Thursday, February 23, 2017

Wedding Week!

 Wedding week is one of those weeks you think will never get here yet when it does it feels like it came so fast!  My goal in wedding planning was to plan as much as I possibly could ahead of time to keep the week of the wedding stress free and fun!  Other than the last minute details that couldn't be avoided, it really was a fun week.  
since I was taking off so much time after the wedding I tried to work as much of the week as possible.  My evenings were spent doing those fun last minute things.
Since Dustin and I have both lived in multiple places and it was a distance wedding for both of our families we had ALOT of out of town guest.  We decided to make fun hotels bags filled with goodies and a list of our favorite restaurants in Birmingham!  
One of the early pieces of advice I got was to hire out as much of the details for the wedding as possible.  Thankfully my parents were on board with this and we did our best to make the wedding logistics as easy on us as possible. The only problem was throughout the wedding planning season I kept getting ideas of things I wanted to do to add to the wedding.  Although I love all the personal touches we had at our wedding, I felt like my creative juices were run dry by the end.  All that to say the wedding week was spent doing those last minute things like printing out cute photo pics like the one above and so much more!  

Another great piece of advice I got was to pack for the honeymoon before wedding weekend began.  I am so glad I did this!  It made the night before my wedding so chill!  
My sister gave me the journal below on the night we got engaged.  I journaled in it all throughout our engagement and then took it on our honeymoon to close it out!  I know one day it will be so fun to look back on all my thoughts and emotions that took place during those 5.5 months.  
I got my bridesmaids a monogrammed navy bag as part of their gift for being in the wedding.  After receiving them in the mail I was kind of bummed I didn't order one for myself, so my parents ordered me one for my birthday!  It was the perfect honeymoon carry-on.  
Packing for my honeymoon was one of the most surreal parts of wedding week.  I just couldn't believe that after our big day we were going to get to go on such a fun trip! 
And the best part was Dustin was surprising me, so I had no clue where we were going!  
On Wednesday morning my mom, sis, and I had breakfast together and then went and got our toes and nails done.  It was super fun girl time and another one of those moments that just felt so incredibly surreal!  
Wednesday night we had family night at Catherine and Garys and I gave the nieces their flower girl gifts (baby dolls and monogrammed overnight bags).
It was a fun night as a family and was the last night before everything began!  
On Thursday morning Dustin and I planned a date! We had breakfast at one of our favorite spots, Over Easy, and exchanged wedding gifts!  It was so nice to just sit and look at one another before all the bridal party came in town and the events began.  We celebrated the Lord's faithfulness in our story and bringing us to this point.  It was a really special time together.  
Yet another piece of advice I got from someone was to exchange perfume and cologne to each other and wear it for the first time on our wedding day. Then every time you wear it, it will make you think of your wedding day.  
In addition to the cologne I got him I also made him a photo book that told our story.  It was filled with pictures and thoughts from our 1 year together.  I hope it will be something we will one day show our children and be continually reminded of the sweet story the Lord wrote for us.  I also got him a weekend adventure bag for all the many adventures I hoped we would go on!  
In addition to the perfume, he gave me a Michael Kors bag and diamond earrings that had originally been his mothers that her parents gave her on her wedding day.  They are beautiful!  I wore them on our wedding day and love wearing them as often a possible.  

We parted ways that morning knowing that really the next time we would be together just the two of us would be on our wedding night.  

By the time I came home from breakfast my dad was on his way to pick up the first batch of bridesmaids from the airport!  
Let the wedding festivities begin..... 

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Thursday, February 9, 2017

Downtown Birmingham Engagement Session

I realized this week that I never posted our engagement pictures!  If you read our dating story you saw that some of Dustin's friends (who are now my friends:-)) were a part of our proposal day.  If you missed it you can read that story HERE!
After they captured such amazing pictures of that special day we asked them if they would snap a few photos of us around some of our favorite spots in Birmingham!  
Although it was super hot September afternoon, we had so much fun traveling from one spot to another in downtown Birmingham!  
Thank you Katie and Alec for capturing so many moments during such a special season!  

You can check out Katie and Alec's blog post on our session HERE
And if you need excellent photos taken in Birmingham these photographers would be a great choice!  
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Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Fairhope Shower

Our last shower before the big day was in Fairhope, the town where I grew up!  
It was hosted by some of my mom's best friends, all women from our church who have known me since I was a little girl.  
(L-R) Theresa, Kim, Debbie, Peggy, me, Barbara
I think what was so fun and so special about this shower was that it was a celebration with people who have known me for so many years.  The room was filled with women who have been some of my parents closest friends, my teachers, bible study leaders, families I baby-sat their children, and the list goes on.  These women have prayed for me for so many years.  It was such a special time to now have them celebrate this answered prayer.  
Like every other shower, I took very few pictures but the house was full of so many women who have impacted my life.   
I mentioned Laura in my engagement party post, but it was so fun to have her at this shower as well.  
And the nieces love her!  

I felt so loved and celebrated by all the people who came and showered me with gifts.  It was such a fun and special morning.  

This shower was at the beginning of wedding month and was our last shower before the wedding!  
If you can't tell from all the posts, it was a whirlwind of parties!  
I honestly couldn't get over the fact that so many people wanted to celebrate us.  In 2 months time we connected with so many friends and family and were able to celebrate this season with many of the people who mean the most to us.  
I will always treasure that season.  It was crazy busy and lots of travel, but it was also super fun and incredibly special.  I dreamed about this time for so long, I prayed that one day an invitation would have my name on it, and by the end of the wedding I had a bulletin board by my door filled with invitations.  Looking at that board reminds me that the Lord really does hear those quiet prayers that are prayed from our heart.  

I came back to Fairhope with less than a month before the big wedding.  It was filled with lots of last minute details and getting everything ready for the big day.  

Next up:
Wedding Week!  

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Thursday, January 26, 2017

Celebrating in the BIG APPLE....

I started this blog in 2008 when I moved to New York City.  I was young, single, and had big dreams.  Living on dreams and spaghetti-o's (hence the title:-)) I spent the (almost) 7 years I lived In NYC praying for a husband.  I dated some, my heart definitely got broken some, but my prayer life was consistent.  Intermixed with that was years of so many friendship, so much adventure, and so much life!  I knew New York would always be deep in my heart and now that my dream of meeting someone in the city was over I prayed that whoever I did meet would at least appreciate my love for the city and would get the opportunity to know my life there! Fast forward a year when I met Dustin.
One of the things that we instantly connected over was our love for cities!  Even though we lived in different cities (he lived in Atlanta for several years) we could so easily appreciate the same things and have the same passions for things about the city.  It was a sweet connection

Let's keep fast forwarding to April when Dustn and I planned a trip to NYC so that he could see my life and meet my friends.  I wrote about it HERE when I wrote part 2 of our Dating story.  We now look back at that trip as a significant moment in our relationship when we both knew "this was it".  How kind of the Lord to allow such an important place to me be the place of such an important moment in life!
A month after that New York trip we got engaged!  And then life became a whirlwind.  In those crazy months we decided why not fit in another trip to my favorite city!  This time to go to an all day pre-marital seminar at Redeemer that my friend, Brent Bounds teaches.  As soon as we told people we were coming up my sweet friends started planning away for a weekend that would go down as one of my favorites!  

On Saturday night they hosted an engagement party for us on a rooftop  in Time Square. The room where the party was held was all glass and you could literally see the entire city.  
It was such a fun time of catching up with friends and enjoying the skyline of New York!  
What's a good party without a photo Booth!  

Amy, Sandi, and Jenni! 3 of my favorites!  

Misty and Amy, 2 of my closest NYC friends who had both moved away, were able to come back for the big weekend! Although we were missing lots of girls, we were able to take an original Community Group pic!  I can't imagine my life in the city without these people!  

Along with the Taylor's, the Bounds were my other adopted family!  So fun to celebrate with Brent and Jenni! 
And if my NYC friends weren't enough, my friend Kelli (who now lives in Maryland) came up for the big weekend!  Kelli might love NYC as much as I do, and looks for every opportunity to come visit!  I was so thankful to have this friend from my Campus Outreach days to be a part of all the celebrations!  
Christy Ray, Kate M, Erica, and Kate R
It really wasn't an all girls party, but somehow we didn't get pics of all the guys:) 
When we took this picture it was one of those moments where both Dustin and I had to pinch ourselves.  Who knew when I was living in city of lights that one day I would be on a rooftop celebrating my engagement with the man I had prayed for all those years.  And let's be honest, it was just such a trendy and amazing spot! 
We both walked away so thankful and feeling so loved!  

If Saturday night was not enough my sweet friends hosted a bridal shower for me at the Taylor's home on Sunday afternoon.  I know I keep saying stuff like this, but I just have to make notes of this.  Sandi mentored me for all my years in NYC, I baby-sat her girls, and spent many days at their home.  They were my family in NYC. I used Sandi's home to host many parties and showers for friends.  Each time I secretly wondered if there would ever be an opportunity to have a wedding shower for me there.  When I moved I thought that dream had died, but once again I saw the Lord enter in and give me that gift.  Sunday afternoon was special for so many reasons.  Each girl wrote down a verse, prayer, or advice for me and then they all went around and shared different things.  Each girl in this pictured has impacted my life in so many ways.  It was such a sweet time of hearing from them words of encouragement they had for me.  I often think back on that time, read the notes they wrote and just feel so thankful to have friends who encourage me in the way that they did that day.  
Front Row: Leigh Ann, Robyn, Misty, Sandi, Hannah, Erica, Kate M
Back Row: Maggie, Katherine, Lindsay Ann, Kate S, Karen, Me, Amy, Vicky, Jenni, Kate R.  

Isn't the Hashtag Banner the cutest?!?  (thanks Leigh Ann)

In addition to a time of sharing, Hannah and Margaret had a surprise for me.  Flashback to when Margaret was a baby and I started spending lots of time with the Taylors.  For whatever reason (not sure why) I started singing "There is a Redeemer" to the girls when I would put them to bed.  Although I sang different songs to them over the years, that song stuck and each night I was there we would sing that song together.  The words are powerful and I always prayed they would cling to those words as they grew up.  Even now when I go visit and stay with them, they ask me to come sing with them before they go to sleep.  Fast forward to the shower, when Hannah and Margaret sang the song to me. It was one of the sweetest moments of my life.  They both broke down so every girl in the room sang along.  The relationship I have with them is so special and to have them be a part of this shower was one of the most memorable things.  If you have never heard of the song, I encourage you to listen to it HERE

I started baby-sitting the Taylors and entering into their family when the girls were 4, 1, and newborn.  Now they are 12, 9, and 8.  How is this possible?  
They handed out programs at my wedding. Pics to come of that later!  

This weekend in NYC was a dream come true for me (I know I have said that often) and just so incredibly fun!  To get time with so many friends, have Dustin connect with the  people who I did life with for so long, and just be in the city together again was special and so fun!  

To all my friends in NYC it is now 4 months later, but I can't thank you enough for making this a weekend we will never forget!  

We went back to Birmingham ready for 1 more shower and the last month of engagement before the big day!  

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Thursday, January 19, 2017

Athens Shower

One of the sweetest things about my marriage to Dustin has been being welcomed into the Belue family.  Dustin's family has gone above and beyond to welcome me with open arms.  I have loved getting to know not just his immediate family, but his extended family and friends!  
As soon as we got engaged Dustin's moms friends begin preparing to throw me a shower.  I felt so loved by their excitement to celebrate us during this season!

The shower was held at the end of August at Athens State University in a beautiful building. 
It was hosted by these sweet ladies
(Regina C, (who was also our florist), Regina, Sharon, and Donna) and a couple other ladies not pictured.  
The building was very historic and the room was decorated beautifully.  Unfortunately I took very few pictures!  

It was an afternoon tea with delicious food! One of the places I registered was a boutique in Athens that has super cute stuff (that is owned by Regina who was our florist. Woman of many talents:-)) 
I received some fun and personal gifts from the store as well as many other gifts from the other stores we registered at.  
Although I don't have a single picture of all the beautiful gifts that were laid out, it was quite the spread of things to help Dustin and I set up our home.  
It was also really fun to meet so many friends and family members of the Belues.  
It was one of those surreal moments where I felt so loved by people who I had just met!  

My mom was able to drive up for the shower which was really special.  
I'm thankful for an amazing mom and mother in law!  
Each shower that we had was special for different reasons but with each one I just felt so loved and so thankful!  

Next up....
NYC Engagement Party and Shower!  
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Thursday, January 12, 2017

Our Engagement Party in Fairhope

From the time I was a little girl I said I wanted to have my wedding reception at our good friends, the Fellers, backyard.  I've grown up at their house (even living there for 6 months when I was a senior in high school and holding my graduation party there) and it's always held a special place for me.  Since getting married in Fairhope wasn't the best option for Dustin and me, The Fellers offered to host an engagement party for us!  
Walking in to this backyard and seeing a wedding celebration for Dustin and I set up was a dream come true for me.  It was just another one of those times where I felt the Lord's kindness of answering so many prayers for me.  
Although it was August in Alabama, it was the perfect temperature and a beautiful night on the bay.  

Many friends who have known me since I was little girl came to celebrate with us.  

Paul and Flor were the best host and gave us such a special evening. 
They spend half of their year at their beautiful home and half the year serving in Ecaudor providing Orthopedic medical care through the non profit they started, Bayside Medical Missions.  My parents and I had the opportunity to go serve with them a few years ago.  It's an incredible ministry!

 Laura and I have been friends since we were babies (literally our parents grew up together). It was so special to have her and her husband Aaron celebrate with us at our party in Fairhope and even more special to have Laura be a bridesmaid in my  wedding.  
 It was fun to be at the Fellers home as a family and actually get a family of 4 picture!  

My sister left her husband on her 10 year wedding anniversary and drove down with the 3 littles to be at the celebration!  Matron of Honor and sister of the year award definitely goes to her!  

It was also so special to have the Belue's drive down for the party and get to show them a place that means so much to my family and me!  

It was such a special night with so many friends, some of whom I hadn't seen in years, and getting to introduce Dustin to them.  
I'll definitely always treasure this engagement party!  

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