Our Honeymoon

We had so much fun on our Honeymoon to Moorea and Bora Bora! I can’t say enough how much we enjoyed everything! We stayed at the Hilton in Moorea and Le Meridien in Bora Bora! Paradise does not even begin to do this place justice! I cried when we stepped off the plane because I was literally taken back by the sheer beauty of the water and the view around me! I took waay too many pictures (over 1,000 to be exact) and I tried to narrow it down but the slideshow is still over 12 minutes long! Ooops! We met some of the most kind and generous locals while on the islands! Cathy, our favorite staff member at Le Meridien has worked there for over 17 years with her brother! They come to work everyday by boat from the village on the main island! I hope we get to go back one day and see Cathy again!

The entire trip was amazing (especially being able to stay in an overwater bungalow) but a few highlights would be snorkeling with the sting rays and the sharks, the breathtaking water and sunsets, and being able to attend Heiva 2015…the local festival on the main island! Below are just a ‘few’ of the photos I took with my big camera. (I have over 600 more from my cell phone, and 300 from the gopro!) 🙂  If you have the time check them out! There is music on the slideshow but you can mute it if you want…(its the same song over and over) lol!

Sigh! It really was a dream come true and we both wanna go back already!!!

Xoxo,

JL

 

 


PHOTOBOOTH FUN

Thanks so much to Sarah Linnea Photography for operating the Photobooth for us during the Wedding! I was so excited to come home and edit these images and I think they turned out exactly like I envisioned! You guys clearly had too much fun with some of these props! Btw…creepy baby was a hit! LoL! Thanks so much for sharing in our special day with us! We hope y’all enjoyed it as much as we did! Please feel free to share these on Facebook and Instagram with the hashtag #Craigandjami2015


Meet the Team

If you’ve ever planned a Wedding or any special event for that matter, you know it takes an army to pull it all together!! Our Wedding will be no exception! When you’re younger of course you dream of having the perfect wedding day…but you never really think about who all is going to be responsible for making that dream come true. There are hair and makeup artists, and Photographers, and Videographers and Caterers and Event Planners and so many others that have a hand in making your Wedding Day the very best it can be!  I like to think we have chosen the best vendors out there but then again…doesn’t every Bride think she has the best? (That’s exactly how it should be, by the way…) Everyone has different tastes, and favorites, and styles and guess what…THAT’S OKAY!!! Be proud of your Wedding Day and your vision! Be proud of the choices you made surrounding one of the most important days of your life! It’s YOUR day! Make it what YOU want and don’t be ashamed of it! Before I get off on a totally different blog post, let me get back on track! I would like to introduce to you our team! Each of these people are so talented and I cannot wait to work alongside each of them on our big day!!!

kweaverMeet Kristen Weaver, Photographer extraordinair! She is the owner of Kristen Weaver Photography in Orlando, FL. I was first introduced to Kristen’s work by my roommate and Maid of Honor Angela. A friend of a friend used to work for Kristen so Angela followed her on Facebook. One night, sitting at our apartment, while on a Rice Krispy Treat/Say Yes to the Dress Binge, Angie showed me her work! I was instantly in love and said I want HER to shoot my wedding one day! Fast forward 3 years and here we are! Fun fact….we actually booked Kristen as our photographer 6 months before we were even engaged! ( She announced her 2015 calendar was filling up and I happened to see the post and panicked!) She also shot our Engagement Photos (as seen on Facebook, this website, our Christmas Cards, Save the Dates, and every wall of Craig’s house!) HaHa!

Kristen’s Facebook    Kristen’s Website

10494942_10152247387432883_5169021856218380207_oUp next is the AMAZING…Angela Proffit, Wedding Planner/Event Coordinator! What can I say about Angela besides the fact she is pretty freaking awesome??? Well…that’s all you need to know about her really!!! I originally planned on doing everything myself for the wedding but about one week in I said uh uh…enough of this nonsense….let me google wedding planners!! She was the first on every list for a reason and after reading tons of 5 star reviews I said let’s book a consultation! I basically forced Craig to go with me because, well…I’m a Bride to be and { in the beginning } don’t we all believe the groom cares about every little detail like we do?? Ha! He agreed, (not enthusiastically) but nonetheless he tagged along! Three minutes into the meeting when I realized me and Angela were gabbing about crazy people, newborn photography, and all things that sparkle, she stepped out of the room to grab something! I immediately looked at Craig, who had already drifted into a trance by staring at the baseboards, and said she’s the one! Can we pay her today?!? I pretty much had my wedding planned before I even met her, so it’s been super easy so far! Granted we still haven’t gotten into the guts of the event planning (4 months to go) I know she’s done a lot behind the scenes that I haven’t had to deal with so if you ask me…that was money well spent! I am so happy with the decision we made to hire Angela and her team and I know and TRUST everything is going to be perfect for our big day!

Angela’s Facebook     Angela’s Website

1957947_752324461470031_8600030828620724528_oAlong with the Photographer for our day, I knew the videographer was a top priority for me! When all is said and done I wanted all of our memories preserved in the best way possible! I happened to see a facebook post by one of our friend’s who had recently gotten married. She was sharing her wedding video sneak peek and it was nothing short of amazing! Everything from the editing, and the lighting to the music and the overall ‘feel’ of her video made me teary eyed. Once again I immediately set out on a mission to find whoever was responsible for this fabulous work of art! I quickly realized I was late to this party though, because tons of Brides clearly knew of this lil gem long before I did! After spending about 2 hours online watching the wedding videos of complete strangers I knew who we were hiring! Dallas Wilson of Dallas Wilson Video Productions is beyond talented! I’ve yet to see one video he has produced that I wasn’t absolutely in love with! I cannot wait to see how he captures our day and I cannot wait to share it with all of our family and friends!

Dallas on Facebook      DWVP Website

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One of the best parts of any wedding is the food right? Well when it came time to decide on a place for our welcome dinner it seemed to be a pretty cut and dry decision for us! Considering me and Craig met at this restaurant in Nashville, & both still work there today, who else could we get besides the famous Puckett’s Grocery!? This restaurant will always hold a special place in our hearts considering it is the place we first met. Craig likes to tell me he’s the reason I got hired. He swears J.T. was gonna send me packing but he begged him to let me stay…I’ll let y’all decide what to believe on that one… J.T…you wanna weigh in??? Puckett’s serves Southern style cuisine and if you know me or Craig at all then you know we wouldn’t have anything else during our wedding festivities! I can’t wait to finalize our menu!

Puckett’s 5th & Church Facebook     Puckett’s Website

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Photo Credit : Kristen Weaver Photography

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Photo Credit : Kristen Weaver Photography

 

10363498_223877027821910_4496588674586106970_n Craig’s father helped open a BBQ Restaurant in Olive Branch, Mississippi just before he passed away! When we would go to visit his family in Memphis we would drive down to Olive Branch to see his dad at the restaurant and eat dinner! I can honestly say it’s THE BEST BBQ I have ever eaten in my life! And the fried corn…I can’t even talk about it!! So so good!! We decided it would be very special to have them cater our wedding and it will be in memory of Mr. Stewart! We can’t wait for everyone we love to get to experience something so special! There’s even going to be some Stujo Rolls…Mr. Stewarts very own creation of BBQ Eggrolls!!

 

 

 

1604639_792847914061908_776694545_nI’ve known Janet Taylor for years! I remember growing up, anytime there would be a need to purchase a floral arrangement my mom would say call Janet! See if she can create something! I decided years ago no matter when or where I got married I wanted Janet Taylor of Janet Taylor Designs to be my florist! She has a talent that I simply cannot comprehend. I have tried on several occasions to create my own floral arrangements…um…let’s just say I thank God he gave this talent to people like Janet! I would be in a world of trouble if not! I have zero patience and floral design requires that of Job! I trust her design completely and she knows what I want, what I don’t want, and what I do not want to stress about! I know that she will be there on this very important day working hard to make sure every petal is in place! I can’t wait to see the outcome!

Janet Taylor Designs on Facebook

For hair I decided to go with Beauty by Beth, a local stylist I found thru my wedding planner! She is amazing! As for makeup a friend from back home in good ole Calhoun County will be glamming me up on the big day! Chris Rogers does wonderful work and I know I will feel more beautiful than ever on my special day! I myself will actually be doing hair/makeup for all the Bridesmaids so this should be fun! 😉


Tea Time!

Every culture has different traditions and special things they do to celebrate exciting moments in life! When I learned of the Chinese tradition of having a Tea Ceremony prior to the Wedding Ceremony I was really excited to be able to take part. If you know me at all you know I get out of my mind excited over new things and anything that involves a tradition or family custom I am all about it!!!

During a trip to Delaware this past summer for Craig’s cousin Leath’s wedding, his family started telling me all about what you do and what everything means. Basically, the Tea Ceremony is to express thanks to your elders on your Wedding Day. In the traditional Chinese Marriage Ceremony, both the bride and groom kneel in front of their parents and serve them tea to express their gratitude. It’s a way to say Thank You for raising us and bringing us to this point in our lives. The parents usually drink a small portion of the tea and then give the couple a red envelope ( Lai See ), which symbolizes good luck. Inside the envelope there is usually money of varying amounts. The elders may also give the couple gifts of gold jewelry, and may even place the jewelry on them during the ceremony. Another variant is that the bride serve tea to the groom’s parents, symbolizing that she is to become a part of their  family. I am really excited to take part in our Wedding Tea Ceremony and can’t wait for everyone in my family to experience something special from another culture that I will now be a part of forever. I adore Craig’s family and am so blessed to be able to learn new things from them for many years to come!

The following information is from an article on Teasenze.com and you can find it HERE…

What is a Chinese Wedding Tea Ceremony?

In a traditional Chinese wedding, the tea ceremony is one of the most significant events. It includes very formal introductions of the bride and groom and shows respect to their families. Historically, after they exchanged vows, the couple would serve tea to the groom’s family (the bride would have served tea privately to her own family that morning). Today, many couples choose to show respect to both the bride and groom’s families by hosting tea ceremonies for both sides. The earliest written record of tea ceremonies emerged during the Tang Dynasty over 1200 years ago. It was initially called cha dao (茶道)or the way of tea. Some Japanese monks traveled to China and brought it back to Japan. Influenced by Japanese culture, the tea ceremony became more grave and formal.

Since the early 1900s, Chinese weddings have modernized and partly follow western practice. However, the tradition of tea ceremonies in Chinese weddings has remained, and is still highly treasured today.

What is the meaning of a Chinese Wedding Tea Ceremony?

In China, serving tea when guests come is a very traditional propriety. It is a significant way to show respects. In the wedding, this act is in respect and gratitude to the parents for all the years of love and care. Besides this, the tea ceremony is very meaningful in a wedding. Tea is the symbol of purity, stability and fertility. The purity of tea represents the love is pure and noble; the stability of tea stands for faithful love; the fertility of tea represents the family will have many children.

Traditionally, red dates, peanuts, longans and lotus seeds are added in the wedding tea, because in Chinese, reading these four ingredients in the above order sounds like “to have baby as soon as possible”, which is a very good wish for new couples.

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Image from elbrooklyntaco.com

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Image from weddingguideasia.com

What are the Chinese Wedding Tea Ceremony steps?

The tea ceremony for the groom’s family is usually done in the morning while the ceremony for the bride is always done in the afternoon when the bride and groom have completed the bride’s home visit.

During a Chinese wedding tea ceremony, the groom should stand on the right and the bride should be on the left side. Their parents should sit on chairs and wait for the new couple to kneel and serve tea. The order of serving tea is very important. It shows how the couple respects their seniority. The parents will be served first, then the grandparents, grand uncles and aunts, uncles and aunts, and then elder siblings.

After the drinking of the tea, gifts for the bride and groom will be presented. Gifts are usually in forms of red envelopes with money or jewelry. And the couple should use the jewelry immediately. The younger siblings and cousins who help them serve tea will be blessed with a happy marriage or abundant wealth. These helpers also receive lucky red envelopes filled with money, called “lai see” which means “lucky”, from the bride and groom.

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Image from asianfusionweddings.com

 

What kind of Chinese Tea and Ceremony Tea Set is used?

Any sweet tea that symbolizes sweetness is good for the Chinese wedding tea ceremony. It is believed to bring happiness to the couple and to foster good relations between the newlyweds and their new in-laws. You can use sweetened black tea for simplicity sake, but some traditional Chinese black teas are preferred because of the good sound of their names. Other herbs are added such as lotus seeds and red dates, symbolizing that the couple will have children quickly and continuously.

The Chinese wedding tea set is a meaningful keepsake of the wedding and an important gift from the bride’s family. It can be a family heirloom as well. In the future when the couples’ children get married, the tea set will be used and presented. Tea sets are available in modern or traditional Chinese styles. Chinese wedding tea sets with the ‘double happiness’ character, phoenix, dragons, peony or flower designs and gold trimmings are popular for Chinese wedding tea sets.

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Image from thechineseweddingshop.com

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Image from themarriage.com

Dress for Chinese Wedding Tea Ceremony

In a Chinese wedding tea ceremony, a suitable dress is necessary. Bride and groom need to dress in red silk and the tulle veil should be red too. Tang suit and Hanfu (Most famous traditional costumes in China and known to the world) are most popular. Some popular design such as dragons and phoenix on the dress would be suitable for decoration.

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But What Will the Ladies Wear?

After picking out my Wedding Gown the next exciting thing on the list of planning todo’s was picking out the perfect dress for my ladies to wear! If you think there are a ton of choices for Wedding Gowns out there, you should start looking for Bridesmaids dresses! So many colors, styles, fabrics, necklines, lengths. etc….I wanted each girl to be comfortable and happy but I wanted their gowns to match the feel of mine as well and the overall vibe of the Wedding too!

The girls wanted long, easy enough… but one wanted a sleeve, one showed interest in a one shoulder, and one wanted a halter….hmmmm…We decided the best thing to do was to find one company that could make each of the gowns specifically to suit each girls needs and wants! Turns out after checking and double checking and checking my Pinterest board one more time there was one gown that kept popping up…and numerous times I would try to pin it and I would get that lil notification letting me know I had already pinned this…Obviously I was a fan!

One day while driving around during one of our weekend shopping sprees Angie my Maid of Honor was going thru my Pinterest Board….She had also pinned the same gown and upon a little research discovered that it was convertible! THANK YOU LORD! One gown, that can be worn over 15 different ways? Yes! I’ll take 4 please!!! After the excitement settled from finally picking out the perfect Bridesmaid Gown, I begin to research where to order them!

Turns out you can’t get them anywhere!!! Not anywhere near Nashville, TN anyway! They have to be ordered directly from the designer’s showroom in NYC…of course they do….sigh! I emailed the designer to see about placing an order and the process was super easy! Send in measurements, double check the order, place the order and wa la! All done! Hassle free! Even got FREE SHIPPING AND NO TAXES! Score!!! I can’t wait for them to arrive and see them on the girls! I know they will be stunning in anything but I’m really excited about this dream find!

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Saying Yes to the Dress!

At some point in her life every little girl dreams of her Wedding Day. Whether she wants a lavish affair in a grand ballroom, a simple farmstyle event in a quiet country setting or even a quick, no nonsense trip to the Courthouse…whatever it may be, at some point she has thought about it. Along with thoughts of her perfect day usually comes dreams of wearing the most beautiful gown, stunning jewelry, and a pair of amazing shoes! Atleast this was the case with me! If you know me at all you know my love for a fabulous evening gown, regardless of the occasion! Any excuse I have to get all dolled up, I’m taking it so when it was time for me to choose my Wedding Gown I was ready! I made appointments at 4 Bridal Studios over 2 days, had my Mom and Aunt in from Florida, and along with my Maid of Honor off we went!

Before I started the most important shopping trip of my life, I had a pretty good vision of what I wanted. I’m pretty open minded when it comes to gowns but thanks to many years as a pageant girl I pretty much know what looks good on my body and what doesn’t. ( This saves a lot of time when pulling gowns! ) I knew I liked different, edgy, and fun! I didn’t want something everyone else wanted, and something told me I needed to go to one place to find just that! The White Room in Lebanon, TN. This was actually the second stop we made on our weekend spree, the first being Modern Trousseau, which was a fabulous studio.

When I walked into the Bridal room at The White Room I saw my gown. There it was…hanging amidst hundreds of other stunning gowns. I went straight to it and handed it to my consultant! “This one first!”, I said. My consultant was amazing! Her name was Celia and she was beyond a joy to work with! We pulled 4 or 5 gowns, and though they were all gorgeous, none of them made me feel quite as special as that first gown! I left that afternoon without purchasing because I still had 2 more appointments the following day but I assured her I would be back if nothing else caught my eye!

The next morning we were up and at it again, stopping by Glitz Bridal, Arzelle’s and B. Hughes Bridal Salon, (all of which were awesome and at B. Hughes I even tried on an Oscar de la Renta Ball Gown…talk about taking a girl’s breath away)  but something was wrong. I just wasn’t into anything I tried on (even the Oscar as stunning as it was). All I could think about was my gown! The gown that my eye went straight to when I entered The White Room the day before. Finally while scarfing down a quick bite to eat at Which Wich I asked my shopping crew if we could drive back out to Lebanon. I really just wanted to put on that one gown, one more time! As soon as we walked in, I explained to them that I didn’t have an appointment but I had been in the day before and I needed to try on my favorite one more time. They were more than happy to oblige and even called Celia over to help me once again! ( So happy she was working that day! )

As soon as I walked out in my gown this time I knew…this was it! They put a veil on my head with a stunning lil headpiece and gave me a lil silk bouquet to hold…It was all coming together! I actually looked…and felt…like a Bride! As I looked over to my mom for a sign of approval she was crying, along with my Maid of Honor, my Aunt, and now myself! ( I always swore I wouldn’t cry when I found my Wedding Gown, darn it! ) I hugged my Mom & Celia and up to the front desk we went! The most important gown purchase I had ever made was complete. I can’t wait to share it with everyone, but in the meantime here’s a few snapshots of some of our shopping fun! ( No worries, none of these are my gown nor do they look anything like it! ) 😉

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Will You Be My Bridesmaid?

In today’s world of endless Pinterest possibilities, DIY Blogs, and Hobby Lobby coupons accessible straight from your cell phone, there’s so many ways a girl can plan her dream wedding…and do it all on a budget! When Craig asked me to marry him I (as most brides to be ) was so excited I immediately started finalizing all my to do lists….First up was asking my best girl friends to stand by my side…Now, the guys have it easy…they can just pick up the phone, & say “hey man, will you be in my wedding?” but us girls…no way…As a crafter its just simply not ‘cute’ enough and as a southern woman….well it’s just considered poor form! 😉 { that’s just a joke, if you didn’t do a craft to ask your bridesmaids to be in your wedding it’s not a big deal and no it’s not a necessity }

Off to town I went to purchase everything I would need. Some wooden craft boxes, a few floral appliqués from Hobby Lobby,  a sample of my favorite blue paint from Home Depot ( the samples are more than enough for small projects and are only $3-$5 at the paint table), some twine from Wal-Mart, and some Request Cards from Etsy.

I used a paper towel to dry brush the paint on the boxes, hot glued on the appliqués, and tied them up with the twine! Easy enough & I loved how they turned out! I dropped them in the mail the week after my Engagement and wah-lah! All done !

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