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!!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Taylor Plans a Wedding: The Main Characters

Well, let's get this party started, shall we?

I thought it would be fun to give a little back story on how Zach and I met...

It all started my freshman year of college, when I was in the Pride of the Southland Marching Band, and I met one of my best friends, Krislyn Harrington. 
The lovely Miss Krislyn on the left!

We hit it off almost instantly and became quick friends.  Our sophomore year, we became roommates and remained so for the remainder of our undergraduate careers at UT.  Over the years, Krislyn mentioned several times her friend "Zach" from high school and told me many things about him.  I always listened with some interest but I never had a face to put a name with, and after Krislyn invited him to visit several times, and he never came, I just about gave up on ever meeting him.

So imagine my surprise when he FINALLY agreed to visit for Krislyn's 21st birthday.  He came to see Krislyn, although his intentions for visiting included our other new roommate.  I was seeing someone else, so timing just wasn't right.  Nevertheless, we enjoyed meeting each other and became friends.  

I guess Zach enjoyed his time at Krislyn's birthday because soon after my relationship ended, Zach came back to visit us (and it didn't take 3 years!).  Krislyn had to babysit all weekend, so I was stuck entertaining Zach.  We ended up really hitting it off, and something just... "clicked."  I texted my mom after he left and said, "I think I've just met my husband." 

Little did I know how right I was.

A couple years later, here we are!  I am in dental school...

And Zach is in physical therapy school! (Apparently the guys don't take pictures in PT school ;) )

Here we are on our trip to Washington, D.C....
And here we are at the College of Dentistry's GV Black Formal!

Zach is caring, trustworthy, compassionate, filled with love for God, giving, and a selfless man.  He is my very best friend in the world, and I can't wait to marry him!

Stay tuned for more!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Just Engaged!

February 25, 2012 was magical, y'all.

We started out a fun-filled day with our friend, Ken Busby, who told us that he wanted to take pictures to build his portfolio. 
 We took pictures in Overton Park...

Acted like fools (typical us)...

Then, Ken took us to the roof of the Claridge House, right at sunset.  It was a GORGEOUS view.

Then Zach started whispering....and I was confused. "You know how much I love you, right?" "Yeah..."  And he continued on with the sweetest speech, I'd ever heard...

And then he dropped to one knee and asked me to spend the rest of my life with him!

It was the happiest moment of my life. - T
The day went off without a hitch.  I had never been so happy.  Perfect day.  Perfect woman.  -Z

Afterwards, we went to the Majestic Grille to have a surprise dinner with our families. Zach's parents brought me a beautiful bouquet of roses, clasped with a brooch from his sister, Allison.  And Zach's mother, Lynne, had a beautiful silver jewelry bowl that was Zach's grandmother's engraved with my new monogram.  And after that....
He took me to a surprise engagement party with all my friends!!! It seems I was the last to know!

Dana Lipskis made this incredible gluten-free cake for the occasion. Thanks so much to Barrett and Michelle for hosting and to everyone who came out to support us!!!!  We felt SO loved.  Thanks for making it the best night of my life!