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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New Seasons Bring New Wedding Inspiration

 

As we are heading into fall season- which will just as quickly become winter- there is a dose of new wedding inspiration that comes to life. No, you don’t have to have maroon bridesmaids dresses for fall, or a blue and white winter wonderland theme. There is so much more that you can do to incorporate the season into your wedding.

Think about these things:

CLOTHING can make your look feel relevant. Bridesmaids getting ready in flannel button ups or pjs? Yes, please. And for the bride, some of the classiest brides that I have seen are wearing a faux fur shrug or carrying a muff (instead of a bouquet.) Grooms can really step up their game with a maroon and black tux or navy separates. You could also both stay warm with matching monogrammed or customized leather/jean jackets.

FOOD is a great way to tie in seasonal details. For fall, you could serve pumpkin pie at the reception or have a candy bar with candy corn. For winter, have a hot chocolate bar or serve peppermint tea/liquor. And don’t forget about your cake flavor and design—incorporate the season into the color, style, and even your cake topper.

DECOR is a given, but don’t feel like it needs to be too literal. Think beyond colors. Use textures like soft velvet or glam feathers. Patterns like leaves or snowflakes can also bring the season to life. And if you’re showcasing photos of you two (like from an engagement shoot), make sure to plan ahead and take some seasonally-relevant photos together. For example, even if you’re doing a spring shoot, you could bring some scarves or blankets for a few extra shots to share while at the big day.

FLOWERS that grow successfully year-round or specifically in this part of the calendar year will be a lot easier to obtain. (Do this research before you dream up your flower details! Here’s a great link from The Knot. According to their guide, Chrysanthemums peak in fall and the Calla Lily can be a good flower choice for Winter, for example.)

FAVORS can help send your guests home with a small piece of the season. From s’more kits, mittens, to snow globes, you could do some really fun things with favors.

Lastly, know that you don’t have to incorporate any seasonal components if you don’t want to. If you’ve had a vision of what you want in your mind and it doesn’t completely match the time of year, do it anyways. Pastel in November, why not? Hot apple cider in spring? If you want. Don’t force yourself into a box that is bound by the calendar, but know that you can still use the time of year to your advantage.

With love,

Girl with a diamond ring

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Sweating for the Wedding

Now that we’re more than half way through the year, you might want to dust off those New Years resolutions and begin to evaluate where you’re at. If one of those resolutions was to get fit, especially if for a wedding, then let’s take a look at that one together.

Every bride wants to look beautiful on her wedding day, and that will be true whether or not you’re a certain shape or size. A woman in love, in a gorgeous dress, is always stunning.

I had goals for my wedding day and the way I envisioned myself looking. I am proud to say that I was in the best shape of my life on the day I got married. I worked hard at it, and was thankful for my one year and two month engagement because it allowed me a reasonable window of time.

When it comes to your wedding, consider these things:

    Don’t go over board by setting unattainable goals. You are going to have new stressors that you have never handled before. Some will be task-oriented, but it could also be related to relationships or life events that are not directly related to planning.
    You have to be realistic. In many cases, work outs will naturally have to wind down before the big day. You are going to likely have things like a weekend away with the girls, dress fittings, hair and make up trials…and then guests come in along with the rehearsal dinner etc. Because of this, it’s likely more realistic to set your milestones to up to two weeks before the wedding, and then allow yourself some time to breathe before the big day.
    Quality time is going to continue to be important so consider a few active things that you can do with your spouse. Go for a walk together. Ride bikes down the beach. Or join a boot camp class that you can both take.
    While feeling and looking good will be important, you need to make sure you’re getting enough sleep and taking care of your mental health, too. Make sure you’re scheduling time to focus on some soul-nourishing activities that will keep you in the right headspace.
    Once your honeymoon is over and you’re settled into being a newlywed, pick back up where you left off! Your body might rebound quickly if you are too extreme with your lifestyle changes before and after the big day. Aim to continue to be healthy and strong so you can be the best spouse you can be for years to come.

With love,

Girl with a diamond ring

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How to Say I Love You All Year Round

As February kicks off, you will likely begin to see all-things-love with Valentines Day right around the corner! What I’ve found is that the lovey dovey sentiments while in a relationship can sometimes come a little ‘easier’ when you’re dating (as opposed to in marriage.) Being married can be incredibly romantic but you might need to become a little more intentional to keep the spark turned on during some life seasons together.

So what I highly would recommend is that you don’t just do nice things for one another during the annual events like Valentines, anniversaries or birthdays. Year after year that will likely begin to feel forced. And it’s important to remember that it’s the small moments of everyday kindness that can make your spouse feel cherished and loved. Here are a few ways that I think you can say ‘ILY’ all year round, in no particular order.

  • Surprise your spouse by doing a house chore that typically falls outside of your responsibilities.
  • Go to their favorite restaurant or movie of their choice…without complaining
  • Take their car to the car wash or fill it up with gas. While you’re at it, buy their favorite car air freshener.
  • Leave a love note in their car, under their pillow, or on the bathroom mirror.
  • Send a nice text to let them know that they are on your mind during the day. This could be an emoji, a cute photo of the two of you, or a love quote or saying. You could even send a link to a song that reminds you of them.
  • Deliver a bouquet of flowers or chocolate-covered fruit to their work…not on Valentines Day!
  • Surprise them with a gift card to their favorite spa for a pedicure or massage.
  • Bring home their favorite drink from Starbucks with a hand written message on the cup.
  • Plan an entire day to getaway and drive to your favorite romantic spot.
  • Propose an impromptu dinner at the beach or visit to the local park.
  • Bake (or purchase) their favorite dessert for a normal weekday night at home.
  • Plan ahead for date night with a bottle of wine to share, either their favorite kind or one that might remind you of your wedding day or wedding location.
  • Play your favorite romantic song and ask them for a slow dance, in the kitchen.
  • An album of boudoir photos, perhaps?
  • Change up your nighttime routine and serve them in ways that they desire to be served, not the other way around.
  • Check out the app “Hotel Tonight” for an inexpensive hotel stay.
  • If you want to try something completely different, spend some time on the Groupon app for creative+local ideas that could create for a special experience!

These are just examples of small things which can truly add up to a fulfilled life with one another. I hope you can make these personal to your insidiously personalities and relationship-norms. If Valentines becomes ‘less of a big deal’ because you do these things together often; that isn’t a bad thing. Try to put a few of these into action in 2019 and just see how it goes!

With love,

Girl with a diamond ring

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