Nov 212017
 

Hey there! I’m back today with another recap of our wedding, which took place on June 10 this year. When we last left off, I had just finished getting ready and was walking down to meet Fabio for our first look. If you missed any of my past recaps, you can find those here.

Also a couple of quick vendor notes again:

  • Photography: Lauren Nievod (I’ve already raved about her a ton of times – 100% recommend)
  • Venue: Wye River Conference Center (amazing Eastern Shore/riverfront hotel with beautiful grounds. Can only be booked by groups, meaning our guests took up the whole thing)

And with that, let’s get back to the recap!

Growing up, I never thought I’d do a first look with my future husband. I always dreamed that the first moment he saw me in my white gown would be when I was walking down the aisle, but once I got older and we started going to a bunch of weddings – some with first looks and some without – I decided doing a first look was something I did want to do since it would mean our guests wouldn’t have to wait around too long in between the ceremony and the reception while we took pictures. It’s a personal decision, but Fabio and I were happy with doing a first look! It was still a special time spent with just the two of us (and our amazing photographers) so it was still a nice moment for us to reconnect before everything got started.

Our venue had so many beautiful locations on its grounds, and our photographer found the perfect little garden for our first look to take place.

I remember wanting to just run up to Fabio – I had a long way to walk and I was too excited/anxious/nervous to go slowly!

Almost there!

I tapped him on the shoulder…

And then he turned around! My hubby-to-be!!

Funnily enough, after we finished hugging I realized he had a huge bug on his head – it was some type of mosquito and it wound up biting him right in the middle of his forehead! Fabio is semi-allergic to bug bites, and the bite wound up swelling and getting pretty red during these pictures. At one point, he had to leave to go put some makeup on it! Ha! By the time of the ceremony, you couldn’t see it at all. Makeup is a magical thing. 😉

Here I am brushing away the bug. Eek!

That’s better.

Fabio seemed to really like my dress – when he first saw it, he said he was surprised because he thought it was going to be “that tablecloth material” (he meant lace). Ha! Good thing I didn’t pick a lace dress.

Then we walked around the grounds together and took some lovely portraits!

These next ones are some of my favorite photos from the whole day. And you can’t even tell there’s a bug bite on Fabio’s head! 😉

The photographer also got a little creative with my veil and took some cool pictures with it floating behind me.

So artsy!

When we were done with these shots, we brought in the most important part of our little trio: Jack!

He wasn’t too interested in posing for the camera, but we managed to get a few good family photos with him. 🙂

After this, we decided to bring Jack back to the groomsmen and put some makeup on Fabio’s bug bite. 🙂 Meanwhile, I got some solo pictures! I didn’t think I would like too many pictures of just me by myself, but I actually think these came out really pretty. (I think some of these are my mom’s favorites :).)

This one had the veil floating in front of the camera again. It’s cool how it turned out!

I was also obsessed with my bouquet, which came from Monteray Farms (we were so pleased with them!!) and had little succulents included in it for texture.

And finally, Fabio came back!

After this we walked around a bit more, taking advantage of all the beautiful photo opps our venue had to offer.

I love this next picture, and it’s actually the one we used for our thank you cards!

After we were done with bride and groom portraits, I did a mini first look with my dad and stepdad!

First up, my stepdad!

As soon as we hugged, he showed me that he was wearing the special cufflinks I bought for him. 🙂

And then I did a first look with my dad!

I have always been a daddy’s girl, so this moment was especially meaningful to me. My dad doesn’t show emotion often – he’s a big jokester – but when he turned around he instantly got teary eyed. I don’t think I’d ever seen him like that!

After that, we took a bunch of pictures with the bridal party, which I’ll get to in my next recap. 🙂

Question of the day: First look photo session or first look during the ceremony?

 Posted by on November 21, 2017
Nov 102017
 

Hi friends! I’m back today with another wedding recap – this time with some photos of our morning getting ready! If you missed any of my past wedding weekend recaps, you can find them all here. When we last left off, I had just had a fun morning doing yoga, going on a boat ride, and enjoying breakfast with our guests. After that, it was time to get ready for the big day!

Before we get started with today’s post, I want to share some notes about the vendors we used who helped make this special day possible, and whose work you’ll see in the photos below:

  • Makeup: Kristen Sepulveda (Kristen is a family friend, and she did a fabulous job!)
  • Hair: Up Dos for I Dos (Very professional and I loved the work they did! Some of the best up-dos I’ve ever seen!)
  • Photography: Lauren Nievod (I’ve already raved about her a ton of times – 100% recommend)
  • Venue: Wye River Conference Center (amazing Eastern Shore/riverfront hotel with beautiful grounds. Can only be booked by groups, meaning our guests took up the whole thing)

And now, let’s jump right in!

The venue where we got married has two main houses: the River House, which is where the rehearsal dinner and yoga/breakfast took place, and the Houghton House, which is where the ceremony and reception took place. Houghton House is also where the beautiful bridal suite was located!

On the morning of my wedding, all 10 of my bridesmaids – plus my sister, niece, my mom, Fabio’s mom, Aunt CC, and my Grandma – joined us in the bridal suite to start getting ready at 10 a.m.

My bridesmaids did a great job of setting up the room with cute decorations, mimosas, and a killer playlist. That’s what bridesmaids are for, right?!

We had a pretty detailed schedule for makeup since some people wanted airbrush/lashes and some didn’t, and after about half an hour of me constantly checking the schedule, my bridesmaids took it from me and said they’d take care of making sure everyone was in the right order. They’re the best, and allowed me to relax and enjoy this special moment!

P.S. I love how my hair turned out – you can see the back of it in this photo below!

My makeup turned out great too – all thanks to our talented makeup artist, Kristen!

Spending these hours with my closest girlfriends and family members was so much fun – it was a great way to think about the day ahead and just enjoy this time. Plus, how cute does everyone look in these matching PJ sets I got them? (The moms/my aunt/my grandma got robe versions, and I even got kid-sized versions for my flower girl and the junior bridesmaid!)

My Maid of Honor Bianca was never far from my side, and she made sure to hydrate me with Pedialyte to make sure I was feeling my best. After enjoying some late-night drinks the night before, I definitely appreciated this! 😉

It was really fun having my family in the room too – my mom, Aunt CC, and my grandma all got to enjoy this time together, which I thought was really special.

Our little fam! (Also, can you tell which of these pics are iPhone pics versus the professional ones? Ha!)

My sister – who was a very important junior bridesmaid 🙂 – was also never far from my side while we were getting ready. I think the wedding wound up being a bigger deal for us than either of us expected, and I was so touched by how close she stayed to me throughout the whole weekend. Even though we are so far apart in age and didn’t spend much time growing up together in the same house, she’s still my sister and so special to me!

Jack was with us in the bridal suite too – at least until one of the groomsmen came up to take him down to the room where the boys were getting ready. 🙂

While I finished getting my hair and makeup done, our photographer took some detailed shots with our invitations, save the dates, and jewelry. They came out so pretty!

This ring was my “something borrowed” and “something blue” – it’s the ring my dad gave my mom on the day I was born. I thought it added a nice sentimental touch!

Once I was done getting ready, all of us ladies got together for some group pictures!

We even stepped outside onto the balcony – but only once the photographer confirmed none of the boys were around to see us. 🙂

 

Then it was time for me to open up the gift that Fabio had given me and read his card. It’s so funny because as I was reading his card, I realized we wrote almost the exact same thing to each other. I guess that’s how you know it’s meant to be!

The gift itself was a pair of the most beautiful diamond stud earrings, which I’ve worn almost every day since the wedding. They’re gorgeous!

All the ladies gathered around to check them out. 🙂

Meanwhile, Fabio and the groomsmen were down in the library room getting ready themselves! Fabio helped Jack put on his cute tie. (Jack was the ring-bearer!)

This picture – LOL!!

Then Fabio opened up his card and gift from me, with Jack’s help (obviously).

I wound up getting him a refurbished Rolex watch, with a note reminding him not to be late! 🙂

He was a huge fan of the watch, and proudly shows it off to anyone who will look at it. 🙂

Then he spent some time getting ready with his groomsmen and drinking a nice bottle of whiskey he bought for them!

While all of that was happening downstairs, I slipped into my dress and had my mom and Aunt CC help me with all the buttons on the back.

It took a bit of time with all those buttons, but they got the job done. What would I do without them?!

Then I took a couple of pictures with my friends, and put my veil on.

My grandma helped arrange it perfectly over my shoulders for some pictures.

Then I grabbed my bouquet, and before I knew it was time to head downstairs to meet up with Fabio for the first look!

It was at this moment that I first started to feel emotional – I felt all the love and support of my friends and my family upstairs, and I felt like I was leaving that little caccoon to start a new journey. I know that when my dad walked me down the aisle and “gave me away” that was really the moment I should have felt like I was being given away, but saying goodbye to my mom as she stayed upstairs and I walked on by myself to Fabio felt like a pretty big moment too. I was ready for this – of course – but it did leave me feeling pretty emotional.

And for the rest, you’ll have to wait for my next recap! 🙂

Question of the day: How emotional do you get at weddings?

 Posted by on November 10, 2017
Nov 032017
 

Hi friends! How’s everyone doing today? It’s been a couple of weeks since I posted a recap from our wedding (which was all the way back in June – oops, where did the time go?) so I thought I’d round back with another one today. If you’ve missed any of my recaps so far, you can find them all here!

When we last left off, I had just finished celebrating a beautiful rehearsal dinner, complete with lots of drinking and dancing with friends late into the night. Luckily I drank lots of water before bed, because we had an early wake-up call for yoga!

Because fitness is such an important part of my life and is something that really helps me feel grounded, I knew I wanted to incorporate some sort of physical activity into my wedding day. I thought about going for a run, but then I thought an outdoor yoga class along the water might be more peaceful and help me get in the right mindset for the big day.

I did some research on local yoga studios on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, and wound up booking a class with Phyllis from Every Body Yoga. Having her come to the hotel property for a one-hour class cost $150 (plus tip) and she even brought some yoga mats with her for people to use. Phyllis was great to work with for this, and before the big day she asked me how long of a class I wanted and if I wanted it to be more of a workout or something a bit more calming. I chose a one-hour class that was more on the calming side, and it wound up being one of the highlights of my day! (Though looking back, there were so many highlights. Ha!)

The class started at 7 a.m. on the River House lawn of the hotel, and when I got out of bed and stepped outside I saw that we had a beautiful day on our hands. 🙂 Thank goodness!!

My dad was up early too and took all these beautiful photos for us! I love seeing the venue before all the fun ensued.

While we didn’t have a huge turnout of guests for the yoga class, we had a nice little group!

In addition to Fabio and me, we had my maid of honor/stepsister Maggie, her boyfriend Nick, one of my best friends/bridesmaids Hana, and two of Fabio’s friends, Jason (also a groomsman) and Dan.

Phyllis set us up in a nice spot overlooking the river, and then we went through a very slow and calming yoga practice that was good for all levels. (My dad walked over at this point and grabbed these photos for us!)

One of the best things about Phyllis’ class is that she really encouraged us to be present in the moment. At one point we were all lying on our backs on our mats in the dewy grass and she told us to just be still and listen. Listen to our breath, listen to the birds chirping, and listen to the river flowing nearby. She encouraged us to clear our minds in preparation for the day ahead so we could really be present and remember every moment of the day. It was exactly what I needed with a million “to-dos” running through my head, and I felt so happy that we chose to have Phyllis come teach this class for us.

At the end of class (after svasana), she did something really special for us: She had Fabio and me hold hands, and told everyone to form a tight circle around us. She then told everyone to vigorously rub their hands together until they started to get warm. Once they were generating heat, she told everyone to separate their hands a few inches so they could feel the warmth they had made. Then she told everyone to rub their hands together again, and then face their palms toward Fabio and me in the center of the circle so that we’d feel all their warmth. She said a couple of words to us about how everyone standing around us was wishing the best for our us, both for the big day ahead and for our marriage, and that they were sending us their postive energy through the heat in their hands. I honestly got a little emotional at this point and thought I might cry – it as just such a wonderful and thoughtful way to start off such a big day.

After that, we said goodbye to Phyllis (seriously, she was worth every penny!!) and then since we had a few minutes before we needed to head into breakfast, we all walked down to the dock so my dad could take us on a boat ride! My mom happened to be down by the dock at this point too, so she joined us. 🙂 So many of my favorite people!

Being on the calm water so early in the morning on such an important day felt so great. I was surrounded by so many people I love and just felt so incredibly happy and at peace. (Also super excited for the day ahead!)

After a quick ride around the Wye River and Chesapeake Bay, we were back at the dock. While we were waiting to get off, my MoH/stepsister Maggie helped keep me from falling into the water. That’s what Maids of Honors are for! 🙂

And then we were back on dry land!

From our boat ride we headed into the River House dining area where we met up with the rest of our crew for breakfast. Yay! I’m sure it was probably taboo to see so many of our wedding guests on the morning of the wedding – not to mention seeing Fabio, lol – but clearly I didn’t take any that too seriously.

I had a fun morning saying hello to everyone and grabbing some breakfast before it was time to head to the bridal suite to get ready. Eek!

Question of the day: What do you think about those old bridal traditions like not seeing the groom beforehand?

 Posted by on November 3, 2017
Oct 052017
 

It’s time for another wedding weekend recap! When we last left off, our rehearsal dinner had just wrapped up, and I thought our evening was mostly over. Little did I know my amazing bridesmaids had an awesome surprise up their sleeves!

After dinner, presents, and photos by the river, I was brought inside where I saw a big projection screen and a projector set up. Everyone gathered around, and my bridesmaids announced that they’d been putting together a slideshow of photos for Fabio and me.

Unbeknownst to me, my 10 amazing bridesmaids had reached out to our family and friends to collect photos of us from years past.

Fabio and I seated ourselves front and center, and the rest of our friends and family gathered around to watch the slideshow!

When the slideshow began, I heard the first strains of Red Dirt Road by Brooks and Dunn, which was one of my favorite songs growing up. Pictures began flashing on the screen from when I was a baby all the way up until early college, which was when Fabio and I met. There were so many pictures in the slideshow, many of which I had somehow never seen before.

Some of them were definitely awkward/embarrassing, but that was part of the fun!If you look carefully, you’ll spot my friends Bianca and Hana in this one!

If you look carefully in this next one, you’ll spot my friends/bridesmaids, Bianca and Hana!

It was really fun having our family and friends surrounding us for the show – there was lots of cheering and laughing when certain photos came on the screen.

I love this picture of my grandma – my dad’s mom – reaching across my grandpa to hold my mom’s hand. 🙂

Seeing all of our family and friends blend together made everything even more special!

Before long, Red Dirt Road ended and Empire State of Mind came on. Since Fabio grew up in New York, this was one of his favorite songs! Then came all of his adorable baby photos – what a cutie!

Again, there was a lot of cheering and laughter when a new photo would come onto the screen!

It was also so nice having our photographer there to capture the joy we felt during these moments!

This was such an amazing surprise, and I can’t thank my maid of honor, Bianca, enough for spearheading this and doing something so special for us. It meant the world!

Of course it also made me appreciate my soon-to-be husband! 🙂

When the slideshow was over, we lingered in the main house for a little bit longer before walking over to an after party we had planned earlier. This was our chance to relax, let loose, and really catch up with all of our friends. My dad had brought a stereo and light system with him from home, so we enjoyed lots of good music and dancing. It was so much fun!! Take me back!

Best maid of honor ever!

And that night I went to bed for the last time as an unmarried woman, and I remember having the biggest smile on my face when I laid down. What a perfect day!

Question of the day: Tell me about something special you’ve seen at a rehearsal dinner or wedding.

 Posted by on October 5, 2017
Sep 202017
 

One of my favorite parts about having a blog is getting to relive some of my most favorite memories, and our rehearsal dinner was one of them. It just such a wonderful, happy day!

As I mentioned in my last recap, we had our photographer take some photos of us during the rehearsal dinner instead of having an engagemet shoot. I love this behind-the-scenes shot that my friend Hana took of us getting photographed!

While we were outside smiling in front of the camera, our guests began gathering in the River House, one of the beautiful locations on the Wye River Conference Center property. This is also where many of our guests stayed for the duration of the weekend!

The house had a beautiful brick patio overlooking the river that was perfect for the rehearsal dinner, and the staff there did such a fantastic job setting everything up for us. It was basically like another wedding!

Here are those centerpieces my mom put together. Didn’t they come out great?

I also love this ring shot that our photographer captured. It doesn’t even look real!

The rehearsal dinner was set up buffet style, and we had lots of tasty options to choose from for our meal.


Plus dessert!

We had decided to open up the rehearsal dinner to anyone who was staying in the hotel and wanted to join us, so we wound up having about 80 people there. It was quite the group, and made the event so much fun!


We spent the majority of the dinner walking around and greeting our guests, which was nice because it meant we had less chatting to do during the actual wedding reception. We also got to enjoy time with our friends!


It seemed like everyone had a great time! I love this picture of my mom – even though she will probably kill me for posting it. Sorry, mom!

We also had another snapchat filter for the night!

So fun!

We made sure to take advantage of our photographer so we could have a bunch of nice pictures to remember this fun night. Here we are with the 2017 Otis ski crew!

And all of my best college and high school girl friends! I love this group so much.

High school besties!

My adorable grandparents!

And my grandparents mingling with the Colombians!

Here I am with my mom, Aunt CC, and my grandma. If you look closely, you can see the river off in the background!

Here’s one with my mom and stepdad, who did so much to help us with this wedding. Thank you both so much!

And one with my dad, stepmom, and sister! <3

After we were done eating and taking photos, it was time to give out presents! I gave my bridesmaids these matching pajama sets with matching robes for the moms/my grandma, and they seemed to be a big hit! I even got a small set for the flower girl. So cute!

Fabio’s dad got a heart-shaped patch to pin under his tie, and a mug saying “I $urvived my $on’s wedding.” Haha!

For my mom, I bought a pretty Kate Spade bracelet and an embroidered handkerchief with a heartfelt note on it.

I think it’s safe to say she loved it. Here’s another behind the scenes photo from Hana!

For my dad, I bought these socks that said “Special Socks for a Special Walk” and the same kind of tie patch I got for Fabio’s dad (but with a different note, obviously).

Other gift highlights included two more Kate Spade bracelets – one for Fabio’s mom and one for my stepmom – and a Kate Spade necklace for my sister. I also got these cufflinks for my stepdad, which were a big hit as well.

Giving these gifts was honestly one of my favorite parts of the night, and I loved seeing how much our family seemed to enjoy them.

After we were done with gifts, we continued eating, drinking, and just having a great time!

Before we headed inside, I walked down to the water with Aunt CC, Uncle Steve, and my high school best friends to check out the moon. It was a beautiful way to end a beautiful rehearsal dinner!

That wasn’t all though – little did I know my bridesmaids had set up quite the surprise for us back inside the house! Details to come in part two of my recap!

Questions of the day: Do you like giving presents or receiving them more? It’s funny how it changes as you get older! What gift have you been most excited to give?

**Most of these photos are courtesy of the talented Lauren Nievod! If you’re looking for a wedding photographer in the DC/MD area, I can’t recommend her enough!**

 Posted by on September 20, 2017
Sep 132017
 

Hi friends! Today I’m back with another recap of our amazing wedding weekend!

If you missed the first two posts, you can read about our pre-rehearsal dinner, dinner here and our pool party and ceremony rehearsal here. Today I’m sharing some photos from our rehearsal dinner photo shoot, which I absolutely love!

When we booked our amazing wedding photographer, Lauren Nievod, we found out that Lauren’s services include a photo shoot prior to the wedding. Lauren explained that she does this so she can get to know the bride and groom better before the big day, and so the bride and groom can get comfortable in front of the camera too. Smart!

Since Fabio and I had already taken some engagement photos during our vacation in Jamaica, we asked if we could use our extra photo shoot during the rehearsal dinner instead. We figured this way we’d be able to capture the excitement we felt leading up to the wedding, and hopefully get some pictures of our friends and family too!

Lauren was totally cool with this plan – we just had to pay for her accommodations that night so she didn’t have to drive down and back twice – and we were able to get some amazing photos of the two of us plus LOTS of awesome pictures of our friends and family enjoying the rehearsal dinner. It was the perfect solution!

Today I’m sharing the photos of just the two of us, and then I’ll recap the actual rehearsal dinner in another post. 🙂 All of these pictures were taken by Lauren Nievod, and the location of these photos was the River House of the Wye River Conference Center. Oh, and the boat is my dad’s. Enjoy!

The end! <3

Question of the day: For those of you who have had professional photoshoots done similar to these, what do you do with all the pictures?? These are just some of my favorites, but there were hundreds more!

 Posted by on September 13, 2017
Sep 072017
 

It’s time for another recap of our amazing wedding weekend – woohoo! When we last left off, we had just had a lovely pre-rehearsal dinner, dinner with our families. 🙂

When I woke up on Friday morning, I remember feeling SO excited about the day! Since our venue was right on the water and offered lots of fun, outdoor activities, we had encouraged our guests to take the day off from work if they could so they wouldn’t miss out on the pre-wedding fun! I knew most of our friends would be joining us in the early afternoon, and I was so excited to see everyone!

Fabio was up early to play a round of golf with some of the groomsmen, my dad, and Uncle Steve, and since I was too excited to sleep in any longer, I decided to head out for a quick run with Jack. We ran down the hotel property to the other building – the River House – and then meandered down the road a ways.

At one point we came upon a bunch of cows, and they all came over to the fence to stare at us!

I don’t even think it was Jack who piqued their curiosity, I think they were interested in me! It was really weird having them all come over to stare at me – maybe they thought I was going to feed them?

Anyway, I said goodbye to the “wedding cows,” as I dubbed them, and then turned back toward the hotel. I only wound up covering about 2.5 miles, but it was better than nothing! I just remember feeling so excited and happy about the day ahead.

Once I got back to the hotel, most of our family members were awake and enjoying some pastries out on the patio.

After eating half a bagel and some delicious smoked salmon, I did a ceremony walk-through with my sister, since she’d be walking Jack down the aisle. We practiced walking down with him a few times, and he seemed to get the hang of it eventually. He did lunge after a bunny at one point, but mostly he listened to her. 🙂

After that, I changed into my bathing suit and headed down to the pool! On the way down, I stopped to talk to my stepdad who was busy assembling our ceremony archway and a cute directional sign, both of which he built! Thank you for making these for me, Fritz!! (Though I painted the signs, if you couldn’t tell. Haha!)

Then it was pool time!! Jack joined us, but I didn’t let him in since he sheds a ton and would have left his hair everywhere. Womp womp – poor Jack.

My mom, sister, and Aunt CC all joined me at the pool, and almost as soon as we got settled, my friends started arriving. Woohoo!

My friend Hana helped me set up a Snapchat filter during the day on Friday (plus a bunch more throughout the weekend, which you’ll see later!) and I was so excited when it became available around noon.

Of course I asked my mom and CC to help me test it out!

And again with my sister!

At that point I decided to get in the pool, and Hana captured this cute Boomerang video of me cannon-balling in! Jumping into wedding weekend like…

Ha!

A short while later, the rest of my best friends from college arrived, and before long all kinds of guests started trickling in. I had given very detailed instructions to all of our wedding guests so they’d know where to meet us during the day, and it seems like my OCD/type A messaging worked! I loved seeing everyone come to the pool to hang out with us.

It was basically the best pool day ever with absolute perfect summer weather (I think the temps were in the low 80s if I remember correctly) and all my favorite people!

Lol at my sister in this pic – she got tired but didn’t want to miss out on the fun by going inside, so she took a nap under her towel.

Jack seemed happy too!

Eventually it was time for me to head inside and start getting ready for our ceremony rehearsal and the rehearsal dinner that followed. I was feeling sun-kissed and slightly buzzed (we’d had some champagne) and just SO happy.

After showering up and getting changed, it was rehearsal time! Check out all these lovely bridesmaids!

We did a nice walk-through of the ceremony, which I definitely thought was helpful since we had 10 bridesmaids, 9 groomsmen, a junior bridesmaid, a dog ring-bearer, and a flower girl. I felt a lot better once I saw where everyone would go!

It also had me feeling all giddy – in less than 24 hours I’d be married!!

Eek!!

More recaps to come! 🙂

Question of the day: How would you feel if a bunch of cows came up to you/were staring at you?

I actually really liked it and thought they were cute! I was even talking to them! 🙂

 Posted by on September 7, 2017
Aug 302017
 

Eeek – it’s finally time for me to start recapping our amazing wedding weekend! I’ll start with my last day of work, Wednesday, June 7.

Prior to the big day, my wedding dress was being stored at the tailor for a few months, and when they asked me where they should deliver it I chose my office since I didn’t want my wedding dress sitting in a garment bag on my front stoop all day getting wrinkled/rained on/stolen/etc. So, midway through the day at work, I got a call from the front desk saying my dress had arrived!

I quickly deposited it in the back seat of my car down in the garage, and I pretty much couldn’t concentrate on anything else for the rest of the day. I remember being so ready to get outta’ there and start my long vacation!

Eventually it was time for me to head home, and on the way I stopped for two last-minute beauty appointments (planning out when to get my manicure, pedicure, haircut, wax, spray tan etc. was a whole planning debacle itself).

Once I got home, I said hello to some of Fabio’s family members who were staying with us and then headed upstairs to pack up my bags. I had one suitcase packed for Thailand so I could grab it when we returned from the wedding, and one packed for the wedding weekend itself. It’s a good thing I’m super OCD/type A because all this packing took a lot of thinking ahead!

On Thursday morning, I took a class at BodyMass Blast with Anne to get one last sweat session in, and then it was time for wedding festivities! First up, Fabio and I drove over to the courthouse in Queen Anne’s County to pick up our marriage license. 🙂

Then we headed to the venue where staff was busy setting everything up for us, including the tent!

It was big and beautiful. 🙂

Meanwhile, we got to work stuffing welcome bags, unloading car-loads full of stuff we had stored at my grandparents’ house nearby, and meeting with the wedding planning staff to go over a few last details. My mom was also busy putting together these beautiful flower arrangements for the rehearsal dinner, which took place the next day (Friday). Didn’t they come out great? My stepdad made the cute wooden boxes they’re sitting in. 🙂

I know I mentioned this before, but one of my favorite parts about having the wedding at the Wye River Conference Center is that only groups can rent out rooms, and since our group was so big, we blocked every room. That meant we had the place to ourselves during the entire weekend! This was especially nice on Thursday since only our family was there during the day and that night.

Eventually it was time to cleaned up for a pre-rehearsal dinner, dinner with our families! Say that ten times fast. 😉

I had made a reservation for us at Hemingway’s on the Bay, and the view from our table in the upstairs dining room was incredible!

(Don’t mind my dress reflection in the window, lol!)

As soon as we got there, our family got busy snapping tons of photos. Lots of the pictures below came from my dad and Fabio’s dad!

How awesome is that water in the background?

After the first round of pictures was finished (oh, don’t worry, there were plenty more…), we sat down to enjoy dinner. The tables were a nice mix of Fabio’s family and mine, and luckily everyone had met plenty of times before so there was no awkward getting-to-know-you conversation. Just lots of chatting and lots of laughter!

Plus everyone kept raving about the view from our table.

Also, please compare the iPhone photo I took (above) and the photo my dad got with his good camera (below). Ha!

Once the sun started setting in the sky, we all headed out for some pictures by the water!

We got lots of shots with the family too, including this one with all of our parents…

One with Fabio’s parents…

One with Fabio’s family (his other sister Karen and her husband and daughter couldn’t join us until later in the weekend)…

One with my side of the family on my mom’s side…

One with Aunt CC and Uncle Steve…

One with my family on my dad’s side…

Including my Aunt Teri and cousins!

And then we made sure to get one with my grandparents when we got back upstairs! 🙂

Overall dinner was a huge success, and I’m so glad we were able to spend time with our immediate family before all our other guests arrived!

After dinner was over and we had paid the check, Fabio and I went outside with my dad and sister for just a few more photos.

I really like this one that he got with the moon!

Once dinner was over, we headed back to the hotel to relax. Jack, who had been staying in our suite, had brought our clothes onto the bed to snuggle with while we were gone. Silly guy!

At this point we all changed into PJs and then spent the rest of the evening sitting out on the patio of the venue sipping beverages out of solo cups and chatting. It was a little chilly, so I remember a bunch of us were wearing hotel robes and wrapped up in sweatshirts and blankets. We had music playing, and I remember just feeling so happy as I looked around and saw all of our close family members surrounding us and having a good time. Plus, I knew I still had the whole weekend ahead of me! Woohoo!

More to come!

Question of the day: Do you have a big family or a little one?

Mine is relatively small, but Fabio’s is HUGE!

 Posted by on August 30, 2017
Aug 162017
 

Fabio and I knew we wanted part of our honeymoon to be filled with lots of adventures – like hiking through the forests of Chiang Mai to get to secluded temples, swimming in waterfalls, and walking with gentle elephants – but it was also important for us to take some time to relax and remember that we are on our honeymoon and are supposed to be enjoying romantic time with one another as husband and wife. (Eek! Those words still seem unreal to me.)

We decided to end our trip with a stop in Ko Samui, one of the beautiful islands off the southeast coast of Thailand (FYI – we picked the east coast because we read it was supposed to be less rainy in June). And while I truly enjoyed every moment of learning about Thai culture and exploring new places, there is something so calming about plopping in a chair on the sand and just soaking up the sun to the sound of the waves.

And, in addition to spending some time relaxing in the sun, we enjoyed the most romantic dinner of our trip in Ko Samui. In fact, it might have been the most romantic dinner we’ve ever had!

When we arrived at Ozo, our Ko Samui hotel in Chaweng Beach, Fabio wasted no time in asking the concierge for dinner recommendations. Thankfully she recommended Six Senses’ Dining on the Rocks restaurant as one of the places we had to visit during sunset, and I’m so incredibly thankful that she did.

We took a cab from our hotel to the Six Senses luxury resort, and then took a golf cart up to their Dining on the Rocks restaurant. Before we headed up to the main part of the restaurant, we were whisked onto a patio just in time to watch the sun set over the ocean.

Our table was right along the edge of the patio so we were treated to an amazing view!

With the mountains in the distance and the beautiful ocean in front of us, this wound up being one of the prettiest sunsets I’ve ever seen! It didn’t hurt that I was so relaxed and happy about spending a romantic evening with my husband. And you can’t see our faces here because of the sun, but I promise you we are grinning ear to ear.

As soon as we sat down, we ordered two glasses of champagne. Cheers to a honeymoon in paradise!

After the sun had gone down, we headed up to the main part of the restaurant where we’d eat an amazing meal.

It was still beautiful up there, but we were facing slightly away from the sun so I’m glad we enjoyed happy hour on the smaller patio first.

Instead, we got to take in beautiful views of the ocean!

(With more champagne, obviously.)

The meal itself was also amazing! I started off with some prawn and sea bass ceviche with “sweet potato sheets” which was delicious and refreshing, especially since it was pretty hot out.

For my entree, I enjoyed the scallops! Fabio got a steak, and we also shared a few side dishes.

Dessert was probably my favorite dish – I got the mango yogurt roll which was a mix of the most perfectly ripe mango and frozen yogurt. Yum!!

This restaurant is not cheap by any means – in fact it was the most expensive meal we had during our trip – but it was so romantic and relaxing and so perfect for a honeymoon. I loved every second!

Question of the day: What’s the most romantic dinner you’ve ever had?

 Posted by on August 16, 2017
Jun 262017
 

Hi friends! Man, what a whirlwind couple of weeks it’s been!

On June 10, 2017, I married my best friend. It was the most perfect day, and the whole thing was like a fairy tale. Honestly, it was just the best day of my life. It was like a dream!

Then I proceeded to spend the next two weeks traipsing around Thailand, walking with elephants, enjoying beautiful sunset dinners, swimming down waterfalls, hiking up monk’s trails to golden temples, and more.

This was a time of my life I will never forget! And even though it’s back to reality now (and I’m totally dreading catching up on work emails…gulp), it is nice to be home and get back into a routine. Plus we missed Jack a ton! 🙂

And at least I’ll get to relive all these fun times through my blog recaps! I’m planning to hold off on recapping the wedding until I get all the photos back from our photographer, so today I’ll just leave you with these sneak peek photos we received while we were on our honeymoon.

By the way, I have to give a quick shoutout to our amazing wedding photographer, Lauren Nievod! Not only are her pictures stunning (!!), but she was an absolute pleasure to work with! We loved her from our very first Skype interview and had high expectations, but once we met her in person we were blown away by her mix of professionalism, artistic eye, and fun personality! She even included a couple of photos of my dad and me in our sneak peek since she sent them to me right before Father’s Day. So thoughtful! I can’t recommend her services enough if you’re looking for a wedding photographer in the MD/DC/VA area!

Anway, here are the sneak peek photos! 🙂

Eeeeek! I can’t wait to see the rest of them!! Thank you again, Lauren!!

And since it’s probably going to be a while before I get the rest of the pictures back, I figured I would tackle this whole blog recap situation by starting with our honeymoon in Thailand! I have about a million pictures so I’m planning to break everything up into multiple posts, and I’m planning to get started with those later this week! Then hopefully by the time I’m done with Thailand, I’ll have all the wedding photos back.

So I hope you all are ready for lots and lots of recaps! 🙂

Question of the day: What do you enjoy reading about vacation recaps and what would you prefer I skip over?

 Posted by on June 26, 2017