ALL LOVE BLOG

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7 Reasons to Elope Already

You Gotta Get Out Of There

It seems counter intuitive, right? A wedding planner telling you to ditch a big extravaganza? But I’ve seen that look countless times. The squirm, the tick in the eye  like a couple wants to run. It always happens when another expense comes up or an in-law gets a little too involved, or the thought between picking from seafoam green, mint, and turquoise napkins just seems so silly. I get it. If you’re approaching that point, why not just elope?! Here’s seven reasons why you should. 

1. Save Those Coins

I will never tell you not to save money. In today’s gig economy, more often than not, we’re all juggling more than one job while trying to pay down student debt, car loans, and mortgages. Why fall even deeper into it? Save money by ditching the two most expensive aspects of a wedding — the catering and the venue.

2. Save Yourself

 Wedding planning is not for the faint of heart. Things that meant nothing to you a week ago suddenly mean EVERYTHING. The minutiae gets blown up exponentially because you’re trying to impress everyone while you get depressed in the process. Stress isn’t a joke. Don’t put yourself under that kind of pressure. You’ve already got so many other things to juggle in life. This doesn’t have to be another one.

3. Save Time

You love your mate. Why wait 18 months to a year to marry them? If you’re ready to put a ring on it, why not just do it now? Life is precious and nothing is guaranteed. You don’t have to waste time waiting. The marriage is the treat, not necessarily the wedding. So get on to all the days after instead of spending so much on one.  

4. Have The Ultimate Intimate Moment

By far, the most aggravating thing I’ve seen at a wedding is watching a couple exchange vows and hearing a relative screech, “We can’t hear you!” from the back row. Sharing your vows is a sacred act and that moment was obliterated by a hasty guest. All that matters is that your partner hears and believes them. What better way to honor the exchanging of vows by proclaiming your love in front of the friends and family you actually want to be there?  What could be more meaningful and memorable than that?

5. Open Up Your Options

With less to worry about you create more options for yourself. A resort, an island, Vegas, a ranch, a state park, hell — even Whataburger, become options when you have less payments to worry about. Whatever and wherever you want to celebrate is now an option. You don’t have to settle for something your mom wants or that looks like every other venue. Go and be original and creative with your choices!

6. More Money for a Honeymoon

Because your guest count probably won’t exceed 25 people, you don’t have to worry as much about catering, favors, entertainment, and alcohol. The thousands you would have spent on guests you can now spend on yourselves. Get crazy with it and take the dream vacation you two always wanted!

7. It Just Makes Sense

I love the hell out of what I do. But do you want to know a secret? I would elope. It’s cheaper, it’s faster, and you can make it into what you want it to be, no compromises. If you needed more incentive to do it, now All The Days is offering Spellbound, our exclusive elopement package at $777 that includes venue, a small cake, an officiant, and planning! See? I told y’all you might as well! 

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Honey, Marry Whoever You Want

Honey, Marry Whoever You Want

If Serena Gets Crap, We’re All Doomed

Let’s be real, like really, really, real. When I found out about Serena Williams’ adorable engagement I about died from happiness. In the past year I got so used to tragic headlines about black women like Korryn Gaines that I was excited to see one about our joy. I needed it in an odd way. Forever a lurker, I quickly upvoted the Snoo-drawn announcement on reddit and went about my day. But I should have known better than to think most people would have the same reaction.

We can get into the politics of race and interracial relationships in this country but I will leave that for a writer with the emotional endurance, wherewithal, and nuance I left in 2016. After reading too many comments (I know!) I was worn out. Serena Williams is a living legend. Despite her many accomplishments and I mean there are plenty of them, people decided to take issue with who she decided to choose as a partner. REALLY?! Which brings me to my main point. Why are we so obsessed with the choices women make?!

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Pssst…the answer is the patriarchy.

Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don’t

If she had chosen someone black, someone wealthier than her, someone, or anyone else, there would still be commentary about it. There would still be outrage. The longer I’ve worked in this world the more I realize that the wedding industry has little to do with weddings and everything to do with a public pronouncement of a woman’s worth. Most wedding media enforces it; the whitest, slimmest, blondest, most feminine women deserve the gigantic rings, the most lavish productions, and most deserving partner (who’s usually your run of the mill dude bro). That’s who graces the covers and the ads that drive what I consider unnecessary hype. But surprisingly, it works. How could we pretend it doesn’t when queer, plus-size, people of color, and differently-abled couples are all but non-existent to a large majority of the industry? It doesn’t just marginalize, it capitalizes off of it. It depends on us being lead by our insecurities to sway our decisions. When we comply, the obsession seems nearly invisible, but when we don’t? Suddenly it’s up for discussion by everyone. Input you didn’t want and feedback you didn’t ask for hits you from the left and the right. Every choice you make morphs from a period into a question mark. It’s not like we’re not used to having our choices questioned by everyone from our petty Aunt Gladys to the highest courts (don’t get me started). But it would be nice if the biggest day we get to declare our love was actually supported by the industry that pretends to care about it most.

It’s an unfortunately profitable problem (to the tune of $40 billion) that needs to reconciled. I’ve seen far too many women lose their collective sh*t about things that didn’t actually matter to them. On a normal day, pintuck or shantung linens wouldn’t be life or death. But when weighed against the backdrop of what other people may say or think, it suddenly matters much more than it should. The hype is the biggest clothing store mirror amplifying all the things we hate about ourselves. The decisions go from being based in love to based on fear. Every choice from apparel to program format becomes a reflection of our value instead of a celebration of a union.

Guests Can Be The Worst

Where does some of the unrelenting criticism come from? Guests, or the people you invited to a fully funded dinner, bar, and party. Those ingrates. I’ve overheard plenty of things like the following:

“So sad they couldn’t afford the real china.”

“Did you see that dress?! She’s certainly brave.”

“That diamond must have been invisible because I barely saw it.”

“Those arrangements are so tacky.”

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Talking trash is always followed by this.

Those were the nice ones too. We’ve all been guests at weddings and overheard it or worse yet, participated in it. We don’t want to have that wedding. So we buy into it while the industry continues to confuse, condition, and trick women into thinking that in order to prove our worth, we need to meet a certain set of requirements. You don’t. It’s a load of bull as big as the state of Texas and as bright as our legislators. There’s no need for you to slip in it.

So whether you just announced your engagement or are months away from tying the knot, screw inessential people’s opinions. Wear that dress, walk down the aisle to Migos, take a shot at the altar, and marry whoever you want. Someone’s bound to judge you for it anyways, so you might as well enjoy it.

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Do whaaaaaateva you want!
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Tatia Wed Differently 12.16.16

I came across the lovely Mrs. Tatia scrolling through Facebook. She was absolutely stunning but had a beautiful story to match. Read on about how Mr. & Mrs. Hutchins #WedDifferently.

HOW DID YOU MEET? In 2005 through a new friend of mine but an old friend of his.

WHEN DID YOU KNOW THEY WERE THE ONE? In 2008 when I got laid off after 16 years and he supported my new vision of becoming a RN during that time. I got a job in October 2011!

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HOW DID THEY PROPOSE? He asked me in 2012 after 6 years and gave me a ring letting me know his intentions. But because of finances at the time, we didn’t plan a wedding. I began calling him “That Guy.” He resolved the challenges we faced with cars, home, and personal circumstances. He stood strong and never let me stress so in 2015 I started calling him “Mr. Many Things.” Then in mid-September 2016 he told me great things were happening and asked me to start looking for a ring. We set on the Justice of the Peace route before the end of the year but my Mom told me to inquire with our church and blessings were granted with no budget. After the wedding, Facebook friends started to call him Mr. Everything!”

HOW DID YOU WED DIFFERENTLY? We didn’t have a wedding party but we celebrated our blended family with a sand ceremony and solidified our union with communion…#GrownFolkWedding!

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WHAT’S SOMETHING FROM YOUR WEDDING YOU’LL ALWAYS REMEMBER?

  • Walking down the aisle with my dad and son to present me to my King.
  • Wearing my great aunt’s old champagne pearls.
  • Wearing my new dress, shoes, & veil with my beautiful friend’s borrowed fox stole and blinged message “I Do” on the bottom of my shoe.

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  • My 2016 was full of blessings: My 50th birthday brunch. My son graduating from college, and being together for 10 years when he proposed again.  
  • I created the concept for the reception and was assisted by my stylist, Tina Briscoe Gilbert.  Mr. Hutchins was amazed with all that was done without me being stressed.  
  • The magical feeling of being presented as Mr. & Mrs. Hutchins.   
  • Rocking my gray and natural hair!
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Shoot, Mrs. Tatia makes us all want to rock the gray too!

How did you #WedDifferently? Send us an email and you could be featured!

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Meet Anthony Gauna, Our Vendor of the Week!

Our featured VoW comes from Anthony Gauna Photography and he’s supa dupa dope. Why? Keep reading!


WHEN DID YOU START? I started officially as a full time photographer in August 2012.

WHY DID YOU START? Long story short, after years of trying to find myself and my purpose, photography made its way into my life. After photographing my first wedding months after picking up a camera, I felt my purpose was to become a photographer. Before I started I was working a data entry job that I absolutely hated. I would spend my downtime at work trying to plan out things I needed so that I could one day be a photographer for a living. However, that got me fired from my job. It was the push I needed to get started. It wasn’t the easiest transition for me to move from having a “real job” to becoming my own boss, but I wouldn’t change the past even if I could. I love what I have the honor of doing. Photographing weddings give me purpose and continually is the reason why I wanted to start in the first place.

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WHAT’S YOUR GOAL THIS YEAR? Creatively, I want to push myself a bit more this year. Whenever I feel I’m doing something really good, I want to step outside of whatever it is that’s making me feel comfortable. I want to experiment more and shoot more personal work because ultimately, it keeps me moving forward and betters my craft. I never want to be stagnant or complacent. I always feel that if my work is pushing more people away, it’s bringing those closer to me who really enjoy my work, my eye, and how I see the world.
I also want to do more photography education things this year. I want to help other photographers out by sharing the knowledge that I’ve gained since starting my business 4 1/2 years ago. Ultimately, I want to give back more to others this year.

WHO’S YOUR ULTIMATE CLIENT? They don’t care what others think. They do things their way and not how they’re “supposed to” do them. They don’t want their wedding to be a production; they want it to be a celebration of their marriage and party the night away with a gathering of people that are close to them. They don’t pay attention to the wedding trends and don’t want a cookie cutter wedding. They don’t care about the little details, just the big picture. They don’t care if their dress or suit gets dirty in order to make adventurous photos happen. They don’t want pretty posed pictures that they see in wedding blogs. They want photos of moments that make them feel how they felt. And lastly, they’re cat people.

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FAVORITE CLIENT MEMORY? It’s really hard to say. I have many. One of my recent and favorite memories was back in Portland, OR earlier this year. It literally got shut down. The couple’s wedding was at an outdoor venue. The drinks were flowing and everyone was having a great time. Towards the end of the night, they were asked by the owner to bring the music down at a certain time. However, the music got louder and louder. Ironically, once Lil Jon’s, “Turn Down For What”, came on, the owner of the venue walked over and pulled the plug on the music. Literally. He pulled the plug from the wall and yelled that the party was over. Lol. The couple was cool about it though and apologized to him saying that they knew they had it coming.

WHAT DO YOU WANT READERS TO KNOW ABOUT YOU? Umm… I’m not sure. That’s kind of an open-ended question. I guess I would say that I’m a wedding photographer that actually gives a fuck about the couples I work with. I love what I do. It’s not a job to me. I don’t think of weddings as something I clock in and out of. It’s all about an experience to me. It’s about creating and sharing that experience with those I photograph. I’m pretty stubborn in the fact that I don’t want to work with people who think of me as just hired help and call me ‘sir’. I want to connect on many different levels with those I photograph. Because if they care about who I am as a person and appreciate how I see the work through my camera, I want to be there for them and give them my all.

WHERE TO FIND YOU ONLINE: The best places are my website, Facebook, and Instagram.

What are you waiting for? Go book him!

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Love Comes In Every Size

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The Size of The Truth

It’s not everyday that you try on a wedding dress or put on a tuxedo. It’s  a special occasion often marred by an ugly thing — our insecurities. As a plus-size woman I have felt, struggled,  and battled every insecurity you can have about your body. Many times I’ve lost.  Standing in front of a store mirror has a way of magnifying those insecurities even more. Add the pressure of making the biggest decision of your life to the mix and sometimes things can get a little hazy. Here are 3 things to remember when the cruel voice in your head gets too loud.

Your Partner Asked To Marry You As You Are Right Now

Whether you asked the question or answered it, you had no illusions about the person you were speaking to. You know what makes them mad and what makes them happy. You’ve built countless memories and want to build even more. You’ve probably seen them with little to no clothes on and they’ve seen you. You love them. Every freckle, wrinkle, stretch mark, scar, and blemish included. THEY LOVE YOU. So maybe you should extend the same affection to yourself. Nothing’s wrong with you. If you want to change something about your body in a healthy way, go ahead and go for it. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to look your best when you define what that is for you.  But more often than not we’re submitting ourselves to someone’s else’s standards.

There’s an entire culture built on the idea that a wedding is an opportunity to show off a woman’s worth.  Magazines and websites cement this. If you believed the cover of those magazines you’d think that only conventionally attractive women deserve the biggest rings, grandest celebrations, and most dramatic wedding gowns. We take this uniquely loving event and suck the love right out of it and make it about something else entirely. Why? Shame is profitable. When you feel your best, you need less. You start believing you need to buy this or that to feel happy. If you do this you can find happiness. If you look this way you will find happiness. But just like in the Wizard of Oz, the answer to what we really need is just under our nose.It’s not a line you have to wait in while going through an arbitrary process. Stop telling yourself that it is.

Happiness isn't found, it's made. There's no permission slip. Make happy now. #RethinkWeddings Click To Tweet

All Eyes Will Be On Y’all

I don’t say this to  freak you out. I say this because you’re the star of the show. Will you feel comfortable? Will you feel confident? Will you feel calm? I have seen the worst of it. Dresses that were never properly altered, dresses that were never even tried on, all types of last minute disasters. You know what they all had in common? They were all completely unnecessary. Yes people will be looking at you. That doesn’t mean starve yourself for six weeks. It means make sure you feel good in whatever it is you’re wearing. Life is too short to hold yourself captive to people’s opinions. It’s your day, you might as well enjoy it doing whatever you damn please!

Your Guests Know What You Look Like Too 

Baby girl, your auntie, grandma, best friend, coworkers, all of them know who you are. They know what you look like. They showed up for a free meal (among other things)! You don’t know what’s going through their mind so there’s no reason worrying yourself to death about it. You’ll never find out anyways. So let it go! Your focus should always come back to this central truth: Your wedding is a celebration of the love you share for one another and the union you’re pledging to make. That’s it. Everything after that is just gravy. Love yourself. I promise you it’s always worth it!

For more planning and self-care tips check out the All Love Blog.

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VOW: Meet SpindleHaus Designs, Our Vendor Of The Week!

In this week’s Q+A meet Danielle Alva, owner of SpindleHaus Designs!

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When did you start? July 2015

Why did you start?  I found myself looking for a creative outlet as I began staying at home from work as a mother to my beautiful newborn son. I needed something fun but soothing. I started very slow but quickly found a love for everything and anything handwritten. I immediately fell in love with practicing calligraphy. There’s something  so lovely about reading something calligraphic. It stays with you. Thus, here I am a year later, still practicing and trying to perfect the art.

What’s your goal this year? Not to get overwhelmed! I tend to want to do everything all at once. I’m learning to be patient with myself and learn to be present in each moment. Whether it’s as boring as reorganizing my calendar or as pleasing as writing  letterform on paper with a fresh dipped nib.

Who’s you ultimate client?  Someone who values and understands the process.

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Favorite client memory? I had an order of about 200 wedding invitations in one week that was a rush order. The bride was determined to have something beautiful to present to her guests and I was determined to make it happen for her. I stressed a bit since I was still so fresh and typically require 1 week per 100 envelopes. In the end she was so gracious that I was able to work it out for her and sent me a list of all the compliments the guests gave to her. Seeing their words on paper made it all worth it!

What do you want readers to know about you? I’m scaling down on personal orders and limiting myself for the time being to what’s available on my etsy site which is mostly premade invitations. I dabble a bit in design too 🙂 I have a two year old as well as a full time job but can’t seem to give up my favorite hobbies. You can find SpindleHaus Designs on Etsy and like them on facebook

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Curating Your Wedding Plannerazzi

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What’s A Wedding Plannerazzi?!

It was an iconic scene. Maya Rudolph adorned in heaps of white crinoline, taffeta, and tulle squatting dead center in the middle of a street doing the unspeakable. It was funny because we knew it was a comedy. But do you know how close to life that is for some people? I have seen grooms, brides, mothers, sisters, you name it, act a complete fool during their planning process. I’m talking full on meltdown.

Wedding Plannerazzi You Name It
I know it’s old but it applies!

It’s embarrassing to witness and also sad to not be able to stop. It wasn’t until I struck out on my own that I learned the root of the problem —- it’s not you, it’s your plannerazzi! 

 

I know what you’re thinking. “Jordan I know you love to make up words but wth is a plannerazzi?!”

Plannerazzi is the group of family and friends who will follow you to every cake tasting, dress or tux fitting, and vendor meeting ready to dispense (usually unwarranted) advice and tips. You love them but they will work your damn nerves.

Build Your Team

You could argue that the whole point of Bridesmaids is to make sure your plannerazzi is not batshit insane. The proper plannerazzi would never let it get so bad that you’d be pooing in an expensive gown in the middle of the street. They just wouldn’t. So how do you curate the perfect group? You need three key members.

  1. The “hypeman:” You’ve got to have someone who’s going to cheer you on. Wedding planning can definitely take its toll on you. The money you’re spending, the schedule you’re creating, the amount of time being spent on seeming superfluous choices. It’s like the happiness hut in Addams Family values that eventually broke Wednesday. It’s too much.Wedding Plannerazzi CarmeloYou need to be able to hear someone rooting for you. It’s an instant boost and keeps you even. The only problem with a hypeman is that left unchallenged, your hypeman will have you saying yes to the dress, the shoes, and the whole bag of chips. That’s why the next person is essential too.  

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    YES THIS DRESS HONEY
  2. The anchor: Oh you wellspring of common sense and warmth. You proprietor of caution and discernment. If the hypeman sends you floating with glee, the anchor makes sure you don’t drift too far away. They keep you grounded, supported, and make sure you would never pick a $3,000 dress for your bridesmaids to purchase. By the way, DON’T EVER DO THAT. But that’s why you need the anchor. In a process hellbent on making emotional decisions, the anchor makes sure you’re not so emotional that you forget some common damn sense. However, their penchant for hesitation may also keep you from making a decision. That’s why you definitely need the last member of your plannerazzi.
  3. The captain: Oh captain, my captain (you knew it was coming don’t act surprised!). They right the ship. You need the captain. They provide clear leadership and decisive action. So you only need one. They will have to step in and make decisions (not major ones) when you’re not able to. They are used to stepping in and doing what needs to be done, which is why you need to be very clear with them. Tell them what your needs are and make sure they understand that. Without the anchor to check them they’ll go full autocratic leader on that ass. You don’t want that. So be upfront with them and make sure the other members are in place. You only need one of each so be wary of adding too many people to your plannerazzi. You don’t need a lot of chiefs but a lot of support.

With these members in your pocket, you’ll be able to have a less stressful experience and who knows, maybe even a fun time? 

Wedding Plannerazzi Maybe
Maybe?
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Grieve Today, Celebrate Tomorrow

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We Will Make Light Out of Darkness

I was a chubby nerd growing up. Always with my nose in a book and never a big group of friends. I got picked on a a lot but one thing that kept me going was fairy tales. I pulled every book I could from my school’s library and read ravenously. As I grew up my obsession evolved from the fictional to the real. I love love. It’s pretty much the only redeeming thing about us. Human history shows us just how vile we can be but love always gives us the chance  to start over. To hope, to dream, and to belong. I went to UT and majored in journalism because besides loving love, I love stories. It’s the best medium to express love. A perfect match.  All The Days was born out of this. Why didn’t I see more love stories from LGBTQ, interracial, PoC, and other marginalized groups? Why did their love stories matter less?

In the 14 months I’ve been in business I was uncertain of how to market this business. It’s easy to get caught up with what everyone else is doing. I wanted to be quiet about my stance. I didn’t want to step on toes or make people angry. But after staying up on the phone with a client terrified of being legally able to get married anymore, I realize I can’t call myself your advocate if I don’t do the messy work of advocacy.

In times like this it’s easy to forget about love and wrap ourselves in fear. I want to assure you that I’m here, I’m not going anywhere, and I will always fight for your love story to be told. It’s ok to be mad, to be scared, or to be shocked today. Take the time you need to grieve but know that there are people who love you, who will fight for you, and still have hope for the future.

I will build an inclusive network of vendors who feel the same. I will make sure you never feel unwelcome or afraid to express your love as it is because it’s beautiful. You belong. I will keep preaching this, screaming this, and fighting for this until I have no air in my lungs. You belong and you matter. Even if it seems like the majority of our country doesn’t realize it,  we do.

I am so grateful for the relationships that I have with all of you, of the trust you’ve put in me to plan your day, and of the support you have for me & my business. I’m not going to give up and neither should you. So grieve today because we still have reasons to celebrate tomorrow.

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7 Ways Not to Lose Your Sh*t On Your Wedding Day

55hWeddings are a ticking time bomb of emotions. Not just for the couple but for everyone. All types of baggage seem to get unpacked and all kinds of emotional wounds seem to open up again. People forget why they’re there. So here are a few tips to get you through your process without pulling out patches of your hair (or anyone else’s). 

ASSESS YOUR MESS

Be honest. You know your family and your friends. You know your ratchet auntie and handsy uncle. You know your bestie has been through one too many breakups in the past two years. You know the limit of wine coolers your mom can take. It shouldn’t be your job to manage them on your wedding day (pssst! Hire a wedding planner!) but it helps to have an idea of what the reality of your situation is. Make a list of all the people you might be worried about, all the situations and circumstances that worry you, and make a note to your planner or your partner to find a way to minimize the fallout.

LIMIT EXPOSURE TO TRIGGERS

Now that you know who and what, it’s time to make a plan for how. Maybe you can limit your exposure to an emotionally abusive parent by deferring them to your planner (I was an RA in college I can handle parents). Maybe you can minimize messy relatives by having a heavily detailed website. Maybe you can keep your feuding friends even by spending time with them separately or having them call a truce ahead of time. Everything can’t be fixed but hooooooooney it can be managed!

REFOCUS YOUR PERSPECTIVE

It’s so easy to get lost in the details. Plenty of websites like A Practical Wedding, OffBeat Bride, The Knot, and Wedding Wire have made some of your planning easier but not any less stressful. Before you get tangled in tulle and pinterest perfect dreams (but you can still follow me on pinterest though), make sure you’re aware of what your focus is. Is it pledging your life in a sacred union or is it creating a perfect guest experience? I can guarantee you that one of those is attainable.

DON’T DEFLECT

This goes without saying but don’t take your frustrations out on anybody else except the intended audience. Mad that your partner isn’t pulling their weight? Tell them. Need some space from your mom and future mother-in-law? Tell them, albeit delicately. You (probably) don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings but honey what’s the point of carry around all that anxiety and taking it out on the wrong person (usually yourself)?! You shouldn’t be losing sleep or peace. Have it out with whomever you need to verbally because this isn’t the Bad Girls Club, you’ll get arrested if you fight someone (I shouldn’t have to say that).

BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF

You should have a pretty good handle on yourself and how you react in certain situations. Be honest about that. Do you shut down when you’re stressed? Do you blow things off so you don’t have to deal with stress? Do you alienate people so you have complete control? Be honest with the good, the bad, and the ugly. Journal about it, meditate on it, whatever you need to do to get clear and then…

BE HONEST WITH YOUR PARTNER

The sooner you have this conversation, the better you’ll be. Sit with your partner, not your usual planning entourage, and talk about your expectations and needs. Make a pledge to hold each other accountable and aware of your feelings. It’ll keep you connected to what really matters…your marriage!

DEFINE YOUR END GOAL

I know what you’re thinking, “Jordan, girl, honey, sugar…this is obvious.” Is it? Is your goal to have an amazing wedding as you define it or as your guests define it? Do you want to be happy at the end of the night or do you want to have a perfect day? Get real about your goals and then hold yourself to it. It’ll keep you semi-sane and out of prison. What are some things you’ve done to keep yourself sane? Let us know in the comments! For more tips check back next week!