Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Bridesmaids Write: Rachel

This is the first post in a new series, The Bridesmaids Write.  In this series, you'll have the privilege of reading my best friends' take on this whole wedding planning thing--from the budget, to planning my shower, to what it really feels like to be a bridesmaid.  These ladies are the most wonderful, supportive friends I've ever had, and they all happen to be incredibly competent.  Lucky for you, lovely readers!

Today my lovely bridesmaid and old college roommate, Rachel, says some very sweet things about our budget and fundraiser idea.  She and her husband have been a HUGE support through this whole plan, and we can't thank them enough!

When Jordan told me last December that they planned to have a wedding for under $2,000, I can’t say I was surprised.  As her college roommate, I have a lot of firsthand experience with Jordan’s thriftiness, from the tacky needlepoint collection on the wall to the one-of-a-kind armchair in our living room.  Heck, even Penny was thrifted!  This girl not only loves a good bargain, but she loves the unique, eclectic, and personal.  While I had a hard time planning my own wedding on a larger budget (I was blessed that my parents funded my big day), I knew that Jordan would pull off something incredible on the budget she had chosen. 

It was not until Jordan told me about her and Daniel’s bigger plan for the wedding, however, that I realized how incredible that “something” would be. 

“You want to…WHAT?” 

They wanted to raise $25,000.  For other people.  While planning their wedding.

What a statement.  In a world where weddings have become a competition of who has the biggest ring, the best photographer, and the fanciest venue, Jordan and Daniel were intentionally taking the focus off of themselves.  When so many of us have forgotten that marriage is a sacrament of the Church, rather than a giant party, these two were using the wedding as a ministry opportunity. 

I truly could not be more proud to be part of a wedding. 

Really.  Ask all of my coworkers and classmates who’ve never met Jordan, but know all about her wedding.  I won’t stop talking about it.

As of now, the wedding is 89 days away, and $3,468 has been raised.  Considering that’s well over the entire wedding budget, that is incredible.  There is still a long way to go before reaching the $25,000 mark, but I’m not sure that achieving the ultimate numerical goal is what matters.

Jordan and Daniel decided to pursue this unique plan for their wedding because through prayer and patience, this is what they felt called to do.  Even if they don’t raise $25,000 by October, that does not take away from the lives they have already impacted.

I don’t just mean the refugees who are now able to receive an education, the homeless who have a free place to do their laundry, the sex trafficking victims who have a new generator in their shelter, or the Peruvians who are able to drink clean water. 

For me, the future Rocks have reminded me to live simply.  More importantly, they have reminded me about the purpose of marriage – to form a more effective ministry team and accomplish what you could not on your own.  What a message.


Monday, July 29, 2013

Weekend Recap: Yoga, Popcorn, and Invitations

This weekend was incredibly productive!  Daniel and I spent a good chunk of it sitting in front of my coffee table making our wedding invitations.  And we got them done--yayy!  Feels good to have such a hefty project out of the way, and I had the best time putting them together alongside my fiance.  There's a preview at the bottom of the post :)

We took a few breaks, too, for the sake of our sanity as well as our back muscles.  Leaning over a tedious project is hard on your body!  Speaking of taking care of our muscles, we've been trying to become more health-focused as a couple lately.  

For the past three weeks we've taken Penny on a long walk and done 30-45 minutes of yoga every evening after dinner.  And it has been wonderful!  We're both feeling stronger and more appreciative of all the small muscles that work together to help us move through life.  

Daniel was a little skeptical of the whole yoga thing at first, but after watching me do a short but intense video, he decided to give it a try.  IT IS NOT A WOMEN-ONLY WORKOUT, PEOPLE.  And he realized that quickly.  Yoga takes some serious strength, balance, and flexibility, and if you don't have those, it helps you develop them.  Plus it's SUPER relaxing because it's impossible to worry or feel anxious about anything else when you're so focused on breathing into each muscle as you work it out.  We're really enjoying feeling healthier together, and because of that, we decided to take it a step further with our eating habits.  We've been easing into eating much cleaner the past six or seven months, but today begins more discipline in that area.  We get married in 90 days, and as Daniel said last night after we finished a hardcore yoga abs workout, "We're going to look GOOD for the wedding."  Haha, hopefully!

Since we planned to start this clean eating deal today, we made sure to do one of our less healthy wedding popcorn experiments this weekend: SMORE'S POPCORN.  And OH MY YES was it GOOD.  (Super easy) recipe coming soon!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

At Home Haircut

Daniel's hair grows crazy fast.  To maintain the length he prefers, he'd need to get a haircut every two weeks.  I wish some of that would rub off on me for this whole growing my hair out for the wedding thing--booooo.

We've been really analyzing our salaries and working out creating a serious budget for the few months leading up to our wedding and our first few years of marriage.  We're setting goals on what we'd like to save and how--and that means cutting back on lots of silly spending and cutting out a lot of things completely.

Daniel has been asking me to cut his hair for a couple of years now, which would save him $20 plus every month.  I've cut several of his friends hair but have been too nervous to attempt his.  This is partially because his friends mostly had long, curly hair and I didn't risk accidentally cutting big bald spots in their heads, and Daniel's is very straight and fairly short.  I also really wouldn't want to make my future husband look like an idiot.  

But with all this budget talk, I decided to man up and break my shears out tonight.  
Here's the before and after:

We are both pretty pleased with how it turned out--he looks dang good! :)

Taking twenty minutes to cut Daniel's hair was a nice little break from putting together invitations, which consumed most of our weekend.  Photos of those in the next day or two!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

My Daily Reads for Inspiration

It's no secret I love to read.  However, since I graduated with an English degree, I haven't indulged in as much literature on a daily basis.  I do still read quite a bit every day, though, and I find much if not most of my inspiration through the stories and photos of other creative types.  If it weren't for blogs and positive publications like Darling Magazine, I wouldn't have come up with a lot of my DIY wedding ideas.  

But I don't just read these for wedding stuff--I find a lot of inspiration for how to be a better woman and live a more beautiful life in them. When I get stuck in a rut at work and need a little rush of fresh creativity, I pull up one of these publications:

There are tons of other great blogs and mags out there, but I didn't want to overload you.  Many of ^^these have a list of links I check often--I'd recommend doing a little exploring if you need a burst of inspiration!



Tuesday, July 23, 2013

My Dream Shower: Flower Potluck

My bridesmaids threw me the most beautiful personal shower Saturday afternoon.  I'd been dreaming of taking part in a flower potluck for a while, so finding a way to work it into the wedding plans was so exciting!  
We visited the Fayetteville Farmers Market Saturday morning and purchased big bundles of wildflowers on the cheap--the selection was the best I've seen there!  Katie and Charli arrived around 4 and we jumped right in to the whole PERSONAL part of the shower--opening presents. I got some very pretty...things, haha.  Thanks, ladies! :)  Then we played a few silly games before gathering around my dining room table to make our bouquets.

They turned out even more perfect than I had hoped they would, and I can't wait to see them in a few weeks after they've dried!  The ones my bridesmaids and I made will (hopefully) be our bouquets for the wedding--if they stay pretty enough.  

Either way, it was so much fun and I definitely recommend setting up a flower potluck with your best girl friends--it felt wonderful to just be creative and girly together!

Thank you, Nataley, Lizz, Rachel, Kali, Katie, and Charli for making Saturday so wonderful and making me feel so, so loved.  I love you girls!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Bachelorette Party: Glamping!

Oh man.  I had the BEST time with my BEST friends.  

My bridesmaids arrived Friday afternoon, and after losing track of time sitting in a little circle catching up in my living room, we headed out to Lake Wedington to set up camp.  And by set up camp I mean we carried our stuff from our cars into the cutest little cabin.  We spent the evening roasting hotdogs and marshmallows and just enjoying being together. Watching my worlds collide (Lizz, Nat, and I have known each other since we were itty bitty and Rachel and Kali were my best friends in college) was delightful.

We didn't get much sleep due to a few unwelcome guests rustling through food, the fireplace, and maybe the fridge.  After several hours of waking up every ten minutes to someone screaming, Nat and Lizz shined their phones, spotted a mouse and that was it, we were on our way back to my house--at 5:59 a.m. It will be a cherished memory, for sure.

^^Thanks, yucky mouse.  

It was a fantastic night, though.  
Also, who else can say they wore overalls to their bachelorette party?