cocktail hour

Happy Monday, friends! Keeping it positive on the blog because the weather was very bleh this past weekend, and there’s more rain in the forecast.

That being said, I’m escaping to some prettier weather with today’s post! I’m so excited to finally be sharing Part III of Eric and I’s wedding – the dreamy sunset at cocktail hour, during which Feather & Twine snapped some of our favorite photos from the whole day.

While it had rained a bit earlier, the sky cleared to an incredible outpouring of sunshine and rainbows for the ceremony (read more in Part IPart II)! I’m in awe every time I think back to how lucky we got and how amazing our team of family, friends, and vendors were in making it the most perfect event.

wedding part II

Read below for details on the fairytale that went on while our guests mingled at cocktail hour…I can’t wait for you to see!

*****

After the ceremony and our pre-first dance sway (actual first dance?) to a fantastic mariachi band – we ventured off to a big, beautiful field on our venue’s property to take pictures while guests enjoyed chips, queso, and drinks.

Side note – queso was a requirement for our wedding because it is our all-time favorite. Don’t you worry, I definitely made sure to eat some at the reception.

Ok back to the field. Such a gorgeous setting, right?!

cocktail hour

cocktail hour

cocktail hour

cocktail hour

cocktail hour

Props to our wedding party that trekked into the grass without any hesitation, even though an hour ago it was pouring. They’re the best humans. I’m not sure how E and I got so lucky to have these friends who are actually our family.

And in case you were wondering, the field wasn’t so messy after all! We had so much fun laughing, swinging flowers around, and trying to walk while still looking oh-so-graceful for our photographers, Kelsey and Talon, and videographer, David.

We’re beyond thankful for those friends too, and their incredible talent.

cocktail hour

cocktail hour

Ugh, these girls. They’re so inspiring, funny, brilliant, and stunning.

They all picked such fabulous dress styles. I landed on this deep wine shade fairly quickly because it fit fall perfectly, while bringing such elegance to the whole wedding.

There was never a set style though, I knew every one was different! I wanted my girls to feel beautiful and comfortable in whichever look they chose. I also just really loved the mismatched yet coordinated vibes of it all!

cocktail hour

cocktail hour

These dresses are Nouvelle Amsale designs. I highly recommend this line if you’re looking for beautiful pieces that won’t break the bank! They were also breathable and movable – perfect for a Texas wedding with lots of dancing.

We ordered them through Bella Bridesmaids in Austin – but with their locations all across the country, the shopping experience was a breeze. I love these dresses, and these ladies!

cocktail hour

cocktail hour

I can’t forget about these guys though. Beyond handsome, of course!

E and I were set on navy from the start. We struggled to find the perfect suit at a fair price for the groomsmen to rent, but then The Black Tux came to our rescue!

cocktail hour

cocktail hour

cocktail hour

cocktail hour

Trust me, I was skeptical at first with the whole online rental, arrives just a few days before the wedding scenario, but The Black Tux makes the whole process SO easy.

I mean, did I marry James Bond over here??

cocktail hour

During this time, I also made the transition from veil to flower crown. From the minute we began planning, I knew I wanted to wear one of these beauties at some point on our day.

Fresh flowers are my absolute favorite, so not only were the floral details around our wedding so precious , but this delicate, wax flower piece Wild Bunches created just for me had me feeling like I jumped straight out of a Disney story.

cocktail hour

cocktail hour

I’ll be talking about it, and that magical bouquet for the rest of my life. Sorry not sorry.

Taking some intimate photos of just E and I after the whole bunch with our wedding party was really special. We love, love, loved our first look (maybe our fave part of the whole day!), but snapping some as Mr. & Mrs. with no one else around, as the sun settled into a dreamy dusk, was completely romantic.

cocktail hour

cocktail hour

cocktail hour

cocktail hour

cocktail hour

Our lovely Memory Lane coordinators, who ensured the whole day went off seamlessly, eventually had to usher us back towards the reception hall to keep the party going. We were out there having way too much fun!

cocktail hour

cocktail hour

The next few moments were filled with ridiculous laughs and coordinated dance moves as we prepared to be announced into the reception with our wedding party, just outside the doors of the hall. So and so would be carried on so and so’s shoulders, those two were going to pretend to play some 1:1 basketball, and E and I may have decided to shuffle then chest bump.

It was finally time to celebrate with our loved ones and we couldn’t wait!

*****

We definitely were ready to party with family and friends, but let’s be real, we were also ready for some tacos, cake, and a good ol’ beer too!

These sunset photos are so near and dear to my heart. As I mentioned, we truly loved the whole wedding planning process, and these swoon-worthy moments remind me how all that hard work paid off.

Stay tuned for the final piece of the puzzle, Part IV: The Reception! Can you guess the 90s movie theme song we entered to after taking a poll from the wedding party??

Hint: A famous Chicago Bulls basketball player starred in the film.

Days By Day

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

feather and twine

Happy Tuesday, friends! Today, I’m so excited to be sharing the second post in a series I’ve started on the blog called #Girlboss Gathering.

I love the idea of women supporting other women – just like you, I’m sure! With so many inspiring gals around us, I wanted to start a monthly feature that showcased some of these incredible ladies and the wonderful stuff they’ve got going on.

This month, I couldn’t be happier to be posting about the unbelievably talented, funny, and kind #girlboss, Kelsey. She’s not only an amazing friend, but her and her husband, Talon (who’s just as awesome), were actually Eric and I’s wedding photographers!

feather and twine

Kelsey first picked up a camera at fifteen, and now she and Talon run their own photography business together named Feather & Twine.

These two love breakfast food, board games, and constant laughter. They also got engaged in Paris too – just like E & I! Needless to say, they instantly felt like our long lost friends when we met for our engagement shoot almost a year ago.

our story

Read on to learn more about this amazing lady and the business she shares with Talon. You’ll also see examples of their gorgeous work throughout this post!

***

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your photography business.

K: I’m Kelsey! I’m a natural light wedding photographer based out of Austin with my husband, Talon, our cat, Lily, and about a hundred little plant babies. We are adventure-loving newlyweds who love to travel as much as we possible can, and appreciate great design – art of all kinds. When we aren’t shooting, you can find us at a local plant nursery, on a hike, building a new piece of furniture for our house or lounging around binge-watching a new TV show.

Talon and I met in 2010, right around the same time that a couple of people had started asking me to photograph their wedding. I started my original photography business when I was in high school, mostly doing seniors and family shoots, so when I met Talon (a very natural creative), I just casually roped him into being my second shooter!

feather and twine

I never really envisioned being able to go into weddings when I first discovered my love for photography; it was honestly a really overwhelming concept to me. But, after our first couple of weddings together, I really fell in love with it for so many reasons. So, after our first two years of shooting weddings, we rebranded to Feather & Twine and started specializing in weddings. Our business quickly quadrupled and we both went full time within a year!

2. How did you get started with photography?

K: As a teenager, I was always very creatively flippant. I was always jumping from one creative passion to the next with all of these crazy pipe dreams in my head about becoming a novelist, a fashion designer, or experimenting with sewing, painting, you name it. Though, until I was about 15, I had never seriously picked up a camera.

My stepdad loved nature photography as a hobby, and my aunt ran a small photography business part-time, so I had access to equipment if I wanted it. I remember telling my parents that I wanted a great DSLR camera for my birthday one year, and since they weren’t really sure if I would actually stick with this medium, they challenged me to show them I had the discipline to learn on film first. If I would stick with that, they would get me my first camera.

feather and twine

So, I quickly dove into researching, asking my aunt questions, and the experimentation phase. I walked around the woods where I grew up and photographed shadows, textures and shapes that I thought were intriguing. I photographed my family playing outside together, I photographed younger cousins, just things that were happening in life and little vignettes that I had always loved.

When I got my first couple of rolls developed, I took them to my aunt for a critique and she quickly remarked that without any training it was clear that I had an eye for photography. After I got a camera, I immediately dove into shooting with an obsessive personality. I was quickly orchestrating all of these shoots with my friends on the weekends, and scouring antique malls for props or outfits that I could style them in.

feather and twinefeather and twine

It wasn’t long before other kids at school started asking me to take their senior pictures and offered to pay m. I became the photo editor for my high school, and then my weekends started to fill up with a mixture of paid shoots and experimental shoots with my friends.

I still look back at my first roll of film and can see subtle traces of who I am as an artist (which is really encouraging on those days where you feel like you’ve lost your style), there’s lots of beautiful sun-drenched backlighting, the photos are bright and airy and, most of all, full of beautiful smiles and laughter.

feather and twine

3. What are your favorite types of weddings to shoot?

K: First and foremost, our favorite types of weddings to shoot are with couples who are up for anything, whose love is beautiful and inspiring, who can’t hide how giddy and excited they are, who want their wedding to be very “them,” and with couples who are creatives! We love to shoot really unique weddings, and a focus on nature and/or the outdoors just makes it even better!

feather and twine

4. Do you have any favorite places you and Talon have traveled to shoot for F&T?

K: SO many favorite places! We’ve been to London for a multi-cultural wedding (and got engaged in Paris on that same trip); we’ve been to Big Sur for an intimate cliff-side wedding for a NYC couple; Marfa for a small desert wedding with two people who met in the Peace Corps; we’ve shot an intimate mountain wedding at Deception Pass State Park in Washington for two creatives; we’ve shot a wedding for two artists getting married at a loft in Brooklyn… so many incredible memories and people – and while the traveling definitely never gets old, the people are really the best part.

feather and twine

5. When you aren’t shooting, editing, or blogging F&T’s pictures – what are your favorite ways to spend your time?

K: Going to Plant Nurseries, walking through botanical gardens, reading in my reading nook, spending a cool morning gardening, walking the streets of a new city or planning our next trip, making a floral arrangement, playing board games, going on hikes (preferably in the mountains), getting a new book from an independent bookstore, trying a new coffee shop and spending some time there dreaming up a new business idea, or binge watching the newest television series! I am a very busy-body kind of person, so anything that involves going and doing something, or being out in nature is a plus for me!

feather and twine

6. Running a business must come with so many great lessons! What are your best tips for staying organized, motivated, and on task when the list of to-dos can seem like a lot?

K: Oh gosh, I wish I had a better handle on this! Running a business definitely comes with so many great lessons, sometimes you get a lesson a day – ha! I’m a huge list person, and it is so easy for me to become overwhelmed with everything that I need to do. The strategies that have really helped me are to: prioritize as much as possible, start with the tasks that are necessary but that you’ve been putting off, focus on ONE thing at a time, always be positive and, lastly, give yourself some grace! If everything on your list doesn’t get done that day, it’s not going to be the end of the world! Getting one thing done is a better place than you were at before! Most of the time, once you show up to do the work, the motivation will follow.

feather and twine

7. What’s been the coolest experience or most exciting moment you’ve had related to your business? 

K: I think one of our most exciting moments was our first cover feature on a magazine! We’ve had three now, and it is definitely one the most “pinch me, is this real?” moments we have had in our business! But, in the past year, I’ve noticed the thing that makes me feel most accomplished and validated is looking at our calendar and realizing that all of the weddings we are shooting are for our kind of people, for our dream clients. The fact that they’re finding us, from all over the country, and wanting what we are creating is such an incredible feeling and a milestone that I never thought we’d reach!

feather and twine

8. What advice would you give to those who may be taking some photos now, but really wants to get into photography? 

K: My best advice is to obsessively practice and observe!!! I learned what my favorite lighting styles were not only from shooting, but also from just watching the light hit trees or the way it streams in from open windows, and sometimes (when I’m really not paying attention to the people around me), I find myself just rotating my hand in light watching the way it plays against the wrinkles in my skin. For posing, I get most of my inspiration from movies, or from the ways that Talon and I interact with each other, and especially when people watching.

A ton of photographers now also have workshops or resources for beginners (Ben Sasso, Phil Chester, Jasmine Star, Benj Haisch, etc.), so find someone you like and see what you can learn from them! Just be careful to take the information that you get, and try make it your own, as opposed to just mimicking their work, which can be hard to do! I really just learned by endlessly googling questions (I had and a ton of trial and error), which is honestly probably the longest road you could take!

feather and twine

***

Um, isn’t Kelsey amazing?! It’s not only a pure joy to know her, it’s also just so darn inspiring!

Interested in chatting with Kelsey and Talon about photographing your upcoming wedding (or think someone you know might be)?? Shoot them a note here – you will be SO happy you did!

Don’t forget to follow Feather & Twine over on FB and Insta for more beautiful work! You can also check out their post on our wedding. *P.S. Still squealing about those photos over here*

Days By Day

honeymoon in jamaica

Happy 2017, friends! I can’t believe it’s in full swing already.

I’m beyond excited for more travels to come this year, but first things first. I want to finish recapping one of my 2016 favorites – the honeymoon in Jamaica!

If you haven’t read Part I, you can do so here. I rave about the ah-mazing resort we stayed at, Couples Swept Away (CSA) in Negril, Jamaica. I share details on the food, our accommodations, and the first of our activities, including snorkeling! I also share some killer snaps we took with our new favorite travel toy, the GoPro HERO5 Black.

honeymoon in jamaica

Maybe you’re new around here (Welcome!), and didn’t know this girl was a wife. You can catch up with E & I’s “story” here and my first post after the wedding here.

Ok, but back to JAMAICA. In addition to all the good stuff in Part I, sharing a bit more below.

{Water Sports}

A huge reason we loved CSA so much is because everyone on the staff was so incredible. From the talented chefs, to the water sports crew, to our scuba instructors, we honestly couldn’t have met kinder, life loving souls.

Another huge perk?? A whole bunch of water sports and lessons were included.

honeymoon in jamaica

I never thought I’d be able to windsurf. While we were by no means experts, we totally did it. Eric better than me I should mention.

We got a lesson in hobbie cat sailing, Eric kayaked, and we got to stand-up paddle board too. You know you’re in paradise when you’re paddle boarding and see giant starfish below.

honeymoon in jamaica

honeymoon in jamaica

{Glass Bottom Boat Tour}

This was such a fun way to learn more about the coral reefs and see more of the coast. One guide asked us to name a couple big starfish we saw side by side below and no one else piped up. So I gladly said Beyonce and Jay-Z. He dived in, gently grabbed Bey, and let me hold her before returning her home.

honeymoon in jamaica

{Nighttime Entertainment}

So many options! From live steel drums, dances into the night, to beach bonfires – they had so much to offer in the evening. Our favorite by far was the Aura Lounge, where famous piano player Ultimate Chocolate, and singer Miguel, had the whole crowd up in roars of laughter and sing-a-longs!

We chatted with so many awesome couples around this piano, and seeing Ulti and Miguel all up in their element was a pure honor.

honeymoon in jamaica

{Cliff Jumping at Rick’s Cafe}

Rick’s Cafe is apparently one of the top 10 most famous bars in the world, and is known to have the second most beautiful sunset! You can also cliff jump, get drinks, and listen to live music – how could we not go? CSA had a shuttle to take us.

honeymoon in jamaica

honeymoon in jamaica

honeymoon in jamaica

As soon as we arrived, we grabbed some rum cocktails and were glued to the people jumping off the 30 foot cliff.  E decided to give it a go and totally rocked it!*

honeymoon in jamaica

*Confession: I didn’t catch it on camera the first time, so he actually really did rock it because he went twice. And it’s unfortunately a low quality photo. Love you, E. 🙂

{Scuba Diving}

Probably our favorite – getting scuba certified! A beginner’s class and swimming around shore is free at CSA. You can then choose to go with the crew on a real dive for $50. It’s a perfect way to test it out.

E and I thankfully learned we were pretty natural underwater! We fell in love with it, choosing to count the first dive and cost towards our certification. It just took one additional hour of class and a dive the next morning…then we had unlimited dives for the rest of the trip!

honeymoon in jamaica

honeymoon in jamaica

People had mentioned not to do our certification while we were on our trip, but I disagree! Doing your training dives is waayyy better in the sea vs. a pool/lake, let me tell ya. It’s also tons of fun, especially when you’re working with a killer crew like CSA’s.

Need more of a reason? In Jamaica, the cost to get certified was about $450 cheaper than in Chicago. If a scuba certification is something you’re interested in, my advice would be to scope out options at home and your destination! My other advice is to go visit the incredible people of Jamaica and do it at CSA. 🙂

honeymoon in jamaica

honeymoon in jamaica

WHEW. Thanks for hanging in there with me, friends! We were able to check so many adventures off our bucket list, I hope this inspires you to take a tropical vacay in 2017, or just go tackle something you’ve been dying to do!

Days By Day