15 September 2016
It’s become somewhat of a tradition for me to offer a few thoughts on our wedding anniversary. Year one I shared two things that had changed in our first year of marriage. Year two I shared a few pieces of marriage advice. Year three I shared about serving each other. And on our last dativersary, we talked about marrying the kind one.
This year, I wanted to share some advice from the priest who officiated Lisa and Dave’s wedding.
(Sidenote: Isn’t being invited to a wedding the greatest?! Not only do you get to celebrate with dear ones on one of the most momentous days of their life, possibly see far-flung friends and family members, twist and shout on a dance floor, and get dressed up, but, if you’re already married, you get to be reminded of the beauty and sacredness of your own commitment. And sometimes, apparently, you even get marriage advice!)
Anyway, I took several notes on my iPhone throughout their priest’s homily (which is pretty impressive in and of itself), but over the last year and a half I’ve continually returned to one. I’m paraphrasing, but this was the gist: “Human love runs dry, but divine love never does. Every day, ask for a portion of Jesus’ love for your spouse, and do you think he will give it to you? Of course!” There are several things I love about this advice:
— I love that it reminds me of the great love the Father and Son have for John, and for me. Seeing him through their eyes instead of my own is always a fresh view.
— I love that I have access to a well much deeper than my own. Even if I am predisposed to be grumpy or tired or stubborn or snippety, I need only to ask — and truly want — just a piece of Jesus’ patience, kindness, gentleness, and generous spirit, and it will be given to me.
— I love that it reminds me of the goodness of Jesus, how good his love is, and what a perfect example he is for all of my interactions every day. Just the smallest portion of his love is better than mine could ever be.
Tonight we are heading out for Italian at a newish restaurant in Durham, just the two of us. I can’t wait to get dressed up and spend time with my favorite person, reminiscing over the last four years and dreaming about the next four!
P.S. Should you want to read more about our wedding – you are in luck! It is one of my most favorite topics :) Most posts can be found here, and our (biased, but) amazing wedding film is here.
P.P.S. All of these photos are by Tanja Lippert, from our ceremony. Again, I’m biased, but she actually is the most talented wedding photographer of all time – or at least close to it :)
16 April 2015
Friends, we have a wedding album! It’s been a long time in the making (2.5 years!), but it’s here, it’s gorgeous, and I couldn’t be happier.
When we were budgeting for wedding photography, we decided to put all of our resources into purchasing talent, not products. Our “package” only included wedding day hours, not albums or an engagement session or anything else. This was 100% the right choice and I would make the same one again in a heartbeat! Tanja was worth every penny. But, I did want a wedding album at some point – it’s one of my 60 Before 30 goals!
And I didn’t want just any album. We purchased Artifact Uprising wedding albums for our parents, which I loved, but for our one heirloom wedding album, I wanted the works: leather, classic styling, and thick, lay-flat pages.
I looked at Tanja’s albums first. She only offers one option, and it starts at $2,500. As much as I thought her albums were beautiful, there was simply no way that would ever be a feasible option for us. I kept looking, but it seemed like all of the albums I loved were only available through a photographer (not surprising, but still disappointing!). Then, I found Milk Books.
It was as if the angels started singing. Their Cream albums are actually used by photographers for clients, which starts to tell you about the quality. Lay flat board pages? Check. Art paper? Check. White leather, a beautiful presentation box, and simple and elegant layout options? Check, check, check.
Cream albums are still expensive (they start at $595 for a 20-page album), but compared to the options available through most photographers, they are a steal. Also, having been subscribed to the Milk Books newsletter for the past few months, I’ve noticed two nice things – they often run sales up to 50% off (seriously – I’ve seen at least two!), and you can pre-purchase an album at any time (during sales!) and then design and order it when you’re ready. So nice!
The Cream online layout system is good, but not perfect. I wish I had had the option of moving pages around, since it was hard to know how much room to allocate for certain parts of the day right from the start. I loved how simple and aesthetically pleasing the layout options were, though – it would be hard to design an ugly album!
Also: strange to design pages featuring yourself :) But, you know, I figured grandchildren might like to see one day.
Keep in mind, these pages are BIG. That full-bleed photo above measures more than a foot wide, and the wingspan of the open album is a whopping 28 inches!
I think if I had realized JUST how large the photos would print, I would have included a few more of the layouts with multiple photos. Let that be a lesson to y’all! These ended up being some of my favorite pages.
It took about a month for our album to be produced and shipped to us, and we had a mini viewing party when it finally arrived! We haven’t looked at it too often since, but that’s okay – I wanted a real wedding album not because I expected to crack it open every morning, but as an heirloom for years (and people) to come. That’s exactly what we got.
If you’re married, do you have a wedding album? If so, was it included in your photography package, or did you buy it separately? I’d love to hear!!
P.S. More wedding photos.
The kind folks at Milk Books offered me a discount on our album. Regardless, I’m just thrilled to share the best wedding album source I’ve found!
15 September 2014
Friends, today is our two-year wedding anniversary! I thought I’d celebrate by sharing a favorite photo, but who am I kidding – I can’t stop at just one :)
I actually write Tanja Lippert a thank you note every year, because I am that to-my-knees grateful for these treasures.
As if it needs to be said after those beautiful photos, but what a magical day. I feel so lucky to have absolutely no regrets, looking back – so thankful, in hindsight, that we took the time to do things our way, to do them meaningfully, and to do them with great love. I have absolutely no desire to do it over again; instead, I love looking forward to what is to come.
The kind folks at Southern Weddings shared our marriage advice yesterday on the blog and in print in Volume 6, and I thought it might be fun to share it here, too:
You know that saying, find a job you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life? Well, we like to switch it up a bit: marry your best friend, and you’ll never work a day in your marriage. That, of course, is not entirely true — even the best marriages have harder days and easier days — but if you truly LIKE your partner, and love spending time with him or her more than anyone else, everything else seems to fall into place. Or, at least, that’s been our experience! Other tips that have served us well throughout our eight years together: forgive again and again, and don’t hold a grudge (easier said than done). Put your partner before yourself in small things — it will help to have that muscle in shape when bigger things come around. Take great joy in surprising and delighting him or her. Always speak well to others about your spouse, and about marriage in general. Stay humble. And finally, because it’s one of the main causes of divorce and marital issues, get your financial house in order. If finances are simply not a cause of stress, you’ll have a huge leg up on life together.
P.S. One year of marriage
19 September 2013
P.P.S. Want to hear my Dad’s marriage advice? That’s right here.
Hello, friends! Thank you for your wonderful comments on my last post! I find it so interesting to hear the changes others have gone through post-marriage, so thank you for sharing.
One of the most frequently-asked questions I’ve gotten in the last few months is about the layout of the Sperry tent from our reception. Random, I know (which I why I never posted about it on the front end), but it seems as though there is a dearth of information on the interwebs about tent layouts, so I am happy to oblige!
In addition to the great beauty of their tents, I think one of the best things about the Sperry experience is their online layout tool. I found it by going to the page for my local office, then clicking on “Products” and “design your own event.” No download needed — hooray! You can choose the size of your tent and fill it with any furnishings you have on your rental order. This tool is super comprehensive, and was unbelievably helpful in figuring out, for example, exactly how many 8′ tables we could fit in a corner instead of leaving it at, eh, that looks like it might fit. The tent poles are marked and everything. Here’s the final layout we came up with:
Because I’m a little nutty, I made another version that showed which linens went there, to assist my set-up peeps. That looked like this:
The Sperry tent designer lets you save your layouts in your account for future fiddling, and also lets you export them for sharing and printing. Genius.
People also seem to be curious about what size tent we rented. It was a 32×70′. It ended up being perfect for our number of guests (about 115) — but only because we had a beautiful day, and people and tables could spill out the edges of the tent. If it had been raining or less pleasant and we had had to have the flaps down, I think it might have been uncomfortably tight. If our budget had been flexible, I would have gladly opted for the next size up.
On a final note, one other thing that Sperry did that I loved: after they walked our reception venue with my Mom, they sent over an aerial view of the space with our tent size and shape superimposed. I’m not sure how they do this (Google Maps??), but I thought it was helpful, and it also felt pretty darn luxurious — like they had really done the legwork on prepping for our event.
A few more photos from our reception:
Any more tent questions? Ask away!
4 March 2013
Happy Monday, friends! I’m here with the final post in our wedding series — at least for now :) I wanted to share our budget breakdown, in the hopes that it might be helpful for those of you currently planning.
A little background:
Date of wedding: September 15, 2012
Location: Southeastern Connecticut
Number of guests: 115
Contributors: My parents (43%), John’s parents (33%), John and me (13%), and my grandmother (11%)
I know that pie chart is tricky to see, so here’s the breakdown, from most to least:
33.7% ON CATERING | Includes food, staffing, bar, and tip.
17.4% ON RENTALS | Includes our 32×70′ Sperry tent with string and onion lighting, a catering tent, 15 high top tables, 11 8′ tables, 4 6′ tables, 9 36″ round tables, 2 bar back tables, 45 black chairs, a 16×16 black and white dance floor, four couches, 16 linens of various sizes from La Tavola, 16 basic linens from our local rental company, and a generator. The generator was a last-minute expense (like, the day before the wedding) that pushed this category way up.
9.8% ON PHOTOGRAPHY | Includes Tanja and Tia’s travel but does not include any sort of album.
6.3% ON CINEMATOGRAPHY | Includes a highlight and feature film; Inkspot did not charge us for travel as described here.
5.9% ON LOCATION | Our ceremony venue was free, so this includes use of the O’Neill’s Sea Porch and Sunken Garden.
5.8% ON FLOWERS | Includes 1 bridal bouquet, 4 bridesmaid bouquets, 2 small nosegays for our moms, 2 pin-on corsages for our grandmothers, 8 boutonnieres for the gents, 2 wreaths for the church doors, 21 small to medium centerpieces for the tent, 6 small centerpieces for cocktail hour high tops, and arrangements for the guest book, bar, and gift tablea.
5.4% ON BAND | Includes fee and tip.
4.5% ON GIRL ATTIRE | Includes my gown minus the amount we sold it for, alterations and cleaning post-wedding, my shoes, and half of my veil (I split it with my sister in law!).
2.7% ON HAIR & MAKEUP | Includes hair and makeup for the bride, as well as some subsidizing of hair for 5 others and makeup for 6 others.
2.3% ON STATIONERY | Includes 90 9×18″ custom-designed flat-printed invitations and envelopes, 90 response cards and envelopes, save the dates and envelopes, and postage for all of the above.
2% ON RECEPTION/COCKTAIL HOUR DECOR | Includes the four ottomans and four side tables we purchased from Ikea, all of the silver centerpiece vessels, our cubbies, candles, photo frames, etc.
1.6% ON THE CEREMONY | Includes bell and bow materials, our string trio, travel costs for our pastor, etc.
1.2% ON BOY ATTIRE | Includes John’s tux, tuxedo shirt, dress shoes, suspenders, cuff links, and tailoring.
1% ON DAY-OF COORDINATOR | This was a bit less than usual because Diana is a friend of ours.
.25% ON MISC. DIY PROJECTS | Includes various frames, signage materials, calligraphy ink, stickers for the poppers, etc.
.13% ON OTHER | I actually realized this entire category was made up of ribbon – ha!
Whew! I hope this was helpful! Note that this did not include our wedding bands, gifts, rehearsal dinner items, or our honeymoon or minimoon. I tried to include everything else but certainly could have missed a few things.
WHERE WE SAVED:
— I sold my gown post-wedding and recouped more than 50% of the cost. A designer gown would have been out of the question otherwise.
— I borrowed most of my accessories from friends and family or wore things I already owned. Marget and I also split our veil.
— Paying our bar on consumption versus a fixed price per person was a huge savings for us — over 50%.
— Our ceremony spot was so beautiful that we didn’t feel we needed any additional decor beyond the door wreaths.
— We splurged on custom designed invitations, but saved on flat printing versus engraved or letterpress.
— I made most of our signage with materials I already owned instead of paying someone else to do it. I also addressed our save the dates and invitations myself.
— We opted to drive my car instead of rent a vintage one for the day, and I restrained myself from purchasing custom cocktail napkins.
— We played a custom CD at cocktail hour instead of hiring musicians.
WHERE WE SPLURGED:
— A videographer. SO WORTH IT.
— Having a tapas style reception meant our staffing costs were much higher than they would have been over a buffet or sit-down style, but it was the bedrock of the “feel” we were going for.
— A Sperry tent versus a standard frame or pole tent.
— John’s dress shoes were about six times as expensive as mine (ha!) but because they’re dress shoes and not tuxedo shoes, he can wear them to work, church, etc. for years to come.
— We booked a luxe, large hotel room for Friday and Saturday night instead of staying at our nearby homes. The gals used it to get ready on Saturday morning and John and I stayed in it Saturday night.
Those are just a few examples for each category — I’m sure I could list many more.
One last thing I wanted to say: Weddings are my passion, and I’ve had a vision for my own for a long time. We have wonderfully generous parents that were happy to contribute to our special day, but early on I knew there were going to be costs going above and beyond the usual ones that I simply wouldn’t expect them to cover — namely top of the line photography and cinematography. We spent WAY more on capturing our day than most people would have, and it was important to me that John and I helped make up that cost. I started saving in college for our wedding, and I don’t regret it for a second. (Granted, not everyone knows who they’re going to marry at that point, but I did!) If you think you fall into the same category as me, start saving your pennies now! :)
I’d be happy to try and answer questions in the comments!
P.S. If you’d like to compare our percentages to the “average,” check out this link or this link.