Traditions [Wedding Wednesday]

Ahh, it sure feels good to be back around these parts! Let’s just say, as much as you may think you want an excuse to sit in a bed all day and watch TV for three straight days…you really, really don’t (unless it’s in your own bed at your house and you aren’t hooked up to a computer).  I was sprung from the hospital mid-Friday, and then had the most crazy, fun, sentimental, exciting, love-filled weekend EVER. It was pretty awesome. I’ll save the epilepsy speech for another post (one I’ve already put off for way too long), and instead, I’ll talk about traditions.



I think that all of us in wedding-land have been hit with the idea of traditions. Honestly, the only traditions that came to mind for me when I got engaged were the bridal traditions (something old/new/borrowed/blue, etc.). Don’t get me wrong, these traditions are definitely important, and they’re important to me! I already have my old (lace from mom’s dress), new (my dress), and borrowed (earrings from my grandmother that my mom wore for her wedding), and I’ve got an idea for the blue…I digress. The traditions I want to talk about today are the ones I’ll be making with Zach, and as we’ve delved into November (I literally missed the first week, so I’m in shock when I realize it’s already November 12th!), the topic of the holidays has come up quite a bit.

First, I need to take a moment to rewind to my previous statement. The only traditions I thought of in July were the bridal traditions. The second we walked into our first registry (Bed, Bath, and Beyond…it was kind of a nightmarish experience), the registry manager asked us this question: “What traditions do you see yourselves taking on when you get married?”. Can I tell you what our reaction was? No, no, no…let me show you.



We were literally just sitting there staring at her, then looking at each other, then looking back at her…for a silent two minutes. I wish that was an exaggeration, but this woman did not help us understand for a solid few minutes. It was awkward. But then she began to get us thinking. Holidays, events, parties, special things like that; what were we going to do for them? While we both said we didn’t plan on doing any of that (which is mostly true; we have no kids, no plans for kids yet, and we both have a lot of family commitments when it comes to those things). We both have had our own separate familial traditions for 23-26 years, and just didn’t have any plans of making these traditions for ourselves until kids were in the picture. Then the Thanksgiving debate arose…

Do we go to grandparent A’s house? Or grandparent B’s house? DO we stay home? It is Dylan’s (my little brother) 21st birthday, I’m sure he doesn’t want to be out of town for that. Do we just do parent’s houses? Thankfully, my parents answered the first three questions; no, no, and a BIG no (who want’s to celebrate 21 with their family Thanksgiving?). However, that was when Zach and I began to think of what WE wanted to do. I think two weeks ago was the moment where we kind of understood what the elusive registry manager meant; the traditions are the choices we are making as we go into this whole matrimony thing. We don’t have to do what we don’t want to do when it comes to holidays (even on the 4th of July – we could do whatever we want!); this is the time of our lives where we sit back and think about what things we want to do with our families, the things we want our kids to grow up doing.


Two weeks ago, Zach threw out an idea that I just loved; since nobody in our families were making any big holiday plans, why didn’t we just make a mini-Thanksgiving feast at our place? As soon as he said that, I not only melted into a puddle of happiness, but I said yes! The man was reading my mind. I wanted to get a chance to see what marriage would be like on those holidays where our old traditions were just that – old. We started to think about our traditions, what we want to do until we start making traditions with a Jones baby. Honestly, I think it was the most exciting marriage talk we have had. It was a time when we just sat back and reaffirmed why we are getting married.

We don’t want to be the family that throws all of the big random-holiday parties (here’s looking at you, Memorial Day). We don’t have friends to our place right now because, honestly, we are about a thirty minute drive from all of our friends. We probably won’t ever host a Thanksgiving dinner at our house until we have children, and even then, it won’t be an every year type of thing. Instead, we want to have a private celebration for each holiday. This Thanksgiving, we’ll spend the day with our families, one in the morning and one in the evening. We’ll celebrate our mini-Thanksgiving that Saturday night, stuffing ourselves just one more time before heading out to see a Christmas light display near our house. We’ll ride in the car in our pajamas, listening to Christmas music (even though Zach hates it), and we’ll enjoy our first new tradition. This year, we’ll wake up in our home to open the presents under our tree. We won’t gather around at midnight like we have in the past so that we can wake at 7 and drive to our separate families to spend Christmas morning with them. Instead, we’ll lounge that morning, watch A Christmas Story, and then head off to our families homes together.

I think that as the holidays descend upon us (I’m already breaking out the holiday tunes…no shame!), it’s time to think about the traditions that marriage brings with it. You get to create your own celebrations, your own events, your own memories; and in the end, that’s what marriage is about. Bringing together two sets of traditions and making them into one family. I can’t wait to see the traditions we make as our lives change together, it’s a pretty awesome thing!

Linking up – like always!

Wedding Wednesday

 Engagement Photo Preview

What Will Be, Will Be [Wedding Wednesday]

Hi there! I hope you all are having a fun and exciting Wednesday, which means we’re one step closer to the weekend! I wish I could join in with the hump day festivities, but as I type this, I am hooked up to some brain activity monitors in a friendly-looking hospital. I’ve seen these walls before, so it is nothing new, but it is never fun to have some health troubles. I’ve had the diagnosis of epilepsy for about three and a half years now, and since then, I have ad no troubles. Until Tuesday morning at around 1 a.m., that is. In the past 30+ hours, I’ve been in the ER, had one rough night of sleep, saw my neurologist, got some confusing explanations (or, really, a lack of an explanation), and then at 10:30 this morning, I was admitted to the hospital for a bit of observation. While many would see this as a nice break off, I really would give anything to be in my classes and sitting in my chilly office at work. But, it is what it is; che sera, sera. So, for this short and sweet Wedding Wednesday, I leave you with our sneak peek engagement pictures! All of these photos were taken by the amazingly talented Lisa Hammond Photography.

10257529_1005812069444545_7575014589380632102_o 10293805_1005811949444557_6754892870289935547_o 10450027_1005811976111221_3345982712991609771_o 10468233_1005811979444554_4422248662685484928_o 10659113_1005811969444555_5613399455838869045_o 10700569_1005812036111215_6529672988134632953_o 10710368_1005812026111216_8629060213096888494_oThanks for stopping by, and let’s all hope I can escape this hospital soon!

Linking up – like always!

Wedding Wednesday

Feel free to explore all of the previous Wedding Wednesday posts!

The Engagement

Starting a Budget

Venue Hunt-Venue Number One

Venue Hunt-Venues Number Two and Three

Venue Hunt-Venue Number Four

Engagement Photo Ideas

Where We’re At

Choosing The Venue

 Wedding Timeline

Your Timeline, Not Theirs [Wedding Wednesday]

Hi y’all! Happy Wednesday! I have to admit, I will be a much happier individual come 7:30 tonight (after my class presentation…), but until then I think I can dwell on some happier thoughts. Like the fact that the semester is over with in t-minus 6 weeks! I graduate in t-minus 415 days. I get married in even less! And on that note, lets run far, far away from the topic of school and head into the safe arms of wedding planning.


If you all are anything like me (type-a, anyone?), the first thing you began to think of after the bliss of the proposal, or even before the proposal, is the planning! You will pick up a wedding planner or planning book (or books, in my case), and you will start to look at where you are, what you need to do, and where the book says you need to be. Alas, as soon as I began to see all of these demands that you “must do A before B, and A needs to be completed by this month”, I was worried. In fact, if you ask Zach, I was in an absolute terrified panic! We couldn’t do any of these things when they needed to be done; our date couldn’t be set until three months later; we were doomed!

(Please tell me you can taste the drama; I assure you, I was reeking of it for a few weeks at the beginning of the planning process.)

I think that this whole situation could have gone a number of ways; one, I could have absolutely read in to all of these mandatory suggested timelines and I could have panicked for the remaining 14 months of wedding planning. Two, I could take a big step back, look at the items I needed to do for my wedding, and create my own timeline. While I did continue the anxious complaints for a few weeks after this realization, I finally took the matter into my own hands, took that step back, and I made my own timeline.



A book I got for myself (and my BFF when she got engaged) was A Practical Wedding by Meg Keene. One of the first things the book addresses is just how much the wedding industry can really push its ideas and its deadlines onto your plate. When I read that sentence, I immediately knew that I just needed to start looking out for Team Jones (laugh all you want, I just couldn’t say number one – there’s two of us, now!). Instead of letting these wedding industry-published guidelines guide my planning journey, I sat down one afternoon and created my own timeline based on the needs of our wedding. And you know what? I just melted into a pile of organized happiness. I felt like I was in control again, and I was ready to run with my own timeline!

Here’s how I started out; I looked at the different suggested items on the timelines in my books and other magazines. I looked more at the items than the months listed so that I was more focused on what our timeline looked like individually. We knew the date wouldn’t be set until – at the earliest – late October, so we planned accordingly. We know what we do and do not want at out wedding, so we knew that we didn’t need to hear bands try-out for us. We didn’t need to do a huge cake tasting thanks to my gluten sensitivity and the fact that we had already picked our cake shop due to their gluten-free capabilities. We won’t need to look for a caterer because they are a part of the venue, and so on. Each wedding has unique attributes that either the wedding books miss, or that the wedding doesn’t need that the books include. This is what I came up with in my Google Docs for just an easy to follow wedding timeline (or my wedding goals as I like to call them):


As you can see, I’ve already got a lot crossed off from September until the beginning of January. Just because I’ve crossed something off two months from now does not mean that I’ve screwed up my planning; rather, it is just an item that I got to before it’s due date! I think that looking at the list this way helps me see what all I need to be working on when and how soon it is due. We had to block the rooms early due to a home football game the day of our wedding – and it’s the rival game at that! So, needless to say, that point became more urgent than we had thought originally. Having my own individual timeline has really helped me see where I am and where I need to be, not where a wedding magazine thinks I should be at this point in my wedding planning.

I hope this helps, and if you all need any advice or have any other questions regarding this whole process, please feel free to ask! Just remember, this isn’t just something you can copy and paste. You can easily take the same concept, but make sure to apply your needs to the list, not the needs of some preconceived bride!

As a quick catch-up, I think now is a good time to show you all where I am on my planning goals for October (November starts on Saturday – WHAT?!):

October (11 months):
•Get ring insured (I SUCK. I’m getting the appraisal on Friday)
•Engagement pictures (10/20 @ 5pm)
•Begin registering for gifts
•Make the guest list FINAL
•Finalize the budget
•Choose top three dates
•Book the date!
◦Contact venue and photographer to see if top date is available

Linking up – like always!

Wedding Wednesday

Surprises Around Every Corner [Wedding Wednesday]

Hi there, beautiful readers! I hope you all have had a fantastic week already. Mine feels like it’s just starting; between a four-day weekend (Friday-Monday was a nice break), most of which was spent with my BFF and her man, and then two days of time spent with my love, it was non-stop fun! While I’m sad to see it all go so soon, I am even more excited to start my 23rd year of life. I get married during this year, I get to plan a wedding this year, I get to (almost) finish grad school this year, and I get to spend extra time with the people I love! I think 23 just might be my best year yet!

Anyways, barring any more tangential speeches, I think it’s time to get started on this lovely Wedding Wednesday. Why, you ask? Well, dear readers, besides the fact that (duh) it’s Wednesday…



WE SET A DATE! AND WE HAVE A VENUE! AND A CATERER! AND A PHOTOGRAPHER! Whoa, I need to cool it with the caps, but I am just so dang excited! I can’t believe it all came together so well – and so quickly at that! Yep, all it took was a few phone calls and everything was ready to g- JUST KIDDING. What would life be without a few twists and turns? On Wednesday last week, as I was beginning to stress over our lack-of-date, I decided to email the remaining venues and see what dates they had available. Venue number three was very quick to respond, but with some dismal news; all but one September 2015 date were gone, swept up by those a bit more pulled together than my fiancé and I…but, not one to get too down on myself, I said thank you, and I told the event coordinator I would email her soon to see if we could come see the space again. I sat waiting for the other venue to email me back, but heard nothing (I later learned that said event staff is off on Wednesdays to make up for their weekend work…doh!).

On Thursday, I opened my email to…nothing. So, I sent another nice email, this time a little more urgent sounding, and got an immediate response. In the available dates, I saw it there. The dream date! It was free!! It wasn’t free the last time we had spoken to the coordinator, yet there it was! I just about fainted, but instead, I quickly replied that we would be there to meet her that night. Five o’clock came around, and my mother and I were wandering around, peeking into the windows of the venue. As it turns out, my email did not go through, so the coordinator had already gone home! I was more than a little dismayed, but after a kick-butt workout, I felt a bit better, and set up a meeting with the coordinator the following evening at 7.

Friday was a very, very busy day. Zach and I were cleaning the house basically from the moment we woke up until our guests arrived around 3:30. As soon as they got there, we started to get excited. Zach had to work, so my matron of honor and her guy were tagging along with me (and my parents) to see the venue! I was so stinking thrilled that I got to share that moment with my BFF of 13 years, I could have cried. Except I was just too happy. So I just smiled instead. We all piled in my car around 6:30, just in time to make it to the venue with some minutes to spare…or so I thought. As soon as we got closer to town, the interstate slowed to a crawl. We got off on our exit – and it just stopped. I had no clue what was going on, but I did know we only had 20 minutes to get to the venue – it was only four miles away! We resorted to our smart phones to figure out what was going on, and then we discovered that a popular event was going on – Big Blue Madness. Now, if you know anything about the University of Kentucky, you know that our basketball team is the best. Don’t deny it; U Conn can try to have its midnight madness, but it’s just not the same when you’re imitating greatness. Which leads me to my next point about the Cats – basketball is a religion down here. So, this traffic jam was basically a spiritual pilgrimage.

I was sitting behind my steering wheel freaking out because we weren’t going to make the meeting on time; we were pushing five minutes, and then it was 7 and we weren’t there…then the heavens opened up (not in a raining way). A lane of traffic disappeared and we were off. We were charging full speed (35 miles per hour…) in the direction of destiny! We made it at just ten minutes late, and as it turns out, my parents were running late, too. Thankfully, the coordinator is AWESOME and she was still hanging around. She was setting up for a wedding the next day, so we got to see what it would be like for our 200 guests to sit in the space; we saw what it would look like at night, felt the weather and it’s effect on the space, and my dad (who walked into the venue saying he was “along for the ride”) asked just about fifty-two questions. No joke. I just walked around the place in a daze. All I could say to myself was “This is where you’re going to have your first dance”. “This is where you hug and cry and laugh with your best friend”. This is where you will stand and look down on your family and friends as they celebrate love and life and the unity of you and the love of your life”.

Let’s just say I was getting sentimental, and I was sold.

As my father wandered off to try EVERY PART of the facility (bathrooms? they run well. upstairs? it’s just as large as the downstairs, just without the center!), my mom looked at me, and we knew that was it. I looked the coordinator in the eyes and said “I want that date”. I really wasn’t a hard sale, I’ll tell you that much. As my dad rounded back down the stairs, he said “Well, despite the convenience factor (I, of course, had a dream wedding date that just so happened to be the same day of the rival football game…) it is pretty nice”. We just told him the decision had already been made. We arranged for the contract to be emailed to me on Sunday morning, along with a payment link. And that was that.

rmrbThat was how I chose…venue number four! I absolutely was IN LOVE with venue number three, and while venue number two was amazing, it was a little too bare-bones for us. However, when it came down to it, venue number four was just about downright spectacular. It is the cheaper (but more characteristic) version of venue number one. So much of the rentals are included in the price, and the catering is run through the event coordinators; it was just perfect. It has it’s own character, so we don’t need extravagant décor. We can just work with what we have – and I LOVE that. LOVE LOVE. This venue is just spectacular, and I absolutely cannot wait for the day (just under 11 months from now!) when I get to dance the night away with my husband.

Everything is falling into place – rapidly! And with that comes some good and some bad. I think I’ll wait for another Wednesday to talk about that. In the meantime, look out for a raving review of our photographer (we took engagement pictures on Monday), and some more little details that will pop out in the near future! Thank you all so much for coming along on this journey with me. It really is great to have a community of women who have or are going on the same adventure – all of the advice and stories are just blowing my mind while also helping me take each step at a time.

Linking up – like always!

Wedding Wednesday

Where We’re At [Wedding Wednesday]

Howdy, howdy, howdy! Welcome to, yet another, Wedding Wednesday!

I must say, I wasn’t sure whether or not I’d be here this week, for a number of reasons. Zach and I are basically sitting ducks until he gets his work schedule, there really isn’t much for me to do this month that I can do without said schedule, and, to be honest, we haven’t really been in the wedding planning mood lately. It’s nothing bad, by any means, it’s just difficult to talk about what we want to do and like when, in reality, we don’t have the base to build our wedding on! So, instead of getting down on ourselves (or, really, myself), I decided to start a little baby segment that I’ll employ whenever our wedding weeks are lagging. In this lovely little chat, I’ll just go over what we have down, the ideas we’re formulating, and where we’d like to be in a month’s time. Without further ado…

wherewereat[venue] Right now, we have one thing down for certain: we are stuck between two venues. Right now, it’s the battle between venue three and venue four. Unfortunately, it is looking more and more like venue number three can’t happen…for a number of reasons. I’m kind of sad/stressed that it might not be a contender, but at the same time, we have one other top venue to choose (pending availability…). This point right here is why we have been avoiding wedding talk. It’s just gotten so down-to-the-wire as far as setting the date goes that it’s hard to think about without worrying!

[wedding party] We also have the wedding party completely chosen, including ring bearers, ushers, and readers! It was pretty difficult to choose the ring bearers because of two reasons: one, we have about…three small children to choose from, two of whom are VERY young. Two, we had to cut the flower girl because, pursuant to issue number one, we have NO girls to choose from. Seriously. None. So, we just decided to cut the flower girl, and go with two ring bearers. Totally doable! I’ve got my bridesmaid invitations just about ready to go, but I can’t share them until after November 8th. Because…

[dress hunt] We also have the day of the dresses scheduled and ready to go! On November 8th, me and my best gals (7-8 girls…I NEVER thought I’d bring so many people to the dress hunt!) will hit up three local bridal shops and, hopefully, I’ll find a dress I love! I’m not too nervous about the dress shopping to be honest. I know my price range, and I’m really just excited to experience this with my closest friends and family!

[color scheme] We have also changed and chosen our colors for the wedding, as I mentioned in Monday’s post. So, I guess I can count that as finished as well!

[engagement session] Obviously on our “in progress” side of the list are the engagement pictures! Zach now has his shirts for the two outfits, and I found some cute booties to wear. Now, all we have to do is finalize the location(s)!

[wedding party] While this is also on the finished list…Zach really needs to figure out his best man! He kind of just word vomited an open invitation to be in the wedding party, resulting in five guys wanting the bid. But ultimately, it’s up to him who goes where!

[where we’d like to be] I think we all know what falls right here. By the end of October (the 31st, exactly), we want to have the date, venue, and photographer chosen, with contracts signed. Honestly, if we get here in a little over two weeks time, I don’t think we’ll have many stressful wedding thoughts!

Although it’s hard not to worry when you have a specific month you’d like to get married in, but can’t set a date (a unique situation, to say the least!), I think Zach and I both need to just sit down, talk it out, and see where we’re willing to bend a little. I’m not so into an October wedding date (at least not any further than two weekends in), and Zach’s not keen on earlier than September (summer weddings in town are not cheap!); I think, in the end, it’s going to take quite a bit of working and wiggling in order for it to work out.

The bright side? In less than one year, I’ll be married to my best friend! I seriously can’t wait.

[But really. I think I’ve suggested eloping at least ten times…this week…]

Happy Wedding Wednesday, y’all!

Wedding Wednesday


Engaged [Wedding Wednesday]

Hello, beautiful readers! Happy hump day, and welcome to another wonderful wedding Wednesday!

I hope you all have had an amazing start to your weeks; mine has been a hectic race towards Thursday, so with just a day between me and that fateful occasion, my Wednesday has become a very happy day. Zach and I have had such a busy past few months with school starting (two different full time jobs and two different class schedules – YUCK!), and unfortunately we have had no time to slow down. This month is no different! I had two huge papers to write and turn in this weekend, so I pretty much holed up in the bedroom with my laptop, and ushered my man out of the room each time he got bored. You have to do what you can to keep focused on boring papers! This coming weekend is a working weekend for Z, and then we’re celebrating my mother-in-law’s birthday on Sunday afternoon. Then, the weekend following, my best friend and her fiancé will be here (!!!) for the weekend. I am SO EXCITED! Best birthday present ever. Twenty three is looking good already.

With such a busy month ahead, there is one day in particular that both Z and I are looking forward to – albeit, my reasons are different than his. He took the day off for my birthday in order to spend some extra time with me. I took the day off because, well, it’s my birthday, and I want to spend time with him as well! The added bonus? We both found a day during the week where we had a free afternoon and evening. So, like any clear-minded bride would do, I found a spectacular photographer, and booked her for my birthday evening. Engagement photographs, here we come!

I can’t even begin to explain how stinkin’ excited I am to have these photographs taken. Here’s the brief gist of it: Zach hates taking pictures. Ta-freaking-da! I would fall head over heels for the guy who stares off into the distance (on purpose) when I try to take a picture of him. Selfies? If you ever see one on my Instagram, just keep this in mind: in order for me to take said selfie, there were at least five prior attempts where I’m smiling and he’s making a face, I’m making a face and he’s smiling, he’s staring into the distance like there’s an alien in the sky, and any variation of the aforementioned poses. All I ask for is a picture of us that looks like we love each other. It doesn’t have to be cheesy, it doesn’t have to involve throwing me in the air or twirling me around; I just want something that will look good in a frame on the wall.

With less than two weeks to go before the session, I have been freaking out over what I should be wearing. I think I have the outfits planned out (with the exception of shoes; I just want some short brown boots!), and to be honest I don’t care about the poses. I chose our photographer for a reason: she knows what she’s doing, and I think her photography is breath-taking. So I’m leaving the rest of it up to her. My big issue at hand? Where to take the pictures! It’s going to be mid-October, and the weather has ranged in the past week form the high-70s to it’s current 60 degrees and pouring rain. As any like-minded person would do, I referenced the online “Bridal Bible”…


[prepare yourselves for a photo-heavy moment here. bear in mind these are not my property! visit the tags below the images.]

I’ve come up with a few different options that work for indoor and outdoor locations, and with areas we can get to quickly locally. First up is the typical country outdoorsy field photos. I don’t mean typical in an offensive manner at all; rather, I think that these are absolutely beautiful and a definite great option for us considering our location!



The second option for the outdoors is a downtown location. Thankfully, we live in a somewhat big city, so we have a gorgeous downtown with both tall skyscrapers and tiny brick historical homes.



I am really thankful that we live in a nice sized city because not only do we live minutes from downtown and minutes from the farms, but we also have a ton of really cool local joints that would be amazing to have our engagement photos taken at! The first indoors option I have is…a bookstore. I can’t help it! I was an English major for a reason! To me there is something romantic hidden in between the stacks of books…



Another idea that goes hand in hand with the bookstore is the café. We have a great selection of both in town, and I mean really, how cute is this picture? I think quirky pictures are going to be abundant in our session.




The last idea I had for the indoor area would actually go best with the outdoor pictures. While I love the open area and the no-nonsense background of the fields, I also think that engagement pictures should have a little kick to them! If we get the chance to do outdoor pictures, I would really like to find a building or location that has a funky feature that we can use in our pictures.




I really love the quality that each of these photographs brings to the story around it, but I think that the most important thing of all is the two people captured. The most astounding thing about each of these photographs is the emotion you can see from both of the people in the photograph! I really can’t wait until I get to have some unique photos of Zach and I that I can go back to again and again and get giddy about how lucky I am.

And it won’t hurt to finally get a picture of us up in my office. It’s been looking a little bare.

As usual, linking up for another Wedding Wednesday!

Wedding Wednesday

I guess now that I’ve gotten a few of these wedding posts up, I can start a collection down here! If you want to see any other part of my planning so far, feel free to click the link and read away!

The Engagement

Starting a Budget

Venue Hunt-Venue Number One

Venue Hunt-Venues Number Two and Three

Venue Hunt-Venue Number Four

The Hunt is Never Over [Wedding Wednesday]

Hello, October!

I cannot even begin to tell you why this month is so exciting to me – oh, wait – yes I can! LIST TIME.

…pumpkins, pumpkin spice lattes, fall scented candles, birthdays, guests, Halloween movies, Trick-or-Treat, leaves changing colors, cooler weather, the end of one class and the beginning of another, and the list could go on.


OH WAIT, IT DOES! This month I get to take engagement pictures with Zachary and our wonderful photographer (whose name I will not say until I book her. Superstitious Rachael wants to make sure she can still shoot the wedding before shouting said photographer’s name from the rooftops). I also get to…SET THE DATE! Which means booking venue, photographer, and DJ (and caterer, if that is necessary), and FINALLY getting to send the cutest bridesmaid invitations ever. Which I’m still planning. But they are sure to be cute!


Ok, enough of the fake drama. I’m just really excited that it’s October finally. Favorite month, eva. Except for the part where this week alone I have two research papers due, and I have to have a presentation ready for class tomorrow…and we were informed of said project last night. WOO! Rachael on excess amounts of coffee is a scary, jittery machine. But a powerful machine, none the less. On to the wedding post!

So, after putting up last week’s post about venue number three, and as some of you may already know from my hey, Friday post…I did something every bride is warned about. I didn’t necessarily have second thoughts; I’ve really found some venues that I love in our venue search so far, and I know many of you can tell! However, I just wanted to make sure that I had scoured through all of my options. I wanted to be sure I hadn’t missed anything. Just when I thought my search was over…I found venue number four. It is a doozy, I’ll tell you that much! Get ready for the tale to end all tales.

(Not really, I’m just excited that I got to add one more FANTASTIC option to our already fantastic list of options.)

Venue number four is set smack dab in the middle of our hometown! Well, Zach’s hometown, my Kentucky hometown. Anywho, it is literally in the last place I would think of looking, but it is also a venue that I had already seen…a number of times. When I came across the venue on a wedding website, I smacked my forehead wondering how in the world this venue had slipped past my mind! Bridal brain, it’s real. So, the very second I told Zach the hunt was back on, and he agreed to meeting at another venue, I emailed the staff and asked if we could see the venue. The quickest response ever shot back into my inbox, complete with pictures of the venue for events, the catering choices (so many choices), and the price of rental plus all included items. She also said she was free that day to give us a tour, as she would be setting up for a corporate event. Quicker than I said yes to my future husband (just kidding…kind of), I replied that we would meet her at noon. I should probably mention that this email exchange occurred over two days. I sent the email on Thursday, and got the response on Friday…at 10:30am. So, one kind hearted, painless phone call to a sleeping fiancé later, we were going to visit venue number four.

This venue, like I said, is literally in the middle of downtown. Right next to college apartments (really nice apartments, thankfully), a college campus, the commerce buildings downtown, and quite literally everything I had been avoiding when thinking of venues. As soon as we pulled up to the venue, I began to get a bit nervous. As much as there is a great deal of distance between the venue and the apartments (there’s a huge field and horse track that separate us from civilization, much more than you can see in pictures), I could still hear traffic, and I was just overall nervous about being so close to so many random people. However, the second we entered the venue (a historic barn, none the less), all my fears faded. Besides the fact that it became utterly silent, not in an eerie way, I couldn’t help but fall in love with the inside of the venue. It. Was. Gorgeous. I have to begin by saying this is not your typical barn; rather, it looks barn-like, only with polished concrete floors, open three-story center, and beautiful white interior. It has so much simplistic character that we really wouldn’t need much besides our centerpieces for décor. Plus, the venue coordinator had pulled us in during set-up for a corporate event, as I said. This was a blessing beyond belief! I got to see the whole thing set up for over 200 people (yay), with over half the barn to spare for DJ and what-have-you (YAY), and complete with access and use of the entire second rotunda (YAY!!). It fit the bill in so many ways, and I still cannot believe it. As my grandma said when I called her later that day, “Rachael, if you don’t choose this venue, I think you may be blind”. Thanks, grandma.


We only spent a short amount of time there because I had to get back to my office, and they were still trying to finish setting up the venue. We wandered around on our own for a bit, visiting the outdoor ceremony area, and seeing where on the site we could hear traffic, and where we couldn’t. Which was pretty simple. In the parking lot? You can hear everything. In and behind the barn (AKA the only places our guests will be)? Silent. Like you walked into a bubble that is sound proofed to the rest of society. It was amazing! Let’s go over what else won us over – like what all the venue includes!

They are priced similarly to venue number one, not in the price range way, but in the way they set up their pricing. They have a set venue rental fee that allows 6 hours for the event, but all day access for set up. Here’s the breakdown of what’s included in venue number four:

  • venue space
  • tables and chairs
  • linens
  • set up and tear down
  • catering (price per head)
  • servers
  • beverages
  • bartenders
  • all needed china, glassware, silverware, etc.
  • cake table
  • gift table
  • some décor available (if needed)
  • day-of coordinator
  • free guest parking directly adjacent to the site

As you can see, the only thing this venue does not include that venue one offered is discounted guest rooms and a bridal suite (because this is not a resort, duh). But, that also means one thing…

(Here’s the scale one last time: $ [much lower than the budget] to $$$$ [dream on, girl])
This venue right here landed a spot on the rating scale at…$$$!!! It is basically right at our budget for the wedding. It is spot on. The only things that are left on that particular budget are DJ, cake, and photographer/photo booth! It fits right in at the perfect price, and is so customizable that, as the coordinator was telling us, if we give the caterer our budget, they will show us which meal options will help us stick with said budget. IT IS AMAZING!

As much as I would love to say our decision is made, I think it stands to say that three of our potential venues are golden tickets in my book. One of those venues is, and has been, marked off of our list. Can anyone guess which venue that is? Anyone? Buehler?

Venue number one has been off our list since we got the numbers. It is just way too much money for a venue that we weren’t all that in love with. The all-inclusiveness is what we were so in to, but it’s not worth it for a venue so overpriced and a venue that just isn’t “us”. I know a million other people may love that particular venue, and there is nothing bad about it! It was gorgeous, and had kind staffers, but it’s just not for us. So, venues two through four still stand. And now, we play the waiting game until the end of this month! At least it’ll be a fun-filled month to enjoy until then!



Now, let me update my little monthly wedding goals. Last month was a hit and miss assignment, and this month will be a little tough… but I’m determined to stick with it!

September Wedding Goals

[one] Get engagement ring insured [I suck, and my grandma scolded me. THIS HAPPENS IMMEDIATELY!]

[two] Figure out a beauty regimen

[three] Get new gym membership with Zach

[four] Finish making venue appointments

[five] Visit venues: take notes, take pictures, and ask every single question in my mind

October Wedding Goals

[one] Get engagement ring insured

[two] Engagement pictures

[three] Begin registering for gifts

[four] Make the guest list FINAL

[five] Finalize the budget

[six] Choose top three dates

[seven] Contact venue and photographer to see if top date is available

[eight] Book the date!

Linking Up for Wedding Wednesday!

Wedding Wednesday

The Hunt Continues [Wedding Wednesday]

Hello again! Welcome to another round of Wedding Wednesday! Much to everyone’s surprise (especially mine), this post is actually on time! Insert all the shocked emojis you want, but it’s true. I’m here, and it’s time to get into the wedding mood. In the past two weeks, two more people in my life have gotten engaged! I think that, while I’ve been watching far-off friends (more like acquaintances) getting engaged via social media, it was not yet time for the people in my life to settle down…and now I’m thinking that time has come! We’re looking at four weddings in the next two years. That may seem like a small amount, but those are only the sure-thing engagements. I still have a great deal of friends who are in serious relationships, at least two of which I see taking the step towards marriage in the next few months! It makes me so happy that I get to share this time with my nearest and dearest, literally exchanging wedding-planning notes and all!


Now, onto the more selfish topic of moi (and Zach, don’t forget about him!). I completely skipped my Wedding Wednesday post last week, which was fine. Except now I’m backed up on the venue hunt! So, today, we’re going to introduce venues number two and three! If all goes according to plan (crossing my fingers, toes, and anything else crossable), our wedding will be at one of these spots, but I’m not revealing any favorites until the contracts are signed, dotted, and crossed. Each venue is still a possibility at this point, seeing as Zach and I both really loved all of them! Central Kentucky is such a great place for amazing venues, and at such a great range of prices. It’s making this whole planning thing much easier!

Now, on to the venues. I would like to formally introduce venue number two! This venue is still technically in Lexington, and it is just a few miles away from venue number one. However, they are polar opposites in the looks and type category! This venue is technically a horse training facility! You may find it strange, but we’re in the Bluegrass State. Horses are everyone’s neighbor (Get it? Neigh-bor? Oh, I crack myself up). Anyways, the specific area we are looking at in this venue is an old holding area for horse sales. They no longer do the sales at this site, which is great for us; think about the smells that could emanate from the space! The area holds up to 300 guests, has a warehouse/rustic feel to it, includes a bar, and a staging area for the catering! It comes with tables and chairs to fit 160 guests, which is right in our ballpark estimate, and we also get to work with an amazing event planner to make sure everything is looking nice. We are allowed to decorate however we want, come in early on the day of (or book for the day before and day of for a reduced price!), and all of that jazz. Now, time for the round everyone loves when searching for a venue…MONEY!


Remember our scale? Well, if not, let’s have a refresher; $ (much lower than the budget) to $$$$ (dream on, girl). Here’s a very brief overview of the things included:

  • venue space
  • tables and chairs for 160

And…that’s it! This venue is very basic; it’s an open space with some already built-in character, but it also calls for some personal touches here and there. The great thing about it is, if nobody else is hosting an event the Friday before, we can come in as early as we want on Friday to start setting the space up! For no additional cost! Here’s what we would need to bring in to the venue for additional costs:

  • Catering (outside or preferred)
  • Servers (outside or preferred)
  • Beverages (outside)
  • Alcohol (provided by venue for additional cost)
  • Ceremony space (if different from venue space)
  • Linens (outside or preferred)
  • Cake (outside)
  • DJ (outside)
  • Photographer (outside)
  • Extra tables and chairs (if needed, can be rented through venue)
  • Set up and tear down (free, but is family and friend labor)

So, as you can see when comparing venue one and two, this site is much less all-inclusive. This holds pros and cons of its own. Let’s start with the con (which isn’t all that much of a con, really): we’d have to do a lot of the work, but this means a more personalized look and feel to the wedding. Also, we’d have to crunch all the numbers for all the non-included vendors in order to see the budget. Which is just a huge time-suck, but is totally doable and necessary. Wanna hear the pros?

This venue is easily a $. Maybe even half a $. It is SO AFFORDABLE! The alcohol prices are even relatively cheap, the linens she rents are VERY inexpensive (but still great quality), and she has a recommendation or two for everything we still need. She recognized that most of her brides are trying to stick to a certain budget, so they like to find vendors who provide quality service for a low price. Which, duh, I LOVE! She was awesome, and if we were to choose this venue, I think it would be the smoothest sail of my life. The venue is still open on our date, and various other dates as well, which makes me breathe a sigh of relief.


Now, let’s visit venue number three. We saw this venue last Friday, and let me tell you, it was THE perfect September day. It was the kind of day I hope our wedding falls on. It was just right as far as the temperature goes, and the sky was a clear blue. I pulled into the parking lot and quietly sobbed for a second, it was so beautiful. Or that could be because someone’s car spit up a semi tread when I was on my way to the venue and left a HUGE dent in my bumper. Poor car. Anyways, pulling into that parking lot and seeing the venue just made my day so much brighter! This venue is definitely one-of-a-kind. It was, at one point, a boarding school for girls and a convent. Then just a convent. Then a public site owned by the city. Now, it’s privately owned, and being used as a wedding venue among other things! There is also a Montessori school on site, as well as a senior center (both of which are closed on the weekends). It is such a unique space, but I knew going into the tour that the space I wanted to see was not the boarding school itself. No, the space I wanted to visit was the barn out back. It has been refinished to be weatherproof, include brand new bathroom facilities, and, here’s the kicker, comes with a rental of 12+ acres of land. Rolling, lush greenery is just outside the barn, and it is stunning! We both loved the feel of the barn, as it was not too country, but more on the rustic side of things. It has a concrete floor, comes with banquet tables and chairs for 160, and has a huge patio that overlooks the green space.


Now, here is our Big Problem. This specific venue only holds up to 160 in the barn, and can fit an additional 100 seated on the patio. This is a bit of a concern for both of us; we already have a guest list topping out around 200, and even when we were visitng the venue, we were afraid that the inside of the barn looks just a tad bit small to fit 160 plus guests, a cake table, gift table, our couple’s table, the food, a DJ, and a dance floor. As much as I wanted to disagree with Zach, he was right. The interior is just a tad bit smaller than our guest list would need. But, there are options with this venue. We can use tents anywhere in the green space, and we can also use tent flaps on the sides of the patio. There are also two huge doors on either end of the barn that can open up to two parking areas. If we rented a dance floor and put the DJ out there, it would open up more space for seating. Basically, with this venue, we will either have to get creative, or get our guest list back down to the 120s. Both of which are options I am completely comfortable with.

Let’s hit the dollar signs at this point. I’m pretty sure by my discussion above you can guess what this venue includes:

  • venue space
  • tables and chairs for 160 (banquet tables only)

…and that’s it. Right on par with venue two, this venue offers only the bare minimum, which is not entirely a bad thing. As I’ve said, the only real con for this space is that it may not be big enough, and we both really wish it was. It is literally the perfect venue, gives us exactly the casual, rustic feel we want, and…its only a $-$$ price! It is right at the low to perfect end of our budget. We can’t come in the Friday before to set up, even if there aren’t events going on (unfortunately), but, we can rent the venue for the Friday before for half the price of the Friday price, which is already discounted! It really hits the nail on the head as far as our budget goes. Just for reference, here’s what we’d need to pay for in addition:

  • Catering (outside or preferred)
  • Servers (outside or preferred)
  • Beverages (outside)
  • Alcohol (provided by us, requires liquor liability license)
  • Ceremony space (if different from venue space)
  • Linens (outside or preferred)
  • Cake (outside)
  • DJ (outside)
  • Photographer (outside)
  • Extra tables and chairs (if needed, can be rented through venue)
  • Set up and tear down (free, but is family and friend labor)

It’s still very open, and although I thought the lack of a staging area for catering would be an issue, I’ve found a great number of caterers who are OK to cater to this venue. Which is good to hear for me. I think one huge pro for this venue with both Zach and my dad is that we can bring our own liquor. We have to get a liquor liability through the venue’s insurance, which is basically just a temporary liquor license, but it’s very cheap, and would help us save money on alcohol and also allows us to bring whatever drinks we want!

These last two venues are definitely exciting for us, because they have a bit more of the casual feel we both like for the wedding. It would be great if we could get the all-inclusiveness of venue number one in these two venues, but beggars can’t be choosers! We’ll have to see where we end up in a few weeks, when the date is chosen (!!).

For now, I’d love to hear your advice! Are there any unconventional venues that we wouldn’t have thought of that maybe we should try to find? Did you find any way of keeping the costs (and stress) low when you had to put together your entire team of vendors? I’d love to hear about it!

As always, I’m linking up for Wedding Wednesday!

Wedding Wednesday
Wedding Wednesday

A Late Wedding Wednesday [Venue Hunt]

Alright, y’all. I never promised these posts would be on time! I think less that 12 hours after the end of a Wednesday means I can still post this. Right?

REGARDLESS, here’s my wedding Wednesday! As you would imagine, it’s been a busy week. I’ve mentioned quite a few times that I’ve been at a full time job since May, and I started grad school a month ago (25% through the semester – WOO!). Unfortunately, that means the wedding hasn’t been put in the passenger side of the car, OR the back seat…rather it’s been stuffed in the trunk with some tape over it’s proverbial mouth. Yeah. It’s turned into a hostage situation. This wedding had no idea the mess it was getting itself into!

I digress…this week has been busy, not unlike the weeks since the proposal. Life is busy, and I’ve got the lemons to prove it. Here are my lemons this week:


let’s get motivational.

[lemon 1] We can’t set a date until, at the very soonest, mid-October. THIS. SUCKS. BIG. TIME. It’s literally the only stress that I feel when I think of The Big Day. Boo hiss, job schedules.

[lemon 2] I got the plague last week. That one where you get a horrendous cold complete with fever, aching, and “I’m dying” mentality. Thankfully, it is leaving my system quite rapidly.

[lemon 3] I have zero extra time or energy to take on a workout routine. This sucks more than anything. I’ve been trying to jump on this route of Fit Rachael for two years now, and it’s been on and off. Only this time? It’s just off. I feel so lazy and tired all the time, but I literally just don’t have the time to get the work in! I need to solve this one, stat. Thankfully, I’ve been in the kitchen during my spare time, so home cooked fresh meals have been the (somewhat) norm in the past three weeks.

So, with all these spare lemons to juggle, Zach and I have decided to take some proactive steps to make sweet, sweet lemonade. I won’t put these glasses in bullet form, but rather, I am going to explain one briefly, and one in detail.


the most beautiful wedding diary of all!

My first glass of lemonade was probably the key to opening my planner’s heart: I ordered a wedding diary from May Designs! If you have never heard of or seen these beautiful beauties (redundant, but accurate), CHECK THEM OUT! Totally customizable, from the cover, to the monogram, to the 80 pages inside! They are gorgeous. And I absolutely cannot wait to get mine in t-minus 3 days! It’s kind of a mix between planner and diary, which I like. Think budget sheets, blank monthly calendars, and space for all the notes your heart desires. LOVE! I also purchased an undated calendar so that I could have day-to-day space to write out specifics in the coming months. (And an Erin Condren Life Planner. I really have been drinking the planning-juice!)

But here is where our pitcher of lemonade is really coming from (at least for me): we’ve begun looking at wedding venues! It is the most exciting thing to pull up to a prospective venue and say, “Wow, I could be marrying the man of my dreams here in one year”. Sigh…so much fun! So glass of lemonade number two was last Friday afternoon as I pulled up to prospective venue number one.

It is a beautiful resort-style hotel in Kentucky that was suggested by my father of all people. Lucky me, I had the plague setting in, so I was quite under the weather, but man, was it a blast to get to start the search! Zach and I met with the event coordinator at the establishment, C, and off we went. The hotel has multiple areas to choose from when it comes to ceremony and reception events; four to be exact. We saw each of them, because with the current number of guests on our list, we could fit in each! We both fell in love with a climate-controlled outdoor tent with a side-set patio where we could have the ceremony. It overlooks a golf course, which of course can be quite the bonus. Luckily, we were informed that they do hold off all tee times so that no golfers will be rolling by as we say “I do”. (Insert sigh of relief here). It was absolutely breathtaking, and I loved the entire atmosphere of the space. It is more relaxed than the indoor ballroom space, but has enough aesthetics so as to not require much additional décor. We both loved it (although I wouldn’t say we fell in love with it), and were ready to hear the important details: numbers, numbers, numbers!


While I am not going to reveal total costs here, I will go ahead and say what all this venue covers in its costs. It’ll be a nice frame of reference for me, and possibly even for other brides out there looking for venues in the future! After the listing, I will rank it by dollar signs. Our scale will run from $ (much lower than the budget) to $$$$ (dream on, girl).

Venue One [resort-style hotel]

  • discounted guest room block
  • complimentary bridal suite for night of wedding (with discount for night before available)
  • reception site
  • catering
  • catering staff
  • beverages (alcohol [wine, beer, liquor], soda, tea, coffee)
  • bar staff
  • all needed china, glasses, silverware, etc.
  • tables, chairs, and linens
  • cake table
  • gift table
  • dance floor
  • décor available (if needed)
  • wedding coordinator (not just day-of)
  • complimentary parking (valet – extra cost for guests)

…and I believe that’s it. Which sounds like an understatement to me! Basically, all this venue does NOT include is: cake, DJ, photographer, attire, and favors. Unfortunately, the ceremony site at this venue is an additional cost, but it is not a ghastly amount. However…

This venue gets a rating of $$$. Actually, it is almost bordering four dollar sign status. But, after showing my parents the actual numbers, they said to keep it on the list for reference as we go on to see two more venue this and next Friday. Obviously, this venue has the clearest pros and cons. Pro? It includes almost EVERYTHING in the price of rental. Cons? It costs almost an arm and a leg. And maybe a few fingers from the other hand. So, as we go on to see the next few venues, I think the biggest thing to keep in mind is what all the venues do not include, and how much that is going to cost us in addition to the rental price.

Until next time…have a great Thursday (or late Wednesday, as I like to call it)!

Wedding Wednesday

It’s the Little Things [Wedding Wednesday]


Holy busy, Batman. This summer. THIS SUMMER, Y’ALL. It came, I had fun pretending to not be in school, and then all of a sudden I got full on t-boned by a semi truck. Not literally. But in this figurative story, that semi is named “Graduate School” and it hits like a ton of bricks. So not fun. I mean, exciting, but let’s be honest; would you like to graduate, get engaged, and then go right back to school while trying to enjoy planning a wedding and really not wanting to have homework?

No. Didn’t think so.

So, to make a long story a little bit shorter, I enjoyed my summer (most of it), and now it’s gone. All within a rapid succession of three weeks. I’ve been in school for THREE WEEKS already. How ridiculous is that? I’m a student once more (and full-time employee, and engaged girl planning her wedding…) and I’m already looking forward to December of 2015 when I graduate for real. Forever. For-ev-er.

Now that I’ve gotten that little spiel out of the way, let’s move on to the fun stuff…



I’m so beyond excited, and since I last graced my beautiful blog, well…not much has happened. Zach and I can’t put an exact date down until late November-early December due to work schedules, and I can’t say I’m all too happy about that. In fact, it’s pretty easy to say I hate it. I. Hate. It. I can’t put down any concrete plans for anything right now (with a few exceptions…) and that bothers me more than you would think.

I think that’s what being engaged really means to me. It’s the part of a new sidewalk where you’ve already thought about it, and you’re pouring the concrete into the frame. Zach and I are sure of this sidewalk, and we’ve got all the basic wood planks laid out on the confines of our sidewalk, but that concrete is not coming down the chute fast enough. It’s trickling, and I was really excited for the downpour of concrete. Something we can put our handprints on when it’s all laying there. I know it’s coming, but I’m impatient and not sorry about it!

Although I can’t put many concrete details down just yet, we did find an AMAZING photographer and we have our engagement session scheduled for my birthday in October! I am thrilled with the photographer and her work (and her prices!), and you all can look forward to a spattering of our mugs all over this little corner of the ‘web come mid-October. That little detail made me more excited than I thought it would, but it satiated the planner in me. Next Friday, we’re touring our first venue, too! I love the space, but we also have two other venues we’ll be looking through, and they all are strong contenders. It may just come down to whoever still has availability on our date come winter!

Since I can’t really do the concrete planning right this second (even though I am literally twitching from planning-desires), I decided to throw together a couple of Google docs so that I could be better prepared as we get further into this planning scheme. The first doc I decided to make was one for the two budgets. My mom and dad are pitching in a significant amount (mostly because they want to party!), and then Zach and I will be paying for some of the details on our own.


This is the budget I have set up for my parents. I just wanted something simple that I could plug a number in to and have the rest of the information update as I go along. Google docs was the obvious choice because I can update on my phone or tablet while still with a vendor or while on the phone! (No, I was not compensated at all to do this post, but Google can choose to do so if they so please!).

It was really simple (even for those of you who are not so spreadsheet-savvy). Here’s how I broke it down:

[one] Make sure to check out lists, websites, wedding planning books, friends, and your own brain to get a detailed list of where all of your expenses lie. Figure out what category they fall under, and then choose what percentage of the budget you want them to encompass.

[two] In the first column, two rows down, start your list. Make an overarching “umbrella” category for each individual cost. See that ceremony umbrella? Do that. Under each category, list the individual costs. Repeat for each category.

[three] I then went through and added columns for the estimated expense (based on my percent allotted), actual expense, and the difference between the two (to see if I could re-allot any of my budget). I then added more columns pertaining to the vendor for each item, their contact info, the amount I’ve paid, the amount I still owe, and when it’s due.

[four] Sit back and easily become obsessed with making these little charts for everything.

This is literally it. It was the easiest budgeting tool ever, and it was free! I love that I can adapt everything and change whatever I so please to change. because, let’s be honest, I’ll probably change a lot in the next year!

I also went ahead and made myself a monthly timeline for the things I think I need to complete. I know you see these in magazines left and right, but I think it’s important to personalize it. Each bride has different needs and different timelines; it’s important to change your planning tools to fit your journey! The Google doc was really boring, so I’ll spare you the screenshot. Instead, here’s a puppy:


So, seeing as it’s the beginning of the month anyways, and I honestly don’t see any additional goals being achieved, here are my September Wedding Goals.

September Wedding Goals

[one] Get engagement ring insured

[two] Figure out a beauty regimen

[three] Get new gym membership with Zach

[four] Finish making venue appointments

[five] Visit venues: take notes, take pictures, and ask every single question in my mind

There you have it! Thanks for keeping up with my less-than-sporadic blogging the past three months. Hopefully with the new schedule slowing down I will finally be able to get back here with all the posts I had planned in May!