The Celebration!

Cocktail hour, the part of the party I am so sad I missed out on. Our venue has such a cool area set up for guests to enjoy during the cocktail hour, complete with an outdoor bar and plenty of yard games. I am hoping our guests enjoyed the option to play games and took advantage of it! The games available to be played were cornhole, bocce ball, horseshoes and croquet. They were also served some very delicious snacks. We settled on three appetizers including my personal favorite, chicken and waffles, bacon wrapped shrimp and a variety of skewers with different meats, cheeses and fruits. While our guests were busy getting the party started, the bridal party was busy taking photos. I’m not going to lie, this time was pretty stressful for me, I knew there were a lot of pictures to be taken and it wasn’t always easy to corral the different parties to get them all done. Our catering staff was kind enough to bring the bridal party out a big bucket of beers so that we didn’t have to walk inside to the bar to get our own drinks, that way no one was missing when it was time to jump in for pictures. We took family formals and some bride and groom shots in the garden where the ceremony was located. Then moved off to the front of the plantation home to take our big group bridal party pictures. We then dismissed the party off to cocktail hour while Doug and I took some photos down by the creek located in the front of the property. By the time we were finished I think we were a little behind schedule, although it didn’t really matter. I was just ready to get into the reception and get the party started now that all the hard parts of the day were over.  We had our bridal party introduced to “Can’t Stop the Feelin'” by JT, they all had some very creative entrances, see pics below! Before Doug and I came in it was so loud we couldn’t even hear if they’d announced us yet or not, everyone was just cheering and clapping while our bridal party formed a tunnel for us to run through. Right after our entrance we began our first dance as husband and wife. We decided to dance to Zac Brown Band’s “Whatever It Is”, this had been a meaningful song for us since the beginning of our relationship and we how it was a little more upbeat than a traditional slow dance song. We had gone to dance lessons twice before the wedding to practice and about halfway through we aborted our pre-planned danced and just did our own thing which I preferred, it felt more natural and more like us. At the conclusion of our dance, my dad gave his welcome speech and my aunt Karen said a prayer then we opened the buffet. You guys, our food, I know I’m a bit biased but it might be my favorite food I’ve ever had at a wedding. Nothing overly fancy but so so so delicious. The next day I was very happy to see how much of the leftovers we had at my parents house, BBQ for days! We allowed sometime for everyone to enjoy their dinner before we started the speeches. We had three speeches, my maid of honor Kristin, followed by my sister Laura, and Doug’s best man Thomas. They were all wonderful and very special to us, I am so happy to have them on our video so we can hear them all over again. Shortly after we cut our cake to the tune of “I Can’t Help Myself” by The Four Tops. A delicious vanilla cake with lemon curd and fresh raspberry filling and vanilla buttercream icing. I hadn’t decided whether I wanted to the cake in Doug’s face or not, but I opted not to in the moment. We were nice and let each other keep a clean face, although it was tempting. Then came the father daughter dance, I had heard a song by Zac Brown Band well over a year before the wedding and knew that was the song I wanted to dance to. It’s called “I’ll Be Your Man” and is written from a father to a daughter. I still get emotional every time I listen to it. It was a special moment to be dancing to that with my dad, and laughing that my dress was carrying Liam’s paci all over the floor as we were moving around. We had one last dance we wanted to do before we opened up the floor to everyone, the anniversary dance. I think this dance is fun and gets people up and out there, but I mainly love it because I know my grandparents are going to win more often than not. They have been married for 66 years, it was so cute and special to see them out there dancing together, and is such an inspiration for us to see love last like that. After that the dance floor was open to all, as well as the photo booth and they stayed packed all night. About halfway through we did our bouquet and garter tosses, we had such a blast celebrating and dancing with all our favorite people! The night ended with our last song, “Let the Good Times Roll” by Ben Rector and our ribbon wand exit. We still wanted to keep the party going so we loaded up some friends and family onto the trolley and made our way to downtown Nashville where people repeatedly asked me if I got married today and I told them a wedding gown is my usual bar attire. I wish I could do it all all over again tomorrow!

Cheers,

Ashley!

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Husband & Wife

Well friends, on Saturday we hit the 6 months of marriage mark. In our first six months we have traveled to four new countries, celebrated our first holiday season as husband and wife, and moved 2,000 miles to the other side of the country. We’ve already had some stressful and scary times, but many, many more joyous ones. Aside from having to work, it really does still feel like we are honeymooning. This might be partially due to that fact that we currently live at the beach, but I think it’s mostly because marriage is fun. I know it’s not going to be fun and games every step of the way, but for us right now it is, and we are totally soaking it in.

I want to continue on with my wedding recap series, so the logical place to go next is our ceremony.

We were waiting in the bridal suite, and enjoying every last second of air conditioning before we headed out in the early September heat. I remember feeling so content. It felt surreal that this was about to happen. I wasn’t anxious or nervous or stressed, I was just genuinely so excited to take this step with Doug. When it was time we left the bridal suite and took the short walk to the ceremony garden entrance. The garden was my absolute favorite part of the venue and I was so happy and relieved the weather cooperated, giving us the perfect backdrop for our “I do’s”. The girls lined up in order and we stood there in complete silence listening for our cue to begin.

We hired a guitarist to fill the garden with music for our ceremony. My grandparents were escorted to their seats first followed by Doug’s parents and my mother to Prelude in D. After they were seated, the bridesmaids followed to “Here Comes the Sun” by the Beatles. I loved this song for this moment because it is so happy and airy sounding, I just felt like it really fit perfectly. As I mentioned before, Belle Meade has a long aisle. The first part is lined with flowers and bushes alongside, then there is a small step up to where it opens to the large grassy space. The girls were met at the stairs by the men and were then escorted the rest of the way down. Following the bridesmaids were our devastatingly cute ring bearers. Matthew was very excited about having an actual responsibility on our wedding day, so we gave him 2. One was guiding Liam down the aisle and the second and most important was entrusting him with our rings. He carried a burlap pillow with our initials and wedding date that had the rings tied to it. He kept the rings safe down the aisle, but in true Matthew fashion spiced things up by tossing the pillow up and down while making his walk. Liam on the other hand, decided he wasn’t ready and stopped walking after only making it a few feet. So we sent the girls off in hopes that he would maybe just join them. Our beautiful flower girls carried a sign painted by my dad reading “here comes the bride”. They argued over how to hold it correctly up until it was time to walk, and they did a perfect job, although I’m sure Lilly’s arm was sore from the way she held it straight up all ceremony. Liam still didn’t join in with the girls, but decided that he was to have his own moment after them. I could only catch a little glimpse from where I was standing trying not to be seen, but he took someone’s words of “marching down the aisle” quite literally and gave all the guests a little laugh. Then all that was left was my dad and I. We listened for what felt like forever to our song to begin. I picked out a special song for us in hopes that my dad would be able to recognize it as we were walking. If you know my dad, you know he loves the Beatles, so I chose their song “In my life” for our walk together. Again, I just felt it fit really well and I love the meaning behind it. I had never pictured myself walking to the traditional bridal march, so this was a perfect substitute.

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I made it about halfway down the aisle before I started to get emotional. I wish I could remember more of my thoughts in that moment, but truthfully I feel like I blacked out. I just remember being overwhelmed with happiness, looking at Doug standing at the end and all the people there with us- so magical. When we reached the end of the aisle my dad gave me away, hugged and shook hands with Doug then hugged and gave me a kiss. Then I stood facing our officiant, next to the man who would be my husband in under about 20 minutes time. Our pastor was Todd Henry, my brother in law’s father. We are so thankful that he was able to travel to Tennessee to officiate our wedding. He married my oldest sister Kristin and her husband Matt and is the father in law of my middle sister Laura, which made it very special. He welcomed our guests and gave an opening prayer. Then it was time to set our intentions and say “I do”. He then gave a short sermon on God’s gift of marriage, followed by the two readings we had selected. The first reading was done by Doug’s sister Stephanie, it is a sweet poem called Union by Robert Fulghum. The second was read by my best friend Peish, Ephesians 5:22. After the readings, we joined hands and began speaking the most important words of our lives-our vows. I didn’t even make it past the first line without crying. I had said the word husband out loud many times, but saying it as a part of my wedding vows really got me. We exchanged our rings, said a prayer with all of our guests and then it was time for one of the best moments of the day- the kiss & being announced for the first time as husband and wife! We made our way back down the aisle to Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” smiling from ear to ear. We circled back around to the front of the aisle because Doug and I had agreed we wanted to release the guests row by row in order to give us an opportunity to thank everyone individually for traveling to celebrate with us. This allowed us to see everyone, but saved us from spending the entire reception doing so. It was nice to greet everyone and give them a quick hug! Our guests headed off to cocktail hour and for the bridal party it was picture time.

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Every detail and every moment of our ceremony was beyond perfect, best 30 minutes of my life!

Cheers,

Ashley

Going to the Chapel

The day was finally here! Shockingly I got a good night’s sleep, at least for the few hours I laid down. I was up bright and early around 7am to finish constructing our wedding cake. Eeek! 😬 All of the girls were coming over to get ready at 9, so I was hoping to get it done before they arrived so I could just relax and enjoy everything. My mom had gotten a few items for breakfast- pastries, fruit and mimosa supplies, and my dad made us some yummy eggs and bacon. Hair and makeup started at 930 with our four amazing artists, we had a tight schedule in order to get all 13 of us ready. Our whole day was planned out in full detail from hour to hour. It wasn’t my turn to get pretty until 11:30, so I enjoyed my breakfast and tried to keep calm. We spent all morning laughing, talking, singing along with my Spotify wedding day playlist and dodging bullets from the Nerf guns I bought our “ring security” for their gifts.

After hair and make up we went outside to take a few pictures of us all in our “getting ready” outfits before the girls got changed. After our photo sesh, I got to open my gift from Doug. Since we had chosen to recite traditional vows during our ceremony, we had agreed to write our personal vows to each other to be read the morning of the wedding. It was very emotional reading the words he wrote to me on a picture of us, especially with everyone watching. I’m thankful to have something concrete to be able to look at in the years to come, in good times and in bad, to bring me back to our wedding day. He gifted me a beautiful new pair of diamond earrings and a picture frame with three different maps, shaped like hearts, representing the place we met, the place he proposed, and the place we would be married. The earrings are so beautiful, and I haven’t taken them out once since the wedding day. I had lost one of my old diamond studs at work one night when we were living in Denver and was very upset about it, so to have them replaced with an even more beautiful (& bigger 👍🏼) set was a perfect surprise. I also really loved the thought and creativity he had to come up with the picture frame, it will be a beautiful addition to our future home.

It was now time for everyone to get dressed, so we could get this show on the road. I wasn’t going to be dressing until we arrived at Belle Meade. They have a bridal room on the grounds for changing, and I didn’t want to risk getting anything on my perfectly white gown on the ride over. We hopped on the trolley my mom had reserved and headed towards Belle Meade. When we arrived, my aunt and uncle as well as my two friends from high school, Lauren and Emily, along with the catering staff were getting everything set up in the reception area. I immediately started to tear up because of how beautiful everything looked. I had been so anxious about all of my ideas coming together into a cohesive picture, so when I saw the way things looked I was overwhelmed with joy. I quickly thanked them and ran off to get dressed! My mom and sisters came in the room to help me while the other girls and my dad waited out by the garden for the first look with my dad.

So many special moments were happening in such a quick amount of time. From my sisters helping me into my dress and shoes, my mom’s face as she watched it happen, and then my dad’s reaction to seeing me as a bride. I could’ve sobbed, but I didn’t want to mess up my makeup. Instead I kept making this funny face you’ll see in our wedding photos where I am trying to keep the tears from streaming down my face. If only all of these feelings could be bottled up and kept forever. Thankfully there’s pictures and video to help with that. After the first look with my dad, we had a little time to snap a few bridesmaid pictures before we had to hide from the boys, then it was back into the bridal room we went.

On the flip side, the men had a more laid back start to the day with beers and time at the pool beginning at ten. Doug had rented a condo on Air B&B for them to get ready in as well as for us to stay in that night, a pool being one of the main requirements. They didn’t have to get showered and suited up until closer to 1, so they had a few hours to kill. Obviously I wasn’t a guest at this part of the day, so I can’t give you all the details but it sure looked like they had a good time. After getting all handsome, they jumped in their limo and were off to take pictures for a little while. Once finished, they headed back to the condo because Doug remembered he hadn’t opened his gift yet. This is the part I wish I would’ve been there to see. As he had done for me, I had written my vows to him in a note that I placed inside a card “To my groom on our wedding day…”. I had been so excited to give him his gift because I knew there was no way he’d be expecting it. With the help of my brother in law, Matt, I got him a handgun which we had been talking about purchasing for a while. Oh the reaction on his face in the pictures and video, it was priceless. The whole group went crazy. When our photographer arrived at Belle Meade to meet the girls he told me all about the gift opening, I was so happy to know it went over so well. Right on time the guys arrived at the ceremony site just after the girls had snuck off to hide.

It was show time!

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To be continued…

Cheers!

Ashley

 

 

 

Back in action, wedding recap #1

Hello friends, welcome back! I am back and excited to share with you my full wedding recap! Only five months later (on the dot), but better late than never right? I’m going to breakdown this whirlwind of a weekend over a few posts in the coming weeks. I am excited to relive all of the details with you all!

First things first, we will start with the rehearsal.

Rehearsal day started early for us ladies. My bridesmaids and I all went to get manis and pedis together at The Nail Bar in Nashville. This place was so perfect for a group. We had our own little space where we could all sit together during our treatments and it’s BYOB, so we had plenty of mimosa supplies to get the day kicked off right!

After our nail appointment it was off to the venue. It was a beautiful sunny, hot September day. Since our wedding was on a Sunday, our rehearsal took place on Saturday. It was in the afternoon because the venue was hosting another wedding Saturday night, so this changed things up a bit from the traditional. We practiced the bridal party line up and ran through the entire ceremony. The rehearsal went smoothly and definitely got us even more excited for the main event.

 

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Following the rehearsal we had brunch at a local Franklin, TN restaurant called the Honeysuckle. I have to give credit where credit is due, Doug found this place all on his own! His family did a wonderful job organizing everything for us and our guests, thank you Krutkas! We had time to mingle with our families and bridal party in a low stress environment, which is exactly what you need the day before a wedding. We enjoyed a delicious meal together and used the rehearsal as an opportunity to thank our friends and family for all of their love, support and encouragement throughout our relationship and the wedding planning process. I was really looking forward to giving our bridal party their gifts, as well as my parents. Doug picked out yeti koozies for the groomsmen and also gifted them the ties they would be wearing for the wedding. I gave my girls denim tops with their monograms to wear while getting ready and a cowboy boot alex & ani bracelet to commemorate celebrating our special day in Music City. For my parents, I ordered them a blanket embroidered with a special message on the tag. I cried like a little baby when I gave it to them, and so did they. We’re not shy about crying in front of others obviously, this was only the first of many happy tears of the weekend.

After the rehearsal, the bridal party came back to my parent’s house in Franklin for some adult bevs and swimming. My whole family came over as well. It was very nice to get to visit with everyone that night, because I knew it would be hard to get to spend time with everyone the following day.

If you know me, you know I tend to be a bit of a procrastinator. In my defense, you can’t do all the baking ahead of time, or things will not taste good and I certainly couldn’t have that hurt my reputation for making delicious treats. You also can’t waste time creating beautiful chalk signs and expect them not to get messed up during a 6 hour car ride. So after the rehearsal, many hours were spent baking and finishing up chalkboard signs. Another problem I have is I don’t always read the instructions of a recipe in their entirety, so I might have overlooked that one of my cake fillings needed sit overnight to thicken. Hence, whey I was finishing my wedding cake the morning of my wedding :l.

Overall Saturday was a lovely day, I thoroughly enjoyed every second of it and went to bed feeling anxious, excited and oh so happy.

Cheers,

Ashley

Wedding Weekend

Let the wedding festivities begin! We are officially on our way to Nashville. It’s so crazy to think it’s finally here. We’ve been engaged now for about a year and nine months and at some points it felt like this time would never come. All of the sudden it is underway!

We have a busy weekend full of activities and we are so excited for it all. It is going to be wonderful to have so many people we love together celebrating. We have been scrambling around the last few days tying up loose ends and of course baking. I’m pretty shocked by how much was accomplished in the last few weeks and days. I have had so many amazing helpers contributing which has made the process much less stressful.

Tonight Doug and I are taking our parents out for a nice dinner as a thank you gift for not only raising us for the last 20+ years, but also to acknowledge all of their help and support through the wedding planning process. It will be nice for us all to relax and enjoy a nice dinner and some adult beverages together before the craziness of the weekend really kicks in. Friday my mom and I are meeting my Aunt Sue and Uncle Frank, who are our lovely coordinators, to do a walk through at Belle Meade to make sure everything is set up perfectly on Sunday. Friday night we are going to have a night out downtown with any and all wedding guests who are available and wanting to come join us. Saturday afternoon is our rehearsal and rehearsal brunch, then I plan on relaxing and getting a good nights sleep before Sunday. Sunday starts early for us girls with hair and makeup beginning at 9 then the day is jam packed from there. If you haven’t checked the weather for this weekend, you should, we really had someone looking out for us on this one! It is going to be a beautiful sunny weekend (sigh of relief!) and I am so looking forward to each second! I am trying to remind myself to really stop and take in every moment! I can’t wait to share it all with you!

Cheers to a weekend full of family, friends and lots of love!

Ashley

11 Days

Holy moly! Only 2 more days of work left for me & only 11 days until we tie the knot! I can’t even believe how fast September has been sneaking up on me! I haven’t had much time to write lately, as you can guess why. My to-do list has been slowly getting smaller and smaller, thank goodness! To be honest, my head is spinning with a million different tasks and details that I can barely remember what I have or haven’t already written about. I’ll just hit some quick highlights for you!

First of all, this past weekend I went down to Cincinnati to go wedding dress shopping with my best friend & bridesmaid, Peish! Back in July she asked me to be her MOH and I was so honored to get to go to her bridal appointments along with her, her mother and her future mother-in-law. Peish found the most gorgeous gown after trying on only 5 other dresses, can’t beat a girl who knows what she wants! We had so much fun playing dress up with her all day and I am so happy she found her perfect dress and can’t wait to see her in it in April! (Which will sneak up on her just like September did to me!)

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Celebrating Peish finding her dress!

 

As soon as I returned from Cincy it was back into full speed ahead on my to-dos. This week my final numbers and layouts were/are due to various vendors. I have been busy creating the perfect timeline for all the events of the weekend to share with the bridal party and vendors. I’ve also been drafting my photography shot list and reception playlist, finalizing our catering menus for the rehearsal and reception, and baking! If you’ve forgotten, myself, my family, and friends are all baking to make all the desserts for our dessert table. For the next week if you need me, I’ll be knee deep in flour!

We picked up our wedding bands, our programs are printed thanks to a family friend, my dad made some beautiful signs out of over 100 year old barn wood for décor at the reception, and Doug and I had our first dance lesson on Monday! Check, check, check, & check! I am hoping to write at least one more post prior to the wedding day, I’ll do my best. Until then, wish me luck. Hopefully the next time you hear from me all of my tasks will be complete, except for one, GET MARRIED!

Thanks for following along this crazy journey with me!

Cheers!

Ashley

 

 

Bridal Shower #2

Let me just start off with, one month from yesterday I will be walking down the aisle to marry my Dougie! I can’t even believe it has snuck up on us so fast!

This past weekend, my soon to be mother and sister in law threw me my second bridal shower. Thank you Marcia and Stephanie, the shower was so lovely and a lot of fun! They hosted many of Doug’s aunts and cousins as well as my mom and sisters. The shower was brunch themed so there was lots of yummy food and of course a mimosa bar with all the fixings. They covered the living room with a bunch of pictures of Doug and I and cute rustic decorations.

 

Throughout the afternoon we played a few games. The first was the game where everyone was given a ring and told not to use the word “wedding”. If you heard someone say “wedding”, you got to steal their ring and at the end the person who had collected the most rings received a prize. The second game was a get to know the bride game. Stephanie had asked me about 20 questions about myself and the wedding. The shower guests had around a minute to memorize as many of the answers as they could and then about another minute to write down as many as they were able to remember. Obviously enough, the person with the most correct answers received a gift. And lastly, one of my favorite games, groups of 4 people or so each had 3 rolls of toilet paper to create and style a wedding dress. This game is always so funny and interesting to see what people come up with! Below is a picture of what the groups designed!

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It was such a wonderful afternoon and I’d like to thank everyone for coming and for the generous gifts! I would especially like to thank Marcia and Stephanie for hosting and putting together such a great, fun party! I felt so special the whole day!

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Cheers to our 30 day countdown!

Ashley