Guys - I'm so pumped to share this month's giveaway with you from my new friend Angie Brown and her Etsy shop called Gracefully Giddy! She made an exclusive Do The Thing item for us and I'm so excited for you to both learn more about Angie AND see the giveaway!
Ok Angie, tell us a little more about yourself!
HI! I'm Angie Brown and I am a firefighter wife, homeschooling Mama to two precious kids, stillbirth mama to our first precious baby waiting for us in Heaven, and we live on a small farm in Texas! This is our third year to homeschool and we love spending as much time outdoors as possible. We spend a majority of our days working together taking care of our animals. We currently have dogs, cats, a lizard, goats, a rabbit and a horse, but don't worry we always add more! I also have a blog Gracefully Giddy that I share all of our family adventures, faith, favorites and more. When I began my journey sharing on my blog I was in the deepest part of my grief after losing our baby. I didn't want to be a part of the world at the time but I wanted to share our precious story with the world. It flourished into our family blog when our family grew and a platform to share the ways that God has worked in my life.
Tell us about the season when you started Gracefully Giddy. When/how did you decide to "do the thing"? What support did you have?
Gracefully Giddy Designs began a few years ago when I was wanting to wear jewelry that I could use with my essential oils and I made my very first MAMA bracelet. I had started using essential oils for anxiety when I was struggling through grief and when I was pregnant with my subsequent pregnancies. I began with bracelets and now I love creating custom word bracelets (which are my favorite), leather earrings, a few necklaces and lots of beaded bracelets. I love working with natural wood beads, jade, amazonite beads, and leopard prints. My passion is to create word bracelets with mama's baby names, encouraging words, strength and hope words, and anything personalized for my customers. When it comes to earrings, my favorite is the big boho style earrings which I personally love to wear. I do not like heavy earrings so I use buckskin leather for tassels (which is super soft), leather pieces, faux leather, feathers and cork materials. My husband and my children have always supported my creative side and my amazing sister and sister in laws have been a part of my journey since day one.
Since I run my business and Etsy shop from home they help me share all of my social media posts and wear all of my pieces. When I have the opportunity to set up at market shows and festivals they all help me pull it together if needed.
What inspired your name for Etsy shop?
Gracefully Giddy Designs name was established from my blog name. Gracefully was a reminder to always have Grace and be humble and Giddy was to always find joy plus I tend to get pretty excited over everything! I have had the blog for so many years I decided to just leave the same name and add designs to it for the creative side. I currently have an Etsy shop and I share all of my designs and custom orders on Instagram and Facebook. It has been a blessing to stay home with my children and this shop has helped me keep that creative side of myself and my passions alive. I took a season off when we relocated our family this past year and during the transition from public school to homeschool. During those seasons I missed it terribly but I also needed the time off. I am so thankful this last year I was able to commit myself back to my shop and create pieces that I love that I can share with my family and friends.
What 3-4 pieces of advice would you give someone thinking about starting their own Etsy shop (or similar business)?
When I decided to start my Etsy shop a few things I am grateful for is the support I had and believing in myself. If I could help anyone that wanted to start a small shop mu biggest piece of advice would be follow your heart and find your passion. It is a business but it is also who you are. When I create designs I put the thought into every piece. I want my customers to feel beautiful putting on a pair of earrings for the day. I want mamas to see their sweet babies names on their bracelets and smile. I want each and every customer to know that I appreciate their support. Be humble, be patient, be passionate.
Keep up with ALL things Gracefully Giddy here:
Ok, it's time for what you've all been waiting for...what are the giveaway rules? Here you go:
1. Go follow @gracefullygiddydesigns and @rebeccadotsongeorge on the 'gram.
2. Comment on the post from today on my page (@rebeccadotsongeorge) and tag atleast 3 friends who would LOVE these pieces of jewelry from Gracefully Giddy.
3. Post the same picture on your stories and tag @gracefullygiddydesigns and @rebeccadotsongeorge so we see it!
The winner will be announced on Monday, October 28th - best of luck!
Cheering for you,
Rebecca Dotson George
I'm excited to be sharing this week about one of my new favorite topics - best practices for working remotely! It's such a privilege to get to work from home and I find that I'm one MILLION times more productive. I've gotten a lot of questions about it, so I thought I'd share some things I've learned. Here goes!
Morning routine is everything.
I've found since it really helps me to be consistent with a morning routine. I'm now getting back in the swing of working out in the mornings and I feel so much better and have way more energy when I do! I try to get up around 5:45 so that I'm home to start my workday by 7.
Create a plan for each day.
At the beginning of each work day I will make myself a bullet pointed list of everything I'd like to accomplish that day. It helps me stay on track and "time block" my calendar accordingly. I also find that there are tasks that are easier for me to tackle in the morning when I'm fresh so making a list allows me to see my day at a glance and prioritize those things.
Determine what will replace the margin that you've gained.
Most likely if you are new to working remotely that means that you USED to work in an office. That means that you had to get ready, fix your food for the day and commute who knows how long to reach your final destination. Congratulations, you don't have to do that anymore! You will have so much more time in your day and I think it's important to determine what you need to be focusing on that your current season of life requires right now. For me, my priorities are spending time with my husband, writing and planning for my book.
Make it a priority to get out and about.
If you read research on working remotely, one thing you'll find is a lot of people struggle with loneliness! It's very important to get out and about, work from a coffee shop occasionally and put lunch dates on your calendar so you don't get cabin fever (especially if you're extroverted like me)!
I was so honored to share on Well Watered Women this week about my testimony, 818 Ministries, Do The Thing Movement, etc. Well Watered Women is home to the Give Me Jesus journal and they have an amazing Advent study that is about to release. Make sure and check out their shop. Click below to read the guest interview!
I'm excited, after many requests, to share a post about long distance dating! It's hard, you guys. Dustin and I met when we both lived in Tennessee many years ago and then he moved to Mississippi. We reconnected years later so our dating journey happened 8 hours apart! I'm very thankful for newly-wed life and that we're no longer in that season anymore but I can also look back on several ways that dating long distance was very healthy for us!
If you find yourself in that type season I hope this encourages you! Even if you're not long distance but you're in a new-er relationship, I believe these principles will still ring true. Please share it with a friend and comment below with any questions and I will try to edit the post and address them.
I'd like to start with communication since it's one of THE most difficult things to work through in any relationship. Here are a few things in hindsight that Dustin and I worked on while we were dating (and even into marriage) that I think have been powerful tools for us:
1. Ask the hard questions. Share your testimonies and where you are in your walk with the Lord early on. Talk about your background and how you grew up. All of these things will start to play out in your relationship, how you communicate, what you value, how you argue and what is most important to you.
2. Always remain curious. Months into marriage, I continue to learn things about my husband all the time (and I hope I never stop learning)!
3. Give one another grace. Neither of you are perfect and you will mess up. You'll have your first argument...and then your second and third. That's why the "hard questions" are so important. In marriage, I always know my spouse is ultimately "on my team". I viewed this no differently in dating. Because I truly knew what Dustin valued and how he's wired, it helped us work through a lot of challenges in learning how to communicate.
4. Talk about where you are headed. Ok, I said it. I'm a big fan of commitment (which we will talk about next). But it's important not only to talk about where your relationship is headed but where YOU are headed. For example, my husband is a pastor. When we got married, I wasn't only "getting married" (which, by the way, is a big enough change in itself) but I was stepping into the role of a pastor's wife. That was something I had to diligently pray through and I firmly believe God has called me to. However, it's important to work through these things in the early phases of your relationship to see if it's really something you want (and feel called) to commit to.
Commitment is extremely important in any relationship but especially when doing long distance.
There, I said it. I'm sorry to all of the millennials who aren't a fan of the word but #sorrynotsorry. I would argue that second only to our growing relationship with Christ, our commitment to the hard work long distance requires is THE thing that kept us going when it got really hard.
You will miss "your person". You'll have a month that's extremely busy and you won't get to see one another. Flights (and wear and tear on your car) are expensive. You'll spend some Friday and Saturday nights alone. You won't get to come to every "thing" your person is investing their life in and it will feel hard to miss out on a few. But if you're both on the same page about where you're headed and you're committed to moving forward into a progressing relationship with Christ at the center, those missed moments will be much easier knowing you're working toward a common goal.
Working Through Conflict
It will happen. You will argue. Someone will get their feelings hurt. Someone will have a hard day and the other won't respond in their preferred love language. It's just going to happen because we're all imperfect and (if you're in Christ) being sanctified by the Holy Spirit to become more in the likeness of Christ. A few things that helped us here:
1. Praying together. Prayer has always been a cornerstone of our relationship and now marriage. Each night when we'd get off Facetime with one another we'd pray together and when working through hard conversations now in our marriage, Dustin always leads us back to prayer.
2. Personality tests. I, in vivid detail, told you what I thought about the Enneagram a few weeks ago so feel free to go back and read that post to hear more specifically about that one. However, when we were dating we had many, many conversations about the different personality tests and how our results played into what we value, how we're wired, how we communicate, etc.
Some of our favorites? The Enneagram and Myers-Briggs.
I'd be missing something huge if I didn't address how hard the goodbyes will be. There's no way around it. They are the worst. However, there was something in our dating season that really helped us with this.
We almost always had some idea of when we would see eachother again. When we left, it was hard, but we knew almost to the day when we'd be reunited!
Introduce Him/Her to Your People
This is a tough one. It's a temptation when you're visiting one another to spend ALL of the time you have together. Make sure you make it a priority to begin to introduce him/her to your family/friends when they are around. Prioritize your time so you get to spend quality time together as well as with the people you love. And they will appreciate getting to meet them as your relationship progresses!
But also, don't feel guilty that you missed a person or two on a certain trip. You can't please everyone and the most important thing is that you guys get to spend quality time continuing to grow in your relationship!
This is not The Bachelor.
It's extremely tempting to plan each visit down to the minute with surprises and special plans. There's nothing wrong with special surprises and enjoying each moment but try to avoid crafting every moment as if it will be perfect. This sets everyone up for unrealistic expectations.
This is real life. Go to breakfast and don't put makeup on. Fix a recipe you'd make on a normal Wednesday night. Take a walk in your neighborhood. As much as you can, try to create "real life" moments that you miss in the everyday. I think it's easy to set an unrealistic expectation for marriage when we create "reality TV show kinds of trips" to see one another. That's not real life and that's not what marriage is like.
When we were dating, I remember the first "normal Sunday" I spent in Mississippi. It was really special for me to ride to church at Dustin's normal time that he arrives on a Sunday, to help him with his mic, pray over him before service started and then be by his side before he walked on stage. Those are the types of moments I remember most from our season of dating.
If you're dating long distance and found this post helpful, comment below with your thoughts and/or questions! I'd love to hear from you!
Your biggest cheerleader,
Rebecca Dotson George
I had the opportunity a few weeks ago to chat with my friend Rachael Adams on her podcast called The Love Offering! We talked all about 818 Ministries, Do The Thing Movement, spiritual gifts, leadership - you name it! I would absolutely LOVE if you would hop on over to wherever you listen to podcasts and give it a listen! It would mean so much!
God has given each of us special gifts and has placed us in specific areas at this specific time with specific people. We can choose to make a positive difference in another’s life for the glory of God. We can choose to love despite our inadequacies, our feelings and the enormity of the problems that surround us.
-Rachael Adams of The Love Offering
I'm SO thrilled to be doing a giveaway with my friend Abby Wheeler this week on the Do The Thing Movement blog! Abby and I met about a year ago and she is the Ministry Director of Heartworks. I've asked her to share a little bit of her heart with you in a Q&A today and then we'll tell you all about how you can enter the giveaway!
Q&A With Abby
1. What was the catalyst for starting Heartworks? Heartworks is the intersection of passions - refugee ministry and artistic expression. I always thought I had to pick one or the other so I really pursued refugee ministry but artistic expression with refugees is now the actual ministry as God has opened my eyes to the ways that art and creativity inspire healing and wholeness.
2. What is your vision for it? My vision for Heartworks is to help people realize their capacity to encounter beauty and contribute beauty to the world because beauty inspires hope. Practically, my vision is to have lessons with kids of all different backgrounds coming together and collaborating and creating.
3. What's been the most rewarding part of starting your ministry + nonprofit? I love painting Bibles and making them beautiful so that people want to hold them in their hands and open them up to discover the hope within. I also have loved the healing I’ve seen students experience through some art healing techniques I’ve used and also seeing students create really lovely masterpieces!
To enter the giveaway:
1. Follow @rebeccadotsongeorge and @Heartworks.knox on the 'gram!
2. Post Monday's photo on your stories and tag @Heartworks.knox and @rebeccadotsongeorge so we see them!
3. Tag at least 3 friends in the comments (bonus entry for extra tags)!
That's it! Entries will close at 8 PM on Sunday, September 29th and the winner will be announced on the 30th. Good luck!
Cheering you on,
Rebecca Dotson George
September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and I wanted to take the opportunity to share a little bit about what God is doing at 818 Ministries!
If you're a new friend to the Do The Thing Movement blog you might not have heard my testimony of what God did in my heart throughout my mom's cancer journey that led to this ministry. My mom (now breast cancer survivor) was diagnosed in September 2014 and for the year that followed underwent surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. During that time, we had the opportunity to meet a lot of people who faced situations similar to my her. God really burdened my heart for these people in light of the amount of support my mom had during that time.
She had my dad who took off work to come sit with her at chemotherapy.
She had a daughter who knows how to crochet hats when she lost her hair.
She had friends to come sit with her when she had a bad day.
But as we met many patients along the way, I continued wondering, "Do they have these forms of support? More importantly, do they know Jesus as Savior?"
Over time, I started donating hats to mom's treatment center and God had way bigger plans. I launched our website and as the years have passed, God has provided so many amazing volunteers to come alongside me and carry out our mission.
We package handmade hats + handwritten letters of encouragement and deliver them to patients fighting serious illnesses. Our Impact Squad travels the US to deliver them in hospitals dressed up like princesses + superheroes. Since our launch, we've donated 4,501 hat packets and have volunteers in 14 states! God is so faithful!
Check out the video below to see BTS on a recent Impact Squad visit to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and Le Bonheur Children's Hospital!
Feel free to check out the website to learn more about how to get involved with 818 Ministries!
Cheering you on,
Rebecca Dotson George
I am so honored to have the opportunity to share on my friend Chelsey DeMatteis' blog today about my word of the year - courage!
Feel free to check out the post by clicking below!
I have to say, this whole Enneagram-personality-test-thing has brought about a lot of hype. I've always loved personality tests and learning more about how I'm wired and how I can improve. I've done them all - Myers Briggs, DISC, Strengths Finders, etc. They're all good and very helpful. I can honestly say the Enneagram has been the most helpful test of its kind in terms of truly capturing the nuances of why I do what I do. It helped Dustin and I a lot when we were dating to understand the place the other was coming from. It's helped me better understand how to approach conversations with other important people in my life as well. Before reading any further (as a starting point if you haven't already taken the test), please take the free Enneagram test so you can begin learning about your type. To understand where some of what I'm saying is coming from (for those of you who've taken the test), I'm a 3 wing 2 (Achiever + Helper).
If you don't hear me say anything else in this post, hear me say this:
The Enneagram does not excuse my sin, it better informs it.
- Rebecca Dotson George
Just as much as the next Enneagram geek, I've found myself easily rationalizing my behavior due to my number or my wing.
I'm not prone to resting well. I'm a 3. We go-go-go all the time. That's just what we do!
I just tend to be a chameleon. That's what three's do. They adapt and communicate on the level of those around them; thus, never really knowing who they truly are.
I think, even subconsciously, making these statements defeats the entire purpose of a test whose aim is to help us gain self awareness and learn how to better communicate with those around us. And really, the bottom line for me is what does it look like for me to take an honest look at where these behaviors and thought patterns are not Christ-like so I can pinpoint areas to repent of sin and reach for a more-like-Jesus-version-of-myself?
Last week I received a brilliant question via Instagram when I asked for what you'd like to know about the Enneagram.
What does each Enneagram type need to do + know + accept in order to become more like Jesus?
I've been praying over how to tackle this in a way that is truth-seeking and respectful of the fact that, as followers of Christ, we are all seeking to become more in the likeness of Him each day. I've chosen a couple verses that I pray will encourage each type in their journey of becoming more like Him. Feel free to use these as a prayer guide to for yourself or a loved one's "type".
Feel free to comment at the end of the post with your type and what additional verses you feel might speak truth into the lives of others who identify with your number!
One - The Perfectionist
Philippians 4:6 - Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
I notice that my Ones have a tendency to worry a lot. We all have those moments but I love the power of this verse! Be anxious about NOTHING but in EVERYTHING by prayer and supplication WITH thanksgiving let you requests be made known to Him. Meaning: we can come to God with any request or need. Remember, we are talking to the Lord God of the Universe!
Romans 3:23 - For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
We all fall short of God's standard. That's why He sent Jesus to die on the cross for our sins so that we would have the opportunity to trust in Him, have our sins forgiven and spend all eternity worshipping Him in heaven one day. Remember that is true of every person you speak to today (including the way you speak to yourself!). We are all in the process of becoming more like Christ and in need of being shown grace.
Two - The Helper
Matthew 5:37 - Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.
A lot of my Twos really struggle with learning to say no and creating boundaries. Know that in order to be able to fully step into the spaces in our lives where God has called us to serve, we will have to learn how to prioritize and say no to some things so we can say yes to the best things!
Isaiah 43:25 - I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.
Do you struggle with the concept of being forgiven? Is it hard to imagine that because of Jesus finished work on the cross, when we repent of our sin He remembers it no more? There is so much power in this truth and one that twos often need to be reminded of. What do you need to ask God's forgiveness over and slip out of the pattern of guilt and shame that so easily can entangle us?
Three - The Achiever
Galatians 1:10 - For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.
Threes tend to do all of the things. A great heart check is to make sure that you are not seeking the approval of man in your actions, works or achievement. A good question to ask yourself is, "Is is building God's kingdom or my own?"
1 Corinthians 10:31 - So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
Are your actions and motives seeking to show God glory? Seek to be quick to turn honor and praise to Him in what you achieve and seek after (most importantly that those same things are in line with His purpose for you life: to make Him known).
Four - The Romantic
Psalm 139:13-14 - For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
Fours worry a lot about abandonment and thinking there is something essential lacking in them. That is simply not true. God will never leave or forsake us and he created and knitted us together in our mother's womb! We are fearfully and wonderfully made.
1 Corinthians 12:4 - There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.
Most fours are extremely creative. We shouldn't neglect our gifts (1Timothy 4:14) but use them to our fullest potential to bring God glory. Most fours are self-conscious about their creativity and gifts. Those thoughts are nothing more than insecurity from the enemy seeking to steal, kill and destroy anything that would bring God glory.
Five - The Investigator
Matthew 11:28-30 - Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your soul. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
My fives tend to prefer to take care of themselves, process events long after they occur and they tend to keep their "inner circle" pretty small. There's nothing wrong with these things but I pray the truth of being able to rest fully in the Lord is a powerful reminder to those of you who identify as a five. Take His yoke upon you, learn from Him and you will find rest for your soul.
Psalm 139:16-17 - Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them. How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them!
Sometimes fives feel (or even choose to be) invisible. They prefer to be in social situations that are smaller in size and generally speaking pour into the lives of a select few people. Know that you are not invisible to God. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. Take confidence in this truth! In moments where you might feel awkward or uncomfortable stepping into God's unique calling for you, remember He created you and fully equipped you in advance to serve Him (Ephesians 2:10).
Six - The Loyalist
Psalm 28:7 - The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.
Sixes often will have a difficult time trusting others. It's easy for their minds to wander to "when the shoe might drop" or the "rug will be pulled from underneath them". Know that you when we fully trust in the Lord and the finished work of Jesus on the cross to forgive us of our sins, the Holy Spirit transforms us from the inside out and we are a new creation in Christ. We can always rely on His strength and for Him to move in such a way that brings Him the most glory and us the most good.
Isaiah 40:31 - But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
Those who identify as a six often will worry when given additional responsibilities or they're in times of stress. They, again, often imagine what might go wrong. Remember that we can't accomplish works by our own strength or power. He renews our strength day by day as we put our hope and trust in Him!
Seven - The Enthusiast
1 Peter 5:9-10 - And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.
Goodness, sevens are a load of fun! They look forward to the future. They are eternal optimists. They also avoid pain. They don't enjoy thinking, processing or talking about it. Know that God is our comfort and peace during these times. He will restore, confirm, strengthen and establish you during these times. If you need this encouragement today, remember it's ok to sit in the discomfort of what you're walking through. He will sustain you by His strength and power.
1 Corinthians 9:24-27 - Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.
Sevens can also be easily distracted. They can be going full-steam ahead, get excited about the next thing and neglect to finish the task in front of them. Let 1 Corinthians 9 be an encouragement during those times to finish well. Practice self-control in all things. Run with purpose and discipline your body.
Eight - The Commander
1 John 3:1(a) - See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!
Those who identify as an eight accomplish tasks with a vengeance. They don't beat around the bush. They are honest and will work through conflict without batting an eye, knowing we will all walk out on the other side better for it. They are well respected and sometimes also just want to be simply loved for who they are. Remember the great love that Jesus lavished on us as He died on the cross for our sins. We are now called children of God!
Deuteronomy 31:8 - It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.
Eights typically really struggle with being let down or abandoned by people. Normally there are past hurts that lead to this type of thought pattern. Know that as a follower of Christ, He will never forsake you. We can confidently pursue our relationship with God because He worthy of our affection, love and attention!
Nine - The Peacemaker
Ephesians 2:10 - For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Nines often "let the other person choose the restaurant" and will never be the loudest voice in the room. They will often be agreeable in situations where they truly want to speak up and voice their opinion. It's just more difficult for them to do so than many of the other more dominant types. Remember that God uniquely created you with thoughts and inner-workings that He believed would best allow you to bring Him glory. Use them. Speak up. We want to hear what you have to say!
Philippians 4:8 - Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
Those who identify as a nine are typically very conflict averse and will spend great deals of time worrying and/or playing out potential scenarios in their head of potential outcomes that are likely to not come true. Use this verse as a banner of these times of anxiety and worry and shift your thought to things that are pure, lovely, commendable and praise-worthy. Remember, most of the potential outcomes we dream up in our heads are likely to never come to pass anyways!
God, you are so powerful. Before I was formed in my mother's womb, You uniquely crafted my personality and tendencies. You are the Author of my story. Help me see my personality in light of who You are and strive to become more like You each day. Sift me, mold me and craft me in to the version of myself that most clearly honors and glorifies You.
In Your name,
I'm so PUMPED to share about wedding planning with you! I've had a number of people ask questions about how we did it so fast, what vendors we used and how we incorporated unique, special moments throughout our day that kept our wedding God-centered.
Here we go! Here are the questions I'll answer:
My opinion on first looks.
This one is a little controversial, I know. It's a huge decision and, for us, it was a no-brainer. We wanted to see each other before I walked down the aisle for many reasons:
1. It's a special moment that we both will never forget. We read each other the vows we had written to the other for the first time during that moment as well.
2. It makes the day less stressful not having to "hide". It makes your photographer's job A LOT easier!
3. It gives you more time together on your big day and, believe me, it goes by SO FAST!
Writing Our Own Vows
Dustin and I both have a deep love of words. We decided pretty quickly that we wanted to write our own vows instead of saying traditional ones. We didn't read them to one another until a few hours before the wedding at our first look. We wrote them in vow books I got on Amazon. As an example, here were my vows to Dustin:
I choose you, Dustin, to be the husband of my days, my partner in sanctification, my companion in ministry and the best friend of my life. I vow to love you unconditionally, without hesitation, like Jesus loves me. I will honor the man that you are and cheer on the man that you are becoming. I promise to encourage, listen to and learn from you as you become more of who God created you to be. I promise to show up every day and try, no matter what. I will celebrate your triumphs and mourn your losses as if they were my own. I will treasure you as the greatest gift of grace I have ever been given from God outside of salvation. I will do whatever necessary to help you become more like Jesus tomorrow than you were yesterday.
Our Unity Ceremony
I wanted us to do something really creative for this element of our ceremony. I love all the different ways people choose to express the union of two families and I found this idea on Pinterest. You place a canvas on an easel and jars filled with paint the colors of your wedding. Then, one at a time, you have both sets of parents and then the couple come forward and drip the paint across the canvas. The rest of the ceremony, it drips down the canvas and makes a beautiful painting to hang in your home!
Let me just say it...wedding favors can be EXPENSIVE. When I thought about what we might do for a favor, I wanted it to be memorable but not totally break our budget. Favors are cute but it's rare that they're very memorable (to anyone other than the bride and groom) so I wanted to do something unique!
We made an old-fashioned candy bar full of our favorite candies like soft peppermints, Runts, orange slices, candy sticks, etc. We ordered small brown paper bags and used a cute stamp handmade on Easy to stamp them with our names and wedding date. Our guests came by on the way out of our reception and made their own bag! It was a hit and we ordered all our candies off Amazon!
Wedding Party Size
Here's the deal: choosing your wedding party is one of the hardest decisions you'll make. I thought so much about different women in my life that I would love to have standing beside me and worried about their feelings getting hurt and wondering how many was too many.
For me, I didn't want a huge wedding party (and not because I didn't have enough best, best friends to accommodate a large party). I didn't want my wedding photos to feel cluttered with SO many people that even my ceremony looked "busy".
So instead of asking as many people to be bridesmaids, we incorporated many other people into a special time of prayer during our ceremony (talked about later in this post). It's definitely possible to recognize everyone who has played a critical role in your life + relationship, not just solely based off if they're in your wedding party or not!
Wedding Ceremony VEndors
This is one of the larger (and often most pricey) decisions you'll make when planning your wedding! Here are a few things to consider:
We got married at the Waterstone Venue in Gray, Tennessee. Check out their social media feeds to see more venue specific photos. It's set in an old rock quarry they've converted into a venue. It's absolutely GORGEOUS!
WEDDING BUDGET TIPS
Here are some things to think about in terms of a wedding budget:
Tips to save $$$
Last but definitely not least, here are some shoutouts to our amazing vendors!
Taylor Meo, I just don't even have enough words to convey how amazing you did capturing our day!
Taylor did our engagement and wedding photos and we will treasure them for the rest of our lives. She planned out our day really well in terms of how to get the most out of our time with her. She's very efficient and good at rounding up people and staying on task. She cues really well when it's just you and your groom and has such an eye for amazing spots for photographs.
She even thought of things like waiting until after your first dance to have your guests form a food line - that way they are not eating in all of your photos. I would not have thought of that!
Also, she prayed over Dustin and I at our reception and that was a memory I will never forget. I loved that we were so like-minded and she was so encouraging throughout the entire day!
Wedding photography is such an investment but it is worth it. Often its the only and/or best documentation you have of your big day, so choose your photographer wisely!
I went to high school with Hannah. We shared a love for acapella choir class and I've always just loved her! She was the first person I reached out to when we got engaged. I had seen her do another girl's makeup we went to high school with and she looked incredible.
I did a trial with her which really helped us talk about my skin and what I wanted on my wedding day in terms of coverage of foundation, lip color, false eyelashes/not (in case you're wondering, I did end up wearing them but we didn't go overboard - they looked very natural).
Again, makeup is an investment, but having someone who actually knows what they're doing do your makeup on your big day will make a big difference. She helped me:
You guys. Our flowers were breathtaking! Like I said earlier, we went in with a budget and Potter's Shed did an amazing job staying within our guidelines. They did all of our bouquets, corsages, boutonnieres AND a beautiful arbor at our ceremony site.
I wanted neutrals and greens that would compliment the girls' dresses (and mine) and they did a fabulous job!
Dustin and I are both huge BBQ fans so we decided that's what we wanted for our meal! They did a great job setting up + serving and the food was great (as always!).
I tried to capture as much as I could of our big day but please email me if you have specific questions I didn't cover. I'm happy to add to this post over time.
I hope this helps you along planning your big day! Keep in mind, you will never get married again. Enjoy the process and take the stress with a grain of salt. The day is really about you and your future spouse so make decisions about creative elements that most clearly reflect your personalities and desires.
For us, my main priority was that people leave our wedding having seen the Lord. I wanted Him to get the honor and the glory in each element of our day. My prayer is that to our guests, that was evident!
Cheering for you,
Rebecca Dotson George