Advice for When Moms and Weddings Mix

I have gotten out of my blogging habits here on GWADR as I’ve been busy supporting the launch and creation of blog content for the company Joy Photo and Video, an awesome wedding photography and videography company that provides services in Texas and Florida. Catch up on my blogs here and check back weekly. I will get back in the swing of things on here with my personal wedding blog as it brings me a lot of happiness. Thanks for your patience!

As we acknowledge Mother’s Day around the world, I wanted to share my thoughts on the role a mother plays throughout the wedding planning process, along with a few tips for after the wedding.

For The Bride

Recognize that the wedding planning process will shine the spotlight on both your strengths and weaknesses. It will likely also magnify the differences that you have with those closest to you. If you’re the bride who is planning her big day and your mom is involved in this process, it’s important to communicate what matters most to you. Your future mother-in-law will also probably be trying to find the role that she will play so make sure that she feels welcome and heard. With both of them, aim to set clear boundaries and focus more the things that you agree on than those that you disagree on. Have these discussions when you are calm and not in a chaotic frenzy—you should be able to be clear and focused so that emotions aren’t unnecessarily heightened.

What most brides miss out on is taking this time during wedding planning to have deeper dialogue with their parents (if they are able) about the things they learned amidst their love story and all that they would have done differently. These discussions will give you the opportunity to see your mom as a wife more clearly and that may help you both learn and see one another in a new light.

After you recuperate from the wedding and all that went into making it a reality, take your mom to get a meal or a manicure and swap stories about your big day. If there was anything tense that occurred between the two of you during the planning process then this will help you reconnect, smooth things over, and allow you to hit the reset button for the new chapter of your life. Show her your appreciation and find new ways for you and your spouse include her in the redefined version of your family. Do the same with your future mother-in-law to set new and healthy foundations for your future together as a new family.

For The Groom

Your mom likely has a special place in your heart, as does your future spouse. There may be points in the planning process where you have to balance both your mother, her mother, as well as your spouses’ needs. Be intentional about spending time with each of these women to keep your relationships strong. But make sure you stand up for your wife-to-be when the situation may call for it. Work with her privately to define what boundaries may need to look like and then help her draw these lines.

If there are unbalanced powers and drama between the women in your life during this season, you may find that deep wounds begin which are hard to come back from. Do what you can to prevent these hurts and play an active role in healing—because this season will set the standard for a long future together. Don’t just get in the backseat and ignore what’s going on during the planning process; your leadership role in connecting these relationships is critical. And then on the wedding day, take some time to be alone with your mom if you have the chance to. Share your gratitude with her and show her the honor that she deserves. Do the same for your future mother-in-law, too. This will go a long way for your relationship.

For The Mother Of The Bride Or Groom

Remember that you aren’t losing a child; you’re simply getting a new one who will be added to your family. You will need to pay close attention to the moments where you will need to step back and those where you will need to step forward. Pick up on the subtle cues from your child and their future spouse and be open to having transparent discussion about what each of you are experiencing emotionally during this time. Recognize that dynamics will change during the planning process and after the wedding day; they have to.

Change does not mean it will be negative. However, it will take some time for the dust to settle after the wedding. Make sure to allow the new couple to settle in and find their routine and traditions before you find your place in the new normal. You will find it and it will be special, but it’s important to be patient in defining your new role. There was probably a lot of stress that led up to the big day (and maybe even some drama within the family) so allow them space to adjust—and don’t take this personal. You’re entering a new season of your family with new family dynamics so do what you can to be thoughtful, supportive and understanding. Your child and their new spouse will appreciate this more than you know.

Moms play such a special role in our lives. I hope these tips helped.

A shout out to my mom, the most courageous and amazing woman that I know. She was everything I needed during my wedding planning process, on the wedding day, and beyond. One of my best memories from my wedding day: seeing my parents on the dance floor together with the biggest smiles on their faces while relishing in all that their love story created. I love you, Mom, and I’ll step in to be dance partner at any wedding we attend in the future (because I know that’s what Dad would have wanted. You know that he taught me all of the moves I know…)

With love,

Girl with a diamond ring

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What I Wish Someone Told Me When I Was Wedding Planning

There are so many decisions to make when you’re planning a wedding. If it’s a life event that you’ve always dreamed of or held in high regard, it can also feel like there’s a lot of pressure on you to make the ‘right’ decision. (Newsflash: there isn’t one right way to plan a wedding.)

Here are the five things that I wish someone told me during the wedding planning process, because I know it would have saved me some heartache!

Don’t add items to your wedding registry that you will never use. It’s incredibly helpful to get engagement and wedding gifts based on the kindness of your loved ones. A registry is very smart because it can help give people ideas of what you actually want and will use. While you’ll register for the basics, you may feel pressured to add items to your list that you ‘feel’ you should have. Don’t add an expensive hand mixer if you know you’ll never take up baking. Or if you don’t drink wine very often, don’t get a fancy aerator. While it’s nice to splurge on things that you can use for special occasions, it will make more sense to double up on the things you’ll need and use (like an extra set of silverware.)

You don’t have to choose any details based on an image you used to have in your mind. It’s likely that you have a wedding vision made up in your mind that you may feel the need to execute on. Just remember that the wedding you once envisioned likely didn’t take personal preference (for you or your spouse), changing personalities, season, family changes or even budget in mind. It’s ok to alter your decisions (from the goal wedding dress to the wedding theme) so that the final outcome looks different from what you had in mind. The end result will be special and meaningful, no matter how much it strays from what you initially had in mind.

If you’re second guessing having someone in your wedding party, trust your gut. Choosing who will be a bridesmaid or groomsmen is a decision that you should consider thoughtfully. These individuals will not only be cornerstones to your wedding events but they will be in the photos that you keep for a lifetime. If there’s a childhood friend that’s all-drama, a cousin who you barely speak to, or an individual who you don’t see in your life for the long-haul because they don’t support your relationship, then don’t ask them to be in the wedding party. You won’t regret having a smaller Team Bride or Team Groom if it’s filled with genuine people who are lifelong friends. If it’s important to still find a way to honor this person, give them a different job like saying grace over the reception meal.

It’s ok to have an unplugged wedding. One of the reasons that some couples say they would not have an unplugged wedding is because they want their guests to feel comfortable and don’t want to ‘tell them what to do.’ Here’s the thing. An unplugged wedding (where guests are politely told not to have their phones or cameras out, for at least the ceremony) will actually lead to better memories. Guests will be more present and the videographer/photographer who you’re paying good money for will get much better results. There’s nothing worse than an auntie with her iPad behind the scenes of your wedding photos. You aren’t asking too much of your guests and if they actually have an emergency or real reason that they can’t unplug, then they will still tend to what’s needed.

Don’t get so caught up in planning that you neglect your relationship. So often couples end up fighting over the smallest to biggest wedding related decisions. Instead of being a season in your courtship where you’re brought together, you can end up at the aisle on shaky ground. Take the time you need to continue dating your spouse to be. Don’t make everything about your upcoming nuptials. And start paving the way for your future marriage. At the end of the day it isn’t about a color swatch or a playlist but about the promise of forever.

With love,

Girl with a diamond ring

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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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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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