Laura & Richard | Fredericksburg Wedding

Ya'll, this love story is one for the books, let me tell you. 

Let's start back at the beginning. I've known the Erwin family since I could barely walk. Our families grew up living in the same neighborhood, and when we started school, we all went to the local catholic school of Montfort Academy. Which is where the Moran family went too. We all grew up going to Montfort, until it closed down and Holy Cross Academy opened in its place. 

It was a well known fact that Mrs. Moran and Mrs. Erwin were BFFs. They were awesome and so much fun to have around as room moms, neighbors and role models. So many of my childhood memories involved these families. 

Unfortunately, Holy Cross Academy only goes until eight grade, so for high school we went our separate ways. And as most do at that age and forward, we made new friends; we had life experiences; we moved in different directions with our lives. But timing is certainly everything, and God has a funny way of revealing his plans.

With Facebook and living in Fredericksburg, I've been able to keep up with everyone. So when I first saw some photos of Richard and Laura emerge last year after all of these years later, I couldn't help but giggle a little bit with Mrs. Moran and Mrs. Erwin in mind. I mean, isn't it all of our dreams that we have kids around the same time as our friends, our kids grow up with our best friend's kids, and then they fall in love and get married?! Not to mention, reconnecting with a childhood friend years later only to find a spark?!

I kept watching photo after photo pop up on social media, and kept smiling and hoping that this was really something...and sure enough, it was. And here we are a year later and they're married! 

When Laura emailed me about doing her wedding invitations, I was ecstatic! And when we got to sit down and meet to chat about her vision, I was just so excited to be a small part of their beautiful and special day. She was interested in watercolor florals with a lot of soft pinks, so I was able to practice some of my floral skills and was so happy with how they turned out. The suite turned out so elegant and clean; and for florals, definitely on the simple side, which I love.

The gorgeous photos below are by Carley Rehberg Photography and they capture the day so well! I just love the contrast of that light pink and grey against the beautiful evergreen. And those ring shots!

So, Laura, thank you so much for letting me be a part of your special day! I am beyond happy for you and Richard and wish ya'll the absolute best! 

VENDORS

Photographer  |  Carley Rehberg Photography

Ceremony Venue  |  Saint Mary's Catholic Church

Reception Venue  |  Stevenson Ridge

Invitations & Watercolor Map  |  Twila & Co.

Dress  |  Ava Laurenne Bride

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My Fredericksburg Bachelorette Party

I bet you're totally surprised that I had my Bachelorette party in Fredericksburg, right?!

Honestly, I just couldn't think of a better place to have it. I LOVE Fredericksburg and I wanted the chance to show it off a little to all of my out of town friends. And between the amazing food, things to do and history, it definitely did not disappoint!

Thank Yous

Before I get into what we did, I just wanted to take a second to thank you. First, I want to thank my amazing sister and best friend Jeri for all of the planning and organizing she helped with, as well as two of my bridesmaids, Courtney & Whitney for their help as well. Without their help, this weekend would not have been so smooth and fun. I had a vision and they all made it happen! 

Second, I want to thank everyone who came out this weekend to celebrate with me. I continue to walk away from these wedding-related events just realizing how lucky I am to have such amazing people in my life. I had friends from High School, College, my Sorority, work, Fredericksburg, and even friends I knew in Elementary School that came. I am still riding the high of this weekend and how many people came to celebrate and have fun! It was everything I could have wanted and more and I only wish it hadn't gone by so quickly! So thank you to every person who was there this weekend; you made my weekend so incredibly special!

And last, but most certainly not least, thank you to the small businesses that made this weekend so incredible (I'll be talking about them later in the post!). Every business we used this weekend was a local biz that is special to Fredericksburg and it made me so happy to be able to give back a little bit to my community by having my Bachelorette here. And they did an incredible job taking care of us and made me look really good in front of my friends! hahaha

What We Did

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For the entire weekend, we rented out Braehead Manor, which is about 10 minutes from downtown. Mary, the innkeeper and one of my good friends, did the most incredible job all weekend. She had everything set up for us, was the best host and everyone felt right at home! I had a large group of over 15, so it was really nice to be able to all stay in one place together. It makes it much more fun! 

Friday we had a spa day at Skin Touch Therapy + Spa, which was incredibly relaxing. They did an amazing job scheduling 10 girls manis, pedis and massages flawlessly and everyone left feeling relaxed and ready for the weekend. They did such a good job that we finished right on time and were able to swing by everyone's favorite shop, Monkee's

 Kybecca Wine Bar

Kybecca Wine Bar

That evening, we scheduled a two course dinner with wine pairings at Kybecca Wine Bar.  Because we had 15+ ladies, we were able to reserve their wine cellar downstairs, which gave us some privacy. The food was delicious, the wine was perfect and we had a really enjoyable dinner that wasn't rushed or busy so we could enjoy each others company. And after dinner, we just had a pajama party at the manor with champagne and popsicles in wine glasses that I decorated.

 Ready for the wine tour!

Ready for the wine tour!

Saturday was a Wine Trolley Tour with the Trolley Tours of Fredericksburg! We didn't actually get to ride in a trolley, but we had a really nice bus that took us from place to place. Because of the large group, we only did three wineries. We started at Wilderness Run Vineyards, then stopped at Harvest Market to pick up some snacks, then to Lake Anna Winery and then a final stop at Mattaponi Winery.  It was the perfect afternoon and I had so much fun surrounded by some of my favorite people!

 Bride's Babes

Bride's Babes

And of course, we had matching T-shirts with the Fredericksburg Skyline. What else did you expect? I had 'Bride's Babes' on all of my friends shirts in the mint green; my shirt said 'Bride to Be;' my sister and maid of honor's said 'Babe of Honor;' my moms said 'She got it from her mama;' and Mrs. Pleban's said 'the O.G. Mrs. Pleban.' They were so much fun and I definitely have to make a point to get better photos taken of them because they are so stinkin' cute. 

By the time we got back to the Manor, the pizza was delivered for dinner and everyone ate and had free time to nap, relax or (as requested by some of my friends) visit the Popcorn Bag. It was just the recovery we needed before a night out on the town. 

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If you've ever seen The Wedding Date with Debra Messing & Dermot Mulroney, you'll understand my bar crawl theme...which was golf and you have to order a different drink at each bar. It was so cute in the movie, and even more fun in real life because we got to wear skorts, tennis shoes, and sports bras, making it cute and comfy to  be out on the dance floor all night. We started at Sky Bar, which is the new rooftop bar above Castiglia's, then moved to Jay's Sports Bar, then to the Bourbon Room for some dancing and finished up at Capital Ale House for some french fries before heading home...although a few girls went back to the Bourbon Room for a little more dancing. 

My biggest planning tip

Planning ahead and including all pricing for EVERYTHING. When I sent out the cost for the weekend to my friends, I included the hotel/manor (which included breakfast both days), the dinner at Kybecca (a preset menu & wine pairing including gluten free and vegetarian options), the trolley tour with t-shirts, pizza for dinner on Saturday and snacks and wine at the manor all weekend, as well as spa treatments pending what people wanted. I paid everything the week before the bachelorette, so when showed up for all of the activities everything was completely paid for including tax and tip. No splitting checks, no adding tip or tax, nothing. The only additional fee was if you wanted to purchase wine on the tour or drinks out on Saturday night. It literally took so much stress out of the entire weekend and I highly recommend it. Plus, people are budgets and money can be tight! If you can plan ahead how much you'll be spending, it makes it so much easier to account for. 

BEST WEEKEND EVER

This past weekend was seriously everything I could have ever wanted in a bachelorette. I had the BEST time ever, and am mostly just sad it's over. I already wanna do it all over again! Thank you so so much to everyone involved and for making my weekend so incredibly special!

THE SET-UP

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friday night

 Most of the Gang for Friday Night Dinner

Most of the Gang for Friday Night Dinner

 Me & Brittany

Me & Brittany

 Me & Jael

Me & Jael

 The CNU Crew

The CNU Crew

 Whitney, a Bridesmaid, myself, Jeri, my maid of honor, and Courtney, A Bridesmaid

Whitney, a Bridesmaid, myself, Jeri, my maid of honor, and Courtney, A Bridesmaid

 Kaley, Joe's Sister and a Bridesmaid

Kaley, Joe's Sister and a Bridesmaid

 Phi Mus

Phi Mus

 My High School Besties

My High School Besties

 Of course we had to add an order of oysters because they are the BEST!

Of course we had to add an order of oysters because they are the BEST!

 Everyone after Dinner at Kybecca

Everyone after Dinner at Kybecca

 Popsicles & Champagne

Popsicles & Champagne

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Wine Trolley Tour

 Because who doesn't hang out in a beautiful porcelain tub with balloons?!

Because who doesn't hang out in a beautiful porcelain tub with balloons?!

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 Wilderness Run Winery

Wilderness Run Winery

 My Future Sister-In-Law, me and My sister/Maid of Honor!

My Future Sister-In-Law, me and My sister/Maid of Honor!

 Celebrating two engagements in our family!

Celebrating two engagements in our family!

 Hanging with Pierre at Lake Anna Winery

Hanging with Pierre at Lake Anna Winery

 My Mom & Mrs. Pleban

My Mom & Mrs. Pleban

Golf Themed Bar Crawl

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 My Work Wife and My Work Bestie

My Work Wife and My Work Bestie

 High School Friends!

High School Friends!

Dog Food Allergies & the Clean Label Project

Mr. Grohl is on today's blog! I continually see a lot of people whose pups are having a hard time with their food and allergies. And we've been through a lot food wise with this little guy. When we first got him, he had allergies and itched all the time, and unfortunately, it didn't stop there due to what I was feeding him. So today's blog I'm talking about what we did to figure out what he was allergic to, and how we battled further stomach problems.

Read More

Floral Crown Workshop

Two weeks ago I took a {much needed} break to visit my work wife, Caitlin of Third Clover, and attend a Floral Crown Workshop in Maryland. It was so nice to get out of town a little bit and do something different yet still creative. Lately, I've been in a bit of a creative slump and I was having a really hard time pulling myself out of it, so doing something different was just what I needed!

It was a really cool event out at M&M Plants & Flower Garden. When we got there, they had a potluck and wine waiting, buckets and buckets of gorgeous flowers and all the fixins' to make a flower crown. 

To start out, we had some instruction on the basics of creating the crown and there were some awesome florists and floral designers there to help. Once you picked out your flowers, you just kind of went for it! I started with the basis of the crown part, basically a few pieces of metal wrapped in the green floral tape. Then I added in greenery to fluff the whole thing up, and the final step i took was adding in small bouquets of flowers all along the crown. Now, by no means did I do this 'right' but I think it turned out okay!

There were lots of different ways to do the crowns, wire, floral tape, floral glue, so it was nice to see how the different mediums work and how people used them (especially since I'm doing my own florals for the wedding).

I had a ton of fun getting to know some new lovely ladies that also work in the wedding industry, and of course spending lots of quality time with Caitlin. Supporting local vendors by attending their workshops is so much fun because not only am I helping them out, but I'm also learning something new! 

So if you're looking for something new and different to do, I would definitely check out your local area for a floral workshops, or maybe a cake class or calligraphy- even if you're nervous like I can get, it's totally worth it and so much fun! 

VENDORS INCLUDED

Petals by the shore

M&M Plants & Flower Garden 

Petal Patch Flower Farm

Belle Blooms Farm

Hidden Ridge

Rose Gold Events & Styling

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 the flower selection was amazing

the flower selection was amazing

 teaching us how to do it

teaching us how to do it

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Lasik Eye Surgery

So, little known fact about me, but I used to be legally blind.

While I had glasses most of my life, eight and a half years ago things took a drastic turn. I got pink eye, which turned into a corneal infection. It changed some of the chemistry in my eye as a contact lense wearer, and I suddenly found myself allergic to contacts. Every time I tried to use contacts, I would get another eye infection where I could barely open my eyes. On top of that, my eyes began to worsen quickly, and I ended up unable to wear contacts, legally blind, and in bifocals. I was unable to see far away and then had trouble reading too. It was awful. I had to wear thick glasses that were constantly changing, I formed astigmatisms in both eyes, and if I didn’t do something about it, I would have had to declare that I was legally blind at the DMV to put it on my license. No thanks. 

The first eye doctor I went to about my corneal infection was extremely rude and blamed it on me, yelling at me for not doing what I was supposed to, which when you can barely open your eyes and your eyes are in pain, is the absolutely last thing you want to hear. How was I supposed to know?

So I switched eye doctors, and found myself at Dr. Tom Falkenberg’s in Fredericksburg. They not only took great care of me, but treated me with compassion and helped me rather than blame me for the situation.

A few weeks after my eyes finally calmed down and I had thick, bifocal glasses to see, we decided my best course of action was Lasik eye surgery. I was definitely nervous, but more than anything, I was so ready for the whole ordeal to be over and for things to go back to normal.

So in April of 2010, I had the surgery.

I was nervous for sure, but they gave me a valium, and that calmed me down. If you’re not a fan of talking about eyeballs, don’t read this next paragraph, and skip down two.

After your valium kicks in and they numb your eyeballs, the cut the top layer of your eyes and peel back, then prop your eye lids open so you can’t close or blink. It’s not really painful, because you can’t feel anything but pressure and you’re just kind of uncomfortable. Then all you see is almost like a crystal ball of lightning strikes for less than 30 seconds, and it’s all over, and they do the other eye. The place that top layer back on your eye when they’re done.

Okay gross eyeball talk over.

When they were finished, my eyes were a little sore, but it wasn’t too bad. My mom drove me home. I slept for a couple of hours, and when I woke up it was like a miracle. Out of reflex, I went to pick up my glasses, but soon remembered I didn’t need them. I could see everything without them. It was the craziest thing.

Yes, it is true there’s almost a little cloud floating around you for a few days. Lights seem a little cloudier or have a bit of a halo around them, and it just kind of feels a little foggy, but it’s definitely not bad. Actually the way I saw the halos in the daylight the day after my surgery was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen through the trees. I sometimes wish I could see that again.

For about a month, you can’t rub your eyes. You have to sleep with an eye mask or goggles on so you don’t accidentally rub your eyes when you’re sleeping or waking up.

Other than that, it was pretty easy! I was seeing 20/20 and without fog or clouds three days after my surgery.

Yesterday marks 8 years since the surgery and I can still see 20/20! Sometimes at night I still have halos around lights, but it’s not bad at all. The surgery was 100% worth it. It’s already paid for itself in not having to buy contacts for 8 years. My vision has been steady, and I haven’t noticed any differences. I realize that with old age, I may need reading glasses one day, but for now, I don’t need glasses of any kind other a pair I wear on occasion to shield my eyes from staring at the computer screen too long.

I’ve seen a lot of posts on Facebook about people not sure if they should do the surgery or not. If you’ve thought about getting Lasik or are on the fence, I would highly recommend it. I know it's scary, I mean, it's your eyes! But it's absolutely worth it. And if you’re in Fredericksburg, I would definitely go to Seiht and Dr. Falkenberg as he did an amazing job.