A Letter to Bridesmaids: Be There for Her

Never have I ever felt more lost and confused as I did during the 8 months of our engagement.

And to be honest, it was kind of my fault.

I was so busy planning a wedding that I unintentionally drifted away from friends. Perhaps subconsciously I avoided interactions to protect myself from unwanted opinions from acquaintances about my wedding.  Or perhaps I was in a gloomy mindset of, “They’re probably too busy to hang out with me” or “They wont care about my stress.”

Whatever the reason, I spent most of my time with family who helped with checklists, deadlines, color swatches, invitations, etc.

While I was thrilled to have this kind of support and all the planning was going well, I was still clueless about how to handle the emotional aspect of getting married. I had little to no newly-married friends I could ask, “Are you feeling how I’m feeling?”

So I secretly begged for the comfort of a fellow bride, a bridesmaid, a friend… anyone around my age who identifies as a female who could hold my hand through some tough conversations about preparing for marriage. Not the wedding.

And while I had all the support and love in the world as far as the wedding planning goes, I still felt alone at times. 

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Catie Bee Art: Wedding Art

Lately I’ve been working on a lot of custom orders for weddings and bridal showers!

Picture frames, guest books, wooden things, calligraphy for wedding signs, etc.

One of my favorite parts of working as a wedding assistant is seeing how the bride and groom bring personal touches to their wedding design! What better way to add a personal touch on your big day than with art?

While planning for my own wedding, I knew I wanted to do something creative with a personal touch. Being that we had our wedding at Disney World, I painted the seating chart – with each table inspired by a different fairytale land.  It took a lot of paint and patience to get it just the way I wanted.

While working on my own wedding art, I discovered how much fun it is to create unique pieces displayed at meaningful and important events.  I have loved working on custom orders for brides & grooms!

Here are some more fun wedding projects I’ve worked on …

More artwork here.

❤ catie bee art

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Photos by A Lovely Photo

Before the Ring: Preparing for Marriage

Two years ago today, the boy I love asked me to marry him and slipped a ring on my finger.

While the proposal was a surprise, we had spent the past two years preparing for marriage.

I wrote a little bit about how we prepared for marriage in my previous blog post, “Why Marriage is Easier than Dating.” But mostly I expressed that we feel marriage is easier than dating because we worked really hard to prepare for what was to come.

Today, I want to go into more detail and give specific examples of how we worked toward becoming husband & wife.

So here are a few ways we “prepared” for marriage:

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8 Shopping Tips: Your Dream Wedding Dress

“Congratulations!! What style wedding gown are you looking for?”

“Um… I don’t really know.” I said to the stylist, who was already listing a million different types of wedding dresses: Simple dresses, ivory dresses, lace dresses, tulle dresses, blush dresses, long dresses, short dress….

I quickly felt overwhelmed and totally lost standing in the middle of a bridal gown store.

Brides – let’s face it: whether or not you know what you are looking for, wedding dress shopping can be confusing, overwhelming, and even discouraging at times.

And sometimes it isn’t until you find “the one” when you feel as though all the chaos was worth it.

Have no fear. Here are some tips for wedding gown shopping:

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7 Ways to Cut Down the Cost of a Disney Wedding

Real talk: Weddings are expensive. 

And destination weddings can be outrageously expensive (I’m looking at you, Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings…)

I do applaud Disney for having plenty of less expensive alternatives/enhancements with different venue, food, and package options.

So before you say “we can’t afford this…” to your dream Disney wedding – let’s do some research!

Here are 7 ways to cut down the cost of a Disney Wedding:

1) Make a list of “must haves” or a wish list:
Making a list of “must haves” will help you sort out which elements of the wedding are the most important to you – be it decor, photos, attire, etc.  If you’re like me (and the majority of people in this world…), you simply can’t afford to have everything, so decide on the things that will make your day special and beautiful to YOU.

Remember that as long as you have your spouse, the other “stuff” doesn’t matter.  It’s just stuff – and sometimes, it’s expensive.

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Why Marriage is Easier than Dating

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Marriage isn’t always easy.

But to be honest, I think marriage is a lot easier than dating.

At least, it is for us.

Of course, we still “date” in marriage.  We go out, we stay in, we seek adventures together.

But when I say marriage is easier than dating, I mean that everything finally fell into place and according to plan when we got married.

That’s a cliché thought, but it’s true.

Since we first started dating, marriage was always our goal (when you know, you know). Whether it was reading books, talking to married couples, or attending premarital counseling sessions, we prepared as best as we could for marriage. Our role models have healthy marriages, and it was evident to us that nothing is more powerful than a fully-committed couple.

Therefore, we looked at dating as training for marriage.

And it was difficult.

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“If I could do it all over again…” 5 Things I Wouldn’t Change About My Wedding

After the wedding is over, a lot of women like to think about what they would have done differently on their big day:

“I wish I had a different dress…”

“I wish I had a videographer…”

“I wish I didn’t drink so much…”

While there are definitely a few things I would change about my wedding, there a lot more things I wouldn’t change (like for instance, the man I married…) ❤

Here are 5 things I wouldn’t change about my wedding:

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5 Tips that Could Save Your Wedding Day

Catie and Wes - 0578.jpgNo wedding is perfect.  Not even a Disney Fairy Tale Wedding.

Because let’s be real, weddings are made up of people – who are imperfect.

We brides LOVE to visualize everything working out the way it SHOULD. I mean, we’ve written all the schedules, planned all the details… how could something POSSIBLY go wrong?

But a million things could go wrong: people waking up late, your dress bustle breaking, OR no matter how hard you try, someone asking, “Where am I supposed to be?” after you’ve given them the schedule… three times.

It’s frustrating for any bride to deal with complications – be it uncontrollable forces (such as the weather ) or controllable (who you picked as your bridal party).  Either way, the goal for your wedding day is perfection, but for many brides, the outcome is “a functional, beautiful wedding day – with few imperfections here and there.”

THAT BEING SAID. Here are my 5 tips that could save your wedding day…

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I said YES! … a year ago.

At this time exactly one year ago, the man I love asked a question that would change my life forever.

When I first met Wes, I was not interested in having a boyfriend. My standards were high, and I was picky about the type of man I wanted to date. After spending a lot of time with Wes, I eventually fell in love with him, as I had never met anyone quite like him. He took the time to learn and understand who I am – all of my quirks, passions, and fears.  He was, and still is, someone who time and again exemplifies Christ’s love for others and inspires me to live a meaningful and faith-filled life.  I knew I wanted to be with Wes for as long as possible.

From the beginning, he was intentional about our relationship and celebrated every month together with roses and special gifts.  I felt constantly pursued and loved by him. Within a few weeks, we started our own bookclub – reading books about healthy marriage and talking to young married couples.  We knew marriage was something we eventually wanted to enter into together, but we also wanted to be prepared.

Wes and I dated for almost 2 years before he proposed.  We were camping at Fall Creeks Falls, a place we had never been camping before but immediately loved.  There were waterfalls everywhere and exciting hiking trails to explore. On our way to the campsite after horseback riding, Wes turned to me and asked if I’d like to spend the rest of our days together.

“Catie, will you marry me?”

My heart skipped a beat. After he spoke of our relationship and time together, he pulled out the most beautiful diamond ring I’ve ever seen. My body went into completely shock, and I couldn’t speak, even though my mind was yelling, “YES! OF COURSE!” I just couldn’t wrap my mind around reality.  I’ve been dreaming of this kind of moment, and it was finally happening.

After all the tears, hugs, and laughter, I finally calmed myself down, and he slipped the diamond ring onto my finger.

That night, we drove back to Nashville and celebrated our engagement at the same place we had our first date.  We decided to keep the proposal a secret for two days.  We didn’t call or text anyone about it – not even our parents.  We wanted to celebrate as a newly engaged couple, and that’s exactly what we did.

Today, Wes and I remember that a year ago, we took a leap of faith.  We entered into the crazy world of engagement (a place I have no desire visiting again), and spent 8 months planning a wedding together. Married life has been sweet to us, and we thank each other and God for that!