Wow… how have I been married for TWO years already?! I feel like our wedding was decades ago but at the same time, I feel like we’ve blinked and it’s been two years. Weird, right?
I guess time really does fly when you’re having fun! To celebrate our second year of ‘wedded bliss’, we stuck with the “traditional anniversary gifts by year” theme which states…
Year One:Paper <– A big success! Year Two: Cotton <– WHAT?! Year Three: Leather <– Oh boy. Year Four: Linen/silk or Fruit/Flowers <– conflicting reports? Year Five: Wood <– DIY, yes please!
They don’t make it easy on us newlyweds, do they?! Haha…as much as I joke, Matt and I both agreed that this is a fun way to think outside of the box and appreciate each other with a tiny something for this special occasion. But cotton… really?! This was a tough one because I immediately think pillow or something for the house and let’s be honest, if I’m buying something like a pillow… it’s probably not a gift for him but more so for myself. So when my mind defaulted to cute cotton items for the house I had to force myself to keep brainstorming. Brainstorming a cotton gift turned out to be a lot tougher than I imagined but (unfortunately) not as tough as next year. Leather… Yikes! <– let’s not tell Matt about this just yet. He already thinks I’m hard to buy for so leather may really send him over the edge. #eek
Anyways… back to cotton and our 2nd year anniversary celebration. After lots of brainstorming, I went with one of Matt’s all-time favorite “cotton” things and added just a little extra personalization.It may sound lame, but Matt is OB-SESSED with these dress shirts. He wears a shirt and tie to work everyday and literally ONLY wears this specific style (no exceptions). When I really could NOT think of anything cotton-y that he would actually use and appreciate, I finally decided to stick with an item he loved. I ordered one (of the very few) prints that he does not own (waited for it to be on sale of course) and added in a stylish tie. Then, I had the sleeve embroidered with his initials… monogrammed if you will.
Cotton – check!
Super romantic – ughh… not exactly.
I knew he would absolutely love this simple gift, but I wasn’t impressed with just giving him a shirt and tie so I took it just one tiny step further. In the gift box, I added a little note explaining that we were going to dress up and have a fancy date night together, something we rarely (if ever) do. I mean yes, we are always doing things together but we are not ones to dress up and splurge on a fancy night out. I listed instructions for him to be ready by 6:00pm in his handsome new outfit… but we had one small problem. #lifehappens
That day we had a crazy ICE STORM in Chicago, which left us literally stuck INSIDE all day + night because the roads were so bad. We took a “rain (snow) check” for that fancy dinner and instead bundled up in our winter coats and trekked our way across the ice to the grocery store to get some junk food for a cozy night in.
We stocked up on buffalo chicken dip ingredients, lots of chips, cookies, candy and anything else unhealthy we could carry and slip-slided our way back home for a very unexpected, but much welcomed date-night in. But before we were officially in for the night, we checked another anniversary tradition off of our to-do list: taking photos with our wedding photo booth frame (more details here). We have added year #2 to our collection and are already loving looking back at last year’s photos!
Crazy how quickly the year went!! As I look back on 2015 I feel blessed to be celebrating two happy years of marriage and I am EXTRA grateful that this ice storm came on our second year anniversary and NOT on our wedding day!! And as much as I was excited for our fancy night out together, I would be lying if I didn’t say that I was just as excited to be stuck home eating buffalo chicken dip with this handsome fella.
Back in October, Finn & I posed for a little anniversary photo session with our wedding photographer (Gina Cristine Photography). Gina is amazing at weddings (check out the stunning pictures she took at ours!), and wants to continue her relationships with her clients well after they say, “I do.” So in order to get the word out about her new anniversary session options, she asked us to pose for some pics one night downtown.
We figured it would be a fun night, and it gave us an excuse to get dressed up and hit the town…with a photographer documenting it all, of course. Gina advised us to go with a glamorous look, that would work with the beautiful Chicago architecture and dimly lit restaurants we planned to shoot at.
I honestly had nooooo idea what to wear. It’s not like I have a closet full of ballgowns. So, I tried Rent the Runway for the very first time. I’m not exactly a fashionista, and I certainly don’t keep up with famous fashion designers or know labels…at all. I really just wanted a dress that was beautiful, elegant, and most importantly FIT! There’s a Rent the Runway storefront in Chicago, so I went there about a week before our photos to try on some options. It was fun to look at all of the gorgeous gowns and play dress-up, but I ultimately didn’t find what I wanted right then and there at the store.
I came home in a bit of a panic, and immediately started looking at Rent the Runway online to see if they had anything in my size and available. I found this black dress, ordered it, and crossed my fingers that it would fit when it arrived the next week. Thankfully it fit like a glove. And boy was the quality nice. I can see why people like their designer labels. After my wedding dress, this was the nicest garment I had ever worn on my body.
All in all, a fun night with my favorite guy. He’s definitely a keeper.
So cheers to a wonderful 2015! We hope everyone enjoys their New Year’s Eve. We’ll see you bright and early tomorrow in 2016.
Looking back at the last year, I think I’ve certainly learned a lot as I’ve gotten accustomed to this new title of “wife.”
1. The Wedding is Only Day 1
It’s crazy to think how my priorities changed in the span of 1 year. 13 months ago I was knee-deep in table numbers, RSVP counts, and wedding party gifts. Now I can barely even recall how many tables we even had, and what gifts we gave to our family members. You spend so much time and energy focusing on one day, and then it’s over. The food is long gone, the wedding dress is put deep into the closet, the thank you notes are written and your wedding is officially an event of the past. I have many friends and co-workers who are now planning their own weddings and my biggest piece of advice is to not get caught up in the craziness of a wedding. At the end of the day…the details don’t matter! The only thing that matters is you’re married to the love of your life. Spend time making sure your relationship stays strong throughout the wedding planning process, and less time stressing about the silly details.
I’m happy we had a beautiful, wonderful day with everyone we love by our side. But the best part comes after the wedding when you just get to be husband and wife, instead of bride and groom.
Don’t get me wrong, I loved my wedding day. And you can tell by the number of times I’ve watched our wedding video. I pretty much cry every time I see it. Therefore I’ve stopped watching it at work. #awkward
Here it is again if you missed it the first time around. Now let me happy weep some more….
3. We’re in this Together
I have to say my absolute favorite part about being married is the permanence of it. Not that our relationship didn’t feel real or permanent before, but now it just feels so much more official. Just like any relationship, we have good days and bad days. And it feels so comforting to know that no matter what happens…even if the bad day is really bad…my husband isn’t going anywhere. We’re in this together as team mates and best friends until the very end.
4. A Paper Gift is Hard!
Holy moley anniversary gifts are difficult! For everyone out there who has been married for decades, you’re gonna need to send some gift giving advice my way! I started thinking about what to do for Finn way back at the beginning of summer and could not think of anything that would fit the bill for year one. We decided early on that we want to try to stick with the traditional anniversary gifts, and put our own spin on them. With paper as the year one gift, I had to think of something creative.
Sports tickets? A journal? Heck…perhaps a crisp $100 bill?
I hemmed and hawed, and tried to think what Finn would truly enjoy & appreciate as a gift. That husband of mine enjoys the simple things in life. Mainly sports, food, & drink. So I decided to embrace the saying “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.”
I emailed our caterer and asked her if she could re-create our entire wedding menu for us, to which she happily accepted! I then printed off our wedding menu on PAPER (my way of incorporating the traditional gift in the mix. Kinda cheating…but I think it still counts) and included it in my anniversary card for Finn.
On the day of the wedding we were so overwhelmed and busy that we were hardly able to enjoy the delicious food we picked out for our special day. Now a year later, we could finally sit back, relax, and enjoy the amazing food from our wedding. Our caterer prepared the exact same meal, but this time only for 2 people. She dropped it off at our place with specific heating instructions (I warned her about my lack of skills in the kitchen), and then I had our romantic dinner all ready to go when Finn came home from work last week.
I even picked up a fresh wedding cake from the same bakery to enjoy for dessert!
A relaxing evening in with my husband is, to me, the perfect way to celebrate a wonderful year of marriage together.
One year down…a LIFETIME to go. Love you Mr. Finn.
Psst…for Bridget’s first year of marriage recap check out this post!
I’ve officially been back in the good ol’ US of A for about 3 weeks now, and my days filled with beaches, margaritas, and sunscreen have been replaced with to-do lists, laundry, and cloudy spring days. Oh well…you’ve gotta have normal days to appreciate those few blissful, vacation days.
Before those white sandy beaches are too much of a distant memory, I wanted to recap our trip while also offering some tips about what we learned on our first vacation as a couple to Mexico. Since I’m a Mexico rookie, I asked my friend Lauren to share her expert knowledge on the topic as well. She and her hubby have vacationed down there about a dozen times, so some of her expertise is included too!
1. Pack the Essentials
As a chronic overpacker, I can sometimes get a little packing happy when I’m prepping for vacay. I usually overstuff my suitcase and end up wearing about 30% of what I bring. #fail
For this trip, I was determined to pack wisely and I’m happy to report that I did a pretty darn good job. Here’s what I brought along for our 10 day trip.
2 pairs of wedges (1 tan, 1 black), gym shoes, 3 pairs of sandals
Sundresses (mostly worn for dinners at night)
4-6 bathing suits
Sunglasses & Hat
1 clutch & 1 small crossbody purse
2 coverups <–I should have brought more! They got full of sweat, sand, and sunscreen and by the end of the trip they were ready for the laundry!
Casual Shorts & Tanks
Workout clothes & pajamas
Jean jacket <– I thought I might get more use out of this at night, but it was simply too warm to really use. But it was great to have when traveling to & from Mexico on the chilly airplane!
Even if you have a rockin’ bikini body (lucky girl), I suggest packing a one-piece bathing suit. I brought one and it was great when swimming in the ocean. No accidental peep shows for me.
I wish I would have thrown in a shirt that covered my chest & arms a bit better. I got a little too much color in the beginning of the trip and needed something to cover my burn when out in the sun, but didn’t pack anything that worked! I ended up having to go to the gift shop to get a sweet surfer shirt to wear in the pool. I felt pretty badass and Finn kept asking me about my pro surfing career #BlueCrush <—such a good movie!
Skip the curling iron. I used mine once over the course of the entire trip, and proceeded to walk outside in the humidity and have my hair fall flat. It was simply too hot for cute hair. Braids & buns all the way for this chica. I do wish I would have brought some cute headbands, but I did snag some flowers from the resort grounds and put those in my hair a few nights.
Make sure you check the dress code at your particular resort. Long pants and closed-toe shoes were a must for guys at most of the restaurants at our hotel. Just be prepared for everything!
2. Make it Rain
Not actual rain (we had zero rainy days!), I’m talking about dolla’ dolla’ bills y’all! Even though we were at an all-inclusive resort, where everything was technically “free”, we still tipped all the time. It certainly wasn’t expected, but it made us feel good to give the resort staff a little extra something for their hard workBefore leaving for vacay, be sure to stop by the bank to get plenty of dollar bills. We also got $100 worth of pesos from the bank too. Most everywhere took USD, but it was nice to have pesos when we went into Playa Del Carmen for the day. By the end of the trip, we went through all of our dollar bills & pesos..so I suggest taking out more than you think you need (instead of hitting up the ATM for ridiculous fees!)
Side note from Lauren the Pro: We have tipped the reception staff or bell hop $20 if we hated our room and they said there was nothing they could do about it…Remember everything can be bargained with in Mexico.
3. Avoid Montezuma’s Revenge
We’ve all heard horror stories about people coming down with tummy troubles when they leave the country, and Finn & I did not want to spend our honeymoon chugging pepto bismol. So before we left, we purchased these probiotics to help prepare our stomachs. But the pills didn’t make me feel very well (a bit nauseated), so I quit taking them a day or 2 before we left. Yikes, bad choice Casey. For the most part we felt a-okay, but towards the end of our trip we both came down with some intense stomach problems. Not a very sexy way to spend your honeymoon.
We only drank bottled water and were confident that the food served at our hotel was all cleaned in purified water and safe to eat. But…sh*t happens #punintended.
Honestly, I don’t know if we would have felt perfectly fine had we continued with the probiotics (anyone have any luck with them?). So I don’t exactly have any specific advice… except be careful and know your body!
4. Enjoy a Tropical Drink (or 3!)
I’m not really one to step outside of my drink comfort zone. I’m a champagne, wine, & vodka kinda gal. But when in paradise…fruity, tropical drinks hit the spot! I limited myself to one or two a day (too much sugar for my stomach, see tip #4) but I definitely loved trying out new ones. Our favorites are mudslides, miami vices, and a new-to-us drink called the Iceberg. The iceberg is a beer with a floater of frozen margarita. So refreshing & better than just drinking a warm beer in the hot sun!
Expert Advice from Lauren: Bringbig, plastic mugs for drinking. They give you small little glasses for your drinks. They will put any drink you want in your own container. It keeps them colder, too. But most importantly… less time you have to leave your float to waddle on over to the pool bar. If you are going to do this… bring a small bottle of dish detergent. You can get a small one in the travel section of Target. You will absolutely want to wash the mugs at night… a 4 hour old Pina Colada does NOT look pretty in the morning.
5. Document your Memories
I didn’t lug my big DSLR camera on the trip, and instead relied on my iPhone for a majority of our pics. I tried my best to snap pictures along the way, but honestly it was hard to remember and I didn’t want to be on my phone constantly. So looking back I wish I would have taken more photos, especially of the 2 of us (I should have stopped more people and asked them to snap some of us!)
But, we did bring our GoPro and its waterproof case and I’m sooooo happy we did! We took it on a trip snorkeling to get some video, and also took fun photos on the beach and in the pool. It was fun to get a little goofy and document all of the good times we were having while on our trip.
6. Protect your Skin
Even though I can get a bit tan in the summer, I’m a pasty Irish girl at heart and the sun really does not like my fair skin. We bought tons of sunscreen to bring along with us to avoid running out (15spf, 30spf, 55spf, & a travel size 30spf for excursions). On our first day, I slathered up my body with 55spf, put my hat & sunglasses on and laid by the pool. Precisely 1.5 hours later…I was a lobster. Yep, not cute & very painful. I thought I was more than covered, but the sun is just so strong down there.
For the rest of the trip I sat in the shade and wore my swim shirt when necessary. Just be safe and keep reapplying that good ol’ sunscreen.
7. Enjoy Every Moment & Unplug!
I’ve admitted that I’m not the best at stepping away from the iPhone & computer, so on this trip I did my best to really unplug. Our resort got wifi, so when connected to it we could receive text messages & check our email. It was tempting to just lay by the pool and be on our phones all day long…but we avoided that as much as possible. I did bring my phone along to snap photos, but for the most part Finn kept his in the safe in our room and I kept mine off and out of sight.
We both took time to take in every moment, smell the fresh air, and observe the beautiful place that surrounded us both. This is something I’m working on in my everyday life, as I often feel like I’m rushing through the day anxiously worried about the next day, or the day after that. This trip allowed us to both live in the moment and enjoy the here & now.
I only get one honeymoon in this life and it’s safe to say I enjoyed every moment of ours. No matter where you go or what you do on your special honeymoon trip, I hope you savor every second spent with your best friend.
Right about now Finn & I are 40,000 feet in the air en route to paradise! Yep, it has been more than 6 months since our wedding and we are finally going on our HONEYMOON. We’re staying at an adults-only resort for the next 10 days and we couldn’t be more excited. In all of the years that we’ve been together, we’ve never actually taken a vacation like this with just the 2 of us. So this is long overdue.
But don’t worry, I won’t be absent around here for the next 10 days. Instead, I did plenty of posts ahead of time to keep our calendar on track. In fact, I even have some outside-the-box posts planned for the time I’m gone (a dessert post & a beauty post! <—yes, you read that correctly.)
Today, I wanted to share our wedding video with all of you. To be honest, I was a little uncertain if I would share this on the blog…just because it’s so personal. But I’m absolutely obsessed with the video and how it’s produced, shot, & edited (and for someone who works in video for a living, that says a lot!). I sat down with Finn and asked his honest thoughts on sharing the video with the entire internet, and he told me to go for it.
The wedding video is about 4 minutes long, and we have a fun Q&A at the end (which is pretty hilarious if you ask me.) I’m a bit horrified at my answer to “what’s your favorite song?” I’m sure in 30 years I’m going to watch that part and cringe just as much as I am today.
So without further ado, here’s the debut of our wedding video. Enjoy!
[Videography By: Scott Louis & Chris Pugh. Contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org]
Adios amigos! I’ll be back to the US in a couple weeks, ready to share all of the deets from our tropical honeymoon with all of you.
Today I’m back with what might possibly the last wedding post you’ll see here on The DIY Playbook. Now that we’re both officially old married women, the wedding blogging is finally coming to an end. But before we close that chapter of our lives, I wanted to share some of my favorite pictures from our wedding day. Over the past 2 days, I showed you some highlights from our wedding venue and a personal DIY project I tackled for our reception. Today will simply be some eye candy. So scroll through and enjoy!
I have a confession to make…I booked our wedding venue before I was even engaged.
Wow, it feels good to get that off my chest! Okay so now you’re thinking I’m crazy, but please allow me to explain. Our wedding venue is a happening spot in Chicago. In fact it’s so popular, it’s been voted “Best Place to Get Married” in the Chicagoland area. Because of this popularity, it books up waaaay far in advance. Like YEARS in advance if you want to have a Saturday wedding. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Let’s rewind to September 2012. Finn & I had chatted about marriage many times by this point, and we knew that we wanted to tie the knot within the next few years. In fact, we had even gone ring shopping. So I knew that a proposal wasn’t far off. I was in Chicago visiting my family (we lived in St. Louis at this point) and my mom and I went to this place called Salvage One to look at some of their antiques and decor. We instantly fell in love with the place and couldn’t get over the unique space. We got to chatting with one of the store employees and they told us how it’s a popular event space on the weekends, especially for weddings. I knew we wanted to get married in the fall, and at that time Fall 2013 was already booked. We inquired about Fall 2014 and we left the store with a list of available dates. I ran the list by Finn, and he said we should just go ahead and book it. So I didn’t quite have a ring on my finger…but I did have my venue booked for October 11th, 2014.
Let me first say that this is not a cookie-cutter wedding venue. In fact, if you’re a very traditional wedding person..then you’ll probably dislike this place. But that’s a-okay with us. We knew we didn’t want a banquet hall type wedding. Salvage One is a bit difficult to describe…it’s a lofted warehouse, antique store, event space that is filled to the brim with one-of-a-kind pieces. It’s 3 levels tall and located in the West Town neighborhood of Chicago. From the outside…it doesn’t look like much…just an old industrial building. But when you get inside…wow it’s truly breathtaking.
We had our ceremony on the first floor of Salvage One. This is primarily the “store” area…as everything you see is for sale. There is one large area with wooden church pews, and this is where we had our Catholic mass and wedding ceremony.
I loved having our ceremony in this space because it was so cozy, intimate, and romantic. The entire aisle is lined with chandeliers, and we put lanterns and candles down the aisle. The ceremony space was packed with people we love and we even had a gospel choir sing some of our favorite church hymns and songs.
This was by far my favorite part of the wedding. Saying our vows, declaring our love, and being amongst our friends and family…it was a magical moment that I will remember forever. After our ceremony, it was time to get the party started. Guests stayed on the first floor of the venue for drinks and appetizers, and they also had a chance to check out all of the cool items available at Salvage One (I don’t think anyone actually purchased anything…but still pretty neat to browse!)
After an hour of cocktails, it was finally time for our reception. All guests headed upstairs to the large open loft space on the second floor. Salvage One keeps this space completely open, and you decide where you want tables to go, and they’ll then hang chandeliers over tables. The cool part is that you can mix and match all of the tables they have. So that means that no table or chair is alike, and they’re not all the same size. We had to group 4’s, 6’s, 8’s, 10’s….and our head table fit 18 people! Very cool for an untraditional couple like us (maybe not so cool if you’re into a uniform look.) They also place couches, coffee tables, and lounge seating around the perimeter of the dance floor so if you’re not a big dancer you can still feel like you’re a part of the action.
We added a few personal touches to the space to truly make it feel like “Casey & Finn.” To amp up the romantic feel, we covered the table in vintage glassware…about 300 pieces total (the same used at Bridget’s wedding). These were then filled with candles for a nice glowy, soft feel in the space. (P.S. If you live in Chicago and you’re interested in buying some glassware please shoot us an email at email@example.com. It’s all so beautiful but we simply don’t have room for it. We will give you a great deal!)
To go along with our “love letter” wedding theme, we used old postcards as our table numbers, a farmhouse mailbox for our card box (details in this post), and had a large display of pictures of us from the past decade. We also had a photo booth that our guests really loved. Seriously some hilarious pictures were taken in there…so fun!
Because we’re not big cake people, we decided to go with a very small cake for us to cut and then have a cookie & milk bar for our guests. It was a hit and people even filled up baggies of cookies to take home with them.
I’ve officially been a married woman for over 3 months now and I am loving this new wife status. I wasn’t a huge fan of the word “fiance”, and I feel much more comfortable calling Finn my “husband” instead. Cya fiance, I won’t miss you and your fancy ways.
I haven’t spilled the beans on all of the wedding details just yet, specifically because we only recently got our professional photos back. But sit tight my friends, I have two fully detailed wedding posts happening tomorrow & Friday. So get ready for lots of bridal craziness as we close out this week.
Today, I want to share one of the many DIY projects that we did to add a personal touch to our big day. As I said before, we ended up going with a love letter theme to showcase our relationship throughout our wedding. When thinking of a card box or place for gifts, I immediately knew I wanted to use a large farmhouse mailbox. Ya know..letters, mail, mailbox? Get it? This was actually one of my first DIY ideas for the wedding. So I had this idea…but I honestly had no idea how I was going to execute it. I mean I live in downtown Chicago…where the heck was I going to find a FARMhouse mailbox?
I trolled Craigslist and Ebay in hopes that I could find the perfect mailbox for us. But all I found was overpriced (I’m talking like hundreds of dollars) farmhouse mailboxes, newer mailboxes without much character, or standard mailboxes that were just way too small. I looked at local antique shops and thrift stores for about 6 months, and I was about to give up with my grand plan.
But then a trip to the Kane County Flea Market changed everything. My mom, mother-in-law, Finn, & I headed to the monthly market in hopes of finding some fun items for the wedding. Obviously a mailbox was on our radar…but I tried to keep my expectations low.
Then I saw this ginormous mailbox…
Sure it was covered in paint and featured a crazy colorful farm scene, but with a little TLC I knew it could work for us! I paid the vendor $30 for it, scooped it up in my arms, and waddled to the car with our wedding mailbox!After investigating it at home, I realized that this was going to be a huge undertaking. This mailbox was in rough shape. Chipping paint, an American flag themed mail-flag, and rust all over…
Not exactly the most romantic treasure for our wedding. But I was a bride on a mission, so I figured I needed to try my best to spruce this baby up.
First method to beautify this baby? The power washer. My mom and I went to work shooting the flaking paint off of the mailbox with an intense water spray. Many of the top layers of paint came right off and boy was it satisfying!
We continued on power washing every square inch of the mailbox…only to find that the older layers of paint were not going anywhere. I sanded, I scraped, I did everything imaginable to get rid of the colorful chaos on the metal….but nope, it was there to stay.
Second method…something a bit stronger. I purchased this paint remover and plastic spatula to really loosen up the layers of paint. Because this stuff is toxic, I wore gloves and a mask for this step. The employee at the hardware store told me to simply brush it onto the areas, let it sit for a couple minutes until the paint bubbled, and then use the plastic spatula to scrape it all off. He was right…it worked wonders and took most of the paint right off. I then gave it a good rinse with the power washer and it was looking good! There was still some evidence of the paint, but I liked that it kept some of the original character and charm.
Next up…adding some special touches to make it more of a card box, and less of a mailbox. I bought some felt and cut it to fit the inside of the mailbox. Some spray glue helped to hold the fabric in place.
Finally, it was time to add some romantic flair to our wedding mailbox. My mom wrote out “P.S. I Love You” on one side of the mailbox, and “The Finns” on the other. I turned the American flag mail-flag, into a heart instead. Boom, our little mailbox was all dressed up and ready for its debut at our wedding!
When you entered our ceremony, you were greeted with this table holding our large wedding mailbox, love letters, and our wedding programs. Guests dropped their cards and gifts directly off in our mailbox, and then sat down to prepare for the ceremony.
The mailbox turned out beautifully and I am so happy we spent some time looking for such a special item. Even though the wedding is over, there is no way I’m getting rid of our mailbox. It is currently sitting in storage, but one day (when we have a larger place to call home) I’m going to find a large shelf or countertop to display it on…because it is so.darn.cool.
Tomorrow I’m spilling the beans about our wedding venue and even more personal touches we added to make the day truly “us.” Until then…
As of right now, Matt and I have survived 1 year, 1 week and 1 whole day of wedded bliss. But hey, who’s counting?!
Last weekend, we celebrated an amazing first year wedding anniversary in the charming town of Galena, Illinois (thanks to a very generous wedding gift from Casey & Jan that we just now had time to use).
Ever since we shared our wedding pictures here on DIY Playbook and then scenes from our East Coast Honeymoon, I haven’t really followed up with any marriage posts. But heck, I thought our anniversary was the perfect time to touch base and share just a tad about how we survived thrived in the first year.
1. The first year was full of…. well, a lot of “firsts” — FUN FIRSTS!
We moved in together, got in a routine, slowly figured out who is “in charge” of what around the house and in everyday life (not entirely there yet!), compromised on our new holiday traditions, and learned a LOT about each other (including but not limited to the good, bad and ugly). Quite honestly, all of these items took “time” and “work” and “communication” just like everyone had warned us they would, but none of the listed items were extremely hard, trying, or as scary/frustrating as I had heard. Not even close! Maybe it’s that patient & understanding husband of mine or our laid-back nature — but really, the first year was FUN, happy, full of laughs, and was waaaaaayyyy easier of a transition than others mentioned it would be. Firsts can be a little scary, but a whole lot of FUN! I focused on the fun because heck, I had a stud muffin next to me to help take care of the scary.
2. Marriage isn’t picture perfect… that’s okay!
This just in: my everyday marriage does not look anything like a romantic movie, an episode of The Bachelor or even the manicured pictures we put on the blog. Not.even.close. And guess what?! That’s okay!! I LOVE it like that because I have a charming husband that really does treat me like a queen, makes me laugh, and is my biggest cheerleader. Instead of focusing on how much our everyday life is not taken from the pages of a Nicholas Sparks bestseller, I focus on how freakin’ LUCKY I am to call such a selfless guy my better half. He makes me coffee every morning before work, warms up my car when it’s cold out, always allows me to blog or chat with Casey for hours on end without complaint, and hugs me the day after our wedding (and random days since) as I ball on his shoulder because I’m homesick and miss my family (true story). Of course there are some things that may aggravate the other, but why would we choose to focus on those few things when we have 1 million AMAZING things to focus on? Our everyday marriage isn’t picture perfect (not even close)… and that’s okay! We’re happy and healthy and grateful for a memorable year together.
Starting new traditions was probably one of my fav parts of the first year. I’ll spare you all the details and leave you with a very new one that was born last week. As we were away celebrating in Galena, we started a tradition that we really hope to commit to each December 28th from here on out. That is using the frame that we had at our wedding to take a photo of us one year later. Hopefully this will be a snapshot we can look back on and add to year after year after year. And remember that marriage isn’t perfect part?! Huge Wedding Day Fail: We were able to get everyone else photographed in this adorable frame, but we didn’t ever get a picture of us TOGETHER using the frame on the wedding day. Of course it would be blogosphere perfect to have the wedding pic in the frame followed by every anniversary after… unfortunately, that ain’t happenin’. Soooo… starting with the first year, it’ll have to be. And guess what? We love it just the way it is!
4. 1 year Anniversary Gift
So the first year anniversary gift guide suggests that you give PAPER as your first wedding anniversary gift. I thought that would be so simple for a crafty lady like me. News flash – I totally over thought it and was totally stumped. #likeMattwouldevencarewhatIgave #ifanything
… Until I found this Etsy seller and used one of our favorite memories of the year as inspiration for my paper gift. For our 1st Halloween together, we dressed up as the duo from UP! for a costume party.
It sounds so silly (and simple), but we really had such a fun adventure hitting up local thrift shops and Goodwill’s together finding the most random items for this costume. We ended up winning one of the costume prizes at the party and had such a fun time overall. So as dorky as it sounds, we really loved the memories from our UP! experience. Mixing our memories from UP! with this amazing Etsy Seller, I gifted Matt this personalized paper product.
And he loved it! Our first home + some of our favorite memories of our 1st year = first year anniversary success! (Plus, this Etsy shop is probably the most efficient, available and accommodating seller I’ve ever worked with). She even does home portraits without the balloons, haha … if you don’t want to look like you’re a character from Pixar. I cannot speak more highly about this shop… love her! And he loved the pic. So it was definitely a WIN-WIN in my book! To make me love this shop even MORE, The Inked Leaf has offered a discount code for all DIY Playbook readers on their entire purchase throughout the month of January.
Coupon Code: DIYPLAYBOOK will get you 15% OFF your purchase at this amazing shop! But hurry up, the code ends at the very end of January.
5. To FINALLY Conclude #enoughalready
Alright, I’ve probably officially bored you to death! Good thing these marriage updates only come around once a year. All in all, I’m extremely grateful for the ONE-OF-A-KIND husband I have and all that he does to make our very normal life a very, very fun & happy one. As I conclude, I really am in no place to give anyone advice as a rookie wife or leave you with profound words about what to look for/watch out for/look forward to/or enjoy during your first year of marriage. Instead I’ll share a quote that I stumbled across this year that really stuck with me as I tackled my first year of marriage and every year after this.
“If the grass always looks greener on the other side of the fence, take better care of your grass.” -Unknown
To me, marriage is just like LIFE — not picture perfect and definitely not what you see in the movies… and that’s okay! It’s your story and adventure TOGETHER and if you accidentally lose track of focusing on the 1 million positives & start comparing your life together with the next adorable couple, maybe it’s time to take better care of your own marriage and make it look more like one that you look up to. Keep focusing on those positives, be grateful, show appreciation, communicate, have fun, unplug and over time I’m pretty sure you’ll have the best FREAKIN’ landscaping on the block! I know I do 😉
PS. When I started writing this post, I definitely did not think it was going to end in a landscaping reference. See why we stick to the craft tutorials around here?! #awkwarddddd
Don’t forget –>> The Inked Lead Etsy Shop15% OFF your entire purchase using code: DIYPLAYBOOK … happy shopping! (Discount valid through January)
Well guys, this is post-wedding post #1 of….well let’s just say many? Now that the big day has come and gone, I cannot wait to share all of the details from our special event. I’ve shown you guys a few things along the way, but I had to keep lots of details secret so my guests could have a few fun surprises. But now that the wedding is officially over, I’m ready to gush about every last item.
Today, I want to show you our simple, yet oh-so-stylish wedding day programs.
Because we had the ceremony and reception at the same venue, I knew I wanted a booklet for each guest that would act as a “guide for the night.” Inside I planned to share all of the specifics that any wedding guest might need. Ceremony Order, Menu, Reception Timeline…check, check, and check! This booklet might look small, but it’s chock full of important info.
I knew that I wanted this magical booklet of information, but honestly I had no clue how I was going to put it all together and make it look good. I mean no one wants a big discombobulated mess of papers to read! I needed a professional to help me bring my vision to life. After searching Etsy, I immediately fell in love with wedding program genius Havilah from the shop Paper and Pinafore.
I explained how I wanted to include all of this info into the booklet, and she immediately put me at ease. After sending over a word document containing all of my wedding day info, she put it into an easily readable (and gorgeous) format. Here’s the exact design we chose.
Of course we shared the essentials with our guests (ceremony order, reception timeline, bridal party info, and dinner menu), but we also added some personal touches. A heartfelt thank you from us both, info about our wedding hashtag, and even a little mention of our love story. We thought it might be nice to give all of our guests a little reminder about our past and how it all began.
To go with my “keep it simple” request, Havilah used silky gray ribbon to tie up each booklet. I can’t even imagine how long it took her to carefully tie each and every booklet by hand. The girl is seriously amazing. I’m all for DIY’ing, but sometimes when it comes to last-minute details it’s nice to have a pro help ya out. I absolutely love how our wedding programs turned out, and I’m happy that we were able to provide lots of day-of-details for our guests. Bonus points that Paper & Pinafore made it all look so incredibly beautiful. Fellow brides if you’re looking for a little extra help before the big day (heck, we all need one less thing on our wedding to-do list!) then I definitely recommend her services.
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