As most of you know Avery and I are engaged! We are very excited to be planning our wedding, but have already encountered some issues. Avery and I are having a bit over a 2 year engagement. For us, this was the perfect way to let me finish up college and also to have a stress free wedding planning.
Stress free was not how it started at all. I am probably one of the most chill people you will ever meet when it comes to event planning. While I know what I want and what I like, I’m not the type to throw hissy-fits and tantrums if things don’t go exactly as planned. So, I’m writing this for all you future brides who are in my situation: Where everyone seems to have the panic-filled wedding fever… but you. My family and friends are amazing, phenomenal people who just want to help. Unfortunately they get a little overwhelmed too easily. Here is my step-by-step guide to surviving the chaos and maintaining the peace.
- Set down some ground rules: This is huge and can be really intimidating. You really need to tell everyone in your life to chill the fuck out and get the troops organized. Tell them exactly how you are feeling (stressed because of them) and that you want them to stop everything and listen to what you need from them. Whether that is to not spend money on this or to stop taking control of your wedding, take this one moment to have them take a step back.
- Create a Timeline: My number one problem is that everyone thinks I’m putting everything off until the last minute. This is where your timeline really comes in handy. Not only do you probably already have one, but it shows them that you have your crap together. For me, my timeline is fairly spaced out and I have a bunch of things already checked off. Simply sharing this information makes a lot of loved ones realize that you do in fact have your shit together.
- Assign Roles: This may seem like overkill, but this is one of my strengths. I gave everyone who was overly-excited a project to do for me. It let me turn their chaotic energy into something productive. For my best friend and bridesmaid who is great with Pinterest, I gave her a theme and a board and said “Go Crazy!”. My mom who seemed to be exceedingly concerned that I was putting everything off? I gave her the task of researching venues. She is great at pro and con lists and within a few weeks of looking we found exactly what we wanted. Now any projects that come up with research go straight to her. This way I’m less stressed, everyone else feels involved, and the wedding keeps moving forward.
The Pinterest Board just for my pin-happy friends.
- Remember that they love you: So, most importantly, if you’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed in the center of attention, your loved ones are doing this because they care about you and your happiness. They want to see this whole event go off without a hitch as much as you. If your mom really wants to go dressing shopping as soon as possible, maybe go browse with her sooner than you planned. While this is your wedding, remember to cherish the important moments and don’t start fights just because they are putting too much on you. Take a step back, a deep breathe, talk to them, and then give them a hug.
What is your number one tip for stress-free wedding planning?
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With the first flowers blooming and green showing, spring is here! I love the weather right now with lots of variety, but warm enough for just sweaters. Avery and I are big fans of winter and snow, but we are quite exuberant to see the new opportunities that spring will bring us. Avery and I definitely have a long history of dating which you can check out a bit more here, but without further ado let me share with you some my favorite affordable spring dates!
- Picnics! Okay everyone has heard of this one, but it is such a nice classic. I have a blanket that I use just for picnics and it is one of those dates that you really control how much you spend. I love cooking so it keeps us from going out to lunch and spending more money. Plus you get more privacy and space in a park than at a restaurant.
- I will say Avery and I love asian food. He will tell you I have an obsession with sushi and it is so true. So one of my favorite things on this planet it bento boxes. They are great for picnics and very affordable lunch boxes. I totally recommend checking out the one below for an affordable and stylish upgrade from tupperware.
- This bento box is great with removable compartments, chopsticks, and dishwasher and microwave safe! Click on the picture for a link to buy it.
- Plant a garden! Spring is the perfect time to try something new and if you have never had a garden you definitely need to start one. If you love fresh vegetables and herbs, you should really try it out. It is really fun spending the time together picking out what you want and how it will look. Bonus the little bit of cost comes back in saving from the produce. If you life in the city like I currently do start a major jar herb garden! Super adorable and great for adding a little freshness to your home, plus you will have a great time trying to keep it alive together.
- Explore a local city! I don’t know about anyone else, but I’ve been in my college town for three years and have barely seen any of it. Spend a day in the beautiful spring weather and get lost window shopping and trying new cafes. Just make sure to charge your phone so you can find your way home when you’re done!
- Try a new outdoor hobby together! So running and biking were the bane of my existence for a long time. Avery changed a lot of that for me and now I would love to try going for a run with him or a biking adventure. It is a great alternative to spending money and the bonus of getting a workout in (especially when you have a wedding coming up) is awesome.
- Visit a local Farmer’s Market! Okay, so Avery and I are obviously involved in our country roots. I love visiting the farmer’s market just to get to see all the fresh veggies. As spring hits full force you will find fresh spinach, eggs, and other goodies galore. You can choose to just walk through and chat and learn about what they are doing, or you can get some treats for the week. This is great if you struggle with your green thumb or space to have a real garden.
- Have a Spring Cooking Challenge! This is great if you actually just went to the farmer’s market and came back with a bunch of stuff. Compete against each other to make the best dish using what you came home with. The extra challenge? Put a spending limit on the ingredients. You will have a great time cooking and eating together. Plus at the end of the day you might have a special new recipe to add to your daily life.
- Watch the Sunrise or Sunset! With warmer weather I just find myself gravitating towards being outside. Plan a special occasion to watch the sky burst full of colors. Most people will tell you that they love watching the sunset, but I love watching the sunrise with Avery. It just is a really amazing way to start our mornings together.
For my love of sunrises, this was a really beautiful sunset!
- Have a cookout with friends and family! As much as I love being alone with Avery, I also really love my friends and family. Plan a nice day where everyone gets together for a potluck! Just make sure everyone brings a dish to pass. Bonus points if you can pull a grill out!
- Attend a free festival or event! With warm weather comes community activities. There is plenty out there to check out so find some near you. They tend to come with free entertainment and some times even free food!
- Try Swing Dancing! There is an awesome community in my area that does swing dancing once a week that is 100% free with free lessons! Find one near you or make your own. It is a phenomenal time and swing dancing is easy and fun. Most people start planning outdoors ones, so trying something new!
What is your favorite spring date? Do you plan to try any of these?
Last week I talked about the long distance relationship that Avery and I have (post here). I wanted to discuss some of the ways we overcame the distance challenge. When it comes to LDRs or just relationships in general if you’re not writing letters and notes to your loved ones you’re missing out. Think about the last time you actually received something sweet in the mail or on your desk. The fact that someone took the time to send anything at all is flattering, but when it is evident that it took a little more time and thought to put it together, it becomes so much more meaningful and fun.
It doesn’t really take a lot to get started and you can get really creative with it. Avery and I started by sending weekly or biweekly letters just chatting about our weeks and saying how we missed each other. We would talk about anything under the sun. One day though the games began. Avery started it all by sending me drawings. Let me share with you a little secret… he can’t draw to save his life. I died laughing when he drew me a picture of a pie (an ongoing joke and a story for another day). He even sent me an adorable child like drawing of a house and two stick figures of us with a puppy. It probably seems mean that I laughed, but it was so him and I was so happy that I put them up all over my walls. My friends would wander in and ask what the heck that was about and it cheered me up to tell stories.
Every time he would send me something new, I sent him something different too! My letters started coming with little origami stars that when he unrolled them had a little motivational quote or I love you on it. When he sent postcards, I would send open when… letters. I nearly died from laughter when I got a card that said “thinking of you” just to open it and see it said naked. It was all about making each other smile and sharing the love.
To this day I have my favorite pictures and letters in a special little box that I can look at every time I miss him. Some of them are three years old and yet I still have them. We haven’t sent letters so much any more because we are not as far apart, but that habit has translated into new things for us. I created a little notebook with memories and photos as a gift for him. We leave little notes and gifts for each other (yes, Avery the soft pretzels count as my present to you every time I make them). Writing letters built a foundation in our relationship that I value deeply. It taught us to make time for each other, to care for each other, and to find joy in the littlest of things. If you’re not writing letters to your significant other, even if you live together, you’re missing out on the opportunity do something really special together.
So, what is your favorite thing to send to your significant other?