Friday, October 10, 2014

Blair + Daniel

This is one of the sweetest stories I've shared! It's so sweet that they coined the phrase, " I yeah you" because they felt it was too soon to say love! ha! Also note the presence of God's magic in this story. The last thing Blair was looking for was a love interest, and then Daniel walked into her Sunday school class one random morning...

From Blair: I have always heard the saying, "Love will find you when you least expect it."  That is very true in our story.  Daniel and I actually met when the last thing I was looking for was love.

In January 2009 I had just gotten out of a long relationship.  I had been attending a very small church with my previous boyfriend so it was time for a change.  My parents invited me to their church, but before I agreed I asked to look at the church directory.  I wanted to make sure that there wasn’t anyone at their church that I would be attracted to or could be interested in.  I needed to go to focus on my relationship with God, not another boy.  I looked though the directory carefully making sure there would be no distractions at my new place of worship.

After a month of regularly attending, on a rainy February night Daniel walked into Wednesday night Bible study.  I hadn’t met him yet and assumed he was already with the girl he was sitting next to, so I didn’t take much notice of him.  But he sure noticed me!  The very next day, February 19, I got a friend request and a message through Facebook.  He apologized for not introducing himself the night before.  I was excited to be making a new friend but noticed that he was in a relationship on Facebook so I didn’t push it.  We exchanged friendly messages back and forth about how long I had been attending and that his work schedule had prevented him from being a regular attender but that he had gone to the church since high school.  Also, realizing that we had spent our whole lives living just 15 minutes from each other and attending many of the same youth events in high school.  He mentioned in one message that his schedule allowed him to be at church for both Sunday School and church that week.  I was so excited to have made a friend at my new church, (who I was kinda crushing on but wasn’t going to do anything about it because Facebook said he was in a relationship; however, he never mentioned a girlfriend).  I couldn’t wait to get to church the next morning.  Only problem was that it had snowed over night and the roads were ice.  However I was determined to get there!   I was not going to let a little snow get in my way. Halfway there, I felt so silly thinking he might not even show up and how crazy I was. But, he made it to Sunday School too! He was amazed that I made it too, since I lived further away.  Together we helped break up ice on the sidewalk and were the only students in class.  We ended up sitting together during the church service and he introduced me around (many church members assuming we were already a couple).  Miraculously, after church I checked Facebook and he wasn’t in a relationship anymore!

That was my cue!  I sent him my Instant Message screenname and we chatted even more that week.  He explained that things had been over with his ex for a while but he just needed a push to make it official (me being the push!).  He asked me out to lunch with some friends the next Sunday.  Our first date was on Sunday, March 8 we went to lunch with some friends and then just the two of us went for a hike Bowie Nature Park.  Our first date lasted 8 hours!  I didn’t want to leave.  When I finally got home and was gushing about Daniel, my mom reminded me of a plaque I have on my wall, it says "Do not worry, the Lord will provide."  And boy did He!

We both fell fast and hard for each other!  Coining the term “I yeah you” after just a few dates because we both thought it was too early to say ‘love.’  That didn’t last long.    We talked multiple times a day and saw each other as often as we could.  Even though it had only been just a few months I felt like I had known him my entire life.  He was so easy to talk to and made me smile and laugh more than I ever had before.

In May, Daniel picked me up for what I thought was just another afternoon hike.  It turned out to be much more!  Halfway though the hike I was talking about the song “All Hail the Power of Jesus Name” and how funny I thought it was that prostrate and prostate are so similar.  At that moment we stepped on a bridge I had never hiked to before, only seen from another trail.  We took a minute to just look around,  when I turned around to look at Daniel he was on one knee!  I’m sure he said some lovely words about just being together for three short months but knowing that I was the one the night he met me.  But honestly, I have no recollection because I was beyond surprised and out of my mind excited!  However, my exact words after saying ‘yes’ were, “Is it real?”  To this day Daniel and I debate whether or not I was talking about the ring.  I stand firm that I was talking about the situation.  I was making sure it was a real moment and he wasn’t joking, since one week before I told him if he asked me to marry him I wouldn’t say yes because we hadn’t been dating long enough. :)

We raced back down the trail to find my sister and a photographer waiting to capture the moment and my parents waiting with our first wedding present... an egg slicer.

Nine months later on February 6, 2010 (less than one year from the day we met) we were married. Four years later, I am still the happiest I have ever been and so glad Daniel’s directory picture did not do him justice.  He makes me smile and laugh everyday.  The verse engraved inside our wedding rings is Mark 10:9 “Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”  Because it was truly the Lord that brought our hearts together.

We now have a house and a dog and are living out our happily ever after!

Friday, October 3, 2014

My 10 Commandments for Wedding Planning

My final blog for Wedding 101 was my favorite to write. I didn't have to write about a certain company. I didn't have to write about anything generic or "typical" for a wedding blog. After spending 4 years talking to brides, I have learned a lot about how a wedding proposal and the planning process can consume a woman...and the relationship. Being that I have never been engaged or been through the process as I bride, I can't imagine the stress one would be under. But, what I do know is what kind of bride I would be because I know what type of person I am.

 Truth is, you don't have to be wedding planning to follow these 10 commandments.

1. Be Nice- While you should be nice all the time,  make sure to be extra nice to all of the people helping you with your wedding planning, especially whoever is paying. No one has to help you, but people do because they are excited and happy for you! Don't snap on people during times of frustration. Take a deep breath, smile, and be a sweet Southern lady.

2. Be Thankful- Not everyone gets to have the wedding of their dreams. Be thankful for the amazing man you call your fiancee, your supportive family and friends, and this moment in your life.

3. Don't Bend to Pressure- You will be getting pressure from everyone about your wedding; family, friends, wedding professionals, and yourself. The process can be difficult and challenging, but have the wedding that's perfect for you and your groom. Include what's important to you, your fiancee, and both of your families.

4. Don't Make an Impulse Buy- Ladies, you don't have to book a vendor at a bride show because they are offering an amazing deal. If you book on the spot, you are making an impulse buy. I once bought a hair straightener from a woman off the street because it was a "great product at an affordable price." It was terrible. I'm not saying that those vendors are terrible...I'm saying sleep on it before you make a final decision.

5. Love Your Body- Do NOT, I repeat, do NOT decide to start dieting during your engagement (which happens to be an emotionally and physically stressful time). It will not work, and you will be so disappointed and hard on yourself. You are beautiful, and your wedding dress will be beautiful...both of those together makes you a beautiful bride. Love yourself and your body. In fact, shake what your momma gave ya.

6. Don't Worry About Crowd Pleasing - News flash! You are planning one of the biggest parties of your life. There will be music, drinks, food, your friends, and YOU! That is pleasing. Your guests will have a blast. It's not about pleasing them. You are inviting your friends and loved ones to a free date night. Don't put your focus on that. Your guests will have a blast.

7. Mandatory Date Nights- Make sure you and your beau have regular date nights during the engagement...and do NOT talk about the wedding. Couples can lose themselves in the process, so this is very important. The wedding doesn't define your life or relationship. It defines one day that starts the rest of your life. So keep up with those date nights where ya'll can relax and unwind!

8. Consider Your Groom- While he may pretend not to care, he really does. He wants to see you happy. Be open and keep him in the loop of the planning. Ask him for his opinion and input on  He is your partner...share the planning details, but also share how you are feeling. He will be able to help you take on the stress.

9. Laugh- Whenever you feel like crying about how stressed out you are, find something that makes you giggle. Get on Pinterest and look up "funny baby animals" or "wedding planning ecards." You'll laugh. Don't let this get you down. Keep on smiling and laughing, and remember, things could be worse!

10. Remember Why You Are Doing This- Ladies, remember the reason you are doing this. It's not about the wedding. The wedding is a symbol for the bigger picture, which is a marriage of two people and their families. You are doing this because you have found the one you want to share your life with. Not just share your life, but you want to create a life with him. It's hard to find that these days, ladies. You are about to embark on one of the happiest and most difficult challenges of your life.

While I targeted brides for this article, these are commandments that I try to live by on a daily basis. I should've called these " My 10 Commandments For Being A Nice Person." I needed a reminder of the type of person I want to be and continue to attempt to be each day. Thank you, Wedding 101 for the love, lessons, experiences, and amazing opportunities over the past several years.

Now, cheers to moving onto the next chapter carrying these lessons and aspirations with me! :)

Monday, September 29, 2014

Trust The Timing Of Your Life.

I can't remember the last time I blogged, but I'm back with an exciting, yet bittersweet, announcement! I am leaving the wedding world and Wedding 101 Nashville. Will this make it hard for me to collect love stories? Well, kinda. But, this is just another challenge and motivator for me to get out there and talk to people. Not just talk, but engage with them in a real, meaningful conversation.

Why am I leaving the wedding industry...after working for free for one year, after giving up all free time and weekends to work weddings (while in college), after finally landing an awesome position in the wedding world where I didn't have to work weekends? 

The answer is messy, but it's spilt milk that's already spoiled. So instead of explaining, I'm moving on. The one majorly critical reason for my decision was that there was no room for me to grow professionally or personally unless I wanted to open my own company. Which, I certainly do not. I learned so much, helped amazing couples, and made so many dear friends during my time in the wedding industry. I will carry all of those lessons with me into my new adventure.  

I am moving into the optical world, my glasses wearing friends. I was offered a position on the founding team of Warby Parker's corporate Nashville office. I will be working alongside 14 other awesome people to launch the customer experience branch! I'm so excited to start this new journey with such an amazing company. I am very blessed and thankful for the opportunity, and I can't wait for the new people, lessons, and experiences ahead! 

(Blurry to Clear)

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

I'm Back!!! With A Very Special Love Story!

It has been several weeks since I've had anything new. June was beyond busy, and I have been quite distracted with my own love story! To be horribly and embarrassingly honest, LoveStruck was very low on my priority list until just last week. What better way to end my hiatus than to get things started back up with my brother's love story....with his now FIANCE'! 

Like many love stories, their's doesn't start out very pretty. But it is real. It is full of emotion. It's beautiful to see someone grow and heal with love. I'll let Shannon tell the rest...

Most every love story begins with them emphasizing that “this isn’t your usual fairy tale”. Well that’s the case for me as well; our story was definitely not Disney worthy at first.

 Jonathan and I met when we both worked at the Murfreesboro Athletic Club. I should tell you that when I say met I mean I would walk by him with googly eyes and drool coming out of the side of my mouth. I worked in the childcare while he worked the smoothie bar. I didn’t know much about him other than he was older, was the quiet type and was freaking gorgeous. All the childcare girls and I would refer to him as the hot smoothie guy. I would suggest we all get smoothies all the time just so I could go out there and see him (not talk, just stare). My shy side was definitely apparent at that age in front of good looking men. I never considered making any kind of move because in my mind there was no chance. He was older and would never go for a 17-year-old with braces and an awkward personality.

He eventually left, the childcare had to find new boys to talk about and his Facebook status changed to in a relationship. As was mine; I continued a relationship with another boy. This went on for a few years until one day I received a Facebook message Christmas Eve from Mr. Jonathan telling me it’s been awhile and he wanted to know how I was doing. I wish you could have seen the look on my face when I opened that. HOT SMOOTHIE GUY RETURNS. We started having small talk and began talking regularly. When the time came for him to ask me out on a date I reply with….” I have a boyfriend.” Yes, I was still in a relationship. We had been on and off for about three years. Honestly, the relationship should have ended a lot sooner but I was stuck. I kept telling myself that he would change and be what I needed if I just stayed around (but that’s a whole other story). So you understand my eagerness to talk to a boy who was kind and heck, actually talked to me! My current boyfriend at the time came and went as he pleased. He would talk to me when his phone wasn’t “lost” or he was bored at his house. So when Jonathan heard this he was rather shocked, of course! We decided to grab some food together, but ditch the term “date”. We met at Nachos here in Murfreesboro. I ordered food but barely touched it because I was so nervous. I just kept thinking…holy crap he’s gorgeous. Please stop smiling, it’s too much to handle. Haha. We talked about our families, his career, me being in school and anything else we could think of. We had to get kicked out of the place because we stayed until after they closed. I was thankful my mom motivated me to go meet him, because I was too indecisive and nervous to go without a push.

After that things just kind of started rolling; I left my boyfriend and got more serious with Jonathan. I was experiencing things I didn’t know were possible; a boy actually intimately talking to me daily, about my thoughts, plans, goals, etc. I hadn’t experienced that in … awhile. He cared, he listened, he came to visit me at work, he engaged with my family and so much more. I was blown away by this boy and so in shock that men like him actually existed.

And then…

Walls came up; many walls. I didn’t want to be touched. When he would try and cuddle, I’d cringe and try to move away. I was rude, cruel and hurtful. I started telling him we weren’t compatible, that we had nothing in common and this wasn’t going to work. But I stayed; I continued to talk to him every day. I continued to miss him and eagerly await his text messages. So why was I being such a (pardon my French) bitch? I was hurt so badly from my past relationship, that I didn’t even give Jonathan a chance. I was used to having to be on my own in a relationship and being manipulated. I was pushing away. This is the part in movies and books the audience is always exclaiming “NO you idiot! He loves you, let him in!” His friends and family were asking him why he was putting himself through this. He was getting hurt on a daily basis. I would tell him he deserves better and to just leave me be. But he didn’t. He kept telling me he saw something in us and he would do whatever it takes, and that’s exactly what he did. He tried and tried and eventually those walls started to disappear. He began to teach me what he looked for in a girlfriend. Because for the past 3 years I wasn’t one; I was basically single with a boy that would randomly enter my life. Jonathan showed me what love was coming from a boyfriend and just… changed everything. I told him I’d be his girlfriend and told him I loved him within a matter of months. We started building a life together and learning about each other.

A year and some months later, we moved in together. A week ago, we got engaged.

We still have our struggles; not being on the same page, not communicating like we need to and other little things of the sort. But we are so closely connected it is unreal. I’ve never felt a connection like it. He sees me, like really sees me. He knows what makes me tick, what to do to make me happy and even what I want to eat. (I make him order for me quite often). I have been in love before, but this is a whole other experience. The engagement wasn’t all butterflies and rainbows, because I’ve known I was going to marry him. Now I just have a ring and a Facebook status to show it. Don’t get me wrong, I am freaking excited. But I have been, every day since I received that text message Christmas Eve.

So my message to everyone would be: don’t let one relationship change your outlook on every relationship you have. Don’t let your past effect your present. Be open-minded and willing to change, because from that comes happiness and new experiences—like marrying the hot smoothie bar guy. ;]

Shannon, we love you and can't wait to have you as an official member of the family. I also am beyond excited to attempt to micromanage your wedding planning!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Lindsay + Andrew

It's been a while...but I was waiting for summer, and with summer comes a new love story! Lindsay and Andrew were models for one of my Wedding 101 style shoots. During the long, 8 hour day, I had plenty of time to talk to the couple and hear about their story. I LOVED it...not because something dramatic happened but because it is something most relationships go through now, long distance. While this can be emotionally trying for most people, enough to break the relationship, the distance wasn't enough to stop these two...

"Andrew and I attended the same college, and had many mutual friends. But the first time we officially met was on the set of a short-film that Andrew and his friends were making. I was playing the role of "the girl in the bloody dress." I remember Andrew coming out and greeting me as I walked toward the building and giving me a big hug. At this time however, we were both otherwise romantically entangled.  So we saw each other from time to time, but that was it.

Then about a year and a half later, after we had both graduated, Andrew had a dream about me. He sent me a Facebook message, asking if I was still around San Diego and if I would want to hang out. He and his roommates were hosting a 4th of July party at their house, and he invited me. That night, we held hands. A few days later Andrew took me out on our first date. We went to La Jolla, spent some time at an art museum, walked out to see some sea lions, and ate sushi. 

Things got a little complicated very soon after, because I had several (4) gentlemen callers other than Andrew that I was seeing at the same time. We talked about it, and Andrew decided that he didn't want to be one of five. So we took a hiatus. I spent the next couple months taking care of my unresolved romantic business. 

I really missed Andrew during our time apart. So I called him and began to pursue our relationship again. He wasn't getting the hint...until I kissed him. After that, we were basically inseparable. It was a blissful 2 month until Andrew moved to Nashville. Originally we had planned to break up when Andrew left. But as the time drew closer, we decided to try to make a long distance relationship work. And we did, for 6 months. We talked on the phone every day, and texted far too much. 

At the end of the 6 months, I quit my job, and moved to Nashville. I was strongly advised against the move by basically everyone. And it was difficult, but it was much better than being in a long distance relationship. 

The moment we decided we wanted to get married, happened outside the Jimmy Johns on West End Ave. I don't remember how the topic of conversation got started, but we decided we wanted an October wedding. 

We actually had a September wedding, but that was because by the time Andrew proposed, September was the only month available at our venue. It was worth the wait though, because the proposal was perfect. Andrew arranged for my sister, and several other of our friends to be in town at the same time. He pretended to be working on a promo video for one of those friends, but in reality, he was making his video proposal. (Which you too can view on Facebook)

We recently celebrated our 1 year anniversary. And truthfully, it has been the most wonderful year. We have had many adventures, and my life is richer and more joyful for having Andrew in it. We love each other more and more every day. And I can't wait to be married for 60, 70 more years."