Celebrating love and life every day

The Lush's Blush blogI’m a firm believer in celebrating life every single day. One of my favorite quotes about celebrating the mundane comes from author Hester Browne.

“Always keep a bottle of champagne in the fridge for special occasions. Sometimes the special occasion is having a bottle of champagne in the fridge!”

We didn’t have champagne, but I did enjoy a margarita tonight in celebration of my six-month wedding anniversary.

Is that even a thing? Well, who cares! Every month since I’ve been married I’ve wanted to celebrate. Though every day is not as exciting as our wedding day or as lovely as our honeymoon, I do find joy in the every day mundane things like enjoying Mexican food at the little restaurant across the street, or snuggling with my husband while we binge-watch Supernatural on Netflix.

Life is full of not-so-fun adulting business like dealing with insurance and taxes and doctor’s appointments, but life, too, is full of mundane magical moments spent with the ones you love!

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Something old, something new

Blue wedding shoes | The Lush's Blush blog
Photo Courtesy of Elise Brown | Photography by Kunal Mehta of Events by SPL

While weddings are beautiful, magical, wonderful things, they can also cause a bride stress. One of the things I didn’t want to stress too much about was the “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.”

On my wedding day I chose to wear a sapphire ring that belonged to my mother. I counted this as my something blue, something old and something borrowed. My dress was new, of course, so I counted that.

Weddings have a lot of tradition associated with them, but I think, like myself, most brides today are making choices based on what they like.

My good friend Erin agreed. She’s a hair and makeup artist and owner of Glass Door Salon in Winston-Salem, NC, and has worked with hundreds of brides over the years. She said most brides today try to honor the “something old” saying, but also they just go with accessories they like and best fit the style of their wedding.

“Most brides are choosing things they like as opposed to ‘something blue,’ but still incorporating it. Some choose to use a brooch with a blue stone, use a blue garter or sew a patch of their dad or granddad’s blue shirt into the underneath of their dress,” Erin told me.

Memorial heart | The Lush's Blush blog
Photo courtesy of Elise Brown | Photography by Kunal Mehta of Events by SPL

I love what my sorority sister Elise did for her “something old.” She had a special fabric heart made from pieces of her mother’s, aunt’s and grandmother’s wedding gowns that she had with her on her wedding day.

Incorporating a special family piece is still very much a key theme for brides today, a manager at my local bridal boutique told me. Vicki Hendrix is the manager at Southern Bride in Yadkinville, NC.

Vicki said tradition is still a very big part of bridal fashion and especially when it comes to the accessories.

“Brides are using a lot of tradition in their weddings, they’re incorporating a lot of elements that may be from their mother or grandmother in jewelry, most classic is pearls.”

Bridal earrings | The Lush's Blush blog
Photo courtesy of Elise Brown | Photography by Kunal Mehta of Events by SPL

Simple bridal jewelry like a necklace and earrings and possibly a bracelet. Again, a piece of jewelry from a family member is often a popular choice, Vicki said.

What special pieces did you choose (or are you planning to do) for your “something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue?” I’d love to hear about it. Leave me a note in the comments!

 

 

Vineyard weddings in the Yadkin Valley

I am extremely proud of the beautiful Yadkin Valley Wine Region I call home. I got married an one of our area vineyards, RagApple Lassie, and it was a magical experience. If you are in North Carolina and considering a wedding venue, one of our state wineries or vineyards is a lovely choice. Below is a piece I wrote for On The Vine magazine.


 

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Bridal portrait by Rod Hunter

The busy holiday season is over, but for many couples, excitement is building anew as they plan to start their lives together. The holiday season is one of the most popular times of the year for engagements and so as a new year begins, many are planning for that special day — their wedding day.

Following the all-important dress decision, the ceremony and reception location is one of the biggest decisions for a couple. Many of the wineries and vineyards of the Yadkin Valley play host to multiple weddings a year. Couples may choose to have their wedding and/or reception at a winery for various reasons, but most, said winery owner Lenna Hobson, love the atmosphere of a winery or vineyard.

“There’s a romance and a mystique attached to wineries and that’s part of what helps

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Mary and Blake Johnson at Raffaldini Vineyards | Ron Day Photography

to bring people to the Yadkin Valley,” Hobson said. Hobson and her husband Frank are the owners of RagApple Lassie Vineyard and Winery in Boonville.

“It’s romance, pure and simple. It’s a centuries old mystique that weddings and love and romance pairs with perfectly,” Hobson said.

While some of the couples who have been married at RagApple Lassie found the location by happenstance, Hobson said many have a connection with the winery in some way. Several couples got engaged at the winery and returned to have their wedding or reception there. Hobson said they often return every year to celebrate their anniversary at the winery as well.

When a unique building adjacent to their property became available a few years ago, the owners of Hanover Park in Yadkinville added on a special space just for weddings and other events. Amy Helton, who owns the winery along with her husband, said the new space has been a big hit with brides. Having a space separate from their winery tasting room also allows a lot of flexibility for couples to decorate and prepare their space in advance of the ceremony or reception.

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Jennifer K. Photography

Helton said couples who have been married at Hanover Park have been from all across the state of North Carolina and some from out of state as well. The unique setting of the vineyard provides a scenic place for a couple’s special day.

Those scenic views showcasing the beauty of nature get in the blood for some, including Jennifer and Nick White. In October of 2008, the couple said their “I dos” at Elkin Creek Vineyard where they became friends with the owner. Now, the couple, along with their friends Louis and Carrie Jeroslow, own the vineyard.

“Elkin Creek Vineyard speaks to couples who are looking for a wedding venue that

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showcases nature, is secluded, but is not remote or hard to get to,” said Louis Jeroslow. “The site of a Historic Grist Mill built in 1896, our special location features two creeks flowing through the property. One of our most sacred and symbolic places at Elkin Creek Vineyard is where the two creeks join together to form one. This extraordinary setting can host very intimate ceremonies and larger-scale celebrations.

“Elkin Creek Vineyard embodies the elegant-rustic qualities that are now so highly sought after,” Jeroslow added. “We have worked very hard to create wedding packages that are completely scalable to the size needed. We often provide an all-inclusive wedding experience to private elopements and can also host weddings up to well over 100 guests. The flexibility and personal touches are what really attract couples to want to have their wedding here.”

Local wedding photographer Jennifer Kleinheksel has photographed multiple weddings at Elkin Creek and other area vineyards. She said a vineyard setting for a wedding makes for beautiful images which will be treasured for years to come.

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Jennifer K. Photography

“I love photographing weddings at our area vineyards and wineries because I get to be a part of one of the most important days in someone’s life and at a beautiful location,” Kleinheksel said. “There is so much love and joy that is part of the day and it is a true honor to be the one to capture it all. It is my job to not just be taking photographs of the day, but to actually capture the essence and feelings that the couple felt so that every time they look back at their images, they will be able to relive and feel those feelings all over again.”

For couples looking to tie the knot at a Yadkin Valley vineyard, the best place to start is visiting area vineyards to get a feel for the setting. Most area vineyards also have information available on their websites or by contacting the location regarding wedding and reception options.

Wedding photos courtesy of Rod Hunter, Ron Day and Jennifer K. Photography

My wedding day was magical (and yours will be too)

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First dance with my new husband!

This time last year I was deep in the throes of wedding planning. I remember being excited, but also a little stressed and worried.

Number one, weddings are expensive. All of the pretty things, even when you are trying to DIY, can add up quickly on the budget.

And then there is the added stress of everyone telling you not to stress.

“The most important thing is that you are marrying the love of your life. Nothing else really matters,” they will tell you. They are correct. BUT, it doesn’t mean you don’t want the day to be perfect.

If all that *really* mattered was just having the paper saying you are

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All my wedding pictures, even those taken by friends on their smartphones make me so happy to look at it!

married, you would likely just go to the Justice of the Peace, which is also totally fine and will likely be magical for you anyway.

But, if you are planning a regular wedding, and by regular I mean the white dress, cake etc., you really do want it to be magical and amazing and special.

And here is the secret, it will be. And here is the other secret, you will still probably stress out at some point during the planning process.

I had a pretty good meltdown about a week before the wedding. I cried and cursed. Pretty sure I let the F word fly in front of my dad, which is definitely not something I usually do. I blabbered to my fiance that it was all a mistake and we should have just gone to the Justice of the Peace.

But guess what, I think I needed that emotional release and once it was out of my system I was good.

So, the bottom line is this. If you’re in the wedding planning process right now, just take it easy. Ask for help when you need it. Don’t be stressed, but if you do stress, just take it one day and one project at at time.

It is very possible that *something* may go wrong on your wedding day. In our case, my husband’s brother who was supposed to be a groomsman couldn’t come, but luckily his cousin was able to step into the role.

Whatever minor thing may or may not happen, the bottom line really is that you are marrying the love of your life and it will all seem magical once it’s happening. It will all seem magical when you look back at the pictures too.

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I also recommend taking lots of pictures throughout the process, like when trying on wedding dresses. Even though I didn’t pick this dress, it makes me happy to look back at these memories of the wedding planning process.

 

I’m still a new bride having only been married a little more than four-months now, but I’m still obsessed with my our wedding pictures. I can’t stop looking at them.

So new brides-to-be, just relax, you’re wedding will be magical!

 

 

Just got engaged? Start here.

The holiday season is the most popular time of the year for couples to get engaged. I should know as my husband proposed to me on Christmas Eve in 2014. The holiday season, with all the lights and gathering with friends and family, is so magical so it’s no wonder many choose this time of year to pop the question.

As we head into 2016 there are undoubtedly a number of you getting ready to plan a wedding. I think there is a misconception that most women have been planning their weddings since age 6. Yes, a lot of us women, have certainly given thought over the years to what our wedding day will be like, but that is a far cry from planning the actual event.

With the creation of Pinterest, it became an even bigger joke that women, in particular, have their entire weddings planned out and aren’t even engaged or don’t even have a significant other in their lives. Yes, Pinterest is full of great ideas and lovely images of weddings. I, too, had a Pinterest wedding board long before I was ever engaged. Again, looking at pictures online or even a magazine is a long way from actually planning the wedding.

I have offered some wedding planning advice before, but below are a few more tips to those of you just getting started in this process.

1. Enjoy the process. Your wedding day is one of the most special days in your life and trust me, the actual day will go by so incredibly fast you won’t know what hit you. So, between now and the big day, try to relax and just relish in the mundane joys of planning your wedding. Now is the time to start going through that wedding Pinterest board you made three years ago and decide what things you really want and what you can live without. Planning can be stressful because you want everything to be perfect, but try to relax and enjoy it as much as you can.

2. First things first. Choosing a wedding date is the obvious first step and believe me, as soon as you tell people you’re engaged, it’s the first thing they’re going to ask. Nevermind he just popped the question yesterday, they want to know today, “when is the big day.” The actual date holds special meaning for many couples. Morgan and I started dating six years ago on July 29, and while that was not an option for our wedding date in 2015, August 29 was, so we went with that. You may have just a certain time of year in mind, for example maybe you like the idea of a Christmas wedding. Just know that whatever date you pick, there are likely to be some on your guest list who can’t make that date for whatever reason. We had several people comment on the “bad timing” of our wedding. Frankly, while we certainly wanted our loved ones there, we weren’t able to coordinate with every single person’s schedule when picking a date. Just know you aren’t going to please everyone and choose a date that works best for you, your spouse and immediate family. As you are selecting a date, at this point you will also want to start asking your friends that you want to be in the bridal party so you can make sure they are available for that date.

3. Saying yes to the dress. Choosing my dress was one of the very first things I did in my wedding planning process. If you just got engaged over Christmas this is a great time of year as many shops offer special sales in January. I would highly recommend going as soon as possible to start picking out a dress. Choosing a dress can be an overwhelming process and you may want to go to multiple shops, multiples times so the earlier you start this process the better off you are. And just remember to keep an open mind. I said for years that I never wanted to wear a strapless wedding dress because I worried I would be tugging on it all night. Of course, the dress I fell in love with was strapless. If the gown fits you correctly though, you shouldn’t have to worry about tugging on it to keep it in place, even while dancing. On this note, I will also add that you may want to shop around for alteration pricing. I purchased my dress during the annual sale at David’s Bridal, but the alterations were going to cost me nearly as much as the dress itself. Luckily, I found another seamstress who worked on bridal gowns at a much better rate. I also found better pricing online for some of my accessories, including my veil.

4. Location, location, location. The next major step in the process and one you will want to do early on, is choosing your wedding venue. If you are getting married in a church or special events venue, you will want to book your date as soon as possible. Remember, Christmas is the most popular time of year for engagements so you may be competing with other newly engaged couples for the perfect venue. If the location you choose does not offer in-house catering you may also want to go ahead and book a caterer before their schedule fills up as well. If you plan to hire a professional wedding planer you may wish to go ahead and book this person now so they can begin helping you get prepared.

5. Make a list and check it often. You’ve got the ring, you’ve picked a date, you’ve found your dress and booked your venue. Now, you can breathe a little bit. Of course there are many more things to plan out and decide upon, but once you have these major decisions made, it’s time to celebrate a little. I do recommend keeping a list, you can even do this on your smart phone. Keep this list with you at all times so when you get a great wedding idea you can jot it down quickly and come back to it later in the planning process. Once you get down to the nitty gritty of planning, a spreadsheet can also be helpful.

For those of you newly engaged, congratulations! Best wishes for a wonderful wedding day and a long and happy marriage.