Category Archives: Wedding

Wedding Details: To Ring or Not To Ring?

How do you feel about your significant other not wearing a wedding band?

When J and I got engaged, he was adamant from the very beginning that he didn’t want a wedding band. I blew that idea off initially, thinking I could get him to warm to it over time.

I was wrong. He continued to hold firm in not wanting a wedding band. He hates things on his hands, can’t wear it for work, and wouldn’t be likely to wear it…ever.

At first, this got under my skin, but then it occurred to me: I could buy him a wedding band, he would likely not wear it, and it would be something we could fight about. Great way to start a marriage, huh?

So…I decided to do something a tad (or a LOT) NOT traditional — I didn’t buy him a wedding band. Instead, I bought him an expensive, and awesome watch:


While it may not be the pleasure of everyone, it seemed a reasonable compromise that J and I could both live with.

And, for the ceremony…because I didn’t think “with this watch…” an option that wouldn’t confuse the masses, we borrowed the ring his grandfather wore:

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I was more than happy to have a wedding band to go with my gorgeous engagement ring, however, the engagement ring didn’t come with a matching band.

Not to worry…I found this band, with the help of one of my bridesmaids,  that goes nicely with the ring, can be worn alone, and didn’t cost the fortune that having a band made to fit the engagement ring  exactly would have (and having a band like this would mean not being able to wear alone).


Have you, or do you know someone, who has deviated from the ‘traditional’ exchange of rings? I’m curious to know…what did you <they> do?


Wedding Details: Reception Decor

I grew up in a small town. The same small town where the wedding was held. In this small town there are few places to hold a wedding reception, and only one if you are planning on more than 80-100 people…a metal building at the fair grounds.

This didn’t deter us from hosting an elegant affair! Let me tell you a little story about how a metal building gets transformed into a gorgeous reception hall.

Actually, how about I let the pictures speak for themselves…

This is what we began working with. A simple metal building (and a trailer full of supplies):

Building Before

Here’s what we ended up with:


It took a team of us 38+ hours, over not quite 3 days, to pull this together. Pretty impressive, huh?

This is what’s possible when you have an idea in your head, you put a plan together, and have a wonderful team of family and friends who can execute.

A night which will not be forgotten is an understatement.

Hope you all have a fabulous week – Happy Monday!

Wedding Details: Hair & Make-Up

I mentioned, months and months and months ago, (click here to read that post) how excited I was that my childhood friend was coming from Georgia to do my wedding hair and make-up.

When I think about how generous she is, how great it was to see her (and finally meet her little boy), and how amazing she made me look for my big day it brings tears to my eyes.

Here Cayla and I are right before the ceremony, when she stopped back by before my walk down the aisle to touch up my hair and make-up and the girls’ hair as well:

photo(19)She couldn’t be more adorable if she tried, seriously.

So, here’s the thing: though she did an amazing job with my hair and make-up we did a horrible job of getting pictures. I skipped the trial that she offered to do the day before the wedding. I was still trying to tie up loose ends with decorating and verging on exhaustion. She said the trial was more for me than for her; that she doesn’t typically work with brides who just trust her to do her thing. I totally trusted her…so we skipped it.

Then, the morning before the wedding I was so relaxed (seriously, no nerves and just goin’ with the flow) that I was piddling around longer than I should have been…eating breakfast, chatting with the girls, etc. …and we came right down to the wire with getting finished up and getting me to the church on time (seriously, I went screamin’ out of there so fast that I forgot my engagement ring, and my mother…oops). Needless to say, we didn’t snap any up-close pictures of her work and I’m so disappointed because she definitely needed them for her portfolio.

Anyway, I did my best to crop and zoom in on some other pictures to give you an idea of how it all came together…but they aren’t great pictures…so bare with me:




And for an up close look at the make-up:


I love this shot of my girlfriend, Kari, and I.  Talk about being pampered, I didn’t even have to put on my own jewelry!

A special thank you, again, to my dear friend Cayla. I can’t imagine my day without you having been part of it, and I know for sure that no one could have done a better job.


Wedding Details: The Dresses

You’re probably getting so sick of hearing me tell you how busy I’ve been, and that’s why I have so much time between posts…and yadda, yadda, yadda…

And while it is true that I have been busy, it’s also true that I’ve been wanting to do a post on the dress — a ‘reveal’, if you will — and I was waiting on the pictures from the photographer. THEN, I got the pictures and got totally absorbed in them. There are hundreds and they are phenomenal.

Anyway, lets reveal the dress….

I chose a more classic look, rather than something more trendy. I wanted to make sure when I looked back on the pictures I didn’t immediately wonder “what was I thinking”….so I went with something lace…

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Strapless, drop waist, A-line with some super gorgeous beading across the chest, and down the back…

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I’m still so in love with it — I wish I could wear it once a week.

As for my girls, I made every effort NOT to be a bridezilla. I wanted my girls to wear something that looked good on them, something they would be comfortable in. I also wanted them to have a dress they could wear again, and I didn’t want to pick something so expensive that they choked at the mention of the price tag.

So…I let the girls pick their own dresses with only a couple of guidelines: must be knee length, must be black. The rest, totally up to them and they did a great job — and all looked absolutely stunning:

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Ahhh, the little black dress.

I love the way the flowers give that pop of color against the black and white dresses.




Wedding Details: Flowers

When the wedding planning began I told my mom that we would just do silk flowers for the event.

She gave me the stink eye.

Weeks later the topic came up again — and she danced around it by first explaining that she had taken a poll of the women in our family and….and long story short…”you have to have fresh flowers”. Because, “people come to weddings for the dress, flowers, and cake”.

If I fought her on every little detail, we might not get this thing planned. So, fresh flowers it was.

And, I’m glad it’s the route I was convinced to go because they turned out more beautiful than I could have ever imagined!

We hired a local florist, Shelby Roelle, Sidney House Of Flowers, who took our ideas and ran with them.

We had a vision, she made it come true.

And it couldn’t have been more perfect.

Four of these large arrangements were set on the altar, atop glass vases mom and I picked up at the wedding auction:

arrangements They were super unique with the vase twist.

The unity candle sat on the altar with this beautiful arrangement:

unity candle

Taking a step back, here’s what the altar looked like — but imagine two more large arrangements on the outer edges (and slightly forward of those in the back) of what you see here:


I gave Shelby a picture of what I wanted the bouquets to look like, and they are EXACTLY what I had in mind:
As for the corsages and boutonnieres (which I don’t have an up-close picture of) they took the little white flowers from the bouquets and some of those little green berries along with a little ribbon to make small, classy, and tasteful ‘flowers to wear’ for the groom, groomsmen, fathers, mothers, grandmothers, and grandfathers.

I think these pictures have a big of a blue hue to them — everything was purple, but you get the idea and when I receive the photos from our amazing photographer I will post more — including a picture of the DIY memory candle that we put together and had a lovely floral arrangement around the bottom of.

So…what do you think, fresh or silk flowers for a wedding?

Wedding Details: Invitations

Did you know that there are a billion options out there for wedding invites? Okay, I don’t know if that’s an exact number, but the possibilities seem endless — and this makes the decision all the more difficult.

Many shops will send free samples of invitations you may be interested in. We ordered many, many, many options (again, making the decision all the more difficult).

And then there’s the option to buy the kits and print your own…

I spent months in deliberation. I thought this might be a good place to save in the budget…but I still wanted something classy and elegant.

Just when I thought I had it all figured out, we went to order, and the ones I had decided on were discontinued. UGH!

Back to square 1.

Actually, I had really been stuck between two choices so I just went with choice #2. And, I’m glad I did — it was the right choice all along, I just didn’t know it at the time.


Classy. Clean. Perfect.

I went with pretty traditional wording, keeping it simple, but really acknowledging that my parents were hosting this event…


I think they turned out awesome. I wanted an invite that would be fitting with the rest of the day: classy and elegant. Check! Check!

I decided against the ‘print your own’ option – for several reasons. 1) The guest list was quite large – would thus require a LOT of work. 2) printing can be tricky and there’s the potential that it will turn out tacky – centering problems, smearing, choosing the right font, etc. 3) with coupons and other discounts that many places offer, it was almost as cost effective to have them professional printed – rather than to buy the kits, and the ink for the printers, etc.

Plus – there is a distinct difference between professionally printed invites and those done yourself. I hated to admit this, but my mother was right.

That said, if you are having a smaller event and have access to a really good printer there are some really neat kits out there to create your own!

Another place to cut costs is to omit the RSVP card. Many places offer a free wedding website ( is one such place) where the RSVP’s can be done electronically. My mom preferred the traditional RSVP card (with a self-addressed, stamped envelope) rather than going the electronic route. I was on the fence about this decision so we went with the RSVP card.

What are your thoughts on invites, in particular the RSVP card? I found there were many people we had to track down to get a better idea of the number that would be in attendance, even though people only had to mark yes (and indicate how many) or no and drop back in the mail…which I found somewhat annoying, but it is what it is.

Do you think the invites are a good place to cut costs? Why or why not?






Wedding Details: Save The Dates

Now that I am through the madness of pulling together a DIY wedding, I am excited to share all the details with you! I have LOTS of details to share as this was truly one of the most amazing events I have ever been part of…scratch that…it was THE MOST amazing event I have ever been a part of!

So…let’s get started…

In the initial planning stages I really had it in my mind that we should cut as many costs as possible. My mother, on the other hand, had a more “do it right” attitude. I am blessed to have parents that were able to not only take that stance, but to produce. This was difficult for me at first but my mother wanted to make sure it was all done right…it is, after all, the only wedding I intend to have. That is not to say that we didn’t search high and low for deals, or make 400 trips to Hobby Lobby to buy one thing at a time with a 40% off coupon, or spend a GREAT DEAL of time working on details ourselves – because we did.

I debated whether or not to send out Save The Dates. Even though we have a lot of friends and family out of state, surly they would hear the good news and mark their calendars without receiving official notice of the event, right?

For a wedding on a super tight budget, this is definitely a detail that can be skipped. Consider printing costs AND postage — these details can really add up!

This was not a detail skipped for my big day. We decided on Save the Date postcards. And, we didn’t go with the current ‘fad’ of having our picture on the card. We didn’t have engagement pictures taken at all — it was one thing I was adamant about; we would not spend money on pictures that would only months later be replaced by wedding photos anyway.

Instead, we found a postcard with this adorable picture:


Instead of including a TON of information on this announcement, I had this poem I found, loved and saved long ago, printed on the ‘larger side’:

Once in a lifetime, you find someone special, your lives intermingle, and somehow you know…
This is the beginning of all you have longed for, a love you can build on, a love that will grow…
Once in a lifetime, to those who are lucky, a miracle happens, and dreams all come true…
I know it can happen, it happened to me, for I’ve found my ‘once in a lifetime’ with you.

The other side contained a brief announcement of the date and location, as well as information to our wedding website where guests could go for additional details, if they were so inclined.

Then I hand addressed this large stack of cards, and we mailed them out about 3 months before the Big Day:


What are your thoughts about Save The Dates? Helpful? Nice but unnecessary? Total waste of money? Shout out your vote in the comments section below — help other brides planning their big day by sharing your opinion!




Garden Bridal Shower

My third, and final, bridal shower was hosted by my super adorable friend, and maid of honor, Kate, and was held here in Colorado Springs.


I was so lucky to have my 2 other bridesmaids come into town – one flew from Omaha – for the occasion. I also had guests drive in from my hometown. It was a ‘world’s collide’ type of situation as different people from different chapters of my life came together to celebrate my big day.

Here is a picture with all the bridesmaids


This shower had a ‘garden’ theme, complete with fresh flowers and super creative party favors for the guests.

Each party favor bag had the message “love is in bloom” or “2 peas in a pod” on the outside, then inside had a small pot, plant stake and seeds for either sweet pea flowers or garden peas. I’m blown away by her creativity.


The guests played a game of answering questions about J and I. This was interesting because different people from different chapters of my life seemed to know different things about us, but no one had all the ‘right’ answers.

After we ate some snacks, and indulged in the best cupcakes with cream cheese frosting I have ever tasted, I opened more gifts from this very thoughtful group of friends. Seriously, my hand has a permanent cramp from all of the thank you note writing…a small price to pay for the generosity of my friends and family.

Once we wrapped up the shower portion of the afternoon, a smaller group of us headed downtown for a painting party. Maybe you are familiar with these places…they guide you through a painting and there’s a cash bar? It’s a total blast and you needn’t possess a creative bone in your body.

So…we arrived at Splash and while we were trying to get organized for a group picture, this happened:


I giggle at the irony that I’m getting ready to ‘dive in’ and it clearly says ‘Splash’ behind me…hahaha.

And then we all got it together and made a decent picture happen:


Once inside we got situated with our awesome aprons and did a self-group portrait in the mirror on the wall:


And rounded up our paint and beverages:


When it was all said and done we turned out some pretty awesome work.



The added bonus was that at the end of our painting ‘class’ the artist who guided us through the process asked the group to choose a number between 1-12 and another number between 1-31. The group came up with 8/22 and out of everyone in the room (it wasn’t just our group of rowdiness there) my birthday was closest so I got his painting as well. He personalized it with the date of the wedding.

Many, many, memories made with these parties hosted and attended by some of the most amazing people I am privileged to know. Just thinking about how lucky and blessed I am makes my throat clench up and brings tears to my eyes.

There’s a good chance that I’m going to be a crying mess at the wedding…prepare yourselves…and thank goodness my make-up pro will be on the scene the entire day!

Wishing you all a safe and super awesome weekend!

Bridal Shower #3 post postponed

I’m sorry to announce that I’m dealing with a travel/flight fiasco and won’t have the opportunity to get my post done today about the last of the bridal showers. I promise to bring this your way next week. Until then, have a safe & fun weekend!


A Mexican Fiesta Themed Bridal Shower

Bridal Shower #2 was hosted by my aunt’s. As I mentioned in my post yesterday, they went all out in ways I never imagined. You see, I am the only granddaughter on my mother’s side of the family. I also have developed a very special and close relationship with one of my aunt’s as I lived with her for a year and half while going to college – then when I got my own place it was only a couple miles from her house. I spent a lot of time over there…doing laundry, eating all their leftovers, working on ‘projects’…and we grew quite close. I shouldn’t have been surprised with the ‘extremes’ of this party; those girls really know how to put on an event.

The theme of this shower was “Mexican Fiesta”. There were so many handmade details, starting with the invite:


Check out this spread of Mexican themed snacks:


And there were different drink stations including sangria, margaritas (frozen or on the rocks), Mexican beers, and plain ol’ lemonade and sodas for the non-drinkers:


Don’t even get me started on how adorable these desserts were…or how delicious…or how many calories were involved:


And did you notice all the fun decorations? From table cloths, to paper flowers, to miniature donkey piñatas, they had it all pretty well covered, including these hand painted pots with hens & chicks that served not only as décor, but my guests took home as their party favor.


I got to keep the big pot that played the role of the centerpiece of the food table:

flower pot

Once we were sufficiently stuff full of goodies and had equally sufficient time to get our drink on, I opened gifts. Check out this amazing stack of goodies!


It took me 2 weeks once I got home to get it all put away. My friends and family spoil me, what can I say?

After gifts all the guests split into 3 teams. Their mission: Make Hilary an outfit for the wedding, including veil and bouquet.

Oh sweet heaven! I look like I’m all geared up to star in Billy Idol’s music video ‘White Wedding’.


And check out that veil and bouquet:


My dad happened to be across the street at my uncle’s house, so we took this show on the road and got him in on the action. It’s hard tellin’ what business I was givin’ my mom in this picture, but while I’m not paying a bit of attention, they both look fabulous.


There’s a chance people thought we were outta our minds as I strutted down the street in this get up, and the guests lined up along the curb.

Then, in traditional wedding fashion, I threw the bouquet.


My friend (and bridesmaid) Kari elbowed her way to catch it. You’ve gotta watch that girl, she gets out of control at times.


We finished off the evening with another ‘game’- a trick that was up the sleeve of my aunt’s and turned out to be so funny that I laughed until I cried…and cried…and cried…and I had to use my tissue paper wedding gown to wipe my eyes.
The ‘game’ went something like this: everything I said while opening gifts my aunt’s sneakily wrote down. I knew they were up to something…I didn’t know what. Then, they read it back as “the things Hilary will say to the groom on their wedding night”. I’m not sure how she did it, but my aunt pulled it off with a seriousness that I thought only actors possessed.

It’s amazing how things that are said with innocence take on a whole new dirtiness when this new light is shed on them. Everyone’s favorite was the comment about “it dripping off the bottom”. Oh My! My grandmother and mother were in the room for heaven sake!

Seriously one of the best parties I have ever attended!

My aunt has a blog and she posted about this party a week or so ago. Check out her post by clicking here. She discusses other details and has other pictures to share from the evening.

Up next: the bridal shower and painting party in Colorado Springs…see you back here tomorrow!