Feature Photo Friday

I just love this shot from our engagement session that Ally took. It was taken in an alley in downtown Valdosta. Pure sweetness :)

A Surprise and a Bump in the Road

We received a sweet little surprise last week. Steel's Jewelry (who gave us our rings in the wedding giveaway contest) featured us in their catalog! There was a nice write up about the contest and a couple pictures of Justin and I. It's kind of neat to see yourself in print!

On a more sour note, when all of the paper I ordered to print my invitations on came in, it was not the same thickness as the original paper in the store. Turns out the manufacturer changed the way they made it or something. This now thinner paper would not work for the way I was planning to make my invites, unless I was to adhere two pieces together with spray adhesive (which meant lots more time and money). I spent about 45 minutes in the store speaking first with two associates and finally a manager about my dilemma. I will admit I had my first wedding breakdown right there at the front of the store while talking with the manager (and all the customers curiously staring at me, probably wondering why in the world some girl would be crying in a crafts store!). To make a long story short, the manager offered to re-order the paper and if it came in thin again and I had to adhere them together, she would give the paper to me for free! (Cue the tears again..) The manager was super sweet and helpful, and definitely did not have to give me $200 worth of paper.

So now I'm waiting on the paper to come in to be able to finish up the inviations and get them sent out by the end of September. I actually think the two pieces adhered together will turn out better than the one piece, since the single piece did not have the textured finish on both sides. I suppose more work is going to equal a better product!

Feature Photo Friday

We got our engagement pictures in the mail yesterday! I absolutely LOVE them! One of my good friends from high school took them for us and I think she did a spectacular job! This one was taken on the front lawn of our alma mater, Valdosta State University. If you live in Georgia and you ever need photos taken you should call Ally!

Feature Photo Friday

I just love sunsets. Especially sunsets over water. I find myself wanting to take pictures of a sunset or stormy skies almost daily. To be totally honest, I do take them with my phone whenever the urge strikes and normally text them all to J. I'm thankful that he doesn't seem to mind, because I have to share my joy with someone! :) The photo above was taken in Fort Walton Beach.

Tuxes and Bow Ties

We picked out the tuxes last weekend. They are going to be a medium gray with navy vest and bow ties. I wanted Justin's bow tie to be a paisley pattern but they are only available in the same pattern as the vest. So now I am on the hunt for Justin the perfect bowtie!

I love this bowtie from Harvie and Hudson, but it's not in our colors. I kind of want to change our wedding colors just so I can order this tie... just kidding!

The following four bow ties I found online and I like each of their patterns. I'm debating ordering all of them (or maybe just two of them) so I can make sure they match up with the navy blue vests. What do you think? Which one do you guys like best? I think I like the first one and the last one the best..

Save the Date

I am attempting several DIY projects for our wedding, and thought I would share them here with you. I am currently working on our wedding invitations and they are a huge job! The main reason for that (besides the number I have to make) is probably because I'm so darn picky and a perfectionist! :) First up for show is our save the date:

We used our wedding photographer's photo booth (Wes Sewell Photography) and I printed out the signs we're holding. It took us about eight tries to get a strip that worked since we only had three seconds between shots to change signs and look pretty! It was a little hectic, but still a fun experience and everyone has really liked them.

Above are the invitations I created for our engagement party. I printed the information on vellum and attached it on top of navy cardstock by punching holes in the top and tying them together with raffia. (FYI: If your envelope is thicker than 1/4" you will have to add extra postage. I found this out the hard way when I went to mail these. My hand tied bow was just too thick! Lesson learned!) All in all, I think they turned out quite cute. :)

(Linking up to Saving Money Living Life and Just a Girl)

Feature Photo Friday

I took this photo of the exterior of an old, abandoned house. I love the textures of the wood and brick together, the colors in the brick, the contrast between the two materials and the dark spaces beyond the wood that give it more dimension.

Wedding Progress

(floral and reception inspiration)

The wedding planning is coming along nicely and we haven't encountered any bumps in the road as of yet. So far, items I have completed and checked off my list are booking the preacher, the DJ, the photographer, the florist, decided on flowers, ordered the cake, secured the tent and chair rentals, booked the honeymoon, sent out save the dates, decided on bridesmaid dresses and I found my dress! We have been accumulating jars and various items for the reception decorations, and I have been working on our invitation design.

The one major item we still have to decide on is the food. This is going to be our largest expense (since it was one item not included in what we won) and it has been stressing me out the most! With every catering company I call for pricing estimates, they're all a minimum of $10 per person. Considering we will have between 200 and 300 guests, that's at least $2,000 and at most $3,000! Oh my..

(cake design we have chosen)

Maybe we should just eat cake! :)

Feature Photo Friday

This is a photograph I took of my best friend and her daughter when she was about three months old. You can feel the outpouring of love from mother to daughter. I tried to capture the essence of their relationship to one another. I think this is one of my favorite pictures of them that I've taken.

The Proposal

As you already know, Justin and I won our wedding through a local radio station here in Valdosta, and part of the package we won included our rings from Steel's Jewelry. I knew when he picked up the ring (since I also picked his up) and this made it harder on him to plan a proposal that would suprise me. I was now expecting it every time I saw him! One reason I was so anxious for it to happen was because our family and friends knew we had won a wedding, yet we were not engaged, and I felt like that confused people. Not to mention I was ready to start planning! He was able to hold out for about 6 weeks after picking up the ring from Steel's, and was actually able to catch me off guard.

It was an early Monday morning and I was up and ready for work, so I decided to be sweet and cook us some breakfast. The following weekend would actually be the first weekend since we met that we would not be able to see one another. As I'm cooking, Justin and I are talking and while I'm in a chipper mood, he seems to be acting a little strange, like there's something he wants to say but doesn't know how. I figured he was just worried about my feelings since he knew I wanted to be engaged soon and he hadn't asked yet, so I tried to steer clear of all wedding talk.

Once breakfast was ready and we were about to sit down to eat, Justin asked me where my multi-vitamins were. (As a side note, he's always encouraging me to eat healthy and makes sure I take a multi-vitamin everyday!) I told him where they were, he went and got one for me and as he sat down I opened my hand for the pill, but to my complete suprise, instead of a pill falling into my hand it was the ring!! I was speechless. Justin proceeded to get down on one knee and tell me how much he loved me, that he wanted to spend his life with me, that he couldn't wait another two weeks and would I marry him. And as you all know I said yes!

Feature Photo Friday

I took this photograph in an old house I came across back home. Most of the rooms were empty except for a few abandoned pieces of furniture, like this chair. I was inspired by the way the light filtered in through the window creating this contrast between light and dark, as well as, really defining the texture of the walls, the lines of the chair and the debris littered floor.

Dream Wedding Giveaway

Back in February, I entered a contest to win a dream wedding through our local radio station, Hot 102.7. They wanted to know your "story" and so I wrote mine and Justin's love story, emailed it in and forgot about the contest. I didn't really think we would win, but I figured it couldn't hurt to enter. About a month later, I get a call from the radio station informing us that we were chosen as finalists to win the dream wedding! I was shocked yet so excited! I called Justin to tell him and he didn't believe me! The radio station said they were now going to post our story, along with two other finalists, on their website for people to go vote on who they thought deserved to win.

I read the other two couple's stories and I was torn because I felt we all deserved to win. Whatever the outcome, I knew someone would be blessed and was just thankful for the opportunity. During the two weeks of voting, I was overwhelmed by all the love, support and encouragement we received from our friends and family, even people I had never met. It made me realize how blessed we were to have these people in our lives, and even if we didn't win, the knowledge of how much we were loved by our family and friends was a blessing in itself.

I tried not to be anxious during this time but trust that if it was the Lord's will for us to win the wedding then we would. I kept thinking about Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.", as well as, Philippians 4:6-7 "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." I still struggled with being anxious, but I prayed ALOT and gained a peace about it and knew deep down that God would provide us a way to get married, whether it was through winning this contest or not.

It was around seven in the morning on that fateful Monday when I got a text from a friend congratulating us on winning the contest. My heart stopped. I think I may have stopped breathing as well. As quick as I could, I got on the computer to check out the website and sure enough! We won! I couldn't believe it! I called or sent a text to everyone.. Justin, my mom, grandma, future mother-in-law... This was the best gift anyone could hope for and the greatest blessing. The Lord is so good and I'm still thanking him every day that we won.

I'm sure you're wondering what all this dream wedding giveaway included. We won the following:

So basically the only items left that we have to pay for are my wedding gown, invitations, reception entertainment and reception food. Winning this wedding has been surreal. We always hope and wish for great things to happen to us, but never really expect them to. This experience has helped cement for me the truth that God is our gracious provider and will always make sure we have everything we need if only we put our faith and trust in Him.

Wedding Planning

For the past year or so I have been addicted to reading wedding blogs such as Style Me Pretty, Once Wed and 100 Layer Cake. They are full of inspiration and ideas for brides, and they also feature real weddings and the latest fashions. I visit these sites daily to soak up every bit of their loveliness and find inspiration for my own upcoming wedding.

A few elements of our wedding we are planning to do ourselves, such as the invitations, centerpieces and decorations. We want an elegant feel but with rustic, country charm.

We are so lucky to have friends and family who are more than willing to help us create and execute our ideas for the big day, and who have been instrumental in the planning process. My future mother-in-law is an amazing woman and has been a huge help in keeping me sane! Just when I feel like I'm about to stress out about something, she mentions a way of helping me or that one of her friends wants to be of service to us and help with the wedding.

Did I mention we entered a contest through our local radio station and won our wedding for free?? More on that later..

Our "daughter"

Meet Addie. My terror sweet german shorthair pointer. She is just over a year old and definitely spoiled rotten. She travels with us everywhere we go and loves hanging out the window, as you can see below. Justin and I are on the road every weekend seeing each other (he lives 240 miles away in Fort Walton Beach and I'm in Valdosta) and visiting our families in Florida, Alabama, south and north Georgia. So Addie is no stranger to the road trip.

She is very intelligent and understands alot of commands, but she is also very hardheaded and stubborn. Sometimes when I call her she will just stand there and stare at me, or take off and run laps around the yard. She passed the beginner training class at PetSmart last year, and I have to say, that was defintely money well spent! Dogs such as Addie, who are sporting breeds, have tons of energy and need alot of exercise and training, otherwise they can become unmanageable.

She knows when you're taking her picture. When the camera is pointed her way she will hold real still... Also, you hardly ever see her without a toy in her mouth! Which I suppose is better than my shoes...