Saying Yes to the Dress

I'll be honest... wedding dress shopping was not my favorite part of the wedding process. I've always loved looking at wedding gowns, but when it came to finding one for myself I felt overwhelmed, anxious, and indecisive.

In August we went to Coastal Knot Bridal in Shallotte. I tried on around 8 gowns of different styles. I thought I wanted something lacy but relaxed. The simpler gowns I tried on didn't feel very "bridal" to me, but I loved lace even more after this appointment. I had a good experience with the bridal salon, but I've never enjoyed shopping for and trying on clothes. Turns out I feel the same way about trying to find my wedding gown!

One of the very light and super comfortable dresses I tried on! I decided I didn't feel enough like a bride in it, though.
This dress made me fall in love with lace! I was almost sold on this one (and would have been extremely happy with it), but was afraid to make a hasty decision.

I loved the lace and the bow... omg the bow... on this one! It was a fit and flare, though, which I decided accentuated placed I didn't want accentuated.

Lunch on the water after my gown appointment with my mom and sisters!

The best thing about that shopping experience was taking a day trip to the coast with my mom and sisters. After my appointment, we had lunch on the water. It was a great little girls day that I'm blessed to have shared with them.

A few weeks later, I decided on a whim to visit Carolina Bridal World in Smithfield. We didn't tell Cassie we were going because I wasn't planning on buying anything and didn't want her to drive up from Greenville. I brought two of my bridesmaids and tried on around 8-10 more gowns. It was fun to see everyone's styles and what they grabbed off the shelves for me! I had a specific vision, though, and vetoed a lot of gowns. The lady who helped me was amazing and I had a fantastic experience there.

Overall, between the 16 or so dresses I tried on, there were maybe 3 that I really dislike. They all started blending together and I was getting stressed out. I asked myself in the dressing room alone when I put on each gown, "Can I see myself getting married in this dress?" Truly the answer for 80% of them were, "Yeah, I guess I can."

I really thought hard about which dresses I liked and decided to put on the first gown I tried on that day. When I stepped in it and walked out, it felt right. I wasn't expecting to get a ballgown, but I loved the A-line and how flattering it made my waist. I did check to see if I could get some layers of tulle taken out! It wasn't an overwhelming yes, but I decided on that one then and there! (Cassie hasn't forgiven me yet, I don't think, though we did Facetime her!)

I loved the keyhole back!

Sometimes I tell people that I was kind of lukewarm about my gown at first and 99.99% of people think I'm insane! Everyone seems to expect a big emotional moment when they put on their wedding gown and just know, but I never expected or experienced that. I found a dress that I really liked and that flattered me and decided that's what I'd get married in. It wasn't a simple decision, but it was a calm and peaceful one.

Something that surprised me about wedding gowns, but that probably shouldn't have, was how heavy they are! It takes lots of material to make them!

Later on, after alterations and putting it on a few more times, I really fell in love with it. I still adore that dress and take a peek at it on occasion—it is currently still in my closet at my parent's house. I need to take it to get it preserved soon!

I really think my feelings about it were that what I decided to wear didn't matter that much. I had a vision, yes, but I think I could have put on a burlap sack and people still would have told me that I looked beautiful. I wanted to feel like myself and be comfortable (that didn't happen, LOL) and just get married! Looking back, however, I think my dress was perfect for the day.

I ordered it in a 12 (I think... wedding dresses typically run 2 sizes bigger than your regular size!). Since it had a lace hem, it had to be ordered in a specific length since it couldn't be hemmed/would cost a ton to be hemmed.

I picked it up in December and started looking into seamstresses for the minimal alterations it required!


Our Wedding Website

I was really excited to make our wedding website, even though I didn't end up putting much into it.

I wrote up a little blurb for our love story, which actually felt pretty awkward, put in pictures of our wedding party, and uploaded some photos of us, which is how it stayed for a while until we nailed down more details!

I used The Knot to create my wedding website. The theme I picked was created by Minted. They have themes that can match your invitations, but we just picked one that complemented the color scheme we chose.

After picking hotel blocks I filled in that information, and also included some of our favorite local places to give our guests an idea of what they could do if they got into town early.

We added a small blurb about each of us since we both had some family that hadn't met the other yet.

Overall, our wedding website was extremely easy to make! We paid $40 for our custom URL to be active for two years—it was $20 for one year—because we (read: I) wanted to be able to look at it again... which I haven't done except for grabbing these screenshots!


2020 Reading List

Reading more wasn't expressly written down in my 2020 goals, but it is a habit I picked back up in late 2019 and I'm excited to continue it! Before then, I hadn't read a book for fun in a long time. I have loved rediscovering the joy of reading. (You can follow along with me here on Goodreads!)

I love utilizing Goodreads, but my "to-read" list has grown wild! I hate the feeling of walking through the library trying to make decisions about what to read next, so I decided to make those decisions ahead of time!

I've picked out 24 books that I would like to read this year. I'm not holding myself to any particular order, but that comes out to 2 per month, which is manageable for me. Maybe I can even exceed that!

1 // Glory Road by Laura Denton

(January, 2.5/5)

2 // Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

(January, 3/5)

3 // Southern Lady Code by Helen Ellis

4 // Long Bright River by Liz Moore

5 // Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

6 // The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

7 // Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell

8 // Feels Like Falling by Kristy Harvey Woodson

9 // In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

10 // You by Caroline Kepnes

11 // The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

12 // Sisters First by Jenna Bush Hager

13 // The Hideaway by Laura Denton

14 // Summer of '69 by Elin Hilderbrand

15 // What Happens in Paradise by Elin Hilderbrand

16 // Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

17 // The Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller

18 // Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

19 // When Less Becomes More by Emily Ley

20 // One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid

21 // Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

22 // The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman

23 // The Defining Decade by Meg Jay

24 // The City Baker's Guide to Country Living by Louise Miller


2020 in Focus

2020 is HERE! I am so excited for what this year holds for me and Harrison and our life together. Last year, my word of the year was sow. I wanted to plant seeds to give me a strong future and to approach all the changes I faced on a firm foundation.

This year, I want to take those seeds that I planted, and help them flourish. I want to be firmly planted in my life, home, and community. I want to be ROOTED.

I took some time to think about what I want to accomplish this year and what will help me to become rooted. My 2020 goals are:

Organize all my photos & create albums

I want to preserve and enjoy all of my memories to be able to pass them down one day.

Create a life-giving home

I want my home to be warm and welcoming, a place of refuge for me and Harrison. I want to be able to enjoy our belongings and each other within the walls of our home.

Make healthy choices everyday

My health matters and I want to focus on that this year.

Dive deeper into God's word

I feel God pulling me closer to Him and I want to foster that.

Love Harrison well

I want our marriage to flourish and be the biggest part of the legacy we leave behind.

Establish routines

I want to be able to easily take care of the necessities so I have time to enjoy what makes my heart happy.

Finish my Master's degree

I think this one speaks for itself!

Do you have goals or resolutions for 2020? Check out the goal planner I use!
Taylor Jenkins. Design by Berenica Designs.