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...

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Location...and my first bridezilla moment :)

In March Kevin and I decided to take a trip down to Oak Island to check out a few possible wedding venue locations. We went and saw Bald Head Island and the Soutport Community Center. Both were great sites but just not perfect for us. Bald Head was absolutely beautiful, but had a few aspects that wouldn't work for us. First of all it was going to be WAY more expensive than we were hoping. On top of that our guests would have to pay to park, pay to take the ferry over, and pay to take the ferry back (No Thanks!). Next up on the list was the Southport Community Center. Once we arrived we saw that it was on the water and had a wonderful view. On the negative side, the reception would have to be located in the community center. Kevin and I both knew this wouldn't work. Before beginning our search one thing we knew we wanted was for the ceremony and reception to be located outside.

A month later, in April, we packed our bags and headed back to Oak Island to look at another location and to attend a bridal open house with local vendors. This time we went and saw Orton Plantation and Gardens. As soon as we arrived we fell in love and knew we had found our dream wedding location. The wedding coordinator was not in town that weekend so we talked the woman at the front desk into letting us go look around ourselves. She wasn't too interested in allowing us to do this at first, but with a little persuasion she let us venture off. We wandered down to the South Panoramic view and decided that would be the best location for us. We wanted desperately to book that weekend because there were only two possible weekends left at Orton during the time frame in which we wanted for our wedding. Of course the woman at the front desk said we would have to wait until the coordinator came back because she was the only one who could handle booking the weddings. This just didn't work for me, and if you know me I can be a little stubborn. I was afraid someone else would get to her first and we would lose our chance of getting married at Orton. I told the woman to pencil me in and we left a check for the deposit as well as a note explaining we HAD to book at Orton. A little over a week later I got a phone call...we were reserved for our wedding on April 2, 2011 :) Kevin and I were incredibly excited to know that one of the most important pieces of our wedding planning was decided upon. We had a venue!

Or so we thought...about a month later we were at ECU attending Suzanne's graduation. We were out to lunch before Suzanne's ceremony when I got the phone call. I had called a vendor earlier in the week to inquire about tents. She was calling to tell me that Orton had been sold and was no longer holding events.WHAT???????????????? Apparently it was all over the news, but Kevin and I living in Maryland knew nothing of the deal. Needless to say I jumped up from the table and went outside and lost it. My dad followed me to try and console me but there wasn't much he could do. I immediately called Orton. Of course the wedding coordinator was not there and there was nothing anyone there could tell me. Hmm???? I continued telling them that I must speak to someone and all they would tell me was that the wedding coordinator would be calling all of the brides next week. Next week???? I could not wait that long to know if we had lost our wedding location. Not to mention we had money down. Well, they weren't going to budge and gave me no information other than what I had heard was true. I couldn't believe they wouldn't give all the booked brides a phone call before it hit the press.

Days went by without so much as a phone call from Orton. My AWESOME sister decided to call the local news station to inform them that Orton wouldn't give the brides any information. About an hour later she received an email from the news person she had contacted. He was able to get in touch with Orton and low and behold they answered his questions. He was told that all currently booked brides would be able to hold their wedding at Orton, but they wouldn't be taking any new bookings. I felt a little relief but still wanted to hear the news from someone at Orton. One of my bet friends Brittanie and her husband live in the Wilmington/Oak Island area. Her husband also happens to be an attorney. Being the wonderful friends they are, he made a personal phone call to Orton on my behalf. A few days later I was contacted by Orton via phone and email. They assured me that I would be able to hold my wedding at their location. They wanted to make sure I was "okay". They had received a phone call from a Nathan Coleman who they believed said he was an attorney making sure I would still be able to have my wedding at Orton. (Thanks Brittanie and Nathan). They've helped in many ways over the past year :)

Kevin and I were relieved to know that everything was going to continue as planned. I only wish they had taken a little less time to get the news to us.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

April 2, 2011...will be the best day of my life

So...I've decided to start blogging. I wanted to be able to document/share the details and effort as we prepare for our upcoming April 2, 2011 wedding at Orton Plantation & Gardens in Coastal North Carolina.

Let me rewind for a minute and tell you the story of the day Kevin asked me to marry him...It was January 26, 2010 and we were vacationing in the Dominican Republic. We had been together for 6 years, so needless to say, I could not wait for this moment to come. We were on an excursion for the day to Paradise Island. We had just come from snorkeling. Believe it or not Kevin had the ring in his pocket while we were snorkeling (I know :O). I decided to to go lay out for a bit while Kevin went to see some friends we met from our resort. A few minutes later Kevin and our new friends walked over to me. Kevin asked me to stand up and take one last picture with him before we left the island. This was a little unusual as I am always the one asking him to take pictures with me. Anyways, I stood up and posed for the picture. Then he immediately turned to me stating my whole name, "Breanne Parker Gurley" (It was so cute), and began his speech asking me to marry him. As he began placing the ring on my right hand, I gently guided him and the FABULOUS ring to my left hand. He was so nervous and I was beyond EXCITED! He stood up and turned to everyone that was watching and shouted, "I'm getting married"! We were both grinning from ear to ear.
We had a little time left on the island. At this point many people were walking up to us that had seen him propose and were congratulating us. I can honestly say I had the widest grin from ear to ear. My mouth was literally beginning to hurt a little from smiling so big and for so long. We sat down on the sand and just took the moment in together. He took this opportunity to finally tell me the story behind the ring...that it was his grandmothers ring. She literally took it off of her hand and no longer has a ring on her left index finger. This ring means more to us than she could ever imagine.

Unfortunately, a few minutes later it was time to leave the little island. Paradise Island will forever hold an amazing memory of one of the best moments of our lives. We took one last picture and headed back on our route to the resort. We were so excited to get back to the hotel and begin celebrating with some of the friends we had met over the few days that we had been at the resort. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. I began feeling sick to my stomach on the way home. That sick to my stomach feeling escalated and by the time we reached the resort I was INCREDIBLY sick. Long story short I ended up at the doctors that night and had Montezuma revenge. The doctor gave me an IV of medicine and orals to take back to the room. I have never been so sick in my life. Poor Kevin who had just proposed to me was now taking care of me as sick as he'd ever seen me. I began feeling a little bit better the next day and was pretty much back to health two days later and we were finally able to celebrate. We popped some champagne with friends that we met while in the Dominican. The rest of our vacation was amazing. We traveled home and enjoyed being engaged for a few months before we began "Wedding Planning". Stay tuned for those details in the posts to come!