Registries, Registries…

Talking about your own wedding registry is always a little awkward because it should never be assumed that your wedding guests will get you a gift, but at the same time IF a wedding guest wants to give you and your new spouse something, it is most frequently going to be off of your wedding registry.  I have been “working” on our registry for about a year now, and I have learned A LOT over the course of that year.  Here are some things the Southern bride should keep in mind when it comes to wedding registries:

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First of all, you should never put information about your registries on your Save the Dates or on your invitations.  This comes back to the fact that you shouldn’t assume your guests will be bringing a gift!  Wedding websites were created for a reason! Put the link to your website on your Save the Date and link your online registries there.  You can also rely on your parents and the wedding party to spread the word about where you’re registered.

There are a gazillion places you can register at — pick a couple of places that you frequently shop at and that you feel will be most accessible to any wedding guests who would like to get you something.  For example, as much as I LOVE Pottery Barn and would be tempted to register there, it’s not somewhere I shop frequently and a lot of our guests don’t have a Pottery Barn near them!

If you would like to go a non-traditional route (like a honeymoon registry), consider also creating a smaller traditional wedding registry for those guests who would like to get you something physical that they can wrap.  Some people may be unfamiliar with honeymoon registries and would feel more comfortable bringing you something more traditional!

Make sure your registry (or registries) are true to YOU! If you are not the fine china kind of people (not gonna lie, Stephen and I fall into this category), don’t feel pressured to register for fine china!  It may have been a wedding registry essential item years ago, but the times have changed and if you don’t want to register for fine china, you don’t have to!   If your guests are going to be generous enough to spend their money on something you registered for, it should be something you really truly feel you will use.

When adding to your registry, make sure you have a healthy mix of high and low price items.  You may feel uncomfortable registering for that $300 mixer, but it actually provides a great opportunity for multiple guests to go in together on a gift like that.   On the same note, make sure you have a few $20-$50 items for guests that would like to purchase a gift, but are unable to spend too much money.

Stephen and I are going the more non-traditional route for MANY reasons.  We are in our third year living together, so when it comes to plates, cups, towels, sheets, etc., we are pretty much set! We’ve accumulated all those things over the years and so we felt that registering for them again would be sort of a waste.

I don’t have any cute pictures of Stephen and I registering for gifts, so please enjoy this photo of us after we ransacked Cracker Barrel. It’s technically registry-related because if it was possible, Cracker Barrel is the first place I would have registered.

One of the things I am most looking forward to in the next few years is homeownership! Unfortunately though there is 0% chance of that happening until Stephen graduates from law school in 2019, then we will need to continue saving our money for a down payment! That means homeownership probably won’t be an option until early 2020 which means we have another 3 years or more before we have a house to fill.  Again, I think all the plastic plates and cups we have now will hold us over juuust fine until that stage in our life arrives.
While I love home decor as much as the next girl, registry decisions should not just be made by the bride 🙂  Stephen and I are not super materialistic as a couple and we have always preferred new experiences over gifts.  We absolutely love to travel and have made the decision to postpone our honeymoon a few months in order to save up for an extended trip to Europe and Greece that totally suits our travelers’ hearts.  We made the decision to register for only a few items that we feel we will really use both now and later and to put any financial gifts we receive towards our honeymoon!

Here are some of the essentials we registered for:

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9 Piece Gallery Wall Frame Set – This is actually the very first thing we registered for! I saw this frame set and immediately knew I would love to put our wedding photos in these frames and hang them in a gallery wall in our future home.  I have always LOVE photos and taking pictures so a frame set was essential!

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A Higher-End Luggage Set – Remember when I said we LOVE to travel?  We both have smaller suitcases that are showing their age, so we decided to register for nicer luggage that we can take along with us on our honeymoon!

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Ninja Professional Blender – I have heard AMAZING things about this blender!  I have heard it’s a necessity for every household.  This is a popular model that can be found at multiple places and so we figured it would be a great addition to our wedding registry.  Plus, this is one of those gifts that would be great for multiple people to go in on!

I think our registry is a good example of how to keep your wedding registry true to yourself.  Picture frames and luggage might not be the first things you think of when you think about a wedding registry, but they’re important to us!  Don’t feel like you’re doing it wrong if your wedding registry looks a little different from the checklists you see on Pinterest!  Wedding planning is all about staying true to YOU!

Thanks for stopping by!

Sydney

Meet the Maids: Carly

Stephen and I have one priority for our wedding day: celebrate with our family and closest friends.  We are taking great care of tending to our guest list and keeping it on the smaller side so that everyone who attends can feel truly celebrated with us.  Of course, this applies to the friends who will be standing up at the altar with us as well! I’ve decided to do a Meet the Maids series on the blog to introduce you to the most special ladies in my life!

First, I’d like you to meet Carly! She is one of my oldest (and very best) friends! We first met in 2010 when we worked at Sweet Tomatoes and despite being total opposites, our friendship has withstood the test of time! She is hands down one of the most trustworthy people I know and I can always count on her for anything!  Plus, she is a fellow NC State grad!  When the owner of our wedding venue was discussing the timeline of our reception with us, he asked me which of my bridesmaids could get the party started best; Stephen and I immediately turned to each other and said, “CARLY!”  So I can’t wait for our guests to be introduced to her first at the reception!  She has such a fun-loving heart and is always trying to get this introvert to venture out of my comfort zone and try new and amazing things! (And I only chicken out about half the time 🙂 )

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The amazing thing about Carly is that she simply can’t have too many friends; once you meet her, she will have your back forever!  She is definitely one of the most loyal people I have ever met.  In fact, Stephen called her the night he was going to propose and asked that she be at the dinner celebration that night and despite the fact that she had plans, she rearranged them just so she could celebrate with us which will always mean the world to me!

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I am sooo lucky to have Carly in my life and so glad she agreed to stand next to me on my big day!  This description does not even do her justice so I can’t wait for our guests to meet her on the big day!

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So glad she was able to come with me the day I bought my wedding dress!

Thanks for stopping by!

Sydney

Why We’ll Never Go to a Jewelry Store Chain Again

I will forever wish I had been more informed about jewelry stores prior to shopping for my wedding bands so hopefully this post will help at least one other person out!

When Stephen decided it was time to start shopping for my engagement ring, he knew it was the smart thing to do to get quotes from multiple jewelry stores before deciding where he wanted to make his investment.  He knew he wanted to use a diamond that belonged to my mom and that he wanted to have my ring custom-made based on several pictures he had pulled from my Pinterest.  He went to several chains and had similar experiences at all of them, but there was one store in particular (a chain based in NC) that I had told him I would like my ring to come from.  While I won’t name the store, I’ll tell you that these stores are fabulous and shiny and there is a fancy stigma that goes along with saying your engagement ring came from one of their locations.

When Stephen went in, the associate that was working with him continuously tried to convince him that what he was asking them to create is not what I wanted and that he should trade my mom’s diamond in for a bigger one and pick a totally different style of ring that I would like better…as if they knew what I wanted better than Stephen did!

Stephen left the store feeling way more stressed out and less excited than he had felt walking in and decided to try another store — a small-town family run store in downtown Apex.

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When Stephen walked into Holland’s Jewelers off Salem Street, he was immediately greeted with a bunch of smiling faces of people eager and willing to help him.  They were thrilled at the idea of using a family heirloom to create a custom ring.  They worked with him until he was completely satisfied and gave him a fair price.  The ring they created together was absolutely gorgeous!

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Love this shot Krista from Six Foot Photography got of my ring during our mini-engagement session!

Here’s where I have to admit something to you: I am totally enamored by shiny, fancy things.  When it came time to shop for my wedding band, Stephen had not told me of the experience he had at the fancy popular store which shall not be named here, and I wanted the stigma of owning a piece of jewelry from that store and the ring box that went with it (totally vain, I know, but I’ve learned my lesson!).  Despite the fact that I felt guilty about not returning to the place that had created my engagement ring, I went against my instincts and grabbed one of my bridesmaids and headed into one of their popular Raleigh locations during their semi-annual sale.

I don’t want to undermine my experience there in any way that is not necessary — the staff that greeted us was friendly and an associate was with us quickly and was very patient with us as we looked at wedding rings.   When I took off my engagement ring to start trying wedding bands on, though, he picked it up and started criticizing how it was made.  He told me that since I had it made somewhere other than their store, it was flimsy and I really shouldn’t even be wearing my engagement ring regularly (“It’s like you’re wearing a lace dress while mowing the lawn,” he said).   As if that’s what every girl wants to hear about her most prized possession!  Despite the fact that our associate had made me feel bad about myself, I picked out a wedding ring and despite the fact that it was 1.5 times what we had budgeted for even with their huge sale, I purchased the ring.  They fitted it for free but I didn’t even get the fancy ring box I had been all excited about.

Stephen told me about his experience there when I got home that day and vented to him about how I had made this huge investment with the store and yet somehow left feeling like they felt like they had done me some huge favor, and that I should feel honored to have purchased something from their store.  I literally felt like “just another sale” and after spending that much money, that is not how anyone should feel!

I lost several nights’ sleep over my purchase and wished so desperately I hadn’t had the ring fitted so that I could return it (I am admittedly petty and did not want something as precious as my main wedding band to have come from what I viewed as such a negative experience).  After a lot of conversation with Stephen, we decided to go back to Holland’s and discuss the ring situation with them and see if they had any insight!

I felt right back at home when we walked back in there; I seriously cannot explain how friendly and nice the entire staff is.  Initially I wanted to trade in the ring I had already purchased and purchase a thicker band (which would have been more money for Holland’s) but they suggested if I wanted to do something different, I should consider using the ring I had already purchased and having another one custom-made to match it and then have the three welded together in a set after the wedding, which is the path I ended up taking!

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I LOVE how all three rings look together! The ring on the bottom is the one I had made at Holland’s — I wanted this to be my “official” wedding band.

They custom-made me a ring to match the one I already had using the same materials and the same carat weight.  Oh and the ring they were making me? It cost less than half of what I paid at the other store.

While I was there I decided to have my “flimsy” ring inspected; my engagement ring was fine but upon inspection of the wedding band I had already purchased, a majority of the diamonds were loose. After I had just been lectured about how flimsy my own ring was!  PLUS when I walked away from Holland’s with my brand new ring, they gave me my very own fancy ring box 🙂 It was meant to be.

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I don’t mean to just spend this whole post just trashing the other store, but I am a firm believer that everyone should have nothing less than an amazing experience when purchasing engagement/wedding rings and advise everyone to be careful in what store they choose to shop at.  I desperately wish I had gotten some insight about the first store before making that huge of an investment there! Not one of my finer financial moments, I’ll admit.

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Love this Mrs. box my mom got me for my birthday!

You never know though!  Maybe the store I had a negative experience at is the perfect store for you! But you won’t know until you do your research!

For us personally, we will be going to Holland’s for all of our jewelry needs for years to come! I have yet to have anything but an amazing experience with them and if you live in the Triangle area, I highly recommend you check them out!

If you have any questions about ring shopping, please let me know! Heaven knows I have a lot of experience at this point!

Thanks for stopping by!

-Sydney

 

 

 

July Goals


Happy 4th of July and happy birthday to my favorite country! 🙂 Hope everyone’s day is filled with lots of sunshine and celebration!  I’ll be spending the day in Charleston — my favorite place second only to Raleigh!

As I prepare for all the crazy stuff happening in July, I’m taking a look back at my June goals.  Here’s how I did:

  • Join a gym  (Check! Joined my local YMCA and I am loving it!)
  • Go to the gym at least three times a week (I’m going to half-check this one. I did make it to the gym 2-3 times per week all month though, so that’s definitely a start!)
  • Start working in my Write the Word Journal from the Cultivate What Matters Shop (Unfortunately I can’t check this one off; I am hoping to start on this item this month!)
  • Deposit $500 into the wedding account (Check! I was able to deposit money that would have gone towards rent into the wedding account!  Stephen and I have agreed to deposit the same amount of our own money into the wedding account each month.)
  • Send out invitations for a sweet friend’s bridal shower (Check! That shower will be happening this month and I can’t wait!)
  • Start reading The Meaning of Marriage with Stephen (This one was a ‘no’ as well.  It proved to be too difficult to coordinate our schedules. I am looking forward to completing this goal in July!)
  • Read one book for fun (Okay, I am going to check this goal off even though I am only 200 pages or so in.  That counts, right??)

I haven’t been at this for long but I am loving writing all my goals down and checking back on them at the end of the month.  I find holding myself accountable for my goals so valuable.  I think it’s so important to always find yourself working towards something; it keeps you grounded and keeps you focused on working towards growth instead of achieving total perfection (which is obviously impossible!).

With that being said, here are my goals for July:

  • Start working in my Write the Word Journal from the Cultivate What Matters Shop
  • Start reading The Meaning of Marriage with Stephen
  • Attend our first premarital counseling session with my sweet Granddaddy (SO excited for this one!)
  • Start student teaching
  • Schedule meetings with my rental company and florist for next month
  • Finish a book for fun
  • Deposit $700 of my own money into the wedding account
  • Throw an amazing bridal shower for one of my bridesmaids!

I am looking so forward to July and achieving all of these goals! I’d love to hear about your July goals while you’re here!

Thanks for stopping by!

-Sydney 

Our Engagement Photos!

We have officially been engaged for one year as of June 30th! It has been a wild ride for sure, but we have loved every minute of it. I am always amazed at the growth Stephen and I make every day as we prepare for this wedding and our marriage!

In honor of 365 days of being engaged, I wanted to share our engagement photos on here in case you hadn’t seen them!  Our amazing wedding photographer Amber with Six Foot Photography had the SWEETEST little baby in April so she was on maternity leave when we took our pictures.  Lucky for us, this meant my Matron of Honor, Krista, got to take our photos instead!

We got to return to our very favorite place (NC State’s campus) for these pictures and I think Krista captured us and how much we love that place perfectly 🙂 We were even featured on the Six Foot Photography Blog here!

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We had a blast taking these photos and will cherish them forever!

Thanks for stopping by!

-Sydney

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I Said Yes to the Dress..And You Can Too!

Wedding dress shopping was such an amazing experience! Everything that could go RIGHT did, and I was surrounded by some of my favorite people in the process! For months, I had THE dress I just knew I was going to buy in mind and picked the bridal boutique we went to based on the fact that I knew they had my dress in stock!  We went to New York Bride & Groom of Raleigh and had an AMAZING experience!  I was so lucky because I was able to bring four of my bridesmaids (who didn’t know they were bridesmaids at the time!), my mom, and my Mimi with me to shop for wedding gowns.  I knew I could fully trust all six of the ladies I brought with me to be honest (without being mean!), be supportive, and be genuinely happy for me on such a fun day.  I can’t recommend making sure whoever you bring with you to try on dresses fits that exact same bill because it made a world of difference!  I loved having them there for support (soooo important) and having zero concern that any of them would hurt my feelings.

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When you walk into the salon, you enter into a crisp, clean and open salon with lots of modern furniture with pearlescent white finishes — you instantly feel glamorous as soon as you walk through those doors (and let’s be honest — every bride should feel glamorous when trying on wedding dresses!).  You don’t need an appointment and I was a little worried about a wait since we were just walking in to the salon with seven people, but we were immediately greeted with smiling faces and they were able to accommodate us right away.  We got our own (massive) dressing room, put our stuff down, and started the search for my dress!  Of course, everything I read said that you should NEVER try on just one dress, so my group helped me pick out three other dresses to try on in addition to the one I had pretty much already decided on.

On our way back to the dressing room, one dress in particular caught my Matron of Honor’s eye.  She held it up for me and I took one look at it and said, “Nope!”  It was the total opposite of what I wanted in a dress and not only did not fit any of the requirements I had for potential dresses, but it had characteristics I specifically DIDN’T want! But something about that dress made my MOH push me to at least try it on and as you may have guessed, I ended up falling in love with it!

I am very much the type of person who likes to plan way ahead and then stick very strictly to that plan, so the fact that I was loving a dress that wasn’t in my plans was very stressful for me!  I so desperately wanted to want my original dress, but my mind kept returning to the new one.  It was comfortable, I felt good in it, and I didn’t ever want to take it off! I put the dress on for a second time, put my wedding shoes and veil on, and stepped back in front of the mirror and that was it! I knew for sure I had found my dress.  I haven’t stopped thinking about it since!

To make it even more amazing, when I told our consultant that I had picked my dress, she checked the tag and informed us it was 50% off! We ended up spending less than half of our original budget and my mom (who is THE BEST) surprised me and paid for the dress for me (insert many, many happy tears here)!

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I don’t want to give too much about the dress away (pretty sure Stephen is one of the few people who actually reads here for the time being lol), but I CAN say it perfectly encompasses the Southern look I was looking for and looks amazing with my Matron of Honor’s (GORGEOUS) veil which I will be borrowing for my wedding day!

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This was our dressing room! It was so spacious and perfect for all 7 of us to hang out in!

As AMAZING as my experience was, there are a few things I wish I had known about wedding dress shopping before I went!

Here are a few tips for any brides planning on going wedding dress shopping soon!

  • Get a little dolled up! I wish I had put more effort into my appearance (and maybe have gotten a tan?) before I went shopping! You want to feel your absolute best when picking the most beautiful article of clothing you will ever wear! Plus, if you aren’t feeling confident (and it’s easy not to — those fluorescent lights can be harsh in a lot of salons!), it can skew the way you see yourself in the dresses!
  • Do your research and read reviews about the bridal salons you are considering shopping at.  The demeanor of our consultants made ALL the difference when I went shopping! I am generally pretty self-conscious and didn’t want to be made to feel like being there was a burden to them but everyone we interacted with was so helpful, happy, and supportive!  Plus, it was through our research that we discovered that we did not need an appointment to go shopping!
  • If you already have any accessories you know you’ll be wearing on your wedding day (I was a rule-breaker and already had both my veil and my shoes!), bring them! This way you can see how they look with your dress.
  • Wear appropriate under garments! 🙂
  • LISTEN to your consultant — they usually have lots of experience and can offer some pretty sound advice!
  • Consider going shopping on a weekday afternoon to avoid crowds — that’s what we did and I’m so glad!
  • GO WITH YOUR INSTINCTS! If your gut is telling you something, listen!

Hopefully something from that list was helpful to any brides seeking advice! Wedding dress shopping should NOT be stressful, and I hope anyone who goes has as amazing a time as I did!

Thanks for stopping by!

Sydney

Gents’ Attire

Believe it or not, I have loved coming up with groomsmen attire ideas almost as much as I have loved coming up with my bridesmaid looks! Fortunately Stephen and I are totally on the same page and had both decided on the same general look for the groomsmen before even discussing it with each other!  Stephen has always been fairly partial to the color gray when it comes to suits and I think that a light gray suit is going to look SO good with the icy blue bridesmaid dresses and the green look of our venue.

We are going to have a little bit of fun with the groomsmen attire and make each outfit unique while still keeping it subtle and classy! Groomsmen will be wearing brown dress shoes and dark gray seersucker bow ties from High Cotton (it’s not a Southern wedding without seersucker after all!) and will wear collegiate socks from their alma mater (that’s three pairs of NC State socks and two pairs of UNC socks!).  Stephen will be wearing an NC State bow tie and UNC socks (his undergraduate degree is from NC State and his law degree will be from UNC).

We are making such an effort to keep our wedding completely true to ourselves! We are so proud of our schools and I think this is an awesome way to incorporate that pride into our wedding! Plus it gives the groomsmen an opportunity to express themselves as individuals even though they will all be dressed the same.

I am super close with all of Stephen’s groomsman and while I trust Stephen with a lot of things, his ability to dress himself and five other guys for a wedding is not one of them, so I am looking forward to going suit shopping with all of them sometime soon! 🙂

Thanks for stopping by!

Sydney