Leigh Ann & Ben | 718 Venue Wedding

This snowy, wintry day calls for a warm winter wedding full of emerald greens, faux furs, and greenery, don’t you think?

Back in December, I got an email from Meg Flores of Happy To Be Events about an urgent wedding request due to a family emergency. I was in Colorado at the time, but after hearing their story, I immediately knew I had to hep however I could.

You see, Leigh Ann’s father didn’t have a lot of time left. He was passing away from terminal brain cancer. Leigh Ann and Ben wanted to get married before he passed. Meg did an incredible job of planning this small wedding/elopement in just SIX DAYS. And let me tell you, these photos don’t look like it was planned in less than a week. They are gorgeous.

Meg and Leigh Ann just wanted one invitation. Something that matched the wedding and wouldn’t take too long to design or update. So I sent them over a few options of already designed pieces that we could just update with their information. The tricky part here was that I was in Colorado and not in Virginia. But after a few phone calls and emails to Meg to walk her through printing one sheet of invitations on her own, I’d say she pulled it off completely! She truly worked some magic for this entire wedding.

I was so honored to be just a small part of this beautiful wedding that was full of so much love.

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Vendor List

Coordination, Planning, and Styling: Happy to Be Events

Ceremony Venue: 718 Venue

Photography and Videography: Rowlands Photography 

Restaurant: Castiglia's Restaurant

Designer: Vagabond Co

Florist: Blushing Blooms

Bakery: Kadi Bakes

Stationer: Twila and Co

Rentals: Something Vintage

Makeup: Glamper Salon

Bridal Furs: Bash Boutique

Gown and Veil: Ava Laurenne

Alterations: C-talents

Jewelry: Fredericksburg Jewelers

Decor Elements: Fraser Wood Elements

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!

Enjoy!

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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.


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!

Wedding Hair Routine

Well, I won't lie: one of my favorite things about myself is my hair. Definitely not every day, there are plenty of days where it's up in a top bun because it just can't seem to handle itself, but I truly do love it. 

And I basically have two sets of hair: the hair that I straighten and give big curls/waves, and my natural curly hair. And there's a lot that goes into both styles and also keeping it healthy, growing strong, and style-able (is that a word? I'm not sure, but hopefully you understand what I mean). My natural hair is very thick, curly mess. So  when I want it straight, it takes time to tame it by blow drying, curling, etc. Needless to say, my hair goes through a lot. And if I didn't take care of it, it would be super dead, harsh and hay-ish, but thanks to these amazing products, it stays healthy, soft, and keeps its ability to be styled, which is especially important when you're getting ready to get married! 

straight with waves

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curly

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Here's my routine

I take one hair, skin & nail vitamin every day.

I wash my hair ever 5-7 days. I realize this may not be normal for everyone, but it's what works best for my hair. Only you know what's best for your hair type and how different products effect your hair. 

When I shower, I have a routine. I shampoo my hair first thing, not leaving my shampoo in too long and focusing on the roots.  Then I put in the first conditioner (Sake Bomb) and focus on the ends and let it sit while I wash my face. I wash a majority of the sake bomb conditioner out, but leave a little in, and I then use the Oi Conditioner (again focusing on the ends). I throw my hair in a bun and leave it in while I shave, use body wash, and do anything else I need to do so that the conditioner can really sit in my hair for the appropriate amount of time. And that's it! 

I usually leave my hair down on Days 1 and 2. Day 3 it's usually styled up for a styling break.

After Day 3, I use dry shampoo and that is what really helps make my wash last so long. 

Day 4 and 5, I can usually leave my hair down again, and style it. Days 6 and 7, it usually goes back up in a bun or another style. 


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It Works! Hair Skin & Nails

I know, I know. It's one of those direct sales companies. I get it. But I swear by this stuff. My nails grow longer without breaking, my skin glows, and my hair won't stop growing. These vitamins are amazing and if you have trouble keeping nice nails or growing your hair, I highly recommend this product. 


FOR STRAIGHT HAIR

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Sake Bomb Nourishing Shampoo

I love this shampoo and the below conditioner because they keep my hair soft and prep it to be styled. I notice a huge difference when I use this before I blow dry my hair versus when I don't. It's great for nourishing your hair, making it less frizzy and overall control for styling. 


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SAKE BOMB NOURISHING CONDITIONER

Pretty much the same as the shampoo above, just the conditioner. I definitely recommend using these products together for the best results. 


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OI CONDITIONER

This stuff smells SO FREAKIN' GOOD. It's my favorite. Whenever I use it and blow dry my hair, I feel like I just got out of the salon. It's also super nourishing and helps strengthen and soften your hair. And yes, I do condition my hair twice every time I wash it! I notice a huge difference and my hair stays so much soften 


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SUN BUM LIGHTENING SPRAY 

I know, I know. This stuff reminds me of the 90s when we used to put lemon in our hair. Well, this stuff is awesome. My hair naturally lightens in the sun, and I spend a lot of time outside in the summer, so this is just a way to control the lightening a little more and give it that beautiful gold color. I use this after every wash, regardless of if I'm going to be outside or not. It's not like it's going to give you crazy blond streaks, it literally just lightens and brings out your natural blonde in the perfect way. 


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Tresemme Volumizing Dry Shampoo

I don't know what I would do without this stuff. It's amazing. I've tried a lot of dry shampoos and this is by far my favorite (not to mention the price is perfect). It works both as a dry shampoo and a volumizer for the top of your head. I almost feel like my hair looks better on days 4 and 5 than on days 1 and 2, because the roots get such a good volume going. 


for wavy or curly hair


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Nourishing Coconut Milk Shampoo & Conditioner

When it's summertime, I LOVE all beachy smells. Especially coconut. This stuff smells amazing and makes my hair feel silky smooth! 


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Beach Babe Butter Masque

And to really enhance the shampoo and conditioner and give my hair a deep moisturizer, this butter masque is amazing. 


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Beach Babe Sea Salt TEXTURE sPRAY

As soon as I get out of the water at the beach or lake or even just the shower, I towel dry my hair and then spray a mix of this beach babe sea salt texture spray and the Bumble & Bumble spray below. 


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Bumble &Bumble Surf Spray

My hair does the best when it's at the beach. There's just something about that salt water. So I do my best to recreate it when I'm at home by using a mix of these two sea salt sprays. 


coloring my hair

Surprise! My hair isn't naturally blonde. Ha! I get balayage highlights on my hair about every 6 months or so, pending the time of year. Why do I love balayage? Because my roots can grow out and you can't even tell, therefore my coloring is lasting so much longer than regular highlights. Plus, using the lightening helps lighten it even more in the summer.

For the wedding, I actually got my hair done in April and most likely will only get a cut about a month prior to the wedding, but I won't get it colored again. If you do get it colored before your big day, do it at least a month before. You want to give it time to tone itself down a bit so it looks natural, and (heaven forbid!) something goes wrong, you have plenty of time to fix it!

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Davines Alchemic Silver Conditioner

This stuff is awesome! I use it about every other week. as my second conditioner to keep my color fresh looking. It's the best!