Hump Day Confessions: Wedding Planning


Wedding planning hasn't really been that enjoyable for me if we're going to be honest here. I'm 90% sure this is because I take on so much. This is also why my word for the year is balance!

Sure, finding a dress that makes me feel beautiful in, having a 'parentachlorette' party and shopping for the boys has been fun but it's been stressful.

I work full-time and that job has been pretty demanding the last few years. While being bogged down in corporate life I also blog here, film for my YouTube channel, film weddings and events, run an Etsy shop and am a mom. All these things outside of work is where my passion lies. I wake up early or stay up late to edit, to write, and to create. If a wedding email comes in at 9pm I automatically become 'too tired' and pretend I can't be bothered to respond. Call it a copping mechanism but I'm a procrastinator to the fullest when it comes to this wedding planning business. This is no surprise if you follow my Snapchats (@eastwillowgrove) as I speak out this frequently!

Wedding planning has been more of a chore. Ticks on a to-do list that I always dread pulling out. Phone calls and emails I feel are never ending and the money, the money! I keep telling myself we are spending it wisely and I know when I'm on the beach with a Mai Tai in hand I will believe it, but for now, I keep questioning myself.

This is the reason why I wanted a destination wedding though. I wanted to relish in a feeling of bliss with my family and friends for a week. To feel like the money was well spent, the phone calls and emails paid off and that to-do list was done, finished, completed. 

My brain is filled with so much wedding planning I feel lost in the midst of it all. If pictures and video didn't mean everything to me I would probably walk down the isle bare foot in my favorite sweats eating candy with the boys, drinking a cocktail and smiling at Jerek. I'm ready for these next 10 days to fly by. I'm ready to shoot travel diary videos I've been dreaming about, to be on our first ever family vacation all four of us and to say 'I still do' to Jerek.


Bathing Suit Shopping

With Mexico less than a month away, 3 weeks to be exact, I've been in overdrive mode about my eating habits and trying to make it to the gym a good 5 days a week (trying is the key word.) This wedding comes at a perfect time because it's like a jump start into the summer!

Bathing suit shopping pre-kids was always kind of difficult for me. I had a tiny butt and big boobs so I could never just buy one size and have it fit perfectly. Back in the day to buy suits separately you had to go to stores like Everything But Water, Macys or Nordstrum, for a high school or college kid those price tags were a big no no in my book!

As the years have gone by everyone is selling tops and bottoms separately so it's easier to mix and match. However, enter post kids body. My boobs just DON'T fit into suits like they use to and those low rise cheeky bottoms just do NOT flatter me any longer! I also have found that I can't and SHOULDN'T just buy cheap bathing suits, those are the ones that don't fit my body well. So just like a good pair of jeans, I need to spend a little bit more money to find suits that fit me.

Last summer I posted this photo online because I LOVED the way I looked and felt in my new one piece. This year I'm on the hunt for another cute one to add to my summer wardrobe but also some bikini's that show off the hard work I've been putting in with my food and gym habits.

With working and having kids, getting to the store and actually trying suits on is a real pain in the ass. My love online shopping, point blank. I LOVE seeing packages on my doorstep when I get home from a long day at work and trying on in the comfort of my home, not worrying if I'm taking too long in the dressing room. I've rounded up some of my favorites I've been eyeing, now I just need to pull the trigger on a few.



Let me know what ones you like the best, or if you have any suggestions, leave them in the comments below!  XX

10 Things I've Learned Destination Wedding Planning

Another week of chaos has passed and we are less than ONE MONTH FROM THE ACTUAL WEDDING DAY!!!

This last week I had to fill out 18 pages worth of questions for the resort to plan for our arrival. Things like what kind of ambiance lighting do you want for the cocktail hour (I didn't even know that was a thing!) to questions about flowers, menus, chair counts and cake choices. I picked up my wedding dress from the final alterations and it fits amazingly (big relief since a month ago it was a littttttllleee too snug!)


While going through this whole process over the last year I've had many people ask me questions regarding planning a destination wedding. While answering questions I've been keeping a list of things I wish I would have listened to or done. So for anyone thinking about planning a destination wedding, hopefully this will help you, (realistically this could go for a traditional wedding as well.) [I'm going to have a follow up to this post AFTER we have the wedding so you will have an idea of do's and don'ts of how the actual wedding went as well.]

1. DON'T SAY THE BRIDAL PARTY CAN WEAR WHATEVER- I learned this the hard way. At first I told the girls "you can wear whatever, you'll look great in anything!" Then it turned into, "you can wear whatever but it needs to be in this color scheme" Now I'm wishing I would have just been like, "you wear this, you wear this and you wear this" The only reason I say this is because no one wants the bride to NOT like what you picked out so I always felt bad when the girls would ask if I liked a certain dress or not. I love all the dresses they picked and they go nicely together but laying something simple out like find a long dress in navy would have been smarter on my part then me trying to be an "easy going bride" when ultimately you still want a certain look.

2. PICK COLORS/THEME- Another thing I was very like "I'm not having a theme or color scheme, as long as everything looks nice I'm cool with it!" My wishy washy ways caught up with me when I changed my colors and my mom remade all the banners for the pre-ception because I switched my theme/color scheme. This also goes with #1 which you just read because I changed my ideas on those colors/theme so.many.times. Damn me!

3. FIGURE OUT HOW PEOPLE CAN HELP- Everyone wants to help, everyone asks to help and they mean well. My problem is I don't like asking for help and I don't like giving up control. My mom offers help all the time but I have no idea how to let her pick up something as simple as a slip for under my dress, because I feel this need and desire to do everything myself! #controlissues So make a list of all the things you need to do, every month, week or days as it gets closer and write peoples names next to the functions or things you will need them to do. The ask if those people can help YOU do these things or just do it themselves. It makes them feel involved and useful and that they are helping you out, which they are, give up some control why don't you!

4. DON'T TRY TO "DIY" EVERYTHING- I had this whole vision that I would be making all these decorations and bringing everything with us and as it's has gotten closer I've not only realized I don't have the TIME to do all the things I had envisioned, I also don't have the space in our extra luggage to bring all these brilliant ideas! I will have more on this later about what I DIYd vs. what I spent money for someone else to make and what I said eff it all together to in posts after the wedding.

5. DON'T THINK OF IT AS A VACATION- This entire time I have just been thinking about this as a vacation with my closest family and friends. Once we got the boys passports in and our flights booked I literally didn't even look at that 18 page booklet I needed to fill out. I didn't think about chairs, lighting, menus or anything else until about a week ago, big mistake! I thought of it as a vacation and it was getting close, how exciting! It's still a wedding and weddings take planning! Remember to keep your mind in "wedding mode", you're just planning it from afar so you don't loose scope of what is really going on or you'll end up stressed when that 18 page document is due to your wedding coordinator in 3 hours. Just me? mmkk...

6. INVOLVE FAMILY THAT ISN'T GOING-When you plan a destination wedding you have to go into it knowing that maybe no one may be able to come. With that said try and do things that involve family or friends that won't be able to partake in the festivities. For instance, I had a dress fitting for alterations and my mom, aunt, grandma and I all had dinner before and went to the dress fitting after. They were able to talk wedding plans with me and see me in the dress. We took some pictures and it was great time! I personally didn't think that it would be a big deal but my mom mentioned involving them and making it a little girls night out. I was so glad that I did because it meant a lot to them and me in the end.

7. HAVE A PRE-WEDDING PARTY- Ours was in September and we combined it as a wedding shower so anyone that couldn't (or could) go to Mexico could go to the party and celebrate with us. This also was my preferred method so I didn't have to have a wedding shower and sit and open gifts awkwardly in front of people. I HATE opening gifts in front of people, my reaction is never as genuine as I'm feeling inside.

8. DON'T WORRY ABOUT TRAVEL ARRANGEMENTS- 90% of our guests going to Mexico are leaving out of Michigan but there are some leaving from San Francisco, DC and Chicago. Then there are some staying the entire week and some are only going for 4 days. I decided to not go through our travel agent for booking flights because 1. She sucked (but that's another story for another time) and 2. Everyone has their own agenda. Some want leave early, some later, some out of Detroit some out of other cities and it can get to be a bit much trying to please all parties!

People also have their own price in their mind they are wanting to pay and I just can't be stalking the internet for people to find good flights and the perfect time, for the perfect price, I just can't. With our wedding being over a Spring Break week prices are a little higher than normal. As we are in the less than 30 day range I've been extremely stressed that some people haven't bought tickets but as others have reminded me, they will get to Mexico and it's their own problem, don't worry about it. Truth be told, it's hard not too, work life is crazy busy and we still aren't 100% sure on what Jerek and the boys are wearing so I'm trying to concentrate my mind there!

9. DON'T BOOK THROUGH A TRAVEL AGENT-I know, you may think I'm crazy but you know what the travel agent did that I couldn't do through the resort website? JACK SHIT! In fact, she has only made my life so much more stressful! There was literally NOTHING she did that I couldn't have done myself or done WITH the wedding coordinator. As long as you do a little research and have good contact with the wedding coordinator at the resort you WILL BE FINE!

10. DO A DESTINATION WEDDING- If you're on the fence read some more posts and dig a little deeper, I'm sure you will find your answer son! This past year I've been in weddings, gone to weddings and shot video for weddings and after each one I always ask myself, do I wish I was having it here in Michigan? And every time my answer to myself is NO, absolutely not! Sure, I would love it if my entire family could be with us celebrating, my dad could walk me down the isle, that I didn't have to try and fit everything for a wedding into suitcases or to try and pick out chairs, flowers, decor, dinner and cake without seeing ANYTHING for ourselves.

This day isn't about anyone else but me, Jerek and the boys. We aren't going into debt or taking out loans for a wedding, we aren't getting just a few hours with family and friends hoping by the end of the night you made sure you said hi to everyone, (including aunt Bertha who is your moms, sisters, best friend cousin but just haddd to be there.) What we are getting is an entire week with family and friends. We are paying for everything with cash that we've saved. We get to have a vacation in the sun with unlimited food and drinks, with room service 24/7 filled with swimming, laughter and fun.

No matter what wedding route you go make sure it represents you, the couple getting married, and what you both want. At the end of the day you are still going home as a married couple.

Remember: A tiger doesn't loose sleep over the opinion of a sheep

Don't be a sheep, baaa betch!

My word of the year

I felt like this needed it's own post, that popping it casually into my 2016 goals wasn't going to end well. Mainly because I had more to say than just here's my word of the year and not fully explain the meaning or purpose behind it.

Over the last 5 years of motherhood I've never chosen a specific word or feeling that I try and focus on. Or perhaps I subconsciously have and that word was really survive! This year I'm doing something different. Alongside my 2016 goals I've been working towards a word that can best be described as something to focus on and to practice wholeheartedly.

: A state of equilibrium or equipoise.

: Mental steadiness or emotional stability; habit of calm behavior, judgment, etc.

: The power or ability to decide an outcome by throwing one's strength, influence, support, or the like, to one side of the other.

Over the years I've attempted to be more present, to give more grace and to stop making promises I simply cannot keep. I've tried to work harder, love stronger and to not say yes to everything. My problem is I try doing all these things at once. My personality is an all or nothing deal. I like habits and order, I thrive on stability yet slightly fiend on the uncertainty of things at times. But I like having plans, knowing there is structure involved but I also like just going and leaving. No set path, just doing.

That's the problem though.

I can't do both. I can't just "know" things will just work out, I have to have a plan and at least attempt to follow the plan. I have to financially be aware of my actions and not whisper but it's just money.

I need to have balance. In all aspects of life.

I need to raise my voice when it's important, when I want them to know to take me seriously, but not when I've had a bad day and just can't take one more ounce of the complaining. That's not fair.

I need to work on my future plans financially because people depend on me like I unknowingly depended on others when I was their age.

I need to find a healthy relationship with food, exercise and cocktails. While all three are amazing, moderation, BALANCE is key!

Cheers to 2016, the year of BALANCE.