to all of our guests. Not because we want to, but because that’s what we have been conditioned to do.

When planning your wedding, you will likely have expectations placed upon you by society, loved ones, or even yourself, and it’s important that you pay close attention. Don’t expect that you’re going to act or feel a certain way. Because if you don’t respond in that way, you might question things more than you need to.

Know that weddings will bring out so many emotions at different times. Some might surprise you and some might not. But don’t make it harder on yourself that it needs to be. Be true to who you are and throw those expectations out the window!

With love,

Girl with a diamond ring

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The Two Best Pieces of Marriage Advice I Received

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Throughout my wedding planning and leading up to the big day, I got a TON of advice. Some of it was very good, and some of it was…not so good.

But the two pieces of advice that I cherish the most are tips that I was given in toasts on the weekend of my wedding. The bold text is the piece of advice, and the italic explanations are my interpretations and how I have carried this feedback in my heart.

Find ways every day to out-love one another. Sometimes it can get hard when it doesn’t feel like your spouse is ‘meeting you in the middle’ and you’ll find yourself saying things like “Yeah, I would do that but HE didn’t do XYZ…” If you both try and focus on always one-upping the other in the love department, you will both greatly benefit from it. So wake up every day and ask yourself how you can choose to out-love your spouse that day, and this thought alone could transform your entire marriage. If you start this habit early, it will set you up for success for a long future. (A close family friend shared this at our rehearsal dinner and it brought me to tears.)

Always remember, you’re on the same team. When the world goes away, it’s just the two of you. Remember that you’re in each others corners and want the best for each other, even if it doesn’t feel that way all of the time. If you keep a team mentality, you’ll always find ways to back each other up and support one another in the ways you will need it most. (My sister said this in her MOH speech. She and her husband are an awesome team and I often find myself reminding myself of this piece of advice…especially in the middle of any tiffs that my hubby and I have!)

Feel free to steal these for your next toast, the bride and groom will appreciate it!

With love,

Girl with a diamond ring

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Creating Your Wedding Registry

cropped-7-18-2017-5-30-31-pm3.jpgOne of the pre-wedding activities that is quite popular is creating your gift registry. This allows you to select things ahead of time that you know you and your groom will use in your future home, so your guests know exactly what to get you.

Here in the states, I most often hear the following stores as good places to register: Bed Bath & Beyond, Target, Macys, Crate and Barrel. They are well-known chains so anyone can get you a gift or gift card online or in-store, and they have a ton of inventory so most things won’t go out of stock (unless you set it up too far in advance prior to the big day.)

Before you set up your registry, talk to your partner about the things that you would like to have in your home. What type of style? What color scheme? What are the must-haves, and the nice to haves? Aligning on this BEFORE you’re in the middle of a department store is highly recommended! But know that you will not both agree on everything and will need to find a middle point to meet on some items….this is where that word “compromise” comes in!

Remember that your home needs to reflect you BOTH so make sure you select items that represent you both as individuals and a couple. You will want to make sure you get the basics like bed sheets and plates, but don’t forget about the things that will make your house feel like a home. Some of my favorite registry items that we received were pieces of wall art and some unique bed side tables that matched our color scheme.

Also remember that whether you ask for them or not, you will likely get a lot of gift cards (and some from places other than where you register which isn’t always a bad thing.) I recommend saving them up until you have a batch big enough to make a big run to the store. My husband and I saved all of our gift cards until after the wedding and then we used those cards to purchase the rest of our registry lists (and more!)

There will be some people who will not buy from your registry, and that’s ok. You WILL get multiple picture frames (that may or may not be your style). And you’ll probably get a few kitchen gadgets that you have no idea how to use. Some of these can be super special additions to your home, since you never thought to purchase them.

Creating a registry can be a lot of fun and these days store apps make them super easy to manage. Many stores will also let you know if an item runs out of inventory or has been removed from their stock. So keep an eye on this and then write your thank you cards to the people that give you gifts! (More on that next week…)

With love,

Girl with a diamond ring

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Planning for Your Honeymoon

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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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My Wedding Obsession and Top Tips for Brides

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My husband and I recently celebrated our two year wedding anniversary! It has been such a special time for the both of us and I am so thankful to have him as my life partner. It seems odd to me, sometimes, though, that even after two years I still have such a deep passion for weddings. I started this blog just a few months ago (along with my Instagram channel) as a way to serve as an outlet and side-hobby to showcase my love for weddings.

I have enjoyed this process so much because it’s helped me to continue to tap into this passion and tie it to content that I think (and hope) will help other brides planning their big day. Weddings are such a special time in a woman’s life. And if it’s like mine was, both you and your husband will be able to look back on the big day (and months leading up to it) with fond memories.

Weddings are a happy day. They are a fresh start in a couple’s life together. And it allows you to step into a brand new role as a wife or a husband.

When a woman is newly engaged, I often provide these 5 tips based on everything I learned planning my wedding.

  1. Challenge tradition. Hold tight to the traditions that are important to you as a couple, but don’t do something just because everyone else does it.
  2. Remember to ENJOY the process of planning and being engaged. It will get extremely stressful at times, but it’s important to step back and remind yourself that this season will only happen once.
  3. While most of the planning is focused on the big day, some of your fondest memories might surprise you (ie like a rehearsal dinner or bridal shower.) Make sure to enjoy these prepping activities, too.
  4. Try and find ways to drown out the noise. The second you get engaged, you will get a TON of opinions (welcome or unwelcome.) Make sure you take everyone’s advice with a grain of salt, and take time listening to the people whose opinion you really value. Otherwise, it’s easy to get really confused because of conflicting opinions. And at the end of the day, what do you want?
  5. I’m sorry to say this but I feel like it needs to be said. Don’t be a bridezilla. You will have moments of intense pressure and will need to make a lot of decisions in a short time, but remember that the people around you love you and want you to be happy. More importantly, do not take it out of your groom. You want the planning process to be a special time and to (more importantly) start off your marriage feeling like a team.

With love,

Girl with a diamond ring

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How to Make Your Destination Wedding Special for Guests

cropped-7-18-2017-5-30-31-pm3.jpgThe best part about a destination wedding is that you will likely have a whole weekend with your guests, instead of for a few hours. With most destination weddings, the guests pay their own airfare and hotel rooms. This means they are truly investing in this experience and going a further distance (both financially and physically) so it’s important that you plan to make it special for them.

Here are a few things that I did to make sure my guests felt special and appreciated.

    • Keep your guests up to date with a few email updates prior to the trip. Some nice to have reminders are for them to know ahead of time: like what’s your wedding attire and how do they get to the hotel from the airport? And you can also include things like the weather forecast and links to the resort website for them to plan their own activities ahead of time if they desire. Please also make sure that it’s super clear to them of when any reservations need to be made with the hotel so they have their rooms booked on time. People will need (and appreciate) reminders!

 

    • We hosted our wedding at an all-inclusive resort. This way, guests had to pay for their resort stay but once they were there, they didn’t incur extra charges. All food and drink was unlimited, and tipping wasn’t even allowed!

 

    • We had welcome bags available for them at the front desk when they checked in. (We did this in lieu of wedding favors.) The bags included the following: a custom suntan lotion bottle with our names and wedding date, a postcard with the location on it, local coffee and tea sachets, a personalized soap bar and bath bomb, and a small bag that held all of the items that could be used as a beach bag.

 

    • We provided an agenda for the weekend ahead of time with times and specific locations. I will admit that this was hard for me to create prior to the weekend since I hadn’t been to the resort yet, but it helped to have some foundational plans set.

 

    • Along with the agenda, we provided a welcome letter in their rooms that shared our gratitude as a couple for each guest to spend this special time with us. We also included random facts about the island we were being married at, and some of our history as a couple. Right off the bat, this made guests feel welcome and more connected to both us as a couple and the place they would be staying.

 

    • We planned a few optional group activities, like snorkeling and buffet meals so we could spend time with our guests. We did choose all free activities that were included in resort fees, but if you choose any that guests will have to pay more for then please make this clear.

 

    • We made sure guests knew that a majority of the events planned were optional, so they could choose what to take part in. Remember, not everyone is going to want to climb up a steep waterfall or go on a catamaran! It’s a fine balance because you want to have enough planned where people aren’t bored and you create some special moments, but you want people to enjoy some time of relaxation. This will likely serve as a vacation for most of your guests as well so don’t feel pressured to fill all of their time.

 

    • If you’re having a bridal party, try to keep the additional costs as low as possible. I had my girls buy their dresses at Kohl’s and I gifted them their accessories. I didn’t “require” that their hair or makeup get professionally done either. I didn’t think it was fair to ask them to take vacation time off work, pay their own way and hotel room, and then pay the traditional fees that most bridal parties do. Although they might be willing, it’s important to be sensitive to this.

 

    • If you can, invite all of your guests to your rehearsal dinner, or something like a welcome dinner the night before the wedding. This will allow for some time of formal introductions and then people won’t feel like strangers during the ceremony and reception. Your guests might actually really hit it off and make some lifelong friendships, too! (This totally happened at our wedding!)

 

The best part about a destination wedding is that all of the guests that attend will be invested in your relationship and future marriage. No matter what, don’t forget to let them know how grateful you are for their support.

With love,

Girl with a diamond ring

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5 Warnings About a Destination Wedding

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Last week I shared the fact that my husband and I chose to do a destination wedding and it was literally the best decision we have ever made. But it wasn’t perfect (of course) and it is important to keep a few things in mind when selecting this unique path.

There are some downsides that you might want to be aware of:

  • Not everyone will be able to make it (especially if guests pay their way), and just assume that most elderly friends or grandparents won’t be able to make it. My solution to this was to do multiple showers with different groups of people, and I even flew to where my grandma lives so I could celebrate with one party that she could attend.
  • There will be things that happen that are out of your control, and a far away destination will increase the likelihood of this (i.e. a best friend’s visa is expired and can’t come last minute, or a guest gets sick from local food). This comes with the territory of travel in general, and traveling in large groups can be more complicated.
  • There will be more for you to deal with (i.e. planning a few meals, instead of just one at the ceremony) but if you have a good bridal party who can help you take charge and plan an agenda beforehand then it can take off some of the stress. It is really important to get to know the resort that you are staying at. I randomly selected a few restaurants ahead of time and put them on an agenda for my guests. My wedding coordinator gave me the wrong information and said I couldn’t reserve space at the restaurants for large groups, so there were two meals where I showed up with 50 people and the staff had to scurry around to figure out where to sit us all.
  • You do give up a lot of control and have to truly trust the resort and wedding coordinator who will be working with you because you can’t do typical things like scouting a location or tasting a cake until you arrive to the destination. I recommend asking for pictures beforehand, and anything in writing that you can review about the resort that might not already be on their website. This was helpful for me because I was able to print tons of packets of information to digest prior to the big day.
  • This isn’t super important but it caught me by surprise, there are going to be people who just don’t get it (like come on, why wouldn’t you get married in an actual physical church, or how dare you ask your guests to pay their own way for travel??)…whatever! There will be some interesting etiquette things that come up, but like with anything, stay true to who you are and what’s most important to you as a couple.

I do hope that this helps if you’re currently on the fence! I am PRO-destination weddings (see my blog from last week!) but it is important that you’re prepared.

With love,

Girl with a diamond ring

 

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5 Reasons to do a Destination Wedding

cropped-7-18-2017-5-30-31-pm3.jpgOne of the most unique things about my wedding was that it was a destination wedding on a Caribbean island. We chose a place my husband-to-be and I had never been to so it was a brand new experience for us. It was magical and I would have never decided to do it at home (knowing what I know now.)

When we first started planning our wedding, we quickly realized a few important factors that weighed heavily on us when deciding to do a destination wedding:

  1. Many of our guests lived all over the place, and some would be traveling from (literally) the other side of the world for our big day
  2. We have a lot of friends and one side is a very big family, but we knew we wanted it to be an intimate affair
  3. We were concerned about spending all of the money on a wedding that would only last a few hours and wanted to see if we could make it a grander event
  4. We wanted to challenge tradition and make it a memorable experience for both us and our guests
  5. We are both “worldy” and were bit by the “travel bug” at an early age so it just made sense as a representation of our backgrounds

Once we put all of these thoughts together, the idea of a destination wedding became more appealing. The “type A” personality that I have wasn’t helpful, though, and I stayed on the fence for quite a while. It just felt so…out of my control. Could I truly make it my own? And would it feel like a cookie-cutter out-of-the-box wedding ceremony?

I started to do my research and found a few of the larger chain resorts that have customizable wedding packages. I also spoke with a friend who got married this way and then read up on forums from real brides who did it this way. Seeing pictures of these events put me a lot more at ease and got me super excited about doing something that felt so different. I recognized that I would be able to add as many custom touches as I wanted, and it could feel true to us as a couple.

With all of this in mind, if you select a reputable place with good reviews and are paired up with a good wedding coordinator, you can truly make your vision come true. And if it’s like mine, it will be a shared experience for both of you as a couple and your guests that none of you will ever forget. If any of the above ring true for you too, it might be worth researching this and realizing that it’s truly a valid option.

Join me next week to hear some of the downsides to be aware of ahead of time. And if you’ve done your own destination wedding or attended one, let me know if you have anything to add!

With love,

Girl with a diamond ring

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