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

All You Need Is Love..And Cake

I will admit that I totally underestimated just how amazing cake tasting would be/how important our wedding cake is!  Don’t get me wrong, I love cake, but there are just so many other aspects of wedding planning to get to that it wasn’t very high on my priority list.  I also was totally not picky about what the cake looked like! I knew I wanted a round tiered cake with textured buttercream icing…that was about it.  We had even thought about just purchasing our wedding cake from Publix or Whole Foods, but on a whim I started researching bakeries near our wedding venue, and boy am I glad I did! I came across Maxie B’s, a bakery in Greensboro that had amazing reviews everywhere I looked and decided I would have to check them out.  When I contacted them for the first time they immediately got back to me to set up a tasting and were so friendly.  I just had an all-around good feeling about them so we scheduled our consultation for a time when we would be in Greensboro doing wedding-related things anyway.

When we walked into the bakery for our appointment, we entered a quaint little cafe with a case of cupcakes and five or six small tables scattered about.  We told the girl working the register that we were there for a cake tasting appointment and she instructed us to follow her through a curtain into the back.  She held the curtain open for us and the space opened up into a light and bright lounge area with modern chandeliers, plush furniture, and modern decor.  It was SO cool! We sat at a large dining room table in tufted beige chairs (I will seriously be using this area as inspiration for my future home decor!) and our appointment began.

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Our consultant was able to take my super-vague vision based on these few photos and bring to life a gorgeous cake design that I think is going to bring such a wow-factor at my wedding! She perfectly combined all my favorite aspects of these cakes into one design!

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HOW cute are the swiss dots on the middle tier?? I’m obsessed!

After the design discussion, it was time for the actual cake tasting (insert a million heart eye emojis here) and y’all, I thought I had eaten cake before, but nothing I have EVER had compares to what I ate in that bakery.  Cake immediately shot up to the top of my priority list after taking one bite! I am determined that eating a piece of cake is going to be as important as dancing for my guests’ wedding reception experience! Seriously, I can not even explain to y’all how amazing those slices of cake were (all of them!).

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We got to try 8-10 flavors (picking which ones we wanted was the hardest part) and selected devil’s food, pumpkin chocolate chip, mocha, chocolate with cream cheese icing, birthday cake, pound cake, strawberry, and lemon almond.

When I say the devil’s food cake was the most wonderful thing I have ever eaten in my entire LIFE, I promise I am not exaggerating.  Seriously, imagine your all time favorite cake and multiply it times 100 — THAT is how good it is.

Stephen’s favorite was the mocha flavor, so we picked that, the devil’s food, and the birthday cake (for cutting since I didn’t want to risk getting chocolate on my dress in the event of cake smashing!).  I cannot WAIT for my guests to try our cake! I am confident that no matter what flavor of the three they get, they will LOVE their slice!

I seriously can’t recommend Maxie B’s enough! They are officially one of my favorite vendors that I’ve booked!

‘Proposing’ to my Bridesmaids

Asking my bridesmaids to stand next to me on my wedding day was one of my favorite parts of wedding planning by far! I love surprises and giving gifts and so I was able to do both of those things when I ‘proposed’ to my bridesmaids!  I am so blessed to have five awesome ladies in my life who I can count on to be genuinely happy for me and support me on my big day! Our wedding is going to be fairly small and intimate anyway, so five bridesmaids and groomsmen seemed like a perfect number to us!

All five of my bridesmaids are so very very special to me and I figured it was the least I could do to show them how much I appreciate them, so I got them all gift boxes filled with goodies like BabyLips lip balm, monogrammed coozies, face masks, etc.!  Each box was from Etsy and was tied with white ribbon and had a custom sticker with our wedding date and  “Will you be my bridesmaid?” written on it.  Etsy was totally my go-to resource for these boxes! There is so much cute stuff on there and the sellers get really creative with personalizations for things like this.

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The box also included Bride Tribe stadium cupsWedding Cake-scented candles (these are seriously amazing and I want them in my house!), custom hair-ties, and of course these things were all pink and white and the theme was tied together with pink tissue paper!  I also made sure to include a swatch of the bridesmaid dress color and name so that each girl would have one for reference.

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Thank goodness for a creative MOH who can style these things for pretty pictures!
I am also putting together the gifts for my bridesmaids that they will be receiving on my wedding day! As for those gifts, I want them to remain a surprise, but I can share that they will be getting something to get ready in and something to wear in the wedding! My MOH got married a couple of weeks ago and we got the cutest gifts ever! She gave us white t-shirts with our titles on them, seersucker pajama shorts (also with our monogram!), white monogrammed button-up shirts, pink bow slippers, Kendra Scott earrings, and gold flip flops to change into for dancing at the wedding! All our gifts were so adorable and we all felt so appreciated and special as bridesmaids that day! Plus they made for the sweetest photos!

Keep in mind that if you’re on a tighter budget there is nothing wrong with a sweet card and a note as you ask your friends to be bridesmaids, and if you wanted to wait and give your bridesmaids their gifts on your actual wedding day, that’s totally fine too!

Remember, when it comes to your bridesmaids, they are there for YOU! They are going to be so flattered you asked them to be bridesmaids that they truly won’t care if you give them a gift or not.   Fun gifts and trinkets may make for awesome photo opportunities, but never lose sight of the true reason for why you are doing what you’re doing! Don’t let your most important friendships in one of the most important seasons of your life be negatively affected by the notion that you have to live up to the “Instagram standard” of being a bride!  The most important thing is that you have fun with it, no matter what you do!

I’ll be doing ‘Meet the Maids’ posts later on, and I can’t wait for you to meet all my special ladies! 🙂 

Thanks for stopping by!

Sydney

How I Knew I Wanted to Marry Stephen

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One of my favorite photos from my engagement session with (my MOH) Krista with Six Foot Photography!

1 John 4:16: “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.”

#SydneyGoesSpivey 11 months from today!  In honor of this milestone I figured I would share with y’all the moment I knew I was going to marry Stephen (it’s kind of a funny one!).  In case you’re new here, you should know that my love story with Stephen has been five years in the making!  We attended the same school starting in 3rd Grade, but did not officially meet until our second semester of our senior year of high school, where  we were seated next to each other in Spanish class.  Believe it or not, Stephen did not like me when he first sat next to me! He says he thought I was mean at the time (apparently I don’t have the friendliest of resting faces) and was so annoyed that our teacher put us at the same table! It didn’t take him long to realize that I am, in fact, a pretty nice person (I like to think) and that sitting next to me wasn’t so bad 🙂

Our relationship was very slow-moving and we didn’t actually acknowledge that we were “together-together” until it was time to move in to our dorms at college! Despite the fact that we were at different schools freshman year, our dorms were less than a mile away from each other.

I don’t know about you, but I have always been a night owl (as in, don’t start studying until midnight the night before the exam night owl — my bad!) so my freshman year of college consisted of a lot of late-night Waffle House runs with Stephen.  We are creatures of habit, so we always went to the same Waffle House on Hillsborough Street and ordered the same exact thing every single time we went.  We even got to know all the staff to the point that we would walk in and they would automatically start on our order without even coming up to our table — they had it memorized! Yes, that is just how regular we were at Waffle House.

Anyway, our late night Waffle House meals together became some of my very favorite meals.  We were usually walking in between 1 and 2 in the morning after several hours of studying, so it was nice to come into the quiet, empty restaurant and sit down, unwind, and get our minds off studying for the time being.

Late night Waffle House meals provided rare times during such a busy season of our lives to focus only on each other.  We were so young and going through so much, so that quality time spent alone together (even if it was in a super old restaurant that smelled like hash browns and bacon grease) is time that I will cherish for the rest of our lives.

Now, seeing how Waffle House is the center of this story, you should know what our signature orders were!  I always ordered (and still do!) a chocolate chip waffle and hash browns with ham, and Stephen always orders a sausage, egg, and cheese sandwich and a side of hash browns with ham.  Because his order includes a sandwich, he always got pickles on the side of his plate.  Fun fact about me: I. Love. Pickles.  Pickles are my favorite and have been since I was little.  Seriously.  It was only a matter of time until I built up the courage to ask Stephen if I could have one of the pickle chips that came on the side of his plate (I don’t usually ask people for food off their plate, but with pickles I admittedly don’t play by the rules!), which led to the admission of my obsession with pickles (it was basically a milestone in our relationship.).

The next time we went to Waffle House, I decided I was going to have control and refrained from asking Stephen for his pickles.  We carried on our conversation and at the end of the meal when we had finished eating, I noticed Stephen’s pickle chips sitting there on his otherwise empty plate.  “You forgot your pickles!” I exclaimed, kind of appalled that anyone would not eat the pickles they were given.  In true Stephen fashion,  he very nonchalantly said, “I saved them for you.”

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I literally found this picture from years ago on my computer, and there sit the pickles that Stephen placed on my hash browns plate as further proof of my story! 😉

Y’all, I should not have teared up over pickles, but that’s exactly what I did! Not just because I love pickles so much, it was the simple act of him having remembered that I like pickles, having sacrificed his chance to eat them (he likes them too after all!), and having put me before him.  In this simple act, he showed that he was not only capable but willing to put me above himself.  In one small little gesture, he conveyed a vast message about his abilities to be a life partner.

As it is in 1 John 4:12 “No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”  God abides in those who seek to love Him — we do not need to see Him as He is already in us, and in that little Waffle House in Raleigh, I saw His love in Stephen, wrapped up in that sweet little moment that we find so humorous now.

Stephen has saved his pickles for me every time we have gone to Waffle House since that day.  Every time we go I am reminded that the love of Christ is not just found in large gestures and grand moments; it is found in the most unexpected of places in our every day lives.  We don’t need to seek the love of God; it is already found and perfected inside of us.

Thanks for stopping by!

-Sydney