The Cotton Year: Our Second Anniversary

When looking back upon the wedding, what is the first memory that comes to mind?

Helen: When we first walked into the ballroom and were first introduced as Mr. and Mrs. Harm!

Steven: First thing I think about is being nervous, waiting in the room behind the alter before the processional because I knew your on your way.

What was the highlight of this past year?

Helen: All the travel! We went to 6 new states!

Steven: Obviously, buying the house.

Things the other person can't live without?

Helen: Steve cannot live without all his apple products, country music, and our Amazon Alexa (aka his second wife).

Steven: She cannot live without M&Ms, twifigram (my combination of Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Copyright pending :P ), and Real Housewives of any city.

Any favorite traditions?
Helen: We try to have proper dinners as often as we can. I cook a full meal, we sit down together, and take our time eating talk about our day and future plans. Between his travel and my evening yoga schedule, we actually don't get to do this as often as you'd expect.

Steven: We have this recipe for Chex Mix that I love. It's the perfect road trip snack. It's reserved specifically for road trips and we make it every time we have to drive a long distance. It's small, but its our own silly, little thing.

What have you learned about marriage or your spouse in the last year?

Helen: We've learned how to argue better. It's an odd thing to say, but we have somehow learned to remain calm and have a conversation, rather than an actual fight.

Steven: We have to support each other in every possible way. Big or small, it doesn't matter, we always have to appreciate the other.  Something as simple as saying "thank you" can make a huge difference.

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What do you hope the next year will bring?

Helen: I want us to stay open to new adventures and opportunities.

Steven: I hope to see a lot of growth with us as a couple and as a family overall. 

 

As always, thank you for reading! XO-

P.S. If you liked this, then you will also like Kaleidoscope Spinning Turns One! and The Paper Year: Our First Anniversary

Don’t forget to follow me on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

DIY Wedding Wands

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When it comes to wedding planning, there are some details that every bride can choose immediately. Then there are other details that can take longer to figure out. These can be as big as the dress and location or as small of a detail as the bridesmaids shoes. I am a decisive person, so wedding planning went pretty smoothly for me. But there were a handful times where the planning came to a screeching halt because I wasn't sure which choice was the best. One of these times was definitely for a small detail. So small, it's almost laughable now; but as a bride, to me, this was a make it or break it. Ready? Drumroll please,….. What will our guest throw when we make out grand entrance our of the church? Life-changing choice, amiright?

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Rice? No, that's bad for birds. Bird seed? No, that's not attractive. Confetti? No, that just seems messy and difficult to organize. Bubbles? No, it's becoming a cliché. Nothing? No, that's just boring.

I wanted to do something different, but not odd. Friends starting giving me suggestions from weddings they have been to recently. One friend suggested flower petals. I liked the idea, but that was just going to raise my flower budget. Another friend said glitter, but that seemed messier than confetti. I was definitely putting too much thought into this, and I knew that in the moment.

Eventually, I stumbled upon photos from my cousins wedding a couple of years prior. They had distributed ribbon wands to their guests. When they exited the church, everyone waved the wands, twirling the ribbons around. It created a sea of swirling colors. It produced some of the most beautiful photos! I had finally made my decision. The downside? Every place online I found was charging so much for something I knew I could make myself. So I did.

This was the easiest DIY I have ever done. So grab a glass of wine, find a show you need to catch up on, (I chose Younger) and get to work!

As always, thank you for reading, XO-

P.S. If you liked this, than you will also like Our Travel Board and What We Gave Our Bridal Party

Don't forget to follow me on FacebookTwitter, and  Instagram.

A Dress Fit For a Bride…smaid

For nearly a year of my post-grad life, I worked at Bella Bridesmaids, a boutique filled with bridesmaids dresses only, no wedding gowns. There, I learned so much about bridesmaids dresses and the designers. I truly enjoyed helping brides find the perfect dresses for their closest friends. It was so wonderful getting to help make the most special day of their lives even better! It brought me so much joy! But to my surprise, it wasn't uncommon for a bride to come in looking for a dress for herself!

There are plenty of reason why a bride would turn to a bridesmaids shop to find her own dress. For starters, there is the price point. Bridesmaids dresses tend to fall in the $150-$300 range depending on the designer. This compared to a $1000+ price point for a bridal gown can be very appealing. Another reason can be the simplicity. We would see a lot of brides who were getting married on the beach, who were eloping, or who just wanted a simple, yet beautiful dress.

Often time bridesmaids dresses offer more variety than bridal gowns. Not every bride wants a long, white dress. Bridesmaids dresses offer a variety of color and style options, while still looking bridal.

Below, I've collected 27 of my favorite options for bridesmaids dresses turned bridal gown!

Classic:

BM_1Joanna August Catherine Long - $285

BM_5Paper Crown Maura - $325

BM_8Donna Morgan Lark - $240

BM_26 Paper Crown Brenna - $275BM_14Adrianna Papell Floral Embroidered Gown - $360

BM_15Jenny Yoo Ava - $290

BM_17Watters Florian

BM_20Dessy Collection #2964 - $250

BM_21Dessy Collection #2938 - $234BM_22Alfred Sung #D698 - $220

Boho:

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Joanna August Dorian Long Lace - $395

BM_27 Nouvelle Amsale Holly

BM_30 Monique Lhuillier #450287

BM_3 Joanna August Kimberly Long - $285

BM_28Amsale G851C

Sparkle:

BM_7Donna Morgan Tiffany - $290

BM_29 Amsale Loire

BM_11Adrianna Papell Halter Gown - $369

BM_12Adrianna Papell Scoop Back Sequin Gown - $280

BM_13Adrianna Papell Beaded V-Neck Gown - $300

BM_19Watters Sophia

Two-Piece:

BM_9Donna Morgan Adeline Top and Skirt - $330

BM_25Monique Lhuillier #450317 #450324 #450240

Pattern:

BM_16Jenny Yoo Inesse- $290

BM_23Donna Morgan Alana - $260

BM_24Amsale #GA107C

BM_6Paper Crown Mandi - $295

See something above that you like, but don't want it for your bridal gown? These dresses are also perfect for Bridal Showers, Bachelorette Parties, Rehearsal Dinners, and Vow Renewals! I, myself, wore Paper Crown's Brenna dress for my rehearsal dinner. Afterwards, when photos were posted online, so many people asked if it was actually wedding dress!

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Also, remember that everything you've seen is a bridesmaids dress, so they all come in a several different colors outside of white, blush, and champagne. So if you see something you like and want it for your own bridesmaids, make sure to take a look and see all of the color options!

As always, thank you for reading, Helen

P.S. If you liked this, you will also like The Paper Year: Our First Anniversary and Summer Shoe Favorites

Don’t forget to follow me on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

What We Gave Our Bridal Party

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In our wedding, we had 7 bridesmaids and 7 groomsmen. Each one of them were so supportive and helpful during the wedding planning. Because of this, I took what we gave our bridal part very seriously. They deserved something thoughtful and useful. It took some time, but Steve and I, and our bridal party, were very happy with what we chose! The Bridesmaids: I wanted to give my bridesmaids two different types of gifts:

  1. Something they could wear while we were getting ready before the wedding
  2. A piece of jewelry they could wear to the wedding

But here is the catch; I wanted the gifts to be something they could wear again.

I searched for a long time looking at tshirts, robes, pants, and tank tops. Then the thought came to me; a zip-up hoodie! It would be perfect for getting ready that morning since they wouldn't  have to take it off over their head. I found an Etsy shop that would monogram each hoodie and had a variety of color options! My bridesmaids got heather gray hoodies with purple thread. JHL_9898

I got myself the same hoodie in white. It had the monogram of my new name! HJHDSCN4517

For the jewelry, I went to one of my favorite Etsy shops, Bip and Bop. I found this beautiful, delicate necklace. It matched the theme of my wedding, and the bridesmaids dresses perfectly! The girls loved it all and even a year later have told me they still wear both gifts! Hearing that just warms my heart! :)

The Groomsmen: Steve wanted to make sure the groomsmen's gifts were functional and practical. We thought for a while about what they would want. Then I remembered when my cousin got married, they gave the groomsmen duffel bags. I told Steve about this and he loved the idea! We found these great overnight bags on Etsy and they guys loved them!

For their second gift, I wanted to add a little fun to it, while still remaining functional. It didn't take long to think of flasks. (Thought process was basically, "What do guys in their 20s like to do?" Drink! Haha)

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It's probably clear by now that I turned to Etsy a lot when it came time to look for bridal party gifts. I highly recommend it because you can basically find anything and everything you'd be interested in. And while you're perusing Etsy, make sure to stop by my page! I'm adding new prints all the time.

As always, thanks for reading, Helen

P.S. If you liked this you may also like The Paper Year: Our First Anniversary and My Etsy Page!

Don't forget to follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.