Preserving My Wedding Bouquet

Hey everyone! I had a fun idea for a little DIY that I thought some of you might enjoy. Especially for my girls out there who are getting married or have just gotten married and can’t seem to part from the little details that were so beautiful; like the flowers. That was me when it came to my wedding bouquet. The flowers were the most important part to my wedding decor and after seeing my wedding bouquet I knew that would be a piece of my wedding I never wanted to forget. After roaming through a little boutique a couple of months before the wedding, I visioned the perfect way to preserve my bouquet after it was all said and done. There were these two sided gold frames that I imagined would work perfect for pressing flowers. So after my wedding, I carefully gathered petals of all the different colors, that varied in size, and placed them between pages of some heavy books. Don’t forget to collect some of the leaves as well! It adds character to the placement later on! After a few weeks they should be completely dried out and ready to hang!

I found a frame on sale at Michael’s that was a lot bigger and cheaper than the ones I found in the boutique originally. And the good thing about Michael’s is that they always have coupons online! I can’t find the exact one I used , but I’ll link below some frames that are similar!

As always, thanks for reading and I would love to see some of your own creations of wedding decor DIY’s in the comments below!

Always,

learnandbewithme

September 8th, 2018

I can’t believe its been over a month since Jared and I have said our “I do’s!” When I look back it feels as if it were all a dream. I read all the articles on what to expect on your wedding day, looked at all the Pinterest boards, but I never understood how magical, and to be frank, how quickly it would all be over. I spent months and months planning and imagining what it would be like, and I’m happy to say that it out-did all of my expectations! It truly was the greatest day of my life, no matter how cliché it sounds.

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The day of the wedding, my sister, niece, and I woke up early to get to the venue so we could get our hair and makeup done. When planning out a timeline, I thought it was silly to get there before noon because, how long could it really take to do hair and makeup? That was the first thing I was wrong about (lol). If your venue allows you to arrive early and spend the day there, take advantage of it because it made my day as stress free as possible. Once I was there I didn’t have to worry about planning out my day around when and where I needed to be places. Throughout the day my bridesmaids started showing up and a few of my family members. The venue we chose was part restaurant so they offered us lunch and mimosas in which we all appreciated so much!

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We all just relaxed and had a good time listening to music and talking. We had the entire upstairs to ourselves with two full bathrooms and a beautiful room filled with antique furniture and couches. Thinking back now, most of the day was a blur. I tried to stop and take in every moment, but when you’re focused on the ending it’s hard to do so. I was getting so nervous! The day of the wedding I decided to write Jared a letter and have my sister deliver it to him when he arrived. I was already crying while writing it, so you can only imagine what a wreck I was during the ceremony!

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I can’t get over how cute my little flower girls were. I’m so blessed to have two precious nieces who could walk down the aisle in front of me; and they had a blast hanging with the girls all day. And can we talk about how stinkin’ cute their baby robes were?!

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One of my favorite parts about this day was having my dad and I do a first look. After my mom, sister, and now mother-in-law helped me dress, I stood in the corner and waited for my dad to come in. As soon as he stepped in the room, both of us started bawling. You can get a sense of how much everyone was crying on this beautiful day (lol)! Nothing means more to me than the family I have in my life. I am so incredibly grateful for both my parents and Jared’s mom. They’re the reason our day was as amazing as it was. Especially to my mother who was the wedding planner of the century! She kept my head on straight and all of my needs organized. She was my hero these last ten months.

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It really is no joke when they say a wedding is all about the bride. I felt like an actual princess waiting to meet my prince. Everyone was full of joy and excitement, and all eyes are on you the whole night. With a wedding of 100+ people, it would be an understatement to say I was anxious! But it was simply perfect and if I could relive it again and again, I would in a heartbeat.

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The ceremony was short and sweet, just how we liked it and the reception was truly a party. The floral chandelier was absolutely stunning and could take your breath away. Our florist did an incredible job and no one (including me) could stop admiring it the whole night. The flowers used most throughout the decorations were no other than O’Hara roses to represent my new last name. I think it’s safe to say they’re my new favorite flower. ❤ I used gold geometric terrariums for the hightop tables which were the cutest little centerpieces. And we can’t forget how gorgeous my bouquet was! I really can’t express my feelings for this night other than it was perfection.

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My photographer surprised Jared and I with these adorable previews of our pictures during dinner. They in themselves were beautiful I was already getting antsy to see the rest! I loved that she gave her brides an idea of what their special day was going to look like in pictures, and it gave me something to show off to people the next day! It was one of my favorite parts of the whole night receiving these polaroids.

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The groomsmen were truly the life of the party (per usual). Our wedding is the third wedding with basically the same groomsmen all in attendance. These guys are amazing friends to Jared and we can always count on them for a good laugh or a good time. While all the women were upstairs getting ready for the day, my bridesmaids looked out the window and started laughing at what was going on on the lawn. It was Jared and his groomsmen taking pictures and the poses they chose were no surprise to me. The brides of the weddings they attend usually have to remind them to behave and not to ruin the pictures (lol).

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The hardest and best part was the anticipation of seeing Jared. We wanted to keep things semi traditional so we said our goodbyes the night before the wedding and didn’t see each other until I walked down the aisle. It was so hard for us since we really do spend all of our time together. I got a few texts here and there from him asking if he could see me before the ceremony because he was going stir-crazy. The moment we laid eyes on each other we knew nothing else mattered about the day except for us exchanging vows and “I do’s.” I now understand why you’re considered in the honeymoon phase after your wedding. I fell in love with him all over again that night.

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While planning my wedding, my main goal was to create an event that was not only unforgettable for my husband and I, but to see all my friends and family together in one space having all the fun they could handle. I wanted laughing, dancing, and smiles all around. I had an awesome DJ who interacted with the crowd and got everyone up and moving. There was even a moment when my photographer came and asked if she could barrow me for a certain picture and I asked if I could finish a song first (lol).  We kept all the traditional wedding stuff simple and quick because we know that can kinda be a bore, and we wanted to focus on the celebration with friends and family rather than a prolonged ceremony, cutting of the cake, and first dances. Our ceremony only lasted 20 minutes total! Which meant more time for dancing and visiting!

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I want to thank every person who could be a part of our day and make it what it was with love, support, and hopeful wishes. Our photographer Veronica Martinez was truly outstanding and captured our wedding so beautifully. We highly recommend her and her boyfriend for your engagement or wedding photos! We also would like to thank Hanover Tavern for hosting our wedding and being extremely accommodating and helpful through the whole process! We are smitten and happy to finally be Mr. and Mrs. O’Hara. ❤

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Always,

learnandbewithme

 

Our Ithaca Honeymoon

Denial. That is my current state when it comes to the wedding being over and done. LIKE, WHAT?! Months and months of planning, a full week of wedding festivities, a short ceremony and reception, and just like that it’s all over! Jared and I are so excited for our future and these past couple of weeks have been a dream.

When it came to our honeymoon, we were indifferent about a lot of things. We originally booked a trip to Punta Cana and then eventually cancelled the trip to save money for a house. We decided a trip such as that one would be well spent on our one year anniversary. That’s when we decided to go south to Savannah, Georgia. A place I have never been and have always wanted to experience. We were going to go to a cute bed and breakfast, roam around the city, and take in the cute southern scenery. Due to hurricane Florence making her appearance a few days after the wedding, she spoiled our plans of heading south to the Atlantic.

The Sunday after our wedding we were sitting on the couch still unaware of where we would be going for our honeymoon. We both had a week off of work and knew we would go somewhere, but completely oblivious to where that was. We decided somewhere close enough to drive was important, but not somewhere too far that it takes a whole day to travel. We knew we wanted to go north to avoid the hurricane, and we wanted it to be somewhere both of us have never been. That’s when we decided on Ithaca, New York.

It was only a 7 hour drive from Richmond, had beautiful wildlife, and was a complete mystery to both of us. It was perfect. We woke up Monday morning with no plans other than an airbnb to stay in. We had no idea what to expect and didn’t even know if there would be anything worth seeing, but we were just excited to be together and enjoying our honeymoon.

Ithaca just happened to be home to 150 waterfalls and we made sure to see as many as we could. Our airbnb was a short drive to Cornell University (if you’re a huge fan of The Office like me, than this is exciting to you) and it was full of incredible, historical buildings. The Ithaca Commons had many restaurants and bars worth visiting, and don’t get me started on how many wineries and breweries are a short distance of each other. Some of the wineries we visited were Hosmer, Americana (and Bacchus brewery), and the Thirsty Owl (which was my favorite).

One of the best parts of the whole trip was the back yard of our airbnb. In the mornings when we would sit down for breakfast, we’d stare out the grand window that looked out to the back yard and watch deer graze the land. There were multiple doe and one buck that roamed the land in search of yummy food while we kept very quiet and still to watch them do so. Ithaca was anything but planned and we had no idea what to expect, but I would go back in a heartbeat. It was beautiful and the perfect kind of relaxed and active environment we were hoping to experience for our honeymoon.

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Always,

learnandbewithme

 

Engagement Photos With V!

I originally posted our engagement photos just as a simple post that acted as a photo album. But then I decided I wanted to talk about our whole experience because it honestly was amazing and I couldn’t have loved our photographer more!

We decided an urban scene best fit our interests since our relationship started in Richmond and it’s where we currently live and love to explore. I had every intension of capturing our pictures walking up and down Monument Avenue, but while driving to meet our photographer, I decided to change it to Meadow Street last minute. There were beautiful pink colored houses, cobble stone alleys, and a quaint little park all within three blocks.

Our photographer Veronica Martinez was so sweet and had no problem switching locations up. She drove all the way from Florida to take our (and a couple of other couple’s) engagement photos, so that simply was amazing of her! We then started up and down the street where she captured the most beautiful photos of Jared and me for our wedding book.

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We had to postpone the session at least three times due to bad/cold weather. I felt like winter would never end! Since summer decided to hold out as long as it could, I was actually freezing the entire time (lol). Jared was constantly warming me up by rubbing his hands up and down my arms, which she ended up catching in a few snap shots.

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One of the best part’s of the whole experience was when we were taking a few pictures in front of someone’s house with beautiful yellow flowers, when the owner came out and explained how she had a bunch more in the back that would be much prettier. So she escorted us to the backyard where we got the most stunning shots!

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Veronica was so great at making us feel comfortable in front of the camera (which isn’t something either of us are naturals at!) She got us to tell her stories that resulted in laughing fits, she had us play little games (like humming a song and the other had to guess what it was; and randomly I went with Mrs. New Booty? lol), and had us feeling excited and even happier by the end of it.

She was super flexible with locations as well, she willingly drove to where it all started just so we could get a reenactment of our first kiss!

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Yes, our first kiss was in front of a diner where I’m sure a million people saw us….haha

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Veronica will be doing our wedding photos as well and were so excited to see what she creates then! If you are ever looking for someone to do your wedding or engagement photo’s, we highly recommend Photography by V!

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Always,

learnandbewithme

How I Managed School and Planning a Wedding at the Same Time

If somebody told me when Jared and I met, that three years down the road I would be preparing myself for graduation and planning our wedding all at the same time, I would have never believed them. But something I have learned through this journey is that life never goes as planned, and I couldn’t be more happy about that! Originally, my advisor didn’t want me to pursue graduating in four years since I was behind from transferring, but that was a goal I was determined to make. After long semesters of 18 credits worth of criteria, I persevered and was informed that I could graduate after only four years of school. Getting closer to the end of my journey, Jared and I were getting more and more impatient about marrying each other. We knew we wanted to be together forever and had dreams of buying a house, owning a farm, and having many kids together. We didn’t want to waste anymore time. I set restrictions on our relationship saying that he had to wait until I graduated to propose because I didn’t want to get caught up in getting married and letting my dream of graduating in four years slip from under me. His original plan was the ask me the day of my graduation to marry him, but like I mentioned above, life never goes as planned and he asked me to be his forever at the start of my last semester of college. Which meant that I had to finish off school, and get to plan a wedding all at the same time, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Do Your Research

If you’re newly engaged than the first thing you need to figure out is what your ideal wedding looks like. I created Pinterest Boards, took quizzes about what theme fits my style, and started shopping. The best thing you can do for yourself is find a wedding planning website that fits your needs and sign up immediately. I use TheKnot to organize everything into one platform and used the search engine to find my venue and photographer. It can also assists you with setting a budget and tips on how to stick to it. Which leads me to my next point, set a budget and figure out what is realistic for your dream wedding, and what belongs in your fantasy. I am not a millionaire (sadly) so i can’t afford everything I would ever want and that’s okay! Doing my research first is what has helped me narrow down what I want and need for my wedding later on in the planning process. Trust me, it can get overwhelming, but as long as you are aware of the costs then it will relieve some of that pressure.

If you want to see some of my ideas, check out my Pinterest board!

Start Early

Something that I have found that has helped me through the planning process is to get the major details checked off my list early. I was fortunate enough that I could start planning for our big day during school breaks like our winter break, so I had basically a month to dedicate my time to wedding planning while no school work was required. Setting a date is the most crucial part, so if you plan on getting married within a year of your engagement, than it is never too early to set a date. Once you find a venue you love, pick a date and stick to it. Once you have the date you can order your save-the-dates and get those out whenever you’re ready. Starting early will also help you get the date you want, if you have a specific time in mind, because trust me, you’re not the only one who is engaged and you’re most likely not the only one who wants that specific time period. So the earlier you start, the less likely you’ll have to settle or wait another year to get married.

Get the Big Finances Out of the Way

Okay, I don’t mean blow all of your life savings or spend your entire budget upfront, but start booking the ‘big picture’ things. The good thing about weddings is that you make everything in payments! So as long as you have enough for a down payment, than you’re booked and they save your wedding date and you don’t have to worry about it until the next payment is due. So start scheduling appointments to view the venues and get it booked! Once you have the venue I would focus on finding the band or DJ you prefer, the florist, caterer if your venue doesn’t require you use them for food, who’s making your cake, and most importantly, your dress. If you get those big finances out of the way early, you’ll set yourself up for a less stressful ride.

Step Away from Planning When Necessary

Planning a wedding is one of the most exciting times of your life, but it can also be the most stressful. Thanks to my winter and spring break and some reading days, I really had time to focus on wedding planning outside of school work. But if you’re like me and life is happening all at once, you need to be able to separate the two. I had an online class on Excel worth one credit that was work at your own pace. I had to learn how to operate all the function in each chapter, show up for an exam that you had one chance to pass, and get an 80 to receive the credit. It was essentially the one class that could hold me back from graduating. When it came close to exam time I realized I couldn’t focus on any wedding planning because my time belonged to studying. Which is perfectly fine! It is okay to step back and put planning on hold for awhile. Don’t worry, you’ll still get everything done in time for your big day! I kindly told my family members that I couldn’t answer any wedding questions until my exam was over. That meant no texting about decorations, taking a break from Pinterest, and no emails. Taking a break from planning can also be good for you when it’s something you have been focussing on for months at a time.

Don’t be Scared to Ask for Help

Planning a wedding is no joke, and it will be one of the biggest events you will ever plan. I mean, being a wedding planner is a real job with people out there getting paid everyday to direct it all. But if you want to save money by skipping the wedding planner, you’ll still need to ask for help every once in awhile. My mom, future mother-in-law, and sister have been a tremendous help to me. If I am busy with classes or studying, there is nothing wrong with texting one of them and asking if they can contact so and so, or email this person, or research the price of this or that. Planning a wedding is definitely a full time job, and it’s smart to divide that time between the people who will share that special day with you. It’s important that you ASK for help, not TELL your friends or family what to do. No one is going to want to help you if they see you are becoming a bridezilla and not appreciating their assistance. Lastly, if you have a vision of something you want, tell those who are helping you plan. They aren’t going to know your exact idea if you don’t communicate with them and then you both can get lost from your dream wedding.

Don’t Forget to be in the Moment

Once the dress fittings begin, the save the dates go out, and the decorations start to accumulate, you can’t forget to pay attention to the life you’re living at this very moment and to stop thinking about the future ten months from now. I’m still in school and I have plenty of friends who aren’t on the path of marriage yet. I have to remind myself that it is okay to just be a college student who just wants to drinking $5 margaritas. It’s okay to put off planning and daydreaming if it means spending time with your friends, because you have to remember that they are also starting their new lives and everyone will go their separate ways in the end. I had engagement photos one day and cap and gown photos the next. You can’t forget that you wont get these moments back and everyday of your life is just as important as the day you marry your soul mate.

 

These tips really only apply to you if you’re one, getting married while in school, and two, you’re planning your own wedding rather than opting for a professional planner. Either way, I hope these tips are helpful when it comes to you planning your own big day!

Always,

learnandbewithme

*Image by https://photographybyv.pic-time.com/portfolio*