Wedding Wednesday: Licensed to Wed

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On Friday afternoon we started the weekend a bit early and went to get our marriage license. Matt met me uptown and surprised me at my car with flowers. Isn’t he just the cutest most thoughtful guy around?

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During our walk to the courthouse, Matt kept saying what a big deal this was. I guess I had only been thinking of it as the next check box that needed completed on our ever-growing Excel spreadsheet of tasks to do before October 10th. But Matt was right. All we really need is this little piece of paper and we can get married. Yes, the planning and party will all be great, but it’s very easy to lose sight of the true meaning of marriage when you get wrapped up in seating charts and song lists.

The process was easy and took about 7 minutes total. We had to swear under oath that we are who we said we were (and that we weren’t cousins) and we were on our way. There were two men in line in front of us applying for their marriage license as well. Same-sex marriage in North Carolina has just recently been legalized. It made me happy to see them there. There is no reason why those two men don’t deserve to be just as happy as me and Matt are.

Afterwards, we asked the employee there to take our picture. Corny, but I’m sure we weren’t the first ones to ask…

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And then we spent the next 10 minutes perfecting our marriage license selfie.

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Afterwards Matt treated me to drinks at one of our favorite uptown spots, and then a trip to our favorite local brewery followed by dinner. It was a great (and unexpected) afternoon. Thanks, MRH for making the ordinary feel exciting! Only 44 more days!!

Wedding Wednesday: Mojito’s and Merriment Shower

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My mom has been blessed with a very special group of ladies as friends who are like second moms to me. This group of ladies have been throwing wedding showers for all of the daughters in this group for a few years now, and are now professionals. I was so excited when I got the invite to their “Mojito’s and Merriment” bridal shower in my honor.

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These ladies did not miss one detail. They truly went out of their way to incorporate our wedding colors and style into all of their decor. The flowers truly looked like they were done by a professional florist and the food was so amazing that I went back for thirds (#weddingdiet). They planned fun games that all of the guests participated in (with prizes for the winner) and the cutest parting gifts that included Ande’s Mints, my absolute favorite!

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photo 4What was really special was that my grandmother was able to make the trip down from Virginia to attend the shower. You can see where me and my mom get our shorty problems from. Also, my sister made the trip from Chicago and Matt’s mom and sister came up from Florida, which made the weekend that much better!

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photo 2A wedding tradition is that you keep all the bows from your showers and that acts as your “bouquet” during the wedding rehearsal. My talented friend Kathleen can seriously do it ALL. Look at what a great job she did with my bouquet…that later turned into a head piece.

photo 5I am so thankful for these beautiful women and their big hearts. You know the feeling when “thank you” doesn’t feel like enough? That is exactly how I feel about this shower. They put so much time and work into showering me and Matt, and we both feel so humbled by their, and everyone who attended, generosity. It was a great way to kick off the final countdown to #HappilyEverHelgeson!!!

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Windy City | Wisconsin | Whistling Straights | Whirlwind Weekend

Friday afternoon I hopped on a plane to Chicago, jumped on the Blue Line train, and met my dad, sister, and brother-in-law for a quick 36 hour getaway in the Windy City. My sister and I purchased tickets to the PGA Championship at Whistling Straights as a Fathers Day gift, which was this past weekend. Who knew Wisconsin is only 2 hours from Chicago??

On Friday night, we went and checked out my sister and brother-in-laws new condo they are moving into in a few weeks. It has awesome views of Lake Michigan and the Chicago River. I can’t wait to go back once they are all moved in. We had dinner at the rooftop restaurant in their new building and then ended the night with Whole Foods gelato and some Fireball and Pitbull.

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5:30am came very early Saturday morning, but I think we were all too excited to let it bother us. We drove the 2ish hours to Sheboygan, Wisconsin, passing through Milwaukee and some cornfields. I was very surprised to find that Wisconsin is actually really pretty.

We arrived at the tournament around 8:30am and my brother-in-law insisted I take a picture with my sisters golf clubs that happened to be in the trunk of the car. I think I’d be a perfect caddy if anyone’s looking (Heyyyy Rory).

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Whistling Straights is unlike any golf course I’ve ever been to, or seen on TV. My pictures, nor the TV broadcast, do the course justice. It is absolutely beautiful. The course is very hilly, and has Lake Michigan as the backdrop. Lake Michigan is so huge it looks almost like the ocean.

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We spent the first half of the morning walking the front nine, eating hot dogs, and getting our bearings. We found a nice seat in the grandstands on the 11th hole where we spent the majority of the afternoon watching the groups roll in. It is so fun to be able to see the players up close. You see them on TV so often that seeing them in “real life” is pretty interesting. I might have gotten a wink from Jason Day, just saying….

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And of course, no trip to Wisconsin would be complete without an order of Cheese Curds…

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We left the course around 6:00 that evening, feeling very grateful for the fun afternoon we had. We love you Dad, thank you for being such an amazing Father to us both!

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Steals & Deals – At Home

Last weekend my mom and I spent almost 3 hours in At Home, and didn’t even make it through the entire store. At Home is the old Garden Ridge near Carolina Place Mall. I’ve heard mixed reviews, but if you have some time to do some searching, you can walk away with some great steals! Here’s just a few of the goodies we found, at a fraction of the price!

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1. Ginger JarGinger Jars

2. Round Back Dining Chairchairs3. Acrylic Ghost Chair 

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4. Bamboo Mirror

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Wedding Wednesday: Is it selfish to have an adult-only wedding?

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It’s a decision every couple planning a wedding has to make: Should we invite kids, too? Honestly, this wasn’t even a conversation when it came to our wedding. We knew from the beginning that we wanted an adult-only wedding. We have several reasons for this…

  • Weddings are EXPENSIVE and adding kids to the mix means more mouths to feed
  • Kids and crystal don’t mix
  • Have you ever been to a wedding where a baby starts crying in the middle of the ceremony or a kid blurts something out and totally distracts from the moment?
  • Our wedding is going to be a very classy, elegant affair and we want our guests to be able to fully enjoy it without having to worry about their kids running around
  • Every couple deserves a good date night (or weekend) away from the kids
  • None of our close family members have children so there won’t be a flower girl or ring bearer

Last week The Today Show featured an article written by an upset adult who was asked not to bring her children to their wedding. Her gripes include  she will “shell out over 100 bucks on a babysitter, plus the wedding gift. It’s a horrendously expensive date night and I’m sorry (and no offense to you and the love of your life), but that’s really asking a lot of your guests with young children.

So what do you think, is it selfish or not?

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http://www.today.com/video/are-weddings-for-adults-only-selfish-477946435903

$25 Upcycled Table

Perhaps one of the most exciting parts of registering for our wedding is the idea that one day we might actually have real, adult-like belongings. True story, Matt eats off of speckled camping plates and my version of ‘fine china’ is my Tervis Tumbler collection.  In my fairy tale of married life, we will have a well-balanced meal every night and eat off of matching plates and silverware that weren’t purchased from Wal-Mart while in college. This vision also includes a dining table and that’s where the fairy tale comes to a screeching halt.

I had a table and 4 chairs that I basically ruined (read that mishap here) and then later sold on CraigsList for $60. That left us with the coffee-table-while-watching-Wheel-Of-Fortune option, and that’s definitely nowhere in my fairy tale.

My sweet coworker Kristi let me know that her neighbor was selling a kitchen table. While the table had lived on a back porch and needed some TLC, it was still a very nice, substantial piece of furniture. Because I have a serious issue with making any type of decision, I sent my Interior Decorator (also known as “Mom”) to check it out. She agreed that it would be money well spent. Matt and I went later that week to pick up the table without knowing it weighed upwards of 200+ lbs.  Our engagement was definitively tested trying to carrying it off the porch ourselves, through the yard, and then lifting it into the bed of a truck. We were able to unload it and store it in the garage of our new place; which is where I was afraid it would stay forever after Matt declared he never wanted to see it again. Lucky for me, my fiance’s long-term memory isn’t the best, and after a week or so he was ready to tackle the table project.

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We had borrowed my Dad’s pressure washer for a few other projects, so we figured we might as well use that to clean off the pollen and dirt from the table.

We first thought we could use a sanding block to take off the finish, at least down to a layer where we could either re-stain or paint over. That lasted all of 10 minutes before we realized we needed the electric orbital sander.

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And just a word to the wise…after 3+ hours of sanding, you’ll think you’re done…but don’t forget you also have to sand the leaf…

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Although it required a lot of elbow grease, the end result was well worth all of the time it took to sand it down to nothing.

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The following day we began the fun part, which was painting the base. Mom and I spent about 25 minutes picking out the color. Who knew there were SO many shades of cream?! The table took three coats of the paint to cover the previous black paint but looked great afterwards.

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Matt’s dad was in town for work so before he treated us to dinner, we asked if he could kindly help us carry the table inside.

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Once inside, we put two coats of Minwax Provincial on just the top and then sealed it with a clear polyurethane.

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My mom scored these two cane back dining chairs from the Habitat Restore for $30/chair. They are Drexel Heritage chairs and great quality. Won’t they look great reupholstered in velvet or animal hide? The options are endless! More to come on this project…

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We are so impressed with the final product. Isn’t she a beaut? All in, we spent about $50 on paint and supplies and then of course $25 for the actual table.

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At the end of the day, I will always love this table because it was the first real project Matt and I worked on together and where we will share our meals together. Now I guess this means I need to learn how to cook….

Wedding Wednesday: Cohabitation and a Little Help from my Friends

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Matt and I have had to make a lot of big decisions lately, but I think the most important (and difficult) one that we’ve recently faced was to move in together before or after the wedding. This wasn’t just a one time conversation we had, but more like months and months of going back and forth.  The first factor we considered was the logical side of things. My lease was up in May, and Matt’s was up in July. We don’t get married until October so what would we do for those 4-6 months in between? Then of course the financial piece played a big role. This is one of the most expensive times of our life, and could we really afford to pay double rent and utilities until October? We went through every option possible, and then back and forth 30 more times, and once we thought we had our minds made up, it would change again. I think the turning point was when we brought this up during one of our pre-marital counseling session. Our therapist started off saying he didn’t care which decision we made one way or another, but only about how we came to the decision. In life, and marriage, there are going to be a lot more challenging decisions than this. And although it seemed like a life changing decision to make at the time, a year from now it will be a non-event.

We had ultimately decided I would rent a new place once my lease was up and that Matt would move in once his lease was up in July. Honestly, the financial factor drove that decision more than anything. Then, after our counseling session, as soon as we got back into the car we both looked at each other and said that deep down that is not what we wanted. We have been extremely intentional throughout our dating relationship about making defined decisions to make our marriage the best it can be, and both have a strong desire to have our marriage feel different than dating does. Our therapist told us that there are certainly activities we could do to make the marriage feel different if we did chose to move in together before the wedding (date nights, new traditions, etc.) but at the end of the day, we both wanted to wait. There is just something really cool about coming home after the honeymoon, as a new family, into a new place together.

All that being said, I definitely understand the other side of the coin. First and foremost, it completely makes financial sense to only pay one rent and one set of utilities. It also can be seen as a “try before you buy” situation and many are able to work out the “kinks” that living together brings before the big day.

Coming from someone who has to have the bed made perfectly every morning and who more often than not leaves the cap off the toothpaste, I am a bit nervous living with Matt. Are there habits of mine that will drive him crazy? Will I lose my marbles if he doesn’t fold the sheet down the perfect way or fluff the pillow exactly the way I like it?  Sooooo, I did what any girl would do: ask  my girlfriends to weigh in so we can all learn from their words of wisdom. I polled my closest girlfriends in the hopes of starting a larger conversation with all of you. If you’ve just moved in with your significant other (or are talking about living together in the future!), I hope this will be helpful!

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1. When did you know you were ready to live together?

“i knew i wanted to move in with him because it allowed me to “do life” with him more since we don’t get to spend a lot of time together. i guess i knew i was ready when i realized that calling the same place home would allow us to interact a lot more & share more even though we still work opposite schedules. ie. i can cook a meal for dinner and he can have it for lunch the next day, leaving notes in the morning, he grinds the coffee beans and gets it all set up for me for the morning, etc.” – Laura

“I didn’t know and I don’t think Jason did either. It made sense logistically and financially and as unromantic as that may sound we just decided to do it. I didn’t know we were ready until after we did it and it just seemed to work.” – Chelsea

“As cheesy as it sounds..we knew we were ready to live together when we knew we were going to spend forever together :)” – Kathleen

2. What was the best part about living together for the first time?

“sleeping next to him every night. it’s a comfort unlike i’ve ever known. and dance parties in our living room.” – Laura

“Not having to worry about what I forgot to pack in my overnight bag… Wooohooooooo!!!!!” – Chelsea

“The best part about living together is coming home to my favorite person. Unlike living apart when I would only be excited at the end of the workday when I had plans to see him, once we moved in together I started to realize that around 4:30 I’d catch a second wind knowing I got to go home and hear all about his day and tell him about mine! Also, cooking dinner together is super fun! Cooking is such a good bonding experience and a good way to get to know someone even better. B is a GREAT cook” – Kathleen

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3. What’s one thing you wish you had known before taking that next step?

“i honestly can’t think of anything. we really talked a lot about what the day to day would look like once we lived together so we had a good plan in place. it also helps that we both still get a lot of alone time with the way our schedules work.” – Laura

“Naturally I overthought the whole process and stressed about worst case scenario (he’ll get sick of me, I’ll get sick of him, when will I watch Real Housewives?). I wish I would have just relaxed and enjoyed the time leading up to moving in together.” – Chelsea

“I wish I had known that my husband was such a neat freak!! He cracks me up with how he cleans up behind me. He is always telling me how messy I am which is hysterical and so opposite of what I thought a traditional husband/wife role would be. Once I was cutting veggies with a pair of kitchen scissors and every time I would pick up a handful to put them in the bowl I’d turn around and find the scissors gone. He was picking them up as I was using him…three times in a row before I realized what was going on. I’ve noticed it happens a LOT and is definitely a habit he picked up from his own dad, which is actually pretty adorable.” – Kathleen

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4. Anything you didn’t know about your significant other until you cohabitated?

“the only thing i can think of is that he plays video games more than i realized – probably cause it’s during the day mostly when i am at work.” –Laura

“I’m really trying to rack my brain here but I can’t think of anything. We have been unusually open since day 1 so I don’t think there have been any surprises.  Boring, sorry!” – Chelsea

“I wish I knew B had no qualms over using someone else’s bath towel. People that know me well know our towel story from our first few weeks of living together… I do not share towels (I don’t think most people do..) but he doesn’t care AT ALL and grabs the first one he sees as he gets out of the shower. Interesting first fight!!” –Kathleen

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5. What advice would you give a couple who are about to move in together?

“prepare, plan, talk a lot, make sure you are clear on money & who will pay for what, give it a test run for a few weeks, be patient, be kind, be understanding, be assertive when needed, and enjoy it! it’s really fun to live with the person you love. things/habits will drive you crazy if you let them, so speak truth in love and forgive each other for the way our parents made us :)” – Laura

“Pick your battles and don’t sweat the small stuff. You may not love all of his decor but it’s about creating a place that you both feel at home in. Also.. You can buy throw pillows and say “ill return them if you don’t like it”. He won’t make you return them ;) It’s the best feeling ever knowing that you get to go home and hang out with your bestie everynight.”  -Chelsea

 “I would say that while you have to let some things go you also HAVE to speak up about others! Can you imagine if I hadn’t told B to stop using my towel? Where would we be right now?” –Kathleen

Q2 Goals: Revisited

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  • Book wedding photographer  So excited that the talented Angela Garbot is coming from the Windy City to be our wedding photographer!
  • Take engagement pictures – Because Angie lives in Chicago it was tough to schedule our engagement session, but happy to report those will be taken next weekend
  • Book honeymoon – Blah! Still no progress on this…
  • Order wedding invitations  Check!
  • Finish wedding website  Check! Just waiting on our engagement pictures before publishing it
  • Find a place for us to live This consumed most of the quarter, but we found an awesome place to live…more to come on that!
  • Read “Think & Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill – haven’t had much leisure time for reading, but this is still on the list of things to do…and trust me, we’re going to need all of the riches we can get once this wedding is over.
  • Clean out my closets Check! Moving will force you to do this (and will also make you want to sell everything you own!)
  • Plant herb garden – Didnt get around to this one, but now that we have a great porch, maybe this will happen
  • Sand and Repaint Kitchen Table Check! Blog post coming soon!
  • Go to a Hilliard class 4x a week Check! I have a love/hate relationship with that place, but I can definitely tell my hard work is paying off. In June I participated in their “Summer Sizzle” contest and went 5x a week.
  • Hike Crowder’s Mountain – After reading about the lady who fell off of Crowders Mountain and died, this goal was pushed to the bottom of the list.

Wedding Wednesday: Angela Garbot Photography

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What is one thing I’ve learned from the wedding planning process? There are WAY too many vendor selections in Charlotte! The photographer search was certainly one of our tougher decisions. We emailed, called, blog stalked and even had two ‘interviews’ (including a beer date at Common Market) with our top two choices. At the end of the whirlwind process, we still were as unsure about who to pick as we were at the beginning. At the end of the day, your pictures are really the only thing you have to show for the 9+ months of planning and five-figure party you’ve thrown (besides a lifetime of wedded bliss). Our pictures are SO important to us because they will be the one thing we have when our memories begin to fail us. They will be part of the album that we pull out on anniversaries, and fill the pages that our children will one day look through. All that to say that finding the perfect photographer was a daunting task.

At the end of the day, we decided on Angie from Angela Garbot Photography. Angie is based out of Chicago which might have some of you wondering how on Earth we decided on someone from Illinois. Angie shot my sisters wedding a little over two years ago (Happy Anniversary W&B!). We know, without a shadow of a doubt, that Angie’s work is amazing, and that is why we had no hesitation with selecting her. She has offered to come to Charlotte to do our engagement session (in just a few weeks, eek!)….until then, I’ll leave you with just a small sample of some of the stunning pictures she took during my sisters wedding.

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