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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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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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’ !


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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10 Things I Loved About Your Wedding

Over the years I have attended a lot of weddings, and each stand out in their own unique ways. One that knocked me off my feet earlier this year was the wedding between Isabella Ella and Ivan Miya, now the Miyas!


  1. The Theme Both Isabella and Ivan have strong Christian faith and have made it a very personal foundation for their future marriage. This was very clear through their theme. The bride told me, “We really wanted our guests to feel a touch of heaven. It was planned to be an experience that gave them pieces of what heaven might feel like.”

Both the ceremony and reception were held on the grounds of a beautiful home that was rented out for the evening. There was lush greenery and flowers almost everywhere you looked which made it feel magical.

  1. The Music Once all guests were seated at the ceremony, you could tell it was a formal and special event. When the music started, it was beautiful. The Godparents and parents walked down to an instrumental version of “When I Fall in Love.” And then the groom walked down the aisle…and the Super Mario Brothers theme song began to play! Not only did this add to the youthfulness and festive spirit, but it also taught you something about the groom (who is a 3D character artist) and his love for video games.

And then the bride walked down to “Best of My Love” which was a proclamation to her groom. This also let you know about her joyful personality and desire for their future together. The best part? They were both played with saxophone instrumental track so it still felt very uniform.

  1. The Flower Girls Angels Isabella’s nieces came down the aisle wearing wings (made by the Mother of the Bride)! I had never seen this and it really took their heavenly detail to perfection over the top.

  1. The Bride’s Entrance She stood at the top of a grand staircase and literally threw the bottom of her two-piece flowy dress in the air. It was a stunning moment and everyone was in awe. She took her time and gracefully walked down the stairs towards her father.

  1. The Vows They had their own vows written on scrolls. The bride started hers with “Hear ye, hear ye!” which led to a really cute moment of laughter between them and their guests. The vows were heartfelt and spoke of how they believe that God has ordained their love story and brought them together after years of praying for the right mate.

  1. The Seating Chart and Table Names There were beautiful large antique mirrors adorned with gorgeous flowers that displayed the seating assignments. Each of the tables were named after words found in the Bible that they wanted to plant into their marriage as well as speak into the lives of their guests. Words included things like “gratitude”, “faith”, and “patience.” Once you got to the table, each of the names were written on gold terrariums displayed in the center of each table. The terrariums represented gems that will be found in heaven, and added to the sweet sentiment of the reception.

  1. The Sweetheart Table There was a grand sofa settee where the bride and groom sat for the reception. It had flowers around it and felt luxurious.

  1. The Photo Booth Photo booths are ALWAYS fun and let’s just say…they even had a prop of a green Hulk hand! The backdrop of the photo booth was a stunning gold glitter drape that made it feel really elevated, and the bride and groom even got in there to take their own shots! (A MUST!) Once the photos were posted, guests were encouraged to post their photos and snapshots from their wedding experience with the hashtag “#CincoDeMiya.” (The wedding was ON Cinco De Mayo…get it?!)

  1. The Guestbook The Dr. Seuss book “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!” was laid out to be signed by each of the guests. According to the couple, it’s a statement of their upcoming life adventures and is a book that their future kids can read one day. It was a colorful and youthful pop.
  1. The Favors There were two! Each seat at the reception had a bottle opener with a sign that said “Keys to the Kingdom.” Useful AND tied in to their faith-based theme! And then, as guests were leaving, they were each able to take home a small box with a Tiramisu macaroon called “Tira-miss-you.”

These were just my top 10 details of a very special day that showcased the love between two very special people. Truly a slice of heaven! Thanks for sharing your special day with me, Isabella and Ivan.

Before we go, here is some more vendor love:

With love,

Girl with a diamond ring

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