Beachin’

This past weekend my family and best friends celebrated my bachelorette party for 3 days in Edisto Island, SC. I knew from the beginning I wanted something chill and laid back. I told my sister I didn’t really care where it was as long as it was near some body of water, be it the lake or the ocean. We lucked out when a friend of my dad’s allowed us to use his beach house for a week. It was a win for everyone. My family got to spend Sunday-Wednesday at the beach, then once they left my friends all arrived for the weekend. We had quite the group. My mom, sisters, cousin, and ten of my closest girlfriends all in one place. We also can’t forget my nephew Gabriel who became our “stripper” for the weekend. He’s awfully flirty for a 9 month old! They had all kinds of surprises planned for me and it couldn’t have turned out to be a better weekend. They hung a big “Ashley’s Beach Bach” sign off the front porch of the house, decorated the inside with pink caution tape, and had a cute banner over the front door, setting it up to be an eventful weekend.

Thursday we headed down to the beach for a day full of lounging and cocktails. Just a few, or a few too many, we don’t remember. 😉 Once back at the house everyone was given their goodie bags, which were put together by a combination effort of my bridesmaids. The bags included tank tops, sunglasses, tumblers for the beach, and lots of makeup samples. I also was given my first gift of the trip. A sweet scrapbook in which everyone had made a page with pictures of them and I and some cute little notes. I absolutely love it. Eventually we all made it out to dinner and sang group karaoke to “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”. On Friday we went back to the beach to repeat Thursday afternoon all over again. My sister brought sand pails and some water balls so we could play beach “beer pong” which was a blast and not as easy as you’d think. Traci brought flabongos, which turned into be the loser of beach pongs punishment. Friday night, 15 women managed to shower and be ready on time for our party bus into Charleston. Edisto is about an hour from Charleston, so there was lots of dancing and jello shots on the way. Once in Charleston, we hopped around to 3 different bars battling all the other bachelorette parties. (We won). The night consisted of lots and lots of dancing and ended with the best fast food in the whole world, Cookout. (Don’t worry wedding guests, there’s one in Nashville and I highly recommend the peanut butter oreo shake.) Saturday was another beautiful beach day, but my sister had a surprise planned. We had a bachelorette scavenger hunt on the beach, which was hilarious. Edisto is a very remote and family friendly place, so it was all crowd appropriate. We split into teams of 3-4 and had different tasks to do and take pictures of that were worth different point values. Some of the items consisted of: take a shot with someone on the beach, sunscreen a stranger, and get a piggy back ride. We had 30 minutes to complete as many as possible, obviously Team Bride won! My request on Saturday was that everyone stay down at the beach until sunset, and we accomplished that easily. We took tons of group pictures and then everyone surprised me with a champagne shower on the beach, something I’ve always thought would be so much fun. It definitely lived up to my idea, so fun! Saturday night we spent just relaxing and enjoying each others company at the house before we all parted ways on Sunday.

First and foremost I want to thank my sister Kristin for her hard work as the mastermind behind making this weekend happen. I also want to thank the rest of my family and friends for contributing and helping my sister out, as well as making the trip all the way to South Carolina to celebrate with me. I couldn’t have asked for a better group to send off my single life with! I’m honestly not sure I could have dreamed up a better weekend, it was everything I wanted and more. I am so lucky to have such wonderful family and friends that will go to such lengths to make my weekend so special and fun filled. I feel like the luckiest bride under the sun to have such amazing people in my life!  A line from a Cole Swindell song kept popping into my mind this weekend, “It’s perfect outside it’s like God let me dial up the weather, got the whole crew here, I ain’t seen some of them in forever. It’s one of those never forget it better stop and take it in kinda scenes.” It was a weekend full of beautiful weather, beautiful people, and beautiful friendships! Who is ready to go back?! I’m having withdraws from Lauren’s mango gatorades…

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Cheers to continuing the celebration in 47 more days!

Ashley

 

 

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Bridal Shower

My goodness, where do I even start? I can’t thank my mom and my sisters enough for the amazing job they did planning and executing my first bridal shower. The shower was held Saturday June 11th at my parent’s house. My dad has done a lot of work in the backyard over the last couple years and has transformed it into a beautiful entertaining space that was the perfect setting for my rustic shower. We couldn’t have wished for nicer weather. It was a perfectly sunny day, just a tad bit hot, but there was a nice breeze to keep everyone cool and the tent and trees offered lots of shade.

My best friend and bridesmaid Peish had flown in early that morning from California, so her and I went to get blow outs together so we could have pretty hair for the day. We rushed back to my parents to finish getting ready and join the party. My sisters surprised me with a beautiful baby’s breath floral crown, which I loved. We welcomed all of the guests, ate a delicious lunch, had a few cocktails, and opened gifts. Our only game for the afternoon was a kind of trivia game. My sisters had secretly recorded Doug answering some questions about us and our relationship and then they asked me them at the shower to see how well our answers lined up. Some of them were a little off, but for the most part we answered pretty similarly. Guess we know each other pretty well 😉 probably should after 6 years!

It was a beautiful day surrounded by all of my favorite women, minus a few that were missing! I felt so special and so loved! Thank you to everyone that made the trip to be a part of my day and for your generosity and support of Doug and I. I really appreciate it and I know Doug does too! A huge thank you to my sisters and my mom for hosting the perfect shower, you guys are the best!

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75 more days!

Cheers!

Ashley

3 month countdown

So who wants to hear my opinion on the child falling into the gorilla exhibit at the Cincinnati Zoo? ….Just kidding! So over hearing about that, just glad the kid is okay! On to other news, within a week two of my bridesmaids got engaged (Peish & Heather)! They’ve both been a long time coming and I am so so so excited for both of them and their future husbands! Congratulations lovebirds!

I am also super excited to tell you that I am officially a Southern Bride Blogger on my favorite wedding website Southern Weddings! It sounds a lot more important and official than it actually is, but it made my day! When you visit the link above you can see the list of blogger brides and there mine is under September! It has been fun getting to see some of the other girl’s blogs and gather some inspiration for my own.

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I can’t believe our wedding is 3 short months away, it is crunch time! Literally and figuratively. Since we’ve been back in Columbus I have kind of slacked off on my fitness goals, but with all of the events coming up I have reset my goals and recommitted myself to achieving them. This Saturday is my first bridal shower! And in about six weeks is my beach bachelorette party! My mom and my sisters have been busy planning both events for me and I am so excited to experience them. I will report back with a full recap. In the meantime I’ve got lots of planning details to take care of. I am currently finishing up addressing our invitations, that calligraphy stuff is very time consuming. But so far, I am happy with the way they have turned out. Our next big task to knock out is finding a videographer. After months of back and forth debating of if it was something we really wanted/needed, we’ve made the decision to go for it. We felt we’d rather spend the extra money now, so we won’t look back later and wish we had. We are currently scoping out prospects and hopefully will have that finalized in the next week or so. I just know this summer is going to fly by which makes me both nervous and excited. So much to do, so little time! Until next time friends…

Cheers!

Ashley

 

 

Honeymoonin’

It’s currently 5 am as I’m writing this. I am at work and when I’ve had time, have been updating my wedding to do list. The amount of things to do, research, plan and create makes me feel like I need a vacation. So here I am daydreaming about beach chairs, sun, sand and strawberry daiquiris. Which reminds me that I told you my next post would be about those things exactly. That’s right, it’s honeymoon time! Well, honeymoon planning anyway. It didn’t take Doug and I long to settle on a destination. We’ve been intrigued by the Maldives ever since Ray wanted to send Tiny there on the Showtime show, Ray Donovan. (Great show by the way, you should totally watch it.) We didn’t know much about it other than it looked pretty. We weren’t really even sure how to pronounce it. Mal-dives or Mal-deeves? What could be more exotic and exciting than a place you can’t even pronounce correctly? We did our research and found that the Maldives is an island country in the Indian Ocean, southwest of India. The country is made up of over 1,000 islands and less than 200 are inhabited. There are so many resorts to chose from, but only a few that are all-inclusive, a requirement of ours. We found a beautiful resort on the island of Veligandu.

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I can’t even express to you how excited I am for this trip. I have been to the Bahamas and many beaches in the US, but never a place as beautiful as this. After our wedding, I know we are going to be ready to kick back and relax for a while. Especially after a 33 hour plane ride and a sea plane transfer! We will be spending 7 days in the Maldives soaking up the sun and enjoying the pristine white sand beaches and crystal clear blue waters. Because the flight is so long (and not inexpensive) we have decided to make the most of it and stop in Europe on our way home. Neither of us have been and we have been talking about going for a few years now. We are still planning the details for this leg of the trip, but plan to spend about 2 weeks time exploring. As of now, we are planning to fly into Italy, make our way to France, and finally to Germany for Oktoberfest! If anyone has an recommendations or advice on places to go or things to see/do, we are all ears! One thing we have kept in mind throughout our honeymoon planning is a piece of advice my sister gave us, go somewhere you may never get to go again. We’ve decided to go all out, you only get married once! I know this is going to be the trip of a lifetime and I am looking forward to sharing it with my future husband and best friend!

Cheers!

Ashley

 

Catch Up

Wow, it’s been a while. I’ve totally been neglecting you lately! Things have been crazy busy in our lives the past few weeks. Earlier in the month, we wrapped up our contracts in Dallas and made the 15 hour drive back to Ohio to start our new contracts in Columbus. We’ve been getting settled both at home and at our new places of work, so that has kept us running. We’ve also managed to mix some fun in there too, attending Mr. Ryan Hart’s 6th annual Keeneland trip and another visit to Cincinnati to see my bestie Peish while she was in town! We’ve been slowly knocking more tasks off of our to do list. It’s getting shorter, but it’s still a mile long. One thing I had been working on for quite some time was booking our rentals. I was really struggling with decisions on a couple different things, and not being able to see the items in person was really tough on me. But I went with my gut and got that all figured out and booked. The rental company was pretty much one of the last vendors we needed.

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Before we left Dallas, Doug and I had been on the hunt for the perfect light grey suit for Doug and the groomsmen to wear. We had been looking at all kinds of stores and searching the web to find the right shade. Doug was very particular on what he was looking for and we were struggling to find it. He wanted to avoid renting suits or tuxes because a few of his friends had gone the route of purchasing suits and he was a fan of that. It’s nice to be able to keep something and have the option to wear it again if you are going to invest a decent amount of money into it, rather than paying for one day and having to return it. We decided to go to Macys and look around to see if they had anything different from what they had pictured in their online inventory. We struck out in the grey department, but found a really nice blue color suit. I have trouble describing the actual shade, but its kind of a greyish blue, dusty color. We really liked the way this suit looked, so we scrapped the grey idea and decided this was the one. I think this will actually look better than the grey, it kind of pulls the blue of the girls dresses all together and will make the group look more cohesive.  We really love the suits and we hope all of our guys do too!

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I’ve also been spending some time working on our wedding website over the last few weeks, and it is finally complete. For those guests that are wondering where to stay, the website has information on hotel blocks we reserved for your convenience. Our venue is only about 7 miles from Broadway, Nashville’s bar & live music hot spot, so we chose two hotels that are situated in between the two places to make things easy on our guests. The hotels are located by Vanderbilt and are pretty equidistant to both the venue and to Broadway. Check out our website HERE for more information!

We will have a few more exciting updates coming your way in the next couple of weeks, so stay tuned. Here’s a hint on what we are working on now, it involves an airplane, sun, and sand!

Cheers!

Ashley

 

Marriage Prep

Planning a wedding is quite an experience. I am so thankful that we chose to have such a long engagement, because I feel like it has helped me keep a nice balance between real life and the stresses of planning. Our lengthy engagement has allowed me to take my time with decisions and to have the pick of whatever vendors I wanted, which saved me a great deal of headache. On the other hand, a long engagement also gives you the time to overanalyze, second guess, and completely obsess over every detail. At this point in time, I am incredibly confident in all of the choices I have made up to this point. The only thing I find myself thinking from time to time is how I wish I had a wedding planner. Majority of the time I am happy with the choice of not spending the money on it because I’ve had so much time and because I know I am totally capable of doing it myself. It is actually something I really happen to enjoy. But about 10% of the time, mostly during my 3-4 am mind wandering at work, when I am thinking about all the little details and questions I need answered, I find myself wondering if it would have made my life easier to have a wedding planner. There’s just so many pieces and parts to think about to make the whole puzzle come together. I catch myself thinking someone who does this for a living would know all of these things they need to think about and to ask, and that they would be able to make sure my ideas come together into one cohesive picture. But then usually when I wake up in the afternoon after work, I realize I am confident that I can do this on my own. Well not entirely on my own, I have lots of helpers in my family and friends, thankfully.

I came across this post the other day on Facebook, The bride I swore I’d never be, similar but not entirely true for me. I don’t obsess all that much, although I do find myself stalking wedding related Instagram pages, my favorite wedding blogs, and I tend to frequent Pinterest, and really, really like to talk about my wedding. Okay, maybe I obsess a little. But I really do feel that Doug and I have this part figured out. We know that this is about more than one day. We know it is about a lifetime. For that reason we have been preparing ourselves not only for the wedding event, but for our marriage. Back in my Valentine’s post, I mentioned that I would later share the gift I got for Doug. Well, it was really a gift for the both of us. I bought four books that I had found on my favorite wedding blog, Southern Weddings. When they feature a wedding, they almost always ask the couple “in what ways did you prepare for your marriage?”. I read through a lot of these to find ideas for Doug and I, and came up with so many. The four books I chose are: The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman, You and Me Forever by Francis and Lisa Chan, The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy Keller, and Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts by Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott. We chose to start with The 5 Love Languages and have committed to reading a chapter each day until we complete all four. We miss days here and there but overall have done really well sticking with the plan. I am finding it has quickly become one of my favorite parts of the day. We put our phones away, keep the TV off, and really focus on each other and what we are reading. Revealing our love languages and learning ways to share our love in the ways the other person receives it has already made changes for the better in our relationship. I think we pretty much already knew our personal love language as well as each others, but now we are more aware of them and how to make the other person feel loved. I’m not sure that we will be able to make it through all 4 books prior to the wedding, so in the case we do not we will continue to read them as newlyweds. When I find myself in times of stress and wishing for a wedding planner, I remind myself that no detail is more important than preparing for a successful marriage, and I think we are setting ourselves up for that pretty well. (:

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Cheers!

Ashley

 

Flashback Friday

Can you believe it?  Only 6 more months! The time is flying and I am loving it. At least for now, I know that means I’ve got to finish up my big plans and start piecing together all of the littler details. And in time I’m sure I’ll regret saying I’m glad the time is going so fast, but I can’t help my excitement. I’m going to flashback in time (flashback Friday!) because I forgot to tell you a while back that I picked out my veil! I also got a good idea of what jewelry I am going to be on the hunt for. We went on December 28, while I was home for the holidays. My dress had come in the week before. So it was the first time I was going to be putting on my dress, the one I’d actually be wearing on the wedding day! I was so excited to put it on again. And lucky for me, this time my best friend Peish was able to come with and see it too. Along with my mom, sisters, and my niece Lilly and little baby Gabriel. I think Gabriel loved it most 😂. Peish had seen the dress in pictures, but got to see it in person for the first time and I was so glad she was able to see it before she took off for her new Cali girl job! I saw this article on Facebook a while back and was dying when I read it and totally related to it, this part especially.

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These are pretty much my exact thoughts from the moment I tried on my dress for the first time. I was relieved I felt them all over again trying it on for the second time, minus the tears. Here is the whole article if you’re interested, 89 Thoughts While Dress Shopping. Buzzfeed, you’ve done it again. I already had an idea of what length veil I was looking for, so with that tip I tried on three different ones. The one I chose is beautiful and compliments my dress very well. Just enough sparkle without being too much. Next step is to schedule my fittings, which will be much less stressful with my next assignment being at home. I can’t wait to put the dress on again, it’s probably a good thing I can’t take it home with me because I’d probably live in it, when Doug’s not around of course!

Happy Friday Friends, cheers!

Ashley