Bridal

The Hunger Game

This past April, my husband and I celebrated one year since we joined together with friends and family and publicly became man and wife. While I find it so cliche to say I was not ready to be married the sentiment just fits. Perhaps marriage is just one of those things, like I would imagine people feel when they start a family, or buy a house. It is one of those big things that make you realize your life is making progress, you're growing up;  these things, for whatever reason, make us feel overwhelmed and under prepared. In the past year of my married life I have focused on one common thread. Through each disagreement and each celebration, I realized that we are hungry individuals. Relationships evolve and naturally we evolve with them. We change preferences, we mold to be more likable, less contrary, and while I hate those articles that make women seem like weakling sidekicks to their bread winning husbands, it seems easy to sucucmb to this marginal population after so long. I have found that dreams or goals that I held years ago have been pushed to the side for the sake of stability. I have seen my once strong will and independent streak become more reliant on agreeability. In standing back to reason with these self discoveries I had to reconcile with the fact that while I have always been independent, I have also been needy.

We all are.

That's okay.

In examining my own petty arguments or frustrations, I realized just how hungry we are.  Single, married, divorced, dating, these terms become irrelevant, we  all crave the approval of those we love. First I thought it was my warped sense of love. It must be me, this can't be normal, but alas, it is! It is normal and it is okay! We are creatures made for relationship; the give and take, the pretty and ugly, we are hungry for connection, for accountability, for something beyond total agreeability or lonely solitude.  We were made for the knock down, drag out fights, as well as the make up dinners and apology notes. Our image of love has a lot to do with how we have been loved but it also has a lot to do with how much we are willing to learn. What we know is not the end all be all and we could never sustain a relationship with that mentality. The sooner we realize that we are all hungry for the true existence of love-- affirmation, kindness, patience-- the sooner our relationships can grow boundlessly.

Let it Go and Have a New Marriage

A healthy marriage with a fresh start in 2012! A prayer and hope for many couples.  They start out with new things to begin to strengthen their marriage such as date night, lunch together, prayer time, etc, but often times it is not starting new things that gives us a healthy marriage, but leaving old things.  I am faithful to pray for God’s plan for me and my marriage, but to be honest; it can quickly be interrupted with thoughts of “what about” or “remember when”.  My prayer and hope is then replaced with thoughts of the past and there I am….stuck.  I believe that God wants to do mighty things with marriages, but sometimes being stuck in the past can keep us from moving forward. There is no escaping certain events or actions that cause hurt and pain in a marriage.  No one is perfect and those issues must be addressed and forgiven, but we can’t stay there.

 In the words of Emerson Eggerich in his amazing book Love and Respect, women tend to go “historical” and bring up the past.  Unfortunately, we, as women, have been “blessed” to have a good memory.  There are times I will recall certain things to my husband and astonished that he has no memory of the event or conversation.  A good memory is not always a good asset. I believe that Satan wants nothing more than for us to stay in our past. Dwelling on the past distracts us from fulfilling the future plans God has for our life and marriage. If we are not careful, we become stuck there. Once issues have been addressed, don’t look back, you are not going that way.  To move one, we need to forgive in two areas:

  • Our Past Failures

Once we have taken responsibility and reconciled, it is time to learn from the mistake and focus on the future. Continuing to focus on past failures is not allowing God to give the grace and mercy that He freely gives.  We can not bring honor to Him when we continue to think about our self? No, we do not completely forget; but when we forgive ourselves and take the opportunity to learn and grow, we can experience more of what God has to offer us.

Philippians 3:13-14 says:    

The one thing I do, however, is to forget what is behind me and do my best to reach what is ahead.

  • Failures of our spouse

There comes a time when we must remember the love and grace our Father in heaven gave to us.  He expects nothing less than to extend that to others as a gift unto Him.  Forgiving is not erasing past hurts. It is making the decision to let go of the sting so that it is no longer part of our life.

Matthew 6:14-15 says:   

For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

If God is gracious to forgive us, how can we not humble ourselves to extend grace to others…….even our spouse. 

So this year instead of thinking of what you need to start new with many hopes and dreams, I challenge to you pray and ask God what you need to let go so that He may bless you with a new marriage.

Making Dreams Come True

Opening the email, the first sentence read, “Would you like to bless some people?”  My immediate thought was, “Of course.  Who doesn’t like to bless people?”  Jennifer and Chad were going to be married in two months, November 11, 2011.  Their lives had changed dramatically within one week.  They lived in Bastrop, Texas, where fires burned businesses and residents for over a week.  Their home and the venue they were to be married in were burned to the ground.  The Oaks Events Center staff met with Jennifer and Chad two days after receiving that email. Jennifer’s face beamed.  She smiled from ear to ear when she walked into the bridal suite.  Her eyes met with the ornate gold hook that her wedding dress would hang on and a tear rolled down her cheek.  It was a look I will never forget; surprise, joy, and peace.  As an Event Manager, the most important rule is; if the bride is happy, everyone else is happy.  Chad had a sense of relief as he watched his bride to be have a moment of joy in the midst of loss.

There was a huge sense of community in the two months preparing for Jennifer and Chad’s wedding.  From linens, to Tiki torches, to a sunset wedding ceremony on the front lawn, cake, catering, an evening of laughing and dancing, and bubble blowing as a farewell to the bride and groom; the day was spectacular.  The Bastrop community, friends and family of the bride and groom, and The Oaks Events Center all pulled together to make Jennifer and Chad’s dream come true on their wedding day.

Stacy loves to share with groups of people; to Inspire you to dream big, to Empower you to become better in spirit, mind, and body; and to challenge you to Share what you have learned with others. Some of the topics she is passionate about are: health and fitness, relationships, leadership, communication and conflict resolution within any environment. She has been on staff at her home church, Shoreline Church, in Austin Texas since 2002. She is the Event Manager at Shoreline Church and The Oaks Events Center.  To learn more about Stacy, please visit her website www.stacymcvane.com.

Marriage Survival During the Hustle and Bustle

 

Communication breakdown!  I can become very agitated when my plans don’t go smoothly because of a communication breakdown in my marriage. No matter how crazy things are in my life I can still keep it together if I feel my husband and are on the same page.  However, I can get real stressed if we are not jiving and working together.

 If you have been married long enough, you know having “personal” alone time, as a couple, can be a challenge with the hustle and bustle of life’s responsibilities. Good communication between a couple does, indeed, involve listening and expressing feelings to each other.   However, believe it or not, my husband and I have learned to incorporate simple communication skills that we use in business each day to eliminate stress and ensures that we are spending quality time together. This may not sound romantic or exciting, but making good use of technology, has strengthen our relationship.   

 For your marriage relationship to stay connected,  try practicing the following three tips:

  1. Send appointments

Have you had a miscommunication in your marriage when one of you forgot the other was working late; forgot about a dinner out with friends; or forgot about a soccer game for one of the kids? In today’s age, most of us are using our phones or computers as our calendar.  When one of us schedules an event that may affect the other, we simple send the other an appointment notice so that it automatically goes to the other’s calendar.  It is AMAZING how this simple step has saved us so many arguments and misunderstandings.  

  1. Schedule dates on calendar or in Smart Phones.

We have set out at the beginning of many weeks with good intentions to have lunch together. Then by Friday, we suddenly realize that so many things came up or it was simply forgotten, and we missed our lunch time together.   I have been guilty of putting “us” on the back burner when something else comes up that I think is more important. We now schedule are lunch dates just as an appointment.  There is something about having it in writing that makes us accountable to stick with it. 

  1. Turn it off

Technology is good at times, but it can be detrimental at other times.  There is no way we could have quality conversation and time with our spouse with the TV blaring in the back or trying to multi tasks on the computer or phone.  Use technology to schedule those times, but remember to have true communication and enhance your marriage, TURN IT ALL OFF. 

 So as you are sitting down looking at your fall calendar with schedules and activities, don’t forget to actually SCHEDULE and plan with your husband.  Don’t hink it will just happen. 

Proverbs 21:5 in The Message says:

“Careful planning puts you ahead in the long run; hurry and scurry puts you further behind.” 

 Don’t let the hurry and scurry of life get you behind on your relationship with your spouse.  Sit down together and figure what is the best way for you as a couple to keep it fresh with minimal stress.

 One of my favorite Bible verses is 1 Peter 5: 8.  Quoting from The Message Bible:“Keep a cool head.  Stay alert.  The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping.” 

  NAPPING!  That is very convicting. When we are napping from our marriage and not giving it the attention that it needs, the enemy sees an open door to come right in.

The Big Reveal

Well, for those of you who have followed the blog, you know that the wedding was just a few weeks ago. Actually, I guess it was almost one month ago! Time flies! Anyway, the day was wonderful. The weather was perfect, aside from a little wind, which insisted on keeping the candles flame less, everything was great. In the days, even weeks, leading up I was so nervous about things that were "bound to go wrong" as many brides had warned me. Yes, things went wrong, but it didn't ruin my night. After a long weekend of scrambling to finish last minute projects, and unleashing terror on anyone who crossed paths with me, I was so relieved when the wedding had actually come. So, with that said I have posted a few pictures below of the wedding and some of the details you've read about throughout the process. So without further a do...  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well, there you have it, the night in a nutshell! There is so much more to see and be said but maybe you'll just have to keep reading to unravel the details. For now, thanks for following!

Nadia

 

 

Keep on...

With the wedding right around the corner I can admit that I've been putting other things off to ensure all the details of the wedding are complete. Since me and Kristian are working on a budget there are lots of hands going into this wedding. Not only are our parents helping, but our aunts, cousins, friends, pretty much anyone who offers help, we say yes to. Recently I had a newly engaged friend ask me how I limited the number of people my parents invited. My response was simple, I didn't have to because I didn't feel obligated to. This is mostly because we are paying for the bulk of the expenses but also because Kristian and I agreed that we knew the family friends that needed to be invited. Our parents were incredibly understanding in this aspect. After my friend mentioned it though, I realized how easy this wedding has been. Sure we're on a budget and have to be mindful of that and of course there have been stressful moments. For example right now, while I'm watching Say Yes to the Dress, textbooks buried under the computer, staring my messy living room in the eye and completely ignoring it. My brain is tired and doesn't feel like thinking about one more thing... even school. The enormity of the wedding task has been a little exhausting, but all in all, painless. Watching wedding shows I realize more and more how fortunate I've been to have supportive friends and inquizative family members. People are interested in how the wedding planning is coming, what we need, how they can help, and it's amazing. Since the last blog I've finalized the rehearsal dinner menu, gotten my dress altered, put guest bags together, started on making wedding programs, and have created a tentative schedule for the bridal party. Not to mention exams, homework, work, etc.. WHEW! But all this to say, whatever you're in the middle of, keep on keeping on. Even after the wedding, life will be busy and my brain will get overloaded and I'll have days where the dishes won't get done and homework will be pushed aside. But the craziness of this wedding has brought me closer to my family, my future in-laws, and has even helped me to develop new friendships. After the wedding madness I can look forward to all of the people who have stuck around and I can give myself a little pat on the back for keepin' on.

Valentine Shmalentine

I have never been much for Valentine's Day. I'm actually not crazy about many holidays but Valentine's Day just seems especially unnecessary. However, when Kristian and I first started dating I can't say I wasn't excited to have someone to celebrate this otherwise lame holiday with.On our first Valentine's Day together, Kristian went all out. He told me to get dressed but there were no specific instructions, just don't wear heels. I waited in anticipation the entire day wondering what he had up his sleeve. I bought him a few gifts that I knew he would enjoy, new shoes and a book about art techniques, since at the time he was very into art. I also gave him a journal full of things I had written that I thought would help him get to know me better. When he finally picked me up I was in a new dress and flats. We drove to a place I had never been before, a park just 15 minutes from my house! He handed me a rose and walked me into the woods where he set up a tent and was making dinner inside. Oh my gosh, how romantic! We ate dinner and exchanged gifts and with this being the first Valentine's Day I ever really cared about, everything seemed perfect.

The next year we moved to Florida and spent Valentine's Day riding around on scooters and discovering our new city. This was its own kind of romantic. We were on a new adventure and so excited to be doing life together. To be honest I can't really remember what we did the year after that. I'm sure it involved flowers and dinner though. And this year, well, we both have to work so our Valentine's Day will probably be spent with a quick chat over the phone.

Now this isn't to depress anyone or to say that we get any less romantic as time passes. In fact, I don't think we need one day to show someone we love them or expect to be spoiled by our significant others. I can only hope that as Kristian and I get older and things continue to change, we still remind each other everyday how much we love each other. As cheesy as it may sound, I hope that we don't ever need Valentine's Day to celebrate each other. Don't get me wrong, its nice to have one day where you can say "Okay, we're going on a date, no work, no wedding planning, no chaos, just a normal dinner", but that day won't be tomorrow... and that's okay! Maybe you have lots going on, wedding plans, work, maybe kids, but whatever the busy circumstance take a minute each day and let the people you love know that. Life is too short to wait for one day a year to make someone feel special. Surprise your husband with a new watch (or new lingerie) any old day! Give your boyfriend that x-box game he's been asking for... I know it'll take away from your "quality time" together, but lets be honest, he stops listening after the first 10 minutes of your story anyway. Splurge on any random day of the week and just see how it changes the mood of the relationship. Even if you are a roses and chocolates kind of girl, the more time you spend figuring out nice things for your man, the more he'll actually think about getting things you like. Not that that's the point... but hey, it doesn't hurt.

Tick, Tick, Tick...

In the spirit of transparency let me begin by saying this blog is late. Yes, for those of you who follow the calendar, this blog was supposed to be published yesterday. And while I had weeks to think about what to write, to sit and stare at my blank screen, waiting for the words to come, it has taken this long for me to actually do it. Saturday night I stood at the computer at work brainstorming, wondering what wonderful ideas I could share with my Created Woman network. Hours passed and still my brain was blank. So now, one day late, here I am. I am here without words of wisdom or crafty ideas, rather a few ideas for how to avoid being where I am.School started for me last week and with work and wedding planning I haven't been as inundated with work as I have been lazy. It's like the overwhelmed feeling has been overtaken by just apathy. So I suggest that before it gets to this point for you, take a breath. Step outside of your busy bee realm and remember what you're doing. Lately I have just been running around like a chicken with my head cut off. Jumping from idea to idea and e-mail to e-mail but I haven't successfully finished a single project. As contradictory as this may sound I have found making lists to be the most helpful tool to avoid scrambling--as I have this past week. Now I've made a list for the catering, a list for the music, a list of bakeries for the cake, and so on. By the way if anyone has any delicious recommendations for wedding cakes I would love to hear them. Anyway, I am at a point in the planning process where I don't have any fresh ideas, it is coming down to the numbers. I am counting responses as they come in, planning on how many mouths to feed, how many welcome bags to prepare, how many sparklers to buy, and so on. For those of you in this stage I totally recommend using the guest list on theknot.com. You can divide guests into two sections which is perfect if you're expecting a substantial amount of out-of-towners. I had a passing idea to write about things I love this week but perhaps I can catch up to myself in time to write about that next week. Until then, hang in there, keep keeping on, and please share any good wedding ideas you have with me! I'm running low!

Starting a Resolution.

In honor of this month being the month of resolutions I thought it only natural to write about a few resolutions of my own. Typically I am not the "make a resolution" kind of girl. I have realized that I will not consistently work out,  lose weight, or save more money, just because I write it on fancy paper and say I resolve to. However, this year I have decided to make attainable goals. I have chosen things that I actually want to happen because in all honesty if I don't lose an extra 10 pounds I won't lose sleep over it. If I want to start up a business and never take steps in making that happen...well that's something that may keep me awake at night. As much as in my "real life" I have set up these goals I have also chosen goals for my "bridal life". They are fairly impersonal and easy to achieve (hopefully) so I encourage you to take some on for yourself!
Choosing to Change
First, I will resolve to work with what I've got. I was in New Orleans over the holidays and spent some time with an old friend. While at her apartment I realized she had about 10 different crafty projects going on. Most of her decor was found in flea markets, though I never would have guessed, and the entire place just exuded her. When I got home I realized she is taking full advantage of what she has-- creativity. Thinking about my wedding I've decided I need to take advantage of what I have-- creativity and a borderline obnoxious obsession with finding bargains. So far I have decided to tackle the wedding programs and guest book. I'll keep you posted on how long this "creative streak" lasts.
Second, I will not become a bridezilla. As the wedding draws closer (only 12 more weeks!!) I feel myself becoming an edgy bride. I expect everyone to be as organized as I am. I want my bridesmaids to read my mind and know what I expect of them. I'm afraid if someone shows up in black stilettos I disapprove of I may just lose it. Then...back to reality. I've already sent out a detailed e-mail (picture included) of what I expect the shoes to look like, disaster averted (fingers crossed). My bridesmaids don't really have many duties as of now which means lucky for them they don't have to be mind readers. Even if they willfully disobeyed my wishes (motherly tone intended) I am not typically one to fly off the handle.  However, despite those many positive factors I feel the need to make this resolution because, well, I've never done this wedding thing before. I don't know how I may react to unexpected events, ones that are not on one of my many checklists. I definitely don't want to be a bride with runny mascara because I'm thinking about my buttercream cake melting as I walk down the aisle (two of my many anxieties). With that, I will stop myself from going any further into detail and simply reiterate that I will not become a bridezilla. In the next 12 weeks I resolve to maintain my composure, not lose my temper, and simply let go of situations I have no control over... like the humidity index in New Orleans and the chance of scattered showers-- but I digress.
Lastly, I resolve to have fun. More than anything I want my wedding to be fun. This experience should be pleasant not stressful! The planning should be enjoyable, customizing everything just to my liking, when will I ever have this opportunity again?! Let's hope never right? Which means this go around should be everything I want it to be. Anxiety free, worry free, just full of rainbows and puppies. But seriously I don't want to walk away from this thinking "Hm, that would have been a lot better if I wasn't such a grouch." So when I feel the attitude creeping in I will remind myself that I have resolved to make this whole wedding experience fun!
As for you, I would reccomend you make resolutions of your own. Whether they be "real life" or wedding resolutions, I feel like as long as they are goals you care about achieving the sky's the limit.

Be Our Guest

The Fun Part Among the many tasks of wedding planning choosing invitations is one of the most personal and creative choices to be made. It is one of the many things I was ecstatic about doing myself. A few short months after the engagement however, I realized time (and perhaps my lack of self discipline) would not allow for me to put my own invitations together. My original idea was a "story book" invitation. It would be a short story about Kristian and I, the engagement, and the invitation would follow. Although I didn't put my own invitations together, they are in fact being hand assembled by a much more patient and creative soul then myself, I am still infatuated with the idea of the invitation. My invitations will still be personal to me. I have chosen the wording, the font, the paper, and the envelopes. However, in having someone volunteer to help me with my invitations, I shaved down the specific details I first had in mind. Some brides however, cannot give up so easily on their design ideas and I tip my hat to them. Months have gone into some of the invitations I have seen. They are simply marvelous and the fact is if you are a bride and have a creative streak the possibilities are endless. Below are a few of my favorite invitations. Aside from this blog, I spend hours rifiling through DIY websites and other wedding blogs. And now that I think about it... I probably could have put my own invitations together with all the time I spend obssessing over others! Anyway, I hope you enjoy my finds and are inspired to try your hand at personalizing your big day!

This idea I found on stylemepretty.com

To make this adorable invitation:

1. Choose image and/or text to be printed. 2. Make a carbon based print of image/text (xerox copy or laser printers work) 3. Place image on gocco machine – make master screen using the gocco and gocco bulbs. 4. Once the image is burned into the screen, you can ink it.  Smear ink on the image burned into the screen, insert back into the machine, then press image onto paper invitations as desired.  Re-ink as necessary. 5. Let it dry fully before printing any other sides (let each side dry a full 24-hours).

This idea was also found at stylemepretty. Though the idea is very personal I like it because it can be changed. The creator simply created what was sentimental to her. She drew it freehand then took a picture and uploaded it to her Adobe Illustrator. It sounds a little complicated to me because I'm absolutely horrible wth computers. If you're tech saavy though this idea is precious! They were printed by a professional and 65 invitations were finished for about $150. Not bad for such cute and personalized invites!

Ok, so I hope the pictures do this invitation justice because I absolutely love it!  The ribbon, the tree, the deep colors... ahh, I'm in love.  I don't know that this one is a DIY. Even without explicit instructions though it seems like with the right tools it can be done without professional help.

The Details

I must admit invitation etiquette is a little foreign to me. While I love attending a good party I rarely ever throw one. With wedding invitations the formality is at a whole different level. I chose not to use inner envelopes so the wording of the outter envelope was a bit tricky. I used Google to figure out "Do I use 'and guest' on the outer envelope?" and "What about people with kids?". I also took advantage of the fact that our wedding is a bit informal. I have been extremely lucky with the help I have with my invitations. I haven't had to buy any of the materials except for the envelopes. With that said, I was a little surprised by the cost of envelopes! For those of you doing it yourself I totally reccommend Envelopes.com. I was able to purchase for 150 outer envelopes and 150 response card envelopes for under $100. After a little research I found that this is quite the deal! I did choose recycled paper so it isn't glossy but for me the cost difference was totally worth it. For a cute return address stamp (and to save yourself from carpal tunnel) check out thepaperwink.com. They have adorable stamps and labels at reasonable prices. I found one for about $20, which is so worth it to not have to handwrite my address 300 times. Another little detail we had to think about was the fact that our wedding is technically a destination wedding. Even though I'm from New Orleans, Kristian's family is in Texas, and many of our friends are in Florida. To accomodate people traveling for the wedding there is an insert with the invitation. It includes a few details about hotel and car rental options. More importantly though, it mentions our wedding website. This is so important. Even if you're not having a destination wedding, a wedding website just makes your guests life so much easier. I made ours at theknot.com but there are so many options out there I reccommend you explore and see what works best for you!

Breathe

While I get all girly thinking about my invitations and planning all the details, I still get a little overwhelmed. With the invitations I wanted a certain font but it didn't work out. I wanted a particular style but I couldn't get it done. I have had a few bumps in the road but I could not be any happier with the way they've turned out. I have entrusted my limited vision to someone who has just run circles around my ideas. The invitations are beautiful and all of my stress had nothing to do with their outcome! So remember, relax, breathe, enjoy the process. Don't let the little things take away from the plesaure of the big picture-- your wedding!