A Content Spirit

September 20, 2010  |  In Her Shoes  |  1 Comment

Something happened for the first time last week since I have been engaged: I was completely calm. The closer we get to the wedding, the more I realize how many opportunities there are for a bride to panic, cry or just shift our mood.

Brides, we have a choice. A choice to flutter around in a panic, get bent out of shape about the shade of blue that doesn’t match everything else, drive our fiance crazy with details they aren’t so worried about anyway OR slow down and enjoy this moment. I have physically slowed down, my speech, my mannerisms and it’s only by the grace of God guiding me to have peace. God has given me a calm heart and is reminding me that my joy is not determined by my circumstances. If it was, the past week I would have been a rollercoaster of emotions. “Yay our new apartment!…OMG! We have so much to do!…I’m so thankful for everyone’s generosity!…AT&T is charging me for what??”

I am a wedding planner. I know what to do. In fact, to a fault, I’ve thought I had a lot of control over details. But there are still tons of circumstances outside of my control. I may not be able to get the flowers I was soo set on having from the beginning because they may be out of season still. It may rain. Heck, we may have a hurricane. I won’t be able to control everything so I have decided to be OK with whatever happens. At the end of the day, I really just can’t wait to be Tyler’s wife and that will happen with or without anemones.

Right now this moment is still running errands, waiting in lines, sitting in traffic, going back to stores to return said furniture piece I waited in line for yesterday that doesn’t fit our apartment but honestly I want to remember it. My life changes on Saturday and I don’t want to get caught up in a whirlwind and wake up Sunday thinking “That all went by too fast.”

I met with my day-of coordinator last Monday and she said I looked a lot calmer than she expected. I could not be more happy to hear it! I feel like I have learned so much this week about what a bride faces and what it takes to enjoy this experience, and so much through this whole process that I cannot wait to share with my brides!

Celebrations!

August 31, 2010  |  In Her Shoes  |  No Comments

A week and a half ago was my big bridal shower. Today I wanted to share some pics and some thoughts on the whole thing. The shower was hosted by my sister and two friends I have gone to school with from 3-12 grade along with their moms. Thank you again Mrs. Sandra and Mrs. Sharon, Elizabeth, Tiffany and Nan!!

The second I got there I was blown away! My sister was going to take me around and show me the concept and she literally teared up the second she started talking. Cue waterworks again. (For you Brian) I’ve been doing that a lot lately!

Anyway the concept was “Making Memories.” They even picked one of my favorite color palettes yellow and grey. In the invitations, each guest received a card that asked them to send in their favorite memory of me and said person. I loved how they followed the frame theme. One of my best  friends and bridesmaids Jenny designed them. She also designs invites and baby announcements. Check out her work here!

Walking through the house seeing dozens of pictures with memories was overwhelming! PS Natalie came up with that idea all on her own! She is quite the event planner. ; )

After I opened a mountain of generosity…

…with my sweet flower girl Grace by my side…


We even got an amazing quilt from Tyler’s grandmother…

…I thanked everyone for coming and told them something along the lines of this: I’ve been in a lot of weddings and seen a lot of weddings with my job. I am always so amazed at the outpouring of support each couple gets.

It’s truly overwhelming to experience it now. I know me and Tyler are so blessed to have two families and so many friends that love and are so excited to see us come together.

Tyler got there just in time to help pack up the presents!

So why am I telling you all this? Because brides, this is the fun part! This is why you worked so hard on the planning, even the little details. To celebrate. So enjoy the celebration. This Saturday I am leaving for my bachelorette trip to the beach. I am thrilled to get to enjoy 4 days with my closest friends. I’m also a little nervous I won’t be able to let go of the nagging feeling I should be working. I am just going to have to keep reminding myself this happens ONCE and I don’t want to miss a second of it!

Let Others Help

August 25, 2010  |  In Her Shoes  |  No Comments

Courtney Dellafiora

My posts have been a bit sparse these past two weeks. We are in the thick of it with the wedding and business is booming. I can’t, and won’t complain.

In the beginning, I was a bit like a two-year old. “That’s mine” might as well have been my response when people offered to help. I felt that way for a few reasons. Maybe you girls can relate.

1. I know how to do what I want done, so wouldn’t it just be easier to do it myself?

2. I really don’t want to burden anyone else with my own stuff.

Well Monday night I realized my to-do list was a mile long and knew the fastest way to cut it was to let me give some of it up. Tyler, my mom and bridesmaids have offered plenty of times but it’s just seemed like more work to try to figure out what to release. That day I wrote down every little task that needed to be done and looked to see what other people could do. I may have held on a little tighter before but now, I was happy to release some things. I sent an email to my mom Monday morning and by lunch she wrote me back with her “progress report” and had EVERYTHING done!!

Don’t forget, people are WILLING to help you. Don’t take advantage of them but know that you can lean on them. As a bride, this can be one of the busiest times of your life. There are seasons for everything. And I think seasons to give and seasons to take. This may be a time where you feel a bit needy. Don’t shrink back from allowing others to help. And just as important never forget to do the same for someone else when they find themself in that season.

In other news, last weekend was my big shower and it was truly amazing! I will share pictures later this week!

Learning to Share Life

August 17, 2010  |  In Her Shoes  |  2 Comments

Photo by Courtney Dellafiora

So about those invitations…never attempt to do them on Friday the 13th. I am not a superstitious girl at all. In fact, my favorite number is 13 and I look forward to when it falls on a Friday. But pretty much anything that could have gone wrong did. If there was one part of the wedding I felt needed to have the strongest presence, it’s the paper. Because it’s my job.

Well, the printer couldn’t print on the thicker paper I had chosen (good to know for future brides) and in fact NO ONE in town could! We eventually got it all printed with the help of my officemate.

Once everything was printed, we worked on assembling them, to find out the RSVPs cards that I had to cut individually (because I have to print them) would not fit. So Tyler ran to get the industrial printer from the office (thanks to this guy).

While they were gone, me and my mom discovered the ink we used for our return address stamps was not drying. I messed up a good 20 envelopes. Cue waterworks.

Tyler said we should take a break. At this point, it was 10 pm on Friday night and I was determined to have them in the mail for Saturday. He asked me to go for a walk. When we got outside I burst into tears and he said “Valerie, do you know why we’re sending these invitations out?? Because we’re getting married!!” Sounds simple but it was a reminder once again of what’s important.

So why was I so stressed? I had Saturday day morning right? Nope.

I had planned a full date day for Tyler that started at 8 am! I had a choice: abandon the date to meet my self-imposed deadline or enjoy the date and be OK with sending our invitations out late.

That was a long intro but today I wanted to share some advice about working on that whole post-wedding day thing: marriage.

I recently read in our book that a husband’s most basic needs are 1. to be admired 2. to have autonomy 3. to enjoy shared activity.

Did you catch that last one?? Who knew hitting the golf course or going camping with your husband could be so important to him?

After reading this, I realized in the 1 1/2 years Tyler and I have been together, I’ve regretfully gotten less adventurous. I’m guessing, brides, you may have too, especially during the engagement. How many times have you told your fiance “I’m busy with (insert wedding task here), I can’t”?

So last Saturday I planned a full day of fun for Tyler and I: kayaking, movies, bookstore, batting cages, farmer’s market, art walk. I know it warmed his heart and showed him I WANT to share activities with him.

This week, show your fiance how much he means to you. It will mean more than making sure your invitations go out a day earlier.

The Home Stretch

August 11, 2010  |  In Her Shoes  |  1 Comment

Photo by Courtney Dellafiora

We are about 6 weeks away from the wedding and everything is starting to feel so real. You can talk about something forever and it always seems like it’s some distant future you will never reach. Not anymore!

The next six weeks will be packed with what I consider the “fun” part! The big wedding shower my sister has been working so hard on is less than 2 weeks away, our bachelorette beach trip is a week later. In a month we’ll starting painting and moving stuff to the new apartment.

I have a feeling this time will fly by, and although I am so ready for the day to get here, I may be trying to stop time pretty soon to accomplish everything that needs to be done before September 25.

Right now I am remembering what I remembered that day Tyler proposed: “Slow down. And take it all in.” I have heard from so many brides over the last 5 months about their experiences on the their wedding day. Based on their advice and some things I’ve learned the last two years planning weddings, here are my 5 wedding day commandments.

1. I am determined to not let it fly by. How do you do this? THINK. Sounds silly, but time usually flies when we aren’t thinking.

2. I am determined to not worry about the details on the wedding day. I know I will be tempted to straighten linens, remove dishes, etc. Just as I tell all my brides the night of the rehearsal “From this point on, don’t even think about logistics or details, enjoy the experience.” Our day-of coordinator will be in control.

3. I won’t drink more than our glass of champagne. It seems a bit cliche: Sober Susie never drinks and is just so excited on her wedding day she drinks whatever comes her way. If my beliefs have kept me from getting drunk the other 25 (almost 26!) years of my life, why would I make an exception on one of the most important days of life!

4. I will focus on the people and the celebration. This includes greeting everyone and dancing with my closest friends. I want our guest to truly know and feel our appreciation for them sharing in this momentous day.

5. As mentioned before, I don’t skip meals. : ) And our food will be delicious so I am determined to eat. Even if that means scarfing down food in a closet with my groom before we’re introduced. ** Because weddings in the South are not sit down dinners, most brides don’t get a chance to eat because they are greeting their guests as others eat.

Former brides, have any other advice for enjoying the wedding day??

Do What You Want

August 6, 2010  |  In Her Shoes  |  No Comments

Photo by Courtney Dellafiora

…even if it’s ugly.

I have a few elements in my wedding that I was reconsidering because they are becoming pretty popular. I thought “Wait a second! This is important to me and Tyler. Not just a fad.”

Maybe some of you brides are in the same boat. If candy buffets were so last year but you LOVE candy AND buffets, then have a candy buffet. Don’t be afraid of not being trendy.

I have a bride who told me when we checked out a venue “It’s not ugly enough.” Her day-to-day style is eclectic, casual and offbeat. She doesn’t want “pretty” because it doesn’t fit. She wants real, comfortable and even a little messy. And I couldn’t be happier to create it!

You know what’s actually going out of style?? Trends. And not in that “I want to be different because it’s cool” sort of way, which actually became a pretty popular trend. I’m talking about a full-fledged “We’re into Elvis so we want an Elvis impersonator. What? That’s not trendy?? That’s OK with me!!”

If you do something with meaning personalized for y’all:

1. No one can argue you copied.

2. No one can say it’s outdated.

3. No one can think it’s too trendy or “not you.”

Before you look at any more inspiration, take a minute think about a few things:

What are your (meaning couple) favorite things to do together? Travel, cook, read, try adventurous things, live a green lifestyle.

What’s the proposal story?

How did y’all meet?  Met at a comedy show like me and Tyler? Incorporate old knock knock jokes on stationery pieces.

What is your heritage?

Where is your favorite travel spot?

I had a bride walk into my office yesterday with a completely unique vision. She had no pictures to show because it’s not all over the blogs, it’s personal to her. And I fell in love with it.