It’s been a while since I took to our blog to share about a publication . . . partly because I just got out of the routine of using our blog to shout out features, and partly because I’ve been busy enough that I haven’t been submitting very much these past six months. But today we have a feature over on the always-lovely Wedding Chicks, and I may or may not feel a little giddy.
Wedding Chicks was our white whale, I was sure of it. I had submitted a number of times, and each time, the reply said that while it was beautiful, it wasn’t a fit for publication at that time. Well, this time was different!
You can check it out on Wedding Chicks here.
Thank you SO much to the vendors who put this fabulous shoot together — thank you for your vision, your team effort, and thank you for making it so much fun! Thanks to Ashlee from Simply Roses, Sherri from The Pastry Studio, Mandy and Terry from A Bridal Boutique For the Girls, Tiffany from Makeup by Tiffany, and our hairstylist Noelle Rodriguez.
Tomorrow Danny and I will be sharing the whole shoot on our blog, complete with some looks behind the scenes, so check back tomorrow for even more of this gorgeous inspiration.
It has been too long since Danny and I left the country. Too long. Coming up on four and a half years, in fact. Since then, we’ve zig-zagged across the good old U.S.A. . . . but we (specifically I) get antsy after a while. There’s so much to see out there, so much to learn in countries that aren’t just like our own. As much as I love home, it can be hard to stay put when you know there’s so much to explore.
But we’ve been loving our home more than ever this past year. Slowly but surely, we’re making our house feel more and more like the home we want. We’ve picked out a paint color for the bedroom, after only five years of searching. We’ve added more personal touches here and there to make the space feel like our own. Our closets and pantry and cabinets are organized, our lawn (and that always-blooming bougainvillea!) are lush and inviting, and it just feels good being at home these days, since our lives and our belongings are well in order.
But. Yes, there’s another but.
But. We still want to get out there and see more of the world. So we’re not only daydreaming anymore. We’ve been actively saving, and we’re actually planning.
The first and last time I went to Europe was a few weeks after I graduated college, on a fantastic trip to Paris to visit the haunts of the great expatriate writers of the 20th Century. Danny has been to Europe twice — to Ireland for a mission trip, to Germany for business, and a little sliver of France on a one-day road trip. We have plans in the works to go back to Europe again this summer, together this time. We know Paris is on the itinerary, with our sights set on catching the end of the Tour de France in person. After that, we aren’t sure what other parts of the map we’ll be checking off our list.
But, we don’t really have an agenda; we just want to explore. That’s my favorite way to travel – simply arrive somewhere, drop our bags, and wander the streets discovering how the locals live, soaking in the local culture and food and atmosphere.
Wherever we go, we can’t wait.
Last week, a year and a half after they had first come to us with their vision for an Orlando Science Center wedding filled with laughter and silliness and happy tears — and yes, dinosaurs — Sabrina and Kevin tied the knot on a day that was everything they’d described. They exchanged their vows under a sprawling oak tree, and they danced the night away as the museum’s T-Rex kept watch over the party, and the rain held off for the joy-filled portraits they’d wanted so much. It was the perfect way for these two to start their marriage.
Congratulations, Sabrina and Kevin!
~ Laura + Danny
Statistically, Thanksgiving through Valentine’s Day is “engagement season” — the time of year when the majority of couples get engaged. Danny and I followed that pattern by getting engaged in January, and as soon as it was official, we felt overwhelmed with wedding planning to-dos. But along with the initial to-dos, there are a few important don’ts — things that can help the early stage of the engagement go smoothly and help keep your relationship with each other, your relationships with family and friends, and your relationship with your bank account on track.
Do: Tell your nearest and dearest the good news in person.
This is one thing I can’t stress enough. Your family and your close friends want to hear from you, whether face to face or on the telephone, that you’re getting married. It stings to find out via Facebook that someone in your inner circle is getting married — and it’s even worse to get the news from a third party.
Do: Start working on your wedding date.
Figuring out roughly when you want to get married is a critical first step in planning a wedding. You may want to get married as soon as possible. You may have a specific time of year in mind. You may know that the wedding itself is still a couple years away. The time frame is entirely up to you — just make sure the two of you are on the same page.
Don’t: Promise people invitations to the wedding.
When we were engaged, Danny and I were a little bit shocked at the number of people on the fringes of our social circle who said to us, or to our parents, “Make sure you send us an invitation to the wedding!” Until you know who is on the guest list — which will likely be shaped by venue size and your overall wedding budget, not a lack of a desire to be hospitable and friendly — don’t promise an invite to anyone who might not make the final cut.
Do: Get your engagement ring insured and photographed for documentation purposes.
Some rings may be covered by your homeowners’ or renters’ insurance, but in the middle of all the excitement over the engagement, pause to do some necessary, albeit unromantic ring documentation, just in case your ring were to get lost or stolen. Make sure your ring is insured, make sure you know what is required of you for warranty purposes, such as a yearly inspection or cleaning, and make sure you have clear, close-up pictures of your ring readily available.
Do: Begin evaluating your wedding budget and overall style.
Start figuring out how much money you can or want to spend on your wedding so that you can begin allotting money to different aspects of your wedding. Find your aesthetic, and figure out what types of services you would like from different vendors. Do plenty of research before you begin actually booking vendors and spending money!
Don’t: Contact numerous wedding vendors with a single mass e-mail.
Remember, there are real humans on the other side of the computer screen. When a wedding vendor receives an e-mail inquiry that was clearly mass-blasted to a dozen photographers or a dozen DJs, it’s not only disheartening for the vendor (because nobody likes being treated like an automated machine), but may cost you the individualized, personalized attention you would like in return from that vendor. A vendor doesn’t like receiving an e-mail that simply says “I would like to see your prices” any more than you would like receiving an e-mail in reply that begins with, “Dear Inquiring Bride # 732.”
Do: Focus on your future together.
While it’s easy to get caught up in planning a wedding very quickly, don’t forget what you two are really doing: Committing to spending the rest of your lives together. Plan that, too! Begin thinking about premarital counseling, and life after the wedding. Because, believe me — as much fun as a wedding is, life together is even better!
On the night of December 30th, as I brushed my teeth in our bathroom in Danny’s parents’ Virginia home, I realized something that, for the moment, felt devastatingly sad. I’d left my journal — all my journals — in Florida. My prayer journal, my writing journal, my beautiful Intentional Home journal. I had not a single piece of pretty, bound paper on which to write. Only an iPhone, an iPad, a laptop, and a printer full of blank 8.5″ x 11″ sheets.
Why was this suddenly sad after a whole week in Virginia without missing having a journal? Because journaling had always been my teenaged New Year’s Eve afternoon ritual. I would meticulously chronicle my thoughts and feelings on the year that had passed, usually syrupy with melodrama and self-aware prose. My teen years weren’t legitimately angsty, but my stacks of journals would definitely give the impression that they were. Each year, I was so reluctant to take down my old calendar and put up my new one, and I went on and on about it for pages at a time. I think that at the heart of it, I was reluctant to admit my childhood was slipping away. As much as I looked forward to being an adult — I hated letting go of the way things were then.
Things are different now. Here’s one of the ways: I embrace each new year, because I’m enjoying life so much I can’t help but think each year will continue improving on itself. Which isn’t to say that some years aren’t harder than others. This past year had its share of hardships and sadness. Danny and I each lost a grandparent, but even out of that came something good. In 2014, we spent more time with our families than any other year we’ve been married. We dealt with more work frustration than ever before (no, running a photography business isn’t always glamorous and fun), but out of that experience came a new, clearer blueprint for the way we want our business and our lives to operate. The year 2014, in spite of the troubles, was the best year of our lives.
I spent the last afternoon of it, yesterday, with Georges-Pierre while Danny dozed, ending the year sick with the flu. I snapped this iPhone picture of George in his fleece muscle shirt as we wandered the backyard on the chilly day.
What made 2014 great? Nearly everything we had been anxious about got resolved; thanks to paying off all our debts and crafting a smart budget, we became more financially free and secure; we had been craving community, and new friends and opportunities appeared as if by magic; we had wanted to find meaningful ways to serve, and needs that seemed especially designed for our skill sets appeared before us; we had been longing for simultaneous structure and flexibility, and we found new ways to organize our business, our home, and our lives to make that happen.
In other words, in 2014 God once again showed us that each time we hit a roadblock, he’s already busy paving another (better) path for us.
Which is why I’m so eager for the new year this time around. I’m not clinging to what has already passed. I’m content exactly where I am.
And right now I’m also content to wait, but when when we get home — I’ll have to journal all about it.