Friday, December 3, 2010


We officially ordered our invitations! I have been working with a co-worker on the design and details for a few weeks now. We have finally come up with "The Invitation". I am so excited to have been so involved in the creation of this invitation. Bridget, my coworker who designed them did an amazing job. I would highly recommend her to anyone looking for a really creative invitation for any event at a great price. You can visit her website at Sealed with a Kiss. I can't wait for them to come in. I plan to get a couple of bottles of wine and invite a few friends over to help me stuff and mail them :) It feels good to knock one more thing off our long list of to do's that we have left.

On another wedding related note I got my bridal portraits back from Piner Photography. They turned out so well. Now it's down to the hard part of figuring out which one to purchase for my portrait to have displayed at the wedding and then in our home. Kevin and I have decided to go with a canvas rather than a traditional portrait. It is so hard to have those photos and not share them with anyone :)

I also received a coupon email from Groupon a few weeks ago that I couldn't resist. It was for 70% off at Canvas on Demand . In going with Kevin and I's canvas theme we decided we were going to have a canvas made of one of our engagement photos, one made for my bridal portrait and then one made of one of our wedding photos. Eventually when we have a bigger house with more wall space we plan to hang them together in a formal area. This was the perfect opportunity to order our engagement photo canvas. I was able to get a 16X20 thick cut canvas for $30!!! I can't wait for it to arrive. I plan on giving it to Kevin for Christmas even though it's probably more for me :)

The countdown continues...120 days/ 4 months until I say I DO!!!!!!!!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Reception Layout & Registering

We received the final layout for the set-up of our reception. I loved the idea of rectangular "family style" tables but wasn't sure if I wanted to completely venture away from the traditional circular tables. Salt Harbor had the solution...a combination and I absolutely love it. I've never been to a wedding with rectangular tables so I can't wait to see what the final thing looks like.

Last week Kevin and I finally ventured out to begin registering... Let's just say it's not all fun. You would think going to pick out new things for your house would be nothing but fun. Well, it's a little stressful. You have to pick lots and lots of things and make sure they all go together and aren't to trendy (go out of style) as well as make sure they're going to last a long time. After a few hours of running around shooting a gun at all kinds of things to decorate our house we were officially registered at Macy's and Crate and Barrel :) The best part is knowing in a few months our house will be full of great things that may actually coordinate :) My mom and sister may finally want to come back and have Christmas dinner at my house again knowing that I actually have the equipment necessary to make that happen.

135 days until I say I do!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Anapolis Engagement Session with Piner Photography

I realized I never posted our Annapolis Engagement Photos...

Below are the photos that our wedding photographers took while they were in the area attending a photography conference. They are from NC so they wanted to take some shots for us. We chose the downtown Annapolis area since it is where we live and we just love the water and boats. It was especially nice sine there weren't many tourists around at 9am :) The session re-assured us what wonderful photographers we chose for our wedding. They work so well together and both have an amazing eye.


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

5 Months and an East Carolina dancing Ballerina!

Only 5 more months of signing my name Gurley!!!!!!!!!!

Below is a video of Ellie in her new East Carolina Ballerina costume my mom made her...I know I'm horrible. But it's super cute :)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Knee deep in wedding planning...

It's been about a month since my last post so bear with me this one is a little long...

Kevin and I have been busy traveling on the weekends and trying to knock things off of our "wedding to do list". I don't think Kevin or I really had any concept of how much planning a wedding really entailed until we got a little deeper into the process. We've had our share of fun times and some not so fun times when it comes to wedding planning. Aside from the obstacles we've faced with losing our venue it has been a fun time in our lives. We have really enjoyed the time spent together making decisions as a couple knowing that our wedding is just that...Ours :)

This past weekend we packed the car and headed off to Oak Island for a weekend filled with wedding appointments. The main reason we were headed there this particular weekend was for me to take my bridal portraits. When we decided on an indoor wedding venue I really wanted to make sure I was able to have my bridal portraits taken outdoors. We were a little sad at losing the "natural" outdoor feel that Orton provided, so this was the perfect opportunity to bring back a little nature. My photographers need about two months to edit and produce the portrait from the time they are taken. I realized with an April wedding February was going to be entirely too cold for outdoor pictures. Kevin's step mom always tells us how beautiful it is down there in October so I decided to knock another "to do" off the list a little early. What I hadn't thought about was the fact that I needed basically everything I would need on my actual wedding, hair, make-up, nails, jewelry, a bouquet, etc. Luckily I had already found the shoes I was going to wear. I hurried to make sure I had hair and make-up appointments, ordered jewelry and the bouquet. I got in touch with my florist just in time for her to make the order and have the bouquet ready on Friday. I found some neat jewelry and a gorgeous flower for my hair both on Etsy ( and quickly ordered them. A friend of mine from college just so happened to have a sister in law that owns a hair salon and make-up store in Wilmington. She made the call for me and got me an appointment just in time. All in all everything seemed to fall right into place.

After work on Thursday we took off for the 7 1/2 hour drive to Oak Island. Friday morning we got up and started towards Wilmington with a busy schedule ahead of us. My mom also planned on joining us and got up after an all nighter of altering my dress (it wouldn't be mom if it wasn't last minute :) and headed from Raleigh to Wilmington. We started by visiting a cupcake shop in downtown Wilmington called Coastal Cupcakes. Little did Kevin know I was in there working on an order for our rehearsal dinner. I told him I was picking up a few cupcakes for my mom (her birthday was the week before). Instead of a grooms cake I thought it would be fun to have grooms cupcakes. The bakery is working on an ECU themed cupcake idea. There will also be a cupcake bride and a cupcake groom. I can't wait to see how this idea turns out. On a side note, the cupcakes we tried were AMAZING!!!

Next stop was the Halyburton Park Events Center. This was the location I found online that I really liked for our rehearsal dinner. I was a little nervous because we hadn't seen it in person and I was really hoping it would be just what we were looking for. Luckily, it was! Kevin, my mom, and I loved it. It is a public park in Wilmington with a neat events center that we can rent for the night. There is an indoor building where we will have the dinner as well as an outdoor patio where we will have the band, bar and dancing. We were so excited to know that everything was really falling into place. Another thing we loved about this venue is that it brought back a bit of the nature feel we wanted. I have included a few pictures below...

This is the outside view of the Events Center @ Halyburton Park from the patio This is the view from inside looking out on the patio. It's a little dark but we really like the gorgeous wood floor.This is the outdoor patio view. The woman who showed us around told us there would be beautiful flower all around in April.Next up was the salon. Kevin headed back to Oak Island and my mom and I headed off to prepare for the portraits. Little did I know how much fun the rest of this day was going to be. I arrived at Lavish and the pampering began :) Alicia (the owner) began her magic. I thought for sure I was going to have my hair down for my wedding. I am not much for updo's. However, a few weeks prior I began contemplating should I go with up or down. I found hairstyles that I liked of both. I decided to leave it up to Alicia. When I got there I showed her a few hair style clips I brought in. I told her my dilemma on not knowing whether I should go up or down. Well, she was awesome. She took one look at me and said hair for the bridal portrait can be different than hair for the wedding day. She also mentioned that because it doesn't need to last as long it may be a good idea to go with my hair down for the portraits and up on my wedding day. She even showed me how they can do my hair up to where part way through the night I could let part of it down. That sounded great to me and off she went working on my hair. Let me just say it turned out better than I could have imagined. I absolutely loved it. She did big wavy curls and put the top up a little. Unfortunately I can't share the picture of me or my hair...that will have to be a surprise on my wedding day :) Next up was make-up. She had just opened a make-up store next door. We headed over and she began her magic on my face. I loved the end result and the awesome make-up line that she carries. I had never heard of them before. The line of make-up is called Jane Iredale ( Of course I had to purchase a few things :) The end result was wonderful. I was so relieved to know that I loved my hair and make-up. This definitely eased my mind for the actual day.

Next my mom and I hurried off to Salt Harbor Designs to pick up my bouquet. It turned out beautiful. Now all that was left was getting the dress on and I would be ready for the photos. My mom and I hadn't exactly planned out where I was going to get this dress on. I couldn't put it on and then jump in the car. So...we departed for the location where we were taking the pictures. Once we got there I jumped in the back seat and began the process of getting into my dress. Luckily we were on a little street with no traffic. I jumped in the car from one side and eased my way into the dress across the back seat of the car and jumped out the other side with it on. It was a bit hysterical to say the least. I was finally ready to begin the photo shoot.

We met the photographers and headed on our way around downtown Wilmington. The shoot ended up lasting about 2 1/2 hours. Let's just say I picked some good shoes for my wedding day. I know if I was able to make it all over downtown Wilmington in them that they will be fine on my wedding night. Luckily my feet didn't hurt in the slightest. We started in a neat little area with tons of ivy, ventured to some old Victorian houses that had a lot of character, stopped in front of neat old downtown buildings, and ended at the water as the sun was setting. My mom, the photographers and I had so much fun. I cannot wait to see the photos and how they turned out. After it was done I realized some of the benefits to having pictures taken early. First of all we will not need to take as much time for pictures on the day of the wedding. Second is that by the end of the shoot I really felt so comfortable in my shoes and my dress. Third, I feel so relieved to know that I am comfortable with my hair, make-up, jewelry, etc now that I've seen it all ahead of time. I really feel that the morning getting ready for my wedding is going to be a lot less stressful. I wish I could share some of the pictures I have of the photo shoot, but it's just going to have to wait till the big day!

Saturday we didn't have a lot planned so we enjoyed relaxing at the beach house and watching the ECU Homecoming game. We were sad we weren't able to make it to Greenville for the game so watching it was the next best thing. It was a great game and ECU ended up beating Marshall. We are now 5 and 2 and undefeated in our conference...Wohoo Go Pirates!

Sunday morning we packed up and jumped back in the car. Before we started the long drive home we had an appointment to meet Rich Leder and our florist/wedding planner/ design team at the Brooklyn Arts Center. We hadn't seen the venue in over a month and were anxious to see how far they had come in the renovation process. It may not look like it to someone who hadn't seen it a month ago, but they have been working hard. There is still a lot to be done and it's a bit scary, but we are super excited with this new venue. It wasn't our original vision, but it has so much character and is going to be fabulous when it's complete. It was neat to hear what Salt Harbor had in mind for the big day. I have included a few pictures below so that after it's done we can have memories of what it looked like in the renovation process and how great it turns out in the end. They are on schedule at the moment to be complete with the renovations in January. Luckily that gives us a 3 month grace period for delays.

This is where the guests will arrive from... It doesn't look like more than a dump right now, but this is where the ceremony will be. The landscapers begin work this week.These are the beautifully restored original doors on the outside. This is a view of the neat windows from inside.This is a view of the doors from the inside.This is a view of the front where the DJ will be with the dance floor. This is a view of the balcony. We are going to have cocktail tables up there where the guests can enjoy drinks and look down on the crowd.There's a lot to be done but this weekend certainly got me excited for all that's to come in the next 5 months. I simply cannot wait to walk down the aisle and marry my best friend!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

We have a new location!

After weeks of stressful phone calls and uneasy feelings in my stomach we have FINALLY booked a new wedding location! Over the past few weeks I have called over 20 possible wedding locations in and around the Wilmington, NC area. Unfortunately all but one was already booked for April 2, 2011. Can you believe that? I didn't think early April was such a popular time for weddings. Luckily through our florists blog and another one of our vendors we were informed of a new location that has not yet opened. They are still in the renovating stages so they haven't put themselves out on the market as a wedding ceremony and reception location. Good news for us because this meant they were not yet booked for April 2, 2011. Unfortunately we have to keep a creative eye in visualizing what our venue is going to look like. They are knee deep in the renovating stages and don't plan on being finalized with the renovation until January 2011. With that said, that gives us a cushion of 3 months for any delays. They have guaranteed me that everything will be just fine by our wedding date. Keep your fingers crossed. My luck hasn't been the best when it comes to wedding venue ;-) In moving the venue to Wilmington from Oak Island we have had to find new hotels, a new rehearsal dinner location and a few other things. I am hoping to have all those details worked out in the next week or so.

Our wedding will now be held at the Brooklyn Arts Center at St. Andrews in Wilmington, North Carolina. It isn't exactly the original garden type venue that we had envisioned, but it has a lot of character and we know it will be wonderful. It is an old church built in 1888 with 50 foot vaulted cathedral ceilings, a large beautiful balcony, a courtyard out back where the ceremony can be held, lots of old character, and so much more. We are incredibly excited to be one of the first couples to get married in this beautiful landmark. They were able to restore many of the original stained glass windows and placed them back or used them for decorating the walls of the church. There is also a house next door that they own where my bridal party and I will be getting ready :)

Here is a picture of the church as it is now, in the renovation process. Hopefully more pictures to come...

I should add that this picture is from a few months ago. They were a lot further along when we saw it :)

This weekend will be 6 months (186 days) until our wedding day. I couldn't be more excited!!!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

It's my BIRTHDAY!!!

Goodbye 27...Hello 28! This past year has been a great one, but I sure am ready for what this year is going to bring. I'm gettin MARRIED!!!
I got the wonderful gift of sleeping in a little this morning. Kev and I took the morning off from work to go take some fun photos in downtown Annapolis by the water. Our photographers for our wedding were in the area from North Carolina for a photography conference and offered to take an engagement shoot while they were here. We told them we had already done engagement photos and they said they didn't care, that they would love to come take a few photos. We thought, why not? We wanted to have a professional photo of Ellie so this was the perfect opportunity. We figured we would just take a couple with her and that would be good enough. Three hours later we had made our way around downtown Annapolis with photos on the water, near the sailboats, along the roads, next to neat old brightly colored row homes, in front of the capital building and so on. I guess you could say our photographers were on a roll. It was so much fun and really neat to have Ellie there too. I can already tell before seeing the photos that our photographers are amazing. I cannot wait to see the pictures. Stay tuned for our second set of engagement photos haha!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Birthday Week!

As soon as I leave work it officially starts my birthday week :) Kevin is sooooooo excited!!!!!!!!!!
He's taking me on a surprise little getaway. I have a feeling we're headed to the mountains to go hiking. We also have Pirate football and the Skins season kickoff against the Cowboys. Busy busy weekend...

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The best engagement party EVER!

Labor Day weekend we packed up and headed to Oak Island, North Carolina to meet our friends and family for our engagement party. On our way there we stopped to check out a few possible wedding locations. Unfortunately none of them worked out for one reason or another...mostly because they were booked on our wedding date. We have one more lead to check into next week that we are really hoping works out for us. Unfortunately Oak Island and Wilmington are 7 hours from us so it's not like we can just hop in the car and go check them out. For my sanity I am really hoping to nail something down within the week. Hopefully I will have much better news on my next post ;-)

On a lighter note we were able to escape the wedding venue stress and had an amazing weekend with friends and family. Let me first start by thanking our awesome host and hostesses (Anna, Claire, Tiffany, Erin, Ren, Brittanie, Jeremy, Bryce, Chase, Celeste, and Suzanne). This was by far one of the best weekends of Kevin and I's lives together thus far. We had four days of fun in the sun with our friends and family and smack in the middle was the super fun party. We were a little nervous of the weather and how many people would make it when we heard Hurricane Earl was headed towards the North Carolina coast. Fortunately for us he took a little turn and missed Oak Island completely. We had beautiful weather and over 40 people made it to our party.

Our engagement party was at Chaser's Beach Club in the tiki hut on the water. The girls decorated with fun Hawaiian themed items from beach balls to leis. When Kevin and I arrived we were floored by all of the people that came to celebrate our engagement. This party really showed us how much we are loved and and how great our friends and family are. Our guests traveled from all over to make it to the event. We were feeling pretty special :)

There was a lot of dancing, fun cocktails, tons of food, and a few tournaments of corn hole and horse shoes. There were even a few special little ones that made it to the event. Our flower girl Liza Grace and our ring bearer Jacob finally met and had a ball playing in the sand with the beach balls. Liza Grace and our other friends daughter, Mila had a ball dancing together.

We were all having fun dancing the night away when the DJ announced the last song. I'd have to say the Queen of dancing award would go to Ren (bridesmaid, sorority sister, and best friend) and the King of dancing award would go to Rod (Kevin's dad). Those two sure were having a blast on the dance floor. I think we all would have kept going for a few more hours.

All in all it was a super fun weekend and probably one of the best parties I've ever been to...and I'm not saying that just cause it was a party thrown for Kevin and I ;-) We enjoyed cocktails, dancing, and watching the sun set all in the good company of those closest to us. If we had this much fun at our engagement party I can only imagine what the wedding will bring...whenever and wherever it will be!


Here are a few pictures from the weekend...


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

There is a reason for everything...

So...this past weekend was not such a good weekend for us. I was hoping it was just a bad dream and I wouldn't have to write this post.

I was working from home on Friday and decided to grab the mail from our mailbox around lunch time. Little did I know what I was about to receive. It was a letter from Orton Plantation. To sum it up it basically stated that Orton was no longer available for our wedding venue. Uh what???? No longer available? We have a contract and money invested in this. They stated that they felt they should go ahead and tell us and give us a check written back in the amount we paid so that we could make other arrangements. Really???????? I could not believe they were doing this. Four months ago (before I had booked/paid any vendors) they assured me via phone and written email that our April 2, 2011 wedding was still on and that they looked forward to working with us. Somehow in 4 months that had all changed in their minds.

Of course I immediately called Kevin balling but he didn't answer. I sent him an email telling him there was an emergency and to call me immediately. It may not have been an emergency in some eyes, but to me it was. We had recently booked and paid all of our vendors as mentioned in the last post. My dress, bridesmaid dresses, and other details were all built around having my wedding at Orton Plantation in the garden. I eventually talked to Kevin, who was also livid, my parents, and others all of which felt horrible. Unfortunately there wasn't anything anyone could do. Once I calmed down I began contacting our vendors to let them know what had happened. I tried calling the only other 2 possible wedding venues in the Soutport/Oak Island area and of course being 7 months from our wedding they basically laughed at me and said they didn't have anything available until late 2011. This was horrible news. Even when we do find a location we will have to hope we can get April 2nd, but at this point we can't exactly count on that. Now we are going to have to frantically find a place to get married and just hope wherever and whenever works for all of our vendors so that we don't lose them or our money. Part of me feels like I am starting all over, without the clean slate. It makes me so mad that I was way ahead of schedule and on top of planning this wedding and now Orton has forced us backwards and way behind schedule to where nothing is available that we would choose. Now we may have to go with whatever we can find. It is seriously unfair. I can't wait to finally see the good that I hope comes out of this situation. There is supposed to be something good in every crummy situation...right???

On Monday I gathered all of our contracts, receipts, payments made, and payments owed and emailed it to Orton. You better believe they will be handling anything we lose on dropping us and forcing us into this situation. I just can't even imagine why they would do this to us, and it's not like we are the only wedding they canceled. Why now? I wish they had done it four months ago before I had some many visions that I now have to erase. I know I will eventually get over it, but right now it ABSOLUTELY SUCKS!

Over the weekend I called as many venues in Wilmington as I could. The only place we were able to get in contact with is currently being restored and is located in downtown Wilmington They are supposed to open for events next Spring. It has a lot of potential based on the conversations I have had with the guy managing it. We are headed to Oak Island this weekend for our engagement party so we are going to swing by and see this place as well as any other available options. My fingers are crossed that it is better than Orton and is available. Not too much to ask for, right? Hopefully when we return we will have great news!

On another note, we are incredibly excited for this weekend. We leave tomorrow for Oak Island for four days. Our amazing bridesmaids and groomsmen are hosting a Hawaiian themed engagement party for us on the beach. All of our best friends and some family are coming in for the occasion. We can't wait to have an entire weekend with all of these wonderful people. Let's just hope Hurricane Earl decides to stay away...when it rains it pours!

Monday, August 30, 2010

A week of intense wedding planning

Being that Kevin and I live 7 1/2 hours away from where we chose to get married, it makes it a little harder when it come to wedding planning. We aren't able to jump in the car and go visit a vendor. Instead of making appointments here and there and knocking one of the list at a time I had to do a lot of online reserach to look for potential vendors. With a few months of reserach I was able to narrow the list down and make a few appointments. Kev and I planned our annual trip to Oak Island for the third week in July. During our time there we had about 7 appointments jam packed into 3 days. We had meetings with a photographer, a few florists, a couple of suit companies, a taste testing with a caterer, and a taste testing with a cake baker. It was a lot packing it all into 3 days, but it was really fun to spend that time with Kev running around planning our wedding. After it was all said and done we found an amazing photographer, caterer, florist, and cake baker with lots of yummy tastings inbetween. Once we received the quotes from all we were able to narrow it down and choose who we'd have at our wedding. We went with Piner Photograpy (, Salt Harbor Designs as our florist/wedding planning (, Coastal Catering (, and Sugar Confections for our cake ( We also decided on The Wilmington Trolley Co. for transporation ( We sent in deposits and booked some amazing vendors. Whew...what a relief. It was all finally starting to come together. We definitely learned how time consuming and exhausting wedding planning can be!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Engagement Photos

In February my friend Brandy and I went to the Baltimore Bridal Show together. Brandy is one of my best friends from college. We now live right down the street from each other in Crownsville. She just so happened to get engaged about a month before me. It's so much fun to have someone close to you doing all the same fun stuff when it comes to wedding planning. We are constantly blabbing on about all the fun and not so fun details ;-) I'm sure our fiances and friends just love it!

Anyways...typically at bridal shows there are a gazillion vendors to go around and meet. This bridal show wasn't too beneficial for me because all the vendors were from the Baltimore/DC area and I needed to be meeting vendors from the Coastal NC area. However, while we were there the vendors ran drawings of free giveaways. Brandy and I both won a few little odds and ends. The best thing we both happened to win was a free engagement shoot with one of the photographers that had a booth set up.

I knew exactly where I wanted to have them taken. It was nearing Cherry Blossom time in D.C. If you've ever been you know why I wanted to have them taken there. If you've never seen them, you MUST go (! It's kind of tricky to know exactly when they are going to bloom. The website gives an estimate based on the weather and other things as to when they should be blooming. So...we picked a date that seemed to be when they would be blooming.
On March 25th we headed off to take the photos. Lucky us it was the peak day of the bloom :) wasn't as easy as it could have been. If you've ever been you know that you are going to be battling around the busiest part of DC with a gazillion tourists. When taking engagement photos you don't exactly want other people in your photos. So...we had to be quite creative and definitely not shy when taking the photos. The shoot ended up to be so much fun. Surprisingly Kevin was really into it as well. He would grab me and spin me around, dip me, etc to get some good shots. All in all it was a fun experience and we got some great photos out of it. Our favorite is the one we used on our Save the Date magnet. Enjoy the photos...