Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Beach House

I knew it would take me awhile to get a post up about our wedding but I didn't think it would take me this long! And there's so much to say about our wedding week that I'm going to break it up into several posts.

I'll start off with our 10-bedroom, oceanfront beach house, which we stayed at with our guests for the week (most of our guests arrived at the end of the week). We rented the Fan-Ta-Sea house in the Pine Island neighborhood in Corolla, NC from Carolina Designs Realty. As soon as we walked in, we never wanted to leave.

Here's a little tour via pictures, most of which are out of order because there are so many and I don't have time to rearrange them, lol:

Front of house.

Back of house.

Basement theater room.

Basement pool table, kitchen nook, laundry room, and bedroom with bunk beds.

Dining room table.

Open-ceiling living room.

Matt playing chess with Natalie and Kylie in the living room.

View from the deck of an upstairs bedroom.

Our bedroom.

Me with our Sophie Pup on the beach, which was right outside our door.

A wicked storm that rolled in mid-week.

Double rainbow after the storm passed.

Foyer at the entrance to the house.

Natalie heading out to the beach on our private pier.

Natalie and Kylie enjoying our private pool.

Kitchen with two of everything! (two stoves, two dishwashers, two microwaves, etc.)

Another view of the basement movie room.

View from our room of the beautiful moonlight on the ocean.

Natalie "cleaning" our private pool.

Our private pier lit up at night with a full moon lighting up the night.

There is so much more that I didn't photograph. There were so many bedrooms that we actually lost Natalie in one of them when she fell asleep and took a nap in it. Seriously...that and miscommunication quickly lead to a search outside, up and down the beach, and then to a 911 call. Scary doesn't even begin to describe it! She finally came out of a bedroom that we thought had been searched and I fell on my knees hugging her and crying!

Aside from that, and another scary incident on our first day where Sophie ran into the ocean...and didn't stop going until she got overtaken by waves and her little white, furry body almost disappeared completely before Kylie was able to grab her and pull her out... the week was absolutely wonderful!

It wasn't until the end of the week, close to our wedding day, that the weather took a turn for the worse and threw all of our wedding plans on their head. More on that in an upcoming post, but let's just say we made the "Sound Of Pulling Heaven Down"...

Somewhere, far away from here
I saw stars, stars that I could reach (yeah)
It was a midnight, a silent twilight
Fell down, beyond the ocean beach (yeah)

I assemble all the sand that cover wedding beaches
To build a castle so your mom would have a place to stay
Behind the water slide and down the hill where heaven reaches
Land and time is left to float away (yeah)

So rest assured I have the key to every opening
To every wishing well that's deep enough to dream (dream)
I want to show you just how fascinating kissing is
When earth collides with all the space between (yeah)

I'm reaching farther than I ever have before
Leaving all who broke your heart upon the shore
I may be some sort of crazy
We may be some sort of crazy
But I swear on everything I have and more

So never look behind you, spooky people bring you down
The world is ending there's a party by the bay
I'll wear my suit and tie when I am
I am toasting to the way you put that smile upon my face (yeah)

Fill up the air balloon and ride with me
Yeah hell is jealous of the rain (rain)
Make love like time and space Is ending
While befriending fate's alluring way of putting us to shame

I'm reaching farther than I ever have before
Leaving all who broke your heart upon the shore
I may be some sort of crazy
We may be some sort of crazy
But I swear on everything I have and more

You make the sound of pulling heaven down
You brought the rain's romantic pour
You make the sound
You make the sound
Of pulling heaven down

I'm reaching farther than I ever have before
(Tired of wasting time)
Leaving all who broke your heart upon the shore
(tired of wasting time)
I may be some sort of crazy
We may be some sort of crazy
But I swear on everything I have and more
(go go go go)

Saturday, September 10, 2011

So Much - Our Proposal Story

"I love you so much."

"I miss you so much."

When Matt and I began our relationship, we found ourselves saying those two phrases so often that we shortened it to just "so much." Seeing "so much" come across on my phone in a text from Matt would put the biggest smile on my face. And now, it's our own, personal catch-phrase of sorts.

We even got it hand-painted on a sign:

I knew Matt was going to propose to me at some point. I just didn't know how or when. When ended up being Christmas Day. And the how ended up melting my heart completely.

You may remember me mentioning the story behind the sand and shells in this picture in a previous post:

(If not, click here to read why it has so much meaning to us)

As I wrote before, Matt carried the sand and shells with him everywhere after I gave them to him. And he decided he was going to use them as part of his proposal to me. He worked for months and months on his secret and finally, on the night of December 25, he took me to "our rooftop" near his work in DC. This is the rooftop:

That video was shot in 2009 while Matt was doing a 40-day fast for Lent. We were just friends at that time and I greatly admired not only his faith but his dedication, commitment and strength in doing something so amazing in order to be closer to God.

When we began our relationship in 2010, I looked back on that video and I told Matt that I would love to see the rooftop in person since it's where he goes to think and get away. We had a few romantic dates there so it soon became "our rooftop." :)

Here we are on one of those dates:

So it was not only the perfect day for him to propose, but it was the perfect place too. But what he was about to hand to me was even more perfect.

As we stood there under the stars in the cold air, the city lights shining all around us, Matt pulled out the special surprise he had been working on for so many months:

It was a handmade box, carved by hand from a block of wood, into the shape of a heart. He had covered the box in shells, painted it with sand paint, placed hinges on the back and carved our phrase, "So Much" on the top.

This is what was inside:

My engagement ring...nestled inside of the sand and shells that I had given to him.

I. Died. But not before saying, "YES!" lol

When you find a love like I have, gifts don't really matter much, because the best gift is having such an amazing, loving, gorgeous, kind and perfect man to share my life with. One who makes me feel so loved, whole and complete every single day.

But wow, did he blow me away with this! The box sits in a prominent place in our family room now and still holds the sand and shells. It will also hold our rings at the altar on the beach on our wedding day.

And it will hold a special place in my heart forever.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Final Touches

We are slowly but surely checking off the last details on our wedding to-do list and our big day is only a few weeks away!

We have all of our rentals ordered and confirmed through Ocean Atlantic Rentals. They'll be providing our tables, chairs, dishes, etc.

I finally found the perfect reception dress:

I'll be wearing it with heels at first, but then will be slipping into blingy flip flops for the rest of the night:

Speaking of flip flops, I'll be wearing these with my wedding dress for the ceremony, custom made by My Dream Wedding:

Aren't they beautiful?! I found the perfect headband for the ceremony as well, custom made by Lucia Bella:

My necklace is custom-made by Hibiscusdays Jewelry and features two love-birds on a branch, with our initials "D" and "M" engraved on tiny leaves hanging from the branch:

Perfect for our Twitter theme! It's funny, but Matt and I never realized that our initials were the same as the ones for private messages on Twitter..."DM" or "direct messages." Fitting!

I picked up some other "blingy" items for before, during and after the wedding:

I plan on wearing the "I'm the bride" combo during our wedding week and the "Just married" tank for the day after the wedding.

As for our wedding favors, we are donating to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) in our guests' honor. We decided to purchase place cards announcing the donation as well as gray ribbon pins (gray is the color for diabetes awareness) to put on each card for each guest. As many of you know, my little girl was diagnosed with Type 1, juvenile diabetes several months ago, so choosing JDRF as our charity was an easy decision.

We picked out additional music for the ceremony and reception but I'll keep most of those songs a secret so there are some surprises left. The one I will share is the bouquet toss song, because it's a pretty obvious choice and one of the more popular bouquet tossing songs...Single Ladies by Beyonce, of course!

But the biggest surprise of all is going to be amazing and I can't wait for you all to see it! As far as we know, it's never been done before and that's the only hint I'm giving!(Don't forget that you can watch the live streaming of our wedding starting at 6:30 p.m. EST on Saturday, September 17 here.)

I think that covers all of the latest news! I can't believe how fast the time has gone by and with all of the planning, I haven't had as much time to post here as I would like. Hopefully I can get our engagement/proposal story posted BEFORE the wedding! Stay tuned! :)

Disclosure: We have received discounts and comp products from various vendors AFTER having chosen them. We want the best for our wedding and would have chosen each vendor regardless of whether or not a discount was given.

Friday, July 29, 2011


We are less than two months away from our big day! I cannot believe how fast the time has flown by! It's getting closer and closer to the time that Matt and I will officially declare our love and commitment to one another and to the world!

Our wedding planner Marie from Bordeaux Events has been a dream to work with. She has answered countless questions, organized everything on short notice (four months is not a long time to plan a wedding!), and so much more, and she has done it all with a smile.

Our invitations from Magnet Street Weddings have been sent out (everyone has raved about how beautiful they are!) and we are booking guests in our 10-bedroom beach house on a first-come, first-served basis.

There are so many plans being discussed and finalized and we have a really cool surprise in the works! We actually were *this* close to surprising everyone with a huge flash mob on the beach to this song:

Flash Mob America did their best to try to make it happen for us, but it just didn't pan out. (I'll still get to realize my dream of being in a flashmob when they come to DC September 7 though! Can't wait!)

Matt and I will still walk down the aisle to this song after saying, "I do." It just won't be in the midst of a bunch of people flash mobbing our wedding, lol. I think everyone will be pretty amazed at our other surprise though, so stay tuned! (remember we will be live streaming the wedding...just watch here at 6:30 EST, September 17).

We have selected our food choices from our caterer Argyle's. They will be serving:
  • Scallops in a lemon and garlic crust with a lemon basil buerre blanc.
  • Three style hummus bar with crackers and pita.
  • Mini crab cakes sauteed to a golden brown served with a Chipotle red pepper remoulade.
  • Coconut shrimp dipped in Tempura batter and rolled in coconut, fried and served with a tropical rum dipping sauce.

  • Cheese Manicotti - tender crepes rolled with filling of ricotta parmigiana and fresh mozzarella cheeses, baked in a rich marinara, topped with fresh mozzarella.
  • Shrimp Daniel - large shrimp filled with a crab stuffing and served with a creamy crab remoulade sauce.
  • Pistachio Crusted Chicken Breast- served in a Dijon herb wine sauce

  • Rosemary Potatoes - roasted triangles of potato tossed with rosemary and onion
  • Mixed grilled vegetables dusted with citrus herbs
  • Garden salad
  • Rolls

Of course we will have a bartender on hand to serve plenty of drinks as well. I wish we could live stream the food and drinks to our online guests!

Our decor plans with our designer/florist Renee from Renee Landry Style are coming together nicely. We will have our phrase "So Much" in the backdrop at our altar (probably on a flowing curtain held up by two white trees or posts) and white, Twitter-shaped birds will be mixed in with our reception decor.

A few tables will have rustic-looking birdcages as centerpieces (along with some creative touches like branches and candles) and others will have candlescapes and/or flowers. White, Christmas-style lights will be abundant and we will have floating Lucite candle barges in the pool.

We are going for a shabby-chic look overall...casual w/ a bit of bling. I'll be wearing my hair down with a Nicole Richie House of Harlow-esque headpiece like this:

...only white with a hint of small flowers on the band. Oh and I decided on a dress! It will be this one from H&M's Conscious Collection:

Casual and beachy. Matt will be in khaki's and a white, button-down shirt. And we will both be barefoot.

For the reception, however, I plan to glam it up a bit and do a costume change into something like this:

I still haven't found something I'm absolutely sold on yet, but it has to be fun, cute and playful like the Betsey Johnson dress above.

We have selected an officiant to preside over our ceremony. Bob Woody from the White Doe Inn is a warm and friendly, inter-denominational officiant and will work with us on creating the perfect ceremony. Our faith is the most important aspect of our lives, so it will be key in our wedding.

We were really impressed with Bob's openness to customizing the ceremony to our liking. We can add on special touches such as sand blending as well as a family union celebration that we can include our kids in. Whatever we finally decide on, we are confident Bob will make it special.

Finally, we have decided to have two songs to dance to since we've had such a hard time narrowing them down. Thank you so much to everyone who voted! The majority picked "Feels Like Home" by Chantal Kreviazuk.

As much as we love that song, Matt still wanted the second runner-up "Crazy Love" by Michael Buble. And I found myself really feeling sad that "Everything" by Lifehouse was in third place.

So that's how I knew we must have both "Crazy Love" and "Everything." We will open with Lifehouse and close with Buble. If we wouldn't feel like total dance floor hogs, we probably would've thrown "Feels Like Home" in the middle, lol.

So that's the latest in wedding planning news! And believe me, there are plenty of details I've spared you in this summary, surprising as that may seem considering the length of this post!

50 days to go. 50! I can't believe our day is almost here! And we can't wait to share it with all of you!

Disclosure: We have received discounts and comp products from various vendors AFTER having chosen them. We want the best for our wedding and would have chosen each vendor regardless of whether or not a discount was given.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Why an Outer Banks Wedding?

Deciding to have a beach wedding was an easy choice for Matt and me. When we are near the ocean, we feel at home and at peace...we've both always felt that that is where our heart and souls belong (and why we plan to live near the ocean one day). There are two reasons why we decided on the Outer Banks, specifically though.

The first reason? "Nights in Rodanthe" by Nicholas Sparks. I had watched the movie long before our relationship had begun and it made me long for that kind of love. After Matt and I found our way to each other, the movie took on even more significance for me. If my life could be summed up by a movie trailer, this one would be pretty close:

Of the many quotes that touched my heart, "Who keeps you safe?" was at the top of my list. When Matt and I talked about this movie when we first began talking seriously, I got a Twitter DM from him later that night when he got off work. It read, "Who keeps you safe?" *melt*

Other significant quotes:
  • "It's all about choices, Adrianne. You chose that life. You chose that man. Do you even remember who you really are anymore?" (No, I didn't remember who I was anymore.)

  • "I want you to know that any man is a fool who doesn't know how lucky he is to have you." Oh, how I longed to have someone say something like that to me, to feel that way about me, and Matt did and does.

  • "You and I are done pretending..." as they run into each other's arms. That was us. Totally us.

  • "It's never too late for a second chance of a lifetime." It really isn't and it's worth walking through fire to get to if you have to.

  • "We saved each other." We really did.

  • "It was you that I've been looking for all along." It was him and only him, then, now and forever.

  • "There's another kind of love. One that give you the courage to be better than you are. I want you to hold out for it." I wanted my kids to know that they deserve to be loved fully and unconditionally and that they should never settle for less.

  • "You came along and helped me find those parts of myself that I thought I'd lost forever." I really had thought love was a lost cause for me and that I was meant to suffer and be unhappy and lonely for the rest of my life. God showed me otherwise when he gave me Matt and blessed me with a love that is greater than anything I could have ever dreamed of.

"Nights in Rodanthe" takes place in the Outer Banks of course, where horses really do run wild along the beaches (we're hoping we get to see that during our week-long stay before our wedding). But the area near Duck and Corolla had even more meaning to me personally.

During a really rough time in my life and my marriage, a friend of mine let me stay at her parents' beach house in Duck. I went there by myself to find my strength and to try to find the person I no longer remembered.

I ate dinner alone one night at the Sunset Grille and I watched in envy as a couple walked down the pier there hand in hand, so obviously in love. When Matt and I had our vendor day in the Outer Banks not long ago, we stopped at the Sunset Grille and we went to that pier.

As I stood in his arms there, safe in his embrace, all of the pain I had felt all those years ago just melted away and it was replaced with the most incredible love, wholeness and comfort that words cannot even begin to describe. That couple I saw before had nothing on us! :)

I also remember, all those years ago, standing alone on the beach. The waves were extremely rough and the wind was so strong. A hymn came to my mind..."If you pass through raging waters of the sea, you shall not drown." It's from the song "Be Not Afraid."

I attended church and I was hoping to get a sign from God that He was with me. The first thing the priest said to the congregation was, "You are here for a reason. There is something that God wants you to hear." The theme for the mass was..."Be Not Afraid." That God is with us always. I had chills, and when the choir started singing that song, I broke down in tears. But I left with renewed strength and the knowledge that God was walking before me every step of the way.

In my hand during most of my time there was a baggie filled with sand and shells that my friend had given me. She told me that she wanted me to have it to remind me of my strength.

When Matt and I began our relationship, I gave him that bag of sand and shells. I told him that he was my strength now and I no longer needed it. He keeps me safe.

Matt ended up carrying them with him everywhere he went. Little did I know just what he had planned with the sand and shells and how instrumental it would be at a crucial point in our relationship. I'll be writing about that soon.

But the Outer Banks was where I was lost and then found, it was where God reminded me He was with me, it's where I found my strength, it's where we feel most at home, it was where Matt healed my wounds on that pier, and it will be the place we will celebrate the incredible love that we have for each other and commit to spending the rest of our lives together. There really isn't any other place on this earth that could be more perfect for us.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Help Us Choose Our First Dance Song

We are having a tough time deciding which song to choose for our first dance song, but we have narrowed it down to four choices (for now! don't be surprised if that changes). And while we can't guarantee we'll go with the popular vote, we would like to see what everyone would prefer among the four choices.

Below are videos for each song, along with an explanation as to why they mean so much to us.

Feels Like Home by Chantal Kreviazuk. This song was one I sent to Matt early on in our relationship, along with this specific video. "The Notebook" had been a movie that had made us sad before we met each other, but once we fell in love, it symbolized exactly how we felt/feel about each other. The lyrics could not be more perfect, which is why it made the top four cut. Lyrics here.

Love You Forever by Ryan Huston. This song exemplifies our undying love for each other and how we will always be there for each other...forever. Lyrics here.

Everything by Lifehouse. This particular video is one I just found and doesn't have any meaning, but Matt does call me his angel so it's fitting. :) This song, though, probably has the most meaning to both of us. It was also played early on and both the lyrics and the feel of the music fit exactly how we were feeling when we were falling in love. "And how can I stand here with you and not be moved by you?" *sigh*

The only downside to dancing to this song would be the faster pace around minute four. We did a joke dance at home where Matt started swinging me around wildly while he dipped me backwards...me swinging my hair around all fast, lol. That works for us in our living room but probably not on the real dance floor, hahaha. But we're still considering this one because it means so much to us. Lyrics here.

Crazy Love by Michael Buble. Matt put this song on a CD and surprised me with it on one of our dates. He literally swept me off my feet with it as we danced and he said he wanted it to be our first dance song. So it's in our top four. But the only problem I have with it is it's all about how he feels about me instead of a mutual song. But how romantic is this? To have a guy feel this way about you? *swoon* Lyrics here.

So there you have it! Now...how do you vote? Blogger doesn't have a feature to put a poll directly into this post and when I tried one online, it messed my template up. So the poll is in the sidebar to the right. Just click which song would be your choice and you're done!

Thanks for helping us choose a song!

Monday, June 20, 2011

You Are Cordially Invited...

...to attend our wedding via live feed on U-Stream, Saturday, September 17 at 6:30 p.m.! The ceremony will take place on the beach in the Outer Banks and the reception will follow at the ocean-front home we have rented for the week. We have a BIG surprise in the works as well and we will keep you posted on whether or not we will be able to pull it off.

Due to the capacity of the beach home, we are very limited in the amount of guests we can invite. Having met on Twitter and with so many of our good friends being online, we thought live-streaming would be the best way to include all of those who would not otherwise be able to attend.

Many thanks go out to MagnetStreet.com for providing our wedding invitations (both hard copies and the above image). They were my first choice as I just love their wide-selection of fun and stylish designs, but most of all, I was very impressed with the ability to customize the invitations with our choice of fonts and photos.

In the interest of disclosure, MagnetStreet provided us with complimentary invitations, address labels and thank you cards to facilitate a review (to be published on So a Blonde Walks Into a Review as soon as we receive them), but it was only after I had already selected them as our invitation vendor.

We hope you will be right there with us on the day that we say, "I do!" Feel free to leave a comment on this post if you'll be attending. We'd love to know who will be in our virtual audience!

Update: For those of you who are still experiencing issues with Blogger's commenting system, you can email me here. I may put together an attendance list so please include what name you would like me to use and a link to your Facebook/Twitter/Blog...whichever you'd like included. Thank you!