Wedding Weekend #2 and This Week’s Meal/Snack Plan

Hope you had a great Halloween! Derek and I had another fun, busy weekend that included another wedding. I guess we’re at that age now? Weird.

My parents and brother came into town on Friday afternoon to go to a family friend’s wedding on Saturday. My brother Jared was the best man in the wedding, so he headed straight to the rehearsal, but my parents came over for dinner. We caught up and ate Chinese food while we waited for trick-or-treaters. We only ended up getting one trick-or-treater, but it was a nice, relaxing way to spend Friday night.

The next day we headed to the wedding ceremony, which was at Duke Chapel. Duke Chapel is absolutely stunning and definite must-see if you visit Durham.

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One of the stain glass windows inside Duke Chapel.

It was a sweet ceremony, and everything looked beautiful.

The reception was at Angus Barn in Raleigh. There were floating candles on all the tables, gorgeous rose and hydrangea flower arrangements, and a roaring fire in the fireplace.


Inside the Angus Barn’s pavilion. Isn’t it gorgeous?

It was oh-so-cozy. As one can expect from Angus Barn, the food was delicious as well. We had a blast dancing, and Jared did a great job with his best man speech.


My mom and me.

I’m definitely a romantic so I love weddings, but I especially enjoyed this one. I’m also thankful for another chance to spend time with my family. Can’t wait to see them at Christmas!


Love my family. From left to right: Jared, my mom, Derek, me, and my dad.

Anyway, onto this week’s meal plan! As I mentioned in my last confessions post, I am trying to incorporate more snacks to keep me from getting too hungry. I’ve listed a few of my snack ideas for this week below the meal plan.

Meal Plan- Week of 11/3

Monday: White Chili + Raw Veggies with Ranch Dip

Tuesday: Turkey Meatballs + Sweet Potato Tots + Salad

Wednesday: Maple Glazed Salmon + Couscous + Broccoli

Thursday: Curry Chicken + Brown Rice + Green Beans

Friday: Dinner Out

Saturday: Brunswick Stew + Bread

Sunday: Meat Loaf “Muffins” + Red Potatoes + Salad


  • Cottage cheese and oranges
  • Raw broccoli and baby carrots with ranch dressing or hummus
  • Peanut butter and an apple
  • Crackers with cheese and an apple slice

Wedding {Part 3}: The Reception

It’s time for the final wedding recap post! If you haven’t already seen them, Part 1 covers getting ready and a few bride and groom portraits, and Part 2 covers the first look and ceremony.

After we hopped in the 1954 Bentley, we took a brief drive around downtown Lexington before arriving at the reception location. Lexington was hosting its own Comic-Con, and we received well wishes people dressed in some crazy costumes as we rode around.  We had a blast driving around, and it gave Derek and I the opportunity to be alone and take a breather before the reception.

Our reception was at the Historic Round Barn at the Red Mile. The Red Mile is a harness racing track, and the barn was built in the late 1800s. Our gifts were actually collected and put into one of the historic horse carriages that they have on site.


Historic Round Barn at the Red Mile

We took pictures with the entire wedding party and as an officially married couple when we got there.


The beautiful ladies.

My bridesmaids looked absolutely gorgeous! From left to right: Logan, Elisa (Derek’s sister), Amy (my cousin), Katy, Jenna (Maid of Honor), and Randi (Derek’s sister).


The handsome gents.

The guys were looking pretty fly, too. From left to right: Patrick, Stephen, Jesse, Will (my cousin), Josh (Derek’s brother and Best Man), Garrin, Evan, and Jared (my brother).


As my friend Katy put it, “America’s Next Top Bridal Party.”


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After the pictures, we headed into the reception space. We paired up our bridal party (including the always entertaining pairing of Stephen and Garrin) and sent them into the reception dancing to “Bring Em Out” by T.I. (which not-so-coincidentally happens to be the music used at UNC basketball games :)).

It was awesome to see all the months of planning come together at the reception. The barn and the decorations were stunning!


Can you believe our family friend Ms. Kim made this cake? She did an amazing job!


Bride and groom champagne glasses.


We used coral hydrangeas in large mint julep cups for our centerpieces. (Another Kentucky touch.)


We put out coozies and soft drinks for favors. We had Ale-8-One from Kentucky and Cheerwine from North Carolina.




Instead of a regular guest book, we had everyone sign a bourbon barrel head. We have it on display in our house now.

After introductions, we had a buffet with a Southern menu. We started out with mini hot browns and beer cheese with veggies and crackers as a passed appetizers during the cocktail hour. The main dishes at dinner were shrimp ‘n’ grits and beef brisket. Sides included broccoli salad, mixed green salad, macaroni and cheese, and green beans. NOM. Bayou Bluegrass Catering provided our food for the evening, and they were fantastic. The food was delicious. People are still telling me how much they enjoyed it.

After dinner, we did toasts and cake cutting. Jenna is not a fan of public speaking, but she powered through the nerves. Her speech was incredibly touching. I cried then, and it makes me tear up thinking about it now. We may not be blood-related, but she’s my sister.


Jenna giving her maid of honor toast.

Josh’s toast was the perfect mix of humor and heart. It meant a lot to both of us, and I’m excited to have another brother!


Josh giving his best man speech.

Derek decided to stuff the cake in my face instead of being nice, and I retaliated. It resulted in one of my favorite pictures of the night.


Vengeance is mine!

After toasts and cake, it was time to dance and party!! Derek and I danced to “First Day of My Life” by Bright Eyes. The song was one of Derek’s few requests for the wedding and it was perfect.


My dad and I danced to one of our favorites, “Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World” by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole (what a name!).  For both the father-daughter and mother-son dances, we asked other fathers and daughters and mothers and sons to join us on the dance floor after the first minute or so.

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Derek and his mom danced to Luther Vandross’ song “Always and Forever.”


We got everyone dancing after that!

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My parents were dancing machines.

After much dancing, we took a brief break for the bouquet and garter toss. Katy, one of my bridesmaids and oldest friends, caught the bouquet. Her reaction was priceless!

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The garter toss was equally entertaining. The looks of devastation/disbelief on the guys’ faces are hilarious.

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We danced for a while longer, and then wrapped things up with James Taylor’s classic “Carolina In My Mind.” 


We hopped on a party bus with our wedding party and headed out to bars downtown until 2am. It was an exhausting, wonderful, amazing day. Marrying Derek made it the best day of my life, but the celebration with our friends and family is something that I will treasure forever.

Wedding {Part 2}: First Look and Ceremony

It’s time for another wedding recap post! Part 2 will cover the first look and ceremony. My previous wedding recap post, Part 1, covers getting ready and a few bride and groom portraits.

Derek and I went back and forth about doing a first look versus seeing each other for the first time in the church. We loved the tradition and excitement of seeing each when I walked into the church, but we also thought that seeing each other before the ceremony would calm our nerves and be a moment just for us. After looking at our wedding day schedule it became very clear that a first look was much easier, and we decided to go for it.

I am SO happy that we went with a first look. It was such a good decision for us and one of my absolute favorite moments of the wedding.






Those were the first of many happy tears that day. Our friends and family watched the first look through the church windows, and even the most traditional of our family members loved the pure joy of the moment.



Another great thing about the first look was that it enabled us to take photos with our family before the ceremony.


My wonderful family.


My new family.

After taking some family portraits, I relaxed with my bridesmaids for the last half hour before the ceremony. I was a little nervous, but I was mostly excited. We used “Best Day of My Life” by American Authors for the wedding party processional music, and my dad and I entered the church to Vitamin String Quartet’s version of the U2 song “Beautiful Day.”


Even though we had already seen each other, walking into the church was still an amazing moment. Derek told me he even teared up again. 🙂


Derek and his best man/brother Josh as I entered the church.

The ceremony was the most important part of the day for us, and we worked hard to make it exactly what we wanted. We had both of our grandfathers read. Derek’s grandfather read the classic 1 Corinthians 13:4-13, and my grandfather read another favorite Bible passage 1 John 4:9-12. In addition to our vows to each other, which we wrote on our own, it is tradition in my church to include vows of the families and the community. It was touching to look out and hear all of our friends and family vow to support our marriage.


Hearing the vows from our families.

It was perfect.


Derek was really pumped to be married haha!


We exited the church and headed to our getaway car, which happened to be a 1954 Bentley. It was awesome.


Below is the last shot before we drove 10 minutes down the road to the ceremony.



In the next wedding post it’s on to the fun part: the reception!

Wedding {Part 1}: Getting Ready

I cannot believe over 2 months have passed since Derek and I got married. We got married on March 15th, 2014 in Lexington, Kentucky. We received our wedding pictures from Aaron Stringer Photography on Friday, and we’ve loved re-living our wedding day through the photos. It was definitely the best day of my life, and I’m excited to share some of the pictures and memories.

First up is THE dress. Though I don’t consider myself to be a very stylish person, I would most likely describe my style as new classic. I love elegant, classic looks that have been slightly updated. For my wedding dress that meant timeless lace with a more modern trumpet shape and keyhole back. My dress was made by Allure Bridals, and I purchased it at Bridal Boutique of North Carolina. I also had my alterations done there, including adding on the belt, and they did a great job.


Next up are my garter and earrings. I purchased both of these on Etsy, and they are beautiful. The garter, which also came with an unpictured toss garter, came from LucyBridalBoutique. The earrings are rose gold, and they’re from Poetry Jewelry. I also purchased my veil, which you will see in later pictures, from Melinda Rose Design on Etsy. It is a very simple, but elegant fingertip length tulle veil.


If you’re planning a wedding, I suggest checking out Etsy for your accessories. There is a lot of variety, and the products tend to be more affordable.

My (Carolina blue) shoes can be seen in the photo below. Derek and I met at UNC Chapel Hill during undergrad, I recently graduated with my MSW from UNC, and Derek is currently in medical school at UNC. Needless to say, Carolina has been a huge part of our relationship, so I paid homage to our school with my shoes. 🙂  I purchased them from Fan Feet. They have shoes from tons of different schools if your interested.


The heel was about 4 inches, which is quite high for me. However, I loved the shoes, and Derek is a foot taller than me at 6’4″ so the extra height helped with pictures. I planned ahead and switched into more comfortable dancing shoes at the reception. It worked out well.

My bridesmaids, my mom, and I got our hair done at my mom’s regular salon. I wore my hair in a low, soft up-do that fit the romantic nature of the dress and showed off the keyhole back. My bridesmaids all chose to wear their hair half up-half down, which looked great. After getting our hair done, Trish from Image Insight came to do our make up at my parents’ house. She did a fantastic job! If you’re in the Lexington area, I highly recommend her services.


It was my first time wearing false eyelashes, and they were awesome!


Three of my gorgeous bridesmaids. From left to right: Katy, Jenna, and Logan.

While we were putting on the finishing touches, Derek and the groomsmen were trying to figure out the mystery of how to tie a bow tie.


With the help of YouTube, they figured it out. At this point the photographers took some pictures of Derek on his own. He looked unbelievably handsome. I am so lucky. 🙂



In typical wedding day fashion, the ladies and I were running a bit behind, but it was finally time to put on the dress. My mom helped me put it on, which was a special moment for both of us.



At this point we headed to the church to start the bridal portraits. First I have to show off Trish’s make up job. It was gorgeous.


Below is Derek’s favorite picture.


I love the drama of this next shot. The red doors of the church made for an awesome backdrop.


Below is probably my favorite portrait shot.


I don’t think I’ve ever felt more beautiful than I did on our wedding day. Besides the make up and hair, which were fantastic, I was  so full of joy that I think it showed through in the pictures. That inner glow is even more apparent after I see Derek. In my next wedding post I’ll share the pictures from our first look and wedding party portraits. The first look photos are my favorite pictures from the entire day because they’re so genuine. I can’t wait to share them!

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