Our Wedding

The Gift Box Series: Wedding Gift Superlatives

One of the most enjoyable parts of engagement and marriage is registering for items to start your new life together. Kitchen accessories, appliances, and bedding suddenly become exciting because they represent the start of life with your forever roommate. We spent hours making lists and talking about what we would need. I know that every couple is different and uses things differently. We eat fairly healthy, so we, for example, would never need a deep fryer, but for some people, deep fried Oreos might just be a family tradition. After a year of living with the things we were so blessed to receive at our showers and reception (seriously, THANK YOU to everyone who supported us. Your gifts were so generous and so appreciated), we now have a good idea of what we see as those necessities of wedded life.

Whether you are looking for the perfect gift to give someone else or you are trying to decide what you want for your own registry, I hope our little list will be of some help!

I'm going to skip things like silverware and dishes because everyone knows you need a plate to eat from. Although I will say, we love our French Perle dishes by Lennox. We didn't register for fine china and instead went with something that could work in both a casual and more formal setting.

1. MOST LOVED KITCHEN APPLIANCES

Food Processor

Our food processor was a gift from my Grandma, and we didn't know how much we would love it. We both grew up in homes without food processors; I didn't really know why I would need one, but I use it at least once a week (sometimes more). For the healthy eating types like us, it totally steps up our game. I make salsa, homemade nut and agave bites, homemade almond flour, zucchini bread, riced cauliflower, and so much more. It has saved me so much time and money.

Vitamix wedding gift superlatives All hail the Vitamix. If you don't know anything about this amazing contraption, you will probably think it is just a blender. Oh no sir. It is so much more. This is a splurge item, but it is carried at Bed, Bath, and Beyond (premiere wedding registry destination), and for healthy eaters, it is a fabulous way to put those leftover gift cards from the returns you make to good use. My in-laws graciously gifted one to us, and we use it so often!

You have probably seen the Vitamix presentation at Whole Foods or Costco. It is a super high powered blender that is designed for a whole foods lifestyle. We make fruit & veggie smoothies every morning, and it is unlike any blender I have ever seen. Learn more about the Vitamix on their website here: www.vitamix.com

2. MOST LIKELY TO BE PART OF LIFELONG MEMORIES

Memories Quilt

One of my former Sunday School teachers gave us a gift that was both sentimental and practical. I hope to do the same for someone else. She gave us a beautiful quilt and included a note about how we should make memories with this quilt. Don't worry about getting it dirty. Take it on picnics and camping trips and use it to snuggle with in the winter. I love the idea of a quilt following us through our marriage and can't wait to see what adventures we will have. wedding gift superlatives

3. MOST BEAUTIFUL CHINA DISPLAYED IN OUR HOME wedding gift superlatives I absolutely loved receiving beautiful dishes and fine decorative items that weren't on our registry because I have specific memories of who gave me that gift, and as a girl with the love language of gifts, these simple and beautiful items are priceless. I love the gold glazed turquoise bowl from my high school English teacher and mentor and the white china bowl set from my Grandy (a china connoisseur), just to  name a few.

4. MOST PRACTICAL wedding gift superlatives This was something we actually purchased with gift cards after the wedding but our Shark Vacuum was a winning buy. It was affordable (at least as far as vacuums are concerned), it is compact, and it works like a charm. It is funny how becoming an adult makes you excited about things like vacuums.

5. MOST OFTEN RECEIVED wedding gift superlatives I've heard for most brides, there is one item you seem to receive in spades. For us, that was bowls. Above is pictured just a very small sampling of all the bowls we received. We got lots of mixing bowls, serving bowls, salad bowls, and all-purpose bowls at every shower. And, a year later, I use almost every single one on a regular basis. Apparently a couple can never have too many bowls!

6. MOST USED ITEM WE DIDN'T REGISTER FOR wedding gift superlatives A chopping block! This was something that would not have had space to sit out at our tiny apartment kitchen, but now that we have more counter space, and now that so much of our diet consists of fresh veggies and fruits, I decided to use some of that leftover gift card money and head back to Macy's where I invested in this amazing Martha Stewart chopping block. It looks beautiful, and it gets so. much. use.

7. LEAST GIFTED REGISTRY ITEM

Linens! Eventually, between the showers and the wedding and the gift cards, we were able to get all the towels and sheets we needed, but for those looking to purchase gifts for a bride and groom in the near future, keep in mind that many people seem to go for the kitchen items and forget about the bedroom and bathroom!

8. MOST AWESOME ITEM NOT MADE IN THE USA

Our Bolivian hammock from my Aunt and Uncle who live in Bolivia. I don't have a picture of it hanging up, but it is handwoven in beautiful blue colors. Sometimes the best wedding gifts are the ones you didn't register for at all!

9. MOST USEFUL FOR BOTH HUSBAND AND WIFE

Tools! In a world of water pitchers, bedskirts, and salad spinners, a good old-fashioned cordless drill is just what a newlywed couple needs to maintain relational balance. We received several tools as wedding gifts, and we loved not having to buy those things with our own money when it came time to work on our new home!

10. BEST COMBINATION OF AFFORDABILITY AND SENTIMENT wedding gift superlatives A framed wedding Invitation is a simple way to give a bride and groom something they'll remember. For the budget conscious guest (that means me), you can pick out a pretty frame and insert the invitation you received in the mail for less than $15. Winning. We had someone do this for us, and it even made its way onto our gallery wall in the living room.

So there are the superlatives for our first year of marriage year book. BTW, Jeremy wins MOST LIKELY TO STEAL MY HEART DAILY. Way to go, babe.

In addition to the items listed above, here are some other practical items from our registry that we wouldn't want to live without: 1. A non-stick wok. This came free when our large Calphalon pan set was purchased, and we seriously use it almost every day. Not only is it great for Asian food, but it works great for pancakes, ground meat, sauteed veggies, and most things we want to make. 2. Our knife set. We love having nice knives for cooking. I hope these last forever. 3. Our Keurig. Because coffee is the nectar of life. 4. Analon Baking Sheets. These things work like a charm, are truly nonstick, cook evenly, and aren't that pricy. Win. 5. Our beautiful Kitchen Aid stand mixer. Not an every day item, but comes in handy when we I want to bake. And it is so pretty. 6. A crock pot. We love our Hamilton Beach Set N' Forget because it is fully programmable, it comes with a meat thermometer, and it locks on the top to make traveling easy.

So there you have it. Our personal perspective on wedding gifts. And there are so many things I couldn't even mention that we use regularly. We truly are grateful for every gift we received and every gift that the Lord blesses us with daily!

Chandler & Jeremy Part 7: Style Me Pretty Feature

This little blog has become not only a fun place to engage with family and friends about what I am doing in our newlywed life, but also a place for me to keep track of our life for myself...a virtual scrapbook of sorts. I have spent several posts recounting the joys of our wedding day, but one more small joy that I have yet to recount was the chance we had to be featured on Style Me Pretty Texas Weddings last October.

Style Me Pretty is my favorite wedding blog, and we were honored to be a featured wedding. Once I saw the amazing photography by Becky & Dan of Yellow Skinny Photos (who I could not recommend more heartily; they are truly a treasure), I felt like our wedding may just be a fit for Style Me Pretty, so I submitted our photos for editorial consideration, and a few weeks later, I got an email that we were going to be featured on the Texas blog! What a blessing.

It was really fun to see what photos the team over at SMP chose to highlight our day.

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Click here to see the full feature!

And check out the rest of our wedding posts: Part 1: Getting Ready Part 2: The Ceremony Part 3: My Groom Part 4: The Reception Part 5: The Details Part 6: The Honeymoon

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Jeremy & Chandler Part 6: The Honeymoon

HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY! Last year on this day, we were honeymooning in Mexico. So to celebrate...a tribute to the honeymoon. After months of wedding planning and the most wonderful and exhausting day of your life comes to an end, God's gift to couples is this lovely thing called a honeymoon.

Whether it's spent in the mountains, by the beach, in Europe, at Disney World, or simply a stay-cation at home, honeymoon week has been statistically proven to be one of the best weeks of all time for couples around the globe.

You can finally just be married. No fuss. No answering questions. Just two people.

It was a week of firsts for Jeremy and me. First sleepover...and all stuff that goes along with that. First vacation together. First time out of the country together. First all-inclusive resort for either of us. First time waking up next to each other. First time to truly be alone for more than a few hours--even in 3.5 years of dating. Even if we had been at home for a week, it would have been great, but the fact that we got to go to a romantic resort in Mexico made it even better.  photo IMG_0844_zps8b7cb2b1.jpg We stayed at Secrets Maroma Beach in the Riviera Maya. We loved our room...  photo IMG_0828_zps1ac60e65.jpg  photo IMG_0834_zps4e5c44eb.jpg We went cave snorkeling, zip lining, and rappelling.  photo IMG_0973_zps23a4e889.jpg  photo HoneymoonSnorkeling_zps0265cd4f.jpg And we saw the Mayan ruins at Tulum. As a lover of history, this was definitely a highlight for me.  photo IMG_0936_zps52b3200a.jpg We played tennis every day. And went sea kayaking. And tried our arms at archery.  photo IMG_1014_zpsa0ec20ca.jpg And we lounged by the beach while friendly waiters brought us food and drinks.  photo IMG_0853_zps1d73812a.jpg We bravely fought off giant-sized iguanas.  photo IMG_0934_zpsea48c86b.jpg We got dressed up and ate completely delicious four course dinners every night. The bill was already paid for, so we really felt like we were getting the special treatment when we were never presented with a check.  photo IMG_0996_zpsbb2baebc.jpg  photo IMG_0868_zpsecbee568.jpg Then we came back to our room and watched movies and ordered ice cream room service. Every night.

I remember lounging in the pool one night after dinner and saying to Jeremy, "This really is magical." I meant it. The perfect balance of play and relaxation. And we only argued once at which point I huffed off to the balcony and shed a few self indulgent and sulky tears because of something completely ridiculous. Typical. But then we made up and got back to being blissful. Real talk.

Here's to many more lovely trips to come in the future. Vacations together are the bomb.com.

We would not have had such a great honeymoon without an amazing travel agent who made the planning so simple. She took great care of us! Be sure to check out Carlie Finch at 2 Travel Anywhere, LLC!

See the rest of my wedding reflection posts. Part 1: Getting Ready Part 2: The Ceremony Part 3: My Groom Part 4: The Reception Part 5: Details

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Jeremy & Chandler Part 5: Details

I am a detail girl. Sometimes that is a problem, but in the case of wedding planning, being a detail girl has its perks. And here are some of the details that I treasure about my wedding day. The Invitation Suite My best friend/bridesmaid/college roommate Kate Allen was the hand behind all of the stationery at my wedding. I believe an invitation can set the tone for the wedding, and I absolutely love the way that ours turned out. They were the perfect combination of simplicity and detail. full-wedding-set_web

The peony was my primary wedding flower, and Kate hand water colored a Peony for the RSVP post card that was included as an emblem on the invitation, program, and personalized thank you notes she created. The Flowers Flowers are something that you can plan, but in the end, you trust your florist to deliver your vision. Our florist, Laura Tran at SCF Events, delivered beautifully, and I could not have been more thrilled with our wedding flowers. The week before, I was able to meet with the florist at a flower warehouse and visually see what would be in the bouquets. Then when everything showed up the morning of the wedding, I was blown away. Flowers were a huge priority for me, and I was so pleased. I carried a really large bouquet of coral peonies, garden roses, scabiosa pods, ranunculus, spray roses & dusty miller leaves. It was wider than my waist! I loved how big of a statement it made. Chandler & Jeremy Details The bridesmaids carried peonies and hydrangeas. Chandler & Jeremy Details We kept the decor in the chapel simple because I think the beauty of the venue speaks for itself. There was a cascading floral display on the altar table at the front and flowers in mason jars hanging from the pews. Chandler & Jeremy Details The reception featured several large sprays on featured tables as well as a unique arrangement as a part of every centerpiece. Speaking of which.... The Centerpieces My mother is a genius. We worked together to make each table centerpiece for the 22 tables unique, and I was so thankful for her creative vision. Chandler & Jeremy Details Each table featured a vintage statement piece, a bouquet of flowers, and a picture frame matted with the sheet music from one of my favorite hymns and the table number. Chandler & Jeremy Details We spent months gathering the items and then laid it all out in advance. The Legacy Table/Cake Table/Guest Book Table Chandler & Jeremy Details  There were several other display tables at the reception, and we made sure they all flowed seamlessly. My mom sewed runners for each table. We used an old hanging grate as a display for seating assignments. Our guest book was an old Bible, and people wrote notes and circled their favorite verses. We also left postcards at all of the tables for people to write a note to us. Chandler & Jeremy Details The legacy table featured photos of all of the marriages in our families' histories dating back to our great-grandparents. We have been blessed with lots of long marriages that have gone before us. It also highlighted my wedding drawings from when I was a little girl. I've been planning this day for 15 years. Food/Desserts/Music We didn't get any photos of the food, but I was thankful to hear many guests say it was some of the best wedding food they had ever tasted. We had creamy garlic chicken, gourmet macaroni and cheese, a summer vegetable medley and homemade rolls. Our friend Victoria Bell made the beautiful bridal cake which was lemon with cream cheese frosting and completely delicious. My grandma is a cake baker extraordinaire, and she made the double chocolate grooms cake as well as an Italian cream cake and a carrot cake. My other grandmother baked fresh apple pies. Too bad Jeremy & I were too busy to enjoy all the dessert! Chandler & Jeremy Details We had a live jazz trio play throughout cocktail hour and dinner. Once dancing time came around, we switched to a DJ who finished out the night. I loved the elegance of the jazz band but when it was time to party we wanted flexibility in the styles of music that were played. Fashion I knew from the beginning what I wanted my dress to be like, and my ideas were confirmed when I went to my first dress appointment and found my dress in the third dress I tried on. Every other dress felt beautiful...for someone else. This one felt like me. I purchased my dress at The Princess Bridal in Old Town Spring, TX. It was designed by Essence of Australia. The color was "Oyster" and it had a bit of a champagne tint to it which I loved. Chandler & Jeremy Details The lace detail was unique with three dimensional lace flowers and subtle crystals sewn throughout that glistened in the light. It had a fit-and-flare shape that was fitted through my hips and started to flare out around my knees and a distinct sweetheart neckline. Chandler & Jeremy Details My veil was fingertip length with a subtle lace hem. Chandler & Jeremy Details The bridesmaids wore navy dresses. There were eight bridesmaids and four styles of dresses so that each style was worn by two girls. I selected them with the girls' styles and body types, and a conservative budget in mind. Two of the dresses were from J.Crew Weddings, one from Ann Taylor Weddings, and one from ASOS.com. Chandler & Jeremy Details The groomsmen donned gray suit pants and vests with simple gray ties and coral boutonnieres. Phew! That's a lot of details! But if you're a detail girl (or guy) like me, than I hope you enjoyed the peek. All photos were taken by the amazing Yellow Skinny Photos. The bridal portrait in front of the windows was taken by SRR Photography. All flowers were beautifully arranged by SCF Events. You can check out the rest of our wedding! Just click on the links below! Why My Imperfect Marriage Is Better Than A Fairytale Ending Wedding Memories: The Things I Couldn't Plan Part 1: Getting Ready Part 2: The Ceremony Part 3: My Groom Part 4: The Reception Part 6: Our Honeymoon (Coming Soon) Signature

Jeremy & Chandler Part 4: The Reception

I think it's pretty obvious that I love weddings. I think that's because I am a firm believer that marriage (when done right) is one of the most beautiful institutions on God's green earth. He created marriage to be a picture of His love for us, and I feel privileged to see glimpses of that picture displayed in the marriages of godly couples that I know. That's why we cry when we see an old couple who has been married for 60 years and continues to love each other in the sickness of old age. That's why divorce hurts so badly--because it wasn't meant to be that way. And that's why we celebrate the start of a marriage with a wedding. There is nothing wrong with going to the courthouse to get married, but a wedding is such a beautiful chance to see the heart of a couple up close and rejoice with them as they begin an incredible journey. All that said, the ceremony is a time for happy tears and sentiment as we take part in rituals that signify the two becoming one, but the reception is the time for laughter and merriment as we celebrate a bride and groom making much of God with their union. And I just love some good merriment.

So, here is a little glimpse into our reception. jeremy & chandler reception We rented a limo for leaving the reception, so we went ahead and used it to transport part of the wedding party from the ceremony to the reception site. It was a 40 minute drive, and it turned out to be the perfect time to relax and talk and enjoy some time before the reception. We took along a few friends and the photographer and enjoyed some sprite in champagne glasses and laughter as we reminisced about the ceremony and the morning before. jeremy & chandler reception I know there are so many different ways to run a reception. Here was our order of events:

- Jazz band starts to play - Guests arrive/cocktail hour/socializing time - Presentation of the wedding party - First dance of the bride & groom - Father of the bride prays to kick of the meal - Dinner time! - Wedding party finishes meal and goes outside for more group photos while guests finish their food. - Father/daughter dance - Mother/son dance - Cake cutting - Toasts - Everybody dance! Party time! - Garter/bouquet toss - Everybody dance some more! - Bride & groom leave the reception.

Phew. I get exhausted and exhilarated all over again just reading through that.

We worked so hard and put so much love into every detail of the reception, but I am saving all the information about decor details for another post coming later this week.

The reception went so smoothly, and I loved getting to celebrate with everyone we loved. I truly feel like I was able to absorb every moment and I remember it so vividly. I could not stop smiling and laughing throughout the whole evening.

Here are some of our favorite reception photos. jeremy & chandler reception jeremy & chandler reception jeremy & chandler reception jeremy & chandler reception jeremy & chandler reception jeremy & chandler reception  photo reception8_zps5d1b3e45.jpg Perhaps one of my funniest memories came after we had stepped into the limo and the door was closed. All of the emotions that I had kept at bay throughout the day came to me in one great monsoon, and I immediately started uncontrollably crying. My poor groom could hardly keep from laughing as I blubbered between sobs, "This was the best day of my life. I'm just *sniffle* so *sniffle* happy..."

And I was. So emotional for about ten minutes as I let the feelings wash over me, but I was just so happy. So happy that everything went as planned, but even more so because I was now married to Jeremy.

And so we set off for our week of honeymoon bliss...  photo reception6_zpsbb7d5c70.jpg

To be continued...

P.S. We spent a lot of time and love on every little detail of the wedding day. Flowers, centerpieces, cake displays, and clothes were all a labor of love. For more on that aspect of the ceremony and reception, check out this post about DETAILS. 

Chandler & Jeremy Details

All photos were taken by the amazing Yellow Skinny Photos. All flowers were beautifully arranged by SCF Events.

You can check out the rest of our wedding! Just click on the links below!

Why My Imperfect Marriage Is Better Than A Fairytale Ending Wedding Memories: The Things I Couldn't Plan Part 1: Getting Ready Part 2: The Ceremony Part 3: My Groom Part 5: Details Part 6: Our Honeymoon (Coming Soon)

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Wedding Week on the Blog!

 photo WeddingWeek_zpse3d88b21.jpg Hello everyone and welcome to wedding week!

Today is our first anniversary, and to commemorate the occasion, there will be a post every day related to our wedding and weddings in general. Here's what you can expect:

Monday - Chandler & Jeremy Part 4: The reception

Tuesday - Chandler & Jeremy Part 5: The Details

Wednesday - First ever All Precious & Pleasant Blog GIVEAWAY contest!Win a $25 Etsy Gift Card! Entries accepted through Tuesday, July 10.

Thursday - Chandler & Jeremy Part 6: The Honeymoon

Friday - Special Wedding Related Blog Announcement!

First post coming this afternoon. In the mean time, check out my prior wedding blog posts.

Wedding Memories: The Things I Couldn't Plan Part 1: Getting Ready Part 2: The Ceremony Part 3: My Groom

Why My Imperfect Marriage Is Better Than A Fairytale Ending

why my imperfect marriage is better than a fairytale.I want to start out by humbly declaring that I am in no way an expert on marriage. In fact, many of you reading this have probably been married much longer than I have. One year of marriage is not winning any awards for longevity...yet. Give us another 50 years and we will talk.

Marriage is happening in a flurry all around me. We have seen so many friends get married lately, and it makes me giddy. I gush. I love love.

At the same time, I have heard from couples about ten or so years older than us that they are in a season of watching those same friends get divorced. Say it can't be so. Say it's impossible that any of these people that are getting married will ever get divorced. But somebody will. If not my close friends (and I pray against it), then certainly some of the people I rub shoulders with casually. Ouch. That thought stings. I want young love to always be love...and to always feel young.

Something is wrong with our mindset if we give in so easily to the temptation to throw in the towel. So let's get down to business.

As Christians, we believe that our primary goal in life is to glorify God and make much of the gospel. And if the Gospel is about broken people with messed up lives finding redemption ONLY through Christ, why do we think that our lives can be broken and in need of a savior yet expect our marriages to be perfect and constantly fulfilling? There is a disconnect here. Can I get an Amen?

Here's the point: Marriage at its fullest and most fulfilling is a picture of Christ and His love for the Church--not an excuse to play Cinderella & Prince Charming. The sooner we embrace the eternal significance of our marriages, the easier it will be to find joy in imperfection and make it through the tough times.

I can hear the girls screaming. "Wait. Hold the phone. What about Ariel? And Belle? And happily ever after? And my soul mate who is out there waiting for me? And my ultimate happiness? And the perfect man who is the solution to my loneliness?"

And I get it.

I love for things to tie up in neat little bows. I love for weddings to be beautiful, for couples to ride into the sunset, and for happily ever afters to be real. I love it when I check everything off my to-do list. I love it when things go as planned. And I LOVE princess dresses (perhaps less relevant to the whole marriage thing...but true all the same).

After only a year, it is evident to me that the higher and more self-centered my expectations, the more likely I am to be disappointed--and I married an absolutely incredible, Godly man. Even still, we fight over silly things like towels (we managed to make that last for 45 minutes). He doesn't buy me flowers when I wish he would, and I sometimes say things that crush his spirit. He shuts down when he gets upset, and I boil over and say things I regret.

On the other hand, sometimes we have nights where all seems perfect. Our love is the stuff of movies, and we can't get enough of each other. And then we get into a space when we think all we need is romance, and we push aside our Creator--our first love. We neglect our morning quiet times with Jesus to cuddle in bed and we are too busy talking about our future to talk about the kingdom. If we live on a love like that, we will find temporary satisfaction but a long term void. We will be tricked into thinking that marriage is only good when we are overflowing with the feeling of love. Rather, marriage is best when we are pointing each other to Jesus.

Am I saying we can never have that reach for the stars, over the fence, world series kind of love? No way. I hope we continue to get those feelings for the rest of our lives. But if we think that is the main goal of marriage...we missed the point.

As we head into year two of this whole two-becoming-one business, I pray that we will live with an eternal picture in our minds--focused on God's glory and not solely on our own happiness. When we do that, I believe that God blesses us with joy and with a love that conquers all. For two are stronger than one, and a cord of three strands is not easily broken. In ten years, when others are putting aside their marriage vows and signing divorce papers, I pray that we will continue to stand on a firm foundation knowing that in our brokenness He is made strong, and in His glory we find true fulfillment and everlasting love. why my imperfect marriage is better than a fairytale. P.S. For a look at what God says about the scriptural significance of marriage (because He says it best), check out the following verses: Hebrews 13:4 Let marriage be held in honor among all Ephesians 5:31-32 (be sure to check out verses 24-30 as well)  “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh."  This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.

Other significant verses: Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 Genesis 2:18-24 Matthew 19:4-6 why my imperfect marriage is better than a fairytale.

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Jeremy & Chandler Part 3: My Groom

Today is Jeremy's birthday. I am so thankful to be able to celebrate as his wife this year. In order to commemorate, I thought I would continue with my wedding series and feature our couples shots along with a bit of a description of why I love this man. It is going to be sappy. It is mostly meant to be a gift to him, so it's okay if it makes you gag a little ;-) I love watching friends find their mates and seeing the way that God joins personalities in such a wonderful and sometimes unexpected way.  Jeremy is a fabulous personality balance for me. Here are some of the reasons I think he's super great. jeremy & chandler 1. He is a humble servant. Whether at work, among friends or at home, his heart for others and for God shows in the way that he quietly serves with no request for recognition and without complaint. I am blessed to often be the recipient of that service, and I pray that I can serve him and the Lord as well as he does.

2. We share similar passions.

We make a really fun home-making team. He enjoys doing projects at home almost as much as I do, and I really appreciate that. We also both enjoy hosting people at our home and building friendships. We both love to travel, and perhaps best of all, we both love creating music. It is fun having a partner that enjoys some of the same things that I do. jeremy & chandler

3. He dreams big. Whether he is scheming about a someday entrepreneurial adventure, hypothetically inventing a time-saving gadget, or planning for our family, my husband dreams big dreams. He is the king of great ideas, and I admire his zeal for excitement. I pray that I will continue to look past my logic and my insecurities to dream God sized dreams in the same way. jeremy & chandler 4. He is loyal.

He is the kind of friend that sticks closer than a brother--with his lifelong best guy friends, and even more so with his lucky wife.

5. He pursues my heart, he bears my burdens, and he listens to my every thought.

I am a rambler, an over-thinker, and a constant flurry of words and ideas, yet he continues to listen patiently to my worries, joys, fears, and questions. He truly invests in our conversations, and I am never afraid to be completely vulnerable because I know he will handle my heart with care. jeremy & chandler 6. He is financially wise.

The fact that he was saving for a down payment on a house (and for an engagement ring and a honeymoon) while he was still a college student says it all. He handles our budget with thoughtfulness, wisdom, and godliness. He is a giver and he knows that our money is ultimately the Lord's, so he takes great care of what we have--however meager it is. I feel safe knowing that no matter how little or how much God chooses to bless us with, Jeremy will handle it wisely.

7. He brings out the best in me.

He lets me be completely silly, and he loves me anyway. He challenges me to pursue my dreams. He is honest when he knows I need to be told I can do better--even if he knows I will be temporarily upset. He leads me spiritually. He wants me to succeed. Whether with a blog, with songwriting, in my job, in my spiritual life, or with my friends, he runs alongside me and roots for me.

8. He obeys God even when he doesn't see the end result.

Last year, he felt God calling him to enroll in seminary without knowing why. After finishing a degree in audio engineering, it doesn't seem the logical path, but he studies hard and continues to pursue his Masters of Divinity, even when we don't know what God's ultimate plan looks like or where this is leading. I am thankful for his obedience for the sake of obedience. jeremy & chandler

9. He is just so good looking. I can't leave this one out because it is so true. I mean look at that guy. Those piercing blue eyes and cute hair and great jaw line and adorable athletic build. I used to pray for someone with brown hair and blue eyes. I hope our kids look like him someday.

10. I know him better than I've ever known anyone, yet he is still a constant surprise.

Jeremy is a quiet fire. He is definitely the more calm, cool and collected of the two of us, and he tends to be more reserved at first, but he still surprises me with his wit, humor, and overall goofiness. Seriously, sometimes I don't know what to do when he gets silly. And no matter how many days we spend together, I still look forward to seeing what new thing I will learn about him the next day. jeremy & chandler 11. He is honest and stands his ground. 

Iron sharpens iron here. We don't always see eye-to-eye, and (especially in our early years of dating) we sometimes bicker. But as strong-willed as I am, I am glad God gave me someone who will call my bluff and work through issues with me. He keeps me humble and shows me strength and grace at the same time.

There you have it. If you made it this far through my hopelessly sappy post, I appreciate it. It is fun to be thankful for someone because it reminds us how lucky we are. Sometimes that is easy to forget when you disagree or when you are tired or when life gets busy. In the midst of all that, I am overwhelmingly grateful for the blessing that is my husband.

Happy Birthday, Jeremy. jeremy & chandler jeremy & chandler

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P.S. All of the photography is from the incredible Yellow Skinny Photos. We love this husband and wife duo. Be sure to check out their work!

And check out the rest of our wedding posts: Getting Ready The Ceremony The Reception The Details The Honeymoon SMP Feature

Jeremy & Chandler Part 2: The Ceremony

The guests are beginning to arrive. Breathe. My groom is in the hall across the cobblestone walkway, so I need to stay away from the window. Breathe. My bridesmaids are praying over me, and my mom is crying for the first time today. Breathe. The wedding party is lining up and the string duet has started playing. Breathe. It's your turn next.  Keep breathing. Deep breaths, Chandler. Your dreams are about to come true.Jeremy & Chandler Ceremony Such was my thought process as the joy mixed with nerves and a haze fell over everything like I was walking through a dream. The morning had been easy. Now I had to walk down that aisle in front of everyone I loved and try to hold myself together. I gave myself the best pep talk I could muster.

The rain was coming down slowly, and umbrellas saved the day for our maids and men as they waited outside the chapel. My sweet sister Raegan and Jeremy's best man Brad sang "What It Ought To Be" by Audrey Assad as the parents and grandmothers were seated. Jeremy & Chandler Ceremony My groom got settled up front, and the couples walked down the aisle. I wish I could have seen this in person!

Then it was my turn. My daddy came and got me at the chapel and escorted me into place with an umbrella. Then I took a deep breath and he kissed my forehead before the doors opened and I saw my groom waiting at the other end of the stone aisle.

He was beaming and holding back tears. I thought I was holding back tears too, but looking back I think it was pretty obvious. Every hope I had for that moment came to life and all I could see was Jeremy on the other side.  My mom stood up first and the guests had been instructed to stand up as I passed. Jeremy & Chandler Ceremony Jeremy & Chandler Ceremony I love the moment when my daddy gave me away, and you could see the love in his eyes and in Jeremy's. I am blessed with a daddy that has shown me what love looks like in the way he loves my momma and his girls. Although he tried to give me away before he was supposed to, we got through it and with the words "her mother and I," he took his place next to my mom who was holding her composure beautifully. Jeremy & Chandler Ceremony We were blessed to be married by the pastor who had walked with us through our relationship, Mike Harder. About a year into our dating relationship, we read a book that challenged us to have mentors in our relationship that would speak wisdom into our lives and hold us accountable to a godly dating relationship. Our pastor Mike and his wife Tabitha filled that role for us, and I will be forever grateful. With both our parents in far away cities, I believe having a couple to set an example for us and to ask us hard questions was pivotal in our success.

The ceremony was so personal and filled with the Gospel. Amidst the standard vows and exchange of rings, Mike presented the Gospel and related it to the marriage covenant we were making. It was a priority for us that the ceremony be not just about us but about Jesus. Jeremy & Chandler Ceremony Mike also asked us in advance to list things that we loved about each other. When he started to read Jeremy's, the first on the list was "She's so beautiful. Girl look at that body. She works out." Yes. Even the lyrics from "Sexy and I Know It" made it into the wedding. I blushed. We all laughed. Jeremy & Chandler Ceremony I managed to hold my composure until I heard him say his vows, and I got that uncomfortable knot in my throat that warns you that you are about to cry. I only shed a few tears and then the happiness cleared the knot. Jeremy & Chandler Ceremony After that second sparkly diamond band was securely on my finger, my sister Sydney and best man Brad sang "I Have and I Always Will" over us as we lit the unity candle and took communion.

Jeremy & Chandler Ceremony Then his father and mine came to the front and laid their hands on us in prayer. I have never been more grateful for the wisdom of our fathers. Jeremy & Chandler Ceremony As the music ended and the sniffles died down, I began giggling in recognition of what was about to happen. "I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may now kiss the bride." Jeremy & Chandler Ceremony We kissed. We smiled. We turned around. I could hardly believe it was over. We were locked in for life, and it could not have felt more right.

To be continued... Jeremy & Chandler Ceremony

Jeremy & Chandler Part 1: Getting Ready

Marriage is the best, and I am so happy to have such sweet memories of the day that it all began. Today marks 10 months of marriage, and I am celebrating with the beginning of our wedding day story. Part 1: Getting Ready. 

It was July 1, 2012, and I was mentally prepared for the Houston heat. Texas suffered a drought the summer before, so a rain storm was not really a concern initially. But God knew what he was doing, and he sent us a rainy weekend. Back at our home in Nashville, it was 108 degrees on our wedding day. In Jeremy's Atlanta hometown, it was 106. But in notoriously hot Houston, it was 85 and cloudy. Thank you, Jesus.

A family at our church has the most picturesque private chapel that we had the privilege of using for our wedding, and adjacent to the chapel is a quaint cottage that looks like it was plucked right out of a Jane Austen novel where my bridesmaids and I got ready for the day. Two hairdressers met us there that morning, and we spent the day relaxing, laughing and primping. Each of my maids holds such a special place in my heart, and they were the perfect little team to keep me calm and lighten my spirits.  photo 070112_9899copy_zps38c78796.jpg

Looking back, it is like everything was moving in slow motion, and God delayed time so that I could absorb the details of my wedding morning. The cottage was locked upon our arrival, so I made a phone call for someone to let us in. One of my bridesmaids' amazing mothers brought breakfast, and we all nibbled on cinnamon crunch bagels and fruit and sipped our coffee and juice. I could barely eat because I was so excited, but I tried. I mean, have you ever had a cinnamon crunch bagel?  photo Gettingready_zps76d7b154.jpg As we took turns playing dress up with the hair stylists, a few of my maids and I took some time to walk around the property, greet the monkeys (yes, I said monkeys) and enjoy the morning. The humid Texas air reminded me of sweet childhood summers, and somehow the looming rain clouds did not phase me.

Rain poured down half way through our walk, and we made a mad dash for the cottage after covering my sister Raegan's already styled hair with a stray plastic bucket. Hilarity ensued and we giggled for the next half hour. My Dad called and was concerned that the rain would be a problem for guests as they entered the chapel. "And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding" (Phil 4:7) guarded my heart; I was too happy to be bothered. I knew God had it under control.  photo 10-gettingready_zpsdefb3fa7.jpg The events started to pick up speed as the hours ticked by. I spent an hour getting my hair done, and it turned out exactly as I hoped. We all did our own makeup, and I felt like a little girl again as we shared eyeshadow and each girl helped the other look her best. I took a few minutes by myself in the bedroom upstairs to gather my thoughts before the photographers arrived and began snapping detail shots.  photo Hair_zps55d9645d.jpg I decided to get dressed with just my mom and sisters, and that time could not have been sweeter. The dress was perfect. My sisters and my mom are my best friends. The sun was beginning to shine. I was getting married. You could not have wiped the smile off my face if you tried.  photo 3-GettingReady_zps4486a8ea.jpg  photo Proofs1002_zpsccd58458.jpg  photo Proofs0980_zpsa94b2a76.jpg I walked down the little wooden steps to a room filled with my closest friends and twirled around to show off the dress that I said "Yes" to all those months prior. Sweetheart neckline, three dimensional lace detail, tiny sparkly crystals, satin waist band, fit and flare skirt.  photo bmaidreveal_zps663ab09b.jpg The girls were all dressed in navy, and we each took hold of a beautiful bouquet of coral peonies and white hydrangeas and headed outside to snap group shots.  photo 070112_9665copy_zps96361698.jpg  photo 070112_9860copy_zps3c716c1f.jpg

And the men looked pretty good too.  photo Proofs0928_zps5730e3f0.jpg Although Jeremy and I opted not to see each other before the wedding, we decided to pray together at a quaint spot where we could hold hands but not sneak any sort of peek. Well, I saw the back of his head. It looked like it always does. That can be our little secret.  photo firstprayer_zpse22115f8.jpg

I was so nervous as the photographers positioned us for the big prayer and exchange of letters. I wanted to cry as I read his letter, heard his voice, and let it sink in that I was about to marry this guy. My brain: "SHUT THE [GREEN] DOOR! THIS IS REALLY HAPPENING! HE'S SO AWESOME! LET'S DO THIS THING!"  photo 8-GettingReady_zpsac7ea6eb.jpg

Ahem. Excuse that interjection. As I was saying, that sweet prayer time was lovely--only to be overshadowed by the ceremony that was to follow.

To be continued...

**All the professional photos are courtesy of the amazing Yellow Skinny Photos. Photos from the early morning getting ready are from my various bridesmaids.