Our Wedding, Part 5: Ceremony + Reception

SO…now that you’ve see our vision, our hotel, our day at the track & our rehearsal dinner, let’s talk about the big day! In fact, I think I’m going to let the pictures speak for themselves. All I’ll say is this: the day was absolutely perfect – better than I even dreamed – and I was so sad for it to end. The food, the drink, the music, the flowers, the people, the weather, the clothes…everything was perfect. Terry & I were on cloud nine the entire day and looking through these pictures takes us right back there. The day flew by (as everyone said it would) but we did our best to soak it all up. So, without further adieu, here is our wedding day:

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Fine Art Wedding Photographer Matthew Moore

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T&I wedding

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A special thank you to our fabulous vendors: Venue, Saratoga Polo Club; Catering + Cake, Old Daley Catering; Florist, Blooms for Rooms; Musicians, All Seasons Trio; DJ, Cool Hand Luke; Chairs, Total Events; Photography, Matthew Moore; Videography, The Pros; Invitations, Wedding Paper Divas; Dress, Sweet Elegance Bridal; Tuxedos, Ludlow; Event Design, BellWether Theory; Accommodations, Pavilion Grand Hotel + Hilton Garden Inn.

 

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Our Wedding Part 4: I Do BBQ

Welcome back to the 4th installment of our wedding weekend! You can catch up reading about our hotel, our vision, and our day at the track. I’ve got to say, the energy on that Friday was amazing – the track really kicked off the weekend and allowed everyone to mingle and get to know each other (since 105 out of 112 guests attended!). By the time our Friday night rehearsal dinner rolled around, it felt like new friends were old friends. Is there any better feeling?!

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Last picture as an engaged couple 🙂

Terry & I had one goal for Friday night: a relaxed, fun backyard BBQ. Given that the track day was fancy & our wedding was black tie optional, we wanted everyone to be able to have a laid back evening and simply enjoy each other’s company. The weather was 70 and slightly overcast so it was absolutely perfect for an evening outside. Here are a few things we did to create this vibe:

Our venue, The Museum of Dance, was a private, indoor/outdoor space where we could bring in any vendors of our choice. We set up round dining tables in the large foyer which had high ceilings, large white columns, floor to ceiling windows and french doors opening to a huge courtyard set up with live music, lawn games, a self serve bar and plenty of additional seating. The museum was also conveniently located two doors down from the hotel that 90% of our guests were staying at, so everyone was able to walk over which made it so easy.

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The front of the museum

We opted to rent some items from Rustic Robin, a local company who kindly dropped off the items & picked them back up the day after. It made the process so much easier – I was going for a rustic theme so we opted for bride & groom cornhole, adult jenga & a few assorted frames with twine. We used these to display our travel pictures and to help our guests build our “bucket list” by suggesting places we should travel together. We kept the table decor to a minimum, simply grouping some old wine bottles, baby pictures & candles together. Everyone had fun seeing pictures of Terry & I throughout the years – I love personal touches like this for a rehearsal dinner.

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Our bucket list table, filled with pictures & suggestion cards

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Simply yet pretty table settings – see adorable baby T’s picture?!

Our musician, Rob Pulsifer, provided hours of live music with his guitar & vocals – he stuck to mainly country, rock & classics. Think Tom Petty, Darius Rucker & Lynard Skynard. You could dance, sing along, or just enjoy the tunes. Having live music was a huge plus.

We hired Dinosaur BBQ for our catering. The smells alone drew people in. They set up a huge smoker on the property about 5 hours before the event and they handled every single piece of the dinner, from setup to service to break down. Their barbecue was outstanding – and this is coming from a Southerner! We still hear friends talking about how delicious it was. (If you’re ever in the upstate NY area you must go there for a meal!) Our guests dined on pulled pork, beef brisket, bbq chicken and all of the fixins- mac ‘n cheese, collards, coleslaw & cornbread. We had white wine, rosé, red wine, IPAs, Corona light and, of course, sweet tea. We made sure no guest left hungry, that’s for sure!

Also, we also had some delicious, beautiful cupcakes from Gregg’s (our dear friends are the owners) but we didn’t snap any photos – I think we were all too busy eating them!

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Dino bbq food

This food was to die for (pic via)

Lastly, we kept the formality to a minimum. My matron of honor, Christen, gave a beautiful speech about friendship & love. Terry’s best man, Edward, gave a funny, loving speech regarding Terry’s “pre-Alexis” days & offered some marriage advice. We all spent about four hours eating BBQ, swapping stories, dancing & laughing together.

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My UGA girlfriends, beautiful as always

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Some of Terry’s group of friends that he’s grown up with

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My Atlanta girls enjoying our Polaroid + props table

 

(Y’all know Mela had to make an appearance…jockey outfit and all!)

We ended the night feeling so much love & support from our wedding guests and it was the absolute best feeling to have the day before you’re saying ” I do”. We couldn’t have asked for a better rehearsal dinner and I would do it exactly the same way all over again!

Next up…our wedding ceremony + reception!

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Our Wedding, Part 3: A Day at the Track

Track area

So if you’re just tuning in to this special 5 part series about our wedding, you can read my previous posts about our wedding weekend hotel and our vision. Long story short, our overall “theme” (for lack of a better word) was a lively, loving, all-inclusive weekend where our friends & families could truly get to know each other.

In lieu of a bridesmaids brunch or a groomsmen lunch the day before our wedding, we chose to take all of our guests to the Saratoga Race Track to enjoy a day of eating, drinking, mingling and, of course, horse racing! The city of Saratoga Springs thrives off of this long-standing tradition and during the 6 weeks of the year that the track is open, the charm & beauty is amplified.

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the “paddock” area of the race track

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We loved seeing our old friends becoming new friends

With over 100 guests in tow, we rented the Big Red Spring Tent and stocked it full of beer, wine, water, snacks, etc. We had decorated picnic tables, flat screen tvs and plenty of seating (and shade!). Guests were able to roam between our tent and the track, stopping to view the beautiful horses in between. We spent about 6 hours there and everyone had a ball – we even had a few big winners!

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decorative details…

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all eyes on the t.v. when the race goes off!

It was so fun to see the excitement and surprise on our guests’ faces when they walked into track – it feels like you’ve gone back in time in the absolute best way.

Sear sucker suits, big poofy dresses, floppy hats, mint juleps – you name it, we had it! Loved ones were laughing, high fiving & loving every moment.

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University of Georgia best friends!

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with my best girl friends from childhood…30+ years of friendship here!

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the beautiful women of my family

 We felt so lucky that the vast majority of our guests were able to attend. I think they were all very appreciative that this was a different type of pre-wedding activity – it was relaxed, interesting & fun!

All in all, the day at the track was an absolute success, even more than we’d hoped! It’s a very unique, special event and one that most of our guests had never attended.

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almost Mr. & Mrs…

We love that everyone is still talking about the day and we are so glad that we opted to do it. While it may have been nontraditional, it was the best way for us to blend our two sets of families & friends. It was perfectly “us”!

Wedding Planning: Highs & Lows

Well, we did it! This past weekend we got married!! Best day of our lives, hands down. I’m still combing through photos (and anxiously awaiting the professional ones, which I know will take some time) so I’m going to hold off on recapping the actual wedding until those come in. So I thought I’d share some wedding planning highs & lows that I experienced over the past 8 months…

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Before I got engaged, I always heard that wedding planning was one of the most stressful times of your life. I feel very fortunate that I did not have this experience. Now, let me be clear – there were a handful of times that I thought I may lose it. However, the vast majority of the time (like 90%), it was fun and creative and exciting!

HIGHS

This comes as no surprise but we just loved all of the parties – our engagement party, our wedding showers and our bachelor/ette parties. Because we live out of state, it was such a fun excuse to get all of our families & friends together to celebrate us. We were incredibly spoiled by everyone around us and we just appreciate them so much.

Receiving the wedding RSVPs may have been my favorite part. While we had a general idea of who was/wasn’t coming, it was SO fun opening our mailbox & seeing everyone’s cute notes and event selections. It became a nightly ritual for us to open these together and I’ll definitely miss this.

One of the most fun parts of being engaged was definitely registering! We lucked out that Crate & Barrel had a “engaged only” event where they shut down the store, served coffee & breakfast and let us roam around for 2 hours. We got to make mock place settings, try out different appliances, and touch/feel everything. This was SO much fun! Williams-Sonoma has this too (our timing didn’t work) and I can’t recommend this enough. It’s such an easy, fun way to get your fiancee involved in the planning process.

LOWS

One of the hardest parts of planning was for sure the guest list. On one hand, we wanted to invite everyone that we’re friends with; however, we didn’t want a large wedding, nor did we have the budget for it. I can’t stress enough how much it dictates everything – the size of your wedding party, the amount you spend, the vibe of the wedding, the venue you choose…everything is effected by the guest list. Our goal number was 115 and we ended up at 113…right on target!

Let’s be honest…without a doubt, one of the most stressful parts of planning a wedding is discussing budget. Regardless of how much money you have/are gifted, you have to be realistic about what you’re comfortable spending. For us, it was important to be objective with our money and try to get the best bang for our buck with every purchase. I wish we had set a budget prior to looking at venues; however, we lucked out that our #1 venue fell within budget. Given that I am a huge saver, not spender….it was really tough for me to spend this money. I can’t tell you how many times we had the conversation of “should we have eloped and saved all this money?” but in the end, it was worth every penny.

Now that we’re finished with the wedding planning & the big day is over (still so hard to believe), I can honestly say that I am really enjoyed being engaged and for us, 8 months was the perfect amount of time. What a fabulous 8 months it was!

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wedding dress shopping

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Engagement photos

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save the dates

What were your highs & lows of wedding planning?!

 

Our Love Story + Wedding Bands

Today, I’m partnering up with my friends at E.B. Horn to share a bit more about my engagement story, my search for the perfect wedding band & my #1 tip for all you fellas our there when picking the perfect engagement ring.

It’s crazy to think that two weeks from today I’ll be married. A wife, a Mrs, and officially, a Kozmor. It was a short 7 months ago when we got engaged and my how the time has flown by. Many of you already read the details of how the engagement happened, but as we all know, there’s so much more to every love story! You see, there’s this little thing called fate…and let me tell you, I believe in it…

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I moved to Boston in February 2013…smack dab in the middle of winter…with a college friend of mine. We are both born & raised Georgia natives who needed a change of scenery. We were bored with Atlanta, searching for new jobs and ready to see what the world had to offer. When all of the stars aligned in Fall 2012, we found ourselves signing a lease to an apartment (sight unseen) and planning our big move up the East Coast.

I had been dating a guy here in Boston and while he wasn’t the sole reason for my move, he had somewhat of an influence. As most “I’m not moving for you, I swear” relationships go, we quickly crashed & burned within about 12 months of me moving here.

Fast forward six months through your typical break up phases and there I was: 31, single, living on my own for the first time and feeling pretty damn good about life. I had hired a trainer at my local gym and we were kicking butt & taking names. Once day he said to me “you know that guy Terry? He thinks you’re cute and wants me to bring you with me to his housewarming party next weekend”. I think my exact response was “that guy? (pointing at the blonde hair, blue eyed guy across the room) Nah, he’s not my type”. Ha! Well little did I know how my world was about to change. Spoiler alert: I ended up going to the housewarming party with my trainer, Terry & I hit it off, developed a friendship which turned into a first date, and as they say, the rest is history! It’s truly crazy to think of all the little pieces that fell into place that led us to this place. Fate, right?

About 18 months later,  we were living together and talking marriage. Call me crazy, but it’s always been a big fear of mine to be head over heels for someone and have them propose with a ring I hate. I mean, what’s a girl to do?! You can’t say “yes but no to that ring” or “I don’t like that piece of jewelry that you just spent months saving for”. We’ve all seen that SATC where Carrie accidentally finds the hideous ring Aiden’s going to propose with (#yikes).

So, while I am lucky that my now-fiancee has incredible taste, I am even luckier and more grateful that he asked what kind of ring I liked! Guys, I am telling you…my #1 piece of advice, without a doubt, is ask! Ask your girlfriend, ask her sister, ask her best friend, ask her secret Pinterest wedding board (hey, we’ve all been there!). It doesn’t matter who you ask, just ask someone. When you’re spending this kind of money and making this kind of a lifelong commitment, don’t you want to know that she will love the ring?

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Moments after he was down on one knee…admiring my round solitaire with 6 prong basket setting. PERFECTION!

Last week I went down to E.B. Horn in Downtown Crossing and tried on a ton of wedding bands. I couldn’t believe how hard it was to pick the perfect match for my engagement ring! I wanted something contrasting, yet complimentary. Since we travel abroad at least 3-4 times per year (and 10+ times per year domestic), it’s important to me to have a band that I love. When we travel, I’ll be leaving my engagement ring in the safe deposit box and wearing only my band.  I went back & forth with various styles. Here are a few of my favorites:

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Which is your favorite?!

I ended up picking one very similar to the top one on my middle finger. It’s a vintage looking band made up of round diamonds in a milgrain setting. It’s just perfect. Picking my wedding band was a surprisingly emotional experience. It not only symbolizes our eternal love for each other, but also is a ring that I will wear until the day I die that will always remind me of this incredibly special time in our lives. When I think back on the past four years, my mind is just blown. Fate led from me Atlanta to Boston, where I met the love of my life and where, in just two short weeks, we will begin the rest of our lives together. I have never been more ready for anything.

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What’s your #1 piece of ring advice to guys? Who else believes in fate?

A huge thanks to my friends at E.B. Horn. While I received compensation for this post, opinions are my own. They have been an absolute joy to work with and I cannot recommend the company & their jewelery enough.

 

 

Our Engagement Story

It’s one of those moments I’ve dreamed of my whole life. What will he say? How will I feel? Who else will be there? What will the ring look like?… For the past 32 years I’ve imagined this day and I can honestly say it surpassed all of my wildest dreams…

♥ 12.1.16 ♥

Terry & I decided to celebrate our 2-year anniversary, my birthday & the holidays with a trip to California. We’d fly info Los Angeles, drive up the PCH to San Francisco and stop along in Santa Barbara, Carmel & Sonoma. Ever since I met him, he’s boasted about his love for Santa Barbara (specifically the scenery & the surf) so I was particularly excited to visit this coastal town.

We arrived at the Four Seasons in Santa Barbara on Thursday afternoon and I was immediately blown away by not only the superior service (truly the best) but also the insanely gorgeous property. Picture a lush jungle with endless paths, secret gardens, tranquil coves, and Spanish-style steps & terraces leading to private bungalows. Then picture the entire place merely steps away from a stunning, private beach. Yup, it’s basically heaven.

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The beach where the proposal happened!

When Terry told me that he’d arranged for the concierge to take some sunset pictures on our camera, I grew a bit suspicious. But he insisted, “Babe, it’s the Four Seasons. They do stuff like this all the time.” After all, who was I to question this amazing experience being offered to us?!

 So around 4:30pm, we threw on some cute clothes (thank goodness he told me we were headed straight to dinner after, so I styled my hair!) and headed down to the beach. Ironically, there was a professional photographer on the beach taking sunset pics of two other hotel guests, so I immediately thought, “huh, I guess they really do this for people”. Oblivious to the weeks of preparedness that was unfolding before my eyes, I smiled for the camera as we took picture after picture as the sun went down. Terry went to to check the photos & mentioned that our faces were dark because of the shadows, so we better try one more picture. And then this happened…

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Due to extreme surprise/excitement/joy/shock/laughing/crying, it’s fair to say I completely blacked out. We both did. We each remember various bits & pieces of what he said…and to us, that’s just perfect.

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How lucky am I? Not only did Terry spend weeks planning the most thoughtful, beautiful, romantic proposal, but we have this incredible moment in time captured on camera. A moment I will never, ever forget.

Words can’t describe how I’m feeling right now. I feel so beyond blessed to have even met someone like Terry. Someone who truly appreciates my good and tolerates my not-so-good. Someone who makes me laugh when I’m crying & then makes me cry all over again from laughing so hard. Someone who I love so much that it hurts. Someone who wants to build a life with me and grow old together. He is my best friend and the absolute love of my life. I know the best is yet to come, and I cannot wait for this adventure to begin!

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Oh and to answer my lifelong questions: Can’t remember…overjoyed…just us…and, it’s absolutely perfect!

Four Seasons beach photo courtesy of their website. Thank you for the unforgettable experience, photos & countless flutes of champagne 🙂