Archive | April, 2012

Honeymoon Surprise!

30 Apr

Antiguan Escape

Not many people knew this unless they asked, but I never knew where I was honeymooning until my wedding night. In an effort to reduce stress and give my husband-to-be some wedding planning duties, I let him plan the honeymoon.

The night of our wedding reception, Cyrus revealed we were headed to Antigua!  It’s an island in the West Indies in the Leeward Islands region of the Caribbean.

Following our big day, we jetted off to the tropical escape. I have been to a few spots in the Caribbean, but nothing quite like Antigua. Right from the start, I was drawn to its lush landscape and unique flowers combined with beautiful beaches set against a mountainous backdrop.

There’s also rich history in Antigua. In addition to our lazy beach days, snorkeling and sailing, we ventured out to take a three-hour tour of the island with a native. We visited several historic locations along the way, including Nelson’s Dockyard and Shirley Heights.

For more about Antigua, click here.

We can now check one more place off our bucket list of places to visit!

See you in the morning!

Bridgett

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We Do!

30 Apr

We’re finally back from our wedding extravaganza in Augusta, Georgia.  It was amazing!  Here are some ‘leaked’ photos from our ‘day after’ shoot. I’m still waiting on more official photos, so stay tuned.

I have to say all the planning was worth it and I can’t imagine changing a thing.  We had the wedding of our dreams with close family and friends there to share it.

If there’s anything I can say everyone was right about, it’s how fast the day goes by!

Before we knew it, we were cutting the cake, dancing the last dance and running underneath a shower of sparklers to the limo!

I want to say thank you to all my Local 6 family and viewers for their well wishes and support during this big step in my life.

Cyrus and I appreciate all the love! We are very excited about the plans God has for our new life together!

See you in the morning!

Bridgett aka “Mrs. Ellison”

It’s your time! Don’t blink!

9 Apr

Engagement and wedding planning is a season in your life I consider to be a special gift.  How you cherish that time will influence your memories forever. I’ve been preaching about using your time wisely and I’m really having to work hard to practice what I preach right now.

 

I do!

 
No matter how tempting it is to run off to Las Vegas, the length of your engagement is important. If you’re a traditional bride, you’ll need at least a year to get all those traditional events squeezed in. There are the engagement celebrations, parties and showers with close family and friends, engagement photos, marriage counseling and time to save for and plan your wedding.
Many of our friends got married before us after much shorter engagements. They all told us later that they were rushed, tired and even sick in some cases from the stress of such a short time frame to wed. They warned us to rest and really take in the process.
 
Another way to save yourself time is delegation. Before you go gray, pull your hair out, or both, learn how to delegate. Give your bridesmaids, friends and family members some items off your to-do lists. Ask your fiance’ to plan some elements like the limo, hotels and honeymoon; that’ll give you a few less things to stress over.
 
When your wedding weekend FINALLY arrives, give yourself time to take it all in. It’s your day, make sure you’re well rested and relaxed, don’t let anyone rush you through it. Get your bachelor/bachelorette plans out of the way well before your wedding weekend. No one likes to be around grumpy, tired, hung-over people. Plan a spa day with your sweetie to get in a relaxing massage. Let go of stress and worry about how things will go. You’ve done all the planning and preparing you could do, sit back and enjoy. Even if one or two little things aren’t exactly as planned, remember the bigger picture. No matter what, at the end of that day you’ll still be married and no one will ever notice if one thing is out of place from your original plan.
 
If you’re sad about the thought of missing part of your reception because of pictures, add a “day after photo shoot” to your photography package. This will save you and your new spouse the stress of running around to fit in all the poses you wanted while you really want to get to the food, folks and fun at the reception.
 

Honeymoon here we come!

 

 
And once the big day is over, give yourself a day to get to your honeymoon. This will give the new Mr. and Mrs. some time to gather their thoughts, get in final goodbyes with family, pack up the gifts and the bags for the big trip.

 
See you in the morning! (AFTER my honeymoon of course 😉

Bridgett

Platinum weddings for budget conscious brides

9 Apr
Let’s be honest. Weddings are not cheap undertakings. Weddings cost and often it’s a lot more than what we really want to spend. You can still have a platinum-inspired wedding with some research and realistic vision.
 

Happy dreaming & planning!

 
I believe weddings are at their core are about God and family.  What are your core beliefs?  With those in mind, think about your vision for the wedding. I strongly considered my religious beliefs and family needs. For example, if you have parents who won’t fly or several elderly loved ones, a destination wedding that requires a long trip may not be the best option. You can probably find a good compromise. For instance, maybe you wanted an island wedding, but perhaps there’s a nearby beach or lake area that would also work for your desired water backdrop. If destination is still your dream, do it, but plan to have a post-wedding trip party for your family back in your hometown.
 
Invest in a wedding planner! If you’re a busy woman, it’s an absolute must. You don’t want to run yourself ragged trying to be Wonder Woman. During my planning phase, I changed my mind about locations from Florida to South Carolina to Georgia! With my home base being Orlando, I relied upon the help of several planners at one point. Arlene Blake at Orlando’s Designs by Cornelia is awesome and really helped me with local wedding resources.
 
Figure out what you want to splurge on and where you can save money by skipping it or making it yourself. My dress, reception venue and photography were my splurges. Originally, I had no idea how much it would really take to get what I wanted, but once I found these items, I knew I had to have them and make it work for my budget.
 
When it comes to your bridal gown, expect to splurge a bit because the base dress cost is often only one half of what you really end up spending after adding all your accessories and alterations. Orlando bridal shops have a great selection!  After trying on dresses in shops across the southeast, I ultimately decided on a Sottero Midgley gown from Orlando’s Lily’s Bridal. I picked up some cute accessories at Orlando’s Solutions Bridal, including some darling Hanky Panky undies with Swarovski crystals. My bridesmaids dresses and flower girl dress were ordered from Orlando’s Modern Bridal. My sister’s maid of honor gown came from Orlando’s Fashions & Flowers. My hair accessories and veil were purchased at Orlando’s Alfred Angelo.
 
I also picked up bridesmaids gifts at Florida Mall’s Victoria’s Secret, the outlets and surprisingly, I found some nice gifts at airport gift shops including Orlando International. Ordering online also helped me save a ton. This is a little Precious Moments figurine I had to have.
 

Precious Moments topper

 
My invitations were also a splurge, but they were gorgeous and a keepsake we wanted for generations to come. Designs By Mary Anthony in Maitland helped me create a beautiful invitation ensemble using a pattern from Carlson Craft.
 
The areas I really saved on were flowers, decorations, favors, and DJ services. Every bride’s budget is different, so be true to yourself.  I will get into more details on my Georgia vendors and have wedding pictures later this month!
 
See you in the morning (AFTER the honeymoon of course 😉   
 
Bridgett

Adventures and Confessions of a DIY Bride

6 Apr

The final countdown is really winding down on the wedding! As I write this, I still have a checklist to work on, but I’m certain the great love and support of family and friends will help take care of it.

Here are the top 3 questions:

Q: Will you change your name?

A: Yes, I am an old-fashioned lady in a lot of ways and this is one of them, I can’t wait to change it.

Q: Where are you going on your honeymoon?

A: It’s a surprise! I will find out at the wedding reception!

Q: How are you feeling?

A: Today I’m feeling peaceful and well-equipped to handle anything! However, I must admit last night’s failed attempt at making pew bows past my bedtime had me in a cranky state. Ha! 

One part of the planning I’ve loved is the research and shopping for items we needed for the wedding. I fell in love with gift card birdcages like these:

Image

So I made one last night! I LOVE LOVE LOVE Hobby Lobby! PS- I added one of my tulle bows to the top after I took this picture.

 

Image

If I had to give any advice on wedding planning for those contemplating jumping the broom, my top tip would be: “Time is of the essence: give yourself as much as possible!” Even with a year, our engagement flew by and everyone keeps saying the wedding and honeymoon will go even faster.  Enjoy each season of your life and the special moments that happen each day. Savor it. Don’t rush a thing! For those who’ve been waiting impatiently to meet Mr. or Miss Right or for that special someone to pop the question, I know it is easier said than done. I know people who dated or were engaged for short and long periods of time before heading to the church or courthouse. Either way, you have to take time to enjoy that time. There are two things that get us off track with life’s timing: rushing AND procrastination. Get stuck in either gear and you’ll miss out on the life right in front of you. For me, the struggle has been balancing my own will with trusting God to work all things out in His perfect timing. I’m so glad I trust Him.

 See you in the morning!

Bridgett

 

A lesson on forgiveness

3 Apr

Last weekend, Cyrus and I attended a marriage conference in south Florida at Christ Fellowship Church.  It was a great way to spend one of our final weekends together before we say ‘I do.’  Dr. Bob Barnes and his wife Rosemary led the sessions on Friday and Saturday. What a dynamic couple! They have written several marriage and family books and help run a non-profit children and families ministry called Sheridan House.

Now I’ll be the first to admit, some church events can just be a bit, well, “churchy.”  However, this couple really made the presentation refreshing. I never expected to hear such candid comments and advice on topics like communication, sex and marriage with a biblical perspective. Bob and Rosemary were not only inspirational with their own faith-based stories and teaching points, they were funny.

Maybe this should have been a book title:

While we go into big life changes like marriage and family with positive outlooks, we can’t overlook life’s challenges and a gameplan for getting through them. One of the best parts of the conference was a break-out session on forgiveness. We talked about the topic in small groups before going back into the general session to hear more from Bob and Rosemary. Through life experiences, I know the complexities of forgiveness, but these sessions highlighted it even more. Bob talked about Holocaust survivor Corrie ten Boom’s story of ultimate forgiveness. She lived to forgive one of the men who had tortured people at the concentration camp she was held in. When he asked her for her forgiveness, she wrote that her Christian faith would not let her NOT forgive him. 

Corrie ten Boom
1892-1983

You can read a portion of ten Boom’s story here. 

I don’t think many of us realize that unforgiveness is like drinking poison and waiting on the other person to get sick. I believe negativity that’s allowed to marinate in the soul really can make you sick. Ask yourself today if you’ve got some negative cobwebs hanging around on the inside and how you might benefit by dusting them away and letting go of unforgiveness. I found it interesting that Bob pointed out you can forgive in your heart any time, regardless of the other person.  ten Boom was able to share that moment of forgiveness with one of her captors, but he said that is not always the case. A person could be dead and gone, but if you still haven’t forgiven them, it could cost you in more ways than one.  That’s something to think about.

See you in the morning!

Bridgett