Planning an eco-friendly wedding

I’m going to be honest with you, I did 90% of my own wedding planning myself. I didn’t hire a planner or a full coordinator because I had an idea in mind and new I could figure it out myself. But I did hire a day of coordinator to help with all the details that day like keeping us on schedule, dealing with the vendors, cleaning up, collecting gifts and cards to put in my car, etc.

One of the changes I’ve been working on as a soon to be new wife was how can our money go further, but how can we be more sustainable in the process, even when it comes to the wedding?

Dishes: Our appetizer and dinner plates were all eco-friendly, made from 100% Natural Sugarcane. How cool is that?? I had looked into renting beautiful dishes, but that would have cost us $2,500. Instead we found these simple, elegant dishes that would work perfectly, while also being cautious of the environment. You can order them here.

Napkins: We bought cloth napkins for our guests and donated them to our wedding coordinator for her to rent out to future clients, instead of just tossing them. Plus they looked really beautiful in burgundy with gold silverware tucked inside.

Dessert Bar: We did a dessert bar for the reception. Instead of hiring a fancy bakery, we used our local grocery stores bakery instead to cut on costs. For the set up, we reused all of the items my mom had created for the bridal shower. She’d made these beautiful 2 tier serving platters from plates and candle sticks she bought at the Dollar Store and had other plates and trays that we took advantage of as well.

Guest book: We wanted a guest book that would be useful, rather than something that would hang on the wall. We ended up ordering a giant custom Jenga set for people to leave a note on, so they could help us build our love. ♥️ it’ll be great to have for tailgates, backyard bbqs or just hanging out with our kids in the future. Plus, every time we use it we’ll be reminded of all the love from friends and family!

For my bridal shower, my mom also purchased us a beautiful Bible with our names on the cover. She has guests highlight their favorite verse and sign their name. We used that as a guest book as well so we can look back on those scriptures!

Decor: Our ceremony decor consisted of on a cream chandelier that we rented from the venue. I wanted super simple. Nothing to take away or distract our guests, but also to highlight to beautiful backdrop. We got married under a massive and stunning oak tree and I felt she was a star of the decor. Nothing additional or unnecessary fluff was going to make her any more beautiful.

Our reception was SUPER simple. We rented farmhouse tables from our venue, which thankfully don’t need much decoration since they’re beautiful on their own! I took the labels off of 40+ wine bottles that we’d saved or collected from my parents and friends to use on the tables. My mom added glitter to about half and our florist filled them all with flowers. We added gold candle votives as well for a change of dimension and a little romantic lighting. I was able to rent the majority of those from our florist and then purchased an additional 25 + the tea lights on amazon. We let all of the guests take home the wine bottles with flowers so they could continue to enjoy them at home and hopefully reuse the bottles!!

How did you incorporate being conscious and eco-friendly into your wedding?


How we will save $1,200/year by making ONE change.

I’ve had gel or dipped nails for over 5 years now. and now that were getting super strict about our budget, I’ve decided that my manicure needs to go as well.
 
 
If you asked me 6 months ago if id ever volunteer to give up my manicure, i’d say absolutely not. Actually, Stephen and I had a long discussion about this one night and I had put my foot down that our budget WOULD allow the room for me to get my nails done every other week.
 
 
I’ve lived INCREDIBLY comfortable while being broke, trying to keep up with what I felt was the demands of the world only to find out it was really just the devil’s influence.
 
 
Stephen has been incredible about calling my debt OUR debt, and that we’ll tackle it together. My debt is causing him to give up a lot, and i’ve decided this is one thing I can do to show him how serious I am, but also how much I appreciate the sacrifices that he’s making.
 
To give you an idea of how I got to a debt number of $40,000+:
 
I went to Ireland, Cabo and Jamaica all on a credit card.
I bought a new laptop I really didn’t need.
I furnished my new home – living room, dinning room and master bedroom.
I purchased appliances for my new home – Refrigerator, Washer and Dryer.
I spent thousands of dollars on Lululemon to stay with what was trendy and popular…like the rest of the world.
I bought a Peloton bike I didn’t need…which has now been sold to pay down debt.
 
Honestly, those are only the things I can quickly think of.
 
Some things on my card I couldn’t avoid. I had a bad crack on my windshield that had to get replaced…$500 repair. My turbo in my VW needed to be replaced…that was $3,000. I didn’t have the cash this year to pay my taxes, so I put another $1,000 on my credit card.
 
But now, as a penalty, not a punishment because its the right, adult decision to make, i’m choosing to give up my manicures. Right now i’m spending $53 every other week…That’s $106 a month, for 5 years, which equals out to over $6,000 I’ve spent on manicures…and that’s just manicures. With that realization, I’ve decided I’m enjoying my last manicure right now.
Because I know my nails are going to be a disaster, I did some research on how to repair and strengthen my nails! These’s are the products I purchased:
 
  • Butter London Horse Power Nail Rescue Basecoat – The reviews on this product are really good and lots are from women who had gel nails and were trying to repair as well!
  • Hard As Hoof Nail Strengthening Cream – I LOVE to buy products that are listed as #1 Best Sellers on Amazon, and this product is one of those. With over 1,300 reviews, i’m hopeful that the results are as wonderful as the reviews make it seem! The description says that it prevents splits, peels, chips and cracks even in the most severe case. I haven’t seen what’s under my SNS dip polish yet, but i’m assuming i’m one of the severe cases.
  • Revlon CrazyShine Nail Buffer– Everything that i’ve read has said that besides keeping your nails trimmed and short, you also need to keep them buffed, so I bought this buffer to help keep them smooth and shiny.
  • Ella+Mila Soy Nail Polish Remover  – This is a soy based, acetone nail polish remover that contains lavender essential oils and Vitamins A, C, E oil. These ingredients promote healthy and moisturizing nails without drying out your skin or damaging your nails or cuticles.
  • Ella + Mila Love Collection – Stuck on You polish – I know that it’ll be tough for me to not have any color on my nails, so I decided to get a pale pink to enjoy a few weeks after having naked nails. What I really like about the Ella + Mila brand is that they are vegan and animal cruelty free, while also not containing 7 common chemical: Formaldehyde, Toluene, DiButyl Phthalate (DBP), Formaldehyde Resin, Camphor, Triphenyl Phosphate (TPHP) and Xylene.
 
 
I have another week and a half or so to enjoy this mani, so i’ll keep you posted on how the healing goes after the removal!


Our year of no drinking

Stephen and I decided while we were engaged to give up alcohol for a year after our honeymoon. We found that a lot of our social lives revolves around food and alcohol, and since we’re super strict budgeting for the next long while, we decided alcohol would be a good thing to give up as well.

On the last day of our honeymoon we were killing time, stting at a Mexican restaurant I decided on water and a coke instead of a margarita…I’m also giving up caffeine. I’m a terrible sleeper and we’re hoping that the removal of both uppers and downers from my diet changes that, but I digress.

We’ve been alcohol free for 4 weeks, and honestly it’s been WAY easier than I thought it would be. We’ve gotten some “you’re not going to last” comments from friends, but if the rest of the year is as easy as the last 4 weeks have been, we’ll make it 11 months and many more.

I’m sleeping better, my skin has cleared up, I’m not bloated or holding water like I was before, and waking up without a hangover has been amazing! I’m waking up at 8am on the weekends and spending my mornings productively before enjoying the rest of the day with my husband! I am loving the extra time I’m getting in my weekends!

One month of no alcohol and coffee down! On to the next one!


“be indebted to no one”

“be indebted to no one except to one another in love.” Romans 13:8

As I’ve been trying, and we continue to pay down debt, this verse has been on my heart. The idea of being in debted to no one EXCEPT in love. What an idea. That we only owe in love. It’s definitely made me rethink swiping my card before spending money.

I find that debt has taken up more space in my brain than just stress over finances. It’s caused stress when things unexpectedly occur, like my husbands truck getting totaled last Friday. It wasn’t paid off. We don’t have insurance on him if he gets hit by someone without insurance, and it was a hit and run, so we don’t even know who to track down for money!

It also has caused emotional strain. Not anymore, but there was a point when I realized I was bringing a lot of debt into our marriage where I felt guilty for the choices I made when I was single. For spending money like it didn’t matter, with no regard to the consequences. Now my sweet husband and I get to tackle it together, which isn’t his fault. It’s taken me a little bit of time to not feel guilty, but to turn that guilt into motivation to get out of debt ASAP!

What are you in debted to? Is it something that causes stress and is weighing you down, more than just emotionally?Hopefully it’s only to others in love! ♥️


The devil is ganging up on me

I know that when it feels like the devil is ganging up on me, it’s because he is. But also because I’m on the edge of something amazing. Something from God. For God and because of God.

Losing friends is an unfortunate part of life. Whether it’s from a fight, disagreement or simply growing apart. It sucks when it happens and the last few years it’s happened more than I’d like. But it’s taught me two major things.

It’s taught me who really is in my corner. Who really is my ride or die friend. Through thick and thin. Regardless of the bad decision or rude comment. That person who offers to help hide the body kind of friend, hypothetically of course. The one you get a tattoo with, because you know no matter the distance between you both, you’re always in their heart.

IMG_4620     IMG_4619

And it’s taught me how my personal growth changes friends views of me. People want us to be who THEY want or need us to be, and when that starts changing, they may not benefit the way they’d like to anymore.

Change is not always bad, especially if it’s good, positive, healthy change.

I went through a period of my life, fairly soon after moving to Texas, and it was a really low point in my life. I was making terrible decisions on the regular, partying way too hard, and waking up less ashamed of my choices, complacent to how I was living my life. Like a callus was being created over my heart. When months before I’d be so disappointed in my choices, now it was just me being a normal 25 year old. Sleeping in beds that weren’t mine, next to men that had never changed my last name.

Looking back, I really did have a good time. I had some great girlfriends who were also single and wanted to party all of the time. But now I can acknowledge how sad, lonely and depressed I really was. I would constantly post on social media so the world thought I was living this incredible and happy life. The life of the not so rich and definitely not famous. Trying to meet what I thought was the worlds expectations of me. Because I didn’t feel like me, just who I was and as I came, wasn’t enough. But more so because I didn’t even know who that person was.

Now I know I was enough. Yesterday. Today. And tomorrow.

This has been a really hard lesson to learn. That I am enough. Not because now I have a husband and a new last name, but because my identity is in Christ. And I’ve found that.

And I have changed. I don’t drink at all anymore. Not because I had an issue with alcohol but because it didn’t provide me anything positive in my life, and because it allowed the devil a way to break me down when I didn’t have a sound mind.

Never forget that when the people closest to us start to tell us we’ve changed, and you know you’re starting to look more like Christ and less like the world, to take it as a compliment. We’re called to look and act different. And when people start to notice, you may be on the right track.

I am truly happy now. Not because of my girlfriends or my husband, but because I am wholly and authentically myself. I found a space where I could live my truth. Regardless of what it looked like to anyone else. Or what pushback I got from other people. I couldn’t have said that two years ago. Or even 18 months ago. But I can say it now. Because God has showed me who I am in Him. Because I’m a daughter of a king (Gal 3:26). Because I’m fearfully and wonderfully made like Psalm 139:14 tells us. Because I’m loved (Isa 43:3). Redeemed (Eph 1:7). Transformed (Romans 12:2). Saved (Eph 2:8-9). Cherished (Isa 49:15). Free (John 8:36). And not because of anything I ever did, but because of everything God did. And there is nothing I can ever do to lose that. I was chosen, and that was after He knew every bad decision and thought I ever had made.

I pray you have a moment where a friend tells you you’ve changed. And you can look inside yourself and smile, realizing you’ve grown and changed for the better, even if they don’t see it that way. I pray you have the strength to continue walking in your truth, towards the cross and away from the world. Living for Christ instead of for culture. I pray that your identity in Christ is louder than who the world tells you to be, and that you’re strong enough to stand up to it. I pray you never forget that the Lord will not fail you or dismay you, because He goes before us. Amen.

Deuteronomy 31:8 “It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”