Kaitlin & Aubrey | Braehead Manor Wedding

So remember Hurricane Florence? And how it came to Virginia like a crazy, and made weddings all over the state and east coast just awful with it’s wrath?! Well, you wouldn’t even be able to tell with these incredible photos.

With all of the bad forecasts and weather leading up to Kaitlin and Aubrey’s wedding, they surprisingly had a beautiful in its own way day and the photos are just spectacular. In my {humble} opinion, the grey sky actually just accents the moody, bold colors of their wedding. Those deep greens, reds and navy’s match that cool grey sky, probably almost better than a bright blue sunny sky would have.

Kaitlin and Aubrey are so awesome. I just love them together. They are so much fun, such goofballs and they always make me laugh. I had so much fun working with Kaitlin on these invitations, especially when it meant doing a watercolor of my favorite venue. The wedding is at my favorite spot, Braehead Manor, and Kelsey Rae Photography totally killed it!



Photography | Kelsey Rae Photography

Dress | Ava Laurenne Bride

Stationery | Twila & Co.

Makeup | Kaley Pleban

Hair | Alia Sirch

Catering | Pifer Bros BBQ 

Flowers | Kelsey Manuel 

Venue | Braehead Manor

Band | Cabin Creek

Wedding Rings | Aubrey’s - Ulmans, Kaitlin - Elaine B Jewelry

Dessert | Sugar Shack Donuts 

A Little More Wedding...

Well, I have a little more to show you from the wedding…aka, OUR WEDDING VIDEO IS HERE!

And oh my gosh, it’s incredible. Nic, Amanda and the rest of the NuGen Media team did a phenomenal job. I’ve watched this video too many times to count now and get teary eyed/cry every time. It doesn’t help that I’m really missing Joe I suppose.

And because we had the little snafu of the gunshots (apparently, the neighbor of the venue enjoys shooting their guns around the ceremony time, but I like to call it a 99 Gun Salute to our marriage), I’m sharing some of the readings from our ceremony. After watching the video back again, I remembered how amazing our officiant’s speech was, so I wanted to share it because I think it says so much about life.

If you’re like me, after reading the officiant’s message and the letter from my Grandma, you’ll savor each moment a little more, hug your family a little tighter, and kiss your loved one a little harder, because life is too short.

*Video is at the end of the blog.

Officiant’s Message

As I think back to having first met you two, I’m awed at how you have bloomed as a couple and how your lives as individuals have been enriched by the other. Over the years I have watched you two have the times of your lives together. I’ve seen you travel this earth together and I have been there to see you stand by each other and face all the ups and downs that life could throw at you. Just as you have been there with me and watched my own love story unfold. As you have been there to welcome our new baby boy. We’ve shared this life together. As I think back I will always remember the day you announced that you two were starting a family of your own, as you snuck a tiny fur baby named Grohl into my bar. Look at him now. Look at us now. Our families bigger, Grohl much much bigger and our lives even richer. When I think back to all the time we’ve shared, I’m blown away at how fast it all happens. As I held my son and thought about just how fast this day too, will go so fast,  I had this thought…

As we grow older, we measure time in a different way than when we are a child.

For a child, an hour or a day seems an eternity

As we get older we begin to measure time in months… then years

And we begin to understand that they move quite rapidly

There comes a time in your life when you begin to measure time in terms of decades

And when you look back upon them

You realize that your time upon this earth is very short

And so each moment that you’re given on this earth

Is a time to celebrate.

A letter from my Grandma

When Johnna was born – she was the very first grandchild on my side of the family & she had a very special place in my mother’s heart. Before she passed away – she gifted Johnna with a Memory Book and while she prayed that she could dance at Johnna’s wedding that just wasn’t meant to be. So today – I’d like to read an excerpt from that Memory Book and invite her to join us on this special day:

In order for me to become a Gramma, of course I had to be a ‘mama’ first. I’ve always considered myself very blessed to have had six children. They and Papa Jere were my life. Those years were so busy but so much fun too – watching everyone grow and blossom into ‘real people.’ Sometimes you’re asked the question, if you could go back in years, would you do things differently. If I would ever have that chance (you don’t but lets pretend), the only thing I would change is how I spent my time. I would have spent more time with all my children and not be as concerned about how clean the house should be. Time is all we have and it goes by much too quickly and children grow up and leave home and there’s plenty of time to chase dust balls and cobwebs.

My wish for the future is your good health, happiness, and a contentment in who you are. Enjoy life’s experiences as they come along – there’s something to be learned from all of them. I wish for you a wonderful life. I love you.

Gramma P.

Our Vows

I promise to be faithful to you, honest with you, patient with you and to trust, respect and protect you.

I promise to hold your hand and always take care of you, through one foot or two

I promise to be there when our love is simple and easy but also when its challenging and hard?

I promise to be the strongest supporter of your dreams, your biggest fan, and to always help you stand back up if you fall down

I promise to grow with you and encourage you to be a better person because you bring out the best in me

I promise to challenge you, laugh with you, leap with you, be your refuge and follow you to the ends of the earth

I promise to be your home, your partner, your soulmate and your best friend

I promise to update our vows as we grow because one set of vows cant possibly cover a lifetime of growing and changing together

I promise to love you with everything I have and to continue falling more and more in love with you every day

You are the family you both get to choose. Do you promise to go on choosing one another from this day forward through all of the uncertainties of the future.

Our Wedding

Wow, what a whirlwind the past month or so has been. Everything has been moving so far, that it’s taken me a while just to wrap my head around everything.

So today’s blog is just going to focus on the wedding! I’m SO excited to finally share these photos with ya’ll. I’ve had the gallery from Hope for longer than I’d like to admit, and things have finally calmed down enough and I have showed them to our families, so I feel like I can show you too!

Not to mention, it’s been exactly ONE MONTH since our wedding, and this is my way of celebrating one month of wedded bliss…or something like that hahaha. I’ll be real- between a very…interesting (trying to stay positive here) honeymoon and Joe still being on crutches, we haven’t had the easiest first month of marriage. However, I’m married to my best friend and we’ve been through worse, so this is just another chapter in our book.

Back to the wedding.

You know all of those girls who plan their weddings and then want to be wedding planners afterwards so they can do it again and again and again?

I am NOT one of those girls. I never want to plan another wedding (or an event to that caliber) again (and obviously, I won’t have to haha!). As most past bride’s know, it doesn’t matter how hard you plan or how much you organize, theory and thought isn’t the same as what happens on the actual day. Rather than going through all of the details that went wrong or focusing on the bad, I’m at a much better place where I’m able to look back and enjoy the positives. Enjoy the moments with my family and friends that I will cherish forever.

Obviously, I learned a lot during this entire process, and that’s a conversation for another time, but here are some of my best and worst decisions.

I’ll start with the worst. It’s no secret that Joe and I have lived together for a long time. Actually, the entire time we’ve been dating because we were roommates already when we started dating, and then he had his amputation, and it just made sense. Anyways, I thought that it might be nice for me to go stay with my parents the week before the wedding to…I don’t know, make the wedding night and honeymoon more special? Get some separation before the wedding? Quite honestly, I don’t know what I was thinking because it was a TERRIBLE IDEA. Seriously. It made me so much more anxious and stressed out not being able to see Joe regularly. And same for him! We hated it! So much so, that Joe ended up coming to stay at my parents with me for a few nights that week because it was so terrible. The thing is: wedding planning is hard. To me, it was not fun. And the stress it was causing me while also not being able to sleep in my own bed and be in somewhat of my own routine, it made me even more stressed out. Do anything you can to make yourself the least stressed possible.

The best decision of this whole wedding thing we made, other than getting married to begin with, was to get married before the actual day. Joe and I technically got married at the Fredericksburg City Hall on the Tuesday before the wedding. According to the law of the Commonwealth of Virginia, an officiant has to go through an expensive process to become an officiant, and to avoid that but to still have one of our favorite people ever officiate our wedding, we decided to get married ahead of time.

So the Tuesday before the wedding, I married Joe in my favorite blue jean romper at City Hall by Santa Clause (I’m not even kidding, but that’s another story). It was just the two of us, goofing off and being together. So why was this our best decision ever? Because after that, nothing else mattered! We were already married and that’s all we wanted out of this whole thing. It made me much more calm on the day of, I didn’t focus on all of the little things going on around me, and I was able to enjoy the day with the people I care about most in the world.

Joe and I did a first look as well, which for me was also another amazing decision. If you’re not sure about doing a first look or not, not sure if it takes away from walking down the aisle, or lessens the ceremony, here’s what I’ll tell you: it took all of nerves away. All day I had been pretty anxious, a relaxed anxious, but what bride isn’t anxious?! As soon as I saw Joe and we were together, nothing else mattered. Once we got the first look over with, we were able to hang out the rest of the afternoon, goof off and just be us! It was amazing. We got to talk all about our days getting ready, and catch up and talk about how nervous we had been and how nervous we weren’t anymore. It was just us being….us. A chance we wouldn’t have had if we hadn’t done the first look. And when I walked down that aisle, it didn’t make a difference at all. I was still just as excited and still had the biggest grin on my face and shed a few tears, and so did Joe, and the moment was incredible.

Well, I’ve already written a novel, and thank you if you’re still here reading. Obviously, these are only highlights for our crazy, amazing, memorable wedding, and maybe one day I’ll share more of some o the behind the scenes, but for now, I’m just enjoying these gorgeous photos of my handsome groom, the best bridal party, and the most amazing friends and family a girl could ask for.


Invitations/Signage/Details |  TWILA & CO. 

Florals/Decor/Lighting | Christina Moore of BELLA GIORNATA EVENTS 


Planner | Emily Ritchey, SCARLETT GRAY EVENTS 


Bride’s Gown Retailer |  AVA LAURENNE 

Bride’s Gown Designed by Jeri Hetrick & Johnna Hetrick with Shannon Thorpe of Mackenzie Clare


Shoes | Custom Designed by Johnna with ELLIE WREN SHOES

Ceremony Musicians | Sam & Rachel Wagner






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! 


Photographer  |  Carley Rehberg Photography

Ceremony Venue  |  Saint Mary's Catholic Church

Reception Venue  |  Stevenson Ridge

Invitations & Watercolor Map  |  Twila & Co.

Dress  |  Ava Laurenne Bride


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


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. 


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. 


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!



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


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?!

 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

 My Work Wife and My Work Bestie

My Work Wife and My Work Bestie

 High School Friends!

High School Friends!