wedding part II

Today, I’m excited to be sharing Part II of Eric + I’s wedding – The Ceremony! If you missed the details from getting ready and our first look (probably our favorite moment from the whole day), you can read them here.

You also might notice the new ‘Wedding” tab up there in the header! If you’ve been a reader of the blog, you know the party planner in me absolutely LOVED working on our big day. We did it all ourselves, and learned so much. Thankfully, it was a huge success!

All that being said, I’m looking forward to sharing our journey, tips, and resources here in the coming months in hopes they could help someone else! So stay tuned – if you’ve got questions, I’d love to hear ’em!

Ok back to the wedding…

So it had started to rain just before the ceremony. E and I chatted with our team of vendors (artists is a more like it!), and decided to wait it out some before making the call to move everything inside.

wedding part I

After just a few minutes, the amazing happened. Suddenly the rain stopped, the sky cleared, and sun flooded the big ranch house we all stood in. Our Memory Lane (ML) coordinators gave the signal to wipe down the ceremony seating and ushered us down stairs to line up!

*****

{The Ceremony}

As E & I gathered downstairs with our parents, grandparents, and wedding party, we were smiling ear to ear. I feel like even though we all appeared calm, we were bouncing around on the inside.

It was really time!

Guests that had taken refuge from the rain in the reception hall made their way outside to the benches in the gorgeous ceremony area. Seriously *heart eyes/swoon/mouth drop* at this scene, right??

wedding part II

Giant oak trees sprawled above. At the end of the white stoned aisle, a wooden pagoda (seriously could never remember this was what it was called) stood on the platform where E and I would exchange I dos. It was graced with the dreamiest wine, blush, and ivory florals!

I also have to take a moment to show off these DIY wooden pieces E and I crafted for the ceremony. We opted to save the money instead of doing printed programs since we felt they often ended up getting tossed aside or left behind at other weddings we had attended.

wedding part II

wedding part II

Eric stained the wood, and I put my hand-lettering practice to work. I loved having these personal touches.

You also might notice the aisle liners we made. Phrases from the well-known 1 Corinthians excerpt are written on them. We love these verses and wanted to incorporate them in a unique way since they are often read during a ceremony.

wedding part II

Everyone was finally settled and the procession began.

Marry Me by Train played as our pastor, Eric, the groomsmen, parents, and grandparents made their way down the aisle.

wedding part II

Paying tribute to my fave Queen B, XO by Beyonce played after as the bridesmaids and our sweet flower girls followed. We actually used a cover by John Mayer that could not have fit more perfectly.

It was so surreal to listen to these songs play one after the other. After all the planning, to actually hear the tunes play had me full of anticipation and excitement.

I couldn’t fully see everything happening up ahead, but I knew with each note the minute I’d be walking towards E was coming closer.

wedding part II

We selected Kiss Me by Ed Sheeran for my walk down the aisle. The sweet lyrics about the feeling of falling in love just felt right.

As soon as it began playing, I remember my dad turned to me and said, “You ready?”

I took a deep breath as the biggest smile came over me. I was the most ready I had ever been.

We made our way through the rays of sun shining down upon everyone. A double rainbow had appeared through the trees. I was in awe with how fortunate we were to have the day turn out so beautifully.

wedding part II

wedding part II

Walking towards Eric was the best feeling ever. I quickly stole a few glances from family and friends, but before I knew it, we were at the top of the aisle. My dad placed my hand in Eric’s as they exchanged a few words.

wedding part II

wedding part II

wedding part II

wedding part II

While at UT Austin, E and I attended a non-denominational church called The Austin Stone. My faith has always been a priority for me, but I feel like in my four years attending Stone, I learned about and grew more in God than I could’ve ever imagined. Our time at Stone was a real life blessing.

We were lucky enough to get to know one pastor there well in the months leading up to the big day, even all the way from Chicago! Having him marry us and be a reminder of a special place made things all the more wonderful.

wedding part II

wedding part II

wedding part II

Grace and biblical marriage are two of my favorite things to learn about in the Bible. Our pastor spoke to both. His message also weaved in background on Eric and I as individuals, and as a couple.

Then came time for E and I to read the vows we each wrote. I loved, loved this part and would relive it over and over again.

wedding part II

wedding part II

wedding part II

We exchanged rings and finally our pastor pronounced us husband and wife. The whole thing was done in about 20 minutes! We knew we wanted a shorter ceremony, and it worked wonderfully since we had already shifted the timeline because of the rain.

E and I kissed for the first time as Mr. & Mrs. while Hall & Oates You Make My Dreams Come True began playing. I’m getting goose bumps as I write this just thinking about how blissful the whole atmosphere felt.

wedding part II

wedding part II

wedding part II

I thankfully did not forget to grab my bouquet from my sister before leaving the platform (whoops, good thing we have rehearsals, right?!).

wedding part II

wedding part II

wedding part II

wedding part II

wedding part II

We headed back to the ranch house to await the rest of the wedding party and immediate family. Once guests cleared the seating, we’d all head back out for photos under the pagoda.

Little did we know a special surprise waited for us inside the house…

E and I actually shared a pre-first dance, first dance with a mariachi band playing celebratory tunes! My dad had worked with the ML coordinators to sneak them in. This made out for a pretty unique moment I’ll never forget.

wedding part II

wedding part II

Afterwards, we made our way back outside. Guests enjoyed cocktail hour as we snapped family photos. We had queso, chips, and salsa as the appetizer because E and I love them so much. They practically make up one of our food groups.

And because Texas.

wedding part II

wedding part II

Saying “I do” to Eric was everything I could’ve ever imagined and more.

I had a husband now (*screams*). He was/is my favorite human in this big ol’ galaxy. Now let’s PARTY.

wedding part II

*****

You guys. Still cannot believe that sun came out and everything went off seamlessly. If you helped orchestrate this whole thing and happen to be reading this, know we love you!

Writing out our big day has been so much fun. Come back and check out Part III next week – I’ll be sharing some dreamy photos Feather & Twine snapped of the wedding party crew as the sun set.

Pssst, some have already been shared on Insta – follow along and get a sneak peak!

Days By Day

wedding part I

I’m taking a deep breath as I sit here beginning to write about Eric and I’s big day. It seems like a big project because I’m so passionate about capturing the details, but I know having these memories written down will be so worth it.

My mind jumps from one moment to the next as I smile, laugh, and then tear up, all before smiling some more thinking about how it was truly my most favorite day ever!

E & I planned the whole celebration ourselves, with the support of some incredible vendors along the way! The party planner in me truly fell in love with the process. I know some couples say wedding planning was stressful or caused arguments, but even in planning a Texas wedding from Chicago, that was thankfully not the case for us.

wedding part I

So all that being said, to do the best day ever justice, I’ve decided a series of posts makes the most sense. Up first, Wedding Part I: Getting Ready + The First Look.

This day was a real life dream, and I so hope you enjoy reading about it as much I did writing it!

*****

{Getting Ready}

We got married just outside of Austin, in a small town called Dripping Springs. I originally grew up in the Houston area, and E is from Dallas. Since we met while attending UT, Austin was our place and right in the middle of it all.

On Wedding’s Eve, the girls and I stayed overnight at a hotel near our venue, where we did hair, make-up, and sipped mimosas all morning. The incredible Makenzi Laine helped some of us get all dolled up. Having her calming presence with me to start the day was a blessing. I was completely in love with my hair/make-up!

wedding part I

All week, the forecast kept switching between scattered showers and clouds – I had my fingers crossed the weather would cooperate. It rained a bit in the morning, which I was fine with (rain is good luck on your wedding day I hear!), but I hoped it’d go away once it was time to get this show moving.

When it was time to check in, we made our way to Memory Lane (ML). I can’t rave about this venue enough – every person there was so amazing and helpful throughout our planning. Our day was actually perfect, and largely in part because of them.

wedding part I

We wanted our venue to have everything in one place to avoid traveling between locations. ML had it all – a gorgeous outdoor ceremony site, next to a beautiful wooden reception hall, and right across the big ranch house we finished getting ready in. The house doubled as post-wedding accommodations for our groomsmen and bridesmaids.

The boys has spent the night in Austin and arrived first, heading to the groom’s suite attached to the house to get dressed. The ladies arrived next, dashing up to the second floor bridal suite to change and add finishing touches. Eric surprised me with a gorgeous bouquet awaiting our arrival.

wedding part I

wedding part I

wedding part I

I loved these getting ready moments. It was so fun to laugh with my girls and bounce around in our robes.

These beautiful ladies are my family, friends, and some of my biggest inspirations and supporters. To have them alongside me in these minutes leading up to our first look will forever be one of my happiest memories!

wedding part I

wedding part I

During this time, E and I read cards and opened gifts from each other. He had been eyeing a Daniel Wellington watch for sometime, and I knew it would be the perfect piece for our wedding day.

E gave me my first set of real pearl earrings years back. They’re blush and he had handpicked them in Hawaii. I knew he’d gotten a third one then as well, but we never really made plans for it. On my wedding day, the gift I opened was the pearl set in a gorgeous rose gold band.

wedding part I

wedding part I

wedding part I

After this, my mama and sister/MOH helped me get dressed. I opted to just change with everyone there, rather than walk out afterwards. I’m not one to be shy, and couldn’t bear to part from anyone!

I will forever treasure these special memories Feather & Twine (F&T) captured of them helping me slip into my dress and put on my jewelry. I’ve raved about Kelsey (last month’s #girlboss!) and Talon of F&T before – they’re beyond talented, funny, and felt like our long lost friends when we first met about a year ago at our engagement shoot.

wedding part I

wedding part I

wedding part I

wedding part I

And of course, E got all snazzy too! *still swooning over these photos*

wedding part I

wedding part I

{First Look}

It was finally time! E and I were back and forth in the beginning as to whether or not we wanted to see each other before the ceremony. After chatting more with Kelsey and Talon, we decided a first look was something we definitely wanted – I’m so thankful we did!

It ended up being one off our favorite, if not our favorite, parts of the whole day. Having fifteen minutes to ourselves (with F&T and David, our wonderful videographer, of course) to freak out about everything finally happening and to soak up all the emotions…there’s just not a moment that compares.

The weather was cooperating – the sky was overcast and the light was beautiful. Kelsey and I made our way side by side through the grass, and I approached E from the back, embracing him with the tightest hug just before the big reveal.

wedding part I

wedding part I

wedding part I

We laughed and talked and gushed over each other as our friends snapped away. I’ll never forget these feelings.

wedding part I

wedding part I

wedding part I

wedding part I

Eventually, clouds began to roll in and the sky began to turn more gray.

I’ll never forget how sweet and detailed Talon was, not wanting to stop David and Kelsey from documenting, but counting down the seconds to the very moment he knew it’d began to rain according to his phone! He was spot on, and quickly whipped out a big clear umbrella.

At this point, we’re all laughing and hurrying as gracefully as possible back up to the house. I’m so glad we’ve got some snaps from this. If you would’ve told me this was going to happen two days before the wedding, I would’ve been worried.

In that moment though, nothing could feel wrong.

wedding part I

{Counting Down to the Ceremony}

The rain began to come down hard. Our families and wedding party gathered in the big house, chatting and waiting to see if it would let up for the ceremony to start in a half hour.

Unfortunately, it didn’t. Guests began to arrive and the ML staff ushered them into the dry warmth of the gorgeous wooden reception hall.

Kelsey, our day-of ML coordinators, and I began to discuss how to proceed –

Do we move the ceremony inside? How much longer could we wait on the rain so that we could still have time for photos after? Would it even stop?

wedding part I

I had no clue how to predict the rain or to know what was best! I remember a brief moment feeling overwhelmed and saying “What do you recommend? I’ve never gotten married before…Wait, where’s Eric?? I need to ask him what he thinks!”

This was another moment I was really thankful E and I had seen each other already.

He was able to come up to the bridal suite (making a ridiculous dancing entrance the resulted in screams and cheers) to help sort everything out. We all talked more and set a time when we’d make the final call. If it was still raining, we’d move the ceremony into the reception hall.

wedding part I

wedding part I

wedding part I

Spirits were easily kept high with jokes, more pictures, and lots of chatter. I expected to feel stressed, but I felt so at peace with all my people around me.

I was marrying my best friend today! No matter what, it would continue to be the perfect day.

And then, in a matter of seconds, the rain stopped and the clouds cleared. Sun showered into the room and graced the scenery outside with warm light.

Everyone jumped up. Our coordinators gave the signal to wipe down the outside seating and get us all ready to go.

It was time. We were doing this, people!!

wedding part I

*****

Whew, I knew Part I would take some time to write up, but I’m smiling from ear to ear. I have this little diary of the day and I’m so happy to be sharing it with you. So, if you’re still with me, props to you, friend!

New around here and want more? You can read about our engagement in Paris and the story of how we met.

Can’t wait to share Part II with you…hint hint the ceremony may or may not have involved a double rainbow!

Days By Day

spring florals

Happy spring, you guys! It’s still chilly here in Chicago, but we’re rolling with the spring vibes because it’s officially day two.

I can’t talk about this season without instantly thinking of spring florals. While I love being bundled up in sweaters and blanket scarves (um, thank you Chitown winds), finding a good printed go-to is helping this seasonal transition feel right.

A recent girls’ trip to New Orleans was the perfect occasion to debut this cute floral swing top I had just found at Old Navy. It honestly feels as easy-breezy as it looks.

spring florals

spring florals

Florals might feel over done around this time of year, but you know what? You can wear whatever you want, so you feel it, go for it!

Old Navy has tons of pretty new blouses to usher in spring – a couple of my other faves here and here. In other words, I think I’ll be back for more.

Other must-haves on my list for strutting into spring? A brand new pair of casual kicks! I love my white converse. I had to get rid of my old pair after the San Fran rain finished them off, but it was only a couple weeks before I had a new set on my feet.

White kicks are classic, converse our classic.  It’s a win, win!

spring florals

Top | Sunglasses/Similar| Head Wrap (similar) | Jeans | Kicks

The best thing about a girls’ trip? Your closet easily doubles, or in my case, quadrupled – and you get to borrow crazy, cool shades like these.

What are your favorite places to shop fresh looks? Any spring florals I need to get in my closet? Would love for you to share!

Days By Day

easy stuffed peppers

Happy Thursday! Today I’m sharing a delicious – and just as important in a busy week – EASY stuffed peppers recipe.

Anyone who knows me well, knows I’m not the best cook…in our house, Eric is definitely the chef! He’s quite the experimenter, whipping up all sort of tasty meals during the week. I’m a lucky gal.

But hey, I make a fabulous assistant – and I’m most certainly the baker in our little family!

All that being said, you’ll be proud to know I actually whipped up the yummy meal you see here with E’s easy directions. Read on for our stuffed peppers recipe so you can give it a try yourself!

easy stuffed peppers

Ingredients – Makes 4 stuffed pepper halves.

  • 2 large red bell peppers
  • 1 lb. ground beef (possible substitutes: ground turkey, chicken breast, or more of your favorite veggies!)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Rosemary (or any other seasoning you might want to throw on a few sprinkles of!)

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  • Cut the red peppers in half and place on a baking sheet covered with foil.

easy stuffed peppers

  • Sprinkle salt and pepper on the ground beef. Mix by hand. Make four equal sized balls.

easy stuffed peppers

  • Flatten each one into each one of the pepper halves. Sprinkle some rosemary and add a sliver of butter (generosity may vary) on top of each pepper.

easy stuffed peppers

  • Place in the oven for 35 minutes. Check to ensure the meat cooked (every oven is different, of course!) and let cool.

I served with with brown rice and veggies, nothing fancy, but still oh-so-yum! If you want to step up your game, I suggest some red wine. Even if you don’t, still suggest red wine.

easy stuffed peppers

Hope you enjoy, friends! Would love to know how your dish turns out – or what sort of spin you put to make it your own!
Days By Day
P.S. Follow along over on Instagram & Facebook to make sure you never miss a tasty eat!

san francisco travel guide

If we’re friends over on Insta (and we totally should be!), then you might know Eric and I recently spent a long weekend in San Francisco visiting some of our best friends. We’d both been before, so it was fun to spend time at some amazing local spots since we had visited the more touristy ones!

On that note though – SF has some incredible touristy spots, and I highly reco them if you’re going for your first time! More on that later.

The trip was so wonderful, I just had to pull together a San Francisco travel guide to share all the local spots and delicious eats we hit up over three days!

san francisco travel guide

Ooo most of the b-e-a-utiful photos you’ll see throughout this post were snapped by my man! Eric has been playing around more and more with photography, and I think he’s got quite the knack for it.

{Getting Around}

Those hills will get to ya, but walking around is so worth it! We stayed with a friend in Lower Haight, and definitely ubered when we were headed to a neighborhood on the other side of the city, like The Marina or North Beach. Other than that, once you’re in an area, it’s great to walk around and take in all in!

If it’s your first time to SF, I of course recommend taking a trolley ride! There’s also a bus and train system if you want other ways to get around.

san francisco travel guide

{Day One}

Mr. Holmes Bakehouse // ALERT THIS IS NOT A DRILL. Mr. Holmes Bakehouse is real life croissant heaven. Apparently, there’s normally a line out the door on weekends, so go in the morning on a week day if possible. You must try the California Roll (think sushi inside a croissant instead of rice, soy sauce included) and the Cruffin (croissant + muffin, aka GOLD).

san francisco travel guide

san francisco travel guide

san francisco travel guide

Blue Bottle Coffee + Phil’z Coffee // Two different shops to check out if you are coffee addicts like us – both big deals in SF. The inside of the Blue Bottle we visited in the Financial District was beautiful. This stuff is strong! Phil’z is a laid back environment that serves drip coffee only. The iced mint mojito is a local fave!

Lombard Street // The crookedest street in the world. A SF must in the Russian Hill neighborhood that’s always fun to walk through.

san francisco travel guide

Coit Tower // This 210 foot tower is a recognizable part of the San Fran skyline and complete with an observation deck on top. Even if you don’t pay to go up, you can see pretty views from the area just outside!

Chinatown // We loved walking through here! Fun fact: it’s the largest Chinatown outside of Asia. Popping into the crazy shops is fun, and you can’t leave without some Dim Sum.

san francisco travel guide

san francisco travel guide

san francisco travel guide

Side note – it rained all day on Friday, and drizzled the rest of the weekend…so you’ll notice my hair is forever a bun, but my point is rain ain’t got nothing on your fun!!

Tony’s Pizza // Our friends raved about this being known as the best pizza in the city and we 100% believe them. It was AMAZING. The menu offers a variety of pizza styles, from NY to Sicilian. Be prepared to wait a couple hours – we hung out at a nearby bar and played cards!

san francisco travel guide

Tupelo // A lively, yet chill bar with live music every night! Tony’s Pizza and Tupelo are both in the North Beach neighborhood, so this is an easy place to walk to after dinner.

{Day Two}

The Mill // This goldmine serves up gourmet toast and amazing coffee in Lower Haight. To top it off, they have the most beautiful table wear and the interior design is straight out of my dream home! Everything tasted so fresh. The Mill even has pizza night. A must for any local or visitor!

san francisco travel guide

san francisco travel guide

san francisco travel guide

san francisco travel guide

The Painted Ladies // You’ll easily recognize these beauties! This popular row of pretty houses was a quick walk from The Mill. A tourist must.

san francisco travel guide

Lands End // This park was about a 30 minute uber from SF, but not expensive at all when split between friends. You get gorgeous views of the famous Golden Gate bridge and a whole lotta fresh air. We began at a lookout point and then walked along the water towards downtown. Part of the route somehow took us through a shwanky neighborhood, where we swooned over the magnificent homes. At the end of it all, we took another uber to The Mission.

san francisco travel guide

san francisco travel guide

La Taqueria // This spot in SF’s Mission neighborhood claims to have the best the best tacos and burritos in the whole world. I can confidently say it’s one of the best I’ve ever had…and this Texas girl has had a lot of tacos in her life. Completely worth the wait.

san francisco travel guide

Clarion Alley // An easy walk from La Taqueria, this street is full of unique graffiti murals and is actually apart of a protected public art project. It’s a great spot to soak in the culture, and of course snap a pretty Insta.

san francisco travel guide

Bi-Rite Creamery //  The perfect spot for an afternoon treat! They’ve got unique flavors, along with plenty of classics, all full of local and organic ingredients. This ice cream shop is tied to SF’s Bi-Rite Market, which has been around since the 1940s.

Delores Park // This spot is one of the city’s most popular destinations – and full of picnics, pups, and pretty skyline views. We went on a day that was a little breezy and cloudy, but on a sunny day the park is poppin’ and you can even buy a rum-filled coconut off a local vendor!

san francisco travel guide

san francisco travel guide

Panchitas // I learned what a pupusa was on this trip and they are YUM. We grabbed Panchitas in The Mission for an inexpensive, high-quality dinner. Interested in authentic Salvadorian food? This is your spot.

san francisco travel guide

Blondie’s Bar // Where we spent the majority of Saturday night dancing away and sipping giant martinis! Seriously giant. The DJ was awesome. I would’ve dragged everyone back for a second night if we weren’t flying home. Tip: Cash only, bring $5 for cover. And go! That’s my other tip.

{Day Three}

El Techo // This rooftop spot serves up delicious upscale versions of classic Mexican breakfast dishes. The setting is beautiful, and they had heaters that kept us warm on the chilly morning! You must try the buñuelos.

san francisco travel guide

san francisco travel guide

Tartine Bakery // Tartine is a cute bakery and cafe with lots of tasty treats. There’s a line out the door to back up any hype you might hear. The morning bun and banana cream tart were our favorites!

The Marina // We loved walking around this pretty area. There are plenty of bars, restaurants, and local shops to pop into, and great views of the Bay.

san francisco travel guide

Remember I mentioned we would come back to some touristy spots later? Some good ones in this area you should consider if it’s your first SF trip: Ghirardelli Square, Pier 39, and the Palace of Fine Arts.

Waraku // We finished off our weekend with a walk through Japantown (much smaller than Chinatown) and a bowl of delicious ramen at Waraku. This spot is ranked to have some of the best ramen in the city and the staff was wonderful! A great space for both, a large group or just a couple.

san francisco travel guide

Of course, I can’t go without mentioning the Golden Gate Bridge. The first time my family visited San Fran, we biked across and spent the afternoon at the cute town Sausalito on the other side. Whether you walk, run, or bike – it is an SF must!

Needless to say, E and I had an incredible time on this trip (thanks Mel, Theo, & Rach!).

san francisco travel guide

Hope this San Francisco travel guide is helpful in any upcoming visit you might be planning! Got spots we need to check out next time? Please share!

Days By Day