How to Prioritize Your Wedding Budget
First off: Giveaway update! If you didn’t catch the info about the Summer Baking Camps and the giveaway I’m doing along with them, hurry on over! You still have time to enter! I also still have a few slots left in each age group, so get yours reserved today. Can’t wait to bake with you!
Along those same winning lines, Julia and Marty were the winners for the Dream Team Bridal Session giveaway featuring me along with two other amazing vendors, Hawkeye Photography and Blushing Blonde. Julia and Marty weren't planning on affording a formal bridal session, so it was wonderful to style and shoot this session for our sweetest couple!
Photographer's inspiration: Julia and Marty wanted a timelessly elegant location, but one that also incorporated some elements of nature into their formal session. The Capital Building in Salt Lake City, UT was the perfect venue for their story to unfold. We started with a classic Cinderella first look as she descended to him down the grand staircase. From the moment their eyes met, I knew it was going to be an amazing shoot. Their chemistry was very real and very resonant with the camera. We created a magical fairy-tale formal session for them to cherish. –Ashley, Hawkeye Photography
HMUA Inspiration: Julia loved the traditional soft, romantic bridal updo and she has gorgeous blonde hair that falls below her shoulders, so we swept it into a twisted low updo. She had a classic jeweled headpiece to accent her beautiful hair with a few pieces left to frame her face.
Her makeup was natural, luminous, and gorgeous, and only needed a subtle natural smokey eye and natural lips with a light blush to be complete! Her eyes are the star of the show, with long lashes framing her brilliant baby blue's. – Julie, Blushing Blonde
Florist Inspiration: I loved Julia's color palette of dusty pink, burgundy, and slate blue and felt so inspired to find flowers that were organic and raw, but also soft and romantic, accenting the movement of Julia's flowing gown from Gateway Bridal and her flawless, fairy-like features.
I used peach stock, cream hypericum berry, safari sunset, burgundy dahlias, blushing bride protea, white ginestra, light blue delphinium, blue thistle, and red amaranthus to create this woodland fairy, slightly cascading bouquet and love how the texture and movement came together. – Emily, The Pear Blossom
We were so happy that we could give back and help a sweet couple like Julia and Marty get a little something something extra for their wedding and bonus – you can see all the goodness featured over on Latter-Day Bride as well. It gave me all the feels and I’ve got a few other giveaways up my sleeve after the Summer Baking Camp Giveaway because I get it people I really do. The vast majority of us…dare I say 99% of us…aren’t “One-percenters” (see Ma?! I do math good :) The sky ISN’T the limit when it comes to college, travel, and wedding budgets. We go and do what we can afford. And often times this means sacrificing something we want for something we need or want more.
But, knowing what to cut and where to cut can be REALLY difficult when it comes to your wedding because every last detail feels so important. It seems like it could make or break the look and feel of your wedding and *fingers crossed* you only get one shot at this so it has to be perfect the first time around. That’s a lot of pressure you’re putting on yourself there girl and it can also cause a lot of friction between you and your fiancée or your momma, so immagonna make it a little easier for you and show you what I did BEFORE I ever started planning my wedding to help keep the planning fun, stress and confrontation-free, and in budget.
The first thing most gals do when they get engaged is run out and start trying on dresses because that’s the fun part!!! Yay!!! And because it’s fun it must be the right thing to do right?! Wrong. There is a step that should have happened before you ever got engaged and almost everyone I know skips this step so I’m sharing it with the world now.
Step 1: Prioritize YOUR Dreams
When you’re engaged to be engaged (that awkward point in dating and courtship where you’ve talked marriage, know you want to get married, but he hasn’t popped the question yet) you need to sit down and communicate with three-four groups of people, 1) yourself, 2) your fiancée, 3) your parents, 4) and possibly your fiancée’s parents. You need to sit down with them and have a little heart to heart about what is the most important thing to them when it comes to getting married or marrying off a child and then you need to limit them. Yes you read that right. You need to limit them. Here is my general rule of thumb, but you could certainly adjust these numbers to work for you situation:
The Bride: gets her top 5 most important things. Girl when I say “Top 5” I mean the items in your wedding that are ABSOLUTELY so important to you that you are willing to go to battle over it. Everyone says “choose your battles” meaning you have to be willing to let other, less important issues go and for your wedding you need to be willing to compromise, but not with the items on this list. This is your hill to die on, this is where you’re going to spend your money, and this is where you are going to invest the most time and energy so make it worth it and dig in to the nitty gritty wedding details here. You can’t just say, “I want my reception to be perfect.” What about the reception? Oh the dancing? K what about the dancing? Is that a professional DJ, installing a dance floor at your venue, or making your groom take dance lessons? Get specific.
This was my list:
1: Dress – I wanted to feel amazing in my dress and I wanted to buy it. I was not willing to rent and I was willing to pay more and cut other places to get what I wanted. My dress was over $800, but I re-used jewelry and shoes from a “scholarship pageant” I did in high school (you can stop laughing now) and I had my cosmetologist sister-in-law do my hair and make-up to help afford the dress.
2: Photography – I have always believed that no matter what you actually do for your wedding, at the end of the day all you have are the photos, so you go big here and you get the best. dang. photographer. you can afford. You don’t cut here. Period. Your wedding day is not the day to have a neighbor with a nice camera come and do it for free. Unless your neighbor is India Earl and then yes, by all means have your neighbor do it :) lol
3: Flowers – I wanted fresh flowers and I wanted them installed everywhere! I also wanted a gorgeous outdoor wedding in a fantastic garden, but have you seen the prices? To get that lush garden look I wanted and still get all my fresh floral centerpieces and bouquets, I opted to have my reception at a greenhouse. This saved me A TON of time, effort, and money in a lot of ways…already decorated, already lush and garden-esque but not as expensive as actual garden venues, and already climate controlled so no matter the weather I could have that outdoor garden feel without having to stress.
4: Cake – I wanted a huge (five tiers people! It was amazing!!!), from scratch buttercream cake covered in fresh flowers. My mom was worried it would cost too much and wanted Styrofoam. Yikes! I was freaking out about the thought of a Styrofoam cake, but this was my hill to die on, so I compromised on catering to get the cake I wanted.
5: Wedding Line Clothing – K this one probably sounds super dumb, but it goes back to being left with just the photos at the end of it all. I wanted my photos to look perfect and to me that meant matching tuxes and perfectly coordinating Maid of honor, bridesmaid, and flower girl dresses. Some wedding parties do the whole mix and match thing and pull it off famously, but I love the seamless blend of matching outfits. Sometimes the mix and match is just too busy. I like the eye to move effortlessly over the picture and not be caught on weird, random details.
Everything else after this was totally flexible. I had a brother help with the music, a friend help with catering, a random hole in the wall do invites (because hey they just get thrown away!) etc. etc. etc. Did doing those things cheap and a little jimmy-rigged run smoothly? Not quite. But the hiccups were worth it and emotionally I could roll with it because I had already made up my mind in advance where my priorities were and the rest was just fluff.
Step 2: The Groom’s priorities
The Groom: gets his #1 most important thing. Why only one in this age of gender equality? I recommend it because the groom typically plans or takes on the majority of the planning and decision making for the wedding night and the honeymoon, so the bride gets extra say on her special day. Seems fair to me :) Some grooms care not one bit about wedding plans. Others are super involved. Adjust these numbers as needed right?
My husband was fairly involved, but only cared about 1 thing. He wanted to wear a chocolate-brown tux. At first, this seemed a little weird to me, because this was back in the day when men wore white or black tuxes and there was no Pinterest to inspire us to deviate from the norm. But then I looked at my list and the color palette I had chosen wasn’t one of those Top 5, which meant it was adjustable, so I adjusted. And I’m so glad I did. I would hate to look back on my wedding and think that I didn’t give my husband the one thing that was important to him. Sad day for him, but he has that regret, because I asked one thing from him and he refused to do it and totally regrets not compromising on that one thing. Sucker.
Step 2: Help Your Mom Pick Her Priorities
The Mother of the Bride: gets her top 3 most important things. Why? Because she’s your mom and you don’t want to look back at your wedding and realize all you did was fight with your mom. I’ve seen brides and their mothers fight over details as inconsequential as how the bride was going to style her bangs, styles of cutlery, or how big the bouquet should be. True story. If your parents are throwing a reception for you, that means they are the host and hostess and they’ll have an idea of how they want to entertain their guests, so a bride needs to be willing to work within those parameters. But, it’s also your special day and you’ve got one shot. So, if you know what’s most important to you and then what’s most important to your mother, you’re going to know where to back off, where to compromise, and where to have a knock-down drag out fight with your mom and I’m guessing for most people, it isn’t over bangs.
Step 4: The FOTB
The Father of the Bride: gets his #1 most important thing – typically you see the FOTB worry the most about budget, but you may be surprised at what he says. Maybe it’s the song you use for the daddy/daughter dance, or having red meat at just ONE dinner for the love, so just communicate about it now.
Step 5: The Groom’s Parents
The Groom’s Parents: This area is a little grey depending on what, if anything, the groom’s parents are paying for. My in-laws hosted a lovely wedding luncheon and paid for all of it, so while my mother-in-law was very sweet to ask for my suggestions and opinions, I was also really careful to make sure I deferred to her and what she had in mind. Basically, the wedding luncheon didn’t fall in my top 5 so it’s where I was happy to compromise and be flexible, which worked out well because my MIL was marrying off her 4th son and had her system down. A bridezilla tantrum here would have thrown a huge wrench in that and created a lot of friction.
There you have it my friends. THIS is what needs to happen BEFORE you start planning your wedding. Once you make the lists in a convenient little note on your phone, head out and try on dresses, taste cake, and take dance lessons to your heart’s content. And then when some awkward moment comes up over veil length or something totally random that you never expected, you can pull out your list and be like, “Hey was this important to anyone?” and then compromise from there. And then when you get images back like this, you can just sigh over them and get all sentimental and misty-eyed instead of remembering how your bridesmaid went out and changed her outfit at the last minute and no longer matched in the pictures. Seriously though, this picture gets me...every time.
I hope you’ve enjoyed perusing Julia and Marty’s fairy-tale formal session while we’ve chatted about dicey things like budgets and bridezilla moments. Nothing like a spoonful of sugar to make that medicine go down :)
Julia and Marty
The Pear Blossom
Venue: Utah State Capital Building
Dress: Gateway Bridal
"Markova" Gown in Latter Day Bride line
Plus an AMAZING GIVEAWAY!!!
No more pencils no more books,
No more teachers dirty looks.
When the teacher rings that bell,
Drop your books and run like H#@$
Ahhh those were the good ole’ days :) When we could sing little songs like this without someone calling the cops on our parents lol. But enough about memory lane…Today, I’m so so excited that school is almost over because 1) no more homework. You guys KNOW how I feel about homework and 2) Summer Fun! So far we have a trip to St. George, Utah and a trip to Jackson Hole, Wyoming planned and other than that, I think we’re going to chill, read books, eat ice cream, and play in the sprinklers. What about you guys? Any fun summer plans?
If you’re worried about hearing the ‘B’ word – not that ‘B’ word – the other ‘B’ word (BORED) you need to check out what I have up my sleeve! I’ve been putting this together for about three months now and it’s finally ready for you!
Graphic Design and Printables all done by the amazing: Cassia Leigh Designs
I’m hosting 4 baking camps this summer! Below, you’ll find an info-graphic for each camp along with all the details (date, time, location, cost, curriculum) and sign-up instructions. Be sure and read all the way to the bottom because there is an extra-special GIVEAWAY!!!
Fun in the Kitchen: $65
Boys and girls ages 4-7 years are going to have a blast baking 3 kid-friendly, sprinkle and happiness filled recipes as well as two kitchen science experiments! Each child will come home from camp with their treats, swag, kitchen printables, and a new excitement for spending time in the kitchen. *See the info-graphic for date and time.
Intro to Baking and Decorating: $65
Boys and girls ages 8-12 will love exploring from-scratch recipes for cookies, brownies, and beginning layer cakes and learning foundational decorating techniques for creating amazing buttercream frosting decorations as well as two kitchen science experiments! Each child will come home from camp with their creations, a bag full of decorating swag, kitchen printables, and a fun new talent they can eat :) *See the info-graphic for date and time.
Ultimate Birthday Cake for Teens: $50
Boys and girls ages 12-17 get to have a full baking demonstration by me on how to bake, level, fill, and frost a layer cake. Students will then be taught how to stack, frost, and decorate/customize their own perfect birthday cake (flavors TBD) using buttercream frosting. All students will come home with their own cake, swag, kitchen printables, and basic decorating tools! *See the info graphic for date and time.
Ultimate Birthday Cake for Adults: $50
Time: 6-9 P.M. *Edited: sorry! I just noticed I had a little error on my cute graphic. I'm getting it fixed right now! *Update: the Date and Time are now correct on the graphic! Thanks for your patience.
Don’t worry! I haven’t left the adults out! Adults ages 18+ get to have a full baking demonstration by me on how to bake, level, fill, and frost a layer cake. Then, they will be taught how to stack, frost, and decorate/customize their own perfect birthday cake (flavors TBD) using buttercream frosting. All students will come home with their own cake, swag, kitchen printables, and basic decorating tools!
To sign up: E-mail, Facebook message, Text, Call, or Instagram Direct Message me and let me know the child’s name, age, and the camp they want. Payment can be made via cash, check, or Venmo and as soon as I have received payment, your spot in the camp will be reserved! Camps are limited to 10 children per camp and all camps will take place in my home kitchen. If you have any questions or if I’ve forgotten something, don’t hesitate to contact me!
Sibling Discount: I'm happy to offer a sibling discount of $15 for each sibling after you sign your first child up. So, the first child would be $65 and then each sibling after that would be $50. This offer is for siblings within the same family and does not apply to friends, cousins, etc. of the child you sign up. This is also not available to giveaway winners. If you win the free spot, you will not be discounted if you pay for a second child to attend. You would be discounted if you sign up a third or fourth child. Does all this make sense?!?! Again, feel free to message me with any questions :)
To show my clients, friends, followers, family, and new faces how much I appreciate you supporting me on this journey, I am giving away ONE FREE SPOT to each baking camp! Hooray!
How to enter:
*On the Blog:
1) Follow @emily_pearblossom
2) Find the post in my feed about the Baking Camp Giveaway
3) Leave a comment on that post and let me know your favorite treat and which camp you would like to win
4) Tag three friends!!!
*There are three options for entering the giveaway. Complete each one for up to three entries! Each step must be completed in order to count as an entry.
** Giveaway limited to one child/adult per family.
***Winners will be chosen/announced/contacted at random on June 1st and must be able to attend the baking camp. Don’t live close enough? Feel free to share the posts with friends or relatives in Utah so that they can enter!
****This giveaway is in no way affiliated with Instagram, Facebook, or Weebly.
Hope you guys are excited! Let's get baking!
And the conversations I SHOULD HAVE had with my husband before we got married!
I think you saw a sneaky peek of this beautiful couple on last week when it was featured on Rocky Mountain Bride! Congratulations to Ashleigh and Jeremy! They won my recent Giveaway with Ashley from Hawkeye Photography and Julie from Blushing Blonde and got to have a styled 1st Year Anniversary Shoot. The first year of marriage can be a little bit of an adjustment from a lot of angles…and I’m not just talking about finances and religious preferences. I’m talking about the BIG ONES. The super serious subjects I never ever in a million years thought to bring up, but in hindsight, would have saved us some “discussions”.
Example #1: Whether Or Not We Wrap Presents
Who knew right?!?! I just thought everyone wrapped Christmas/birthday/Mother’s Day presents and made them all pretty and that every dad went out of his way to basically professionally wrap his wife’s presents complete with gorgeous ribbon, floral picks, and special ornaments like my dad did. Our first Christmas rolled around and my husband was busy pontificating on things like, “I don’t spend money or time on something that just gets thrown away. This is stupid and means nothing to me. My mom never wrapped gifts and I ended up just fine.” Ummm, did you though?!?!
Example #2: Baby Names
Boy oh boy should we have talked about baby names. But it was something that was going to happen like 3-5 years after we got married and I thought I had time. And then I got pregnant a week after we got married. Surprise! Go figure we feel the same about vaccinations, abortion, birth control, and how many kids we wanted to have, but man we got blindsided by baby names. We come from families filled to the brim with say-able, spell-able names like Jacob, Richard, Emily, John, Lucas, Jenny, and Benjamin. But what did my husband want?!?! Zileesh. Yes. You read that right. Or maybe didn’t read that right because what is that? How do you say that? Oh. My. No. And guess when the very worst time to talk about baby names is? Oh yeah – when you’re already pregnant, hormonal, and basically a crazy wreck of the woman he was dating and married to. Fun!
Example #3: Curtains
Hahahaha yes curtains! Did you know that sometimes people who like curtains end up married to people who feel REALLY strongly about not having curtains?!?! I’m laughing my head off about it because I really had NO IDEA people felt strongly about curtains! Why have curtains when you can jimmy rig a sheet or blanket pinned to the wall over the window??? Ah the fun of adjusting to married life and having to combine such strongly-draped feelings :) So, there you go you dating and engaged couples you. You may THINK you’ve covered all the big issues. But you really haven’t. Not until you “discuss” the needs vs. wants of curtains. And if you can survive all these adjustment discussions during the entire first year of marriage, then you deserve to celebrate and I loved helping Jeremy and Ashleigh celebrate this important milestone! Happy 1st Anniversary guys and here’s to many more adjustments and discussions in the future!
Our photographer, Ashley, took Jeremy and Ashleigh out to Antelope Island in Salt Lake City, Utah and styled a darling romantic picnic setup complete with blankets, crates, tablecloth, and place settings.
I loved creating this delightfully ruffled Orange Dreamsicle cake as a nod to the tradition of eating the top tier of your wedding cake on your first anniversary. But instead of eating a dried-out slice of freezer burn, this cake was fresh and delish.
Friends don’t let friends eat year old cake. Don’t believe me? Check the recommendation for how long bread/cake/muffins lasts in the freezer. Yup 4-6 months. So that means if you save your top tier for an ENTIRE year, it’s 6 months past the life expectancy. Gross.
"But Emily? What do we do instead?!?!" Super simple guys. Serve the top tier at your wedding. Or heck, take it and eat it on your honeymoon and don’t share because you know you’re not getting a slice at the wedding. No time for that. And then have your cake artist make you a new one. A fresh one sans the freezer burn and just right for a romantic picnic for two.
Another part of our Giveaway Package was professional hair and make-up by Julie with Blushing Blonde. I love the eye shadow and lip color palette she used and how it pairs perfectly with Ashleigh's skin tones and the barren look of Antelope Island.
Julie also created a romantic half-up knotted do with Ashleigh’s gorgeous red hair. I love all these pops of red, orange, and peach against the rocks and undergrowth out on Antelope Island. But I especially love it with the flowers.
Ashleigh received a gorgeous bridal-esque bouquet to go with her photoshoot. She messaged me a picture of her dress and I was so excited to pair the oranges and creams against her lovely navy blue wrap dress, but then when I saw she was a red head it was serendipitous!
For this bouquet I used a buttery yellow stock, cream and yellow daffodils, cream and orange alstromeria, orange roses, orange ranunculus, orange freesia, and blue thistle. I also happened to catch the tail end of kumquat and forsythia branches and included those as well! I rounded it all out with gunni eucalyptus and curly willow.
I really wanted the style of the bouquet to reflect the wild, barren crags of Antelope Island, but I went with a navy, orange, and cream color palette to pull the outfits, hair, cake, and picnic setup together. Not many brides choose orange in their color palette, so I was excited to showcase such a vibrant, enthusiastic color and maybe show brides how it can be incorporated into their own wedding colors.
I really hope Jeremy and Ashleigh enjoyed their first anniversary shoot and the gorgeous work done by all the vendors. Be sure and follow me on Instagram at @emily_pearblossom for more giveaway opportunities! Heads up to my blog readers - I'll be doing another giveaway soon!
Sweet dreams of beautiful love and heavenly Orange Dreamsicle cake!
The Pear Blossom
The Pear Blossom
Mint and coral REAL WEDDING. Plus, some super snarky quotes about marriage, because that’s the mood I’m in apparently :)
“Marriage lets you annoy one special person for the rest of your life”
Maybe that’s why I love real weddings so much – because I couldn’t wait to bug my own guy for-ev-er. FOREVER. Sucker. And now I’m passionate about helping other people exasperate each other until one of them dies or eats that last piece of chocolate cake without asking. Whichever one comes first. But I’m thinking it’s usually eating the last piece of cake first, followed by a swift, merciless death. My husband would know. Just ask him about the time he ate my homemade Mac n’ Cheese leftovers :( He’s still breathing and bringing home a paycheck, but only just barely.
I loved getting to be a part of James and Keri’s special day (and Preslie – cause we mustn’t forget James’ sweet daughter!) and I can’t believe that I’ve waited this long to share it with you. Like, embarrassingly long because between their wedding and now, they’ve had a son and he is celebrating his 1st Birthday. So you know, it’s only been about three years. Oh dear. This is an entirely new level of procrastination and overall lameness.
All photos courtesy of: Tracy Hill Photography
“Being married is like having a best friend who doesn’t remember anything you say”
James and Keri met online. Keri had great legs from figure skating and an equally great sense of humor, so James knew they had to meet. And for Keri, James was totally good-looking, intelligent, and an amazing father. They dated for a little over a year before getting engaged. I love these distressed, urban engagement photos!
“The longest sentence you can form with two words is: I Do” –H.L. Mencken
Keri chose a color palette of mint and coral with accents of white and grey. I loved these gorgeous pastels and how she incorporated them throughout the wedding with beautiful details like a mint sash on her tea-length dress and stunning mint pumps.
Wedding Venue: Sleepy Ridge
The bridal bouquet is made up of pale coral roses, succulents, Queen Anne’s lace, dusty miller, and seeded eucalyptus. The texture of the succulents is such a beautiful aspect to the bouquet!
The bridesmaids are carrying the same flowers, just in a smaller scale and James and his best man have boutonnieres of coral roses and dusty miller
Our flower girl/daughter of the groom is decked out in baby’s breath flower crowns that looked so sweet with her flowing flower girl dress and mint sash!
I seriously can't get over this amazing Daddy-daughter combo!
For the ceremony, we filled vases with baby’s breath, Queen Anne ’s lace, and curly willow and lined the entire aisle with them. It was very soft and romantic! James’ daughter Preslie – our #1 flower girl today – walked down the aisle sprinkling handfuls of pale coral rose petals.
When we switched over from the ceremony to a luncheon and reception, this same aisle décor became baby’s breath centerpieces for the luncheon, banquet, and sign-in tables.
“When I said I do I didn’t mean Laundry”
Even though James “doesn’t like cake” (I don’t even know what that means), we won him over with our classic vanilla cake and from-scratch raspberry filling! This small, two-tier wedding cake is frosted in a beautiful mint-colored ombre, although looking back, I really wish I had graded the second color better. The jump from light to dark is too drastic. Too late now, but I definitely adjusted it for future ombre cakes!
“They say marriages are made in heaven, but so are lightning and thunder” –Clint Eastwood
Before we knew it is was time to toss the bouquet… (but a separate one made of larkspur and baby's breath because Keri couldn't stand the thought of chucking her beautiful bouquet to the hordes of feral children wanting to tear into it :) And yes, the picture on the right is my daughter trying to rip the bouquet out of Preslie's hands, even though Preslie caught it fair and square)...
...And head on out of there! How perfect is this bubble send off?!?! I've honestly never seen those teensy-tiny bottles of wedding bubbles work so well. Normally when my clients want to do a bubble send-off, I recommend having a bubble hurricane machine placed strategically for the photos.
My favorite part of this whole wedding was seeing how Keri and James created not just a new marriage, but a new family and shared their special day with their daughter Preslie. Keri may not be Preslie’s biological mom, but I know Preslie feel so lucky to have “her own Keri” and I loved how these two showered each other with love and affection throughout the entire wedding planning process and on the wedding day. It can’t be easy sharing your Daddy when you’ve been his only girl for so long, but Preslie made it look delightful.
Congrats Keri, James, and Preslie (and now baby Jamen - I'll just hang my head in shame that this took so long)
And death to homework...
With Easter over, that can only mean one thing. We’re in the home stretch for school to end! I’ve almost made it guys. Some of you are probably awesome and still cruising, but for me, I’m hanging on by my fingernails for these last 6 weeks of school. Matching outfits, cute hairdos, and those troublesome little Boxtops have flown out the window, but homework still hangs over us like a black cloud of death. You want me to initial how many times on this homework? You want my emergent reader to read for how many minutes? And you’re seriously throwing on MORE projects? I’ve got a daughter in Kindergarten and a daughter in third grade and they have so. much. homework. Now, I can’t complain too loudly because my kids are in dual-language immersion and it’s a standard expectation that there is going to be extra work, but this just means that by mid-April, I’m tapped out. Let me give you an idea. This is my KINDERGARTENER’S homework 5 DAYS A WEEK…
This all usually takes 30-45 minutes because have you ever read with an emergent reader?!?! “b-b-b-b-b-b-a-a-a-a-a-a-l-l-l-l-l-l-l-l-l-l-l-l. I don’t know what the word is Mom.” Bless their hearts. So on a typical school day, I get the kids off to school, have time to exercise and shower (maybe), and then the Kindergartener gets home and it’s time to do lunch and homework. And by the time we finish that, it’s about time for my third grader to get home and I start homework with her. Her homework looks like this…5 days a week:
And then by the end of this, it’s pretty much dinner time, bed time, and then before I know it the whole day is gone and I feel like I’ve spent all day getting kids to and from school and making sure homework gets done.
On a positive, not whiny note, homework time is some of our best time together. My kids (right now) enjoy doing homework (fingers crossed I’m not jinxing myself) and love sharing what they learned at school. Nine times out of 10, it’s a very positive 30-45 minutes for me to spend with each child. But…BUT, I’m tired and I’m ready to feel like I have a little more freedom and flexibility to my schedule again. I’m ready for the girls to come home from school and spend their afternoons playing outside and riding bikes. I’m REALLY ready to lock them in the backyard to jump on the trampoline while I make dinner. And I definitely wouldn’t complain if their teachers sent a note home saying there was no homework the last two weeks of school – or three – or four.
So “Hallelujah” for Easter, sunshine, the end of school, and those care-free days of summer that are just around the corner. A six-week long corner, but hey it’s coming. And a toast to all those parents who are dragging themselves across the finish line and initialing that they did the race :)
Ashley with Hawkeye Photography and I are spreading some sunshine and cheer on the blog today with this LDS Baptism photo shoot, complete with loads of great ideas for celebrating your little guy or gal’s special day. These would also be such great ideas to use for a communion or christening, but because I’m not Catholic, I’m not even going to try to pretend I have an in-depth knowledge of those special ceremonies. I know the basics, but definitely not specifics, so I’m sharing what we did with our daughter for her LDS Baptism and then leaving it to you to incorporate and enjoy in your religious ceremonies or family traditions. You can learn more about our doctrine of baptism here.
When it came to Saira’s baptism dress, I was pretty particular. So many communion or baptism gowns look way over the top and prom-y, but I wanted a dress that really reflected the sweet innocence of her age, which is just shy of 8 years old in these pictures. Saira and I shopped and shopped and I nixed out floor-length, ball gown, or prom style dresses and instead let her choose from some really darling crocheted lace dresses on Light in the Box. Which is basically how I parent. “Here you choose what you like from a selection of things that I’m OK with.” :) I don’t know if her exact dress is still up on the website, but it is really similar to this one here. I love these sweet, simple white flower girl dresses.
Disclaimer: We ordered from Light in the Box and had a great experience, but I’ve talked to other friends who had horrible shipping times and dress fitting disasters, leaving them stranded at the last minute with nothing for their event. If you order from Light in the Box, I would just say make sure you measure your child really carefully, read reviews and the questions asked on the dress you're picking out, and make sure you understand the return policy.
A special surprise for Saira was a flower crown to go with her baptism dress. I made this white flower crown with dahlias, baby’s breath, and greenery and then styled it on simple rope twist braids into a half up do. With three girls, I’ve had to become at least moderately proficient at hair, so while I’m no professional, I’m really happy with how Saira’s hair and flower crown turned out.
Ashley with Hawkeye Photography did Saira’s baptism photo shoot at the Payson LDS Temple. This is the temple closest to our home, but we also love Payson, UT because that’s where my Dad was from and we still have a lot of extended family there today :)
All the tulips, daffodils and spring flowers were in bloom which made the grounds absolutely gorgeous. And even though there was a freezing cold wind blowing (it was cold enough we were feeling pretty guilty making that girl be out there for pics!), Ashley managed to infuse so much warmth and light into the pictures. I loved this picture so much and decided to use this for creating her baptism announcement/invitation as well. I went through West Willow on Etsy and she did a fantastic job creating this announcement.
Another fun surprise for Saira was taking her CTR ring shopping and letting her pick out a CTR (Choose the Right – kind of like the Mormon version of WWJD) ring. We maybe had to compromise a little because of course she wanted the ring with CZ’s in it and it was totally gaudy, but we ended up with this sweet ring. I don’t think there is anything cuter than those little hands! And phew her nails were even *mostly clean :)
For her actual baptism day, I created a photo book in Shutterfly of a selection of her baptism photos for guests to sign when they came to the baptism. I also e-mailed all her great-grandparents, grandparents, aunt, uncles, and cousins who have been baptized and asked them to share a photo and a memory of their baptism day. Now, we have a LARGE extended family and didn’t get a response from everyone, or not everyone had a photo, so it's not any sort of completed project, but we collected some really amazing memories. One of Saira’s great-grandparents, for example, was baptized on Dec. 7 1941 and shared an amazing story about how the bombing of Pearl Harbor changed their plans and lives that day in a little small town in Utah. These are the kinds of stories that are lost forever if someone doesn’t record them, so I was really grateful for those that were able to take some time and share a special memory with us and I plan on trying to track down a few more to add to the book each time one of my children gets baptized.
I took a screen shot of the photo book right in Shutterfly on the page with my baptism picture on the left and Saira's on the right :) My picture was taken shortly before my older brothers threw a basketball at my head...ahhh special memories.
My mom and I also made Saira a beautiful baptism quilt. It’s an all-white cotton print and cotton eyelet lace lap-size quilt top with white dipple-dot minky backing that I had quilted in an image of the Salt Lake Temple and then also in -some swirls of CTR shields. It turned out so so cute, but I totally failed to get a good picture of it so you’re left with this phone pic :(
Saira’s Oma made her this fun baptism bag full of items and pictures that will help her remember the doctrine behind baptism as well as the covenants one makes with God when baptized. Saira loves to pull this out on a Sunday afternoon after church and play with the different little pieces.
Finally, Saira’s Nana Katie – a dear, sweet long-time family friend – monogrammed a fluffy white towel for her to use at her baptism and then have as a keepsake.
After her baptism, we had an informal luncheon for all the guests. It was a great afternoon of family, friends, great food, and a special baptism cake that would be beautiful as a christening or communion cake as well.
We’re so grateful for all the effort family and friends went to in order to help Saira feel loved and cherished on her special day!
Meet the Designer
Emily first fell in love with flowers while studying floral design at Brigham Young University-Idaho in 2002. She did her first wedding that same summer and has been designing weddings ever since. With over 12 years of experience in the floral and wedding industries, Emily loves creating flowers that bring beautiful colors, textures, and most importantly, memories to every event.