When Your Best Friend Gets Married

Our Fourth of July weekend included fireworks of another variety – those of LOVE!

Okay, enough with the cheesiness. But my best friend got married on July 5 and the holiday weekend was full of wedding festivities and fun! Are you ready for a picture heavy post? This is a short wedding photo recap of the wedding weekend. I hope to share more with you soon!

The wedding was held at the gorgeous Farm at Eagle’s Ridge.

Saturday was a beautiful, warm but not too hot, sunny day. The venue is an old restored farm-house and farm on immaculate grounds with a fully renovated barn, corn crib, and 1800’s stone farm-house. There are a few glistening ponds and lovely areas to meander around and to enjoy the countryside.  It was such a beautiful and perfect wedding.

I know how much work and stress Kay Marie put into her day, but the wedding day went by as if it was all effortless and natural. She was a beautiful and calm bride and I was so honored to stand by her side as her matron of honor. 

On Friday, July 4 we woke up bright and early to unseasonably chilly weather and rain for a morning rehearsal. We stomped around the muddy grounds and I cried a few tears watching the bride walk down the aisle with her father in the rain. Better to have rain on the rehearsal day then on the wedding day, correct?

After the rehearsal the sun started to shine and we enjoyed a lovely rehearsal lunch in town. Here are all of the bridesmaids ready to spring into action with the bride! Bridesmaids at Rehearsal Day Lunch

After the rehearsal lunch all the girls headed back to my house for an afternoon of baking cupcakes. On of the bridesmaids graciously offered to bake ALL of  cupcakes for the 180 guest wedding. After opening some awesome bridesmaids gifts we got started on baking! wedding cupcake baking wedding cupcake prep

After the cupcakes were baked and all nicely iced and decorated, it was time for everyone to get some beauty sleep.  We all met again at 9:45 am Saturday to get beautified at the hair salon. Who doesn’t like to get pampered with mimosas in hand? wedding day mimosas at the salon christy wedding day hair  getting hair done for wedding

Once we all had beautiful updos done we headed over to the venue to get our airbrush make up done. airbrush makeup for wedding

And now it was go time!!! I’ll let the rest of the pictures do the talking for themselves. I can’t wait to see the professional photographs, but until then my personal photos and those taken by Ryan will have to do!

beautiful bride Bride and Matron of Honor Wedding matron of honor and best man ww26 groom waiting for his bride back of wedding dress vows first kiss first kiss at wedding day ryan and katie at wedding ww39 ryan and katie wedding guests first dance   first dance barn wedding matron of honor toast father daughter dance rustic wedding signs bridesmaids father daughter dance lovely bride and groomxoxo Katie

“Blind” First Look and Wedding Gifts (wedding recap #4)

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I only have a few days left before celebrating our one year anniversary and these wedding recaps may have to spread out after June 2 as I have more to share and document for memory’s sake. So if you’re not one for wedding and sentimental talk this week may not be your week at my blog, or ever really since I’m the most sentimental person I know.

I’ve shared my wedding theme and details, my dress and number one wedding dress advice, and my last wedding post recapped my rehearsal day, mini disaster and all. Today I wanted to talk about the moments leading up to when we said “I Do”. 

Sunday June 2, 2013. I woke up bright and early on my wedding day, a ball of nerves. I was worried about the weather above all else. There was a 85% chance that it was going to rain. My entire wedding was outside….

Me, the bridesmaids, and our moms all went to the salon at 9:00 a.m. to start the beautification process. In between checking the weather on my phone every 5 minutes, I got my hair done and my air brush make up applied and sipped Mimosas. As our wedding was on a Sunday we had the entire salon, which was a Victorian mansion, to ourselves. It was a lot of fun.

wedding day salon prep   wedding prep abla
wedding prep salon
wedding day prep salon with moh
As we drove to the venue it started to sprinkle, just a tiny bit. I crossed my fingers that this was all the rain that would be happening that day. 

At the venue we girls quickly ate our lunch and then started to get dressed. All 5 bridesmaids and my mom and Ryan’s mom got dressed in about twenty minutes.

gettting ready 

getting ready
Then it was my turn. It took about 30 minutes to get three people to strap me into my gown. After doing some final touches we ventured outside to take some fun bridesmaid photos.

getting dressed wedding

Luckily no rain yet! I tried to focus on everything that was going on, but everything was so overwhelming, I just kept smiling full force, through my nerves. 

After getting some gorgeous bridesmaid photos we were ushered inside and sequestered into the “bride’s house” on the property. (There was a bride’s house and a groom’s house on the property, very cool.) Ryan and the groomsmen were arriving soon and we had to be out of sight to avoid the faux pas of Ryan seeing me before the ceremony. (I wanted to follow all the traditional rules). 

We poured some Mimosas and I tried to relax while we waited. Weddings are a lot like holidays, a lot of rushing around to just sit and wait. And be anxious. 

mimosas right before the wedding

After I practiced my vows, had some girl talk, and checked the weather five hundred more times, Ryan’s Dad came and escorted me outside for a special pre ceremony meeting with Ryan, where we wouldn’t actually see each other.

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Since we decided to follow tradition and not see each other before the ceremony, we found a way to have a romantic rendezvous where we could hold hands, exchange love notes, and give each other that little extra piece of private encouragement before saying “I Do” in front of everyone. We were both highly nervous, not about our commitment, but about being the center of attention. 

The “blind” first look was perfect for us.

blind first look wedding
Ryan’s normally gruff and non sentimental father tenderly walked me up a hill toward one of the barns on the farm. Ryan was hidden away inside of the barn while the photographer set me up on one side of the large barn door. Once I was situated, Ryan quietly made is way out of the barn and to his side of the door. I blindly reached my hand over and we gave each other an encouraging squeeze.

I felt his energy and his love and after all of the stress of the day and worry about the weather, I was instantly reminded that this was what it was all about. We exchanged our notes, shed some tears, and had a perfect moment. 

Our awesome photographer caught the entire experience on film. 

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Ryan and I then went back to our separate houses and finished any last wedding prep. During this time my maid of honor delivered my wedding gift to Ryan and Ryan’s best man delivered Ryan’s gift to me. Wedding gifts are just one of those  traditions that have lately gotten way out of control. When we first started wedding planning we decided that our vows and commitment were gift enough (also the honeymoon!). But we still wanted to exchange heart-felt gifts that were under $40 each. 

Ryan gifted me an adorable necklace with a heart and key pendant that has an engraving that says “My Heart Is Locked To All But You”.

wedding gift

wedding day gift

I gifted Ryan and pocket watch engraved with “I Will Love You Til The End of Time” as well as a journal that I had kept over the last three-month. In the journal I had written Ryan a letter/entry for every day from March 1 – June 2.

wedding gift journal

groom gift pocket watch

They were both perfect.

As I gushed over the thoughtfulness of my husband, my friends alerted me to the fact that the string quartet had started to play and the guests were finding their seats.

bride checking on guests
It was time to go. I was going to be getting married in the next hour! The sun was shining and there was no rain. We were going to make it through the ceremony! We weren’t going to have to scramble and move everything inside the tent. Thank goodness!

I had to remind myself to breathe as my mom and maid of honor helped me down the stairs.

My mom and I had a final moment together before she was whisked off to start her walk down the aisle with her father. We shed some light tears over the fact I was wearing the necklace my Nanny (her mother) gave me. It was a delicate gold chain with 5 pearls. She gave me one pearl of each year of my life, she passed when I was 6. We were both wishing she was there.

wedding day necklace mother and daugher
After she left my dad arrived and I held on tightly to his hand.  The day we had been waiting for since December, and since I was a little girl was happening. (also the sun was shining and there was not a drop of rain!). Let’s do this! 

…to be continued. 

xoxo Katie
 

5 Tips To Stay Stress Free While Wedding Planning

wedding
Wedding season is officially upon us! Exactly one year ago I was in a constant mode of anxiety and excitement, jumping through many hoops and putting out many fires. Yes, last May I was deep in the final stages of wedding planning. As I survived and enjoyed a very lovely and beautiful wedding day, I thought I’d share some tips with brides to be on how to stay calm and less stressed in the weeks leading up to your wedding day.

There’s no doubt that the time surrounding a woman’s wedding day is equally one of the most stressful and exciting times in her life. After a quick 6-month engagement, my husband and I got married last June. It was a beautiful day but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I endured my fair share of stress and anxiety throughout those 6 months.

Stress and bride are two words that inevitably go together. No matter how carefully you plan or how organized you are, there never seems to be enough time to get everything done. You feel like you’re riding an endless emotional rollercoaster as you deal with the stress and the pressure from vendors, money, family, the wedding party, and all of the upcoming change.

Here are 5 tips to help brides stay stress free during wedding planning:

1. Learn To Delegate Tasks
Weddings take A LOT of work. Do not feel like you have to take it all on by yourself. This was hard for me. Too often I felt like no one else would do it as good as me or that I’d be bothering people by asking them to help. Wrong and wrong! Once I got over it, I realized a lot of people were willing to help.
Split up tasks and delegate small jobs to bridesmaids, your fiancé, family, and other friends. They’ll be happy to be a part of executing your big day!

2. Schedule Date Nights (where no wedding talk is allowed)
Be sure to schedule in some alone time for you and your fiancé. Go out, have fun, let loose, and force yourself to not talk about the wedding. This will help the two of you to stay connected and learn to lean on each other – remember, the big day is about the two of you and the celebration of your life long commitment and love for each other! It’s supposed to be fun!

3. Get Organized!
This may sound like a given, but being truly organized with to-do lists and spreadsheets will help you remain put together and not question if you are forgetting anything important. Even if you hate lists – now is the time to start making them! There are hundreds of tasks, items to remember, and budgets to make. I found it helpful to break down the wedding day tasks into categories and make separate folders with their own lists and spreadsheets for each category. Think: Caterer, Florists, Decorations, Music, Wedding Party etc. This helps to not feel so overwhelmed by the magnitude of things to do.

4. Take Care Of Yourself
Schedule some “me time” and be sure to use it to relax and take care of yourself. Continue to exercise and eat healthy, book a massage, shop for the honeymoon, and get enough sleep. Do any activity that makes you feel relaxed and human. It’s easy to lose yourself amidst all of the stress.

5. Lastly, remember, only you will know if something little goes awry
I get it; I worried painfully about every last detail. I spent so much time designing and selecting every element of my wedding – from the flowers, to the centerpieces, to the escort cards, to the tuxes and dresses. Panic attacks woke me up in the middle of the night on a regular basis. The idea of one of my table settings to turn out not exactly as I imagined drove me mad.

In all honesty, no one else will ever notice or care if something small goes wrong. People are there to witness your love and to enjoy a good party. At the end of the day no one will remember most of the small details.

I nearly died when I discovered our tux rental place had messed up our order and did not have enough of the blush ties I wanted each of the groomsmen to wear. Tears were shed. In the end, the groomsmen wore cream ties and looked just as lovely.

People are going to remember how much of a good time they had and how beautiful you looked, not what shade of white paper the table settings were printed on.

Your wedding day is a day set aside to celebrate you and your love. Once you get as organized as you can, try not to sweat the small stuff and to enjoy every moment. A tremendous amount of pressure is put on weddings, but it’s only one day out of your entire life. The day is going to go by in the blink of an eye, be present in the moment and enjoy the specialness of the day.

wedding abla
 

This post was originally published on Married To The Game

xoxo Katie
 

 

Tissue Paper Tassel Garland Tutorial

diy tissue paper garland
Tissue Paper Tassel Garlands – the ones taking over Etsy and blogland, are a great way to add a  little extra charm and whimsy to any holiday or event are so simple and CHEAP to make at home! You can customize it to any size and color and they easily mix in with other decor. 

abaltissuepapertasslegarland1

I’m here to share a tutorial, perfect for any party, bridal or baby shower, or holiday decor. These garlands are everywhere these days and I never knew how easy it was to make my own.

Awhile back I decided to make a garland for my best friend’s bridal shower that I hosted earlier in May. Just for curiosity sake I did a basic search on Etsy to see how much it would be to buy one. As soon as I saw that they would cost me around $30.00 I knew there was no turning back. I was going to make my own! I was not going to pay over $15 for something made out of tissue paper and something that would potentially arrive to me bent or torn.

Making my own was the only way to go! Here is the one I made for the shower on display at the Mimosa Bar! It got rave reviews and many people just assumed it was purchased. 

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That way I could pick out the perfect colors as well and make it exactly how I wanted it to look. I created a video as I know I learn best visually, especially on small scale paper projects. Please be in touch below in the comments if you have any questions!  

What you will need:


tools needed

  • Tissue paper in various colors
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Hot Glue Gun
  • String/Twine/Ribbon/Cord to string the tassels on to be hung from.


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Some Tips:

  • Make sure to cut all of your strands in the same width.
  • Use the ruler to hold up the already cut tassels so they are out of your way. 

ruler on paper

  •  After rolling up the tasselled paper you have to twist the middle part. (this section was hard to see on the video). Simply twist the paper and wrap the twisted portion around itself until it forms a loop. Then secure the loop together with hot glue.
  • The metallic paper looks AWESOME but is extremely hard to cut. It easily tears on its own, almost instantly (think of a thin pretzel or chip bag that tears open down the side after you rip it open). What I did to make it easier: tape the top and sides of the paper down as I was cutting the strips.
  • Evenly measure out the distance between the tassels on the cord.

If you make your own, I’d love to see pictures of your garlands! Please share on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram with #ablatasselgarland


shower5
ablatissuepapergarland2

This post was originally published as a guest post on Mr. Thomas and Me
xoxo Katie

“Love Birds” Bridal Shower

It’s Wedding Season!

This past Sunday I was honored to host my best and oldest friends Bridal Shower. As soon as she got engaged I began planning this day, wanting every detail to be perfect and precious. I was experiencing some post wedding blues at the closure of my wedding celebrations, knowing that I had her shower planning to look forward to made me so happy.

Love Birds Bridal Shower Kay Marie the Bride
Love Birds Bridal Shower, bridesmaids
Everything about the shower except for the time and the venue was kept a secret. Do you know how hard it was to keep all my ideas, planning, and crafting under wraps for the past year? With the help and major support of the other bridesmaids we pulled off a beautiful shower with many happy guests and an extremely happy and blushing bride. 

My best friend, Kay Marie loves birds and all things little and precious. The only logical theme to me was “Love Birds”. I wanted to evoke a whimsical rustic feeling with teal and orange being the main colors. With the theme in place, everything else soon fell into place.

Love Birds invite, bridal shower
We held the event at an art gallery which provided a romantic yet eclectic setting. The art that was presently displayed in the gallery was all Beatles themed. Although not woodsy or bird related, I was still please. I mean, who doesn’t love The Beatles?

Love Birds bridal shower art gallery room
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It was fun to pick out all of the specific linens and decorations and to really design the whole event. Every last detail was carefully selected with love. Check out these precious bird candles I found to use as favors. They were THE perfect color!

Love Birds favors bridal shower

I created a “Mimosa Bar” allowing guests to create their own mimosa’s mixing juice and fruit. This was so fun to plan and was a hit with everyone! I’ve never opened so many bottles of champagne in my life! 

Mimosa Bar bridal shower
Mimosa Bar bridal shower
mimosa bar bridal shower

I love my DIY tassel garland displayed behind the mimosa bar. So easy and affordable to make! Look for a tutorial soon. 

One of my fellow bridesmaids is a fabulous chef. She selfishly volunteered to plan the menu and cook all of the food. She came into town on Friday and I and another girl acted as her sous chefs all weekend as she took over my kitchen. Even though it was a lot of work, the food was all delicious and had that extra special ingredient, hand-made by a close friend. Everyone was raving about the food. 

The menu included  minted berry salad with candied walnuts, a chocolate fruit display (a la edible arrangements), caprese skewers, cheese, brie en croute, spinach dip, meatballs, crab cakes, mini mac and cheeses, Quiche Lorraine, macaroons, lavender lemon cupcakes and shortbread cookies. 

Bridal shower food
love birds bridal shower food
love birds bridal shower desserts
love birds bridal shower cupcakes and bird cookies
bridal shower cheese

We entertained with several fun games and activites including an “Off Limits” bracelet game, our version of The Newlywed Game, and a Wishing Tree. 

off limits bridal shower game

wishing tree bridal shower, love birds theme

wishing tree love birds themed bridal shower

wishing tree, bridal shower, advice cards


It was a beautiful day and three days later I’m still glowing from it. I always find it so heart warming and wonderful to have all of the women you are closest to in your life gather together for you and support you. There was so much love in the room on Sunday, it was truly . Kay Marie you are loved. I’m so excited for this next stage of your life!

Here are a few more photos of this fabulous day! 


kay playing the newlywed game at bridal shower
playing the newlywed game at bridal shower
maid of honor and bride at bridal shower
bridesmaids posing at bridal shower
bridal shower
bridal shower stuf muffin dog shirt
bridal shower gift
bridal shower gift
bridal shower gift
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bridesmaids and bride being silly love birds bridal shower
bridesmaids at love birds bridal shower
Love Birds Bridal Shower
love birds bridal shower
love birds bridal shower
Bride and Mother of the Bride
Love Birds Bridal Shower Garland
love birds bridal shower, bride and groom
xoxo Katie

The Day Before the Big Day

rehearsal day katie and ryan wedding

Oh my, how time flies. I can’t believe that we are approaching our one year wedding anniversary in just a little over a month. I promised myself that I would do a total recap of our wedding and I’ve only managed to give a one or two peaks into the beautiful day. 

But back to the wedding.  I love all wedding related topics – even a year after my planning is complete, I can be found going gaga over centerpieces, stationary, and stalking other people’s wedding photos. So other wedding fanatics out there, I hope you find entertainment in my recap. Otherwise, it will be a nice way for me to remember every element of June 2, 2013. 

The one thing I love about this blog is that it serves as a lovely digital photo album, a time piece for me to look back on in the years ahead for not only me but for our future children. I’m sure this blog will exist as a source of giggles and a way to make fun of their dear old mom while also showing them my true heart.

So, with that introduction, let me tell you about the day before our big day, otherwise known as the Rehearsal Day. 

Ryan and I woke up on Saturday June 1 with more nervousness than excitement. The wedding weekend was finally here! All the details and all the work we had been slaving over was finally coming to fruition! We were to be at the wedding venue at 10 for the rehearsal and to run through last-minute items with the venue. 

I was a nervous wreck. I can honestly say that I was more nervous on Saturday than I was on the actual wedding day on Sunday. I was nervous that none of the wedding party was going to be on time. I was worried that the terrible heat wave was going to put people in grumpy moods. I was worried people were going to be complaining about things. I was worried the musicians weren’t going to show. I was mostly worried about other people. It took me nearly all day to realize I should only be worrying about myself and Ryan. 

And of course, everything at the rehearsal went fine. Everyone was on time. Everyone was smiling. And some umbrellas and endless bottles of water helped the heat situation. I made these helpful schedules detailing the wedding weekend events in case anyone forgot anything or needed addresses or phone numbers.

wedding weekend schedule abla

I also pulled my bridezilla card and declared the next 48 hours to be complain free. (gotta use my powers for good, right?!)

Everything was happening so quickly. I had barely hugged my out-of-town bridesmaids hello before I found myself holding my dad’s hand and being directed at how to walk down the aisle. 

Cue the tears. I squeezed his hand and looked into his tear filled eyes and listened as he said, “ok, let’s do this!” Because my dad is the most adorable dad ever, we had, on his insistence, practiced our “walk”. Through happy tears, we did our walk down the aisle while I held my lovely bouquet made from ribbons from the packages received at my bridal shower. I forgot about everyone else and just focussed on my dad and Ryan. This was happening. 

wedding rehearsal with dad
hot wedding rehearsal
Rehearsal 1 Soon the rehearsal was over. The groomsmen and the bridesmaids said our goodbyes and went out separate ways. The men went to get their tuxes while the girls went to get their nails done. We’d meet up again later at night for the rehearsal dinner. It was fun time!

After getting manis and pedis all my bridesmaids and my mom had a lovely lunch together. While I was happily sipping on my mimosa and chatting with the girls my mom got THE phone call. As she sat directly across the table from me, she nervously answered the phone with, “What’s wrong Ryan.” 

I was in panic mode instantly. Why was Ryan calling my mom and not me? What could be wrong? Is he having cold feet? Did something terrible happen?

Turns out that our tuxedo rental company completely screwed up our order. Months earlier, in February we had spent an entire day driving around town selecting the tuxes. We settled on a grey suit with lovely blush ties. The colors looked heavenly together.

When the groomsmen arrived to pick up their suits. They were all given baby blue ties. Baby blue! A color that is not remotely close to the pale blush color we had carefully selected. They tried to pass off an awful bubblegum pink tie to Ryan. He was calling my mom to see if this was okay. I quickly stole the phone and ran into the hallway. I proceed to yell and cry. How couldn’t something this big go wrong in their systems? Here I was crying to my husband the day before my wedding. Over ties.

What made me the most upset was the complete blase attitude the tux company had over the entire situation. Yes, in the scheme of things, ties are not a big deal. But this is a company that is in the wedding business, they know all the stress, and time, and not to mention money that goes into every detail. After a few back and forth phone calls it was discovered that the suit company had 3 blush ties that we could use. We decided that Ryan, my dad, and Ryan’s dad would wear the blush ties and all the other men would wear ivory ties. In the end, no one but us would know the difference. 

The show must go on. I told myself that if this was the worst thing that happened then it wasn’t so bad. 

After our interrupted lunch we headed back to my house to get freshened up before the rehearsal dinner. It was a lovely evening full of fun toasts and gifts. We gave the groomsmen fun mustache beer mugs and I gifted the bridesmaids with the jewelry that they would be wearing at the wedding. I gifted the mothers with their own special jewelry. Everyone enjoyed winding down with drinks and telling old stories. I loved having this last intimate meal to celebrate with my closest friends and family before the big day. 

rehearsal dinner walsh family
bridesmaids at rehearsal

groomsmen rehearsal

dad and mom at rehearsal dinner

Ryan and I decided to hold with tradition and to not sleep in the same house or see each other before the wedding. He went and spent that night at the hotel that his parents were staying in while I went back to our house for a sleepover with some of my bridesmaids.

My girlfriends sat around with me and let me practice my vows in front of them. I couldn’t say them with a straight face. How was I going to do this tomorrow? We got rid of some wedding night nerves by taking a long walk around the golf course that we live on. At night, I lied in bed next to my best friend since seventh grade. We had grown up together and had helped each other through all our growing pains. Once she fell asleep I lied awake and cried happy tears.

Tomorrow was an end of an era and the start of something new and beautiful. 

Return next week to read about our actual wedding day including our vows, music, and more! 

What are your favorite things about weddings? 

xoxo Katie