Wedding Update #4: Engagement Party, Music, Cake & Hotels

Ok? Here we go!



Have you seen them? *swoon*



I love the energy that live music brings to a party, so I knew I wanted a band even before booking our venue. But getting the Virginia Ballroom with that gorgeous stage totally sold me… That ballroom NEEDS a band!!! After trying to work with a booking company and not getting any bands we liked within our budget, Garland and I decided to go with a group that I actually found via The Bachelor Boys Band sent out an email (through The Knot) about a showcase they were having at a bar in Richmond back in February. We attended, and totally loved their energy and repertoire—everything from current pop to oldies and Motown. What’s unique about this “band” is it’s actually a compilation of professional musicians that the manager mixes-and-matches based on the bride and groom’s musical preference and their availability/location. You can also choose how many band members you want (e.g. add a female vocalist, a saxophonist, horn player). The price happened to be right at our set budget (largely thanks to not having to pay a third party booking fee). I took my parents to another showcase they had this spring, which sealed the deal.


photo 2




I was abnormally paranoid about booking a bakery for our cake! One of my friends/bridesmaids left that until the end of her wedding planning list, and her mom ended up having to bake one! I’m trying to learn from everyone’s mistakes. Have one? Share it! Please!


So, not surprisingly, I wanted to find our bakery about a year out to beat everyone else to the punch. I called around to a handful of bakeries for quotes, then we sampled and consulted with the two that had good reviews and reasonable prices. I just couldn’t accept paying $4+ per person on a cake, knowing there was so many other things we wanted to spurge on (namely: band, dinner, drinks); luckily there were a few options that met that requirement. I actually went to one cake tasting by myself while Garland was studying for finals… and I don’t recommend it. It was completely awkward eating cake by myself in a back room. Another recommendation: Bring lots of water. Shots of cake will hit you harder than you realize.


Almond Butter Maple Brownies (Gluten, Sugar, & Dairy Free!)

Almond Butter Maple Brownies | Pursuit of Sweetness


This weekend I broke down and bought boxed brownie mix. It was for Garland’s consumption… and for my laziness. We are in the final countdown for the Virginia Bar!!! A week from today Garland will be walking through the Roanoke Convention Center door, armed with a bow tie and soft-padded shoes, ready to kick some law test booty. Honestly, it kind of makes my heart race and forehead sweat thinking about it.


I haven’t bought brownie mix in years. YEARS! I take an embarrassing amount of pride in making most things from scratch, especially desserts. This weekend, however, we were away for a wedding in Front Royal, Virginia—What a beautiful part of the state! It was particularly lush because of all the rain we’ve been getting, and every which way there are hazy blue ridges on the skyline. The wedding was for one of Garland’s high school friends. He was in the wedding, while I got to sit back and enjoy (take notes).—and I didn’t get home until 6PM on Sunday, after spending most of the afternoon going over wedding details with my parents at home. And at 6PM on Sunday, boxed brownie mix sounded like a very good idea. We both benefited! It allowed me to make Garland happy with dessert for the week ahead, and it required very little thinking, measuring and cleaning on my part.


Also, brownie batter is a extremely guilty pleasure of mine. I like to hide next to the oven and lick the bowl clean :)



Wedding Update #3: Engagement Photos (FINALLY!)



I realized last week that I was due for a wedding update. While I’ve gotten some more “larger” items sorted out since the last update, by far the most important thing that’s happened is ENGAGEMENT PICTURES!!!! I went a tiny bit overboard with the planning and expectations of our engagement shoot (e-shoot). Garland and our awesome photographer, Jessica Crews, were so patient with me and never once told me “no”…which, honestly, is a little surprising looking back. E-shoots are intended to be a small opportunity for you to get to know the photographer—and vice versa—as well as for the couple to get comfortable in front of the camera before the wedding day. I’d definitely say we were successful in all areas except for the “small” part.


You see, I wanted to go everywhere in Richmond because we love it here some much… So we spent THREE hours with Jess on a fine spring day in May! She was so cute, charming, low key and easy to get along with. Not to mention, she truly went above and beyond to make my e-shoot dreams come true! Jess is absolutely a perfect fit for Garland and I.


So what did we do for all those hours? Let me show you!!!


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