Friday, July 31, 2009

Gearing Up for Gorham's Bluff

Wedding Weekend Part Two is now in effect. My dear friend Candice is getting married tomorrow! I am SO excited about her venue, Gorham's Bluff, which is an adorable community located in the tiny town of Pisgah, Alabama. This place is the best kept secret around, but I think it's definitely on its way to being discovered - Tara Guerard of Charleston-based Soiree even blogged about it here. Candice's super-sweet fiance Elliott whisked her away for a romantic weekend in March and capped their last night off by dropping to one knee and proposing on the back porch of their cute cottage - you just don't get any more southern than that, folks! I used to work with Candice at the University of Alabama School of Law (I did the events, she did the annual fund) and we made a pretty great team. We were both hired there after some life-changing circumstances, and formed a fast friendship that I have grown to cherish so much. She and I both were known as the ones would "never settle down" and then we got engaged within one month of each other - how's that for irony? So here's to you, Candice - through all our shoulder shimmy's, counselor-patient quizzes and dance sessions in turtleneck sweaters, I couldn't be happier for you and the life you're about to begin tomorrow. Can't wait to celebrate with y'all this weekend!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Shall we dance?

Without a doubt, one of the biggest perks of my job are the benefits. And when those benefits include couples dancing classes that are FREE to employees, well it doesn't get much better. I've seriously been wanting to try this just for fun for YEARS now. Imagine my delight when opening my inbox to read our weekly e-newsletter this morning, and discovering this class is being offered one night a week for the next two months? And imagine how that delight went to the nth degree when Craig actually agreed to try them out with me! Do I have the best fiance or what? (I did promise that if they were completely cheesy, we could just go to the first one, but I have to admit, my hopes are high.) You learn the waltz the first month and the two-step the second, and if all goes well, I hope to convince Craig to stick around so we can learn them both! Who knows - we might even debut our new talent at the wedding. So watch out, Dancing With the Stars - you're about to get a run for your money!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Save the Date - unveiled!

Due to popular demand (and by demand I mean three requests, but hey, I'm a blog rookie so I don't have a devoted following...yet) I've decided to unveil our Save the Date card that went out on July 2 (yes friends, that is six months to the day before our wedding day - I'm a perfectionist). We've gotten the most WONDERFUL feedback from our family and friends about them, and I got about 25 texts over the course of a week as people picked them up in the mailbox! So without further ado, I present to you our STD. (Why, wedding gods, does such a pretty little thing have to have such an unfortunate acronym?)

Major props to Shannon O'Kelley of Southall Eden Paperie for being the genius behind these little lovelies! When I say she was an absolute doll to work with, that is the understatement of the century. You can't tell from the photo, but the paper is this gorgeous midnight blue shimmer heavyweight stock, which catches the light so beautifully! She took every idea I had to use our colors of midnight blue and platinum while giving the piece a "Nashville" feel (a must for our predominantly out of town guest list who will be traveling to the Music City for a New Year's in Nashville weekend) and ran with it. And what she returned with was perfection. My favorite part is the little belt that is made out of tobacco paper, complete with punched out holes for the notches, and the monogram on the belt buckle is done so that it can be re-printed on favor tags, programs, anything! I literally squealed when she showed it to me in Starbuck's. Funny how the little things make all the difference. Who knew a simple card could make me so happy?

So - if you're jonesing for custom made invitations, you just HAVE to check out Southall Eden. And the best part? You meet with Shannon for a consultation at her adorable place in Leiper's Fork, complete with acres of beautiful farmland and event space to boot! When we met with her for our consultation, we fell in love with this little barn that sits on her property. So much so, in fact, that we had some of our engagement photos taken there. So fun!!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Signed, Sealed, Delivered

Drum roll please! For anyone who adores the look of monogrammed stamps, address stamps, really ANY stamps...well I'm about to make your day. Head on over to A Wedding Story's blog for an amazing giveaway from Sweet Papery, which just so happens to be a new obsession of mine as of about ten minutes ago. I'm thinking the "From the Kitchen of" stamp would make a great gift for my future mother-in-law, who is quite the cook! I'm in dire need of some of her fabulous recipes before I become a little wifey in January. :)

Here are some of my favorites...but hurry over to her blog for a chance to win YOUR favorite. Contest ends July 30th. Happy stamping!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Wedding Weekend, Birmingham-style!

I'm back (and exhausted) from an event-filled weekend in Birmingham, for the wedding of Justin and Marcie! Marcie was a beautiful bride, and did a great job planning everything to a tee. The ceremony was so sweet - she sniffled through the whole thing - and the reception was so much fun. And though I was a little unsure of strutting my moves on the dance floor in front of all the guests, the "girlfriend dance" she taught us was the hit of the night! I didn't take many pictures since her awesome photographer took lots throughout the day, but here are a few teasers...

At the rehearsal dinner with my hot date - what a view of the city!

B&A Warehouse - a fabulous sight for a reception (pardon the poor photo quality - I desperately need a new camera!)

The beautiful - and sassy - Mrs. Marcie Morris!

All smiles and thinking - holy cow, we're next!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Me Gusta Mexico!

It's a rainy Wednesday in Nashville and I've got the beach on the brain yet again. But not just any beach, my friends...the beach where we'll be spending seven glorious days basking in the sun on our honeymoon! After lots of research, and LOTS of changing our mind, we finally decided that Riverya Maya, Mexico was hands-down the best destination for us in terms of timing, weather, and most importantly, budget! Lucky for us, January 3rd is the start of their off-season, so we got a deal! Also, the average temperature is 86 degrees, which is just heavenly to me. The place we found is called El Dorado Maroma by Karisma, a boutique-style, beachfront resort that comes highly recommended. Travel Channel even rated it one of the Top Ten Beaches in the World!

Though the entire resort is breathtaking, what really sold us was this...

That's right, folks. You walk right out of your bedroom on to a beach-front balcony where you can literally step into a lazy river that leads you to the main pool! Craig was even more excited about this amenity than I was. Since this is pretty much the only time in either of our lives where we can be lazy for seven days straight, we're taking full advantage. Here's how it's described on the website:

Offering the ultimate in luxury and convenience, these suites provide
access to a lazy river that connects to the main pool and swim-up bar
just a step off your terrace, plus unique private outdoor shower, an in suite Jacuzzi and large balcony complete with day bed make for an unforgettable stay.

Our other accommodation option is this...

Which is definintely lovely, but you just can't beat that walk-out-of-your room lazy river, in my opinion. I mean, if you're going to be a bear, be a Grizzly, right?
Here are some other swoon-worthy photos that have me wishing we were getting married tomorrow so we could hop on the plane already!

So in closing, Dear January 2, 2010:
Yours truly,

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Because I Love Barns

So...our wedding date is set for January 2, 2010, and I'm finally warming up to being a winter bride (pun intended). But if Craig and I weren't such big football fans (and our work schedules allowed) we would do an early fall wedding instead. And I would be all over a reception like this one.

Can't you just feel the sunlight streaming through those 2' x 4's? Love it! And the rustic decor is fantastic.

Love the use of hay and wheatgrass. And what I would do to use that chandelier. But would guests be sneezing all night? I'm a girl with allergies, so I have to wonder...

And an outdoor bar set up like this one has me swooning. It would be even better to carve the initials into the pumpkins, and light them from the inside with candles.

But I AM beginning to love the details involved in a winter wedding. Less demand for dates = more willingness from vendors to make it happen, for one thing. Ability to have some fun with a friend's fur stole for the farewell? Check. More flexibility on venues? Check. Maximizing on decor already in place from the holidays? Check. Using candlelight galore? Triple check. See, I can find the positives. :)

Monday, July 20, 2009

Wedding Website Unveiled!

We have a wedding website, folks! Check it out at

And if you're working, turn down your speakers. Stevie Wonder's "Signed, Sealed, Delivered" may jump out at you when you first visit. :) My most favorite part is the Guestbook. I get giddy everytime someone signs it. Really, my heart speeds up a little. Just goes to show you that although all the wedding planning is a lot of fun, at the end of the day it's about celebrating our marriage with the people we love most. And we can't freakin' wait!

Props to Marcie for showing me the ropes on how this bad boy is done. She's my most technologically-savvy friend, so I go to her when I need to figure out how to resize a photo, start a website, start a blog - start anything that involves a mouse, really. And Marcie's getting married THIS Saturday in Birmingham to Justin, who I got to meet back when she lived in Nashville and is the perfect match for her. She's going to be a show-stopping bride and I can't wait to celebrate their big day!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Puppy Dog Eyes

A few months ago, I started spending my free Sundays at the Nashville Humane Association, which is in my opinion the Ritz of all dog shelters, and a great way to get involved if you're like me and want a dog but don't have the place for one at the moment. It is definitely one of the best organizations I've been a part of, and one that's close to my heart. I adopted my sweet dog, Dixie, from the Birmingham shelter back in 2002 when I was a senior in college, and she lived with me for six blissful years. Since I've moved to Nashville, she's enjoyed her new home with my parents, since I'm on the go so much and wouldn't be able to give her the attention she needs. She definitely lives a life of luxury with them - my Dad even gives her two "cookies" each morning for breakfast. :)

Dixie, at home in Alabama on Easter Sunday 2008

The NHA is amazingly clean, very well-run, volunteer-driven, and most importantly, the animals are treated wonderfully. The best part is seeing how super-excited the dogs are to see you the minute you walk through the door with a leash in hand. You have to be made of stone if your heart doesn't break a little looking at their sweet faces!

I took advantage of the beautiful weather this afternoon (mid-70's in the middle of July? Yes please!) and took several dogs out for a walk/run on the trail in the back. Some of them only get walked once a day so you can imagine their excitement to get out of their kennels and enjoy the sunshine. I always get a good mix of bigger dogs that are full of energy and nearly have me skiing behind them to those that are smaller and a bit more shy, and would just as much love a tummy rub as a walk on the trail. The puppies are always the first to go, and since I usually volunteer on Sundays, there are rarely any left from the weekend once I get there. Today though, I had the great pleasure of passing by the Puppy Room and seeing the most adorable little black and white puppies you have ever laid eyes on. It was everything I could do not to adopt one on the spot.

The best part of the day by far was taking Ellie, one of the "Featured Dogs" out for a walk, only to come back and find her new owners waiting for her. They had just signed the papers to adopt her and were so excited to take her home. When you see loving families make the decision to bring one home, it's the best feeling in the whole world.

Ellie, one of the NHA dogs who found a new home today!
P.S. One of the big reasons I chose the girls at A Delightful Day to help me coordinate the wedding was because they give 3% of the profits from each wedding package to the NHA. Way to go, ladies!

Friday, July 17, 2009

A little inspiration for the weekend...

Happy Friday! Here's my first attempt at an inspiration board for the wedding. It incorporates my colors of midnight blue, platinum and ivory - very glam, wintry and New Years-ish I think! My favorite item on it are the little coffee shots with donut holes on a stir stick. We had already decided to do a coffee bar, and I think these would be such a cute addition to it! I used Mosaic Maker to put it together - it's great software to use if you're new to designing inspiration boards like myself! Here's the link I found that was uber-helpful. Try it!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Toes in the Sand...

Ah, the beach. No two words can do more for my state of mind, truly. And the one person who knows that best (Craig) surprised me with a spur-of-the-moment, "everything has been handled, just pack your bags" trip to Destin last weekend! Though I love wedding planning, it had gotten to a point that a break was just what we needed to push through these dog days of summer. I officially have the best fiance in the world. :)

We had the best time hanging out with our friends Melissa and Jevin who are quite possibly some of my favorite people to be around. Melissa had found a crazy awesome deal for an unbelievable beachfront condo, which had the best view of the Gulf of Mexico you've ever seen. I kept saying I felt like Jay-Z all weekend.

Between dinner at Red Bar (naturally), oysters on the half shell at Boathouse, and the best boiled shrimp I've ever tasted, I definitely got my seafood fix. We also had a seaside open-air bar where we saddled up for drinks as the waves crashed behind us, the wind blowing our hair, pretty much a textbook weekend at the beach.

Here are some highlights...

I mean seriously, look at that water.

One of Melissa's beloved "candid" shots. I look like I'm asking him "How's my hat?"

All smiles and suntans!

Enjoying the view from the marina after leaving the Boathouse - one of my favorite establishments.

To enjoy these! Raw oysters, how I love thee...

Who rememembers AJ's as the spring break standard? We definitely went there too. And we LOVED it!

The biggest laugh we got all weekend was the tan line Craig rocked after the first day at the beach. Apparently his swim trunks were pulled up a little higher than he thought, and he had a distinct division of red versus white skin right at his belly button. I definitely called him an old man for rocking that sense of style!

Until the next trip...

Two Posts in Two Days? Not Bad!

Speaking of what's going inside our new house, we met with the builder on Monday and things are coming along perfectly for our expected September 1 move-in! I meant to take a picture so we would have the "before and after" but forgot in all the excitement of seeing how it will be laid out. Craig and I are so stoked to have a place to call home and start a new chapter together - we drive by about once a week to check on the progress. I'm sure our neighbors think we are stalkers. I have been renting ever since I graduated college and that was in 2002, so you can imagine how nice it is to finally have a permanent address. The post office probably sees a change of address form for me on an annual basis.

The great thing about building a new house is that we're able to customize so much, from the paint colors (which we're picking out this weekend) to light fixtures to fun additions like a breakfast bar with a built-in wine refrigerator. We even added crown molding, vaulted ceilings and surround sound, inside and out. The best part? We're about two miles from Vandy's campus and each have a five minute commute. For someone like me who has a hard time getting out of bed in the morning, that is a beautiful thing!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

And so it begins...

So the suggestions have been duly noted to start a blog - see, I do listen! It's funny, I distinctly remember when the word "blog" was first being tossed around, and thinking to myself that it would be a passing trend. Now I visit the blogs of other event/wedding planners on a regular basis, and also use them to keep updated on my sweet friends who have jumped on the bandwagon. The main reason I wanted to begin blogging was so that I can document the process of planning our wedding and all the other fun things going on in our life right now. I've never been a big fan of keeping a journal, and I definitely want to be able to look back and remember this time, so I figure what the heck...

The big news is that our Save the Dates have been sent, which makes everything seem very official to me! We used the photo from the Photographix photo shoot (that we won, thanks to many of your votes) which definitely shows us in our element. I'm wearing the cowboy boots that Craig, my adorable fiance, bought me as an anniversary gift and I think it captures just how happy he makes me. There wasn't a single photo taken where he didn't make me smile. Props to Jen and Ann at Photographix for being so much fun during the shoot, which really let Craig bust out of his picture-phobia shell. I'm not going to lie, they are some of my favorite photos of us together, and I know they'll have a happy home in our new house! Here are a few of their favorites they posted on their blog, but we're having trouble narrowing down ours!

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