The Best Day: The Maids and Men


Before I get to the meat of today’s post, I want to touch on the weather aspect at your wedding.  I mean, it can be a huge deal, and it can be stressful when you don’t have a tent and you are only expecting a 20% chance of rain.  But as I mentioned in yesterdays post, it can happen and probably will.

As much as I hate to say it, there isn’t anything you can do about the weather.  It has a mind of it’s own.  Just accept that and have a backup plan in case it does decide to rain on your parade — literally.  Rain on wedding days isn’t the end of the world.  It’s not that big of a deal.  You can actually get some amazing pictures under an umbrella that might be some of your favorite from the whole day.  It might look like doom and gloom – see below – but alas, it turns out to be a pretty magical day.


Now that I have cleared that up!  This shot above was taken as we were out doing bridal shots.  My sister came and told me about the weather coming, and boy…did it come.

Rain coming on your wedding day.

So, what do you do when you see that big black cloud of doom approaching?  About you put a damper on your entire wedding day/plans?

jason hales photo - kristyn jeremy wed-1153

You look freaked out; keep on drinking whatever is in that cup (where is that cup anyhow?), and take some awesome pictures with some awesome ladies maids inside.

Wedding bridal party picture

This is one of my favorite pictures with my maids.  It was not staged, and I just love it.  I don’t know how they caught these moments from us, but our photographers did, and I love them for it!  All the maids, and myself look so happy!

bride and bridesmaids

Wedding bridal picture with Melissa

Wedding bridal picture with Melissa

Wedding bridal picture with Lisa

Wedding bridal picture with Joanna

Wedding bridal picture with Casey

Wedding picture with Officiant

This picture is the only picture we have with our officiant — my brother in law.  Ready for a fun story?  Jeremy (my husband, not the one pictured above), wanted to include my sisters husband (also named Jeremy — confused yet?) in our wedding somehow.  I also wanted to include him and I thought it would be a great idea to have him marry us.  I mean, why not?  He knows us both very well and I knew that it would be really special to include him int hat way.

And it was!  The ceremony, which short and sweet, was very meaningful.  I am planning a post all about our ceremony and all the personal elements we included.  If anyone is interested, I might even post our entire ceremony for everyone to see/read.  You can use it as inspiration if you are thinking of having a family member, or a friend marry you.  It really was one of the best decisions we made, and I am so happy that he accepted our offer 22 months ago.


And why not do-si-do around when you are getting married?  I think my sister is trying to get me to forget that it’s raining outside — remember that black cloud?  If you don’t, scroll up.  It’s there.

After our first look, Jeremy and his men got their pictures taken together.

Wedding party men on the pier

Wedding party men on the pier

Our Vendors:

Ceremony and Reception Venue – The Ridges Resort and Marina
Photography – Jason Hales Photography
Videography – Kimberly K Cinema
Florist – Moore’s Florist
Cake – Cakelady
DJ – Lethal Rhythms
Farmhouse Tables and Chairs – Classic Party Rentals

On deck next week:

first look with jeremy

Wedding Wednesday


20 Wedding Planning Lies


Today I am teaming up with Kristyn from Chits and Giggles! If you don’t know her, you should get to. Kristyn’s blog is honest, fun, and hilarious! For example, this girl is a newlywed and talks about the buggy test on her marriage – hint hint, salt is her savior! Kristyn also has a blog consulting service for new bloggers – with this I can’t recommend her enough! When I first started blogging, Kristyn took me under her wing, so to speak, and became one of my closest blogging friends. 

As I mentioned earlier Kristyn is a newlywed and I was married last April (2013) and we couldn’t think of anything more fun than to talk about the biggest wedding planning lies! 

Do any of these sound familiar?!

Here is what Kristyn says:

1. That wedding dress shopping is fun.

wedding dress hanging with shoes
I loved my wedding dress. I still do. But it wasn’t really the most fun to go shopping for it. My mom is the kind of person who wants to see everything before she purchases something. And I mean everything. So, she wanted to go to 4 stores even though I found my wedding dress at store #1 and it was the 2nd dress I tried on. Just be aware of that if you plan on going shopping with your mom.
2. It won’t be stressful day of.
While we had people in place to divert the stress from us, it didn’t really help. My sister did a ton of stuff behind the scenes to make sure that I didn’t have to deal with everything. But when you have crappy weather coming and have to make decisions, like pushing back the ceremony an hour because of the weather.
Jeremy also was stressing because he was watching a storm come close to us as I was walking down the aisle.

3. Plan B will be perfect.

wedding day decor lanterns
Everyone that was part of our team knew the plan. We would do whatever it took to have our wedding the way we wanted it – the ceremony and reception outside, with no tent. They had a Plan B space, but Jeremy and both decided that we would do everything in our power to not have to use it. And luckily, it worked out perfectly fine. But, make sure everyone that is part of the wedding knows your plan and is happy to do whatever they can do make it happen for you.
4. You will get wasted drunk.
I don’t think I actually ended up drinking a full glass of wine. I drank a little here and a little there, but I definitely know that I wanted water above all else. I was just so thirsty and hot – as I knew I would be!
5. That the day is all about you, the bride, because it isn’t.
bridal portrait
The day is about your family and friends coming together to watch you, the bride, make a lifelong commitment with your fiance. It’s about family drama mixed in there as well. It’s about making sure that friends have fun and it is about a lot of talking.

6. Good luck peeing in your dress…

I had to take someone with me to pee. How fun is that? I also decided it would be easier to just take the dress off and pee instead of trying to pee with people around me. At least I could have a little privacy?

7. You can’t control the weather, but you sure wish you could.

You are going to want to try to be able to control it, but you can’t. Just accept that you can’t and also accept that it might rain on your wedding day. If it rains, does that matter? Not really. Not at the end of the day. Most of the times, if it does rain, you will get kick ass pictures with an umbrella.
wedding day rain shots with umbrella
Yea, that umbrella isn’t a prop…it really did rain.  See below.

8. You wake up to 20% chance of rain, but it storms on your day….oh wait, that happened to me.

Again, it rained on my wedding day. It made things not go as planned, but we still got married. And that is all that matters to me.
9. You have only a year to plan a wedding.
Surprise! You don’t have to take a year to plan a wedding. You can have a shorter engagement than that or a much longer engagement. We were engaged 22 months before we got married. Just know that you don’t have a certain time frame to get married in. Pick your date based on when the venue you want is available and go from there.

10. Your inlaws will have opinions…lots of them.

While my inlaws did have some opinions, they weren’t nearly as opinionated as I thought they might be. They really didn’t mind that we were waiting so long to get married. They were a teeny bit resistant when Jeremy wouldn’t be wearing a tux, but we were able to tell them that it would be better and he would be more comfortable without a tux.Here is what my (Ashley’s) thoughts were:

11. Knicknack shopping is fun. 

LIEEESSSSS ALL LLIIIEESSS. UGH the knicknacks for the wedding were a nightmare – mainly because of Pinterest. There was just too much to choose from – add to that my wedding didn’t have “theme” per say, so I wasn’t able to filter out a lot. I just wanted soft and pretty – aka everything. 

12. The dress and veil will cost a fortune – if you want to look pretty. 

Grand total, my dress, belt, shoes, and veil were less than $1500. The veil was like $30 (thank you Etsy) and my shoes were $100 from Steve Madden.

The dress was my dream dress, the veil was my dream veil – my entire look is exactly what I had always wanted…and my mom didn’t go bankrupt or in debt buying it for me. (Thank you mom!)

13. You have in invite everyone and their cousin. 

Nope nope nope. 

I didn’t want a wedding in the first place – partly due to this exact reason. I didn’t want to have to worry about “offending” someone for not inviting them. That being said, since I was pretty much forced into having a wedding – I was going to do it my way. 

The invitations were sent strictly to lifelong family friends and immediate family ONLY.  Not only did this keep the wedding small -right at fifty were in attendance- but it kept it intimate. 

14. Follow your wedding planner’s advice no matter what. 

Now don’t get me wrong here, my wedding planner was right 9 outr of 10 times and since this was her job I did typically take her advice. That being said, if there was something that I really wanted and she professionally disagreed I held my ground – because at the end of the day, it was about what I wanted (and Chris). 

15. The honeymoon is “so much fun”. 

Okay, so we did have an absolute blast on our honeymoon. That being said, we were both 100% exhausted. We didn’t really want to leave the hotel room- all we wanted to do was sleep!

16. The ceremony is what’s most important. 

Yes, it’s important but it’s only 15 minutes! The reception is 2+ hours! 

If you have to skimp on flowers for the ceremony so that you can have better booze at the reception – do it! Our reception was an absolute blast because that’s where we focused our energy. 

And – when I ask people what they remember most about the wedding, they say how much fun they had at the reception, not the ceremony. 

17. Don’t worry about it – it’ll just all come together. 

I can’t tell you how many times I was told that. That one statement drove me up a wall – because guess what, you do need to worry about it. If there is something specific you want to see or experience you HAVE to address it and deal with it. 

For example, I had an idea of how I wanted each place setting to look – so I wrote the wedding planner an email and sent her a tutorial on how the napkins should be folded. 

18. People will be offended if you don’t speak to them at the reception. 

Not true. While I tried to speak to everyone, it was only 50 people, having a full-on discussion was impossible – guess what, no one was mad at me for it! Truthfully, if someone does get upset with you about this, then they are petty and you should question why you invited them in the first place. 

19. The small stuff won’t matter – focus on the big items.

Not to brag here – okay, I am going to brag – but I swear almost every woman at the wedding made a point of noting all of the personal touches I made on my reception. I had everything from coozies, to notes, to flowers in certain places. 

The little touches matter. Do them, you might as well! If you are going to do something, do it right!

20. You will be stressed through the whole process. 

I had SO MUCH fun planning my wedding as well as attending the wedding. I made sure that I was not one of those crazy brides during the planning process or during the wedding. 

Truthfully, right before the wedding I was stressed out because the photographer was running behind and we were all running late in hair and makeup, but I had a drink to calm my nerves and made myself have fun and not stress. 

My motivation behind being chill was so that the photographer could get genuine, happy pictures like these:

All that being said, while my wedding was a success and the wedding I had always dreamed of – I am so HAPPY IT’S OVER. It was so so so so so so so so much work and just exhausting. 

What is one wedding planning lie you were told?

My Favorite WordPress Plugins Part 2


Last week, I discussed my 5 favorite WordPress plugins.  But there aren’t just 5 that I love.  I love so many more, so today I want to expand that discussion and talk about even more WordPress plugins that you can use on your blog.

My Favorite WordPress Plugins Part 2 - Chits and Giggles #blogging #wordpress


A lot of the plugins I mentioned last week are more for your blogs performance, if you will.  I want to talk about more about function today.

1.  Wordpress SEO or Yoast WordPress SEO.  This plugin is amazing.  It allows me to get XML sitemaps, set my focus keyword, my SEO Title, and a meta description all on the “Edit Post” screen.  It also will rate my post by giving me a green, yellow, or red bubble.  If it’s not green, I can figure out why – usually missing the meta description or the title and the URL don’t have my keyword in there.  As much as SEO is difficult to understand, this plugin makes it so much easier.  Trust me on that!  I really don’t know much about SEO, but you don’t have to with this plugin.  Just follow the steps after you have written up your post, and bam.  You get graded and can move on.  It’s awesome.

2.  Wordpress Editorial Calendar.  One thing I learned early on about WordPress that I’m not a fan of, is that it’s sort of difficult to schedule posts.  It’s a lot easier now that I have this plugin though.  I can easily save posts as drafts or even schedule them to go live on certain dates.  And I can move them around the calendar.  How much more easy can you get?

3.  Drafts Dropdown.  Speaking of drafts, this dropdown lets me easily see the drafts that I have or posts that I am working on.  Sometimes, I will think of an idea for a post and log it in Evernote.  After I have a good amount of post ideas in Evernote, I will put them all in WordPress as drafts.  I just simply name them and then “Save Draft”.  Then, I can use the Drafts Dropdown plugin to easily find the draft I am looking for.  It makes my life so much easier.

4.  Evergreen Post Tweeter.  One of my favorite plugins is this one.  This plugin allows you to set up when it will push tweets for you.  You can tell it which categories to use, or not use and you can declare the tags you want it to use to search for posts.  Then you tell it the days and time of day that you want posts pushed to Twitter and it does it for you.  It’s so simple.  I literally only set it up once, and it does the magic for me.  Can you think of anything better than that?  Yea, me either!

5.  Quick Cache.  This little guy makes my site run faster.  As simple as that!

What plugins should I add?