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Guest Post | Wedding Planning Tips From a Real Bride

Hello Darlings!

I can't believe I was able to contain my excitement while I kept this guest post collaboration on the DL (down-low) for all this time. Many of you know that I am a food enthusiast and by that I mean that I think about it all the time and so it is normal and appropriate  that I gravitated towards great food bloggers like "Cake Over Steak" and "Will Frolic For Food".  Besides being extremely talented, they are also engaged and soon to be married. Through twitter "venting" chats about the stress and joys of planning a wedding, we decided to combine their best tips in one post to help all other beautiful brides planning their bash. Today, meet the talented Sara who offered to make this amazing illustration especially for this 2 part series which I am so happy to feature on my blog

Hello! This is Sara from the illustrated food blog Cake Over Steak. In about two months I will be marrying a man that is so perfect for me that I didn't even imagine such a person could exist. (He is also the photographer behind my blog - he makes it prettier for me.) The wedding planning process has been quite a journey for us, so I'm very excited to be sharing some of my lessons that I have learned so far with you! 

♥ As an artist, I can be very sensitive to color, so I felt like I couldn't focus on any of the decoration details for my wedding until we had settled on a color palette. Neither of us were too sure of what we wanted, so we went to the hardware store to browse the paint section. In that setting we were able to hold up colors next to each other and look at slightly different versions very easily. We were still struggling with what direction we wanted to go in, so we ended up getting inspiration from one of those pamphlets that suggests color palettes for various rooms of the house. We fell in love with an image of a bedroom that had mostly white furniture with lots of teal and some gold accents; it felt romantic, serene and classy - it was perfect. We based our color palette off of that image, and grabbed a handful of paint swatches for each color we chose. We used those to help pick out the bridesmaid dresses, save the dates and invitations, linens for our tables, and suits and ties for the groomsmen, I sent a set to my florist, and I kept them in mind while designing my wedding dress. It was helpful to have physical objects in our colors to stash in my purse (I kept a set in there at all times so I would always be prepared) and place directly on top of fabric swatches we were considering, etc. It was a lifesaver!

 Now onto my favorite part of the planning process (other than designing my dress) - cake tasting. We planned all of our cake tastings for the same day, mainly because we were at the location for the weekend, which is 4.5 hours away from where we live, so we had to knock them all out at once. It sounds like a lot of cake (which it was, not that I'm complaining), but it made it very easy for us to compare them and make a decision, so it is something I would recommend if you can set it up that way. Furthermore, I know that some bakeries only offer a specific handful of cakes to choose from, but if you fall in love with a baker that will make whatever kind of cake you want, don't be afraid to pick them even if you didn't absolutely love one of the tester cakes you tried from them. We loved a flavor combination at one bakery, but ended up choosing another baker because we thought her cakes were the best quality overall, and we felt very comfortable with her - she was a "good fit." We just asked her to make a cake with the same flavors as the one we tried from the other bakery. This past weekend we met up with her to taste a sample version of the cake she is making for us, and we could not be happier with our decision. So just remember to keep the whole experience in mind when choosing your vendors. 

♥ And that brings me to the cake topper. If you're not looking for the traditional bride and groom cake topper, don't limit yourself to just searching for "cake topper" when you are browsing Pinterest or Etsy, etc. We found that items with "cake topper" in the description had much higher prices than similar items that were not labeled as a "cake topper." Since we were looking for something like a cute animal cake topper, we started searching for things like "figurine" on various web sites. We even considered DIY-ing something like this. (Initial and word-based cake toppers can also be extremely easy and affordable to DIY.) A couple weeks ago we found some little fabric birds at Michael's that we are really pleased with, and we spent a whopping $12 instead of upwards of $50-$100 for a "cake topper." Don't be afraid to get creative! You could end up with something you love even more because you made it yourself or found it on an internet treasure hunt.

I hope these tips can make your wedding planning go a little more smoothly. 

Tomorrow be sure to read part 2 with tips from food blogger Renee over at Frolic



1 year of marriage | Some of what I learned

Hello Darlings!

I am the first one to admit that it is actually funny that my husband and I celebrated 1 year of marriage this Sunday, because to be honest, I was never the "have all your wedding planned out from childhood" kind of person. As a matter of fact, I ran from the idea and also from any conversation in which any of my mom's friends would try to marry off with their sons or other family member.
Being the free-spirit, independent and quirky person that I am, I honestly feel blessed and privileged to have met such an amazing (custom-made like I like to say) man to do life with. Later this week I will share our trip pictures, because I have probably just found one of my favorite spots on this Island, until than check out my Instagram for some snaps.
Here are some of the things I learned about love in this first year of marriage:

CHANGE. Yes, everyone said life was going to change but no one could predict that it would change this much for me. The change of last name is really the smallest change, considering that I moved to a tropical Island, I'm still in a transitional career path, I had to make new friends, learn new streets, find a new favorite coffee shop, etc As a result I see how I have grown, changed and adapted. Love does indeed change all of us and it is not always a bad thing. 

PROVISION. Many of our friends, that have been married for a little longer, often share stories of how broke they were when they started their own family but how happy they were. I am not sure if we had more or less than what they had when they started but in this year more than ever I have seen how we were miraculously able to pull from where we knew there was nothing to begin with. I can probably write a book sharing bizarre stories of how oil, detergent, garbage bags and other things have multiplied over the year and lasted us for an abnormal period of time.

BATHROOM SCHEDULES. Yes, love requires a bathroom schedule when sharing a tiny one. 

SHARE. When my husband shares his food, I've had to train myself to return the favor so we can both benefit from trying new food. You may not believe it but I just recently started doing it. I would get to the end of my plate and just forget to ask and he would just be waiting for me to offer (I am telling you, I married so well). Rest assured that I've gotten better. 

HABITS DON'T DIE. Yeah, no matter how optimistic we both were and still are about breaking certain habits, I am learning to accept that certain things just won't change. That my husband will always try to drink coke behind my back, will always change radio stations right in the middle of a great jam or eat my delicious left overs that I am secretly keeping to eat when he leaves so I can enjoy it over a chick flick all by myself.

VIDEO GAMES, SPORTS AND FAVORITE BLANKET are my husbands second wife and will always be my worst competition. 

BE THE FIRST. I have learned that it doesn't matter who apologizes first as long as we both strive to be the first one to do it. Humility and dying to our ego are defenitly not popular virtues in our society but I have seen how we are both winners when we both lose our pride. 

DATES AND DATE ATTIRE MATTERS. Working from home has slowly turned me into a "hobo" and I recently looked at my pajamas (uniform) that I never took off that day and wondered how I had spiraled down this low. So now, on dates, I have decided to not allow myself to look like a hot mess. I take a nice shower, put lipstick, try a new braided Pinterest hairstyle and dress cute for me (and my dignity) and obviously for "le hubby" as well. We have this habit in which he gets dressed in the next room, that way when we are ready, smelling good we come out and surprise one another. Like "oh hey gorgeous!"

We go out, turn off our cell phones (yeah right! we just stop using them), talk, laugh and explore new spots around this beautiful island that usually involve coffee, music, and great food among many other things. You can see some of our adventures here. I always took dates for granted until life started getting in the way and realized that it had to become non negotiable and it is. 
FUN. I knew it would be great to finally be together in the same location with my husband, but I never anticipated that I would laugh and constantly smile this much. My husband has a great sense of humor and even when we are tired and really busy he finds a way to make me laugh.

These pictures are part 1 of our little celebratory one year anniversary photo shoot, done by our amazing friend Valeria.

"Every good thing I have comes from you" (Psalm 16:2)