MEP to MEC: Saying Yes to the Dress

I can hardly believe this past Sunday marked one year since I said yes to the dress that I married my best friend in! After a long day of shopping I found my gown and couldn’t have found a better dress to wear as I said “I do”. I haven’t shared many details from that day, mostly because I wanted to keep the details of my dress and bridal style a secret for my husband and our guests. Now that the wedding has passed, I thought it would be fun to share my experience in honor of the one year anniversary of buying my dress!

I’m pretty sure that I have been a devoted follower of the “Say Yes to the Dress” TV series since it first aired on TLC. I have watched countless brides go through the process of picking their dress and have mentally noted every tip ever shared about trying on wedding dresses. With all of this knowledge, I felt over prepared when it came to shopping for my own gown. I knew what style, color and look that I was going for and was confident I would be able to find the dress with little to no stress or heartache. Even still, I knew I was open to trying on each style and silhouette just to be sure.

I decided a number of years ago that I only wanted my mom and sister at my bridal appointment. I tend to be very indecisive and while I’m sure my bridesmaids’ advice and suggestions would be so heartfelt, I knew having more opinions would make the process even harder for me. Because my sister was still in college and had a busy fall due to her tennis schedule, and I had almost every weekend booked with weddings and bachelorette parties, I knew we had a limited window for all of us to experience this together. I scheduled three appointments (yes, all on the same day) at three different bridal salons, mostly just in case I didn’t find what I was looking for at the first two stores. I even brought along my bridal style inspiration board I made to help the consultants understand what I was looking for.

My first appointment was at a little bridal shop in Delmar, DE called Stained Glass Bridal. It was the same shop that my aunt got her wedding gown from, as well as where my sister got her senior prom dress a few years prior. We arrived for the appointment and the very nice employee invited us to help ourselves to any dresses on the rack. While this store didn’t give the one on one attention I was anticipating, it was nice to just try on the dresses to get over the “wedding dress shopping” nerves. I tried on some beautiful A-Line gowns including what I call the “Wendy Dress” (pictured below). I knew after going through the dresses that I had pulled that my dress wasn’t at this store. However, I was a little surprised how much I liked this fit and flare with a gorgeous long train!

My next appointment was at Downtown Bridal in Salisbury, MD. I immediately felt more relaxed as this appointment began, solely based on the face that this store had more gowns than the previous one and my wonderful consultant was truly interested in helping me find my dream dress. After I told her our theme, and that I was looking for an A-Line gown with a tulle skirt, she pulled so many beautiful dresses for me to try on. I also mentioned that I was surprised that I liked the fit and flare at the previous store, so she found a few of those for me to try on as well.

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I absolutely loved this dress. Even though it didn’t seem bridal enough for me, I will be returning for this dress if Jody and I ever renew our vows! It even has a bow on the back. Be still my heart.
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This has “Steel Magnolias” written all over it.
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This dress is just gorgeous. I honestly don’t remember why I didn’t like this one, but if you don’t have the feeling then it must have not been the one!
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I just loved this full skirt (with pockets!) but I’m not the biggest fan of taffeta. Still beautiful though!

Just like the process to find a husband, you may fall in love, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is the one for you. 30 some odd dresses later, I still didn’t have the feeling. I had fallen in love with a dress with lace detail at the top, and a beautiful tulle skirt, but even after getting “jacked up” and trying it on twice, I still wasn’t sure it that dress was the one. Between each dress, I had thirty seconds to myself to have my own silent options. I vividly remember standing in the dressing room, completely torn as to why I wasn’t excited or sure that this dress was it. It was pretty, it felt comfortable, and I loved the lace applique across the bodice. But, in my thirty seconds to myself, I looked at my dress and thought “That’s it? That’s all you’re going to get as your wedding dress?”. I knew something wasn’t right. Something was missing, although I wasn’t exactly sure what.

We left that appointment and I was becoming frustrated and disappointed. I knew we didn’t have many other weekends for me to do this with both my mom and sister in tow, and I really didn’t want to drag out the process. I was confused as to what I wanted, after being so sure that the A-Line style was for me. Disheartened, we headed to the last appointment at Louis Marie Bridal.

Even with an hour drive to the next shop, I still felt a little flustered upon arrival. Because we had spent so long at the last appointment, we were late to this one and only had a little over an hour until they closed for the day. Once we met with my consultant, I told her everything that has transpired that day from what dresses I liked, which ones I didn’t and handed over my inspiration board yet again to see if we could find anything. She pulled three dresses, two A-Lines, and one fit and flare. I tried on the first A-Line and liked how unique the top was before it descended into the fuller skirt. I thought it could be a possibility, but still headed back into the changing room to try on the others.

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As I pulled the next dress out of the bag, I thought to myself, “Wow, this is really pretty”. I slipped it on and walked out to see it in the mirror and thought again “Wow, this is really pretty!”. It hugged me in all of the right places, and had a hint of sparkle that was subtle enough to only be noticeable when the light hit it the right way. It showed off my curves, had beautiful lace detail, and had buttons going down the back. It was then that I realized I might be more in love with the fit and flare after all.

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I honestly don’t even remember the other dress I tried on after that one. But I did, and apparently didn’t impress me because before I knew it, I was back in this Serenity Bridal gown, this time to get jacked up. At this point, my mom and sister hadn’t said much in regards to what they thought about the dresses, mostly to not confuse me any more than I already was. But when I put that dress on the second time, I was desperately hoping that they liked it as much as I did. I pulled my hair back and we added the veil, and I turned to my entourage again for an option. As soon as they said they loved it, and could see me wearing this down the aisle, I burst into tears. I had found the dress that I was going to marry my best friend in.

After three different bridal stores in two different states, and over 50 dresses in one day, my road to finding my dress wasn’t what I imagined, but I wouldn’t have had in any other way. I’m eternally grateful to my consultants, Louis Marie Bridal for all they have done for me during my engagement, and my mom and sister for their unwavering support through this experience.

I do want to mention too, it is completely normal to have dress regret. For weeks after I bought my dress, I wondered if I made the right choice, or made a decision solely to get a dress that day, and would I regret my choice on my wedding day. Buying a wedding gown is a huge investment, emotionally and financially, so it is normal to second guess whether you made the right decision or not. I know I struggled with this and I don’t think it is talked about enough. For me, trying on wedding dresses made everything feel real; this was actually happening, you are getting married. Those emotions mixed in with “this is the dress that I’ll remember forever” is a lot of pressure for someone to deal with! But, looking back now, each time I tried on my dress after I bought it, I fell in love with it more and more each time, just like I do each day I spend with Jody. If anyone else is experiencing this remember that you chose it for a reason. Stick with your gut and everything will turn out beautifully. After all, you could get married in your pajamas, while I don’t suggest this, you’ll still be just as married at the end of the day and that is all that matters.

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August’s New Recipe Finds

As some of you may recall, one of my personal goals I set for the month of August was to try a new recipe each week (you can find the list here). Part of my inspiration for setting this goal was wanting to find new some new recipes, apart from the ones I have made hundreds of times and also trying to utilize my cookbooks more often. While I never actually tried a recipe from any of my cookbooks during this experience, I did find several recipes that I’m confident will be added to circulation in our household!

Growing up, I noticed my mom had to go to the grocery store multiple times a week to get food for dinner each night. As I got older, it used to drive me crazy that we couldn’t just get all of the things we needed in one trip. Once I hit adulthood, I decided to set aside some time each week to meal plan so I know exactly what I’m eating which night and can do my best to only make one trip to the store each week. Typically, I spend each Sunday morning surrounded by cookbooks and on Pinterest to figure out what we are going to eat that week. Sometimes it creates more frustration than it is meant to, but usually, it helps me feel prepared to take on the week!

This process was no different while searching for recipes to try in August. I knew that I wanted to dishes to remain relatively healthy and to utilize fresh summer veggies since they in such supply this time of year. There were some dishes I already had my eye on to try but I also had to find dishes that I could make in under an hour since I don’t get home from work until 7:30pm. Overall, I would say this was pretty successful even though I did have to do two new foods in one week because there was one week where life just happened and trying new recipes just wasn’t going to happen.

The first recipe I found I had been dying to try for a while. Mexican is my absolute favorite type of food to eat during the summer so these Skinny Enchilada Zucchini Boats were the perfect meal to kick off this meal plan! Admittedly, it was a bit of a challenge to keep the meat (I used ground turkey) in the zucchini boats while cutting to eat, it was still tasty!

Is it obvious that I love zucchini?! We love chicken just as much so I was excited to find a recipe that incorporated both! This Herbed Chicken, Orzo Pasta, and Zucchini dish was super easy to make if multitasking in the kitchen is something you can handle. Even with my limited counter space, I still felt like this was simple for looking so involved! The best part was how light this meal is — perfect for hot August days!

I tried to follow Tone It Up’s workout plan prior to our wedding to get in shape, which is how I stumbled upon these TIU approved Blueberry Lemon Zest Muffins! I honestly was a little skeptical about these (how can something good for you actually taste good?) but tried them nonetheless. While it took me a few days to find Almond flour like the recipe calls for, I whipped these up real quick during a late night baking session. They weren’t as lemony as I expected but the blueberries were enough to make them the perfect mid-morning snack!

While zucchini may be my favorite summertime veggie, corn is my hubby’s! He also is a huge fan of soups and chilis so I found this with him in mind! This Summer Corn Chowder was more like a fresh summer soup, as this recipe is gluten and dairy free. We don’t necessarily fall into either of those categories, but I can’t eat a ton of dairy so any recipe with Coconut Milk (yum) instead of cream is a win in my book. This chowder was a little more time intensive with all of the chopping and watching it on the stove, but we are still eating its leftovers! And yes, those Red Lobster biscuits you see in the background were a delicious side.

I was definitely pleased with all of the recipes that I tried, and genuinely had fun trying something new! They were all delicious, but I would have to say my favorite was the Herb Chicken. So fresh, light and still full of flavor! I had a lot of fun doing this meal plan, so stay tuned — I may try this again later this fall!

I want to know — have you tried any new recipes lately or have a favorite process to find new recipes? Tell me in the comments below, I would love to hear more ideas!

MEP to MEC: Rehearsal + Dinner

Honestly, the day before the wedding is kind of a blur, but in the best way possible. The morning started off bright and early with my mom, maid of honor/ sister, Madison, and bridesmaid, EmilyAnn, to the nail salon for a little pampering. We chatted and enjoyed a few moments of not worrying about last-minute preparations or what few things still needed to be done. We were even offered complimentary prosecco in celebration of what the next 36 hours would hold. While it was not my first time getting my nails done for a formal event this year, it was beyond surreal to believe that, this time, I was the bride!

After grabbing Chick-Fil-A for lunch (shocking, I know 😉 ) we met another bridesmaid, Olivia, at my parents’ house. Because our reception venue didn’t have a day-of wedding coordinator or in-house decor, we were responsible for getting most of the decor set up the day before. This included all of our linens I purchased, table numbers, seating chart, our details and signs, the sweetheart table — pretty much everything that was stacked in my parents front room for months! Admittedly, I did have mixed feelings about setting up. After 12 months of planning and designing, I was anxious to finally see it in person, but also nervous that my vision wouldn’t come to life, and at that point, there wouldn’t be anything I would be able to do about it. Thankfully, it seemed to come together and I was excited to see the room filled with florals, candles, and people the next day! With the help of bridesmaids and family, we were able to get the reception room all set up in under an hour.

We met the rest of our wedding party, officiant, and ceremony participants at the church exactly 24 hours before the real deal. I was so overwhelmed with joy to finally be standing in the church where I was baptized, and where I spent most Sundays for the first fifteen years of my life, preparing to marry my soul mate. I was a bit nervous when it was my turn to practice walking down the aisle with my dad, especially because our pianist (my middle band teacher and former Praise Team keyboardist!) was able to attend so we were able to practice with music. It made the rehearsal feel more realistic than I anticipated it to, but I also think it helped me hold it together the following day. Our rehearsal was otherwise went seamlessly smooth, and I’m extra thankful for our patient bridesmaids and groomsmen who made it so easy!

A few months prior, my father-in-law so graciously offered to host the rehearsal dinner, but allowed Jody and I pick the location and menu. The dinner was held at Harry’s on the Green, which is a local restaurant just three blocks from the church, that specializes in American cuisine, with a french flair. As Harry’s has such a unique style to begin with, we didn’t even worry about decor and just let the natural aesthetics take over. Since we were already having an intimate wedding of just under 100 people, we made the decision to keep our rehearsal dinner just as intimate with only our immediate family, wedding party, ceremony participant and their dates.

After a rainy morning, we were surprised we were able to still be seated on their patio for dinner. While the humidity was high, there was an occasional breeze off of the river, which only added to our relaxed dinner atmosphere that we were hoping for! Although, my poor groom unfortunately completely sweat through his dress pants and had to run up the street to our new apartment and change right before they served dinner!

After carefully weighing our options earlier in the year for our selective menu, we chose to have baked brie, a fresh spring salad and cream of crab soup as appetizers, a choice of lump Crab Cakes, Bourbon Glazed Pork Tenderloin or Caprese Flatbread for the main entrée and ended the night on a sweet note with Apple Pie, Strawberry Cheesecake or Hot Fudge Ice Cream Puff. The restaurant even had printed out personalized menus for our affair!

During the dinner, we also presented our gifts to our wedding party and family. I have always loved giving presents, but watching these people who have done so much for us open the gifts that we got for them to attempt to express how eternally grateful we are for their friendship, was surprisingly one of my favorite parts of the evening.

The whole evening was so special and joyful. It reminded me of the feeling that you have on Christmas Eve — it is one of the best days, but the anticipation for the day that follows fills you with such happiness; just pure bliss. I will never forget how it felt to kiss Jody for the last time as my fiance. Part of me didn’t want to let him go because 4:30pm seemed like awfully far from that moment, but the other part of me knew how fast the hours ahead would pass and definitely did not want to rush through any of it. After one last kiss goodbye, I watched Jody drive off into the night, as I went home to spend one last night as a Parks. I’m so grateful to have had such a wonderful celebration as our wedding weekend was fully underway!

 

New York City Weekend Recap

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About a month ago, I decided I was going to take Labor Day weekend to go to New York City to visit my sister. She moved to Manhattan in early July and was begging me to come visit once she had her little apartment together and a long weekend seemed like the perfect opportunity. Having an extra day off gave me the luxury of flexible times to travel, as well as a day at home to rest after what I knew would be a whirlwind of a weekend.

I have visited New York several times prior to her move to the city, including last summer when my parents, Jody and I took a day trip to see her while she was interning for the summer (This was also the day I asked her to be my maid of honor, which is a whole story that I could dedicate an entire blog post to). Nonetheless, I was excited for a little girl time and to see the city from my sister’s point of view.

I booked a train ticket and left for the train station straight from work on Friday of Labor Day weekend. With Chick-Fil-A in hand, I drove 90 minutes to Wilmington to catch the train into the city. The train ride was relaxing, which was much-needed after a long day at work. I filled my time by playing games and watching Netflix on my kindle and before I knew it, I looked out of the window and saw the New York skyline. Suddenly, all of my exhaustion disappear and I was filled with excitement and eagerness to explore the city once again.

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Once I found Madison, we took the subway to the Upper East Side to her apartment that she shares with two friends from college. After a quick apartment tour, we changed and met a few of her friends at a nearby bar. Not too longer after that, we found ourselves roaming around Times Square, which I’ve seen before, but never seen at night. I finally understood why it is called the city that never sleeps — even though it was nearing 3 a.m., I was still wide awake being surrounded by all of the bright lights. After grabbing a slice of authentic New York pizza (yes, it was delicious) we headed back to her apartment and to bed.

The next morning had a slow start, which is my favorite kind of Saturday. We had coffee and pancakes and eventually pulled ourselves together to go explore her neighborhood. Our first stop was at Warby Parker, which was just around the block! I wanted to try on some new frames, and had never actually been in a Warby Parker store. These were my favorites!

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After trying on some stylish frames, we continued on towards where my sister works. I was impressed that she tries to walk to work each day, as we had been walking at city pace (just short of running) for at least 20 minutes! She pointed out different cafes that she spent a good bit of time in last summer, and I commented on how many fresh flowers were on each block. I wouldn’t mind a mile walk to work if it meant I got to pass such pretty flowers every day!

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Shortly after we walked around the Upper East Side, we made our way to Central Park for a wine and cheese picnic. Even though the weather was much cooler than it was forecast to be, we still had a wonderful time arranging our cheese board, people watching and just catching up. We could even hear Shakespeare in the Park from where we were sitting, even though we weren’t able to see it. It always blows my mind that even though we were in one of the largest cities in the world, it felt like we were in an entirely different area sitting in the grass, surrounded by trees. If I lived in New York, I would walk to Central Park every day — you’re all but guaranteed to see something new each visit!

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Later in the afternoon it started to rain, so we headed back towards her apartment to warm up a bit before continuing on. Once the rain had subsided for the most part, we went window shopping, until we stumbled upon a cute little restaurant, Thais, that was advertising $5 happy hour, which are incredibly good prices for NYC. I tried the Strawberry Mojito (delicious) and Madison had a Lychee Martini. We ended the afternoon with pizza at Pizza Beach, which again, was delicious.

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Later that night, we went out again with some more of her girlfriends. While the weather was not as nice as the night before, it was still interesting to try different bars and see the city different from how I’ve seen it before. We went to one bar, which I wasn’t particularly a fan of, but it was definitely a memorable experience to hear the entire room singing “New York” when the DJ turned it on. It reminded me of college, except it was “Wagon Wheel” that joined us all together in song. We even managed to find a rooftop bar, which was absolutely breathtaking with the low-lying cloud weaving their way around the buildings. The pictures don’t do justice for how beautiful the lights shined off of the wet streets.

On Sunday morning, I packed up my bag and headed to brunch, where we were going to meet a couple more friends before my final stroll around the city. We had reservations at The Spotted Dog, which was a quaint little restaurant, with the prettiest vintage wallpaper. I decide to try the Egg Skillet, which turned out to be more like tomato soup, but the apple sausage I shared with Madison was tasty! Plus, at this particular restaurant, all brunch items come with your choice of a Bloody Mary or a Mimosa – you can’t go wrong starting your morning off that way. 😊

Before I headed back to Penn Station to catch my train, we went to Midtown so I could see St. Patrick’s Cathedral, NBC Studios and Rockefeller Plaza again. I had been to all of these sites 10 years prior, but I was excited to see these attractions again, with a more appreciative mind for what I was seeing. I hope to attend Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral one day I’m back in the city!

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As we walked through Midtown, we stumbled upon a Street market. While we didn’t have time to peruse, there were tons of vendors, with even more people. There were sandwich vendors, crepe station, and hand-woven baskets and candles to name just a few. Apparently, there is an even bigger Christmas Market in December, so I’m hoping to make it up to the city during the holiday season soon!

Even though I was in New York for less than 48 hours, I felt like I took advantage of a lot of what the city has to offer! It was neat to visit not just your typical tourist destinations, but to get a glimpse at my sister’s life as a New Yorker. I have to admit, I’ve said in the past that I could never imagine living in New York City, but after this weekend, I’m currently trying to convince my husband (and our bank account) that it is totally realistic and we should make it an option. I’m not sure that will happen, but I know that we will be back to visit again soon!

 

September Goals

 

I typically start off every weekday morning watching Today on NBC. This morning all they were talking about in the 8 o’clock hour was how to throw an end of summer bash over this long weekend. While the lobster rolls and sweet sangria looked delicious, I refuse to believe summer has come to an end. As my darling husband knows, Fall doesn’t start in our house until Summer officially ends on September 2

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I hope September is filled with a few last warm days, new memories, new opportunities and fun. It has been the best summer and I’m hoping we can extend it just a bit. And if not, there is always pumpkin season right around the corner. 🙂


  • Finish our porch project
  • Try a new recipe once a week
  • Enjoy a trip back to Richmond to visit with family and friends
  • Read a new book
  • Complete two craft projects
  • Find a new-to-us local attraction and go visit it!  If anyone is looking for something to do near Annapolis, go check out City Dock area. Food, Drinks and street music make for a memorable night!
  • Work out our new budget 

September Goals

  • Finish our porch project (counting on some Labor Day Sales to push us in the right direction)
  • Complete two craft projects
  • Send someone happy mail
  • Be present in out-of-town adventures this month
  • Get into a better, more consistent workout routine
  • Begin the search for a new church
  • Begin Marriage Devotional CD series

A Few Richmond Favorites

It’s no secret that Richmond, Virginia holds a special place in my heart. I went to college twenty minutes north of the city, spent my first year and a half post-grad as a Richmond resident and created so many cherished memories within city limits. Now that our visits back are limited to short weekends, we’ve become near experts on making the most of our time in the city. Today, I thought I would share some of our must-see sites for any of you who may find yourself in RVA!

I’m convinced Richmond is home to the best brunch. There are a variety of restaurants open for all different kinds of brunch (read: Breakfast Tacos at En Su Boca), but far enough south to find the best southern biscuits. We often are loyal patrons at Baker’s Crust and Kitchen 64, but decided to give brunch at 3 Monkeys a try while we were visiting last weekend. They have a full menu from omelets to breakfast pizza to chicken and waffles and skillets, plus a drink menu not limited to only Bloody Mary’s and Mimosas. I had their Champagne Punch and it may have been the best drink I’ve ever had before 11 am, other than coffee ;).

After we do brunch, we typically head straight to Carytown before it gets too hot to walk around. Carytown is a unique shopping neighborhood located in the heart of downtown Richmond and we just cannot get enough of it. There are over 100 shops and restaurants in a matter of blocks to chose from at any time of day. We enjoy just walking up and down Cary Street, popping into a store here and there and enjoy taking in all of the sights, when we aren’t there to shop for something specific.

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RVA is also home to more than 20 craft breweries, all of which have a unique concept and which don’t limit you to just having a tasting, but rather making an afternoon of relaxing with what each brewery has to offer. Some have board games, some have cornhole and some just have an outdoor space with amazing views, like Legend Brewing Company. There is a large indoor area to eat and drink year-round, but I typically enjoy kicking back on their outdoor patio that overlooks the city’s skyline from across the river. It is just far enough from downtown that life seems a bit slower, but still so close to still have an urban feel. Granted, I am a bit bias because Richmond’s skyline is one of my favorite views in the world.

While there are plenty of bars and clubs to go to once the sun sets, by far my favorite after-dark activity is going to Shyndigz. Cake, cobbler, and cocktails all in one super chic place — sign me up! They’re open Wednesday -Saturday night, with and daily and rotating menu. My favorite dessert on the menu is their fresh fruit cake — vanilla cake iced with cream cheese icing and layered with fresh blackberries, strawberries, pineapple & blackberries. Yum!

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There are so many other activities that we also enjoy in RVA, so we do our best to rotate through them on each visit. We definitely miss living in the city and are anxious to find out if we will move back, but for now, we know we always have plenty to do when we are in town. If you’ve been in Richmond, what are your favorite spots or where are interested in going if you’re thinking of visiting? Let me know in the comments below 🙂

 

MEP to MEC: Wedding Welcome Bags

Hello, friends! Can you believe it has been two months since we tied the knot?! I thought it would be fun to share the welcome bags that my mom and I put together for our out-of-town guests. As I’ve previously mentioned, most of our guests were from out-of-town, and as I knew I wouldn’t be able to hug each guest as they arrived, I was adamant on creating a bag full of goodies to thank them for making the trip for our special day!

I began to brainstorm ideas of what to include, how it should look and how much I wanted (read: could) financially invest into these surprise gifts. After some thought, I decided that I wanted to give them a glimpse of life on the shore, with some favorite local treats!

DSC_1430Each bag contained Old Bay Crab Chips, a packet of Black-Eyed Susan seeds (Maryland’s state flower!), salt water taffy from Dolles’ at Rehoboth Beach, directions from the ceremony to reception, a list of our favorite local places, and a wine glass from Harvest Ridge Winery. I was so pleased with how they turned out, I made sure I set aside a bag for myself!

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One of the pros of designing my own wedding stationery (spoiler: more on this later!), was that I was able to keep the monogrammed crest on all of our paper products! For all who know me know that I am a huge fan of pretty paper, so naturally I didn’t want to keep my wedding paper products limited to our invitation suite. I included a welcome letter to the guests that, even as heartfelt as it was, couldn’t grasp my immense gratitude for all who made it to our wedding. On the back on the letter, Jody and I created a list of our favorite local restaurants and such for guests who were looking to stretch their legs (and bellies!). On the opposite side of the directions card, my sister took my measly sketch that I created of both of our venues, the hotel, and where we were hosting our rehearsal dinner and turned it into a beautiful map artwork. I wanted to make sure our guests were prepared for their stay and travel to each of our events, especially since I knew cellular service near the reception wasn’t reliable and you always need to know where is there best place to get ice cream. 🙂

While I loved how the paper products turned out, I still think the Maryland details were my favorite. While finding the Crab Chips were not as easy as anticipated, they were so worth it. Originally, I had planned on having something salty and something sweet, but after considering the wine and cake that we were providing at the wedding, I thought salty snacks would be more appreciated (by the time we got to our hotel that night, I was really kicking myself for not having a bag of chips for us!). The seeds were actually hard to find too, considering Black Eyed Susan’s are the State’s flower. I loved the idea of our guests being able to take a little piece of Maryland home with them too!

We dropped the bags off at the hotel on the morning we knew guests would start arriving, and had them labeled with the guest’s name to help out the hotel staff. From there, the hotel handed them to the guests as the checked in over the course of the next few days. I appreciate Best Western for working with us to make our guests visit to Denton even more pleasant, with some tangible memories to take when the weekend was over. We hope our guests enjoyed their visit to our little corner of the world!

 

Friday Favorites

Cheers to Friday! I don’t know about you, but this week has felt like the longest ever. I think it might have had a little to do with my anticipation about heading back down to Richmond for the first time in forever. I can’t believe that I haven’t been down there just to go since New Years. I’m looking forward to a weekend of indulging in some of our favorite local spots, which you will hear more about soon!

To kickoff the weekend, I thought that I would share some of my favorite things that I have been obsession over lately. Since this blog is designed to focus on the most blissful moments in everyday life, I figured showing off what has been putting a little skip in my step might be something that you’d enjoy as well!

1) Favorite Dish: Everyone who knows me knows that quiche is one of my favorite meals. I used to have my mom make it for my birthday each year, and even had a variety of quiches at my bridal shower! So when I found this crustless zucchini and corn summer quiche, I just had to try it. It is so light so it doesn’t leave you feeling sluggish on hot and humid summer days. It is filled with everyone’s favorite summer veggie that is ever so plentiful this time of year. It’s also easy to make too! I’ve already made it twice this month.

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Photo by The Skinny Fork

 

2) Favorite Drink: Last weekend, Jody and I went visit Nassau Valley Vineyards with a couple of people. I never have tasted their wine before, and I was please with the tasting that I chose. I ended up buy a bottle of their Chardonnay (Dry) because I loved how different it was from your typical Chardonnay! I kept saying it tasted like flowers (those of you who have experience Lavender flavored ice cream in Nice know what I’m talking about!), and it was so crisp and light that I could picture myself having a glass on a warm summer evening.

3) Favorite Quote: When I first saw this quote, it really made me sit a minute. I’ve never thought about why we laugh, or the science behind it, but I just love this thought! It makes me smile whenever I read it.

4) Favorite Flowers: Okay, I understand I’m a bit partial here but I cannot get enough of our wedding flowers! I remember feeling a pang of sadness when I left my bouquet in the car when we left for Jamaica. I knew when we got back it wouldn’t be the same beautiful, soft, full arrangement that I left. However, it dried perfectly (thanks Mom!) and makes a beautiful centerpiece on our table for the time being.

Photo by Laura’s Focus Photography

5) Favorite Song: Bits and pieces of this song have been stuck in my head for a consecutive two weeks, but it wasn’t until I realized it plays every morning on my way to work that I decided that I liked it! Kenny Chesney’s latest single, All the Pretty Girls, landed an even softer spot in my country-loving heart, when I found out that the video that won his Music Video Directing contest filmed their video in Richmond! If you look close enough you can see Belle Isle. 🙂

MEP to MEC: Our Welcome to Town Dinner

Happy Wednesday, friends! This Wednesday seemed as good as any to have a Wedding Wednesday post. Over the next months, I’ll be sharing more details from our big day, so I thought that I would start with the event the kicked off the weekend’s activities!

Because so much of our guest list were out-of-towners, we started having guests arrive on Thursday before our wedding. I had been feeling guilty for months about bringing so many people to Maryland’s Eastern Shore, and not serving them true Maryland seafood (We actually had seafood as an option for our rehearsal dinner, but due to the size of the venue, we kept our group to a minimum). It wasn’t until my uncle asked what seafood I’d be serving that I had the idea to have a dinner for all of our guests that arrived a few days ahead of time. I wanted to keep the event very casual and laid-back, so I chose my favorite crab shack to invite our guests to join us! Harris Crab House has been a staple in my family for years and I couldn’t think of a more perfect place to kickoff our weekend. The restaurant is location right on the Narrows, near Stevensville, and has breath-taking views of the water that surrounds this part of the world. It is right off the highway exit, making this a place our guests could literally jump off before continuing on to the hotel.

Ironically, a few others decided this was the perfect location for their gathering as well. We arrived right behind two parties of 18 people each, so when we asked for seating for another 19 people, I’m fairly certain the poor hostess panicked. Luckily enough, our guests had gathered down by the dock bar, and Harris’ didn’t seem to mind when we asked if we could sit out there.

Jody and I greeted everyone down by the dock (adorned with Bride and Groom buttons :)), and did our best to do introductions, while hugging each person that arrived next. It was completely overwhelming, in the most wonderful way, to reach the realization that all of these wonderful people were here, ordering the best seafood, in anticipation of our wedding, in just two short days.

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We laughed, drank, ate, caught up with family and friends until after the sun sunk into the bay. All throughout dinner though, I kept taking a peek at my soon-to-be husband. I couldn’t wrap my head around how on earth I am lucky enough to marry my best friend that I met on the tennis courts four years prior. Even though the stress had caught up to me that day, all of the worries I had disappeared because now, I could finally see the light at the end of the tunnel, or my light at the end of the aisle. In two days, the wedding would be over, but our lives would be just beginning.

After the crab cakes, soft crabs, salmon, hushpuppies, and cornbread were all had, we said goodbye for the night as I headed home to finish up some last-minute details on the decor that we would be delivering to the venues the next morning. I knew sleep in the next 48 hours would be scarce, but our wedding weekend was finally underway. I could not wait.

August Goals

Now that we are (mostly) adjusted to newlywed life, I am excited to dig into some goals during the last full month of summer! Everyone knows that summertime is my favorite season by far, so I’m planning to take full advantage of every second I have left! We had some fun in July, mixed in with a little chaos, but we are looking forward to getting a few more things checked off of our list in August.

We had a blast celebrating our first month of marriage back at Harvest Ridge Winery where we got hitched!

July Goals

  • Get back into a workout routine, choosing to be active at least twice a week
  • Officially change my name I’ve taken care of the big ones, just need to change the smaller accounts now!
  • Research places to get my wedding dress cleaned
  • Begin tackling my porch project
  • Go on a day trip to somewhere new
  • Celebrate one month of marriage!
  • Finish our porch project
  • Try a new recipe once a week
  • Enjoy a trip back to Richmond to visit with family and friends
  • Read a new book
  • Complete two craft projects
  • Find a new-to-us local attraction and go visit it!
  • Work out our new budget (Accepting all advice when it comes to creating a newlywed budget!)