Wedding Photos: Ceremony & details

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I love that our photographer got some great shots of the little details of the day. From the handkerchief that was carried by my mom, grandmother and great-grandmother to the special perfume I chose (Miss Dior Absolutely Blooming) to the handmade signs.

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Our ceremony is such a blur in my mind. I was so nervous/excited/happy/trying not to cry that the entire thing feels so foggy. Eric said he feels the same way. We were on our honeymoon and we both admitted we can’t remember all of what was said during the ceremony because we were so nervous.

The bridesmaids and flower girl walked down the aisle to Cannon D and I walked down to the traditional bridal march. Everything went so smoothly. My four-year-old niece rocked it as the flower girl. The whole ceremony probably last about 20 minutes or so. We just did the traditional wedding vows instead of writing our own. Although our pastor was Christian, we had a mostly non-religious and non-denominational ceremony.

Since everything was done in the same venue, we walked out to the bridal recessional and the bridal party took their seats. Then we waited for the pastor to announce us as husband and wife and we walked in and immediately went into our first dance. We chose the song “Sanctuary” from the show Nashville.

It was perfect and I finally shed a few tears of joy and relief that all the pressure was off and we were finally married.

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The final chapter of the wedding recap, the reception, is up next.

 

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Niagara Falls Honeymoon recap

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Deciding to go to Niagara Falls on our honeymoon was sort-of a quick decision. We had been talking about wanting to go somewhere this summer, but hadn’t decided on a place or time. I already had a week off scheduled at the end of July, so just a few weeks before that we were driving and just casually talking about where we could go. Eric suggested Niagara Falls and I quickly realized that would be perfect. A few days later I booked us a hotel and it was set!

Niagara Falls is only a four-hour trip from Pittsburgh and so easy to get to. We stayed on the New York side because Eric doesn’t have a passport. We stayed at the Hampton Inn and I’m so happy we did. It was one of the nicer hotels on the New York side and it was walking distance to everything.

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First night: view from near the visitor’s center

We arrived on Tuesday evening and immediately went down to see the falls. They are so crazy to see in person. It’s amazing to think how much water is rushing over them each day.

On Wednesday we bought adventure passes which included admission to five of the main attractions plus unlimited rides on the trolley for $45.

We did the Cave of the Winds, which takes you right under the falls. We had so much fun doing this that we almost went a second time. It is definitely windy though and you get really wet. Luckily they give you disposable sandals and a poncho.

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These three are from the Cave of the Winds

We also went to the aquarium, which was kind of underwhelming. It’s pretty small and didn’t have a ton of exhibits, but they did have some really cute seals.

We walked over to Goat Island, which has the Terrapin Point lookout over the Horseshoe Falls. It’s a great view from there.

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View from the Maid of the Mist

We spent some time exploring some of the town and found some neat artwork. There were definitely some run-down parts of the city that you could tell had been neglected for the more touristy area.

On Thursday we went to the wax museum, which was equal parts interesting, terrifying and hilarious. It’s a very old museum and some of the wax figures are bit off. It’s pretty dark and creepy in some parts, but I’m glad we went.

We also did the Maid of the Mist boat tour, which takes you down into the Niagara River and right near the falls. It was such a great view of them. After that I took a quick trip over the Rainbow Bridge into Canada. Since Eric didn’t have a passport, he stayed at the hotel.

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View from Canada

I spent about two hours in Canada walking around. Everyone says the Canada side is so much better, but I didn’t really think so. I found it to be much more touristy than the U.S. side and so much more crowded. The view from the Canada side is unique because you can see all of the falls at once, but honestly, I felt like we got really great views on the U.S. side.

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View from the lookout coming back from Maid of the Mist

On Thursday evening we had dinner at the best restaurant that was a couple of miles out of the tourist area. It’s called The Griffon Gastropub and it was so amazing. They had tons of beer on draft and the food was so, so good. I had a steak sandwich with a side of their mac and cheese and Eric had a shrimp po’boy. We literally stuffed ourselves. It was the best meal of the whole trip.

Overall, it was so nice to get away with just the two of us. We hadn’t taken a vacation together in five years! We are definitely going to try and make it a point to get away more often, even if it’s just for a weekend.

I’m back (and married!)

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(My wedding bouquet)

Well, I didn’t mean to take two months off from blogging, but here we are.

Life got busy with work and wedding stuff this spring, and I just didn’t have any extra time for much else.

We’re married now (yay!) and finally settling into a less stressful and less busy routine.

Married life is great so far, but more on that later. I’m planning several posts about the wedding. The first post, going up on Monday, will be all about how we paid for it (mostly) ourselves. So, stay tuned if you want to know how we still had the wedding of our dreams for less than $10,000.

I’ve been brainstorming all kinds of posts to do over the summer, and I’m so excited to get back into it. I’ve been trying lots of new beauty products and would love to share my thoughts on them. I’ve also picked up some new summer reading, so I’ll be sharing my best pool-side reads.

Speaking of pools, I’m so excited that it’s almost summer. I’m very much looking forward to some lazy days by the pool – the first of which will be this Sunday because it’s supposed to be 95 degrees.

See you next week!

Wedding Wednesday: Planning again

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(Our new venue)

It’s been months since I did a Wedding Wednesday post, but I’ve been in full-on planning mode since we decided last fall to reschedule our wedding for this May. In case you are new here, we had to postpone our wedding last year after it became clear we couldn’t afford what we had been planning. You can read about that here.

We’ve been busy since about November getting all of the new details together. We changed our venue, cut our guest list and have generally approached the new date with a fresh perspective. It has been so much easier and we’ve really enjoyed the planning process.

We switched to The Blennerhassett Hotel in Parkersburg, WV, for both the ceremony and reception. They have been amazing to work with so far. It is actually cheaper and a better venue than our original one, so we couldn’t be happier with the switch.

We will be having everything in their patio tent, which is so gorgeous. The price of the venue includes table linens, chair covers, set up and tear down as well as an integrated sound system. We are able to save a ton of money by basically being our own DJ.

We cut our guest list down from around 75 people to 40 in an effort to save money. While it was hard to cut down the list, I think the day will be so much more special and intimate with just those that are the very closest to us.

We have also decided to go with an appetizer buffet instead of a sit-down dinner. We want everyone to mingle and feel relaxed and we felt this option fit best with how we envisioned our reception. We’ll have meatballs, chicken skewers, spinach artichoke dip, a cheese tray, pinwheel sandwiches, a garden salad and some other small snacks like rolls, chips, pretzels and dips.

We’re still doing cupcakes instead of a traditional wedding cake. Eric and I will have a small cake to cut. We decided to go with The Village Cakery, which has a great reputation in the area. I was able to try some samples last weekend when I went home to do some planning and they were so good. We decided to go with an assortment of chocolate, vanilla and red velvet cupcakes with butter cream icing. Our small cake with be chocolate with butter cream icing. I’m really looking forward to how it will come together. Her prices were very reasonable as well, which was great for us.

We still have to decide on a few things, but overall I am so looking forward to our day. Although it was a hard decision to postpone it, I think it was ultimately the best decision we could have made.

Wedding Wednesday: Attire

A few weeks ago I was contacted by The Black Tux, a tuxedo rental company, to talk about wedding attire. Even though our wedding is still on hold right now I thought it was a great post idea. I’ve been to so many different types of weddings from very formal to super casual. The Black Tux has put together a handy chart that simply breaks down all of the different types of wedding attire and what would be acceptable options for each one.

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Our wedding will be semi-formal. Eric and the groomsmen will wear suits and the bridesmaids will wear nice dresses. Guests are fine to wear dress pants and shirt for men and dresses or a nice skirt and top for women. We want everyone to be comfortable, but still look nice. Our wedding has been downsized to only include around 35-40 people, so it’s definitely going to be an intimate ceremony and reception. We want people to really feel at ease and part of our day and not have to worry about wearing uncomfortable clothes or shoes.

The worst thing about going to a wedding is not knowing what the attire should be. Sometimes you can tell from the invitation, but it’s not always included. So if it’s not specifically stated on the invitation, try getting some clues from the location because that can usually set the tone for what kind of event it is. If it’s in a hotel ballroom I would probably lean toward black tie or black tie optional. If it’s in a barn or a more rustic setting, I would lean toward semi-formal or casual.

Since our wedding will likely be in the fall, it’s also hard to know what to wear to a wedding that’s in an off-season month. It’s hard to know if it will be warm or cold in months like September, October and again in the spring in March and April. It’s always a good idea to wear layers during these months because it could be cool in the morning and warm up in the afternoon. You can always wear a nice blazer or wrap and then take it off at the reception if you get hot.

To me, no matter what you wear, the most important thing is to make sure it is appropriate. I know a lot of people view weddings as a big party, but you shouldn’t be wearing super revealing dresses or super tall heels. We’ve all been to a wedding where someone treated it like a night at the club instead of a celebration of love and family. It’s always a little cringe-worthy and embarrassing.

And if it comes down to it and you really aren’t sure what to wear, just ask. I’d have no problem answering questions about what guests should wear. I don’t want anyone to feel out of place, under-dressed or over-dressed.