An Officer and a Gentleman

Today is my fiance's birthday, so this post is dedicated to him. I actually haven’t provided much background on Niall in this blog, mostly because he is a pretty private person. Oh and wedding planning isn’t exactly his go-to hobby. But there is one thing I am particularly proud of about Niall that we plan on highlighting in our wedding. Niall is a Marine so we are planning to have a sword ceremony at our wedding.

A sword ceremony gives a symbolic pledge of loyalty to the newly married couple from their Marine family. Immediately after the marriage ceremony is officiated, the Marines position themselves just outside the doorway of where the ceremony took place. On the command, the Marines raise their swords into a high arch and the newly married couple proceeds through the arch. Oh and sometimes they tap the bride's behind...

Although no longer in active duty, Niall left a promising career in finance as a 26-year old to enter Officer Candidates School and later deploy to Iraq. I didn’t know him then and am truly grateful for that, because I think his deployment would have driven me crazy with worry. I had actually never met anyone my age who was in the military before meeting Niall. So to meet someone who left his career in his mid-twenties to serve his country was astonishing to me, completely selfless and brave, but astonishing.

Isn’t he handsome…

He gets uncomfortable when people thank him for his service, because, as he says, there are plenty of people who gave their life and he got to come home. Nor does he think he has done anything all that special or worth bragging about (I am sure he will be very embarrassed by this post!). But to me, he is one of the most gallant and honorable men I have ever met.

The sword ceremony is just a small tip of the hat to Niall’s life as a Marine and of course to all those men and women who have served our country. I am so proud to be marrying a man like Niall, and I bet Madeline and all of the other soon-to-be wives and husbands of our military feel the same.

So on that note, and because I am tearing up too much to see my computer screen, Happy Birthday, Niall! I am truly honored that I get to spend the rest of my life with you. Teammates…

Credits: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

Creative Ceremony Altars

A couple is at the altar for a very short amount of time, but that time is still the most important part of the whole day. I didn't want to go overboard on that area, but I definitely wanted it looking perfect. We actually use all of our ceremony decor somewhere else during the reception which was a great little perk :) These are some totally fun and amazing ways to dress up your altar. Some are simple and some....not even I would know how to do at this moment! But if you want to undertake any of these projects, I would love to learn how to do them!  And for another favorite ceremony altar idea, I posted it over here.

Source: 100 Layer Cake, Elizabeth Anne Designs, Tecpetaja Photography, Source,

{Real Wedding} Ryan and Liz: Ceremony

This ceremony was so amazing. The lighting, the breeze, the trees and flowers; the setting was perfect. The ceremony was performed by a family friend and was completely tailored to fit their style and their vows.

Photography: Jason + Anna Photography Florals: Wildflower Event Florals Programs: Designed by Liz. Check out her Etsy Shop Venue: Murietta's Well. Livermore, CA Dress: Vineyard Collection (for sale!) Bridesmaid Dresses: Express, H&M, Forever 21, etc. Boys Attire: Express for Men

See the rest of this wedding: Getting Ready, First Look, Ceremony, Reception