Friday, August 30, 2013

Fancy Friday Love: Dream Honeymoons

Well, it's the last special edition of Fancy Friday Love. This week I'm sharing some of my dream honeymoon spots. If we had an unlimited budget and time, these are the cities I would love to hit up with B...


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What is your dream honeymoon spot? I'd love to hear about all of your big travel dreams!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Choosing our Honeymoon

When it came to choosing our honeymoon destination, B and I had a pretty hard time. We both have a love of travel and we both have a lot on our travel wish list. As much as we want to see everything, we had to keep our small budget in mind, while still treating ourselves to the vacation time alone that we craved. 

We were working with a travel agent at Flight Centre to plan it and from the start we jumped around all over. My dream honeymoon destination is Greece - with a visit to Santorini an obvious stop. We also played with the idea of visiting Barcelona during that trip - how great would that have been?


Santorini, Greece
{Photos via here, here, here and here}

Barcelona, Spain
{Photos via here and here}

Unfortunately, no matter which way we twisted things a trip like that would've been too far outside of our budget. We daydreamed a little more, and then got realistic and decided we could save those cities for another day... or year. 

We also touched base on Croatia - though we never did get a quote from our travel agent. We know it's a beautiful country with a lot to explore and experience. Croatia is definitely a place we would like to see, but we will probably save for a longer trip where we can experience as much of the country as possible in one go. 

At the end of the day we wanted to go somewhere where we could enjoy some walking time, some good food and some great beer, after all we are all about food when we travel. Of course there are many, many places we could have picked, but we finally ended up choosing Scotland.

Glasgow
{via here}

So, why Scotland? I am madly in love with the UK! I've been to England twice, and just can't get enough. Of course, that love has also implanted in me a strong desire to see more of the area - including Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Scotland has been high on my list for a while, and we have already visited Ireland (though it was Dublin - not part of the UK) so in a way it was a bit of a no brainer. B was on board as well, just thinking of all of the great Scotch he'll be able to try.

Our plans are to spend the first few nights at the very posh Cameron House in Loch Lomond. There will be lots of relaxing (including a spa day and a sunset cruise on the Loch), eating and drinking, as well as exploring the area. I know we'll enjoy our walks in the area. From there we will head to Glasgow and spend the remainder of our nights at the Fraser Suites. We'll be squeezing in a day trip to Edinburgh as well (we were going to make it a couple of days in the city, but it actually increased the cost of the trip by well over $1,000 and a day trip set us back roughly $30). 

We're slowly planning some of the stuff we want to see and do, while still leaving ourselves enough wiggle room to just explore and "get lost" in the places we visit. I even joined a "deal of the day" website for Glasgow and scored us 3 pretty great deals on restaurants! 

I can't wait to share all the details of our exciting trip! I know it will be hard to be away from Halle, but B and I so need this time for just the two of us. 

So - how did you pick your honeymoon destination? Did you get the honeymoon of your dreams, or did you have to plan something else because of budget constraints? What was your favourite part and/or memory from your honeymoon, and if you could do it all over again - would you do it any differently? Go ahead - DISH!

Monday, August 26, 2013

B's Wedding Gift

I'm a planner. I love making lists and organizing things and for the most part having a general idea of what to expect (I'm partial to surprises). I'd say the most extreme example of this would be B's wedding gift from me. B's gift was a DIY project that I have been putting together for the past (almost) 6 years. Um, what? That sounds a little insane, right? Let me explain.

For those unaware, B and I met online in July of 2007. I had just graduated University, had been in and out of some pretty bad and/or lame relationships and was pretty jaded when it came to dating. At the time I wasn't looking for anything, but somehow we found one another. We spent a little over a month talking when we decided to meet, and less than three months from our first online exchange I hopped on a plane and spent my 22nd Birthday weekend with him in NYC. So, now I sound more insane - right? Well, let me explain further.

NYC 2007


Clearly, I knew when I was booking that flight that there was something different about him. For the first time in a long time I trusted someone. We spent hours everyday emailing and chatting (both online and on the phone). Those hours we logged really helped us to know one another without anything physical getting in the way. He made me laugh, and I finally found someone that I felt I could truly be me around. I could tell he had strong family values, and he never gave me any reason to think that I would regret my choice to fly to New York. Of course I received criticism and extreme reactions from my family and friends, but I had safety nets in place and I knew deep down that I would regret not going. 

We spent an incredible weekend together and when I flew back to Toronto, I couldn't believe it was all happening to me. Was I starting another long distance relationship? Was I really going to open myself up like this again? Yes, I was and I knew I had to. When I arrived home that night, I took out a pen and paper and wrote a letter to B. That letter shared how I felt and things that happened that weekend. Excuse me for being vague, but I sealed the letter after I wrote it, dated the envelope and put it away.


Letters Wedding Gift

For the next year I wrote to B almost every single month. Sharing feelings, hopes, dreams, milestones in our relationship and anything else that came to mind. Since that first year letters became less frequent, but they always touched on the same sort of topic. Today, I have 36 letters, tucked away in a box that B's Mom gave me for this exact purpose. 


Letters Wedding GiftLetters Wedding Gift

This personal documentation of our relationship and love is my gift to B. Little memories and moments, all of the reasons why I love him and even the ways we found the strength to pull through some of our hardest times. 


Letters Wedding Gift

I hope that this gift is something that B and I will share together for the rest of our lives as a reminder of where we started and how hard we have worked to keep our love alive. After all, we learned so much about putting in the effort during that first year that spent long distance. 


Letters Wedding Gift

Did you exchange wedding gifts with your significant other on your wedding day? Did you go big, or did you give them something small and sentimental? I'd love to hear what other's did to make their special day!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Fancy Friday Love: Cakes & Toppers

Happy Friday! This Friday is all about sweet with my favourite cakes and cake toppers! Check 'em out...


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Who doesn't love pretty cakes!? I do, but I couldn't decide and we've been to a few weddings who opted not to do cakes... and loved it! I can't wait to share what we decided to do with you AFTER our big day! What did you do for desserts for your big day? What's the best dessert you ever had!? I can't wait to hear!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

My Kind of DIY Affair

I'm so happy to have Amelia here today to share her wedding with you! It means a lot to me to have other DIY brides share their special day with you. You know, ladies who can relate to the kind of stress I feel with all of the planning! Here's Amelia's look at her special day...

I'm Amelia from House Pretty Blog and I'm thrilled to be guest posting for Kerry while she focuses on her wedding! I had my own DIY wedding two years ago, so I thought I'd share some photos and details from the day.


The Venue + Invitations

We knew we wanted a casual backyard wedding, so we were thrilled when my husband's parents agreed to host our big day at their lakeside home. We asked some talented friends to design our invitations, which we screenprinted ourselves. I saved one to include in a wedding shadowbox project - along with one of our pocket-sized DIY programs - and I still love looking at it two years later!


Attire, Hair + Make-up

I bought my dress online for only $150 (courtesy of a big Bloomingdales' sale) and had it altered. My husband took advantage of a 2 for 1 deal and bought his suit instead of renting a tux. It was more costly, but now he has three really nice suits to choose from for special events (that's a lot of suits for a musician!). My bridesmaids and I got our hair done at my favourite salon and did our make-up ourselves.


Decorations + Favours

I made what felt like a million tissue paper pom-poms, which my bridesmaids and a few friends faithfully fluffed. I also made tissue paper dahlia favours, but unlike Martha's, I filled each "flower" with five jordan almonds, symbolizing five wishes for the bride and groom - health, wealth, happiness, fertility and longevity. My favourite DIY was the guestbook - I cut out pieces of cardstock for guests to write messages on and tape into the book with washi tape. We received some really sweet and funny messages and I'm so glad we have this memento of the day.




Food + Drink

We opted for a "dressed up BBQ" over a traditional seated meal. We set up several different seating areas around the lawn, along with four high-top tables. I really liked how this allowed guests to mingle and chat, and it made the event feel more like a party than a "reception" - exactly what we wanted to achieve. A talented chef friend put on an amazing spread, which both vegetarians (that's us) and meat-eaters raved about. For dessert, friends made delicious cupcakes (which I decorated with my DIY heart toppers) and a variety of pies - both options were a big hit with our guests. In addition to a self-serve wine station (friends designed those awesome labels), guests could grab beer, soda and water out of an ice-filled canoe.




Music + Photography

Adam's bandmates and a friend played during the ceremony and we used a laptop and rented PA system during the reception. The dance floor was jam-packed all night long! We scored an incredible deal on photography, which included two photographers and their assistant for the entire day, a CD with more than 300 photos to print and use as we please and had a bonus engagement shoot. Even better, our photographer turned into a friend and she recently shot our first set of family photos (we had a daughter last year).


The Flowers

We saved a ton of money by ordering hydrangea stems from a local florist and making bouquets ourselves. My bridesmaids - two of my best friends from university - carried single white hydrangea stems and I carried a mixed bouquet of green and white stems. The morning of the wedding, I stopped by a florist shop and picked up a few bouquets of spray roses and snapdragons to decorate the reception site. I ordered fabric boutonnieres for the guys from a seller on Etsy (she's Canadian!), which looked great.




Transportation

Since there was limited parking at the lake, we hired a bus to transport guests to and from the wedding/reception. I'm really glad we did, since it meant our guests didn't have to worry about the cost or hassle of cabbing it (did I mention we were out in the boonies?) and we didn't have to worry about anyone drinking and driving.



A big thanks to Kerry for letting my re-live my wedding day and best wishes to her, B and Halle!

Thank you so much Amelia! I can only hope that our day will turn out as beautifully as yours did! 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Best from the Mid-West

We all love hearing about and seeing photos from other people's weddings, right? I know I do! Today I am so pleased to have Sara, from Russet Street Reno, sharing some of her favourites from her wedding (and her honeymoon and post wedding!). Here's what Sara had to share!

Best pre-wedding DIY:


photo 1 via Russet Street Reno


This would definitely be our invitations.  I spent weeks creating them in Microsoft Publisher, finding the perfect font, scouting out the perfect paper and envelopes online, and days and days printing them at home, cutting and gluing each and every piece. I am so proud of these invitations!  I might have saved money doing them myself, but it was not about the money - it was about making them exactly as I wanted them!  

Best pre-ceremony photo:


photo 2 via Russet Street Reno

Definitely this one of me, Shaun, my brother, and Shaun's sister against an old building.  Because we look really cool. 

Best ceremony moment:

photo 3 via Russet Street Reno

I know I should pick when we were officially married and kissed and all that mushy stuff, but I'm going to choose when I curtsied after we were pronounced husband and wife. Nerd! 

Best part of the reception:

photo 4 via Russet Street Reno

Definitely the photo booth.  Even though they are 'trendy,' our guests had so much fun, and still talk about it today.  Our professional photographers said they had never seen such an elaborate DIY setup at a wedding before.  I put my Rebel on a tripod, bought a couple remotes, borrowed a backdrop, umbrella lights, props, and printed up some instructions. I even had a spare battery all ready to go. The only thing I forgot to do?  Empty my memory card before the reception!  Luckily, I was able to borrow someone's for the rest of the night!  I put all the photos online so people could download the hi-res files rather than go home with those tiny little strips of fuzzy photos from the rental booths. 

Best post-reception moment:

photo 5 via Russet Street Reno

Our photographers took us into a tunnel near the reception site right before they left for the evening.  I love this photo!     

Best honeymoon moment: 

photo 6 via Russet Street Reno

This sunset cruise we took from our resort (Couples Negril) in Jamaica.  It was absolutely perfect!

Best product of our marriage:

photo 7 via Russet Street Reno


Of course that would be our son Ashford, although Shaun's chocolate chip cookies are a close second.  (To be clear, I contributed by being the official taste tester) 

Thanks for having me, Kerry!  

Thank you so much Sara! I loved seeing your photos. What a gorgeous couple and their son is just gorgeous!

What are some of your favourites from your own wedding? Or maybe something you've seen at another wedding that you plan to make part of your special day?

Friday, August 16, 2013

Fancy Friday Love: Table Settings

This week we're moving on from the ceremony and into the reception! How about the table setting...


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The little touches make all of the difference, don't they? We're keeping ours pretty simple, and both feel it reflects us very well, but that can't stop me from loving these beautiful tables. Which do you love the most? What special touches did you, or would you add to your big day?

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

10 For a Happy Marriage

Good Morning! I am SO excited to have Dajana here today to share her tips for a Happy Marriage! I had actually seen this post on Dajana's blog back in June (when they celebrated 10 happy years of marriage) and loved her post so much, I asked if she would be willing to share it with my readers! 

Hi First Time Fancy’ers! I’m Dajana from all kinds of lovely and I’m so happy (& beyond excited) to be guest posting while Kerry gets ready to marry the love of her life. What an exciting time it is for her, B and sweet little Halle!

Marriage is definitely an adventure that takes a lot of work. But, it’s worth it. I know this from firsthand experience because my husband Scott and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary in June.

Although we’re far from being experts, I’d like to share the 10 things we’ve learned over the  past decade that have helped us to stay married and happy (we worked on this list together in between periods during the Stanley Cup playoffs):

1. Make your marriage THE priority

Don't let other things get in the way. I'm Scott's best friend and he's mine. Period. Our marriage is the centre of our lives and we regularly check in with each other to see if the other person is feeling loved, needed and most importantly, heard.

2. Hold hands and kiss often

There's something to be said for the spontaneous make out. Even after ten years there's nothing quite like when Scott plops a big one on me (:

3. Explore new things together

We’ve taken a couples massage class, ziplined in Costa Rica. It’s important to grow together, to push your boundaries and to move out of your comfort zone as a couple. Stagnation is never good. The adrenaline rush you get from trying these kinds of things doesn’t hurt either.

4. Go on walks

Scott and I walk Lucy, our chocolate lab, every night and we make sure to leave our phones at home. This is our time to chat about our day, make plans for the future and sometimes even gossip (him more than me). It's uninterrupted “us” time and our favourite way to chill together. 

5. Be silly together

We have fun every single day and we’re always trying to making each other laugh. This often involves trying out dance moves we've seen on "So You Think You Can Dance" and/or singing Rihanna songs in an operatic style (okay, the Rihanna stuff is all me). It also helps that we both have the same goofy sense of humour.

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6. Take turns making dinner

Shortly after we were married, I found myself at Superstore on a Sunday night shopping for groceries for the coming week. I was tired, grumpy and beyond annoyed. I called Scott and told him I was done with being the sole grocery buyer and meal planner. From then on, we shared dinner duties. Another good lesson here: ask for what you need. Your partner is not a mind reader.

7. The little things do matter

I can’t tell you how much it means to me to get an “I love you” text from Scott in the middle of a busy work day.  And vice versa.  Surprises involving baked goods and Starbucks chai lattes are super popular in our house, too. We also like to leave each other love notes on our kitchen chalkboard. Those are the best. 

8. Keep the television out of the bedroom

Our bedroom is home to the trifecta - sleeping, reading and sex’ing. That's it. And while we’re on the topic of television, invest in a PVR, if you haven’t already. This is the best marriage keeper out there. Thanks to the pause button, I can provide ongoing commentary during a hockey game without fear of death.

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9. Show your appreciation

Say “please” and "thank you" often and mean it. Don’t limit being polite to strangers and co-workers. Your partner deserves (and needs) to hear those words from you, too.

10. Learn to compromise

A successful marriage requires selflessness. Ask yourself, “Do I want to be right or do I want to be happy?” Happy wins. Almost always (;

After 10 years of marriage, this is what has contributed to the success of ours and helped us to stay connected and content. I'd love to hear what's working for you!

While you mull that over, I'd like to thank Kerry a million times over for having me. I wish nothing but the best for you and B as you begin your own adventures in marriage. Here's to your love!

Thank you SO MUCH Dajana! B and I agree with these fabulous tips, and we try every day to live each and every one of these!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Getting to 22 Years

Good Morning friends! After yesterday's post, I thought it would be the perfect time to share this lovely post from my friend Barbara from Hodge Podge. She was so willing to step forward and help me out with questions when we moved out West, and helped me connect with all of the wonderful West Coast bloggers! It means a lot to me that she was willing to step up again and help me with a guest post this month. I'm taking her words to heart!

As a seasoned married woman, I want to wish Kerry and Brett the best in their upcoming adventure together! Kerry asked me share some thoughts on marriage or my wedding. Unfortunately my wedding was pre-digital days so I don't really have any photos to share. But I do have a few tips to share about a successful marriage. My hubs and I are going to celebrate 22 years of married bliss. Actually, I would be lying if it was bliss for 22 years. Marriage is NOT easy. It is hard work. There were times we felt like throwing in the towel, but we made vows to each other, something we don't take lightly. We have had many adventures, lived in two countries, a few provinces and cities. We have gone through financial losses, job loss, me going back to school, debts, housing crisis and uncertainty. We have three beautiful children, almost 15 year old boy, a 17 and almost 19 year old daughters.


Life has been a roller coaster, with downs and ups. I am thankful to have shared that ride with my husband. He can drive me insane, make me laugh, make me want to pull out my hair, jump for joy, scream, hug, and yet I love him to death. I don't have a magical answer in how we have kept it together for these 22 years. I got married young (almost 21) and we have grown up together. You need to truly love yourself before you can love someone else. You cannot see things through rose coloured glasses. You need to communicate and be honest and to trust. You need to be committed through thick or thin.

So my hope for Kerry and Brett is that they can have a long and wonderful marriage!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Make it Last

I'm kicking this week of Wedding month off with something a little sweet. 

For one of my bridal showers, one of my oldest dearest friends and bridesmaids gifted me this sweet little Hallmark book titled "A Love that Lasts". The whole book is filled with wonderful insight from couples who have been married for 50 years or more. 


A Love that Lasts Book

When I started to flip through this book I thought the advice shared by the couples in it was just so sweet and so perfect. What a great reminder for any couple getting married that a marriage involves work. All great things involved work.

Today I really just want to share some of my favourite advice from these couples with all of you. 

A Love that Lasts Book

     Much is said about the importance of "being committed to marriage." But for the Harpers, commitment to an institution - even one as time-honored as marriage - left them a bit cold. "I believe strongly in marriage," Tom says, "but I've always focused on being committed to Judy, to her as a person."
     Judy adds, "Our love and passion is for each other. That's what inspires us every day and what has brought us through some very difficult times. Illness. Crumbling finances. The physical changes that age brings. What I've learned through it all is this: You can respect, even revere, and institution or dial, but I've never been in love with one. I'm in love with Tom." - Tom and Judy Harper. Married November 29, 1947


A Love that Lasts Book

     It started with an eye room from Ann's sister, Sue. "I was 'asking" A.J. to do an errand for me," Ann says, "and Sue, who was over for a visit, gave me this look. Then she said, 'Are you always this much of a grump to him? You didn't even say please.' I got defensive. I said something like, 'He talked to me the same way.' Then Sue gave me the look again. 'Well then,' she said, 'I feel sorry for both of you.' Those words really got to me. We've been married only three years, and we were already taking each other for granted, not even showing the common courtesy we'd show to a stranger."
     When the Jeffersons started paying closer attention to their interactions, they were shocked at how much sarcasm, indifference, and sometimes downright rudeness had crept into their language. They made a vow to show each other more kindness, more grace.
     "It makes a world of difference when Ann asks me for something in a voice that's sweet and polite," A.J. says. "And I know she appreciates it when I don't get all bent out of shape when she asks me to repeat something I just said. It's ironic, you know. Sometimes your own spouse is the last person you'll show a little kindness to. He or she should be the first." - A.J. and Ann Jefferson. Married July 18, 1946


A Love that Lasts Book

     What do you get when you combine a prim and proper schoolteacher with an irreverent, Navy vet auto mechanic? A marriage the endured for 67 years. Jim and Neva seemed like the classic odd couple. Neva always dressed impeccably and couldn't even bring herself to order "chicken breast" in a restaurant. Jim, on the other hand, practically lived in his mechanic's coveralls, sported permanent grease under his fingernails, and was fond of using a raunchy Navy saying or two - even around the grandchildren. But, despite all of the surface difference - which had casual onlookers shaking their heads - the Springstons shared deeper, if less visible bonds. 
     Their work ethic was virtually unmatched, even when they entered their 80s. They shared a deep faith in God and a steadfast commitment to their family. They thought nothing of driving 16 hours round-trip to see one of their grandchildren compete in a wrestling match. They also shared a love for travel, setting a goal to visit all 50 states together. Jim's death, due to cancer, stopped them just a couple of states short of their goal, but Neva isn't disappointed.
     "Visiting all fifty states would have been nice," she says, "but that's not the most important thing. What means the most to me is the way we saw all those places - together." - Jim and Neva Springston. Married June 10, 1936


A Love that Lasts Book

     We all know the painstaking preparation one goes through for a date - especially a big date on Valentine's Day, New Year's Eve, or a birthday. Male or female, we want to look our best, smell our best, act our best. So every stray hair is plucked or trimmed. Every flaw is eliminated, or at least disguised. But no one can look perfect (or smell perfect) all the time. Especially in a long-term relationship in which two people share the same living space, including the same bedroom and bathroom.
     So what happens when the defenses are down, the makeup is off, the morning breath reeks, the hair is messed up, and the stomach can't be sucked in any longer?
     For Joy Dominguez, these questions separated Alex from all the other potential mates. "When I really thought about a life with someone," she explains, "it became very clear to me that I didn't want anyone but Alex watching me drool while I slept. Even with such a vulnerable, potentially embarrassing situation like that in my mind's eye, I felt okay about it - felt safe about it - when I thought of Alex. And I honestly couldn't say I felt that way about anybody else."
     Alex found the same kind of acceptance and security in Joy, and that's why, more than 55 years later, they're still loving each other, morning breath and all.
- Joy and Alex Dominguez. Married July 14, 1953

What advice do you have to share with us as we embark on this next stage of our relationship together?
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