Sunday, February 21, 2010

Our Wedding Story

Thanks to my good friend Ali, Justin and I were featured as a "Bridal Profile" for the February issue of Belle (a local magazine here in SC)! Since Ali is a writer, and writes plenty of articles for Belle, she suggested us when her editor was looking for couples who had a "unique wedding story".

Our "Bridal Profile" in Belle's February Issue

Well. I tell you this, our 'wedding story' is far from normal and regular. Whether it was confusion with guests and capacity, shady caterers, outrageous weather, near death experiences or saying our vows while barefoot on Folly Beach in Charleston, SC... I can't even count the times we asked ourselves, "DID THAT JUST HAPPEN?!" From the moment we were engaged, until the moment we drove off in our "Just Married" getaway car, our lives and planning was insane. Somehow, we pulled it off.

I was just realizing that I started this blog with my first post capturing our 1st Anniversary. This means, unless you know me personally, you might not have a clue what we went through in planning our wedding in 4 months (despite knowing eachother 5 years). I wish I had been blogging the experience, because there is honestly no way I can recall each jaw-dropper! I was thinking of just incorporating stories from our adventure as I blogged along, looking back on those insane (yet fabulous) 4 short months of planning, but I thought I would take this post as an opportunity to fill in a few gaps with the Q and A's we answered for the Belle feature.

Wedding Date: October 25, 2008

How long were you engaged and planning your wedding? Justin proposed on June 25, 2008, so we were engage for exactly 4 months. Though we had a short engagement, we have been planning and talking about our wedding for years.

Colors: Tropical Aqua and Citron Yellow-Green (Light Lime)

Theme: Beach-Casual, Romantic

Theme inspiration: We absolutely love the beach!

Photographer: Denny Shortt Photography

Photography style: Natural, carefree, relaxed, energetic

What aspects lead you to this particular photographer and/or style? Justin had met Denny at a wedding he went to several years ago and loved his energy. In 2007, Denny was the photographer at our friend’s wedding and we fell in love with his style and attitude. We especially loved how he made everyone feel relaxed and comfortable. We decided we wanted to have him photograph ours, and he was extremely flexible with it being a destination wedding (he is located in Fountain Inn, SC). Denny took our engagement photos as well. We are VERY happy we chose him! In fact, we we think he's so great to work with and we tell all of our friends to use him for their weddings too - haha! We're excited our friends, Tiffany and Andy, have chosen him as their wedding photographer. He's a fabulous photographer, and our wedding day was definitely more memorable because of him.

Wedding Party: We had 6 Bridesmaids and 6 Groomsmen, plus a ring bearer and flower girl! We knew 6 maids and 6 groomsmen were a little much for a small beach wedding, but it was really important to us to include everyone we did. My two younger sisters were my two Maids of Honor
Our Wedding Party

Did you have a flower girl and/or ring bearer? Justin’s younger sister was our flower girl and my younger brother was our ring bearer

My new sister, Alyssa & my brother, Mitch

Bridesmaids dress style & color: Strapless, embossed, A-line dresses from J Crew in “Tropical Aqua”

My Beautiful Bridesmaids

Groomsmen’s dress: Chino pants in light khaki, white button-down dress shirts and ties in coordinating “Aqua

Good-Lookin' Groomsmen

Flowers: Green Cymbidium Orchids, “Sunset Pink” and orange lipstick roses, lime green button mums

My Wedding Bouquet

I Love Cymbidium Orchids

I ordered my flowers wholesale from a local florist in Greenville. A good friend of mine drove them down the morning of the wedding and she, along with more friends helped arrange them into bouqets, arrange them into my hair and throughout the wedding site. They could not have turned out more perfect!

Ceremony Site: Private Beach House - Folly Beach, Charleston, SC

Reception Site: Private Beach House - Folly Beach, Charleston, SC; 2nd Reception: MN Boat Club, St. Paul, MN

The Perfect Place For A Beach Wedding

Why did you choose the particular ceremony and reception sites? We knew we really wanted to have our wedding on the beach. With most of our family and friends back in Minnesota and Wisconsin, it was difficult for us to make a quick decision to have our wedding here (in SC) at all. We looked into all of our options and came up with a fabulous idea. We decided to rent a beachfront home at one of our most memorable places together: Folly Beach in Charleston, SC. We researched many beach homes in Folly, and we found the perfect location to host our two large families for the weekend, as well as host our evening wedding reception on the rooftop. The homeowners welcomed weddings and events, as opposed to many other homes in the area. Since many of our friends and family couldn’t join us, we held a wedding reception at a boat club after our honeymoon, in St. Paul, Minnesota. My cousin, Dominique Nelson is a professional photographer, and snapped some great photos of us during the reception.

At The MN Boat Club For Our 2nd Reception

DJ, Band, or iPod? We used my iPod. Justin’s brother brought a professional sound system and set everything up including a microphone. He kept things moving smoothly with our chosen playlist – loaded with Jack Johnson, Colbie Caillat, James Morrison and Sondre Lerche and so much more (we’re obsessed with music!). He casually announced our arrival, dinner & dessert, speeches, signing our wedding license and dancing.

Does your family have any traditions that you carried on or not? We incorporated a lot of general wedding traditions into our wedding, but added our own twists to most of them. Instead of lighting a unity candle, we poured 2 different tones of sand into a glass vase (that could later be sealed), my dad walked me down the aisle, I wore a special piece of jewelry of my mom’s, we had a father-daughter dance, we were silly while feeding each other wedding cake and our ‘getaway car’ was covered in paint and had a bunch of pineapple cans dragging behind it. A couple of traditions I carried on was I wore pearl jewelry and a blue garter just like my mom did on her wedding day.

Did you see each other on your wedding day? No! We didn’t talk on the phone either. It was difficult to keep from crossing paths, as we both were getting ready at the beach house. My two sisters were always a step ahead of us to prevent us from running into each other!

Did you hire a Wedding Planner or were you a Do-It-Yourselfer? We planned everything ourselves. Justin was extremely involved and insightful in the wedding planning, which I found was absolutely wonderful. I know most men don’t participate in wedding planning, but Justin was by my side on everything – except for dress shopping!,l,
  • We designed, printed and and assembled our invitations and programs. Of course, we ran into plenty of challenges, but they turned out exactly how we wanted! We purchased a bunch of shells, starfish and sand dollars online and fell in love with the perfect paper collection for our design, called "Tidepools" by Christine Adolph. One of the challenges we faced, was running out of paper. Nightmare, right? After searching the entire country, I was honored to speak with Christine, herself, who turned out to be extremely helpful! She made things happen for us.
Invitations - Front

Invitations - Back

Wedding Day Programs

  • We assembled favors for the wedding, as well as our MN reception. For our Wedding Day favors, we wanted to include a few of our favorite things.. we gave everyone cute mugs from IKEA, stuffed with little bags including chocolate-macadamia kona coffee and Andes chocolate (pun definitely intended!) and a message with a tiny sand dollar attached. For our MN reception, we gave lots of little bags of Andes chocolate - I'm pretty sure we always have some on hand!
Our Wedding Favors

  • On the Big Day, our family and our good friends made everything more amazing than I could have imagined. They helped clean up the aftermath from the weekend thunderstorms and flooding, they helped arrange all of our flowers, set up the ceremony and reception areas, arranged centerpieces, and so much more.
How did you and your husband meet and how long have you known each other? We have known each other for over 6 years. Justin and I met in October 2003, through one of my best friends, whom I met in college. I went home with her for the weekend and she introduced me to a bunch of her friends – Justin included. We really hit it off well and decided to get to know each other better. We dated and maintained a long distance relationship from Minnesota to Wisconsin – a 6 hour drive. In April 2005, Justin told me he was moving to Greenville, SC to live with his brother. We continued a much longer-distance relationship until I graduated from college and moved to Greenville in February 2007. We finally enjoyed a “regular” distance relationship, and Justin proposed in June 2008. We were married on our 5 year anniversary (plus one week) of the day we met.

Our First Official Date

How did he propose? I was completely and utterly surprised. Justin had made plans for us to go up to Caesar’s Head Mountain to meet up with some friends for a picnic. We headed up a little early to spend some time alone before meeting up with our friends. Looking back now, I realize how giddy Justin was talking and acting! At the time, I had no clue what was about to happen. He had coordinated and planned everything out with our friends to be a few miles ahead at Camp Greenville’s Symmes Chapel – also known as “Pretty Place” – an open air chapel, also up in the mountains. We headed up to the chapel to meet up for the “picnic” and as we began walking toward the chapel, I noticed candles lining the chapel steps, as well as more candles at the bottom of the chapel with some gorgeous green Hydrangeas. I called out for our friends, still not sinking in that he was about to propose – in fact, I thought we might be imposing on something else going on there! I looked around and once he grabbed my hand, I realized it. He said some really sweet words to me, as I noticed our friends taking pictures off in the distance. As the sun was setting, he got down on his knee and asked me to marry him. After that moment, our friends cued a song that is incredibly sentimental to both Justin and I – “Better Man” by James Morrison. We cried and danced together and just shared that moment, before our friends joined us and took more pictures. Before we headed back down the mountain, Justin spilled all of his excitement and everything he had been holding in for all of these months of planning and secrets he had been keeping from me. He handed me a box with a stack of six bridal magazines, and told me he knew how excited I would be to start planning (and he was so right!), along with a 14-page letter that he had been writing to me in the whole process of asking my dad, talking to his dad and buying the ring. He went out of his way to record the most sentimental things in a way that I couldn’t have even asked for! We began planning the next day…

He Proposed, I Said "YES'!!!

What is one aspect of your wedding that you have always wanted and did implement into your special day? We have both always wanted to get married barefoot on the beach, but never thought we would actually get to do it. It was pretty exciting when we realized that we were able to have our “dream wedding”, after all!

Our Dream Wedding On Folly Beach

What is one aspect that you thought you would want, many years ago when you would dress up in your mother’s clothes that you did NOT use? When we were playing around with the idea of a beach wedding, it was hard to imagine that we would not be getting married in a church, as our Christianity is very important to us. The ceremony was incredibly intimate and included most of our closest friends and family.

What made your ceremony and reception different from everyone else’s?

  • Of course I checked and checked the weather (like any other bride), and the closer our Day came, the quicker we found that Charleston would be getting some major storms that weekend. Our worst fear. The day before our wedding – the night of our Rehearsal Dinner, Charleston flooded. We had no power at the beach house for hours. Talk about stress. So many last-minute things to finish before the Wedding Day, and without power it was impossible.
  • The weather affected our Rehearsal Dinner, as well! Aside from unnecessary booking issues at the restaurant and sharing the space with an entire other wedding party (I’m pretty sure the other bride wanted to punch me, even though I had no clue what was going on!), we were unable to have any legitimate rehearsal at all! Our wedding party and families gathered in one of the beach home living rooms and talked our way through how things would go and crossed our fingers for the next day. Luckily, we pulled it off!
Justin Encouraging Me, "Don't Worry, Babe, It Will All Work Out.."

  • After we "rehearsed", we had to get as much done as possible, before the next day. Of course the power went out again, so the remainder of planning was done by cell phone and flashlight. Our wedding day dessert – coconut and chocolate cupcakes were ruined and had to be restarted the day of the wedding. Friends and family’s flights were delayed and near cancelled. On the way to picking up people from the airport, cars were stranded in pools of waist-deep water. It was quite unbelievable! The next morning, the wedding day, the ceremony area was a mess with debris everywhere and beach fences scattered/broken. Our families and friends transformed it beyond words!
Our Friends Had A LOT Of Trouble Getting Back To Their Hotels In Knee Floods Of Water

  • The next morning, our friends painted a sweet wedding message on the famous “Folly Beach boat" that has been a Folly landmark since 1989 - The message was only up for a couple hours before the next person decided to paint a message, but luckily our photographer just happened to capture it!
Folly Beach Boat

  • 45 minutes before the ceremony, my dad and brother decided to take a quick swim in the ocean to cool off from all the rushing around and setting up, before getting ready for the ceremony. The tide ended up dragging them so far out and down that they both almost drown before some surfers rushed over to save them. The crazy part is, as I was getting my dress on, I heard someone shouting from my bathroom window that “someone is drowning!” I just thought it was a joke and didn’t think twice about it. A few minutes before walking down the aisle with my dad, I met him in a room and we shared an emotional time as he shared the scary moments that happened just less than an hour ago. I was just so glad he was alive!
A Few Minutes Before Jumping In

  • Justin’s dad, who is a pastor, was our Officiant

  • My younger brother (17 yr) was our ring bearer and carried our rings in a large seashell; Justin’s younger sister (13 yr) was our flower girl
The Rings

  • Most bride and groom's parents have met before the wedding, and you would think our parents would have met, seeing as Justin and I dated for 5 YEARS, but our parents met for the first time that weekend. Can you imagine the anxiety on top of the already wedding-stress, and praying it all goes smoothly?? Well, good news. It went great. During our reception, I swear I heard my dad call Justin's dad, "Brotha".

  • We walked down the aisle barefoot; The area was arranged with tiki-torches, flowers, candles and starfish

  • Instead of “lighting Unity candles, we poured Unity sand

  • We had a rooftop reception at sunset, lined with more tiki-torches and string lights

  • During the reception, I found out that our rental chairs really belonged to someone else’s wedding down the block! Turns out, these adorable, bamboo chairs showed up as everything was being set up, and someone signed for them. Not long after, the chairs we ordered showed up, but they were turned away, thinking we had already received our chairs. During dinner, our unorganized caterers somehow managed to misplace our silverware as well. What a mix-up!
Heels, Platforms, Ballet Slippers, or Barefoot? Barefoot for the ceremony. Flip-flops during the rooftop reception.

What was your biggest fear as you planned for your special wedding day? Our biggest fear was that it would rain – and it sure did! It flooded and we lost power for part of the weekend. It was frustrating to deal with something so out of our control, but we had to just make the most of it.

What was your motto while planning your wedding and on your wedding day? Justin and I had to just have faith that things would somehow fall into place. I remember beginning to panic after the planning began, fearing we wouldn't pull it off. We kept relying on prayer, our friends and family and just knowing that if things were supposed to work out, they would. One verse that I tried to encourage myself with on a regular basis was Philippians 4:13 – “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Honeymoon: We took a 7-night Caribbean cruise to San Juan, Puerto Rico & Virgin Islands, St. Thomas and St. Maarten

What is the one thing you wanted to be able to do on your honeymoon that you do not get to do/experience on a day-to-day basis? We had an amazing time on our cruise, and almost everything was all-inclusive, making it very care-free and relaxing. One thing we really wanted to do was just explore some of the Caribbean beaches and relax. In St. Maarten, we went sailing on a Catamaran to a private beach for snorkeling and more relaxing.

Sailing and Snorkeling in St. Maarten

What is the most memorable aspect or part of your wedding or wedding day? The most memorable aspect was when the sun came out 5 minutes before I walked down the aisle, hearing waves crash as I married my best friend, and celebrating during the most incredible sunset I have ever seen in my life.

Right After We Said "I Do"

Photo Rights belong to Denny Shortt [& Dominique Nelson as specified].

I walked down the aisle to --
The Verve - Bittersweet Symphony [Intro]

During the ceremony, our friends and brother played and sang acoustic --
Chris Tomlin - Mighty is the Power of the Cross

We walked back down the aisle as husband and wife to --
Israel Kamakawiwo'ole - Somewhere Over The Rainbow

P.S. I thought this would be a great time to mention my good friend, Tiffany who is recently engaged! She has been blogging her wedding-planning adventures, and I tell you this. Her blog is worth reading. Check it out!


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

My Friend, Marco

I just wanted to do a little shout-out to good friend of ours, who happens to be a fabulous graphic artist: Marco Suarez. I've always been a huge fan of his work, but realize I haven't taken the time to stop and write a little post about it. It bums me that we only have 2 pieces of his in our home, but I have no doubt that we we be continuing our collection! I think what sets him apart from other artists is his eye for detail and colors.. I feel honored to know such a talented guy!

Our First Marco Suarez print, "Floating Forest"
I surprised Justin with "Lemons" for our 1st Anniversary

A few on our "To Get" List (Althought, we want all of them..)


"Painted Tree"
"Glowing Forest"
Totally in Awe of his Latest Work, "Underwater"

If you haven't heard of Marco or seen his work yet, I'm serious -- You should definitely check it out..


Monday, February 15, 2010

Love Is So Lovely

Just wanted to post some sweet photos, that made me smile and reminded me why being in love is so lovely.

I'm listening to: Regina Spektor


[Photo Sources: weheartit]

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