Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Wedding Day Photography!!!!!!!!

I have to admit.... several times today, I randomly burst out in song and dance and then pinched myself to see if it was all a dream.  Y'all.  Today, God answered our prayers.  

You see, on April 24th, I prayed for a long, long time.  In particular, I was worrying over how on EARTH we were going to plan the wedding I had always envisioned with the budget we have.  Yes, it is possible.  But I knew I couldn't do it without God's help and guidance.  Lots of budgeting and searching are going to have to be done!  So I prayed.  I prayed for help and guidance.  I prayed for the Lord to guide me to find ways to save money and to find peace from the stressful situation that can be wedding planning.
The next day I looked at my favorite wedding blog, Southern Weddings, and they had announced a giveaway.  Now, this isn't unusual for this group of gals, but this was bigger. Much Bigger.  It was a giveaway for free wedding day photography!! Not only was this just some photographer...Maile Lani is the BEST I have seen. My heart skipped a beat as I read the details.  This wasn't some random number drawing.  It was essentially an essay contest.  There was actually something I could do to better my chance of winning!!! God gave me just exactly what I wanted.  He gave me guidance and led me straight to a way to save money with the wedding.

So even though I had finals coming up, I poured myself over the application for the giveaway.  From this, the girls at SW were to pick 3 finalists for people to vote on.  I described my wedding to the best of my ability and clicked send.  I waited for about a month, and then started to get that feeling like I needed to go ahead and start contacting wedding photographers.  Later on that day, I was pulling into work and as I sat in the car, I checked my email.  I saw that I had an email titled "Maile Lani Photography Finalist".....what? WHAT?! I was a FINALIST!!!!! Immediately, I ran into the office and printed off copies of the URL for friends to vote and passed them out.  I encouraged the office to vote. I hopped around my boss's office until he voted. I harassed my friends on facebook.  My mom got all her friends to vote at the hospital.  She emailed her church.  I emailed my church.  We worked and worked and worked to get people to vote for two LONG weeks.  Votes added up.  It was a real race with another couple, but we persevered. The voting closed, and we waited.

Friday went by....

Saturday went by...

Sunday, Monday, Tuesday.... went by....

Today I looked again in my car, right as I went into the office.  I nearly dropped my teeth!! (har har)
OHMYGOODNESS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! UNBELIEVABLE!!!!!!! I cried. I gasped for air.  I ran around the office screaming and acting a fool (see above).  Please, please, PLEASE check out Maile Lani's amazing photography!!!! All of the pictures in this post belong to her.  She is incredible!
Thank you SO much to everyone who voted for me and Zach.  Thank you Maile Lani for having this giveaway - we cannot wait to meet you!  Thank you Southern Weddings for being such gracious hosts as I emailed y'all with annoying questions!  We are beyond blessed to have such incredible, faithful, loyal, loving friends and family. Most importantly, thank you God! 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Sweet Tea Society

Today, my favorite wedding blog, Southern Weddings, announced their "Sweet Tea Society", to which I proudly joined!  Check it out:

In short, no matter how much planning, no matter how much preparation, it is the marriage that matters more than the wedding.  Of course it deserves a huge celebration, but it's the declaration of love and commitment before God and family that matters most.

It's saying "Yes!" to forever.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Let's start talking decor...

Finally finished with finals (how's that for alliteration, Krislyn?), and it feels so good to be halfway through dental school.  Now, who wants to be my first patient? While I'm waiting for someone (anyone?!) to muster up some courage, let's start talking decor...

Inside the barn, or outside, or both... Zach and I want a lounge area for the guests to take a load off.  I love this concept because instead of having to go back to a place where the guests have just eaten a large meal, they have the option to take their drinks and mingle elsewhere, away from the piled up plates and away from the music.  After I decided about creating this space, I started seeing incredible burlap accent pillows like these...

Can't wait to make something like this happen!! I know that I could find these on etsy...wish I knew how to sew!

Now that I'm home for the summer, I've got two goals in mind to complete before August.
1) Find and Book a Photographer
2) Start looking for a wedding dress (and hopefully purchase!)

I'd like to get more than that done, but we will see!  Mom has already taken off work the weekend of June 23 (a year before actual wedding day!), so we can hit the ground running, and maybe we can swing by Heartwood Hall to see it in all it's June glory!

Now, to leave you with these little gems: 

Zach surprised me with these monogrammed mugs from Anthropologie! A year ago, I bought him the "Z" mug as a little "happy" when I was in Chicago.  I can't wait to incorporate them into the reception.  I can definitely see them on a table like this!

Monday, April 16, 2012

T&Z Plan a Wedding: Colors

I've been failing on updating about wedding planning.  Truth be told, after the marathon of wedding planning that was spring break, I've been on a little hiatus! 

For the past month, I have been drooling (literally...pain control lab... shout out to Nauzie for a great job numbing my face) over color schemes.  Looking at my blog...what would you think I have in mind?  I'll give you one guess.......


I love it. It's beautiful, elegant, and the yellow gives that fantastic pop of color.  Who wants to wear black in the middle of June in the South anyway? Not anyone I know!  Let's look at some inspiration for the big day...

Bows... Peep-toe...something like this is a real possibility!
Gorgeous!!! I love the different styles on the girls and the darling yellow pumps!
milk glass milk glass milk glass!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 
It's a look I love, and what's even more fun is searching for pieces.  My mom has already found a beautiful milk glass cake platter for the reception! 
Dad and I went estate sale hunting this past weekend.  We got there right as the doors opened, but we had to wait 30 minutes to go in.  Right as I made my way for the kitchen, I saw a girl walking out with a box FULL of milk glass.  Lo and behold, that was every bit of it in the house...drat.

       I adore the grey dresses with the yellow flowers.... probably won't have grey satin or anything like it wrapped around the flowers.  I'm thinking more along the lines of yellow gingham!
       This picture tickles me pink!  It not only has the colors I love, but I feel like it incorporates my love of milk glass with some of my parents' passions.  My dad is a pharmacist and collects old apothecary bottles and antiques, and my mom has a love for all things paper goods! Isn't this just perfect?

        What do you think for a June wedding?     

Monday, April 2, 2012

Cinnamon Streusel Muffins

One of the best gifts Zach ever gave me was a subscription to Southern Living magazine.  As a result, he gets lots of yummy treats - and they never disappoint!  I love to bake.  LOVE it.  It is a wonderful stress reliever for me.  Unfortunately, since I don't eat gluten, I rarely get to enjoy the baked goods.  This time around, the church worship band members were my guinea pigs.... I don't think they minded too much!

Cinnamon Streusel Muffins
Muffin Batter:
4 cups all-purpose baking mix (I used Bisquick!)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2/3 cup chunky cinnamon applesauce
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs

Cinnamon Streusel Topping: 
1/3 cup granulated sugar  
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar 
3 tablespoons all-purpose baking mix 
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
2 tablespoons butter, melted 
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Whisk together the baking mix, granulated sugar, and cinnamon, and make a well in the mixture.
Next, whisk together the applesauce, milk, oil, and eggs and slowly mix into the dry mixture above until just moistened.  It will make a VERY thick batter.
What I wouldn't give for a Kitchen Aid mixer!
Now for the topping.  Simply mix all of the ingredients together until crumbly!  I added granulated sugar until it had the right consistency. It was ~ 1/8 cup more sugar.
Line your muffin pan with paper liners and fill each cup almost all the way with batter! This will give you big, beautiful muffin tops (hehe!).  Crumble your streusel topping on top of each muffin, gently patting into the batter so it sticks.
 Bake at 400° for 18 to 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean and tops are golden brown. Cool in pan on a wire rack 5 minutes. Remove from pan to a wire rack to let cool!
Gorgeous! Someone told me they looked store-bought.  I'll take it as a compliment! Don't think you can eat all these muffins (12) before they go stale?  They freeze well for up to a month!  Enjoy, y'all!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Venue Hunt

For about a year now, I have had a vision.

Rustic.  Country.  Vintage.  Southern.

Two things are for certain...
I want an outdoor ceremony and a reception in a barn

Ah...the simplicity of nature!

Last week was Spring Break.  Zach and I had a few (major!) goals in mind:
1. Announce our bridal party (more to come!)
2. Ask our pastor to be our officiant (He said, "Yes!")
3. Get started on the guest list.

Ambitious weren't we? Midweek I thought, there is NO way we're going to get this done. No. Way.  

Mom, Z, and I traveled to Memphis from my hometown of Dyersburg hopeful, bright-eyed, and excited to begin the journey towards finding the venue.  We left Memphis drained, worried, and stressed.  Venues were costing more than anticipated, some were strictly concerned with running a business, hidden fees were popping out of everywhere, and my vision seemed to be less and less likely to happen.  Eventually, we decided to look outside of the West TN venues and look into Nashville venues.  Lots of options, but again, not the perfect fit.

Not to say that some of these weren't some wonderful venues! If you get a chance check them out: Savannah Woods Plantation, Bonne Terre, Legacy Farms, Front Porch Farms, and the Crown Winery.

HOWEVER! All of the stress, blood, sweat, and tears were totally and completely worth it because.... 

I found my dream venue!!!

Introducing the gorgeous, historic cotton plantation that is Heartwood Hall.   It dates back before the Civil War.  The original builder of this home built two identical mansions for his two daughters. Heartwood's twin was burned down during the war, but HH was used as a hospital for the Union Army, so it was spared (and boy, am I glad it was!).

 Photo by Starlife Studios
Photo by Snap Happy
The incredible ceremony site... I just love the antique doors leading out to the atrium and four seasons garden!  It still gives the same effect of opening the doors to a chapel!

And...drum roll please...
Photo by Amanda Hill

It's going to be perfect!! I'm beyond thrilled to know my dream wedding is going to be a reality!  Could I be any more blessed? I think not!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Key Lime Truffles

Ohmygosh, y'all.  These will put a smile on anyone's face!

 Everyone has had Oreo balls or cake balls around Christmas time.  But who says that we can only make these little delights around the holidays?  This recipe will awaken your taste buds and get them ready for warmer weather - have you dreaming of key lime pie in The Keys and the ocean breeze in your hair.

Key Lime Truffles 
1 batch of sugar cookie dough (You can use any recipe you like!)
1 1/2 packages of cream cheese (12 ounces)
1 package vanilla candy coating
Zest and Juice of 1 large lemon and 1 large lime
Colored sprinkles or coarse sugar, for garnish 

Preheat the oven for 350*.  Prepare your sugar cookie dough and add in the zest and juice of one lemon and one lime.  I recommend juicing your lemon and lime over another bowl before adding it to the sugar cookie dough, so that you can easily remove unwanted seeds! Mix well, and spread into a greased 9 x 9 dish.  Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the edges are slightly golden.  You definitely do not want burnt bits so watch carefully!

Once done baking, set out to completely cool.  To speed up the process, I scooped the cookie out into a mixing bowl, crumbled the pieces, and placed in the freezer for 30 minutes or so until the cookie bits were no longer warm.
Once sufficiently cooled, add the cream cheese and mix well! Then roll into 1" - 1.5 " balls.  Refrigerate for at least an hour.
Once chilled and firm, melt your candy coating in the microwave until warm and smooth.  Dip each ball into the coating, roll around until fully covered, remove with a tooth pick and place on wax paper.  Garnish with sprinkles while still slightly wet! 
And that's it!!
Don't waste another moment  - they're too easy and really make a statement!
Happy Birthday to my future mother-in-law, Lynne!!