My Little Sister Got Married!!


This post has been months in the making. Earlier this year my little sister called me with panic in her voice. She was six months out from theee day, completely overwhelmed and ready to sink in wedding planning. I said  to her “you say the word, and I’ll do whatever you need,” and she quickly said “WORD.”  🙂 Together we dove in!

You can imagine the thoughts of vendors trying to make sense of a bride in Atlanta with a wedding “assistant” in Raleigh, planning a Tuesday wedding in Alton, Illinois. Yes #crazyishowweroll. The great thing about our family is low budget goes without saying and finally! I got to plan a wedding via pinterest. Granted it wasn’t an extravagant affair but we had a beautiful church, a reception on a golf course (with open bar for the bridal party and limited open access wine and beer) professional photography, and a DJ that totally rocked. We did the entire wedding of 75 guests, a bridal party of 12 (most of which were kiddos) all the bride and groom’s travel and accommodations, and a mini honeymoon in St. Louis ALL for well under 10k.

How? Well, first we took to Pinterest (of course) and just started pinning privately. This gave me good insight to what she was looking to achieve. My sister is …umm..tacky-chic, in all the best of ways. She is loud and boisterous, always the life of the party. She loves bling and bright pops of color, but she is also traditional in the way things should be done. We ordered simple black and white invitations from an online printing company and kept it classic to not give any of her secrets away.I matched the vision by creating a rsvp card myself, printing and cutting in house saved $$$. Her and my new brother-in-law love unique things and the one thing she said to me specifically was that she wanted to be that bride that made people say “that’s so cool and different! Of course Raelynn would do that.”

11141200_10155822045265492_1303709653982786920_nPrime example, the guys wore hot pink striped socks with Chuck Taylors. So cool! We decorated the church with faux petals and balloons, which played double-duty, because we let them go in honor of our family members passed; then we made a wedding cake out of the groom’s favorite treat, Oreo cookies; and let me tell you there wasn’t any wasted cake; and my favorite was the make-shift photo booth. These are the “Prom Queen” of 2015 weddings and people can spend hundreds of dollars renting one. We took two buffet tables stood them up against the wall, draped a couple tablecloths over them and then spent $12 on props. My sister being the social media princess needed a hashtag so we used the following Wedding Hashtag generator and let people post pics right to their FB and Instagram. Score!

Here are a few of the ways we cut costs:
Decorations- We made them, sticking to a tight budget we hit Michaels and the Dollar Tree and then put the husbands to work spray painting and made best frenemies with a hot glue gun.

Flowers- My sister ordered all of the flowers from Roses and Dreams on Etsy. Yes, they were fake flowers but we all get to keep them. Sure everyone can dry their bouquet, but let’s be real, they never stay pretty and preserving a wedding bouquet costs a pretty penny. No one knows their fake when they look real.

Cake- For some people the cake is not a place to compromise. For us, it worked out and it was super fun to make. We ordered cookies in bulk from Amazon and picked up a container of frosting for “glue.”

Amazon- Any of the miscellaneous items leftover to be purchased that did not need to be put together we order offline. i.e. bling rolls for decorating, flower petals, props, fabric etc. BIG TIP: If you are having a destination wedding have everything you can shipped directly to the venue or to a friend in the area. We had a personal connection with the photographer and had everything shipped there and it saved a lot of time and money. Thanks, Ash!

Other tips-
*Food-If you are allowed to, bring your apps. We went to Aldi and for $60 got hummus, cheese and crackers for everyone. This is far better than $250 for 2 passed trays.
*Guestbook- we did a frameable guestbook where your thumb prints are the balloons and everyone signs. I considered ordering one but they are uber expensive. Instead I made it myself and printed it from staples for $1.14. The frame was $10. Not a waste of time or money!

balloon print (2)

Here is a FB link to preview some of the beautiful photos that the AMAZING Ash Dale with Lullabye Photography took for us.

At the end of the day though it is not about money, it is truly about the love that my little sister and her wonderful husband share. These two are meant for each other, they have a beautiful family and are two of the best people I know. I wish them only the best in love and life and have priceless memories of their wonderful weekend. Thanks for letting me be a part of it.



A week of living


It’s been an interesting week, to say the least. In the last seven days I have- hugged my very best friends in the whole world, been wrapped in the arms of a toddler, celebrated love, cried from pain, grieved loss, been panic stricken, moved to tears, kissed the man of my dreams, worked, studied, and slept very, very little (not by choice by reason of a mattress- but that’s another post). I’ve ‘adulted’ in every sense of the responsibility. I’ve prepped, planned, and primped everything from wedding plans to clogged drains; calendars to car seats and tired three-year olds to large Labradors. In short, this week I have lived.

When did life become so chaotic? Why didn’t Dr. Seuss tell us that this was going to happen? Maybe that was really what all those books were about and our frontal lobes were too underdeveloped to identify the linear equation in all the variables. I’ve been mentally and physically drained from all this “feel” stuff but let me tell you in the wake of yet another family loss I’m reminded that life is within us and I’m beyond grateful for the power and impact it has upon us.

Although this week has been compulsive it has not lacked stories, love and kindness. To the man who offered me a cherry licorice during my anxious plane induced anxiety attack; to my little girl who reminded me how much she feels loved, safe, cherished without comprehending the love she was providing in my heart; to the support of wellness and well being from strangers and old friends across miles; to my very best friends who bring me peace and provide for me acceptance in my craziest of moments; for the hug, the love and the laughs and those pesky tears too…thank-you.

All of this is living. All of this I am grateful. All of this is blessed.