8 Pearls Of Wedding Wisdom For The Next Bride In Line

*All photos by Derek Couts Photography

Daniel and I loved and cherished every second of our wedding day and nearly five months later, we still talk about how much fun we had celebrating our marriage with our favorite people in the world. There were several things we did on our wedding day that I know will make your own wedding experience so much more enjoyable!

1. Pray a special verse over your wedding and marriage
As a bride, you think of all the things that can go “wrong” on your wedding day. It’s just what we girls do. What if it downpours at your outdoor wedding? Or red wine accidentally gets spilled on your dress? What if nobody dances during the reception? Or an unwanted guest shows up as a plus-one?

Early on in the wedding planning process, my mom told me of a verse that she had been praying over our wedding and marriage; Ephesians 3:20. This verse says, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.” She prayed this prayer often and told me not to stress about the things that were out of our hands. All we could do was plan and prepare the best we could and leave the rest up to Him. This verse brought me so much peace during the time of my wedding.

When we accept that we cannot control every obstacle that will come our way on our wedding day, but trust in God’s ability to do abundantly more than we could ever ask or imagine, we allow ourselves to be fully present on our wedding day, enjoying each moment rather than being rattled with fear and worry of everything that could go wrong.

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2. Sit down and eat dinner with your husband
Before our wedding, I wanted to know what past brides wished they had or had not done on their wedding day. Something that I kept hearing over and over was that the bride wished she would have sat down and eaten dinner with her new husband. So, I made a point to do just that. At our reception, we had our own little table set aside for us by the fireplace where we got to enjoy 15 minutes of just being together and taking in all that was happening around us. We got to eat our delicious dinner and talked about how seamlessly everything came together. It is one of my most favorite memories of our wedding.

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3. Cut a rug
When your guests see you having a good time, it makes them want to join in on the fun! We came up with a first dance that we had practiced for months before our wedding and when our DJ announced us during our grand entrance, we went right into it. We had the best time showing off our silly moves and I felt like it set a fun atmosphere for the rest of the evening.

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4. Don’t go crazy with the decorations. Create an inviting atmosphere instead.
You might have the most beautiful decorations, but if the atmosphere is stiff and nobody is on the dance floor, that’s probably what people are going to remember about your wedding when they think back on it years down the road. However, if you create a welcoming and fun atmosphere, your guests are going to stick around until your send off.

I wanted our wedding to feel warm, cozy and inviting for our guests, and I think we accomplished that without going overboard on the decorations. We had a fire lit during our ceremony and reception (instant coziness), and lots of candles strewn about. You can buy candles in bulk for pretty cheap. We also had good music playing the whole night, thanks to our awesome DJ, which set the tone for the evening and had people on the dance floor the entire night.

So when you’re obsessing over the nitty gritty details of your decorations, remember that your guests would probably much rather have a fun time dancing the night away at your wedding than have pretty centerpieces to stare at for a few hours.

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5. Make it personal
Most of the decorations at our wedding were things we already had at home, like my typewriter, door wreaths, and things for our UT pom pom send off. Or they were things that people had made for us, like the wooden cross that sat on top of the mantle that my best friend handmade for me, and an antique door that my mom had made for us that served as the backdrop for our family dessert table.

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6. Involve your family and friends 
My mom made our wedding cake from scratch and used my grandma and grandpa’s cake topper. She also did the majority of the decorations by herself, helped me address wedding invitations, and so much more. Women on both sides of our family made desserts for our family dessert table, Daniel’s uncle married us, my aunt cross stitched our ring bearer pillow, my second cousins were our flower girls and Daniel’s were our ring bearers. One of my bridesmaids sang a song and played guitar while we took communion and lit our unity candle, and ALL of my bridesmaids were such a huge help with getting our trail mix bags stuffed and setting up the day before. Your wedding will be much more special when you involve the ones you love the most.

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7. Get most of your photos out of the way before the ceremony 
We had a wonderful photographer, Derek Couts, who is also our close friend! He did an amazing job taking our family photos and bride and groom photos before the ceremony so we could eat dinner, visit with our guests, and dance for the rest of the night! After all, we had been planning this day for over a year, so why not enjoy it?! He was also fantastic at taking natural photos of us throughout the night and not pulling us away from the fun to get forced, posed shots.

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8. Visit with your guests, but don’t feel bad if you can’t make it to everyone 
Yes, you should and need to visit with your wedding guests. They took time our of their schedule to come celebrate with you, so you should thank them for that! However, don’t feel bad if you can’t (and chances are, you won’t have the time to) visit with every single person there. They know that you have a lot going on and they want you to enjoy your own wedding! But be sure to thank them for coming after the wedding, whether that’s by writing them a thank you note or making a phone call.

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Found My Gown

Check and check! My wedding dress and veil are marked off of the wedding to-do list, and boy was it fun.

We are getting to the point where the style of our wedding is starting to take shape and I can actually envision what it might look like instead of browsing through Pinterest, pinning everything that catches my eye and forming a general idea of what we want.

I had planned on coming home this weekend, so I called my mom on Wednesday just to chat about some things we had in mind. She had made an appointment in March for me to try on dresses at a dress shop called Modern Trousseau in Nashville, but I have had my eye on this lovely consignment boutique called LVD Bridal (pronounced “loved”) located in Houston Station. I found The Dress Theory, the boutique from which LVD derives, on Instagram last year and found LVD through some of the pictures they had posted to their feed. I’ve been itching to make an appointment ever since I discovered them, but Daniel and I were not yet engaged, so I had to be patient! I saw they had an appointment open on Friday, so we snatched it up and planned to go that afternoon.

I took this straight from Houston Station’s blog to give you a better idea of what LVD is all about:

“Perfect for more eco-friendly or budget-conscious brides,  LVD by The Dress Theory Bridal Shop (pronounced “loved”) was created to make designer wedding gown consignment effortless and enjoyable. The boutique is filled with unique and stylish options, including former sample gowns by designers such as Sarah Seven, Lela Rose, and Houghton Bride. Other gowns come from past brides (many of whom purchased from The Dress Theory) whose dresses meet LVD’s style and condition standards.”

I have a thing for second-hand, and that will definitely play a role in our wedding. Although by the looks of this little boutique, you’d never guess these dresses are second-hand. I know a lot of brides wouldn’t dream of wearing a dress that has already been worn by another bride, but I think it can be special. That dress has been a part of someone else’s special day and the fact that it has been lovingly worn by another beautiful bride gives it that much more character and personality.

Although my dress hasn’t been worn by another bride, it was taken from The Dress Theory as a sample gown they no longer had room for, so that they could rotate in newer dresses. This is one of the reasons The Dress Theory created LVD, to give all of those beautiful dresses another home and a place for past Dress Theory brides to consign their gowns.

  

When we arrived, we were greeted by the sweetest manager, Ila, and immediately sat down to talk about what exactly we were looking for and our vision for the wedding.

I highly suggest you book an appointment at this boutique if you are looking for an intimate and personal experience. I loved that Ila, my mom and I were the only people in the boutique and Ila’s attention wasn’t divided between helping me and ten other brides.

After talking for a few minutes, we began looking through and pulling dresses to try on, and let me tell you, it was wedding bliss.

I picked out eight or so gowns that captured my attention and we were off to the dressing room.

One thing I really liked about the boutique is that even though they had a smaller selection to choose from (There were only 40-50 gowns total), I knew they were selected carefully and picked to mimic The Dress Theory aesthetic. The boutique is more about quality than quantity, which is a good thing.

Ila told my mom and me that if you have too many options, it can cloud your vision of what you want to look like on your wedding day, which I wholeheartedly agree with.

Here’s a peep into the dressing room with some dresses I had picked to try on (None of which is the one that I chose).

I tried on two dresses before I found the one I wanted to marry Daniel in! The longer I wore it, the more I adored it. After Ila placed the veil on my head, my mom and I were sold! I felt so giddy and beautiful and I didn’t want to take it of! I know Daniel will love it too.

All the pretty headpieces! They really add something to your whole look.

Wood floors and exposed brick…*swoon*

*More swoon*

And here it is! Wrapped up in all its beauty, ready to be worn on our wedding day and given a personality all its own.

Click here to check out LVD’s Instagram for more beautiful pictures of their space and gowns.

Christmas Proposal

For those of you who don’t know, Daniel and I have been engaged for a little over a week now!

I’ll be honest, I knew it was coming soon, but I didn’t know it was going to be on Christmas Day.

These past five years dating Daniel have been nothing short of an adventure and that didn’t stop at his proposal.

A few days before Christmas, Daniel asked if I could go walk his family’s dogs in the afternoon on Christmas Day because they would be gone most of the day visiting family. I didn’t think anything of it because he has asked me to do this before and I have never missed a chance to play with the puppies.

Around 5pm on Christmas Day, Daniel called and asked if I could head over to his house to walk the dogs and also that there was a card from his mom in the wreath on the front door waiting for me when I got there. Little did I know that he was parked up at the golf club down the street, waiting for me to drive by so that he could rush to my house to get everything set up.

So, I drove over to his house and right before pulling in the driveway I noticed everyone’s car was there but Daniel’s. Obviously, everyone was home, so I didn’t know why he had asked me to walk the dogs. I walked up to the front door and there was an envelope taped to it with my name written on it in Daniel’s handwriting. Now I was suspicious. He wrote a sweet letter saying that he was happy to be celebrating our fifth Christmas together and that the next note would be upstairs taped to the window facing the high school. I walked into his house and was happily greeted by the dogs and his mom who asked about the letter. I told her that I had instructions to go upstairs to retrieve the second one.

I walked upstairs where some of his family were. His younger sister, Ellie, kept asking me what the letters were for and if it was just a part of my Christmas present. I thought she was just playing along with the proposal, but later I found out that she actually had no idea what was about to happen!

I went over to the window and got the letter. This one told me to look up at the high school and although it may not seem very special, it is an important place for us because it was where we first met. More instructions followed saying that the next letter would be out in the mailbox. I walked downstairs and outside and opened the mailbox and the third letter. This one told me to get my next letter on the front door of MY house and while I drove back home, to think about all of the fun times we’ve had together and memories we’ve made throughout the years. I said goodbye to his mom and hopped in my car, eager for what was to come next!

I got home and saw Daniel’s car in the driveway, so I knew I was getting closer! I walked up the steps to the front porch and opened the fourth letter taped to the door, which told me to come inside and sit down at the chair with the final letter in it. I peeped inside, but there was no one to be seen. I opened the door and walked into the living room and saw the door to the bonus room was closed so I thought everyone was upstairs waiting for me. Then, I saw Daniel’s laptop sitting on the coffee table surrounded by pictures of us throughout the years, candles and flowers. The chair with the letter in it was the very place Daniel sat when he first came to meet my parents right before our first winter formal together when we were in high school.

I opened the letter and he wrote that he chose this chair for a reason. He chose it because this was where it all began and we have grown up in this house. Next, the letter said to press the play button on his laptop. I pressed play, saw his sweet face on the screen and watched the sweetest video he made titled “50 Things I Love About You”. Throughout the video it showed Daniel holding up signs like #50, #49 and so on with things that he loves about me written on the signs. One of my favorites was “I love that you pick out the best avocados,” with the sign sitting in a bin of avocados and Daniel reaching down and grabbing one to hold up to the camera (We love making guacamole and Daniel tends to pick the really hard avocados!). There were scenes of Daniel at his apartment in Cookeville, at the laundromat, out on a run, and some of me spinning around the Christmas tree and hiking up Mt. LeConte. It was so special and unique and it made me both laugh and cry. I thought I was all alone downstairs, so I didn’t care that I was blubbering like a baby.

After the video ended there were no further instructions, so I was going to walk upstairs where I thought everyone was. Then, I heard footsteps and Daniel came walking out from behind me (I had no idea he was there watching me the whole time!). I stood up and he took my hands in his and said a lot of sweet things and then at the end of his little speech he said, “So……” with a big grin on his face. I knew what was coming, so I couldn’t help but jump up and down! He got down on one knee and asked if I’d marry him and I bent down and half yelled,”YEAH!!!” several times to answer his question. When he stood back up, I couldn’t control the water works and he kept telling me that I still had to put the ring on. He slipped it on my finger and I adored it’s classic, vintage design. No one else was around, no cameras– it was our moment and one that we will replay in our minds over and over.

That night, we celebrated with a huge, homemade meal my mom made for us all. I loved that Daniel involved our families in the proposal.

We are thrilled to see what this year holds for us and are ready to start our life together as a married couple!

You can also check out our wedding website on The Knot here for more details and photos! Our wedding website is incomplete as of now, but will be updated soon and often!