Jan 052018

Hi friends! Today I’m back with the very last recap of our beautiful wedding. Man, it sure took me a while to get through all of these, didn’t it? Today’s post will recap the most fun part of the wedding: the dancing! As usual, here are my vendor notes:

  • DJ: Crow Entertainment (we worked with CJ, and he was SO great! He got everyone’s names right, and we had some tough ones! Plus his playlist was fantastic!)
  • 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)

If you missed any past recaps you can find them here.

And now, let’s jump right in!

For our first song, I wanted to start off with something to honor my grandparents, who have been married for 63 years! I had talked to my DJ about this ahead of time, and he asked all the married couples to head out onto the dance floor for a special dance.

It was crazy to see a bunch of our friends on the dance floor – we’ve been to so many weddings in the last few years that we actually have a lot of married friends now!

Jess & Erick


Megan & JR

Grae & Dan and Rebecca & Richard

Plus some family members too!

After everyone danced for a little while, the DJ would ask the couples to sit down based on how long they’ve been married. He started with “sit down if you’ve only been married for an hour.” Ha! Guess that’s us.

Then he continued counting down different amounts of time until only my grandparents were left on the dance floor!

I thought this was a really fun way to celebrate their marriage, and it got everyone’s attention on the dance floor. 🙂

Yay, Grandma and Grandpa!

After that, the boys headed out to make a toast at the bar…

…and the ladies hit the dance floor!

I was so happy with how the reception went as a whole; we had given our DJ a list of songs that we definitely wanted him to play and a few to steer clear of. He totally listened to our suggestions and added a few selections of his own. Everything was a hit!

As for the dance floor itself, it was totally packed during the whole wedding! Many of the venue’s employees told us the next day that they’d never seen a wedding there where every single guest was up and dancing. What can I say, our friends and family like to dance!

One good thing about being under the tent was that when the dance floor got too crowded, people just danced on the grass either by the tables or outside the tent. Of course my mom and stepdad did some of this since they need a lot of room when they dance. 🙂

A couple other guests danced out there too!

There were also different pockets of people on the dancefloor – I guess because of where their tables were set up and what part of the dance floor was closest to them – so I made sure to move around the floor so I danced with every group a few times. Fabio and I didn’t really do the whole go from table to table greeting people thing (we didn’t spend much time on dinner and didn’t think we would have time to visit everyone), so instead we mingled on the dance floor instead. I think that’s more our style anyway. 🙂

Here are the bridesmaids/my friends!

And this amazing selfie that Fabio’s friends got!

(Also with our Snapchat filter!)

We also danced with my family/family friends! (How cute is my grandma – my mom’s mom – dancing with Fabio’s dad?)

Plus Aunt CC and me, of course.

And my sister danced with Fabio’s dad!

And you probably recognize these guys, though they’re usually in sweaty gym clothes when I post their pictures: Anne and Kathleen!

Fabio’s family was really fun to dance with too, and they got up to some crazy dance moves.

For example, check out this photo sequence with Fabio’s Tia Clara. She’s always a hoot, and these pictures continue to crack me up.

Yes, that’s Fabio crawling between her legs. Ha!

Fabio’s family are all really good dancers, and I made sure to do some salsa dancing with them too. I specifically remember singing to Despacito with Fabio’s Colombian cousin in this picture. 🙂

I’ve gotten really close with Fabio’s cousins over the last couple of years, and now I feel like they’re truly my cousins too! I love this one with his (my!) cousin Maria Clara. <3

And then, of course, I did plenty of dancing with my husband too!


These two pictures sum us up perfectly. I love them!



Before we knew it, our time was up and it was time to leave the tent for the after party.

When planning out our timeline for the day, I knew I wanted to do a bouquet toss but didn’t want to use up valuable reception time on it. Instead, I did a more casual bouquet toss in the grass outside the tent as everyone was leaving. My cousin Yasi caught it!

(I also wound up throwing a smaller bouquet that was used on the dessert table so I could save mine. It worked out great!)

After that, we all hopped on the venue’s shuttle for the after party! We held it in one of the houses on the property, and it had a really cool atrium ceiling and balcony by the upstairs rooms. My dad brought a sound system/light machine from home, which made the space really fun! Fabio and I climbed up on the balcony to thank everyone for coming, and then the party kicked off!

(We had another Snapchat filter for the after party!)

It was so fun spending more time with our guests, and I was happy to see that our family joined us for the party as well. 🙂

I had debated changing into another outfit, but I decided that I spent so much money on my dress that I wanted to keep it on for as long as possible!

We ordered something like 30 pizzas for the after party (this is just one stack), and somehow they ALL got eaten by the end of the night. Crazy!

We had purchased alcohol from Costco ahead of time, which made everything really easy. It seemed like everyone had an absolute blast – I know I did!

Jack came to the after party too, and goodness only knows how much pizza he ate. Everyone kept telling me that they fed him some – LOL!

He was definitely the hit of the party. 🙂

Overall it was the perfect way to end our night and was just SO much fun.

We finally stumbled back to our room at around 3:30 a.m. Oof! What a long day.

I think everyone was hurting a bit in the morning, and our friend sent us this picture on her way to meeting for breakfast. Ha!

Yep, it was a fun wedding and after party, that’s for sure.

We had a really nice breakfast the next morning under the tent, and then around noon we all said our goodbyes and Fabio and I headed off to Thailand! But you already know that part of the story. 🙂

Aaaand that concludes the blog recap of our amazing wedding! Everything just went so perfectly – you always hear that things won’t go according to plan but we just got so, so, so lucky with the weather and the venue and our vendors and everything. I remember we both had humungous grins the whole drive home, and we couldn’t stop saying how lucky we were. <3

Question of the day: Do you like when weddings have traditional elements like the bouquet toss and garter toss, or would you rather spend more time dancing?

 Posted by on January 5, 2018
Dec 202017

Helloooo, and welcome to another wedding recap! Man, I thought I’d be able to wrap everything up in one last post, but who am I kidding–I’m going to need at least one more after this to fit everything in! I might not make it to my goal of recapping everything by the end of 2017, but I’m still going to try!

Today’s recap kicks off the wedding reception! If you missed any of my past recaps you can find those here.

As usual, I have a couple of vendor notes to share with you guys:

  • DJ: Crow Entertainment (we worked with CJ, and he was SO great! He got everyone’s names right, and we had some tough ones! Plus his playlist was fantastic!)
  • Dessert: Peace of Cake (the prettiest and most delicious desserts!!)
  • 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 dive right in!

As soon as cocktail hour was over, the DJ instructed everyone to take their seats under the tent. Then he pressed play on “You make my dreams” by Daryl Hall & John Oates, which we used as our bridal party entrance song! (BTW, this song is currently being used in a Chili’s commercial, and every time I hear it come on it makes me think of the wedding!)

First up, my mom and stepdad! Don’t they look so great?! They danced in a bit, but also kept things classy (per usual).

Up next came my dad and stepmom, who danced a little bit more. 🙂

But Fabio’s parents, however, really got into it! They’re both great dancers, so I’m not surprised.

Then came the bridal party! I had sent them all an email leading up to the wedding letting them know who they’d be walking in with and encouraged them to work together to come up with a fun entrance, and they did NOT disappoint. We had some really fun ones!

Here are Kristen and Tom…

Jon and Catrina…

Jay and Megan…

And Diane and Alex!

Honestly, everyone had a great entrance – even my sister who wound up having to walk in by herself due to some confusion with the flower girl. 🙂 Yay, bridal party!

When it got to be our turn, Fabio and I realized we hadn’t planned anything for ourselves! Ha! So we looked at each other and just decided to run into the tent.


It seemed to work out well. 🙂

I had also told our bridal party to circle the dance floor once they entered the tent, which made for a super special first dance with all our best friends surrounding us. It obviously looked nice for the pictures too. 🙂

Our first dance song was “Say You Won’t Let Go” by James Arthur, and as soon as the music started, our bridal party all linked arms and started swaying to the music.

Fabio and I had originally thought about taking dance lessons for our first dance, but after talking to our friend Kristen (who’s a dancer), she suggested we do whatever feels natural to us. Having to worry about choreographed dance steps isn’t really our personality, so we took her advice and just kind of winged it. I actually think we did pretty well!

We even got a few spins in, which was fun since the bottom of my dress spun out. 🙂

P.S. How great is Catrina’s face in that photo above?

And then before we knew it, our song was coming to an end!

Which of course meant a big kiss. 🙂

After our first dance was over, we went right into dances with our parents. To save time/maximize time spent on the dance floor later, we just danced to one song (“What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong, which is a special one for my dad and me), and it was nice to have all four of us on the dance floor together. Fabio and his mom had a nice little step going on, but my dad and I just kind of swayed. (Again with the winging it thing!) 🙂

Once that was over, my grandpa shared a blessing so everyone could start eating their salads and bread. This was something special I wanted to include since my grandparents mean so much to me, and my grandpa is pretty involved with his church.

Fun fact: I actually hand-wrote him a card asking him to read a blessing and mailed to his house a few months before the wedding, even though I see him and my grandma pretty frequently. He seemed to really appreciate this gesture, and it was nice to ask him in a somewhat special way. (We did this with our aunts for the readings too!)

Anyway, my grandpa did a great job!

Then while people dug into their salads, we got started with speeches! My dad went first.

My dad and Fabio worked together at one point a few years ago doing government work, so my dad made a joke about how every dad wants to know all about his daughter’s boyfriend, so my dad’s solution was to hire Fabio and then make him go through an official government background check. Ha! This was actually true – Fabio did have to get a background check for that job – so it was pretty funny.

My dad did a great job at making us laugh while also bringing in lots of emotion, which was a common theme with all the speeches at our wedding.

I’ve always been a daddy’s girl, so this was a really nice moment for me. 🙂

Up next was my stepsister, Maggie! Maggie started off by saying she was going to do something a little different from a regular speech, by singing an original song that she wrote!

This caught me totally by surprise, and then I realized there was a keyboard and microphone set up by the DJ booth. Had that been there the whole time?

Maggie is a great singer and really creative, and her song was all about the relationship of sisters and love.

Her last line in the song had something to do with how when times are hard or I’m feeling lonely, I should remember all the love here today, and I totally lost it. Wow – I was NOT expecting to get so emotional during her speech (/song)!

It was so, so sweet of her to write and sing us a song, and it’s a memory I will always cherish.

After that was the best man, Hayden!

Fabio and Hayden met freshman year of college, and I met them both during our sophomore year, so I was kind of nervous about what kind of stories Hayden was going to bring up in his speech. We have been through a LOT of crazy times together (usually involving too much alcohol) so I didn’t know what to expect. In the end, he shared a funny story that involved drinking and the Yankees, which was appropriate given Fabio’s love for the team and luckily not too embarrassing.

Ok, so it was a little embarrassing.

But I had made him promise to run his speech by his girlfriend, his sister, and his mom before the big day, so luckily it wasn’t too bad. I actually think he did a fantastic job!

Last but not least, my best friend and other Maid of Honor, Bianca!

Bianca tends to get emotional, so I was definitely expecting some tears from this one.

In the end, Bianca had me cracking up for 99.9% of her speech, and I only got super emotional at the end.

There was one point where I felt sure I was ugly-crying, but from the pictures, it doesn’t like it was too bad. She really got me though, and I felt #alltheemotions.

My best friend! <3

Then we did a quick little cake-cutting ceremony while the DJ played “Cake (I only Came for the Cake)” by DJ Too Tan. My friend Megan got us these adorable Kate Spade cake-cutters, so I made a crazy face at her which was captured on camera. Ha!

When Fabio and I cut the cake, we agreed not to smash each other’s faces into it.

However, that didn’t mean I couldn’t put some on Fabio’s nose, right?

He got me back after that, which was pretty fun. 🙂


And after that, the rest of the night was spent on the dance floor!! More in the next recap!

Question of the day: Would you take dance lessons or wing it? Cake smashed in the face or no?

 Posted by on December 20, 2017
Dec 152017

Hey there! It’s time for another wedding recap, this time with some photos from cocktail hour! If you missed any of my past recaps, you can find those here.

As usual, here are some vendor notes for the photos in this post:

  • Dessert: Peace of Cake (the prettiest and most delicious desserts!!)
  • Florist: Monteray Farms (Amy Wilkins was truly amazing to work with. If you have an Eastern Shore wedding, I would totally recommend her!)
  • 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 dive right in!

As soon as our wedding ceremony ended, we walked up the pathway to the patio and grassy area where cocktail hour would be held!

In this area, we also had a couple of tables with our guest book and boxes for cards, and the staff at the Wye River Conference Center hung our cool wooden photo frame that my MoH/best friend Bianca made us for our engagement party the year before!

Before we got started with cocktail hour, we took some beautiful family portraits. We had the photo lists planned out ahead of time and we had told all of our family to be ready for pictures immediately following the ceremony, which made everything go a lot faster.

Here’s Fabio’s family…

And my dad, stepmom, and sister!

And then we got some with my mom, stepdad, stepsister, and her boyfriend!

We had a few other iterations of these – some with just the parents, some with my grandparents, etc. – but after about 20 minutes we had wrapped up pictures and could enjoy our cocktail hour!

At this point my mom and Aunt CC went with me into the house to tie my dress up into its bustle (which was a lot more complicated than we had hoped), but before long we were back outside with everyone enjoying the party.

This space was so beautiful for cocktail hour – there was a nice patio with tables and chairs but a lot more room out on the grass. It was so beautiful!

Our guests seemed to really enjoy the passed hors d’ouvres too – sadly I didn’t get to try any!

I loved seeing people use our photo frame too!

Meanwhile, our photographers took some beautiful pictures of all our wedding reception details. Our florist Amy Wilkins brought these amazing rustic doors for us to use for the escort cards – I just love how they turned out!

And here’s the reception space – we worked with the wedding coordinator at the Wye River Conference Center and the florist to come up with this design. We used a mix of round tables and rectangular ones and had a whole mix of flowers for the centerpieces. We were going for sort of a garden theme, but I didn’t want anything too matchy-matchy. I love how it all turned out!

This super long rectangular table seated most of the bridal party and their dates, and it was really nice for me to have everyone together!

And Fabio and I got to enjoy a beautiful sweetheart table!

And check out this AMAZING dessert display – our florist Amy provided all the different tiered structures, our cute little dessert bites are from Peace of Cake, and the Wye River Conference Center people helped set everything up. I could NOT be more pleased with how it all turned out!!

Also since Fabio is allergic to shellfish but we wanted to include crabs in our wedding since we were on the Eastern Shore, we included some adorable crab sugar cookies on the dessert display!

So cute, right? We also had a bunch of to-go cardboard boxes for our guests so people could take these treats back to their rooms after the wedding. 🙂

I mean, I clearly love treats, so this was the perfect dessert option for me. 🙂

And then we had a small vanilla buttercream cake to cut!

I think everything came out so beautifully!

As the sun started to set, Fabio and I snuck away for a few husband and wife portraits. I love how these came out too!

My hubby!

After that, it was time to party! Next recap will be the reception!

Question of the day: Cake at weddings or other treats?

 Posted by on December 15, 2017
Dec 082017

Hello there! As I mentioned last week, I’m trying to get all my wedding recap posts up before the end of the year, which means I need to keep chugging along! If you missed any of my last recaps, you can find them here.

And, as usual, here are my vendor notes:

  • Florist: Monteray Farms (Amy Wilkins was truly amazing to work with – wait until you see what she did for our dessert table and escort cards! If you have an Eastern Shore wedding, I would totally recommend her!)
  • 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, it’s time for the ceremony!

When I saw the ceremony space decorated for the first time, I think my jaw dropped. It was everything I had envisioned and more.

We chose to get married in the Cherry Grove of the Wye River Conference Center, which is a beautiful garden area with two big cherry trees (they looked almost like weeping willows) on both sides. This was perfect because it provided shade for our guests on an early summer day.

Amy Wilkins from Monteray Farms totally knocked it out of the park when it came to our flowers – I’m not much of a flower person so I didn’t know the names of the flowers I wanted, but she took my inspiration pictures from Pinterest and ran with it. In the end, I was so, so pleased with how everything came out.

I borrowed the white shepherds’ hooks from my friend Megan, and to save money, the mason jars used in the ceremony were repurposed as part of the centerpieces in the reception as well. My amazing stepdad built the awesome arch (trellis? what is this called?) that you see below, and now it’s residing at my mom’s house when you enter their garden!

The flowers surrounding the arch are probably my favorite part of the whole thing. How beautiful are these?!

Here’s a close-up of the mason jar flowers, as well as a peek at our program! (FYI – I bought my program fan design – as well as the table numbers and escort cards – from this Etsy store and had everything printed at Kinkos. My amazing family helped assemble the fans with popsicle sticks the weekend before the wedding.)

Originally we were planning to have our DJ take care of the music for the ceremony, but as a wedding gift, my stepsister Maggie sprung for a violinist. YES! This was something I didn’t budget for initially but decided I really wanted once it got closer to the big day. She is so sweet for doing this!

Instead of having her play traditional classic wedding music, we wanted to go a little more modern. Here are the songs we I chose, which I thought came out perfectly.

  • Prelude music (general classical)
  • Mothers/Grandmothers: Meditation from Thais
  • Bridesmaids/Bridal Party (including Junior bridesmaid and flower girl): I’m Yours
  • Bride: Can’t Help Falling in Love
  • Recessional: Marry You

While all these photos were being taken, the bridal party was gathered in the library room of the house, and I think we were all feeling pretty jittery and nervous. Specifically, I was thinking about the long walk through the grass and hoping I wouldn’t trip. I was wearing sandals under my dress so I wasn’t worried about tripping in heels, but all the same it was a long way to walk with lots of eyeballs on me. I was happy that my dad would be there so I could hold his arm just in case. 🙂

Eventually it was time to line up and start walking down the aisle. My grandparents and the moms went first (escorted by some of Fabio’s cousins and close family friends).

I love this one of my mom and stepdad. 🙂

My Grandma and Fabio’s cousin, Fabio Andres. (My Grandma thought it was crazy that with Fabio’s dad, we had three Fabios at the wedding!)

And then the boys made their way down!

Our two close family friends Lee and Dan are both priests, so they both officiated our wedding. It was so nice to have people close to us helping us tie the knot!

Then it was time for the ladies! I know I said it in my last recap, but I just love how their dresses turned out. They look like princesses!

At the end of the line were my maids of honor, junior bridesmaid (with Jack!) and flower girl.

Jack totally stole the show, and we could hear everyone laughing as my sister walked him down the aisle.

I also have to say how beautiful/adorable my sister looked this day. She’s growing up so fast! <3

P.S. – I heard that our photographer got on the ground to take this shot. She’s the best!

And here’s the flower girl! 🙂

I think she was mesmerized by Jack walking in front of her. 🙂

During all of this, my dad and I were waiting in the smaller garden up by the library. It was surreal watching everyone I loved so much walk down in front of me, and eventually only my dad and I were left.

I remember feeling worried about not knowing when it would be our turn to walk down the aisle – our cue was supposed to be when the violinist switched songs, but it was a bit hard to hear her from so far away. There were also a bunch of cows mooing near where we were, which made us laugh and broke up the nerves a bit. Finally we heard the music change, and then it was our turn!

My whole life I have been SUCH a Daddy’s girl – probably because we spent a lot of time just the two of us when I was growing up. I was so happy to have him there by my side on this important day.

I’m glad the photographer remembered to get a picture of Fabio’s face as came down the aisle – I was busy smiling at our guests and totally forgot to look until I was almost all the way down!

At this point Sofia, our flower girl, realized she had forgotten to throw down her rose petals, so she did it really quickly before we got to the end of the aisle. It made everyone laugh!

Then it was time for my dad to give me away!

There was an awkward moment when Fabio and my dad weren’t sure if they were supposed to shake hands or what. Everyone laughed!

Then Sofia threw some more flower petals (lol) and then the ceremony began!

I love these photos that the photographer got – she really captured the beauty of everything. You can really see the blue and green dresses here!

And Jack!

Fabio and I both love personalized, unique ceremonies, so we did our best to add our own touch to everything. First, we had some special vows to honor our parents. This was important to me because I wanted to make sure my stepdad and stepmom felt included.

We also had Fabio’s aunt Clara read a poem (that she wrote!) in Spanish, and my Aunt CC also gave a reading.

Then our family friend/priest, Dan, gave the most beautiful and personal homily that included special anecdotes about our relationship. Since he knows us pretty well, he was able to speak to us as a couple on a personal level, which was so, so nice.

He also had a trick up his sleeve – he asked everyone to bow their heads and say a prayer, and then he asked the moms to read their prayers aloud. Little did I know they both had beautiful prayers written out for us!

Then he handed us the mike and told us to say what we had been praying – um, what? Truthfully, I had been thinking about how happy I was and how I liked that I could hear some cows mooing, and I thought about a few other “to-dos” I had to take care of once the ceremony was over. Not much real “praying.”

But Fabio and I both were able to pull together something meaningful to say, and I think we got out of this situation pretty well. In the end, I’m glad Dan included this little surprise for us. 🙂

He also kept tying everything back to baseball and “home plate” during his homily (since Fabio is such a huge baseball fan) and at the end, he pulled out this amazing home plate that he had made for us! So, so sweet!

After that, we exchanged rings, prayed, and then we were married!

You may kiss the bride!

And with that, we were married!

Clearly I was happy. 🙂

Then we all headed back up the aisle for cocktail hour.

And we started out our new life as Mr. & Mrs.!

Question of the day: Do you get emotional at weddings?

I usually do, but I didn’t get too emotional during ours. I was more emotional before the first look!

 Posted by on December 8, 2017
Nov 292017

Hello there! Today it’s time for another recap of our wedding! My goal is to get all the recaps written by the end of the year, so I’m trying to crank through these last few posts as quickly as possible. Hope you guys aren’t tired of these yet!

When we last left off, I had just seen Fabio for our first look! You can find all my wedding recaps here.

Today I’m sharing photos of the bridal party, and before we get started I wanted to share the following vendor notes:

  • Bridesmaid Dresses: Bella Bridesmaids (I had the best experience shopping there – you can read my full review here. Specific dresses are from Jenny Yoo, Theia, and Amsale, and include a mix of floral, green, and blue dresses, some with straps and some without)
  • Groomsmen Suits: ASOS Wedding Suits (These came out great and were really affordable! I would definitely recommend ASOS over a rental company, and returns were easy too! The groomsmen’s ties and socks are from Tie Bar, which was also a great company with nice, affordable options.)
  • 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 dive in!

As soon as I was done doing a mini first look with my dad and stepdad, I saw the rest of the bridal party coming outside! The first ones I saw were my sister Nicole – who was a junior bridesmaid – walking Jack, our “ring-bearer.” Nicole was in charge of walking Jack down the aisle, so she wound up holding him a lot of the time. 🙂

Of course Jack is a dog and will do what dogs do…including poop. The photographer snapped this lovely picture of him. Ha!

At one point he also peed on the white tablecloth by the ceremony site where water and lemonade were being served. Don’t worry – the staff changed the tablecloth before everything got started. How classy. 😉

Then all the bridesmaids and groomsmen assembled for some group photos!

Fabio and I weren’t entirely sure how all the dresses and suits were going to look together, but we were so happy with how everything came out! My two maids of honor, the junior bridesmaid, and the flower girl were all wearing beautiful Jenny Yoo dresses in a light green and peach floral pattern. The rest of the bridesmaids were in green and blue dresses from Theia and Amsale (some with straps and some without) and my vision was to have everything look cohesive without being identical. The groomsmen’s suits all came from ASOS, which was nice because they didn’t cost too much and everyone got to keep them.

Up until that point we really hadn’t seen all the different colors and textures of everything together, and we couldn’t believe how well it came out! I was really happy with the result. 🙂

Plus we have some really good-looking friends and family, so that didn’t hurt the pictures either. 😉

Then the photographer asked us to kiss, and we got some of my favorite pictures of the day! (I think I say that in every post – haha – I guess I just have a lot of favorites!)


Once we were done smooching, we took some photos of the groomsmen and bridesmaids!

Here are the guys, looking dapper in their suits. (They all wore jackets and ties, except for Fabio who also wore a vest to set himself apart a bit.)

And I love these ones that were taken on the other side of the lawn!

So pretty!

And of course we needed a picture with their matching socks. 😉

And then we got a bunch of shots of the ladies!

I just love how these came out – you can kind of tell that there are both green and blue dresses and some floral ones in the mix, but I think with all the greenery and the flowers it looks really natural and not too matchy-matchy. Plus everyone looks so beautiful and happy!

Love these!

Then I got some portraits with each of the bridesmaids – one smiling and one where we’re looking at each other. But don’t worry, I haven’t posted them all here. With 10 bridesmaids that would be a lot of photos! 🙂

But here are a few of my favorites – one with my two maids of honor…

One with all my family (new and old!)

A couple with my sister…

And of course my sister-in-law and baby (bump) Michael!!

Then I got a photo with my best friends from home, Bianca, Hana, and Sam…

And one with my college besties (aka gurlays/sloppytown) Megan, Catrina, Britt, and Kristen!

And after that, it was time to get ready for the ceremony! Eek!

Question of the day: How many bridesmaids would/did you have?

 Posted by on November 29, 2017
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