Wedding accessories: what goes with “The Dress”

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Awhile ago I posted the dress where I shared tips about how to choose the right wedding dress. But just as your wedding location, season, and personal style effect your choice of dress, so also your dress’ details effect choosing your accessories.

The Bling: Jewelry: 

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Earrings: My dress was verily simple in design with a few small details with which I drew ideas for accessories. The only real embellishment was a blush sash with pearl and iridescent beading branching into florets. After looking around, I decided to find earrings similar to my sash. So believe it or not I got my wedding earrings from Claires!

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You are already wearing an expensive wedding gown and a beautiful wedding ring there is no reason everything has to cost a pretty penny. With blush roses, a hint of sparkle, and touch of gold these earrings matched my sash perfectly. If you have more than one piercing try to use your lowest ear set for interest and the keep rest simple studs. For my nose piercing, ear cartilage piericng, and  second set of earring holes I used diamond studs with gold.Find a detail of your dress and try to keep it in mind while shopping. It can be the pattern, color theme, or dress materials/detailing such as: silver, white, sequins, gold, or lace.

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 Consider your normal look: Do you wear a lot of jewelry and if so what type are you comfortable with? Going outside of you comfort zone for this special event is understandable but remember you can be stylish and still comfortably personalize your accessorize.

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Bracelet: This jeweled accessory is often skipped because you are carrying a bouquet so few will notice your wrists. I wear bangles on a regular basis so it was appropriate to have at least one bracelet.  I got a free credit at a bridal show for jewelmint.com: a website with the newest affordable jewelry trends and ordered a bracelet with a clasping silver band and a pearl central offset with half bows on both sides. If you do choose to wear a bracelet I suggest keeping it simple such as a string of pearls or a single band of bling.

Rings: You do not want to distract from your new wedding ring. So my suggestion is to not wear any other rings on your left hand. If you want, wear a simple option or two on your right hand.

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Heirlooms: The rings I wore were family heirlooms. One was an opal ring which was passed down from my great-grandmother. My wedding was in October (opal is the month’s birthstone) and it represented my “something blue”. I also wore several simple wedding bands from other great-grandmothers. Last of all, tucked in the pockets of my wedding dress were an old handkerchief from a great-grandmother and a new handkerchief given as a wedding gift. If you have heirlooms to wear, consider their shape and details before buying any other accessories so that they are incorporated into your look.

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My henna covered feet day of my wedding

Filling New Shoes: Choosing the right pair of shoes is important for both aesthetic and practical reasons.  If you have a long formal ceremony consider how long you can stand or move in higher heels. If you are outdoors you do not want your heels to airate the lawn with every step down the aisle. If you are comfortable in heels (meaning you wear them more than once a year) consider your dress length and height of your groom.  I rarely wear heels and if i do they are usually wedges so I bought blush leather flats with gold tips.

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Shoe tips for bridesmaids and brides: Make sure that you bring your shoes to your dress fitting so that your dress can be properly hemmed. Also wear your shoes at least three times before the wedding. This way you are not getting blisters the day off: break them in!

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Hair accessories: Know what hair styles fit your personality, go with your dress, and once again fit the style for the venue. Whether it is a barrette, comb, decorative pins, headband, tiara, or fresh flowers what you choose should once again match/blend with other pieces.

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Veil: . My advice: if you are outdoors and it’s apt to be windy: no veil. In doors and more formal: veil. I chose not to wear a veil partly because my wedding was outdoors and partly because I am not a fan of anything blocking my face. Instead of a veil, I chose a thin double headband covered in beading.  Also, it is important to have your hair accessory(ies) with you for a trial run with your hairstylist so you both know how it will all look the day of.

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Garter:  Many people opt to make their garter represent their “something blue” or they let the ribbon in it catch their bridesmaid’s dress’ color. I chose to order one from an etsy store, with an element of lace, and pearl it fit in perfectly with all of my other accessories.  I chose also to wear two: one for tossing and one for keeping. (I made sure my husband-to-be Luke knew about this so he didn’t give out two to the crowded bachelors that night.)

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 You do not want you garter uncomfortably cutting off the circulation to your leg or making you antsy because it is cheap and itchy. But having some elasticity is important. I gave my thigh measurements to Etsy before ordering, but I lost more weight before the wedding and had to get assistance in between pictures and the reception to get the garter back into place.

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Shrugs and Shawls

If you are having a wedding outdoors and/or at night you may want to consider a small shrug or shawl for you and/or your bridesmaids. Although my wedding was in SoCal, the foothills in October got to be pretty cold by reception time. Realizing what the weather would be like, my mom and I went on a last minute trip to pick up an white shrug with gold threading. During some of the wedding pictures I also borrowed an off-white shawl to keep my shoulders warm. When choosing a shawl or shrug consider color and cut. How flattering is with your dress? Because there will be wedding pictures of you and/or your bridesmaids wearing them.

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Last important tip: Bring all accessories to your final dress fitting. You cannot drag your wedding dress  with you to every jewelry or shoe store.  So keep your receipts for everything and try it all on to double check everything coordinates the way you want it to.

What are your favorite accessories? Do you have one you wear daily even if it’s as simple as a watch?

The Dress

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The Wedding Dress. It is the most expensive dress you will ever wear and the one you will have pictures of forever. But without  direction, shopping for a wedding dress can be an exhausting and frustrating. Here are a few things to consider before   shopping.

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#1 know you budget and stick to it!!!

A. If you don’t know exactly how much you have to spend on a dress you are bound to spend more than you expected. Although workers at bridal shops are extremely helpful and friendly, they are also salespeople. After trying on several “nos” at my first bridal store, out came an off-white dress covered in lace and applique. It was beautiful. Beautiful that is until I heard the cost. So warning: do not even allow them to put you in a dress that you cannot afford-if you are not sure  ask them –before you put it on and fall in love.

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B. Alterations and rush-order fees: Your dress will need basic alterations (hemming and bustling) which can cost a pretty penny. If you need the dress to be pulled in somewhere it will cost extra. Each place has a different rate/policy about alterations-so ask for an estimate.  It is still important to have your dress altered by professionals; trust me it’s worth the money.

Also know your timeline. If you are going to have a short engagement (like I did) you will probably have to pay a rush-order fee. Bridal shops expect you to come in 4/6 months prior to the wedding. When your engagement is less than that you are already behind in their mind. So tell them your wedding date and ask if/how much a rush order fee would be. That may determine which dress you can afford.

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Hint: For all of this it may be helpful to bring along a calculator . Don’t be afraid to ask questions and don’t forget about taxes!!

Note for alterations and trying on samples: Sample dresses have been flattened and worn over and over again. So if you  choose a dress with layers of tulle, when the dress is pressed it will be more full than when you tried it on in the store or even during alterations

For example, during alterations I asked for a layer of tulle to be removed from my modified/mini ball-gown. When I saw the dress pressed it still looked very full. At my outdoor evening wedding reception, the tables and were chairs close together.  Because of this and how full my dress was people ended up stepping on it, pulling the bustle out. After awhile this became pretty frustrating.  So much so that I convinced Luke to not twirl or spin me too much for our first dance for fear I may trip and fall.

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C. There are great options for cheaper dresses:

1.Buy used or vintage.  It know you want your own special dress. But who said a used or vintage dress can’t be special?  The dress can be altered (by professionals) and it will look totally different on you than a previous person. With your wedding, your accessories, no one will care or need to know!

2. Buy off of the sample rack. Some bridal stores have a separate corner where sample dresses are sold. You may wonder about their condition considering how many brides-to-be have tried them on. But for hundreds instead of thousands a small repair in addition to professional alterations and cleaning would be worth it. The bridal shop where I got my wedding dress had sample racks next door. I looked at styles and tried a few things on from different price ranges. Doing this helped me discover I could afford something similar next door.

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#2 Know your shape and style

You will save yourself a lot of dressing rooms if you know what style of dress you like and what flatters your shape. There is nothing wrong with loving the style of a mermaid or trumpet dress but if you are like me and do not have a long torso or narrow hips you may not be happy with the outcome if you try it on. Likewise if you are short or petite a formal ball-gown could swallow you up.

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This is not to say you shouldn’t choose these options. You all have beautiful bodies and you want them to look their best. So pick a style you are comfortable with and feel flattering in. Although I looked good in a lacy A-line they were more expensive and I was a little self-conscious of how prominent my hips were. So I opted for a modified ball-gown that flares out at the waste. If you need help determining your shape and style  check out real simple wedding dress: “perfect dress for your body type”.

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#3 Know your venue and time of year

Where you are getting married and during which season will also make an impact on your dress choice. You do not want to wear a heavy beaded ball-gown at a beach wedding in August. Or a tea-length lacy dress for a winter formal church service.

 I arrived and left the ceremony site by horse drawn carriage.  It was a little challenging with a large dress to find the seat and my dad (arriving) and Luke (leaving) had to support me so my slippery dress didn’t cause me to fall out as we went up/down the hill to/from the wedding site. It was a small issue but your ability to get around and feel comfortable in your wedding dress is important.

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My dress was perfect for me. It it had pockets, a sweetheart neckline, plunging back, embellished blush ribbon, and pearl buttons all the way down the train; simple and classy.  I know there are many beautiful options out there. My hope is this blog has helped you get one step closer to finding the perfect dress for you.

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2013 in review

I know we are a little more than a week into the new year but it has taken me a full week to get back into the normal routine of things (I can’t be the only one who’s in the post-holiday struggle for normality). As I look back on almost a full year with this blog I thought I’d review some of the highlighting events of 2013.

So here is a review of 2013 blog style:

January: survived our first NY winter:  A Lesson in Independence and explored our local museum’s winter events: 2300 degrees

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February: Started a new Valentines tradition: Valentine’s Pie: a New Tradition, and explored what it means to be newly married :Dispelling Marriage MythsMarriage Myth busting: Round 2

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March: Celebrate Luke’s birthday with brewery tours/tastings in Rochester: A Chemistry lesson for a birthday present, Shared about my allergy to barley: Why I am barley free: Part One, and celebrated Easter: Hot Cross Buns and Berry Salad

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April: Celebrated 6 months of marriage: Wow it’s been 6 months!, shared details about our wedding:The Dress and  learning how to look for a job: Patience: giving myself time

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May: Traveled to the West Coast for an Oregon vacation and my brother’s college graduation: Vacation Highlights Part 1: Family TimeVacation Highlights Part 2: Date Days

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June: Went Kayaking in Rochester: Kayaking and BBQ, bottled our first homemade barley-free beer:  Bottling our first homemade brew and celebrated my birthday in Ithaca: An Ithaca birthday Adventure

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July: Explored local festivals: Two festivals and Korean BBQ, Fixed up the front porch: Home Improvement: The Front Porch Project, and traveled to Washington to be apart of pre-wedding events for my brother’s wedding : Pre-wedding Jitters

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August:  Particpated in my soon-to-be sister-in-law’s bridal shower: Stina’s bridal shower and other wedding events, attended two local foodie festivals in NY: Smoke on the WaterTaste of Ellicotville, and hiked a local landmark: Walkins Glen State Park= Gorge-ous

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September: Looked back on my brother’s wedding: The Wedding, and shared more about my job-search: A New Year: Teacher without a classroom

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October: Picked pumpkins and attended an Apple Festival: Picking Perfect Pumpkins;  Apple Fest,  shared about my allergy to tree-nuts:Why I am tree-nut free Part one,  and celebrated a year of marriage with a trip to Niagara Falls :Niagara Falls anniversary Part One

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November: Kept busy with non-blogging activities and shared about them in: busy: and update

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December: Started two new holiday traditions: Post-Parade Cookies and Cocoa and Christmas Concert TSO. Attended our local holiday festival: Sparkle and shared our Christmas with my parents: A Very Corning Christmas present and A handmade and heirloom Christmas

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That is one very full blogging year! And that is only a small portion of the blog-post in this past year and doesn’t include any of my recipes. So what can you look forward to reading about this next year? You’ll find out soon enough.

Something Old . . .Something New in Review

It’s hard to believe, but a year ago today in sunny SoCal’s apple country I married the love of my life!

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As you may have seen in my update last weekend (see Transition reflection) we are spending a long weekend enjoying some great groupon getaway deals at Niagara Falls! (which I’m looking forward to sharing with all of you later).

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But for now I thought I’d  look back and share with you my something old. . . something new . .  list for our wedding. The list was posted on the back of our wedding program along with a thank you to friends and family. This tradition follows an old English rhyme dating back to Queen Victoria but has been adapted by many Americans as a “good luck” charm. Whether you are just curious, want to be reminded, or are considering what to do for your own wedding I hope you enjoy:

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Wedding bands on my pointer finger, opal ring on my ring finger, and handkerchief

Something Old: My great-grandmother’s wedding bands

The something old in tradition would be a handed down heirloom to signify the continuity of lasting marriages from past generations. My mother has both her mother’s and father’s mother’s original wedding bands. She will occasionally wear them for special events.  Both couples were married young in the South in times where wedding rings were only bands and far from as extravagant as they are today. They remind me of simpler times, as part of this tradition one day these rings will again be passed down to me and so on.

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Something New: Wedding Dress

As expected, the something new represents the optimism and bright future ahead for the bride in married life. As most bride’s do I named my wedding dress as my something new.  After all you only wear it once; might as well highlight it! For more about my wedding dress and how I came to decided on what style of wedding dress to wear (see The Dress).

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Something Borrowed: my great-grandmother’s handkerchief and lace from my mom’s bridal bouquet.

Originally, the something borrowed would be a small item from a happily married friend or relative. It is thought that this item would transfer luck or happiness to the newlyweds.  Instead of friends I stuck once again with family  because they were a large part of our wedding theme (for more details on this see Heritage and Sentimental wedding details ). My mom had been handed down a very thin old handkerchief from her mother’s mother to carry at her wedding and I carried it in mine. Growing up the bow from my mother’s bridal bouquet sat in a glass display case along with other precious items in my parent’s home. So it was a great honor to be able to use this same lace around my own wedding bouquet. Other examples of borrowed items: my new sister-in-law Stina (married this past August for more see: The Wedding) borrowed a hair clip of mine for their wedding and my brother borrowed my dad’s monogramed H brown handkerchief for his suit jacket pocket.

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Something Blue: My great-grandmother’s Opal ring

The color blue as mentioned in this rhyme represents purity, fidelity, and love. When my great-aunt passed away my mother was given her mother’s (my father’s mother’s mother) beautiful opal ring. Opal is my mother’s birth-stone. It also happens to be the birth-stone for October the month we were getting married. We found that to be an added bonus to the ring’s wonderful shade of blue.

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And . . . a sixpence in your shoe!

Not many people remember or keep this part of the rhyme. It remains mostly a British tradition because who here owns a sixpence anymore? It originally came from a Scottish variation where the groom would place one in his shoe for financial prosperity and security. Well my grandmother (who’s mother was part scottish) does have a sixpence! She wore this  sixpence in her shoe at her wedding in 1953 they are celebrating 60 years of marriage this fall! The sixpence  was given to two of my cousin’s for their wedding days and then given to me. I this summer was happy to carry on the tradition by pass it down once again to my sister-in-law Stina.

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My grandmother and Stina with the sixpence in her shoe

Who will the sixpence go to next? For right now I don’t know I have two younger unmarried cousins but they are young and no one’s rushing for them to get to the alter. 

Well hope you enjoyed looking back with me and that you are having a great weekend I know I am!

6 months =100 posts

 Hard to believe I started blogging A.Greene’s Adventures 6 months ago. 100 posts later, I have shared with you the ways I have transformed, transitioned, and transcended, into married life in Corning NY.

Looking back, since January we:

Survived our first NY winter

our little home covered in snow
our little home covered in snow

(See: A lesson in Independence2300 degreesmy new hometown)

Settled into our home, state, and name change

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(See: I miss my old lifeBecoming Mrs. ________________Passport to new beginningsThe Game Chest, The front porch project

Celebrated first married holidays just the two of  us

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A very Irish dinner complete with Luke's Irish red ale (I had hard cider).
A very Irish dinner complete with Luke’s Irish red ale (I had hard cider).

(See: Valentines Pie a new traditionHappy St. Patrick’s Day!A (new) Easter traditionHappy Mother’s DayHappy Memorial DayHappy Father’s Day4th of July funfetti cookies,)

Discovered the job market and applied to teaching positions (me).

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(See: The future ispatience: giving myself timeSummer projects, the waiting gameContentment is)

Enjoyed spring and summer festivals:

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(See: Strawberry FestivalStars hollow, fireworks, and minionsTwo festivals,

Learned from each other what our married life looks like:

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(See: Dispelling Marriage MythsMarriage myth busting round 2Sleep after Marriage isn’t always a Dream come TrueHappily Ever After is only the Beginning

Explored the area on drives, hikes, and kayaking

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(See: kayaking and BBqAn Ithaca Birthday Adventure,)

Checked out the best local events and food

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(See:  Sorge’s: local food and wineCabin feverGlassfest, )

Brewed our first homemade barley-free beer

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(See: Why I am barley free part oneA chemistry lesson for a B-day PresentThe home-brewing has begunBottling our first homemade brew,

Created and experimented with many new dinners

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(See: A Vegetarian Mediterranean meal,   A good Spring QuicheGreene’s Tilapia fish tacos

and dessert recipes and found our favorites:

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(See: key lime chocolate cupcakescookies n’ cream pudding popsMocha cupcake oreo brownies)

Reflected back on our wedding as we celebrated each new month of marriage

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(See: Who to choose for your bridal partyWow it’s been 6 monthsThe DressA pictures worthTo the Brides to be . . .)

Spent quality time with family and friends in Oregon

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(See: Our first VacationVacation highlights: Date Days,

Shared in the excitement of my brother’s graduation and engagement

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(See: Wedding Season has BegunFamily Time Vacation Highlights)

Celebrated our birthdays

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(See: Cinnamon Roll Bunt B-day Cake25 is Goldenbirthday in picture review)

Paid off all credit card debt and learned ways to save money after completing a budget class at church

Learned how to maintain and live with one car and no dishwasher

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(See: I’m a New Yorker?!Living without a dishwasherLiving with one car,)

Made new friends

Went to Washington to celebrate my brother’s wedding

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(See: Pre-wedding Jitterscongrats matt and stina! and I promise pictures and details from the wedding are coming soon)

And so much more. Thank you everyone for your encouragement, your comments (here or on facebook), and most of all for sharing in Luke and my lives through reading about our adventures.

If this is your first time exploring my blog, first of all welcome! Also to learn more about my last 6 months  click on the links above, check out the calendar archive ,or look into the categories on the right of my page.

Looking forward to sharing many more adventures,

-A. Greene

No ring bearer? No problem!

About a year ago when Luke and I considered who to be in our wedding we ran into a problem. The only little boys we knew who were old enough to be ring bearers lived out of state or would not be able to come to the wedding. We didn’t want to put pressure on our out-of-state friends and family who had little boys, some of whom already had wedding responsibilities. So to make planning less complicated, we decided to forgo the idea of a ring bearer at all!

Instead we chose Makayla , a close friend of the family, to be our flower girl and bear both job titles and responsibilities.

Mikayla Easter 2011
Makayla Easter 2011

Makayla is the most intelligent, mature, and fun girl I’ve ever been around. Back in California, the two of us had girl nights watching disney movies, making cupcakes or pizza, and talking all evening.

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When I asked Makayla to be my flower girl  it seemed the adults were more excited then her about the idea, but she said yes. So we took her to a store that specialized in formal children’s wear. You could tell she was beginning to warm up to the idea of being a flower girl when she started putting on pretty dresses. Finally Makayla tried on a dress that she didn’t want to change out of.  She obviously felt like a very important princess in it. With no hesitation we bought her the dress knowing she was now ready and comfortable with being the flower-girl.

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coloring at my bridal shower

The day of my wedding Makayla patiently sat as her mom did intricate braiding of her hair. I was close by also having my hair done.

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When wedding time came, Makayla took on her role like a pro. Dropping flowers from her basket, she went down the aisle with a smile. But her job as a ring bearer meant  she also carried in her basket a wooden box my dad made with our wedding rings in it.

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At the end of the aisle she carefully handed the wood box to the best man and walked over to sit with her parents. It all worked out perfectly.

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So Thank You Makayla for being an amazing flower girl and being a big part of our special wedding day!!