Kathleen and Allan’s Wedding Featured on Green Wedding Shoes

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Photo by Caleb John Hill.

A few months ago, Kathleen called me and shared the news that her wedding would be published on Green Wedding Shoes… and then after what felt like forever, it was posted today! Click here to read the post.

What a cool nod to the bride and groom, and a giant pat on the back, for such a fabulous wedding!

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You can see the paper goods I was credited for in the post by visiting:

Wedding photography and the engagement session images used in the invitations are by Caleb John Hill.

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A Gift from the Bridesmaids and Maid/Matron of Honor, A Scrapbook of Letters for the Bride

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Another great gift idea for the bride to be is a scrapbook of letters from all her girlfriends, bridesmaids, and close family members.

See yesterday’s post on another gift for brides, a scrapbook of all the wedding events!

My friend Amie actually pinned this relatively early in the wedding planning process so I kept it in mind for later. About a month before the wedding I sent messages to about 20 people, from her close girlfriends to her family, including her brother and nephew. And then I saved the best for last with a letter from the groom.

A few days before the wedding I snapped a few photos of the pages that I had completed for some of the letters—hope you like them!

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If you’d like to make your friend a letter scrapbook as well, here’s a sample of the note I sent to everyone requesting for their participation:

I’m planning on making a scrapbook to give [the bride] at the rehearsal dinner filled with letters from the women closest in [bride]’s life! You can just give me a letter or you can actually make one page [size] for the bride. Your page can include anything you want – a picture, collage, poem, memories, song lyrics – anything that reminds you of your relationship with our girl! Let me know if you’d like to participate! Thanks!

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I really loved this album that I found at Michael’s. It’s slightly bigger than the Bridal Beauty scrapbook, sized at 8 1/2″ by 8 1/2.” Plus it came with stickers to decorate the front so we chose the phrase “Dear Amie.”

My favorite part of putting this book together was reading everyone’s letters and seeing just how much this bride-to-be was loved! Tears were shed by many of us throughout the process—making it a truly special gift for such a special time in her life.

Unique Gift Idea for the Bride: Bridal Beauty Scrapbook of all the Wedding Events, Bridal Showers and Parties

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Creating a scrapbook of all the bridal events for the year is a great keepsake and gift for a bride!

A couple years ago, I started up a scrapbook whirlwind by making 2 books for my girlfriends that were getting married in 2012. I started way too late into the year though and didn’t have nearly the arsenal of scrapbook tools that I do now! So for Amie’s book, from this past year’s wedding celebrations, ended up being triple layered in stickers and all sorts of embellishments! Plus I started it right away and did one page/event at a time—which allowed for my creative juices to really flow through each page.

So I just wanted to share a few of my favorite pages from these books and at the end of the post there are some tips if you find yourself making one for yourself or for a friend!

For another gift idea, see my post on a scrapbook of letters for the bride!

First up, Lauren’s scrapbook:

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This was my first ever scrapped page… I remember being so excited working on it with my mama at her kitchen table.

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I’m pretty sure we blew Instagram up on the day of their wedding! So we definitely needed to have a #wagonerwedding page—which also included a wood engraved sunflower from their wedding favors.

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My absolute favorite page in Lauren’s book was their wedding day page. I just love the pictures she chose—by All Aboard Studios.

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And here’s a few of my favorite pages from Brittany’s book:

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Their engagement party was Anchorman themed so we chose some of our favorite Anchorman quotes for the page.

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My mom and I had fun making the pages for our Fairy Weekend… that was such a great weekend! We included the fairy house, fabric from the sparkly purple tablecloth and a mini paper scroll to remember our moments reading our bride our favorite memories with her.

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I love the details on the shower page too… since we had a panty line and lavender sachets, the book had to have them too! More photos here.

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And just like Lauren’s, my favorite page in Britt’s book is of the wedding. It was such a beautiful day. They had moss covered table numbers so I found some green glittery numbers for the wedding date and also included a key from their favors! So much fun remembering the day through the details.

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And now a TON of photos from Amie’s… I had a really hard time narrowing down my favorites…

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Starting with page 1, I loved that I had found a bench sticker to remember where Matt had waited for his soon to be fiance!

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And we included lace from the mason jar decorations at the engagement party!

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Engagement photos below are from Harvard Photography.

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Bridal shower photos below are from J. Rose Photography.

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With the shower being as detailed as it was, I tried to incorporate as much as I could… from the cupcake topper to the paper flowers on the favor boxes.

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Photos below are by me! See more from our engagement session here.

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The bachelorette party was also filled with details! We saved a business card from our crazy scavenger hunt in Pacific Beach along with some kisses from “Pin the Kiss on the Groom” game. And of course a giant ring sticker to remember our light up rings when we went out dancing—just wish I could find a pink ring for the book!

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Hashtag: #pankratzwedding! I loved having an Instagram themed page in Lauren’s book so we had to have one here too! And I love my new banner punch I got in my stocking at Christmas! I was really excited to use it in the book!

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And then the wedding… Amie had a very hard time narrowing down photos and since I knew my scrapbooking adventure was coming to a close, we decided just to include the whole wedding! See more photos of the glorious day here.

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This is one of my favorite pages! It was such a sweet moment!

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There were just a few name card tags leftover from the wedding… it made a great touch for the reception page.

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And with one odd page left, we ended the book with a page remembering their honeymoon in Zion.

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And now a few tips on making your own Bridal Beauty Scrapbook!

  • It helped that I took the majority of the photos with my camera so I had access to all the high quality images right away.
  • During the event remember to grab an item or 2 to use in the books: business cards, tissue paper, etc.
  • Remember the details that aren’t photographed and use as details in the book. For example, during the bride’s family portraits, a butterfly landed amid the girls’ bouquets so I made sure to get some butterfly stickers. Also, the bouquets were made with purple hydrangeas so I made sure to get those stickers for the wedding pages too.
  • Have the bride pick out the photos. I loved asking the brides to pick their photos because they chose totally different pictures than I would have—it makes the book that much more special because its their favorite memories of the events.
  • To save money, try to get sticker packs that will last through several different events so you aren’t buying a set of embellishments for just one single page. I have a pretty solid aesthetic across all the pages so it was easy to mix and match sets of stickers and paper.
  • Another money saving tip… I waited until the big paper pads went on sale at Michael’s so I got Buy 1, Get 1 Free! And to make them last, I bought one in warm tones and one in cool colors that would look good together to get a good variety but also keep a cohesive look.

A few more notes about the books… all of them are 8×8, a perfect size for a coffee table book. Brittany’s was bought at Michael’s while Lauren’s and Amie’s were bought at Hobby Lobby. All photos were printed at Sam’s Club.

Are you a scrapbooker? I just love it! Please share your tips below!

P.S. Dear Mom, I can’t say I’m sorry enough that I made fun of you for years for all the money and time spent on scrapbooking as I am growing closer and closer to having quite the paper crafting hoard myself. Please accept my apology. xoxo

Another Year of Babies, Brides, and BBQ (November & December)

Good morning 2014! And with the close of 2013, here is my last Babies, Brides, and BBQ post! It’s been a fun 2 years documenting all my new little loves that have been born, following the love of brides to be’s, and of course the craziness that is this BBQ world we have found ourselves deep within. Hope you’re enjoying this first day of this brand new year!

Babies!

My little baby section is just growing and growing and growing!!

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In celebration of this little guy turning 2 yesterday, we went out for some frozen yogurt just like we did 2 years ago the night before Courtney went into labor. This little guy has the sweetest voice, and is so incredibly smart from knowing his letters to his shapes, even including the crescent moon. 🙂 Thank you Mama Coco and Little Jmo for a night out of blueberry topped fro-yo and the showing off all your new 2 year old tricks!

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Owen

Well this darling boy now says “Andy” and “Sam” among many more words in his ever widening vocabulary. And he still has us wrapped around his slightly less chubby fingers as well… and surprisngly Andy is even more wrapped than I am! They are just the cutest little pals! Andy and I have been cracking up over Owen’s new “cheeeeese” face! So I just thought I’d share it with you all here! It’s too funny how distorted kids faces get when they say “cheese!”

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Grayson

Oh this little boy… I do not get to see this little little guy often enough but I happily watch him daily through his mama’s eyes, whether its through Instagram or her blog. Thankfully I got to spend a few precious moments with him in these last couple months at Girls Night and seeing the Mission Inn lights.

P.S. You can tell more in the right side photo that I am definitely forcing him to pose for a picture with his Auntie Sammi… but I don’t even care. 🙂

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Parker

I can not even tell you how happy I am that this family bought Disneyland passes in November. It only took one night of constantly bugging Shane to convince them that it was definitely the right decision! 🙂 I see quite a few more visits in the near future too. This is one tired Parker after their very full day at the Happiest Place on Earth.

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Chara

Next week I’m posting more of the adorable Rice family, but for today let me introduce to you all, Miss Chara. She’s an adorable little munchkin who was fighting a cold that day with her sweet smiles. I can’t wait to share more photos next week, it was such a perfect day for Christmas photos.

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Amelia

Disneyland is “one of my favorite things” without a doubt, but going with sweet little babes and kiddos multiples that joy by infinity. Since Amelia’s mama is my Disneyland buddy, I was just that much more excited to finally go with her… here’s a photo from our first ride together: It’s A Small World. I was just a *little* excited. 🙂

But of course since Miss Mia was a little entranced by the wonders of It’s A Small World, you must check out her 6 month photos I posted last week. She is just all smiles and giggles.

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Molly

Little Miss Molly is just one of the happiest little babes I’ve ever met… but of course my photos today are of sleeping Molly. I must apologize on her behalf, because her smile just lights up her whole face… and I must encourage you to check out her beyond adorable 3 months photos her Auntie Jess took a few weeks ago. Go look, you know you want to. 🙂

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Brides

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Well this Bride had her wedding last month… After almost a full year of planning, crafting, and celebrating the day came and went! If you want to see more gorgeous photos of this beautiful bride and the amazingness that was that day, click here for the full wedding post.

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BBQ

I have been such a slacker when it comes to all these recent BBQ competitions… in fact, I only made it to this past weekend’s competition and only for awards, and only on the first day. Bad BBQ wife right here… 🙁

But even without me there, the boys have been doing amazing!

Last month they were invited to compete at the World Food Championship where they were placed among the top 10 in BBQ which allowed them to go forward in the semi finals. So keep and eye and ear out for the A&E special on the WFC, which will have one entire episode devoted to the BBQ portion of the event. Andy wrote more about his time there, here.

Aaaaand, they took part in a commercial for a major American corporation that we are hoping will air during the Super Bowl… I’m not totally sure on all the legalities of that so I will post more when I can. 🙂

And one last note, in case you are reading this solely because you found this post because of the BBQ section, and you want to learn more about the art of barbequing, you can email pro@greenmountaingrills.com and my hubby will come to your aid, offering as much help as you may need!

With all their success this past year, I am really excited to see what’s to come in this new year!

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Follow past and upcoming Babies, Brides and BBQ here!

The Pankratz Wedding: A Purple DIY Shabby Chic Fall Wedding

After a year of planning, my best friend’s wedding has come and gone. And while that may sound bittersweet, in place of wedding planning, they now are building their married lives together. It truly is the best end to the year, and a whole new beginning to something even sweeter.

All that to say, I don’t know if I’ve ever been more excited to blog here before! And to share these photos from Harvard Photography, with a couple of my own photos thrown in there too.

This was definitely a DIY, do it yourself, craft-centric wedding… and don’t you worry, plenty of links will follow.

As the Matron of Honor, I got the chance to be there all along the way… with dress shopping, crafting, and shower planning. But even better, I got to design the save the dates, invitations, and so much more of the day of paperie and decor. From the chalkboards to the escort cards, I got to hand letter them all. It really was a joy to get to be so involved and that is another big reason why I am so excited to share all these photos with you!

Enough blabbing from me, here are a few words from our lovely bride…

It is so hard to believe that the wedding has come and gone! Over the past year, countless nights were spent crafting and planning to create the perfect decorations, stationery and timeline for what turned out be the wedding of my dreams. We were so blessed by everyone who made our special day a reality — Matt and I had a perfect day shared with the ones we love the most!!  Anyhow, enough of the mushy stuff, lets get to the good stuff…pictures!

As most of you know, my Matron of Honor, Sam is a very talented graphic designer, and as of late she has been exploring the world of photography! Before the wedding photographer arrived, she graciously took these amazing getting ready photo’s of me and my bridal party!

My normal hair dresser, the lovely Tessa Ellis from Runaway Bridal, was our AMAZING hair stylist for the day of the wedding. She works side by side with the equally talented make-up artist, Amy Grieser to give both me and my girls the exact look I envisioned.

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Our lovely invitations were designed by the one and only, Sam Allen! Not only are they beautiful, but each piece holds a special memory of the late nights we spent creating them. Special thanks to my bridesmaids for helping us put them together! (photo supplied by Sam Allen)

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The dress..let’s just say I am still SO in love with it! I absolutely love pearls and lace, so when I saw this dress at David’s Bridal I just knew it was the one for me.

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I bought two very different garters from different shops on Etsy. The first, a beautiful shabby chic lace garter with pearls and stones from Petal n Pearl Boutique. The second garter was a little surprise for my husband to be. Matt is the biggest Indianapolis Colt’s fan and a while back I came across a cute little shop that sold NFL team garters and I knew it would be a sweet little surprise.

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Our niece was quite the character all day — she wanted to be in the middle of everything! The previous picture captures that just about perfectly.

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After shopping for veils at various bridal shops, I decided that making my own was the way to go — and if you’re wondering, it was pretty easy! One evening I enlisted one of my wonderful bridesmaids, Vanessa and Loretta (Matt’s second Mom) to help me. We were able to find the appliques and trim at a local fabric store as well as the basic plain veil. And get this, all we used was hot glue! No sewing was required! I am so happy with the way it turned out — simple yet elegant.

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My Papa passed away almost seven years ago and not a day goes by that I don’t miss him just a little bit more. He was so special to me and I couldn’t imagine my wedding day without him. When I found this locket I knew it would be perfect for his sweet picture to walk with me down the aisle.

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Sam here, I can’t help but interject every now and then… I was so thankful the photographers allowed me to grab my camera for a few shots too! So while the main photographer was taking this angle…

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I was able to take these of the bride… Isn’t she gorgeous!!?

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Kim Ryan from Tulips, Trophies and Treasures is amazing! She truly took my vision and made it a reality. From my first meeting with her, all I knew was that I wanted hydrangeas in my bouquet and books in the centerpieces.  From the few sample photo’s I shared with her, she included those and so much more!

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My Grandma and Mom are two of the strongest people I know. These hands have made me who I am and I am so grateful for their strong presence in my life.

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While us girls were having a wonderful start to the day, the guys were doing their thing…

How cute are these boys?! I love the friendship that my husband and his Best Man share.

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Matt loves his Van’s! They are seriously the only shoes he will wear. So it only seemed fitting that they were the shoe of choice for his big day.

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And then it was time for the First Look…

Your Favorite Moment of the Day

Amie: For me, the best part of the day was walking up to Matt and seeing him for the first time. There are no words to describe just how excited I was to see this man! I love him with my whole heart and more (if that’s even possible)! I was so overcome with emotion and I couldn’t wait to feel the warmth of his embrace (For those of you who don’t know, this guy gives the best hugs EVER). We had waited so long for this moment and it was finally here!

Matt: Standing in front of our family and friends saying I Do to the love of my life.

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From the beginning of our relationship, Matt and I have always pinky promised over the big and even the silly small. This may be one of my favorite pictures from our wedding day. 

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Now that we got the bulk of our emotions out during the first look, it was time for the ceremony!

One of the most important things to Matt and I when shopping for a wedding venue was the privacy of the location. It was very important that the venue was secluded and intimate — especially the ceremony site.  We envisioned our wedding to be a special moment shared with the ones we love most with no outside distractions. Secluded Garden Estate definitely fulfilled that desire completely.

From early on in our planning stages, I knew we wanted to decorate with a lot of wooden signs throughout the venue, from telling guests where to park, where the reception was, to the sign my nephew held as the “ring bearer”  and with only a few days to go, the best Matron of Honor was at my service once again to hand paint each and every one!

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Our typewriter held a welcome letter to our guests… it was given to us by Matt’s mom, originally it belonged to her father in law’s family back in the day!

I LOVE old books and this unique sign in book designed by Morgann Hill Designs definitely fit out theme well! You can check out her shop on Etsy here!

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My Grandpa’s chair was reserved in his honor by his favorite hat.

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I love the emotion captured in my mom’s face in this picture as my brother walks her down the aisle to start the ceremony…she is beautiful!

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Music Choices

One of the hardest parts of wedding planning was selecting the music for our ceremony and key reception events! Finally Matt and I agreed on the most important songs, and let our DJ decide on the rest.

 For our bridal party processional we went with “It’s a Good Morning Beautiful Day” by Keith Urban. For the first three months of our relationship, Matt re-wrote the lyrics to this song and texted them to me every morning!

For my processional I choose “You Had Me From Hello” by Kenny Chesney and our recessional was “Overwhelmed” by Tim McMorris.

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Here is a little wedding day story that holds a special place in my heart: I was overcome with emotion as our bridal party lined up for the wedding ceremony. I seriously could not stop crying happy tears (which is not like me — I’m normally not that big of a cryer). As I stood with my dad, watching our bridal party proceed down to our ceremony site I balled, the ugly cry. I was just so excited to marry the man of my dreams. Anyhow, moments before we were to walk down the stairs (and I was still balling) my dad told me to look down and he said, “You know, your Grandpa is up there laughing at you right now.” After a few seconds I got it together and my dad told me that the two of them were ready to walk me down the aisle. I miss papa so much but I was so blessed to have him as I made the walk to marry the love of my life. I definitely took a mental picture at that moment and I will cherish that moment the rest of my life.

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Our ceremony was the most perfect part of the day. I loved every moment of it and not to mention it was just beautiful!

Another aspect that Amie loved about Secluded Garden Estate from Day 1 was not only that the ceremony site was located on the foundation of an old green house, but that the original window panes are displayed, hanging from the wooden framing. Plus Kim, the florist, added her special touches by wrapping the posts in burlap and adding a chandelier.

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After the ceremony, the bride and groom were able to steal away for some more photos at the ceremony site… along with some fun formals with family and friends.

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Then Amie and Matt made their way over to the reception site for their grand entrance as Mr. and Mrs… as husband and wife.

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Matt is definitely an outdoorsy type person. As our relationship has grown, I have become a lot more open to the whole wilderness thing and I’ve truly come to enjoy the outdoors a whole lot more.  Our reception site felt like it was in the middle of wilderness and we just loved that! 

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One of the things I truly loved about our wedding was the handmade look everything had. From the tea stained escort cards, made by Primitive Blessings, to the hand written chalk boards and signs.

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Matt and I are big history nerds — especially when it comes to United States History! Although all these books are not US history related, they are all pretty old and we thought that it would be a fun way to tie our love of history into our wedding day. And then our florist engraved the table numbers.

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Our signature cocktail was a mix of lemonade, vodka and iced tea… perfect for a BBQ dinner.

Each guest got to take home a mason jar, ladies got the redneck wine glasses, complete with a bookmark and wedding tattoo.

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Our cake from Cakes to Celebrate was absolutely delicious! Each layer was a different flavor ranging from red velvet to dark chocolate cake filled with coconut pecan filling. I seriously can not wait for our first anniversary to dive in to this cake again!

Our cake topper was also designed by Morgann Hill and they can be found in her Etsy shop.

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This was by far one of my favorite craft projects made for the wedding! It definitely was a joint effort made by my Husband, Sam and I.  You can find the DIY link here.

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Sam’s husband, Andy runs a BBQ competition team and he so graciously cooked for us and all of our guests! If you ever have the chance, check out Rooftop BBQ at one of their competitions! You won’t be sorry….

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Matt’s favorite band is AC/DC and he was adamant that we make our grand entrance to “Thunderstruck.” Because I got to choose most of the other music I went along with it and boy am I glad I did! It was the perfect song!

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Since Matt and I love games, while we were taking our formal pictures, we had the guests fill out a Mad Lib card…

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Although you can’t tell from these pictures, Matt has quite a few tattoos! And so just for fun we decided to make temporary tattoos with our wedding date and a pair of love birds for all our guests! (photo provided by Dave Anderson, Sam’s dad)

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Matt’s Best Man, Jim, gave the one of the sweetest, emotion filled speeches I’ve ever heard…not what we were expecting from such a funny guy!

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Matt and I surprised each member of our bridal by using their baby picture as their place card. We also did a little tribute to them at the end of our slideshow with these pictures!

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Music Choices for the Reception Dances

Matt and I danced to Making Memories of Us by Keith Urban for our first dance. Mr. Urban seriously writes some of the best love songs.

I had my dad select the song for our first dance and he decided to go with Wildflowers by Tom Petty (One of my dad and my favorite bands)!

Matt’s right arm tattoo sleeve is based off of the song Simple Man by Lynyrd Skynyrd. It is seriously such a sweet song about what a mom taught his son…it was perfect!

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Matt’s niece and my nephew are seriously the perfect pair! These two were such party animals all night and they seriously danced the night away!

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Advice to Future Brides

My biggest advice is really to be organized and to do a first look! I am so happy will all the pictures we got and that wouldn’t have been possible with the short amount of time in between the ceremony and reception.

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Vendor Links

Location: Secluded Garden Estate

Photographer: Harvard Photography

Videographer: Boffo Video

Florist: Tulips, Trophies, and Treasures

Stationery Designer and Letterer: Matron of Honor, Sam Allen Creates

Caterer: Rooftop Barbeque

Cake: Cakes to Celebrate

Cake topper: Morgann Hill Designs (bragging bags)

DJ: Good Time Entertainment (Mike)

Makeup and Hair: Runway Bridal

Wedding Dress: David’s Bridal

Bridesmaid Dresses: purchased at Mary Me Bridal by the Dessy group

Veil: handmade by bride and family

Garters: PetalnPearlBoutique

Dress hanger: Creations by Tilly

Guest book: Morgann Hill Designs (bragging bags)

And one final note…. Thank you Matt and Amie for allowing me to have such a special part in your big day. I am so honored and will never forget these moments that we have been blessed with to share. I love you both so much and couldn’t be happier for you as you start your happily ever after…

Harvard Photography

A Pankratz Wedding: Matt and Amie’s Engagement Pictures in Orange Circle

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Amie’s first set of engagement photos with her wedding photographer had come out so good that I was extremely nervous in the weeks leading up to our shoot.

But I still had hoped to capture Amie and Matt as they are in the day to day, because even if you only spend a moment with them you can truly see the love they have for each other.

I had to take a break from editing these photos last month as I was inspired to write my Matron of Honor speech… I just had to talk about Amie’s “crinkle nose smile,” as its a smile I have loved for many years now but I have never seen her smile more than when she is with Matt. They truly are the sweetest couple.

Anyway, back to our photo shoot… not long after Amie met Matt, she bought a beach cruiser and biking down to the beach became a weekly activity for them and their friends so for years (literally) we have talked about taking their photos on bikes…

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I was pretty honored that Amie got this next photo printed HUGE (22×28 inches!!) to display at their wedding, definitely the biggest I’ve ever seen one of my photos printed.

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After we put the bikes away, we moved on deeper into Orange Circle—toward the fountain that Matt proposed in front of way back in December. But of course we had to take a pitstop at these stairs as the teal and red color scheme matches their kitchen to perfection!

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Standing in the exact spot where he proposed… so sweet…

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And now these two are Mr. and Mrs… oh man I can not wait to share [more] wedding photos! It was breathtakingly beautiful, from the bride to the decor, everything was just magical!

Another Year of Babies, Brides, and BBQ (September & October)

I can’t believe this crazy year is coming to a close! With this update, a brand new friend was born (Baby Molly, another girl thankfully!!) and with the next update I will be posting about the Pankratz wedding day, with a photo of my best friend in that glorious wedding dress of hers! I can’t believe the big day is almost here, like literally its just 3 days away! And then its Thanksgiving and then Christmas and New Years and hello 2014!

Babies!

My little baby section is just growing and growing and growing!!

Owen (and Eli)

I seriously can’t say it enough, I love having this adorable family as nearby neighbors! Getting the chance to see these boys growing up on the week to week basis is such a huge blessing for both Andy and myself. They even stopped by on the morning of my birthday with a card, cupcake and a balloon. Along with Owen giving me a hand picked flower and Eli giving me a drawing he made. My heart is full, that’s for sure.

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Okay I just have to share one more photo of Owen, and his whole family all dressed up in their Halloween costumes, from this past weekend… how stinking cute are they?! When Jamie first sent us a photo of Owen’s Halloween costume, we all “ooo’d” and “awww’d” over how cute he was going to be, and he did not disappoint. 🙂

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Parker

I rarely get to see this little rolly polly, Parker… but I was so excited to spend the afternoon with him and his family a couple weeks ago. And got to snap this photo of him in honor of his 6 month birthday. Can’t believe he’s already half way to 1, doesn’t seem like he was born that long! Time flies!!

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Amelia

I am quite thankful Rachel has made it a point for me to see Amelia every few weeks, she will drive out just to sit with me as I work at home, catching me up on life. I love it… and then just this past week (the day after I posted her 3 month photos) she came by and we made up a “bed in the woods” photo shoot, just for fun. Here’s just a sneak peek, but oh. my. goodness…. I love so many of them. I can’t wait to post more in a few weeks!

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Molly

Molly is here!!! She has made her sweet precious arrival into this world, blessing her mommy and daddy beyond belief!! I got to be there with friends and family waiting… and waiting for her Tuesday night, but just after we left for the night, Trisha delivered at 2:55 a.m., Wednesday, September 18.

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I have gotten to have a few cuddle sessions with the little miss… but this photo is from that first day, at just about 8 hours old. 🙂

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Brides

Amie

I can definitely say that the months of September and October were full of nonstop wedding activities (hence the shortage on the quantity of baby photos above) from crafting days, to engagement photo sessions and of course, the bachelorette party! There were so many fun events to choose from but I have to share a favorite from their engagement session with me…. because its just so sweet. This day marked a turning point in the wedding planning as from that day forward, with just over a month to go, its been full time wedding crafting/scheming around this house. I left their place after our session with a long list of duties… and I must say I am kinda sad its almost here. It’s just been so much fun! It really has! But in just a few days (!!!) time, my best friend will be the Mrs. to her Mr. and that is just going to be the first page in a whole new chapter of our lives and that I must say is something I am most looking forward to!

P.S. The rest of their engagement session will be posted next week… and I must say it was extremely hard to narrow down which photos to post!

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Caitlin

For Cait’s wedding, I “coordinated” the wedding ceremony, which was a first for me—and we definitely we were just winging it! It was funny how many people asked if that was my new job and when finding out that was my first attempt at it, they then asked if I would do it again. And I totally would, even if it was just for friends and for the sake of seeing this moment… the moment before the miss became the Mrs., the moment where the bride takes that last deep breath holding onto her daddy’s arm, before she says “I do.”

She was just gorgeous and the wedding itself was beautiful!  You can see a photo I snapped during the ceremony here…

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BBQ

The boys have been doing so SO GOOD at their competitions. It’s pretty amazing to witness their triumphs at each and every comp. Over Labor Day weekend, they placed 4th among some of the top teams in the nation—over most of the guys on the BBQ Pitmaster shows. Everyone thought they were going to win 1st and the $10,000 prize for Grand Champion, but with a bad score in brisket, it brought them down to 4th place. Either way, just knowing that they have that ability, is pretty neat! Read more about that comp here.

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And then just one month later, at the Dana Point BBQ competition, out of a California record breaking 101 teams, they placed 4th again! So proud of our boys!

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And last, but not least, Andy’s episode of Supermarket Superstars aired on September 12 on Lifetime! He swears he spoke up quite a bit, but all of his lines were cut! But I still got to see my hubby on TV so it was still exciting!! He’s in the red jersey, #12 in this clip of their focus group.

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Follow past and upcoming Babies, Brides and BBQ here!

Kathleen and Allan’s Retro yet Modern Wedding Invitation featuring Caleb John Hill Photography

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Back in December when we first got to see down with our bestie as she told us about her engagement and the beginnings of wedding planning, she said, “I really like this for our invitations… Did you hear me Sam? This!” And then she stared at me with her big blue eyes. Okay okay Kathleen, I get the hint. Of course I will design your wedding invtiations!

And I could not have been more honored when this girl asked me [in her very special way.] Because she has some serious style and an eye for design!

So all that to say I was nervous!

After going through a few concepts, from an illustrated full color background look to a geometric modern take… Kathleen decided on this retro yet modern and very clean look. And on top of that, she ordered these gold envelopes!

Now that her [amazing] wedding photos are starting to make their way around the Internet, I wanted to show how her simple and modern wedding invitations came out, along with a few of my favorite wedding photos.

Wedding photography and the engagement session images used in the invitations are by Caleb John Hill.

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They used sittinginatree.co to collect their RSVPs, so a simple business card was included in a coin envelope to get the site and password out to guests.

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Now for the wedding photos, these are just a few of the many amazing photos from Caleb John Hill, see his blog post here.

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I loved Kathleen’s attention to detail… Since the wedding was held at the Riverside Art Museum, she had a table set up full of smaller cakes on cake stands to resemble Wayne Thiebaud’s “Cakes” (see photo of the oil painting here). It came out so so cool! One of my favorite parts of the decorations.

And of course, the buttons. Oh how I love these… She had their portrait illustrated by lilimandrill on Etsy. It turned out so so good!

If you follow me on Instagram, you may remember seeing me toting the Wheelers around the Northeast as it was [still is actually] attached to my camera bag.

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And of course, let’s not forget the mad dancing skills of Mr. and Mrs. Wheeler. Can’t have a wedding post without this glorious action shot.

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Thank you again for having me design your wedding invitations! Love you Mr. and Mrs. Wheeler!!

A Pankratz Wedding: Amie’s Cherry Blossom Festival Themed Bridal Shower

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Amie and I say that April 10, 2000 was the day we became best friends because that was the day we left for our 8th grade trip to Washington D.C. Before that day, we had grown up in girl scout trips not liking each other much… but after that trip, things changed. I stopped considering her a spoiled brat and she didn’t think I was as much of a cry baby as she once thought.

Six years later, Amie went back to Washington D.C. to attend American University as a transfer student for the next two years.

Washington D.C. holds a very special place in Amie’s heart which is why we were inspired to host a Washington D.C. themed shower. But you see, that isn’t a very girl-powered theme so instead we threw a cherry blossom themed shower in honor of the annual spring festival in D.C. (I seem to throw very geographic centered showers)

The shower, of course, wasn’t held in the spring months where cherry blossoms actually bloom so instead we opted to create paper blossoms. Easier said than done.

What followed is a good part of the year filled with crafting days, and nights, with cherry blossoms growing in my head. (see my Cherry Blossom Bridal Shower Pinterest board here)

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More photos and info on the invitation at the end of this post.

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Paper Cherry Blossom Centerpieces

My original idea was to handcraft each and every blossom at the shower. Obviously I must plead temporary insanity! I am so so SO thankful for finding a wonderful paper punch on Ebay… it came in 2 sizes as well so each blossom was a double layer of pink cardstock, punched through with half a pearl corsage pin (pin idea from this post) and then taped with green washi tape to the branch (most of the branches were purchased from Save on Crafts).

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We then collected a wide variety of bottles, each table had at least one large white vase along with a variety of blue tint and mercury glasses.

After spending months collected glasses from garage sales, Hobby Lobby, and Michaels… I then followed a few DIYs to get the exact number I needed:

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Flower Hair Pin Favors

Fellow bridesmaid, Joyce, made up the flower hair pins for all the guests! Our bride is well known for the various hair pin flowers she wears on a day to day basis. They were a hit and many wore them in their hair or as a brooch on their dresses throughout the shower. It truly was the perfect favor as it not only fit the theme but was so “Amie.”

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Eat, Drink and Be Cherry!

When I had asked Amie about some of the items she would like included at the shower, she said she’d love to have a custom cocktail! Luckily, we had already found quite a few recipes including a cherry blossom tea!

Drink Recipes: Cherry Blossom Tea and Lemonade and Blushing Bride Cocktail

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The dinner menu was inspired by one of Amie’s favorite D.C. restaurants, a French cafe called Le Madeline’s. Brittany compiled all the recipes, many of which were directly inspired by Le Madeline’s.

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Dinner recipes included:

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Paper Cherry Blossom Garland Chandelier

Hanging above our buffet table was a chandelier made from pink paper cherry blossoms, strung together with a variety of beads and pearls. Each garland was then fastened to a embroidery hoop which we had painted white and added a lace trim.

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Also hanging in the pergola were strings of tissue paper flowers, inspired by Emma’s bachelorette party on A Beautiful Mess. We changed the DIY tutorial by making them about 3/4 the size and using our cherry blossom template (enlarged from the paper punch).

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Dessert: Red Velvet Cupcakes and Strawberries Romanoff

Another request from the bride was to have red velvet cupcakes—her fave! Plus we had Strawberries Romanoff, another famous dish at Le Madeline’s. Recipe can be found here.

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Games and Activities

I am not a big fan on shower games so any shower I’ve had a hand in usually doesn’t have too many… but the ones we have usually end up being way too hard (like the Guess the Movie Bride game from Brittany’s shower last year)!

But when the idea for the “Guess the Washington D.C. Monument” game was proposed, we just had to do it! We collected years worth of photos of Amie’s time in D.C., framed and numbered each one and then had the guests guess which monument was which. Needless to say, this game was way too hard! But it was fun to have all the photos of Amie’s and almost all of her bridesmaids, mom, and fiance in them as well!

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We also had a “wishing tree,” where guests could write little notes to Amie… the tree was the very first shower decoration that I bought way back in April at the Garment District—cut from a whole Manzanita tree in the back of the shop!

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Another “game” we played was reciting the Panty Poem… each bridesmaid, along with the mother of the bride, chose a pair—or two—of panties for Amie. Since we had already requested all the guests to bring a pair to hang on our “panty lines,” it was only appropriate to have this poem. Fellow bridesmaid, Joyce, did a wonderful job reading the poem in her best 1st grade teacher voice. 🙂

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Gifts for the Bride!

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The backdrop for the gifts was one of my favorite decorations of the whole shower, and what took the absolute most time! Bead upon bead, blossom upon blossom, these garlands were strung ranging from 3 to 9 feet!

Now what do I do with them? Any buyers?? 🙂

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More About The Invitation…

As a graphic designer, I had placed quite a high standard for the quality of Amie’s shower invitations. I think 1/4 of my shower Pinterest board were various floral invites and envelope liner how-to’s.

Thankfully, it was time well spent because I just LOOOOVE how the invitation came out. Probably one of my favorite I have designed yet!

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I was able to take the time and get the details right, two favorite details though were the Washington D.C. Cherry Blossom postage stamps… and the envelope liner inspired by the crafted paper and bead garlands we had hanging in the tree by the gift table.

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Thank you Jess!

A big huge thanks goes out to Jess from J. Rose Photography who photographed all the decoration details and the various group shots Amie requested. Such a load off my shoulders and really allowed me to focus on hosting the shower. Would totally recommend that you hire an event photographer, if photos are a high priority for you! It really felt like a prelude to the wedding with her there!

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More Thanks…

The amazing details of the shower could not have come together without the help of some very special women in my life… thank you Brittany, Jan, Mom, and my fellow bridesmaids! You never seemed to tire of the various questions I ran by each of you… thanks for the crafting days, your help setting up, and of course the delicious food!

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Update: This shower was featured on My True Blu, a site dedicated to helping the friends of the bride. What a great site!

Another Year of Babies, Brides, and BBQ (July & August)

I really thought life couldn’t be crazier than it was last year, but this year has seriously been insane! I am so blessed with the work that I have been doing and get to do, but I am ever so thankful for these babies and being the matron of honor to my best friend bride to be, Amie! Oh and I guess I am thankful for BBQ too. 😉

Babies!

My little baby section is just growing and growing and growing!!

Jameson

Oh how I missed this sweet boy… having not seen him since his first birthday (!!!), he had all sorts of new tricks to show me including knowing how to say Sam. So so sweet!

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Owen

Oh little Owen, this kid just cracks me up! And every time I watch this video I want to laugh and cry at the same time. That laugh is just hysterically contagious!

And then just last week, I was looking after the boys for just a short amount of time and when I set Owen down, he just stood up and starting walking. I was in shock to see him walking around so much without holding on to anything! So proud of their little guy! (for some reason the walking video is only showing up sometimes 🙁 so I’ll just post a cute photo of the two of us to make up for it 🙂 )

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Grayson

I saw little G off and on over the months but each time was just too short of a time… I did manage to snag a few photos of him at our girls dinner a few weeks ago. His mama sure has him trained to pose for the camera… I would say these photos go…

“What do you think you are doing?”
“Oh, a camera! Here let me pose for you like my mommy taught me to”
“Would you like to see my belly button, I know just where it is!”

Or something like that…

And that “What are you doing?” totally reminds me of a face his mom gives me all the time too. 🙂 jk jk

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Evelyn

I know I just shared photos of this little blue eyed babe last week so I don’t have much more to say, but here is another photo of this gorgeous little lady and those giant blue eyes of hers!

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Amelia

I love that Rachel has moved back closer to me! It’s been a joy to watch Amelia grow over these last couple months with visits every couple of weeks. But after having gone about a month with no visit, seeing her for her 3 month photos was quite a shock to the little chunk she has become! Her mother had quite a few affectionate nicknames ranging from her little pot sticker to Buddha belly. 🙂

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Jedidiah

Our newest family member, Jedidiah made his entrance into this world on June 30… (funnily enough Miss Amelia, Jedi, and the next baby Gage were all due within 3 days of each other but all made their appearances over a month’s time). Anyway, we got to meet Jedi just last week while him and his family were down visiting the many beaches of southern California.

He truly is a sweet sweet baby, all smiles. 🙂

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Gage

This little guy… he is such a fighter! He was born with “transposition of the great arteries” and has had quite a few surgeries thus far in his short little life including open heart surgery! I finally got to meet him just two weeks ago and of course fell in love right away! You can see so many more photos of him and learn his story here… and as our pastor’s son, you can hear their testimony here from Pastor Josh’s first Sunday back at church last month.

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Molly

The day after we returned from our trip, we celebrated Miss Molly’s soon to be arrival with a baby shower for her mama. Jess did such a great job on the shower! You can see her post here, and mine here. It’s hard to believe that in my next post in two months, she will be here!! 🙂

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Brides

Amie

I spent the majority of the month of July getting ready for Amie’s bridal shower… which turned out to be exactly what I hoped it to be… it was a [hot] beautiful day showering Amie with love and presents. And since our bestie and my fellow bridesmaid was in from New York we ran as many wedding “errands” as possible in the days after the shower. From picking up our bridesmaid dresses and shoes to assembling the wedding invitations. And of course, Amie’s wedding dress fitting. Can not wait for you to see her in that gorgeous white dress! Pretty much the most beautiful dress I’ve ever did see!

This photo is just the first of many from her bridal shower. It was the first time all 6 bridesmaids were together with our bride, and a very happy moment! I promise to be posting a TON more photos in the coming weeks!

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Kathleen

Welp, Kathleen is now a Mrs! We celebrated at the Riverside Art Museum during the last weekend of July and then spent the night dancing on the rooftop! Okay… we didn’t dance because we had to catch our flight to Maine, but you get the point! She had the most fabulous details that I just adored, especially her cake table! I hope to share their photographer’s photos along with the invitations I helped her design soon! And of course, in mid-July we celebrated with a good old bachelorette party which you can read more about here.

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Caitlin

This gorgeous girl is getting married in just a few short weeks! And her bachelorette party is just next week! It was a short engagement but it still went by so much faster than I imagined! I am so excited for Jarred and Caitlin’s wedding, it is going to be such a good time!

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BBQ

I actually haven’t even been to a BBQ competition since the team competed in Temecula in June. That’s just crazy to think, but it’s been nice 🙂 haha

Anyway, the boys competed have just competed in 3 of their 4 back to back comps… starting in Huntington Beach on August 17 (same day as Amie’s shower!), then they took the 10 hour drive up to Wendover, Nevada and then this past weekend they competed in Mesquite, Nevada (their 4th time competing there—and they did an amazing job!!). I’ll wait to share Mesquite until next time but if you’d like to know more on their past two competitions, click here for Huntington Beach or here for Wendover.

Remember way back, when I mentioned Andy filmed a spot for a television show as a member of a focus group? Well his episode of Supermarket Superstars airs just next week on September 12, at 10:30 p.m. on Lifetime! After finally getting to watch a few episodes, we know his part will be super short, if they even show him at all, but I am definitely looking forward to my husband’s television premiere!

Follow past and upcoming Babies, Brides and BBQ here!