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A very happy Valentine’s day to you all and a very happy 100th birthday to the great state of Arizona! Michelle from Pocketful of Dreams asked me to participate in the post she was putting together for Valentine’s Day where she asked several people to finish this sentence: Love is…
My answer was this:
Love is….knowing that you can always be yourself and you’ll actually be loved more for it.
Head over to see what everyone else had to say, it is a very sweet post.
I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season! Thank you so much for a great year! I am taking a blog holiday until the New Year to enjoy some down time. Thank you for reading, supporting, and making The Charity Wedding what it is today! Lots of love to you all!
Photo via Not Martha
Let’s talk a bit about my weekend. If you recall from Friday, I had big plans to spend my weekend with a group of 11-15 year olds, all of which had diabetes. I had some eye opening experiences. For starters I had a mid-twenties life crisis, to give you a glimpse let’s put our time span into perspective. Most of these kids can’t remember life without Facebook, which was invented when I was in college. I started my freshman year of college with a camera that still had film inside of it. I’m not convinced kids even know what film is anymore. We had a middle school-esque dance which marked the first time I have danced in a sober state since many of the kids had been born. In fact the last time I danced like that just may have been in middle school. Regardless of how we feel about the electric slide at weddings, the dance is timeless. Think about it, do you remember learning it? I sure don’t, it seems like I’ve always known it. The kids, they knew it too, starting an entire new generation of electric slide fans. The Macarena? Yep, still annoying. But kids, they know it and love it. I never said hip, in case any of you were worried.
All old jokes aside, I have never been more grateful for my pancreas. I know little to nothing about Type 1 Diabetes and it was an amazing experience to see what these kids deal with on a day to day basis. They have so much knowledge about their own bodies and were truly mature beyond their years. I had a bunch of questions for them which they were happy to answer. Many of them were the only children in their schools with diabetes and are thus bullied for it. I let them test my blood sugar so I could get a small glimpse of what they do several times each day. There were several volunteers from the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation at Camp this weekend. If you have a chance, check them out.
How was your weekend?
Moving right along… I made this recipe the other night due to Kyle’s love for steak, my love for feta cheese, and the fact that we had a bunch of frozen blueberries. We weren’t convinced it was going to be a good match, but the results were incredible.
This recipe combines the savory flavor of steak with the tangy flavor of balsamic vinegar, the sweetness of blueberries and the distinct flavor of feta cheese for a truly amazing combo in your mouth! For all the specific details, go here.
I nearly passed out this morning when I decided to venture to the front yard and pull a few weeds. Our house faces East/West so we get all the morning sun in the backyard and the afternoon sun in the front yard. It is absolutely ridiculous to do anything in the front yard anytime past mid-morning so I figured I was safe. Perhaps I am just a big pansy but I pulled about two weeds and gave up. I then decided inside chores were more appropriate so I spent a good hour, no joke, cleaning my shower. That makes it sound disgusting which isn’t quite the case, the issue is that we have the worst hard water of all time and the glass shower doors look like they are frosted. However they are not supposed to look that way. I have tried just about every cleaning product known to man and my bicep in my right arm is double the size it once was due to all the scrubbing. In the end, the shower looks EXACTLY the same. I am tempted to say possibly even worse. So someone please give me some old wives’ tale to remove hard water that has been in place for years (I’ve tried vinegar). After two failed attempts at being a responsible homeowner, I gave up.
Anyway enough about me. Today I have a gorgeous Post Wedding Shoot to share that took place on the famous Navy Pier in Chicago. The talented Nikki Evans is the genius behind this shoot! I was instantly smitten when I saw the gorgeous dress which is absolutely swoon worthy. It comes from Laurel Bridal in Chicago.
Have a great weekend everyone!
After I got married and got my wedding photos back, there was at least a week that I looked at them non-stop. I can not even tell you how many times I watched the slide show. I had to put my computer on mute so Kyle didn’t know that I was just watching it over and over again. Not that he would have cared but I didn’t want him judging my obsession. Clearly I love looking at wedding photos but of course your own are even better. So when I laid eyes on the wedding I have to share with you today, I was surprised when I couldn’t stop looking at it. The couple is gorgeous, the details are beautiful and the photography is amazing. It was absolutely impossible for me to pick just a few images so thus the reason I gave you a little sneak peek yesterday and why I am splitting this one up into two posts! Stay tuned later today for more gorgeousness from this wedding! All the credit for these beautiful images goes to Kim of Maru Photography. The Bride had a lot to say about her big day so I am going to let her take it away!
I was first introduced to Glenn through my older sister, Bethany, who met him at university while rivaling for grades in their first year English class. After dating for four years, Glenn took me on a picnic to Vancouver’s gorgeous Lighthouse Park where, on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. We got engaged on May 15, and decided that we wanted to get married in August….of that year. Once we knew we were getting married, we just thought, why wait any longer than we have to? Three months of stress is a whole lot better than one year of it, right?
The most pressing task was finding a venue that had a date open near the end of the summer. We researched a few venues and decided to call the venue (Newlands Golf and Country Club in Langley BC) to see if they possibly had any availability. Normally they are booked for the summer at least 6 months in advance, so we knew the chances were slim, but worth a shot. Incredibly, there was an opening for a Friday in the middle of August, exactly when we wanted! After checking the calendar, we quickly discovered why this day had not been booked: it was Friday the 13th. Thanks to an offbeat sense of humour and a general lack of belief in the superstitious, this could not have been more perfect. It would certainly be an unforgettable day for us and our guests and, considering my terrible memory for dates, I will never forget our anniversary!
Next on the list was the dress. The first store I visited with my mum and sister was a lovely little boutique in Walnut Grove called Ivory Bridal. The store is run by a mother/daughter duo who are absolutely delightful, and the staff who work there were almost as excited as I was to be trying on dresses for the first time. The very first dress I tried was a Blue by Enzoani “Casablanca” gown, and when I walked out I instantly fell in love with it. It was absolutely gorgeous. When they asked when I was getting married and I said August, their reply was, “next year?” When I clarified that it was actually THIS August, as in less than 3 months from now, they quickly accepted this and said they would do whatever they could to have my dress there on time. (It ended up arriving a week and a half before the wedding and fit so perfectly that no alterations were necessary!)
Glenn’s groomsmen were made up of his two older brothers Steve and Jeff (who he looks nothing like!), two close friends, James and Dan, and my sister’s husband, Chad, who he has become great friends with as the four of us spend a lot of time together (and who, oddly enough, people always assume is Glenn’s brother). I had my wonderful sister, best friend, and only sibling, Bethany, as my maid of honor. My next two bridesmaids I have known for a VERY long time; I met Shonah in Kindergarten and we have been best friends ever since, and Kelly who we always joke I have known since she came out of the womb. The other three ladies, Miriam, Liz, and Philine, I have known since my first year of university 8 years ago. We had two delightful little flower girls, Glenn’s nieces, Kaijah and Abby.
We decided the theme for our wedding would be “timeless elegance” and chose to primarily use black and white as our colors with hints of pale pink and dusty rose (I am loving this color right now). With the package we chose at Newland’s, they looked after the flowers and decor; we just decide what we wanted and they made it happen! I love how dramatic and graceful tall table centers look, so we chose to have bouquets of all-white long stem lilies on most of the tables and intersperse them with these gorgeous 2-foot high silver candelabras we found in Newland’s inventory.
We chose to bring color in with my bouquet and the girls’ bouquets, and also with the bridesmaids’ pink shoes, which were such a fun bit of color and sparkle. Our bouquets were so gorgeous with the white calla lilies, hydrangea, and stephanotis, and the pale pink roses. I also loved the little girls’ pomanders that were also done in the pale pink and white.
We tried to do as much ourselves as we could and were so blessed to have an amazing group of people around us who were so willing to contribute. We, along with my parents, designed and made our own invitations using photos my dad had taken of us during our engagement shoot. My parents and bridesmaids were amazing, working tirelessly on these as well as the placecards, table numbers, and guest book which were all done primarily in black and white. My mum was absolutely incredible in all that she contributed to our wedding. For our wedding favors, she baked heart-shaped sugar cookies which she and my mum’s friend Sandra (who also did an amazing job of my makeup) decorated in white with a stylized design of our initials. The looked AND tasted amazing! The night before the wedding my mum decided we should do a candy table as well, so she sent out two of the bridesmaids to buy several hundred dollars worth of candy before the stores closed.
Everything fell into place so easily in the 3 months we were engaged that it was nothing short of miraculous. We could not have done it without the incredible support and hard work of our family and friends. The whole day went by without a hitch and we truly could not have enjoyed it more. Turns out Friday the 13th is the perfect day to get married.
Seriously-Alyssa wins Bride of the Year! Planning a wedding in three months?!? Plus you can tell she was probably super sweet and happy through the whole thing! Now for more photos!
I seriously love it all! I have even MORE goodness to share along with a little background info on the amazing photographer! It will be up later today!
As you may know, we moved this weekend! In fact we were moving until 1am this morning and we still have a lot of unpacking, cleaning and organizing to do. I can’t begin to tell you how exhausted I am. We also don’t have internet at our house just yet so I have made the executive decision to take this week off from blogging in order to have one less thing to worry about. I’ll be back next week with all sorts of goodness to help make up for the lack of it this week!
It is always an exciting time in the wedding blogging world when one of the Brides that we have gotten to know through her posts about wedding planning finally reaches the big day! Claire, the lovely lady behind the A Realistic Wedding Blog is getting married this weekend! Annie of Marry You Me and Aleah of Valley & Co organized an effort to send both marital advice and recipes to Claire as a wedding gift from the blogging world! When Claire isn’t blogging, she spends much of her time in the kitchen as she is a nutritionist. She also keeps up another blog, The Realistic Nutritionist which showcases all her tasty recipes. So everyone send some love to Claire as she marries the man of her dreams this weekend! Congrats Claire- I am so excited to see all the pictures and hear all about it!
These are the cards I sent to Claire:
Head over to the following blogs see what the other ladies had to say and to see their recipes!
Today’s giveaway pays tribute to the wedding aspect of this blog. As a bride I loved entering the many contests offered on wedding blogs and I even won a few of them! One of the not so exciting parts of my wedding planning process was deciding on invitations. For some reason invitations overwhelmed me. There were so many options and I simply saw the price and was shocked. However through this process I have learned a lot more about stationary and I actually love it. I have a few stationery buddies and they have shown me the light on how gorgeous and fun invitations can be but also how much work goes into making each couple something custom that fits their day and their personality perfectly. Jenna, over at Little Bit Heart, offered to do a giveaway to help us celebrate our 1 year anniversary and I thought it would be the perfect opportunity for her to share with you a little professional insight on the subject. Jenna and I have a few things in common- one, we don’t appreciate chocolate diamonds even with their clever marketing attempt to give them an enticing name and two- we love giveaways. Jenna is one of the sweetest people I have never met and she would be a delight to work with on the path towards creating your perfect wedding invitation! Little Bit Heart is the collaboration of Little Bit Fancy which is her cousin Elizabeth’s business and Heartcarry Press which is Jenna’s business. They decided to join forces to offer all things pretty and help couples through the paper part of their wedding.
I’m going to let Jenna take it away and give you a little preview of their work!
The traditional first anniversary gift is paper, and we’re thrilled to celebrate one year of The Charity Wedding with a paper giveaway! The winner can use their $100 gift certificate towards wedding invitations, thank you notes, personalized notecards- as long as it comes under “custom papergoods,” we’re flexible!
Since we’re here on The Charity Wedding today, we’d also love to share some of our wedding invite tips with you. We know that paper can be one of the confusing wedding details- here’s hoping that this advice helps!
Invitation: all the super important information. Names, date, place, time.
RSVP: self-addressed and stamped (ups the odds for a timely reply!). Includes the reply-by date (we recommend around 3 weeks before the wedding). Here’s where guests check off their meal choice if you’re having one. A blank for a note, song suggestion or a piece of marriage advice is always a sweet idea. If you can, number the back of the cards corresponding with your guest list in case of blanks or illegible names.
Directions + Accommodations card or cards: Sometimes a printed map is included with the directions as well. Reserved room block? Wedding website? That info can go here.
Reception card: This card tells your guest where the reception will be held if it’s not the same place as the ceremony. The reception card is also the best place to put the dress (ie: Black Tie).
It’s a good idea to start your invitation process 4 months or more before your wedding date since they need to be mailed 6 – 8 weeks before your wedding date (10-12 weeks for a destination wedding). Here’s what to start with:
- Date, time, and addresses (ceremony/reception). Directions and accommodations info.
- Your budget.
- How many invitations do you need? Don’t think number of guests, but how many invitations need to be sent: think couples, families, roommates. Our tip: order at least 10 more invitations than your counted number. That way you have some on hand just in case you need to send an extra and have one or two to save.
- Have you picked colors for your wedding? Have a wedding style that you’d like to come through? Any special icons or graphics that you’d like to incorporate?
- How formal is your wedding?
And our final tip: don’t forget to keep postage in mind during the design process. Wax seals, ribbon knots, or any other bumps may add a surcharge to the postage total. If you’re taking care of the mailing, make sure you have a completely finished invitation weighed at the post office before purchasing your stamps (it can get tricky trying to find 100 stamps- especially the pretty wedding ones!- at the local post office, so you might want to look into ordering stamps online, even if they’re not custom). Our advice: weigh it twice, stamp it once.
If you have any questions, just send over an email to email@example.com- we’d be happy to help!
Thanks so much to Alicia for having us today! Happy 1st!!
Four ways to win, do one or all four for a better shot at the prize:
- Leave a comment with one question or concern you have about your wedding invitations or what your dream invitation would look like.
- Become a Fan of Little Bit Heart on Facebook. Leave a comment to tell us you did.
- Become a Fan of The Charity Wedding on Facebook. Leave a comment to tell us you did.
- Tweet: “I just entered to win a $100 Gift certificate to @LittleBitHeart for custom wedding invitations at @CharityWedding! http://wp.me/pNDns-I0″ -Make sure you leave a comment here to tell us!
The contest will be open for one week! The winner will be selected at random.
Don’t forget to enter yesterday’s Giveaway too!!
Ok, so remember how a few weeks ago I told you I had an amazingly extreme TTD session for you but I couldn’t post due to some technical issues? Well, the kinks have been worked out and today I FINALLY get to show you this incredible shoot. This session isn’t for the faint of heart or for those of you still on the fence about dress trashing. But what you should know is that this shoot was really more of a production. While the couple and dress are legit, they were absolutely trying to achieve an extreme session. The brains behind this shoot is Michael Maler Photography. Does the name sound familiar? You may know him as the videographer who shot Jacin’s (of Lovely Little Details) wedding! Anyway the couple in the photos was married in October and wanted Michael’s help with a TTD session. On Halloween they set out to create an incredible and intense session that likely contrasts sharply with their lovely wedding photos. They picked a “ghost town-esque” location and started rolling. In addition to Michael, Jeff Manfredonia of Maf Life Films was there to shoot a video of all the action. You can check out the video and the micro-site they made for this entire production here.
As you scroll through the photos, look at them as if you are watching a film unfold and don’t simply imagine yourself doing a session like this one! Like I said, the goal was to achieve something unique and completely over the top.
As I look through the pictures I can’t help but think that each one could easily be the poster for a movie I’d definitely want to see. When trying to relate this to a session you might do for yourself, instead of a literal comparison, consider the motive behind this couple’s shoot. They wanted something fun and totally different from their wedding photos but that still allowed them to wear their attire one last time. In addition to being a Bride and Groom they also got to be actors, in a sense living out a super cool scene. Chances are good that they never would have had the opportunity to do a photo shoot like this otherwise! So if you are doing a TTD, get creative and take the opportunity to get some shots you never would do any other time in your life! No, you don’t have to light your dress on fire, just be willing to get creative!
I love what this session represents! Michael, you did an incredible job! Thank you so much for sharing this with us!