Wedding Wednesday // How to Plan Your Rehearsal Dinner

When I first started this blog I knew I wanted to share with y’all details of our special day and a little sneak peak into our love story. If you pop on over here you’ll see a collection of the posts I have already published.


 

Rehearsal Dinner Image

Today I want to share with you about our rehearsal dinner. The only photos I have from the day are super blurry, so alas you’ll just have to visualize with me. I wore a white dress with rose gold gold floral high heels and pretty sparkly rose gold jewelry. I originally had  pretty pink dress picked out to wear, but last minute I changed my mind when I remembered I only got to be a bride once and I really should we white. I am really glad I had that change of heart, because I felt like a beautiful bride-to-be all night.

The whole evening was simple which is exactly what I wanted. We started at the parish, Saint Mary Catholic Church in Hudson. The wedding planner was a familiar face from the parish. She was organized and friendly, which helped set a peaceful and stress free tone. We had turned in paperwork with all of the details about our wedding a few weeks before so she knew who was walking in with who and in what order. She knew what songs would be playing when and even the age of our little flower girl. It was helpful to have her so informed, which really helped the our parents, our bridal party, and our lectors remain at ease. Our priest was also super casual, relaxed, and funny which made the atmosphere happy and inviting for our family and friends. It was a pretty quick rehearsal, then it was time for dinner.

We decided to host the dinner at our favorite restaurant, Winking Lizard. It is a really casual place with multiple locations in Northeast Ohio. We have been on dozens of dates there and it holds a special place in our hearts.We chose the menu with Steven’s parents a few months before hand and reserved a special room at the Peninsula location where we had our own bartender and space to spread out.

When we arrived, we had time for mingling and chit-chatting before dinner was ready to be served. Steven and I quickly ate (good practice for the next day ;)) and went around to thank each person for being there for us. Afterwards we handed out our bridal party gifts and received a lot of tears and joy! It was a happy moment for us to share with our friends.

My advice for brides-to-be would be this: each moment of your wedding and rehearsal should be a reflection of you and your love for each other. Host the dinner in a place that is special to you, or that you can make special with decor. If you are unable to do so, remember that your loved ones are there – especially your soon to be husband – and ultimately, that is what is most important.

What do you remember from your rehearsal dinner? What advice do you have to share?

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Linking up with Wedded Wednesday

Currently Link Up // January

Bring your special someone to an unforgettable night

RESOLVING TO read the daily readings each day. I am taking time to dive into Scripture and journal the ways in which the Lord is speaking to my heart. I am thankful for the Blessed is She community for making it so easy to reflect with the word of God. Check out today’s readings here.

READING The Greatest Job on Earth by Joel Stepanek. Youth Ministry truly is the greatest job on earth (despite the long nights, occasional teenage drama, and sometimes long staff meetings) and this book describes how wonderful it is to play frisbee, eat pizza, and hang out with pretty amazing teenagers. The book also discusses the need for humility, balance, authenticity, faith, hope, love, and humor to do this job day in an day out. It includes funny stories and antidotes to keep us youth minister going. I bought it as a Christmas present to myself and thus far I am really enjoying it!

ORGANIZING our kitchen. It’s silly, but when our home is disorganized I do not sleep well at night. I think I picked up this trait from my mother! I went to the dollar store on Monday and bought a few drawer organizers and a few bins to store towels under the sink to save on drawer space. I am still brainstorming more ways to keep the kitchen organized, but I am excited with the progress made thus far! Any ideas on how to organize pots and pans are welcomed.

LOVING my Simplified Planner by Emily Ley. I won it on a blogging giveaway and I could not possibly be more in love! I find so much joy in paper planners. I even got some special stickers in the mail yesterday from Faye Creates and it was so fun placing them throughout the planner! She even included some special Valentine’s Day stickers for free- what a doll!

CRAVING more adventure! Steven and I are planning our 1 year anniversary trip to South Carolina (and maybe another place, too!) and I could not be more excited. We are also going to Washington DC this month and Philadelphia in June. My heart is ready to explore the world!

LINKING UP WITH the always lovely Anne and Jenna. Thanks again for a fun link-up!

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Married Life // 3 Month Review

3 Months of Marriage

I love married life with my sweet, sweet husband. Steven is kind, caring, and thoughtful. He is hard working and dedicated to God, his job, his family, and our marriage. The graces of marriage are flowing. I wanted to share what I have learned thus far in our short, short 3 months of married bliss.

Month 1

  • I need to be more of a Mary and less of a Martha.
  • Being a great cook is not a requirement to being an excellent wife.

Month 2

  • The importance of three things: daily affirmation, daily prayer, and sharing feelings with each other.
  • The importance of vulnerability.
  • The importance of mindfulness and recognizing my feelings in the moment.

Month 3

  • I have to go to sleep before him. Some couples can head to bed at the same time, but that is not us. I’ll just talk and talk and talk and then we ever sleep.
  • It’s really fun to buy stocking stuffers for your husband.
  • It’s impossible to hide Christmas presents from your husband in a tiny apartment. Also, he guesses all of his Christmas presents and I’m a terrible liar when I say, “Nope, that isn’t what I bought.” He sees right through me. Life isn’t fair sometimes, ha.

That’s a wrap! Thus far we have been very blessed. Our marriage prep was SO solid. Saint Mary Catholic Church does a great job with preparing couples for the sacrament. For that we are eternally grateful. I have so many parts of the preparation that I loved, but I especially enjoyed our Natural Family Planning classes and our Catholic Engaged Encounter retreat. Both helped us to slow down, take a break from the planning, and learn to love each other and God in a deeper way. More on that soon 😉

What lessons did you learn when you were first married? What was your favorite part of marriage preparation?

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Linking up with Little by Little and Thoughtful Thursdays

Oh Hey Friday! #2

FIVE ON FRIDAY… READY, GO!

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I lead a weekly Bible Study at Panera Bread for my Life Teen students. Slowly over the past year we have been growing and developing as a small group. We started with a solid one or two girls last year and now we are up to five or six this year! Youth Ministry fluctuates each year, but I am happy to see where we are headed. I am a big believer that youth ministry is not about numbers, but it has been cool to watch my girls evangelizing and reaching out to their peers. The Holy Spirit is at work and it is awesome!

Life Teen just released a new book called Ascend, which is a companion to the Sunday Mass readings. We tried it out for the first time and the girls really enjoyed it! Plus – the readings for this Sunday are incredibly beautiful. Check them out here to prepare your heart for this weekend.

Yes, under that black coat is my student who despises getting her picture taken… we’re working on it 😉

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We also had our Advent party this weekend and it was such a good time. I am thankful for my organized Core Staff for preparing a great evening for the kids. We had a great time! Come, Lord Jesus, Come.

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TWO

Steven and I chaperoned a Life Teen outing Wednesday night. We paired up with Faith Lutheran Church, our next door neighbors to Saint Hilary Catholic Church. It was our first go at an ecumenical event and it was a great success! We went ice skating at Lock 3 in Akron. It’s one of my favorite places. You can’t beat their $3 skating + affordable concession stands. My teens had a great time and it was cool for them to meet kids from the Lutheran Church next door. Bonus – S and I LOVE ice skating, so it was a real treat for us! Next week we are baking Christmas cookies for a local nursing home together. We are excited to hang out with our new Lutheran friends again.

ice skating collage

Blurry photos mean you are having fun, right?

THREE

I added jingle bells to our Christmas presents and I just love how they look! Our home is so cheery and I adore looking under the Christmas tree and seeing the gifts for our family. I feel incredibly blessed that we are able to share our love with our loved ones this way. We are firm believers that this season is more about presence than presents, but it is a real treat to be able to share both. Also, Target has the cutest wrapping paper this year!

FOUR

It has been a big week for the Bacher family. We mailed out our first ever Christmas cards! Check that off the 101 in 1001 and December Goals lists! We decided this year to take it slow and only mail out 20 cards. We sent them to our parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and siblings. We just wrote over 100 wedding thank you notes and we could not imagine sending more than 20 Christmas cards. Although, as I was writing them, I was a little sad I did not have more to send to friends. Lesson learned for next year. Marriage is all about the learning and growth, am I right?

But – look at HOW CUTE they turned out. Thank you Shutterfly for your free $20 discount card, free shipping, and Black Friday deal – which all helped us to get 20 cards for less than $8.

christmas cards

FIVE

I have been listening to this song on repeat. It is so catchy and is really getting me in the Christmas/Advent spirit! It’s called Jesus Savior by Chris August.

Have a great weekend, friends!

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Linking up with 5 on Friday

 

Oh Hey, Friday! #1

Five on Friday… ready, go!

ONE

Steven and I went to Dave’s Cosmic Subs for dinner on Tuesday and then did a bit of Christmas shopping at The Learned Owl, a great little bookshop in my hometown of Hudson, Ohio. We managed to find some amazing presents and we were super happy we could shop locally for our family members.

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TWO

I run the Edge Junior High Youth Ministry where I work and Thursday we had our Advent/early Christmas party with the kids. My sweet high schooler, Beth, helps me run it and she dressed up like an elf – seriously, she is too sweet. The kids were a little wild and it left me pretty exhausted afterwards, but it was a great and fun afternoon.

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THREE

I have been on the lookout for stockings for Steven and I. I have been struggling to find ones that I love. I didn’t want to settle and buy them just to buy them, you know? Today I finally found some great ones at Kohl’sand I am just over the moon excited about them. I might have sent Steven 20 text messages about my excitement… oops 😉 I was also SUPER productive today – I went to the chiropractor, bank, gas station, AAA, Kohl’s, Target, TJ Maxx, Old Navy, Big Lots, and now I’m relaxing at the Stow Public Library writing this post. Busy bee! It feels nice to just sit and unwind.

FOUR

I bought Steven some stocking stuffers today at Grismer’s Christian Gifts. They don’t have a website to show you, but they have some great locations around Northeast, Ohio and I greatly recommend checking them out. I am a big fan of the Stow, Ohio location- mostly because they know me by name there #frequentshopper

For Christmas this year, I wanted to try the “want, need, wear, read” tradition for my dear husband. The read part was the trickiest, because he is not a big book reader (maybe one day I’ll convert him) and I couldn’t find any solid magazines I thought were worth spending the money on, but today I realized how much we LOVE prayer cards and novena books, so I bought a few for stocking stuffers. I am officially finished shopping for him! Hooray.

FIVE

I have been loving Ann Voskamp‘s daily Advent reflections on Facebook. Today she wrote, “I will let every flood of stress today be an invitation to get into the ark of my Savior.” How beautiful. I believe that is something we can all take to prayer.

Have a great weekend, friends!

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#BISsisterhood Link-Up // Hope

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I have hope, because His grace keeps flowing.

I have hope, because I have been saved by His amazing love.

I have hope, because our God is a compassionate God.

How do we share our hope in Jesus Christ? We have to start talking. We have to start shouting from the rooftops of the glory that God has done in our lives. Why is your hope found in Jesus? What has He done for you? We have to share our testimonies so that we can share with the world the hope that is found in living a life centered on Jesus Christ.

“Hope is the power by which we firmly and constantly long for what we were placed on earth to do: to praise God and to serve Him.” Youcat 308

I was placed on earth to praise and serve God. My time is not over yet. Tuesday I was in a car accident. For those of you who know me well, car accidents and I seem to be attracted to each other. It is a heartbreaking fact, but for reasons unknown to me, my Guardian Angel works overtime to protect me. I have hope, because I know God is real and I have seen and experienced miracles in my own life, including the accident on Tuesday afternoon. I have hope, because I am alive when science would say I should not be.

Saint Thomas Aquinas holds that, “from the very moment of his birth man has an angel guardian appointed to him” (Summa Theologica, I, 113, 5). From infancy to death, we are surrounded by the watchful care and intercession of guardian angels. They stand as our protectors. Our angels help us avoid physically dangers, especially if it will help us achieve salvation.

Guardian Angels can move faster than Superman.

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According to Saint Thomas Aquinas, “The swiftness of the angel’s movement is not measured by the quantity of his power, but according to the determination of his will (Summa Theologica, I, 53, 3, ad 1) Hello, awesome! Angels are not bound to a material body like us, so they can move super fast. Steven and I are currently watching The Flash and I cannot anything moving faster than him, so this notion is pretty awesome. I believe that on Tuesday, my Guardian Angel moved faster than Superman to save my life. My angel might have even brought along some friends.

My car did a complete 180 on the highway. I was facing the opposite direction towards oncoming traffic. The car that almost hit me and caused the accident drove away. I called AAA, the police came, and I was okay. I felt shaken up, but was okay. My car scraped the concrete barrier, but was not dented. I believe that God still works miracles today. I believe that He has amazing helpers in His Guardian Angels. I believe that I am alive, because of the help of my angel and God wasn’t finished with me quite yet.

I am hopeful that the Lord has big plans for this little life of mine. What are those plans? I am not sure yet, but I cannot wait to find out.

Angel of God, my guardian dear, to whom God’s love commits me here, ever this day, be at my side, to light and guard, rule and guide. Amen.

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 Linking up with Blessed is She and #BISsisterhood, Thoughtful ThursdaysThought Provoking Thursday, and Little Things Thursday 

Monthly Goals: December Edition

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Sweet December has arrived! ‘Tis the season for cozy blankets, lit trees, Advent wreaths, and Christmas cheer.

Without further ado, here is a recap from my very first set of goals: I accomplished 3/4. We ordered our Christmas cards, started Christmas shopping, and created some very special Thanksgiving traditions. We were not able to have Steven’s parents over for dinner, but we invited them! Our free dates did not align, but hopefully very soon.

This month, I hope to:

  • Mail the last of our wedding thank you cards (you guys, we only have 14 left. We are so close!)
  • Mail our personal Christmas cards
  • Select the photos for our wedding album. We got one with our wedding photography package! Woo!
  • Celebrate my 26th birthday with my dear husband
  • Finish reading Mercy in the City by Kerry Weber

What are your goals this month?

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Maximize Your Month

Grateful Heart Link Up // Thanksgiving ReCap

Hello sweet friends. Happy Thanksgiving week!

I have thoroughly enjoyed reading all the beautiful posts about grateful, full hearts. It is inspiring to know how blessed each of us is and reassuring to know how loved we are by the Father. I hope y’all had an amazing time resting and spending time with your family and friends. I know I sure did 🙂

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Steven and I started off our Thanksgiving at my parent’s house. I am beyond thankful for my hilarious brothers, Sam and Max. They keep me on my toes and I love being their older sister. Max is a Sophomore  in High School and Sam is a Junior at West Virginia University.

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… and of course I am thankful for my two amazing parents who worked their butts off to make an awesome meal. Yum! Aren’t they the cutest?

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Then we headed over to Brian and Sheri’s house. Brian is Steven’s older brother. We spent a lot of time cuddling and taking selfies with our sweet nieces whom we love with our whole hearts. Okay, maybe they are the cutest.

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I am mostly thankful for this handsome man that I got to spend Thanksgiving with. Sometimes I should pinch myself, because I cannot believe how blessed I am to have such a thoughtful, caring, and fun man for a husband.

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Friday we did a bit of Black Friday shopping and Saturday we did a bit of Small Business Saturday shopping. My friend Sarah wrote a little bit about Small Business Saturday on her blog. Check it out! In the evening we had dinner at a delicious Mexican restaurant with our friends Nicole and Joe. Then on Sunday we rested and Steven went to the University of Akron Men’s Soccer game. Go Zips! When he came home we wrote a lot (I mean a lot) of wedding thank you notes. I am a thankful wife, because Steven helped write so many of the notes.

I don’t know about y’all, but I cannot believe the weekend is over (and November, too!) I hope everyone has a great first week of December.

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A Grateful Heart with Ember Grey
Linking up with Biana for Weekending and Ember Grey for A Grateful Heart.

#31: Start a family tradition

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We’ve almost made it through the whole month, friends! Can you believe Thanksgiving is this week? Today I am sharing with you how I made it through another of my 101 in 1001 goals.

Steven and I have talked a lot about creating traditions in our first year of marriage. Thanksgiving was a great place to start for us! It is one of my favorite days. I actually have been surprised how much I am coming to love November. It is such a positive, happy, grateful month!

November can get busy quickly and Steven and I knew we wanted to make time for each other. Tonight we are going to a Turkey Bowl and tomorrow we are headed to celebrate with each of our families after the Cleveland Turkey Trot.

When we started to plan our our week, we knew we did not want to be stressed, so we tried to slow down and intentionally plan our week. We wanted to create a special tradition for just the two of us. I went on Pinterest and searched blogs for ideas, but nothing seemed to stick. We are pretty simple people and all the ideas were beautiful, but just not us. You know?

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SO… we bought a little 2 pound chicken, asparagus, and ravioli at the West Side Market in Cleveland and had a little Thanksgiving dinner just the two of us. I enjoyed cooking for my sweet, sweet husband. It was nice to decorate the table and enjoy slowing down to eat together. We had thankful placemats, a tiny pumpkin, our  crucifix from Poland that we held while we said our vows, and our Engaged Encounter candle.

After dinner we made two pies! First we made a pumpkin pie and then we made an apple pie. Someone had gifted us all of the apple pie making supplies as a wedding present, so it was really fun for us to make those together. We are bringing them to the Bacher Thanksgiving meal tomorrow. I’m excited to try the apple one!thanksgiving2

There you have it – our own little tradition. Every year, though we love our families, we want to make sure we take time for ourselves to celebrate together (hopefully with our own kiddos one day!)

Also, I forgot to mention… I had S clean out the inside of the little chicken and cut it up 😉 Marriage is about compromise, am I right?

Have a great Thanksgiving, my sweet friends!

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Linking up with To Travel and BeyondMessy Marriage and Women With Intention Wednesdays.

#20: Lose 15 Pounds

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When Steven proposed, I was at my highest ever weight. I am only 5’2″ so I have to be super careful about what I put into my body. When I moved home from Virginia to Ohio, I wasn’t walking through Radford’s campus as much and my lifestyle became a bit more sedentary. I knew I needed to make a few changes prior to the wedding so that I could feel extra beautiful in my wedding dress and be the best version of myself possible. I am proud to share that I not only lost 15 pounds – I lost 17! I am now at a pleasant 135 pounds and I feel more at peace with my health, life, and self confidence level. I also felt stunning in my wedding gown, so all of these little changes were well worth it!

Little Changes

  1. I cut out all processed sugar. Anyone who knows me is well aware of my love for Green Tea Frappuccino, cookies, cupcakes, and Coca Cola. I became better at reading nutrition labels and I paused before picking up a sweet treat from our secretary at work (she has the best stash of chocolates… sigh!) I have slowly started eating sweets again, but I have been impressed at my willpower and a lot of my cravings for sweets have subsided. 
  1. I started eating more fruits and vegetables (even KALE!) Steven got a blender for Christmas last year and he started making me smoothies every single day for lunch. Today I had spinach, strawberries, mango, and banana. Yum! Never before in my life would I have thought that would be a delicious combo, but I have been training…er… tricking my taste-buds and drinking the smoothies each day.
  1. I bought a FitBit and challenged myself to walk 7,000 steps a day. I especially loved this goal, because it challenged me to park further away, walk upstairs at work to get copies, mossy around the church during the day, and go to the farthest possible bathroom. These little challenges I played with myself allowed me to be competitive and achieve high goals. Just as an FYI – the daily recommended amount of steps is 10,000, but because of fibromyalgia I have to be careful of overexerting myself and making my pain worse.

Since I do have fibromyalgia, I am unable to do most exercises (especially running or anything high impact), but I went to THREE personal training sessions which taught me healthy exercises I could do on my own that work with my illness and not against it. I left the sessions feeling inspired and uplifted. I also met with my chiropractor, who is a nutritionist, and she supplied me with Calcium, Vitamin D, and a daily multi-vitamin. These have helped me to feel energized and healthy as well.

I wanted to find little ways to change my health and still incorporate an element of fitness, even if that was 7k steps a day and small workouts. I think I found a happy balance! 🙂 I am proud to report that the weight I lost, I have kept off!

My advice would be:

  1. Love yourself.

  2. Ask for wisdom and courage from God to start.

  3. Start anywhere.

  4. Start small.

You, my beloved sister, are beautiful and loved JUST the way you are. You are more than a number on a scale. You are more than your weight loss – or weight gaining – journey. You are a child of God and that comes first before all things. If you are on this weight loss journey, fully rely on God. Allow Him to fill the desires of your heart first. Remember no amount of weight loss will help Him love you more than He does right now at this moment. You are so precious and gorgeous in His eyes (and in mine!) Stay strong, ladies. The temptations are tough out there, but our God is bigger than it all.

“Have patience with all things, But, first of all with yourself.” Saint Francis de Sales

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Holly Barrett