Life Lately

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IMG_3871fall day in the mountains

IMG_5497 unedited sneak peek of the most epic sunset after the wedding 

Time for a quick update on life lately. It has turned to full blown fall overnight. If you saw my Instagram post last week you know that I am a summer girl! I live for summer days, flip flops, and sunshine. So while the rest of the world is buying pumpkin spice everything, I’m over here daydreaming about summer.

I can hardly believe that we were married in Jamaica almost a month ago. I cannot wait to share more! I loved our photographer that we worked with; there is a 6-14 week turnaround for the photos so we are anxiously awaiting them! We had the most epic sunset the night of the wedding that I know is going to make for great photos. I’ll probably overshare once we get them! We got married at the Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall and then went to Negril for a short mini moon at the Rockhouse Hotel.

Since coming home life has been all kinds of crazy. In an effort to get in the fall spirit we took a road trip into the Blue Ridge Mountains. The leaves had just started turning, and it was a perfect day trip. Seeing the leaves start to change does give me all the #fallfeels. We visited the Blue Ridge Music Center for the first time. There is a small museum here that explains the history of mountain music, free music outdoors, and a very nice hiking trail. We really enjoyed it. It is right on the Blue Ridge Parkway so the drive in is beautiful as well. On the way home we stopped at nearby Round Peak Vineyards for a glass of wine and to take in the view. Our final stop was at Skull Camp Brewing for a late lunch. Overall the perfect fall day trip.

We leave for our actual honeymoon in Paris in a few weeks and would love any and all recommendations you have on visiting the City of Lights!

Planning a Destination Wedding

Time for a little wedding update. So remember when I told you that we were getting married I said that wedding planning was not my jam so we were having a destination wedding. With just under two months until the big day I can happily report that wedding planning is still not my thing.

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We are getting marring at the Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall in Montego Bay, Jamaica. We picked this resort for a few reasons: 1) I was in an absolute tizzy and the travel agent said it was a nice place, 2) my dad said he wouldn’t come if we got married in Mexico and I didn’t want to start a fight, and 3) his mom said anywhere was better than where I originally wanted it. [Wedding planning is so fun.]

All kidding aside, those are all real, but not why we actually went with the resort. For one thing the resort is kind of a two in one with a family friendly side and an adults only side. We thought this would be ideal for any of our family or friends who didn’t want to travel internationally and leave kiddos behind, but still give us the option to have the adults only feel. We have a lot of people with dietary restrictions who will be attending, and this resort unlike some others in the Caribbean (so we have been told, not speaking from actual experience) is able to accommodate them all very well. I have not been to that many all inclusive spots, but many of them cater specifically to people traveling as couples, we wanted to avoid that, as we wanted ALL of our guests to feel welcome. And finally the place seems like they know how to do a wedding. They are set up to be able to accommodate multiple weddings per day, and as someone who is not AT ALL into the details, they seem like they can handle it.

As of right now, we have 71 ticketed and confirmed guest, which I am blown away by! People are traveling from as far away as Nairobi, Kenya to be there and I am still in disbelief. My dress is ready to go, his suit is ready to go, all the big stuff is done! And I am ready to pull my hair out with the little details. How do people get so into this stuff?

I found these images to use as inspiration for our decor that I sent to our wedding coordinator and then kind of left it up to her. Have I mentioned that I am not into wedding planning?

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A few tips from my observations thus far:

  • We have never actually been to this resort (never even been to Jamaica for that matter) if this stresses you out leave yourself PLENTY of time to visit the resort, change your mind, and then visit another resort.
  • I will not have a “trial run” with my hair and make-up. I will have it done at the spa at the resort. I’m fine with this, as worst case scenario I will wash it off and do it myself. If you are not fine with this consider another plan.
  • I have seen two maybe three pictures of the different venues where we will host events. I assume they know what works best in terms of layout and design if you can’t trust that they know what to do – go visit so that you will know yourself.
  • Much of the coordination has been done by email. People are on island time. Your email is unlikely to be answered today, or maybe even tomorrow.
  • The wedding planner is more than happy to call you but you may have to ask them to do so. In my experience she has understood much more what I am asking for via phone, or things get overlooked in the email conversations.
  • The resort will literally try to sell you everything under the sun because you NEED this at your wedding. You do not NEED dancing elephants at your wedding. Stay strong. Although you may be upfront with the resort in telling them you do not want ALL THE THINGS, they will likely still try.
  • The prices for everything will be more than you are expecting. From planning other events I know resort fees can be steep, but these seem somewhat outrageous in comparison. While the resort will prepare a nice package for the wedding EVERYTHING else will have an additional fee. They know you cannot put a dance floor in your checked luggage therefore you will pay.
  • If you choose not to use the resorts vendors you will pay an additional fee to use someone else who is charging a more reasonable price, in most cases making it no longer cost effective to use the alternate vendor (you may still come out ahead using a local vendor since they are aware of these resort fees and charge competitive rates – we found this to be true with our photographer)
  • That being said the price of *almost* everything has been negotiable. Some people enjoy the thrill of haggling. I do not. I find it infuriating.
  • I found a Facebook group of brides who have or are planning to get married at this resort or its sister resort in Mexico. The group has been tremendously helpful!

Overall our experience with the resort so far has been positive and we cannot wait to be in Jamaica with our friends and family! In talking to friends who had traditional or similar nontraditional weddings everything that I have mentioned is sort of to be expected. And in general it seems that there is no “winning” with wedding planning. Someone will have something to say about whatever you choose to do, no matter what. So do you girl and keep it moving has been my motto. Happy weekend y’all!

Engagement Photo Session

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Dress | Shoes

Since it has been just over a year since we got engaged I thought I would share our engagement photos, that we finally took. We had the photos done by Amber Dalholt. It was a lot of fun working with her and I think the pictures turned out great! We took them on a Sunday morning in downtown Winston-Salem. Downtown was quiet and peaceful with no one awake yet allowing for some really great photo spots!

 

 

 

 

We’re Getting Hitched!

You guys! We’re getting married! This post is long overdue, as we got engaged about 6 months ago, but I am still absolutely over the moon. We got engaged at sunset on the beach at one of my favorite places in the world. It was perfect and I could not be happier!

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As soon as we got engaged everyone’s all wedding plans, and I’m all wedding schmedding…where should we go on our HONEYMOON??? Like priorities amiright??!

I initially thought I would plan a simple wedding in the small town where my family has a vacation house. I spent a lot of time there growing up, and it is still our happy place. It is where we got engaged and will hopefully continue to be a favorite place to visit for many years. As soon as I started looking in to planning the wedding there I hit the stress overload QUICKLY. It is a small town, and vendors would have to come from other cities, and it was going to be hard to accommodate the number of people we were anticipating attending in such a small town. I’m in MBA school as I’ve mentioned before, and I work full time, and if we’re being honest wedding planning is not my jam. There are girls who have dreamed of their dress and the flowers and the venue their whole life. I am not that girl.

So I jumped ship, and I can happily report that we decided on a destination wedding in Jamaica. We will be getting married at the Hyatt Zilara in Montego Bay. We are working with a great travel agent who is in the process of booking all of our guest. She spent a lot of time in the beginning asking questions about what we liked and didn’t like from previous vacations and resorts that we had visited, asked a lot of questions about our guests and their needs, and talked to me a little about what I had in mind for the actual wedding. After that conversation she and her team ultimately came up with two resorts that they felt fit the bill. After weighing the pros and cons of each and doing some research we settled on the Hyatt. The travel agent was beyond helpful in this situation. There are SOOOO many resorts that you could choose from and you could literally go crazy trying to dive in to researching them all (Don’t do this I tried). Luckily I have a good friend who works in the travel industry, and also had a destination wedding herself. She suggested this travel agent right away and the rest has been pretty smooth sailing.

 

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The resort has provided a wedding coordinator who is helping to plan all the details. I’ll probably do a few updates on this as the wedding gets closer. But honestly, I just want to have a great time with our family and friends and celebrate. The little details about where they put the flowers and what kind really don’t interest me. I want a white cake with white icing because that seems easy. Being able to pick from food option one, two, or three for the guests was ideal to me. It hasn’t been totally without stress though. We are anticipating about 80-100 guest, and trying to get that many people organized is never simple. Being able to actually spend a few days with all of the people who travel to be with us is one of the best parts to both of us. It always feels so rushed when there is just a few hours for the bride and groom to greet and thank all their guest, so we are hoping to have a little more time to spend actually hanging out with everyone.

 

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And then there’s the honeymoon! We will stay a few days longer in Jamaica at a separate resort for a mini-moon which we are really excited about. But, we both still wanted an actual honeymoon and felt like if we don’t just go ahead a make it happen we will look back and wish we had. The list of places that we wanted to go was oh so long, and we were having a really difficult time narrowing it down to just one spot. However, we feel pretty sure that we have settled on Paris. We will be going in the fall so if you have any recommendations on what to do send them on over.

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I’m off to Prague this weekend and from there go to visit some friends in Switzerland. I’ll also be attempting to ski for the first time in a few years, so wish me luck! If you have any Prague suggestions or even destination wedding planning tips send them my way.