Guesterly...Introducing the VIPs of Your Wedding Day


Are you looking for a way to make your wedding day programs different and unique to you? Want a way to feature those who have been with you through the long haul and have impacted you as individuals and as a couple? Why not present them like the stars they are and give your guests a bit of background information about who is standing up at the alter with you as you say your vows.

McMahan Wedding-7805.jpg just might be the solution for you. From their website you can create questions to ask the various people you want to feature, add their picture, their social media handles, etc and print the information out into a simple flip book for your guests to keep. 

Pricing is pretty reasonable and the flip books can have as many pages as you like. They even offer an online flip book for the more environmentally conscious bride. Your guests are able to log into a password protected personal URL and read about the members of your bridal party, parents, grandparents, etc.

You can also use the tool to give your guests background information on your vendors if they are important players/contributors in your life. For example, if your officiant was a childhood pastor, or if your DJ was your roommate in college.

This tool could be an option for making your wedding programs a little more memorable and taking your wedding to the next level.


Valentine's Day Engagement? What should you do now?


Valentine's Day is one of the most popular days for proposals. If you're one of those lucky girls who received a proposal last night, first CONGRATULATIONS!!!!! Second you're probably wondering what next. The wedding planning process is looking to be very overwhelming. You may not know where to start or where to look. Don't fret, in this post I'm going to give you some resources and next steps that will hopefully ease your stress and give you a starting point to what should be one the most enjoyable times for you as a couple.

Create a budget
First and foremost you should create your wedding budget, trust me, the last thing you want to do is start your life together in a mound of debt. Figure out what areas are important to you and how much you are willing/able to spend keeping in mind what is realistic.

According to The Knot, the national average cost of a wedding in 2017 was $33,391. Couples on average spent $15,163 on the venue, $2,630 on photography, and $2,379 on flowers. Click here to read the full article.

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I know these seem like big numbers, but during the budgeting stage, this is where you and your fiancé will figure out how the wedding will be paid for and who will help pay for it. In a recent blog, Traditions: Who Pays For What, I discussed who used to pay for what, but nowadays couples are footing a majority of the bill if not all of it. This is something that you and your fiancé will need to discuss, taking into consideration the financial situation on your families.

If you're not sure where to begin and maybe you aren't an excel or budgeting whiz, there are some great online budgeting tools, like this one from WeddingWire, that can help you set your budget and track your spending.

Start creating your guest list
This is actually something that you will be working on while creating your budget and through the whole planning process. Having a good idea of how many guests you are inviting, will help you in selecting the right venue and how much to budget for things like food, drinks, and favors.

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When creating your guest list you might want to talk with your parents to see if there are any family and family friends that should be invited, this is especially important if your parents are helping pay for the wedding.

You'll also need to decide if kids will be invited, or will it be an adult only event. Adult only allows for couples to get dressed up and go out without the kids. Most couples will see this as a nice date nite and may take advantage of the babysitter and get a hotel room for the night. 

As a rule of thumb you can expect about 85% of the people you invite to attend.

Select a date
When selecting your wedding date you'll want to keep a few things in mind such as holidays and your own work schedules. Of course during the busy season at work, you may not want to get married because it might be too hard for you to get the time off every year to celebrate your anniversary and, if you are able to get the time off, you'll probably be too stressed to enjoy it. 

Consider what season you might want to tie the knot in, and what colors go with that season. Do you like the orange fall tones or the bright vibrant colors of fall? You also want to keep in the mind the weather in the location you want to get married. An August wedding in Arizona may not be ideal unless your goal is to melt down the aisle.

If you find yourself struggling to decide on a date, try picking one that has meaning to you both. Maybe the first day you met, or the day you had your first date.

Another way to decide on a date is find your venue and make a selection based on their availability. Some venues can be booked out years in advance, so if you have a venue in mind, start there before selecting a firm date.

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Splurge on a wedding planner
I highly recommend investing in a wedding planner. They know the industry, they have connections to vendors and can connect you with ones that they personally have experience working with. A good wedding planner will help relieve a lot of stress by taking on the coordination of vendors and making sure the wedding day events go smoothly. Having a wedding planner will allow you the freedom to enjoy the day without having to worry about the flowers, the catering or getting the DJ to flow with the wedding day schedule. You can read about my experience with my wedding planner on my post How My Wedding Planner Kept Me Sane

Congratulations again lovely. Embrace the wedding planning process and allow yourself to enjoy this time in your journey together. 

Happy wedding planning.


5 Romantic Date Ideas


With Valentine's Day approaching you're probably scratching your head to figure out what do do for that special someone in your life. Yes it's true most girls like chocolate and flowers, but why not take it a step further with one of these romantic date ideas. These date ideas are good all year 'round.

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  1. Dinner for two in. Why not surprise him or her with a romantic candle lit dinner at home. you could cook up his favorite meal, have some Marvin Gaye playing quietly in the background. The delicious aroma of their favorite meal is bound to make their mouth water and their heart melt for you. Don't forget to cook up a little dessert and see where the evening takes you.

    Take it a step further and make it reminiscent of a place you guys went together. My husband and I do this at least once a year. We had our honeymoon in Hawaii, so I'll try to find some Hawaiian themed dishes, desserts and even drinks to make. As we sit down to a romantic dinner it takes us back to our time in Hawaii. It's fun to look back and remember the memories we made.
  2. Take a cooking class together. I have heard nothing but great reviews about the Portland's Culinary WorkshopThey always have couple's cooking classes on the calendar. My husband and I have been wanting to do this. We've even considered making it a group date with some of our closest friends.
  3. Go wine tasting and splurge on the cheese and crackers. Oregon has some of the best wineries, so why not make a day of it and go wine tasting. Our favorite winery is David Hill. The wines are great and the views are spectacular. You can pack a picnic lunch and sit out on the picnic tables with a couple glasses of wine. In February it will be cold, so dress in layers or bring a blanket to snuggle up in.
  4. Play board games. Bring out those board games you loved to play growing up, or ones that you enjoy as an adult. Lay out a nice spread of cheese, crackers, chips and dips, and candy too. Taking the time to shut off the T.V and just enjoy each other's company is the perfect foundation for some good conversation and great memories.
  5. Collect stamps for your McMenamins passport. If you don't already have a McMenamins passport I encourage you to get one. If you don't know what that is you can find out more about it here. You're guaranteed to have fun going on scavenger hunts, playing a game of shuffle board or just enjoying a beer or wine flight. Our favorite McMenamins is Edgefield. Check it out if you haven't been.

I would love to here what your favorite date nights are. Leave a comment below. I'm always looking for fun date ideas.


Wedding Spotlight: Jason and Tiffany McMahan


This post is a bit overdue, but still so worth the post and wait. This precious couple tied the knot on October 14th at the gorgeous Veiled Garden at the Abernethy Center in Oregon City. It was chilly day, but the love between these two was hot.

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It was refreshing watching these two interact with each other throughout the day. So much love and laughter.

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Jason and Tiffany met in an unconventional way...playing Words With Friends. They both stepped out with hearts open and took a chance on something that has proven to be a match made in heaven.

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Spending time with them in the year leading up to their wedding day convinced me that they were made for each other. They fit together like a ball and glove.

It was amazing to see such a beautiful blending of families and to see how Jason's boys accept Tiffany and how Tiffany's son and daughter accept Jason. This family is nothing but laughs and these laughs are sure to last for eternity.

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Congratulations Jason and Tiffany! We wish you both and your precious family, a lifetime of happiness.

Venue: Veiled Garden - Abernethy Center
Bridal gown: David's Bridal
Tux Rental: Men's Warehouse
Florist: A Floral Affair
Cake: Chanel Shavers
DJ: CJ Martinez
Hair and Makeup: Jennifer Jones


Groomsmen Gift Ideas


When creating your wedding budget don’t forget to budget some money for gifts for your best guys and ladies. Here are a few gift ideas for the groomsmen.

Think experience

Instead of giving a material gift, think of gifting an experience. Is he into action and adventure, or traveling? Check out experiences at and gift him the experience of flying a helicopter, golf lessons with a PGA pro, or a paintball game.

Sports Car experience

How about gifting the best guys win the wedding with the experience of driving a Ferrari or Lamborghini with What guy doesn't like getting behind the wheel of a fast beauty?

Personalized shavers

Are you looking for something more practical? How about a personalized shaver from Backyard Sawdust on

The flask has a lot of gift ideas for every guy in your wedding party. Check out their customized flasks, poker sets and grilling sets.

These guys have been by your main and are standing with you as a couple on the most important day of your life. Show them some love with a gift of thanks for being such an important part of his life and your's.


The First Man in My Life...Dad


My dad, the first man I ever loved. The man that showed me what a true man looks like, acts like, and should treat me like. He worked long hours to ensure we were provided for. As a carpenter, seasonal work made the holidays a little difficult, but he always found a way to make the holidays special for us. He taught me what it means to work hard.

He always puts others first and has a heart of gold. What ever he does he is humble about it and doesn't like being the center of attention and never seeks out recognition for what he does. He puts his heart and soul into everything he does. He does not cut corners and will never cheat you.

He is the perfect gentleman when it comes to being a husband to my mom. He's by no means perfect, but he is the perfect display of how my husband should love me. He leads with a gentle hand and makes sure the needs of his family are met, not just physical, but emotional as well.

He is the man who taught me how to drive. He is the one who helped me by my first car. He is the one who worked on my car with me. I am who I am because of this man. Hanging out with him brings nothing but laughter.

I'm proud to call this man DAD.




4 Benefits of Having a Wedding Day Shot List


As you plan and prep for your wedding day; coordinating with all your wedding vendors to ensure the venue is as you want it, the food is delivered on time, and the flower arrangements are delivered on time and set up according to your liking, you should be working with your wedding photographer on a wedding day shot list. Yes, your photographer should be asking you questions and working with you to develop a shot list, but you want to make sure you are advising your wedding photographer about any family dynamics that they might need to be made aware of as well as some of your must have shots that are important to you.

Planning out a shot list will provide several benefits, here are just a few.

Having a plan will reduce the amount of time spent on family photos

By talking with your photographer about what shots are important to you, you and your photographer can create a plan that will speed up the family photos after the ceremony. Your photographer will be able to create a plan that will reduce time and get you back to your guests faster. A wedding shot list has the most benefits when it comes to family photos when you have a big family.

Have a better understanding of time needed

Planning out the shot list with your wedding photographer will give both of you a better idea on the time needed for the wedding photos. This will help you when you are planning out your timeline and will give you a better idea on what time your make up artist and hair dresser should arrive. There is nothing like having your photographer ready to take the first look pictures when your makeup and hair aren't done and your bouquet hasn't arrived yet. You'll also be able to prepare your family and wedding party for the wedding photos by letting them know how much time you'll need them for. 

Reduce the risk of forgetting a shot you wanted

When you are creating your shot list ensure that you ask both sets of parents what shots are important to them. This will give you a more thorough list. Having a list on paper will ensure that all the important shots are captured. A lot is happening during the wedding day and if you don't have a plan before hand something is bound to slip through the cracks.

Reduce awkward moments - wrong parents together (divorced parents - know the dynamics

When talking with your wedding photographer about the shot list be sure to advise of any family dynamics (divorced parents, awkward family relationships). When your photographer is aware of potential relationship issues, they can arrange the family photos to ensure there are no awkward moments and problems don't escalate.

Just like any aspect of your wedding, you should have a game plan for the wedding photos. This goes for the first look, bridal party, and family photos. When you have a plan the risks of problems arising is reduced and you are bound to not forget a particular shot you wanted.

Click here for a sample shot list.


5 Summer Date Ideas


As the temperatures start heating up, heat things up with your love with a few non-traditional date ideas. Forego the dinner and a move date night and spice things up with one or all of these date ideas.

Surprise him with a picnic lunch.

Pack a picnic lunch and go to a local winery or your favorite winery if you have one. You can enjoy some wine tasting or buy a bottle of your favorite wine, snag a picnic bench or a spot on the grass and enjoy the views while soaking up each other's company. After lunch walk the vineyards hand in hand.

Go for a bike ride.

Air up the tires in the bikes and grab your helmet for an afternoon bike ride. Pack some snacks or make some sandwiches for a little picnic along the way.

Hit the hiking trails.

Lace up those shoes and take an early morning or afternoon hike. Nature has a way of bringing people together and what better way to enjoy each other's company than with a trail and beautiful scenery.

Dinner under the stars

Don't feel like heading out for the night, not a problem. Cook up his favorite meal or grab his favorite take out and enjoy dinner out on the patio under the stars. Light up the fire pit and cook up some s'mores for dessert.

Take a road trip

Make a day of it and go on a road trip. Not sure where to go, pull out a map, close your eyes and point to a spot on the map...there's your destination.

However you choose to spend your time together, don't forget to enjoy the experience and each other. Little adventures like these have a way of bringing two people closer and fosters deeper conversations and insight into each other. Go out, have fun, and "love the one you're with".

I would love to hear from you. What are some of your favorite dates you've had?