Today is Kind of a Big Deal

It's my mother's birthday! And also Kate and Wills anniversary! Happy day to all my favorite peoples.

At the Taste of the Symphony

April 29, 2011 via NY Daily Mail

Two Year Engage-iversary

"There is a moment--Oh, just before the first kiss, a whispered
word--something that makes it worth while."
F. Scott Fitzgerald, This Side of Paradise

Today is my two year Engage-iversary with Christopher.

Yes, we have a wedding date. 

For a long time, I really resented the cards I had been dealt coming into my adult life. Spending the first year being engaged five hours apart, seeing each other sporadically while dealing with a wide array of family drama was not what I had planned on when I said yes to Christopher and to being an adult post-college. But I'm thankful for the trials because they've brought me to where I am now. 

We are both in such a good place, individually and together. Much stronger than I could have ever imagined. And now we're almost a year away from being the McAfee's. {Back story in case you don't know: Christopher changed his last name to McAfee in honor of his grandfather and their relationship.} It's a really exciting, and busy time planning a wedding and celebrating with our friends as they experience their weddings as well. But we're so excited to be doing it together; we're a team, through the good and the bad. Right now, there is a lot of really really good, and I'm thankful for that. 

Don't you just love this sneak peak of our engagement session?! More to come later this the mean time, follow our photographer, Ari Merritt Photography

The Taste of the Symphony 2015

The Taste is something my mother and I look forward to every year. She's a member of the Symphony Guild in Florence, SC, that supports and promotes the local symphony. The Taste is their annual fundraiser, and the way it is organized and put on is unique to Florence. Many "taste" events I've been to consist of purchasing an entrance ticket anywhere from $12-$30 per person, and also purchasing food/drink tickets for a dollar a piece. The various food and drink items are each priced at a different ticket level, say four tickets for a fish taco, and two for a cake pop.

The Florence Taste does it differently--for $75 a piece, you can eat and drink to your heart's content. I prefer this method mostly because it's easier, and faster. The Taste in Florence is amazing. The food every year blows me away. There are annual staples like one company's fried oysters {served in a small wooden canoe--so cute!} and of course some version of shrimp & grits {or specialty versions like quail & grits last year}that I look forward to each year.

It's also a great opportunity for larger restaurants who have a somewhat set menu to surprise the town with a unique dish for the evening, that's often kept under wraps until that night.  Two years ago Red Bone Alley, a Florence staple, surprised attendees with an amazing, spicy pork mini-taco with a pineapple salsa, and a tequila shot in a shot glass made completely out of ice. How cool!

The most important booth-the bar! 

Red Bone Alley--They took the Gatsby theme to a whole new level!

Center tables filled with creations by the Symphony Guild members

Yes, those are live lobsters. 

My favorite thing--the Macaroon Tree
Beatiful Decorations! 

I ate so much this year--of course the oysters, and quail and grits were amazing. The standout of the night for me was the gourmet s'mores. Dark chocolate covered graham crackers, with melty marshmallow in the middle. If you know me, you know I love s'mores; I've got a whole Pinterest board dedicated to them!

Engagement Pictures Inspiration

Engagement pictures...

So much  stress surrounds these pictures! You both need the perfect outfits, the perfect locations and weather, the perfect body/hair/smile, etc. Sometimes it feels like there is almost as much thought and effort put into these pictures as the wedding itself!

I know that I want our engagement pictures to accurately depict our personalities individually and as a couple, as well as give an idea of what our wedding will be like. I've been scouring Pinterest for some inspirational photos to help me develop the entire theme for our shoot, and here are a few of my favorites:

via Pinterest, no original source linked
I've always loved pictures of this couple--so classic and timeless.

I love the personality and fun that a tulle skirt brings!
And wouldn't that balloon be darling with the wedding date written on it?!

I love a good black and white photo, and of course a bow tie!

All the best things in one picture: beautifully styled clothing,
romantic feel, happiness--it's all perfect! 

Christopher and I are taking our pictures this Friday. I'm thankful our photographer was able to reschedule with us to work around the monsoon that happened yesterday afternoon when we had originally planned them. This will be our first set of professionally done pictures, and I so want them to be perfect. Keep your fingers crossed for lots of sun, and comfortable temps!

How I Asked--Flower Girl Edition

Little London has been in my life since I met Christopher. She's always held a sweet spot in my heart for many reason. She is a sassy little thing, but she's growing up quick, and has been asking for years now to be my flower girl. We decided to ask her on Easter now that we have a date and venue decided on, and I wanted to make it an Easter themed "proposal." I purchased her flower girl basket, and filled it with numbered eggs that spelled out "Will you be our flower girl?" on individual notes.

Thank you, Hobby Lobby!

Who knew they made white filler eggs?!

Laying out the eggs in order

What's inside?!

Our pretty little flower girl!

I'm not sure she was too pleased to find out that her Easter basket from us would have to be put up until next year for safe-keeping, but she was pretty excited about picking out some gold glittery shoes for the big event!


How I Asked--The Littles Edition

Junior Bridesmaid Gifts
Asking those most important to you to be involved in your wedding is a very special time. I especially wanted to make an effort to show the littles in my life how special they are to me, and be sure they felt like this is a big deal for me and for them.

Kim and her children were my family last year during a very difficult time in my life. They made sure I was well taken care of and loved on when I was living alone for the first time. I knew I wanted them involved in a big way in my big day from the get-go, and planning a lunch date for a Sunday after a visit with the grands seemed like the best opportunity to ask them to be a part. For the little girls, I gave them matching single pearl necklaces that they can wear at the wedding, and maybe someday at their own {as a something old}. For the boys, they both got their bow ties for their service as ring bearer and usher {Tyler was unavailable for lunch, but I hear he is very excited!}.

Bow Tie boxes

Reading their notes asking them to be Junior Bridesmaids

Mom explaining what being a ring bearer means 

My little ring bearer! 

I can't wait for all of the fun events coming up throughout the next year! To follow along with us on the wedding adventure, check out #marryingmcafee on social media.

Senior Pictures

My baby brother graduates from high school next month--how crazy! Somehow, we ended up all the way in March without any Senior Pictures, so I asked my friend and Phi Mu sister Ari, of Ari Merritt Photography, to do a session with the child who is literally the hardest person to take pictures of.

 Ari did a great job of capturing John's goofy personality, as well as his pretty face. Southern Tide, need a model? These pictures definitely show off her amazing skills behind the camera considering it was a dark and rainy Sunday morning! If you're in the Savannah area, give her a call, and definitely check out her Facebook page for more great pictures: Ari Merritt Photography.

Here are a few of my faves:

John has spent his life photo bombing
my pictures with his naked, poking out stomach.
So my mom returned the favor.

Easter in Dublin

Me, my groom, and one of our ushers! 
Traditionally, ever since Christopher and I started dating, we've spent Easter with his family in Dublin, Georgia. This year was our fourth Easter together, and it was a beautiful day to celebrate Jesus!

One of my favorite things about holidays in Dublin is the egg rolls. Egg rolls, you ask? Christopher's aunt is from the Philippines and makes the most amazing egg rolls. They pair perfectly with some ham and a deviled egg, surprisingly.

The Mens

The Ladies {feat. A Sudden Gust of Wind}