Monday, June 15, 2015

Smitten Whittens: A Giant Lesson in Grace Not Perfection

So, I talked a bit about expectations a couple posts ago, and tonight's post will match that one.

Emily Ley has become somewhat internet famous for her stance on holding herself to a standard of grace not perfection, and this year has been the ultimate test of that for me. 

This makes the perfect lock screen for my phone right now. If y'all aren't acquainted with Emily Ley, I highly recommend you check her- and her beautiful and practical products- out. 

I wanted to be the perfect student teacher, I wanted to be the perfect fiancĂ©e, and even worse than that, I wanted to have the perfect relationship throughout our engagement. Now, anyone who is working or in school while planning a wedding knows it isn't exactly an easy task, and anyone who's ever been in a long-distance relationship knows that's no cake walk either. Combine those two situations and add your fiancĂ© buying and renovating a house on top? Yeesh. Our engagement season has been a little less rainbows and butterflies than I was expecting. (Ugh, there go those expectations again!) 
If my "rainbows and butterflies" reference didn't make you think of "She Will be Loved" by Maroon 5, you should really consider going back to 2002 for a do-over.

However, it has been a time of tremendous growth for John and me, as individuals and as a couple. John started his career and learned so many skills while making a house into a home (more on that post-wedding!), while I made my way through student teaching, getting a job, and graduating. Together, we've practiced giving each other grace when we really don't want to- and we're still practicing! However, I think that's an important part of marriage- to give each other grace is to get a taste of what we're given on a daily basis from God. 
On top of John giving me grace, I've learned to give myself grace. Okay, I've actually learned I'm terrible at giving myself grace, but again, I'm practicing! Besides the usual suspects, like giving myself grace with my appearance (oh hey, stress acne!), I'm trying to give myself grace with all those little wedding details. I'm slowly realizing it's okay not to have everything match perfectly, and if the guest table seems a little hodgepodge-y to me, so what?! It really doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things, and it's certainly not worth having a mental breakdown over a six foot table! 
This hilarious SomeeCard reminds me that the vast majority of our guests couldn't care less about the little details I obsess over. (Granted, I spent no where close to three months on invitations! I'm not that bad!)
Letting go of control is much easier said than done, because I'm just so detail-oriented, it's difficult for me to let the little things slide. I want all frames to match, all decor look cohesive, and I want everyone to get a clear picture of what my vision was for our wedding aesthetic. However, I also want to enjoy my last eleven days at home as a VerHage. (Okay, typing that makes me a little emotional...) The last thing I want to do is isolate myself because I'm so obsessed with every last detail that I shut my parents out.
Wow. I think this post was another therapeutic one to write. One where I spilt honesty onto the screen with the prayer that someone somewhere could maybe identify. Engagement is an incredible time; it's brought some of my highest highs and lowest lows. I know our marriage, exponentially longer than our engagement season, will bring way more joyful and trying times, and I think as long as we remember to give each other that unconditional love and grace, we'll be alright. 
Oh, and as for the lack of posts the past two days... I was celebrating one of my dearest, most wonderful friend's bachelorette weekend in Charleston, and I wouldn't change it for the world! Yay for that whole grace thing! :) 
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Friday, June 12, 2015

Smitten Whittens: Asking my Flower Girls

Now, after the bridesmaids were all taken care of (like we talked about yesterday), it was time to ask my two favorite little girls to steal the show as our flower girls. I was able to see my five year old cousin Emily go from baby to toddler while I was still at Wofford, and she is so special to me. My older, biggest-role-model cousin, Jana, has an adorable two year old daughter, Charlotte, who is technically my second cousin, but I can't imagine her not being part of our special day (especially since Jana insisted on not being a bridesmaid). 

The early childhood education major in me that loves children's literature, so it should come as no surprise that as soon as I saw Fancy Nancy had a wedding book, I was buying it. 

If that precocious little girl's stories had been around when I was little, I can guarantee Nancy would have been competing with Madeline for my favorite book character. 

Now, the story was adorable, and Nancy was sassy as ever, but I had to add a little note to the front, in order to actually ask the girls! Here's the inside of Charlotte's book: 

Of course, I had to come up with a cheesy little poem and relate it all back to the plot of the book! 

I can't say my flower girls' initial reactions were quite as ecstatic as my bridesmaids', but in their defense, Charlotte wasn't even two yet when I asked, and Emily can be pretty shy. Her immediate response? "Not doing that!" However, by the end of the night, she had Rapunzel and Flynn Ryder/ Eugene (if you haven't seen Tangled, go fix that ASAP) pretending to be Chelsea and John. :)

Emily warming up to the idea of our wedding- I hope she isn't disappointed when she finds out John isn't wearing boots and a tunic! 

I also hope she and Charlotte know how excited I am to have them in our wedding, and I only wish I could watch them walk down the aisle and melt everyones' hearts! (Con of an outdoor ceremony: no doors to hide behind and peek out of, only hills and trees.) 

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Thursday, June 11, 2015

Smitten Whittens: Asking My 'Maids

If you read yesterday's post, you'll see I joked about how long I've been talking about doing this post, and now that I'm actually creating it, I'm like, "Uhh, this seems like a lot of build up for nothing."
Because how I asked them wasn't revolutionary, by any means.
I just took a few of my favorite glitzy things- champs, chunky glitter, and Carolyna Pro Black font- and combined them to make these:

Mini bottles of champagne are kind of my weakness.... Like how adorable are they?!

 A little closer...

On the left: "John popped the question, but before we pop the champagne..." On the right: "Will you be my bridesmaid? Love, Chelsea"

To make these, all it took was a couple packs of mini bottles of champagne, Mod Podge adhesive spray, and lots of glitter! I used finer glitter to really give it some sheen, and then the chunky glitter because it's obnoxious, and I like it. I simply used PicMonkey to make the tags, picking a fun background and my favorite font. Carolyna Pro Black is kind of our "wedding font" per say, in that it's used on lots of our paper products, from invitations to programs (you may also notice it throughout my current blog design!). With the gold polka dots on the background of the tags, and the black and white ribbon patterned, I think I achieved the "Kate Spade" vibe I was going for with these.
I was able to hand all but one of the bottles in person (boo for having my little live in Arkansas!), and the reactions ranged from squeals (okay, screams) of excitement to border-line tears, which made the glitter trail so worth it!

 One of my favorite reactions caught on camera: I had already asked Leslie (on the right in this picture) earlier that day before we surprised Christine in Charleston on her birthday. This is said birthday girl's candid reaction when I asked her to stand by my side too! Y'all, Christine is a notorious non-hugger, so to get this kind of reaction?! Priceless. :) 

I am so thankful all eight girls said "yes" to supporting me during this adventure, many of them traveling out of state (one buying a cross-country plane ticket!), and I cannot wait for the next two weeks to fly by so I can spend time with them during the wedding weekend!

Tomorrow, you'll find out how I asked my flower girls to strut their stuff down the aisle!

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