Same Color, Different Dress

“Always a bridesmaid and never a bride” – was a phrase I heard and lived for many years.  After being in and attending over 20 weddings by the time I got married, I pretty much knew exactly what I wanted and what I did not want for my husband, myself, my girls, his guys and our guests.

I think our wedding was fabulous and I have never felt so much love from so many people in one room.  It was by far, the greatest day of my life, not only because I was marrying the man of my dreams who has exceeded every expectation I had for a spouse, but because all of the people I loved from my old friends and family to my new friends and family were all together.

I loved planning my wedding, but am certainly not a professional, but there are certain things that I think went extremely well.  Based on my many years as a wedding guest, bridesmaid, maid of honor and of course, bride, here are some thoughts:

1You and your husband should make the decisions.  While we greatly respected our parents’ opinions, what they wanted/suggested, was not always what we did. One of the issues we had early on when planning our wedding was deciding to invite children.  Many of our cousins and close friends had little ones and we had to decide whether or not we should invite them.  In the end, no kids under the age of 13 were in attendance other than our nieces and nephew who were in the wedding.  Our wedding, our choice. Done.

2. Choose a reception venue that lets you walk through their kitchen. I had never thought about this before, but the owner of Perona Farms, where we had our reception, invited us into the kitchen on a day when they were having a wedding.  In other words, it was cooking in action. It was not specially cleaned for our visit. The floors were not greasy, it was extremely clean and there were inspirational signs hanging above from the ceilings reminding the serves to smile and to treat their customers like they were family.   We were sold.

3. Let your bridesmaids choose the style of dress after you choose the color.   We’ve all been there as bridesmaids – feeling horrible uncomfortable in a dress that makes your butt look big or is totally not your style.  It makes for an uncomfortable day to say the least and it shows – in person and in all of the pictures you try and smile sweetly for.   I did not want that for my girls.  My girlfriends are incredible. They are from all different eras in my life and come from all different backgrounds.  My thought was – they are all different as people, so why couldn’t they be different as bridesmaids?  I chose a beautiful royal blue for my color and let the girls try on  different styles so they would be comfortable.  After all, I want them to have fun and feel good about themselves.  My only request was that their dresses were long and to the floor. The girls were very happy that they were able to choose the style and shape that fit their bodies. I also let them choose their shoes.  One of my girls does not ever wear heels and she was relieved when I told her that flats were fine, as long as they were silver.

4 Skip the bouquet and garter toss, especially if most of the crowd is older.  I will never forget my ex-sister-in-law telling me of a wedding she and my brother attended where a heavier, unattractive girl caught the bouquet and the DJ had to practically beg the single guys to come out and catch the garter.  I felt awful for her and I was not even there!  Once I heard that, it was out. No way someone was going to feel badly at my wedding.

5. Enjoy cocktail hour with your guests. My husband and I truly love and enjoy our family and friends and wanted to spend as much time as we could with them on our wedding day. We skipped the traditional cocktail hour with the bridal party and enjoyed it with our guests.  This also made it more comfortable for the dates of those in the bridal party who might not have known many other guests. We did get introduced before dinner which worked out great.

6.  Get the traditional dances out of the way first.   Right after you are announced, go right into the first dance and the dances with the father and mother.  It’s less painful for the guests and the dancing later on does not need to be interrupted.

7.  Play slow music when dinner is served.  There is nothing worse than when guests are asked to be seated for dinner and a great dance tune from the 80s gets played.  I am not going to lie, I have gotten right up from the table to go out and bust a move, much to the dismay of the waiters and waitresses who are trying to serve the food.  Make sure the DJ/band holds the best dance songs before or after the food is served.

8.  Dance! My husband and I enjoyed our wedding to the fullest. We were out dancing with everyone and did not go to the tables until towards the end of the night. Enjoy the party.  Dance to the songs you so meticulously chose! It’s your day!

9.  Step back a moment and take it all in.  This was a piece of advice given to me by several people before I got married and I am glad I took it! Take a minute and stop everything to look around at the people in the room. It is so amazing to see your guests smiling, laughing, dancing, drinking and enjoying themselves.  To know that they were all there for us made my heart swell.

10.  Know that something, inevitably, will not go as planned.  My florist forgot to put the three while calla lilies in my bouquet, there was a major screw up at my hairdresser and cocktail hour had to be held inside since the heat lamps were not working. Even the DJ played a song we specifically asked him not to play. Guess what?  Our day was still perfect for us and all of those little things were just that – little things.  They did not take away from or ruin our day by any means.  Do not let them ruin yours!



It Really is Here!!



According to the calendar, we are a full week into spring.  When most people think of spring, images of bright green grass, blooming flowers, short-sleeved shirts and open-toed shoes come to mind. Well, at least those are the things that come to my mind.  While the sun has decided to show itself more and more this past week, the temps have remained cool, even in North Carolina as my dear uncle told me the other night.   I am wondering when the real spring weather will arrive.  I still do not have an answer to that, but I do have a strong indication that it’s on its way sooooon.

This morning, when I woke up and got out of bed, I smelled spring.  In our house.  Okay, it was actually the hyacinths that I bought for our moms for Easter that were blooming in the foyer, but the lovely scent  immediately woke me up and put a smile on my face.  While I love the smell of most flowers, certain ones make my allergies go nuts.  Guess what? Blooming hyacinths are one of them. Yep. Just found that out this morning.  After sneezing five to six times, I decided that I had better take them outside.  When I placed them on our stoop, I heard the most wonderful sound – birds chirping!  I started to get excited.  Spring really is here.  The sun is out.  Flowers are blooming (at least in our house) and the birds are singing songs.   Now, if the temperatures would rise up (literally) and join the party, things would really be good…

Happy Spring!

I Love the South!

NC Flowers 001NC Flowers 002NC Flowers 003NC Flowers 005


For the past few days, my husband and I were in Wilmington, North Carolina visiting our beloved aunt and uncle.  I have always loved North Carolina and am always reminded of the goodness in people and the beauty of nature when I return from my favorite southern state.

I love the South. There really is Southern hospitality. It is not a myth.  People hold the doors for you.  They greet you if you pass them in a store or on the street.  They say “ma’am” and “sir” and are very respectful of each other.  People are even considerate on the highways and local streets while driving. I remember one time my aunt got in the wrong lane and need to move over to the correct lane to make a turn. My uncle simply rolled down the window and flagged the driver in the lane next to us.  “Excuse me, Sir.  We are in the wrong lane.  Would it be alright if we went ahead of you when the light turns green?”    “Sure,” the man responded. And he let us in.  And my uncle just sat back like that was a normal thing. I could not believe it.  That is something I had never seen before.

I love the South.  I  always look forward to eating and enjoying Southern foods such as hush puppies, sausage biscuits and gravy, cornbread, grits, fried oysters, and okra. I also love fried clams,  shrimp and catfish. MMMMM!! My LORD do I love Southern food. I never eat fried foods at home, but there is something about the fried food down there that warms my heart and my tummy!  I think it might be because the food is made with love and to think that some of the recipes have not changed for hundreds of years is amazing to me.  During this visit, my uncle introduced my husband and I to red-eye gravy. It is salty goodness made with a hint of coffee and served over grits.  It is fantastic! I have to learn how to make that at home.

I love the South.  I enjoy the entire atmosphere of taking things a little more slowly than up North.  I like the way Southerners speak – not just their accents, but their sayings. My uncle was born and bred in North Carolina and the phrases he uses are priceless. My uncle is very rational, frank and honest without being offensive. My husband calls my uncle’s sayings “nuggets of genius” because you cannot argue with them. What he says is true.  And if he has nothing to say, he does not say anything.  As he said during this trip – “Say what you mean and mean what you say.”

I love the South.  The weather is wonderful, though it can get hot and humid.  But, when it does, you can enjoy one of the sandy white beaches and actually see the bottom of the ocean if you venture in for a swim.  As a result of the warm temperatures, many flowers, trees and shrubs are in bloom almost all year round and their colors are bright and vibrant. The flowers on top of this post were taken in front of a hospital.  Southerners take pride in making things aesthetically pleasing and I love that.  It shows that they take pride in the appearance of their homes, yards and businesses.

I love the South. It warms my heart and soul and reaffirms the fact that there are really good and decent people in this world.  Not that there are not any in the North, please don’t get me wrong.  It just seems that the laid back, honest, hard-working, down-home lifestyle actually makes people happier.  And when people are happier with themselves, they are kinder to others. And that is a good thing.

Being in one of my favorite places with some of my favorite people makes every trip a great one.  The next one cannot  come soon enough!