Wedding Belles

Deal Alert: 71% Off Wedding Invitations and Save the Dates!

I’ve got a deal alert for my engaged belles! Groupon is currently running a deal for up to 71% off flat invitations from Staples. They’re advertising it as being for wedding invitations and save the dates, but really you could purchase invitations for any fancy shmancy event you have coming up!

71% Off Staples Wedding Invitations  |  Trés Belle

No one thinks that invitations will be a big cost for their wedding, but it can really add up, especially if you’re wanting to throw in inner/outer envelopes, calligraphy, reception cards, ribbons, etc.  Do yourself a favor and buy invites on sale!

 

xoxo Laura

P.S. – This is not a sponsored post. I just love sharing good deals with my belles!

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

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

Why I Didn’t Change My Last Name When I Got Married

This is the story of why I didn’t change my last name when I got married. Can I be honest, y’all? It took me awhile to decide whether or not to publish this because I was afraid it might make others feel judged. Like that feeling you get when your friend who’s doing Whole30 starts talking about how sugar is the devil right after you’ve scarfed down 10 pieces of leftover Halloween candy. That’s not the point of this post. Every person should be able to decide what their name will be, free of judgment. The reason I’m writing this is because I hope it will at least make people think about something that we take for granted as a societal norm. I hope that if someone out there feels incredibly uncertain and torn about whether they want to change their name when they get married, they can get a firsthand perspective from someone who’s totally been there.

A little back story here: I deliberated over this decision for literally YEARS. I thought about it before getting engaged, while we were engaged, and even after I got married. That’s right, I didn’t make up mind about what the heck my last name was until nearly eight months after I got married. It was a touch decision, and there were lots of things to think through. In our culture, it is more or less assumed that a woman such as myself will take her husband’s last name at marriage (more on that below). I mean, I was totally one of those girls growing up who would “try on” my crush’s last name to see how it fit with my first name. I know many of you ladies out there did the same thing, so don’t be bashful.

I was so torn up over this decision, I tried to compromise at first. I thought I could sort of keep my name while also sort of changing it. It went something like this: I would not legally change it, and I would still be called by my original name (Laura Jasmine) at work, but it was okay if, in social settings, people referred to me as Laura Jasmine Saunders or Laura Saunders. This ambiguous name situation did not work for me. I often felt confused about how to introduce myself. I sometimes felt a little hateful when people would call me Laura Saunders, and I try to avoid feeling hateful as much as possible. A decision was finally reached.

So, here’s why I ultimately made the choice to not change my last name when I got married:

  1. It didn’t feel right. The biggest pull for me to keep my last name when I got married was that, on a gut instinct level, it just felt right….and Wes’s last name didn’t. Don’t get me wrong, I love Wes’s last name (Saunders), but I felt like an imposter trying to call myself by that name. I’m not Laura Saunders, I’m Laura Jasmine. This is who I’ve always been and it’s who I always will be. My core identity as a person did not change when I got married, and I still think of myself as the same old Laura Jasmine (albeit now with a sparkly band on my left hand and wordy legal document binding me to my smokin’ hot fella). I’m sure if I had signed my name as “Laura Saunders” and heard myself called that enough by others, I would have eventually grown used to it, but it just didn’t feel right. And I’m okay with that.
  2. I love my name. It’s true. I adore the name Laura Jasmine! I get compliments on how beautiful my name is everywhere I go. Nothing against Laura Saunders–that’s a fine name–but I don’t feel the same way about it as I feel about Laura Jasmine.
  3. It felt sexist. It’s not often talked about, but coverture is the reason why it became commonplace in English (and consequently, American) culture for women to assume their husband’s surname. Coverture refers to the legal doctrine whereby a man assumed his wife’s legal rights upon marriage. In other words, women essentially became the property of their husbands and had no rights, no legal voice, no standing under the law. While I realize that in American society today coverture (thankfully) does not exist and most women take their husband’s last name purely out of tradition rather than as a sign of deferred legal standing, it still just didn’t sit right with my feminist heart. Why would I want to carry a symbol of coverture around on the end of my name? What kind of message does this convey to others about gender equality?
  4. I understand why a couple would want to share the same last name, but….. I don’t think that necessarily means the woman should have to change hers. As mentioned in #3 above, coverture is no longer. So why should it always have to be the woman who changes her name? If you’re going to entertain the idea of sharing a last name (which I am totally on board with), then both people in the relationship need to be willing to consider a last name change. Yes, this means that opposite-sex couples should consider whether the man should take the woman’s last name in addition to whether the woman should consider taking the man’s last name.  Same-sex couples have also led the charge on combined or hyphenated last names, and I think these are great options as well. Wes and I discussed all of these things. Neither of us particularly loved the name Wes Jasmine over Wes Saunders. Jasmine-Saunders seemed lengthy and cumbersome, and Jasders and Saundmine….yeah, no explanation necessary there. Bottom line: there are many options when it comes to sharing a last name, and if your significant other (particularly if your significant other is a male) won’t even consider a discussion about changing their last name to yours, it’s time to question whether they really value you as an equal partner.
  5. I’m not buying the “I want to have the same last name as my kids” argument. Who says I won’t have the same last name as my kids if I don’t change my last name? Maybe the kids will take my last name instead of Wes’s. Shocker! Or maybe they’ll have a hyphenated last name. Regardless of what Wes and I decide to name our children if and when we have kids, the point is that there are, again, many possibilities. So can we stop assuming that the kids will take the man’s last name, already?

So there you have it. My thoughts on my name not-change. Again, everyone has their own reasons, and I respect that. I’m not trying to call anyone out. I do hope this might help other lovely ladies who are considering whether or not to take the name change plunge.

xoxo Laura

P.S. – If there are others out there with name change (or non-change) experiences that they want to share, I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

Internet Roundup: Sassy Bride Edition

Well, y’all may have noticed my absence on the blog the last couple of weeks…sorry and oops! Wes and I bought a house (!!!!) and have been moving and trying to sort our way through the mess of boxes (it seems like the boxes might be winning). Time for a nice Wedding Belles Internet Roundup to get me back in the swing of things. Today’s theme? Sassy Bride Edition. Here’s all the bridal sass I’m loving on the Internet lately:

1. 8 Brides on the Most Annoying Parts of Wedding Planning. Because we all love a good gripe sesh. 8 Brides on the Most Annoying Parts of Wedding Planning, via Brides | Trés Belle

2. Wedding Blackout Dates for 2015. Crabby Bride is officially one of my favorite people right now. I love so many of her posts, but this one might be my favorite. Wedding Blackout Dates for 2015, via Crabby Bride | Trés Belle

3. Crazy Things Mothers-In-Law Have Said. Okay, so maybe a more appropriate title for this post would have been “Sassy Bride/MOG Edition?” Number 5…so cold…Crazy Things Mothers-In-Law Have Said, Via Brides | Trés Belle

As always, send me links for what you’re loving lately, belles!

xoxo Laura

3D Printing: The Latest in Weddings

When I think of 3D printing, I think of engineers who are a thousand times more intelligent than I sitting in a laboratory and pressing buttons on an enormous machine that can spit out anything from a sedan to your morning coffee. It’s a concept that took awhile for me to wrap my head around, you know? Turns out that 3D printing is actually quite accessible for your everyday belle, and I think 3D is a great way to go for wedding-related items that will truly wow your guests, bridal party, and/or future spouse!

I was introduced to the idea of 3D printed wedding items when I was contacted recently by 3D printer Shapeways. I took a look at their website and found some really nifty wedding-related products:

  1. These barrel cufflinks. Wouldn’t these be a great wedding gift for a wine-loving groom?3D Printed Barrel Cufflinks - Trés Belle Blog
  2. This DNA ring. How cool, right? Especially if you’re marrying a scientist or physician. The neat thing about 3D is that you can print in virtually any material. For instance, this ring can be printed in gold, silver, white gold, rose gold, and even platinum. Would make for such a unique wedding band! 3D Printed DNA Ring - Trés Belle Blog
  3. This #justmarried cake topper. Wouldn’t this be cute on top of your wedding cake? Quite inexpensive and comes in lots of different colors! 3D Printed #justmarried Cake Topper - Trés Belle Blog
  4. This “Anchor of Love” necklace. That little heart at the bottom of the anchor…adorable! Would be such a cute gift for bridesmaids, especially if you’re having a nautical wedding! 3D Printed Anchor of Love Necklace - Trés Belle Blog

What do you think, belles? Are you loving any of these products or others on the Shapeways website?

P.S. – I was not compensated by Shapeways for this post. Just thought it was a fun idea to pass along to my belles!

On Sale: “Mrs.” Necklace

How stinking adorable is this “Mrs.” necklace, y’all? Wouldn’t it make a great gift for an engaged or newly married belle? The best news: It’s currently on major sale for the next two days over at Jane for only $5.99!

On Sale: "Mrs." Necklace - Trés Belle Blog

I may have to snatch a few up myself…you know, just in case a friend decides to get married soon!

xoxo Laura

Wedding Anniversary Celebrations

Wes and I celebrated our one year wedding anniversary yesterday. I can’t believe it! The past year (and especially this summer) has flown by, and all of a sudden we have graduated from being “newlyweds.” We made a pretty big deal out of celebrating this anniversary (we made it through some major milestones and trials this year!), and I am sharing so that others can steal ideas and maybe share some traditions of their own!

  1. Anniversary Photos: Yes, we have plenty of gorgeous engagement and wedding photos of the two of us already. But we thought the occasion at hand was special enough to warrant new pictures. Ideally, I’d love to have nice photos done each year so that we always have updated portraits in our house and on our Christmas cards. And, we got to include our recently adopted love pup, Rufus, which was extra special! Emma Emery Photography did an amazing job, no? One Year Anniversary Photo Session - Trés Belle Blog
  2. Dinner out: This one is pretty standard as far as anniversaries go, I know. It felt quite special though since we rarely eat out on week nights. After a long Monday at work, it was exciting to look forward to a night out on the town.
  3. Renewing our vows: Like the anniversary photos, this is something that I hope will be a yearly tradition for us. We are lucky that we live in the same city that we were married in, which made it fairly easy to swing by our ceremony location after dinner to recite our wedding vows. Unfortunately the chapel itself was locked, so we stood outside the big front doors and read our vows to each other. Hearing the pledge that we wrote together last summer was incredibly touching.
  4. Exchanging gifts: Wes and I don’t really buy each other extravagant gifts, but we still wanted to give each other a little something to celebrate the occasion. He scored a t-shirt featuring lyrics from our first dance song as well as tickets to an NC State basketball game (aka the only thing I could come up with for the traditional “paper” gift). I adore my gift, which was a wooden sign painted with the words of 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. This verse is significant to us, as you will learn in number 7 below! Please excuse the poor lighting and mismatched furniture in the photo…we are in the process of moving 🙂1 Corinthians 13:4-8 Wooden Sign - Trés Belle Blog
  5. Watching our wedding video: Yet another yearly tradition in the making. We have the most incredible wedding video (shout out to Good Earth Films!), and it was really neat to relive the big day in sound and living color. I have said over and over again how quickly the past year has flown, but watching ourselves and our loved ones on film also made me pause and realize how much has changed over the course of a year!
  6. Eating the top tier of our wedding cake: The icing on the cake of our anniversary celebration was getting to eat the 1-year-old top tier of our wedding cake. Or rather, Wes ate the cake, and I had a few bites of frosting due to my recently developed gluten intolerance. The day before our anniversary, we took the cake out of the freezer, unwrapped it, and sat it in the fridge to thaw. Was it still delicious? I didn’t get to taste it in all of its glory, but Wes certainly seemed to enjoy it!
  7. A new verse: Yep, another yearly tradition (how am I going to remember all of these??). During premarital counseling, our pastor challenged Wes and I to choose a “theme” Bible verse for our first year of marriage. We decided we would focus on a different piece of 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 each year for our first several years of marriage. Love was indeed patient this past year (we reflected on this on our drive to dinner!), and starting yesterday we moved on to the next part of the verse: the infamous “love is kind.”
  8. Anniversary trip: I guess it’s a stretch to call this an “anniversary” trip given that it is taking place nearly three months after our anniversary, but stretch we will. We are headed to Asheville for a long weekend, and I am beyond excited to FINALLY see the Biltmore (and it will be decorated for Christmas)!

So there you have it! Our one year anniversary celebrations in list form. I’d love to hear from y’all about favorite anniversary celebrations you’ve had or any traditions you keep each year. Comment or drop me a note!

And to my sweet Wes: Happy one year, hubs. I love you more and more each day.

xoxo Laura

Internet Roundup: Photography Edition

Hey belles! If you’re wanting tips for maximizing the quality of your wedding and/or engagement photos, today’s Internet roundup post is for you! Here are the articles I’m loving lately:

1. 10 Things Your Photographer Wishes You’d Tell Them.

10 Things Your Wedding Photographer Wishes You'd Tell Them, via Loverly - Wedding Belles Blog

via Loverly

2. What to Wear to Your Engagement Shoot. Great tips!

What to Wear for Your Engagement Photos, via WeddingWire - Wedding Belles Blog

via WeddingWire

3. How to Make the Most of Your Engagement Photo Sesh. Including a tip for anyone who feels awkward just thinking about smooching on camera!

How to Make the Most of Your Engagement Photo Sesh, via Loverly - Wedding Belles Blog

via Loverly

xoxo Laura