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!!

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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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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

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

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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Wedding Wednesday: Premarital Counseling

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We are both very excited that my childhood Pastor Steve will be officiating our wedding. He also officiated my sisters wedding which is pretty cool that we’re “keeping it in the family”. We will complete two or three premarital counseling sessions with him once we get closer to October. While I’m sure they will be insightful and helpful, we both felt like we needed some more substantial counseling prior to the big day.

Let me preface this all by saying that Matt and I both agree we have a very solid relationship. We have done almost everything possible to ensure we are set-up for a lifetime of happiness. I think a lot of people automatically assume there is trouble in paradise if you’re seeing a counselor. The way I think of it is this…we invest in our health, we invest in our finances, we’ve invested in our education, we invest in our friends and family, we invest in our careers…why would we not do all that we can to invest in our marriage as well?

If you ever google “Premarital Counseling Dilworth” you will be bombarded by the amount of results that are returned. So how do you pick the “right” counselor? Many times this is where a good recommendation from a friend comes in. Unfortunately, we didn’t have any, so we started from scratch. It’s hard to know if you’ll connect with a counselor and it’s really hard to tell from their website or a brief conversation. You often won’t know if there is “chemistry” until you go to a few sessions. A good counselor will let you know if he/she doesn’t think they are the right fit for you. We ended up going to a guy we knew very little about with the agreement that if he wasn’t the right fit, we would find someone else. So far we have been impressed. You can also get a list of in-network doctors from your insurance company, and also http://www.psychologytoday.com has a great “Find a Therapist” tool.

Our first session was very introductory so that we could get to know the counselor and vice versa. He asked a lot of great questions. Some I knew the answer to right away, and some that really made me think. One question that really stands out was when he asked “Why get married? In today’s society it’s completely OK to live with someone, or buy a house, or even have a child without being married. So why are you choosing to get married?”. He also asked “Why Matt?” and “Why Caitlin?”. I make it a point to tell Matt all the reasons I love him, but know that I often fall short on this. I know Matt loves me with his entire heart, but it was really cool to hear him verbalize why he does.

Our therapist has 8 or so main topics we will cover; everything from finances to parenting, to sex, household chores, relationships with in-laws, communication and trust. I know we’ve had a lot of conversations around these topics, but I think it will be good to have a third party really push us. Our therapist had some really great points that I thought I would share:

  • 67% of arguments that couples have DON’T have a resolution….meaning cooperation is the key here. Also, keep small things small
  • 95% of marriages that end, end within their first 6 years
  • We all have an “emotional bank account” – for every one “withdraw” you take from your partner, it requires five “deposits”

I think we both walked into the session with a bit a hesitation. For Matt, he thought we would leave the session with a list of reasons why our relationship wasn’t solid, or loopholes the therapist found, or tough conversations that needed to be had. We both walked away with a completely different view. We walked away feeling like our relationship is just as solid (and maybe even more) than we had thought. Our therapist really applauded us for coming to counseling before there are issues. Most couples he see’s are in the midst of life changing decisions and/or a lot of heartbreak and pain. He also suggested we come back to see him once or a twice a year once we are married to check-in and recalibrate if needed. All in all, it was a great experience and I know I’m already looking forward to our next session.

Wedding Wednesday: Honeymooning

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It seems like we’ve tackled almost every wedding project under the sun except for planning our honeymoon. Which is actually really insane when you think about it since that is one of the most fun parts of this whole process! We’ve both done a little research but keep going back to the same dilemma…

All of our married friends have told us how exhausted we will be after all of the wedding festivities and to pick a relaxing destination. To us, a tropical vacation with not much to do sounds fantastic. But then I remember who I am, and a busy-bee like me has a hard time sitting for an hour, let alone an entire week. The pro’s of going somewhere tropical is that most are a close plane ride away, they are relatively affordable, and will still have warm weather in October.

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The other part of me keeps telling myself that it’s our honeymoon, the once in a lifetime trip that we’ll never be able to do once we have a house and kids. Maybe I’ve been brainwashed by the marketing departments at The Knot, but there is a valid point to that. We don’t whats in the cards for us in the future and if we will ever have the time and money to do a big trip again. When you think of it like that, the options are endless. I would love to do Italy, Indonesia, Africa or Greece. But I know how much of a whirlwind a cross-Atlantic trip can be. We have gone on two week-long trips to Europe and were exhausted by the end. The flights are usually 9+ hours and then all of the smaller flights, trains, planes and buses required to get to your destinations.

I fully understand that this is a totally a First World Problem…and at the end of they day if we ended up at the Treehouse Vineyards in Monroe, North Carolina I would be fine because its a week away with my husband. But I also feel the pressure to start booking flights and accommodations since we’re almost to the 5 month mark! Would love to hear about your fabulous vacation destinations!

Wedding Wednesday: Our Engagement Party

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This past weekend we celebrated our Engagement Party. To say that it was absolutely perfect would be an understatement. Multiple times I looked around the room and thought to myself, “wow, we are so lucky! There is a room full of people that love us a whole lot”.

We used Wedding Paper Divas for our invitations. WPD is always having some sort of sale or discount if you are thinking about ordering from them. They were very easy to work with and our invites came very quickly. WPD is owned by Shutterfly which has a distribution center in Fort Mill. We chose navy and gold since those are some of the colors we are incorporating in the wedding.

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It is my dream to be a good calligrapher, but until that day happens, clear labels for the win! We downloaded a great calligraphy font from 1001freefonts.com and printed labels with our guests addresses as well as return address labels. This saved a lot of time and was totally worth the few dollars it cost for Kinkos to do them. I’m sure it would be easy enough to do them on your own printer, but neither one of us felt like experimenting with that.

 

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IMG_0600We chose to have the party at The Ashton in South End. It was the perfect venue choice. Many of our friends live in the area, and for those who stayed uptown, it was quick ride down on the light rail. The Ashton has a very large indoor area to rent and a great outdoor patio with amazing views of the city.

 

My mom decided to take on the challenge of catering the party herself. Is there anything that lady can’t do? She truly is Wonder Woman. She planned a menu full of great hors d’oevres and incorporated many of our favorite things including Chic-fil-A nuggets and a family friends famous Blue Cheese Dip. She decorated the space with hints of gold and white including pom-pom balls that hung from the ceiling. My mother-in-law did a great job of making two large flower arrangements that sat on the food and dessert table. We hired a bartender to help serve and replenish food; one of the better ideas we had. He was awesome and did all of the dirty work so that we could enjoy the party.

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My family, Matt’s family, and my sister’s in-laws

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Matt’s Family

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Momma + Me

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Deltas!

 

Bridesmaids!

Bridesmaids!

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Blake + Brittany & Kathleen + Brandon

 

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Brittany & Kathleen

 

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My dad’s best friends children…basically my cousins

 

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Uncle Richard

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Dustin & Caroline

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My sisters in-laws

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My dad and my sisters father-in-law

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Chelsea + Kendall

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Jason + Chelsea

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The Davis Family

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Someone snuck in the Sweet Water…

It’s all fun and games until someone breaks out the Selfie Stick. Leave it to my sister (aka the life of the party) to bring one…

 

The Selfie Stick made a second appearance at the bar after the party…probably should have left that bad boy at home but the pictures are hilarious!

 

It is hard to put into words the gratitude that we feel for those who made it to our party. We both have small extended families but feel fortunate enough to consider many of our close friends as family members. It means the world to us for the people that traveled far distances to be there to celebrate us. For those who live near, it means just as much. There were a lot of people who helped my mom set-up before the event and those who stayed late to help us clean up. My parents and Matt’s parents both put a lot of time, energy, and money into the party, and we are forever grateful for that. This is an event we will never forget! Can’t wait for October 10th!

Wedding Wednesday: Menu Tasting

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Things are rolling right ahead in wedding world! It seems like every weekend is consumed with packing as much planning, researching, and meetings in that we can. It’s a lot, but it’s all fun and we are trying to enjoy it as much as we can. We both have commented that we’re not sure what we’ll talk about after the wedding is over!

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Last week we were treated to our menu tasting at Charlotte Country Club. Let me tell you, this place is top-notch. Upon arrival we were greeted by servers in our private dining room with a tray of champagne. As we took our seats, we saw one of the servers walking in the room with what appeared to be two foot stools. You might have seen on Instagram (@cmhewitt88) that they were actually stools for our purses to sit on. Add it to the million reasons why I love that place!

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We had picked some selections to try prior to our tasting which helped to narrow things down. First up was 5 different hors d’oeuvres. All were delicious but we I think we decided on the top 3 best options. Then we tasted two different salad options and two different entrees. The piece de resistance was the cake selection process. I could be a cake taste-tester all day! We also got to try four different types of wine.  At the end of the evening we were given to-go bags with some cake to take home. Someone might have eaten theirs for breakfast….

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I am so excited for our menu! We were even able to slip in a special item that is unique and “famous” to the Club. I love all of the special touches. CCC really went out of their way to make us feel like royalty. It was a wonderful evening and another reminder that things are moving right along! 199 days to go!!!

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