The Belle Life

Two Year Anniversary Reflections

Wes and I recently celebrated our second wedding anniversary. My, how time flies! I wanted to post a couple of reflections about the past year as we celebrate this milestone (because even small milestones are important to celebrate!).

1. I’ve blogged before about how we are choosing a different piece of 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 to be our “theme” Bible verse each year. We’re going in chronological order, so this past year was “love is kind.” Y’all, it sounds so easy and obvious, but it’s really not. I’ve heard others say before that marriage exposes just how selfish you can be, and it’s so true. It’s hard to be kind when you feel frustrated, irritated, or angry and so much easier to focus on your own emotions. But, I think kindness is absolutely critical in order for a marriage to succeed and should not be used sparingly. I incorporated kindness toward Wes into my 2016 PowerSheets and have seen the difference it has made over the past eight months.

2. Moving right along to year three’s theme: Love does not envy. Wes and I have been talking some about what this means and are trying to come up with practical ways to apply this to our relationship. Anyone have ideas for us? Please comment on this post or on insta!

3. On a long weekend getaway trip in May, we listened to The Five Love Languages together on our drive, and it was AWESOME. I had read the book many years ago, but it was much more powerful to read now that Wes and I have been together longer. It was also incredibly beneficial to be listening to it together. The audiobook prompts you to pause the CD to discuss questions together, and we were both surprised to find that it was not just educational, but also really fun! The book has definitely changed our relationship for the better. Many thanks to Wes’s step-brother and step-sis-in-law for gifting it to us when we got married!

4. We’ve found this to be true in our relationship and do it several times a week.

5. I actually really enjoy finding a way to gift Wes the traditional wedding anniversary gifts by year (this is likely because one of my love languages is gifts…see #3 above). Second anniversary gifts are traditionally cotton, and this year Wes decided to join in on the fun by finding something cotton to gift me, which turned out to be money to go buy fair trade clothes. Can every year be cotton??

6. We also celebrated this year with gluten-free cake and our tradition of watching our wedding video together. Having this tradition to look forward to is so much fun. It was also really crazy to reflect on how much has changed for our families and friends since our wedding. Our video shows couples who are no longer together, people who are now celebrating weddings of their own, and relatives who are no longer living. It’s also so obvious when watching the video how much Wes and I have grown as a couple. It’s hard to describe the overall feeling that watching our video gave me…perhaps reverence for the passage of time and a sense of awe at the way life’s events weave together in small and big ways to shape us? I’m so thankful for the past two years and can’t wait to see what the next will bring.

Wedding cooler with wedding vows | Trés Belle

Love you today and every day, Westwood! Happy anni!

xoxo, Laura

Easy, Faux Boarding Pass Gift Idea

I’m a little behind the times here, seeing as how Valentine’s Day was a month and a half ago (what??), but I still think this is too cute not to share! Real talk, y’all: men are so hard to shop for. Give me a lady to shop for any day. When in doubt, a great smelling candle or cute scarf are an easy fall-back. But men? Gosh. And especially if your fella is like mine and isn’t huge on sweets or alcohol (how are we even married??).

Hubs already has most of the “things” he needs, so I decided to gift him a weekend trip for Valentine’s Day this year. I still wanted him to have something fun to open, and I came up with the idea to print faux boarding passes detailing our weekend destination. Thankfully, many others have also come up with this idea in the past, and there are lots of fun boarding pass templates out there on the interwebs. I’m sharing the one I used to save y’all the trouble of having to click through 218 templates and Google images like I did in order to find THE one.

Easy, Faux Boarding Pass Gift Idea | Très Belle

The template, from Aylee Bits, is fairly easy to use and quite customizable. There are detailed (and I mean detailed) instructions on the site for how to use the templates to make wedding invitations, but I didn’t take things quite that far. I wanted to spend 10 minutes on this, tops.

The only issue I had with the template was that the bar code came out as a bunch of wonky symbols on my laptop (maybe because I was using a Mac?). Finding a bar code image on Google and inserting it into the document was a quick and easy fix, though.

I think the final product was cute, and Wes loved it! He actually thought they were real tickets when he first opened them. He is excited to plan his trip to Stratford!

xoxo Laura

Autumn Wedding with Sunflowers and Burgundy Details

Where all my fall 2016 brides and grooms at? Believe me when I say that you’re going to want to steal ideas from today’s featured wedding. Ben and Marie were married on a sunny September day surrounded by sunflowers, burgundy lace, and and a little white church. In true Southern belle style, Marie wore family heirloom jewelry and her mother’s veil, and the couple designed their reception to feel like a family reunion. Of course, they served up Eastern North Carolina-style barbecue and all the fixins. It was autumn wedding perfection! Enjoy these gorgeous photos, courtesy of DiPrima Photography.

Autumn Wedding with Sunflowers and Burgundy Details | Trés Belle

From the bride: We first met at a Christmas party given by mutual friends in 2012. There was a white elephant gift exchange, and we were the only two to agree on the rules to follow! Ben wanted to ask me out right away, but knew he was going to be out of town for the holidays. Instead, he requested the same friends throw another party at the next possible event – which turned out to be the Super Bowl – so that we could meet again. Ben asked me out for a glass of wine, and I said, “That could be fun!” We got engaged on December 19, 2014: two years exactly from the Christmas party when we first met. 

Autumn Wedding with Sunflowers and Burgundy Details | Trés Belle

I’ve loved sunflowers for years; so much so, that every time Ben buys me flowers, he always makes sure there’s at least one sunflower bloom. Sunflowers were actually the first decision I made about the wedding! I remembered that, for my cousin’s wedding, my uncle grew hundreds of sunflowers for her. At the time, he promised if I ever needed a field of sunflowers to let him know – and he was able to come through for me with flying colors! All the sunflowers were grown on his farm in the eastern part of NC and transported to Chapel Hill and Burlington by my parents.

Autumn Wedding with Sunflowers and Burgundy Details | Trés Belle

Autumn Wedding with Sunflowers and Burgundy Details | Trés Belle

Our ceremony was at Orange United Methodist, the church we both have been attending since prior to meeting each other. It was mutual friends though church who brought us together, and the church has remained an important part of our relationship!

Autumn Wedding with Sunflowers and Burgundy Details | Trés Belle

Autumn Wedding with Sunflowers and Burgundy Details | Trés Belle

Autumn Wedding with Sunflowers and Burgundy Details | Trés Belle

My necklace was borrowed from my mom and was the engagement gift from my great-grandfather to my great-grandmother. I wore a bracelet borrowed from Ben’s mom and a ring that was Ben’s grandmother’s.

Autumn Wedding with Sunflowers and Burgundy Details | Trés Belle

Autumn Wedding with Sunflowers and Burgundy Details | Trés Belle

We really wanted to make sure the ceremony was a meaningful part of our wedding day, not just an event to happen on the way to the reception. Ben and I both spent a lot of time talking about what was important to us in a wedding ceremony and made sure to incorporate those elements. We had two pastors officiate: the minister of our church and a retired minister from my childhood (who, incidentally, went to seminary together!). We searched for verses that we liked and decided on Colossians 3:12-17 as the cornerstone of our marriage.

Autumn Wedding with Sunflowers and Burgundy Details | Trés Belle

Music selection took us a long time (final decisions weren’t made until the week prior!), but each song was chosen very specifically. “You Raise Me Up” was one of my favorite selections for the entrance of our mothers and grandmothers. We were lucky enough to have a very accomplished pianist friend in charge of our music!

Autumn Wedding with Sunflowers and Burgundy Details | Trés Belle

One of the most meaningful parts of the service, for me, was our incorporation of the unity candle. We wanted to make it an important part of our service, and so we had our parents each light their family candles just prior to us lighting the unity candle together. They each lit their candles from a memory candle, which had written on it the names of each of the grandparents we have lost. This was especially important to me, after losing my grandfather only three months before. It was a meaningful way for us to ensure our grandparents could still hold an important place in our marriage.

Autumn Wedding with Sunflowers and Burgundy Details | Trés Belle

Autumn Wedding with Sunflowers and Burgundy Details | Trés Belle

Autumn Wedding with Sunflowers and Burgundy Details | Trés Belle

Autumn Wedding with Sunflowers and Burgundy Details | Trés Belle

The stone in my engagement ring is from Ben’s grandmother’s and great-grandmother’s engagement rings. It is incredibly special to us, and he worked very hard to pick the right setting for it.

Autumn Wedding with Sunflowers and Burgundy Details | Trés Belle

In searching for a reception venue, we were hoping to find a location that would give off feelings of a family reunion. We were both so excited to have all our friends and family in one place and wanted to make sure everyone would be able to relax together. As soon as we saw Starlight Meadow, we knew it was the place for us!

Autumn Wedding with Sunflowers and Burgundy Details | Trés Belle

Autumn Wedding with Sunflowers and Burgundy Details | Trés Belle

Autumn Wedding with Sunflowers and Burgundy Details | Trés Belle

Autumn Wedding with Sunflowers and Burgundy Details | Trés Belle

Catering and cake were an adventure for us! My own mom is such a good cook, and I couldn’t help but compare everything we tasted to her home-cooked goodness. After a couple months of searching for caterers, we ended up deciding on the person we did our very first tasting with: Above and Beyond Catering out of High Point. They were extraordinarily professional and courteous through the whole process, and that went a long way towards our decision. And the food was fantastic too: NC barbecue, roasted chicken, summer veggies, mac-and-cheese, and baked potato salad. I wish I could request the same menu again!

After going to at least six cake tastings, Delicious (in Greensboro) stood out to us as, hands down, the best cake we tasted. We did layers of both yellow cake with fudge filling and white cake with raspberry jam and lemon cream. Both were incredible! Delicious is going to be our go-to bakery in Greensboro from now on!

Autumn Wedding with Sunflowers and Burgundy Details | Trés Belle

Autumn Wedding with Sunflowers and Burgundy Details | Trés Belle

Autumn Wedding with Sunflowers and Burgundy Details | Trés Belle

Autumn Wedding with Sunflowers and Burgundy Details | Trés Belle

Are y’all swooning over that last sunset photo like I am?? Congrats, Ben and Marie!

Photography: DiPrima Photography; second shooter Sammi Evans Photography
Invitations: Zazzle
Rings: Diamonds Direct
Bride’s dress: Mori Lee from Carolina Bridal World
Bride’s veil: Mother of the bride
Bride’s shoes: Aerosoles
Bride’s jewelry: Family heirlooms, 1928
Hair/makeup: Julianna Knox
Bridesmaid dresses: Simply Liliana from JCPenney
Groom and Groomsmen attire: Men’s Wearhouse
Ceremony Venue: Orange United Methodist Church
Officiant: Revs. Ken Hall and Jim Bailey
Floral design: sunflowers grown by bride’s uncle, reception flowers by bride’s family and friends, bouquets/boutonnieres by Designs by Mike
Reception Venue: Starlight Meadow
Catering: Above and Beyond Catering
Cake: Delicious Cakes
Linens: Above and Beyond Catering, Starlight Meadow
DJ/Singer: Gary Mitchell
Sunflower seed packet favors: Earthly Goods