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Things I Learned From Our Rainy Wedding Day

Posted in Adventures, Reflections
on June 2, 2017

How is it possible that it’s already been a year since we stood in the rain in front of our friends and family and said our vows? Our wedding day was, in a lot of ways, not at all like I imagined it. But somehow it ended up perfect all the same. 

 

On June 3rd, 2016, I woke up to an absolutely perfect morning. I went for a 6am drive to go find some lilacs, and take a few minutes to myself before the day got started. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky, and I thought maybe the forecast for a 90% chance of rain was wrong. 

 

A few hours later, we were getting ready, sipping mimosas and listening to music when we heard the unmistakable sound of a torrential downpour outside – and it didn’t really stop from then on. Having a rainy outdoor wedding isn’t what I would have chosen for myself. Of course, no one, when planning an outdoor wedding, expects or wants the weather to be crappy.

 

In my new part-time job as a wedding coordinator at the venue where we got married (more on that soon), I’ve worked at weddings where the weather is absolutely perfect, and weddings where the bride is nearing a panic attack due to the unexpected rain or cold. But having our wedding on an incredibly rainy day taught me a lot of things, so I thought I’d share them with you!

 

1. You can’t control the weather, but you can prepare for it

Obvious, I know. And yet, while planning our wedding, I honestly gave very little thought to weather concerns until just a couple weeks before the wedding. Every bride assumes their wedding day will be perfect, because that’s what you want, and you spend so much time planning every detail. But in reality, the weather is going to do whatever it wants to do, so making a plan is key. About  two weeks before the wedding, I started looking into options for if – God forbid – it rained at our wedding. I bought some cute rain boots, checked in with our photographer and venue coordinator, discussed the option of getting a tent set up over our reception patio, etc. Even though I was still hoping for sun, I prepared in every way I could think of so that the idea of a rainy wedding day wouldn’t be such an unknown. Now I’m glad I did, because it made the day much easier!

2. You can do whatever you want on your wedding day

I realize that this maybe sounds selfish, but it’s also true: your wedding is about you and the person you’re spending your life with, so you are the only two people who get to decide how your wedding day goes. At our venue at the time we got married, the back-up plan was to have the ceremony under a clear tent on the patio. But the whole day, I insisted that we do the ceremony at our original location, in the field ceremony space, because that had been my dream since we booked the venue, and I wasn’t ready to give that up. 

 

I had concerns about this plan. To have our ceremony in the rain meant that all of our guests would have to stand (no one would want to sit on wet benches) and we wouldn’t be able to use the sound equipment, which was a major bummer. I felt like I was inconveniencing our guests and being selfish, until my wonderful then-fiance, family and friends reminded me that it was our day. The decision was made, we let our guests know what was going on, and we had a rainy outdoor ceremony. And I’m so, so glad we did. Our guests still tell us that it was such a memorable and fun day. 

Even my 96-year-old grandpa was willing to stand in the rain for us!

 

3. Rain makes colors pop – and rainy day photos are amazing

This is what our photographer, Becca at Just Be. Photographs, told me when I reached out to her in a panic about having a rainy wedding day. And she was absolutely right. If anything, the rain made the pictures more fun because we were able to be creative with rain boots, an umbrella and some different locations, and no one was squinting or sweating in the sun. Becca did an amazing job with our wedding photos, and I don’t think having a rainy wedding affected that at all – if anything, the rain made them better! 

 

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4. Rainy day accessories are fun

This goes along with the last point, but finding bright rain boots and cute umbrellas for our wedding day was so much fun, and helped to make the day less dreary. I wore purple rain boots for the whole wedding until the dance, and they were comfortable, dry, and also cute for pictures! 

 

 

5. The weather doesn’t matter

We didn’t get our sunset pictures, our guests couldn’t fully hear the ceremony, we weren’t really able to play lawn games or have a bonfire, and a few people weren’t able to make it to the wedding because of the muddy roads. This was all disappointing, and I’d be lying if I said there’s not part of me that wishes we’d had perfect weather. 

 

But at the end of the day, our wedding was about the two of us, standing (in the rain) in front of all of our closest family and friends, declaring our love to one another. It was joyful, it was fun, it was memorable, and it was everything we hoped it would be. 

 

To this day, the sound of rain brings back happy memories for me, and I smile every time I think about throwing our umbrella down for our first kiss as husband and wife, or when Cyder (my dog of honor) laid down in the mud and rain during our ceremony. 

 

Your wedding day is one of the biggest, happiest days of your life, and rain or cold or clouds can’t change that. It’s still the most special of days, and I look back with so many lovely memories. 

 

We’re going to be starting a new tradition tomorrow for our anniversary that I can’t wait to share with you next week, but for now I want to hear from you! Have you attended a rainy wedding? What was the weather like for your wedding? Did you have an outdoor ceremony? I’d love to hear from you! 

Follow along with my DIY and homemade adventures on Instagram, FacebookTwitter, Pinterest and Bloglovin’  for more of my day-to-day life and projects! Happy creating!

 

{Interested in collaborations, or have questions, comments, or feedback for me? Please feel free to email at emma@byemmawithlove.com – I’m always happy to chat!}

 

My Lilac Love Affair

Posted in Reflections
on May 18, 2017

Since we moved into our house at the end of the summer last year, this spring has been an interesting experiment as we see the plants that grow in our yard. About a month ago, I made an exciting discovery. I was in the backyard with Cyder, at the edge of the yard where we have several bushes. It was there that I noticed something wonderful. 

I immediately ran into the house and proceeded to freak Steven out by running around the house giddy with excitement over the fact that we have four lilac bushes in our yard. If you know me, you know I have a thing for lilacs. 

Growing up, lilacs were my mom’s favorite flower, and my sister and I would run down the street, scissors and a vase in hand, every spring to pick a bouquet for Mother’s Day. Something about the smell and the tiny delicate flowers left a huge impression on me. Even after leaving home, lilacs became my favorite flower, and I would hunt them down every spring to be able to have some in my home, even for just a few days.

Last spring during preparations for our wedding, I talked to my amazing cousin/florist about the possibility of having lilacs in my wedding bouquet. She gently warned me that since lilacs only bloom for a short period of time, finding them for a June 3rd wedding would be a long shot. I accepted that it was probably not an option, until the day before the wedding, when I drove through Lake City, MN on my way to our wedding venue. There, all by themselves on the side of the road, I saw them – a row of perfect lilac bushes still in bloom! 

Which is exactly how, on my wedding day, I ended up waking up at 6 AM to go for a little drive and a mission all by myself. I was armed once again with a pair of scissors, and a bucket that my mom scored from our waiter at dinner the night before (thanks, mom!). I drove to Lake City, ran to the lilac bushes and found every single bloom I could possibly fit into a bucket. I was bound and determined to have lilacs on my wedding day. I can only imagine what the people driving by must have thought of the girl on the side of the highway, picking lilacs at 6 AM. The whole drive back to our hotel, I inhaled the sweet scent of lilacs and enjoyed the calm time before an incredibly busy and surreal day. 

My lovely sister and maid of honor was happy to help put lilacs in our ceremony decor, and the end result was beautiful – just the right pop of color along the aisle. 

My sweet husband doesn’t quite get my obsession with these flowers. I stop at every bush I see while we’re out on a walk with the dog or exploring on the weekends, in order to take yet another picture and smell the characteristic scent. He just laughs at me impatiently, but I can’t resist!  

Now, as I fill every vase, basket and jar in our home with fresh lilacs, I’m feeling incredibly nostalgic – for my childhood, my homes throughout the years and for our wedding day, which was almost a year ago! I think it’s so crazy how a scent can bring back so many memories, but I’m so very thankful that I’ll get to relive these memories year after year, with the beautiful lilacs in our yard. 

With our 1 year wedding anniversary coming up in just a couple weeks, I have a couple more wedding-related posts for you coming up soon. I can’t help but think back to our beautiful wedding day! But for now, I want to know: do you have a flower or scent that has special significance to you? What’s the story behind it? I’d love to hear from you! 

Follow along with my DIY and homemade adventures on Instagram, FacebookTwitter, Pinterest and Bloglovin’  for more of my day-to-day life and projects! Happy creating!

 

{Interested in collaborations, or have questions, comments, or feedback for me? Please feel free to email at emma@byemmawithlove.com – I’m always happy to chat!}

 

Sunday Adventures: St. Croix Falls, WI

Posted in Adventures, Reflections
on October 23, 2016

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Another Sunday, another adventure!

 

A couple weeks ago, Steve and I decided to plan a day out of town to enjoy the fall colors. My original idea was to go to Duluth, MN, since it’s absolutely gorgeous in the fall, but it’s also a 2.5 hour drive, which is a bit much for a day trip. 

 

Instead, we decided to get in the car, Nikes and Wine Passports (yes, this is a real thing) in hand, and drive until we saw some great fall colors. It turns out we didn’t need to go very far – we ended up stopping in St. Croix Falls, WI, about an hour north of our house in Prescott. 

 

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Cascade Falls in Osceola, WI

 

I had been begging to go hiking for awhile, so our first stop was Interstate State Park, where we hiked three of the trails. We were not disappointed. Interstate State Park is a beautiful combination of bluff, river, lake, valleys, and tons of trees, plants and wildlife. We saw everything from young families on the easier trails and lookout points to seasoned rock climbers belaying down bluffs – truly something for everyone! I’m somewhat of a beginner when it comes to hiking, but we did a couple of the more off-path trails, and climbed some rocks too. It was honestly the best way to spend a morning with Steve; the weather was perfect and we were able to relax and slow down a bit. 

 

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After leaving the park, we went in search of a Sunday drink somewhere, and wouldn’t you know, we found a new winery to try! Chateau St. Croix is one of the most unique and beautiful wineries I’ve been to yet. It’s designed after a chateau in France, and it really did feel as if we stepped into Europe for a couple hours.

 

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The winery was very generous with their pours for our wine tasting, and we were able to walk around the vineyard and sit in the courtyard while we enjoyed trying a few delicious wines. I feel pretty confident in saying we’ll be back again soon. 

 

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On our way home, we stopped at an antique shop/flea market, where I found some great gems and got some ideas for upcycling projects for the new house. I’ve been working on lots of projects this weekend that I can’t wait to share with you! Stay tuned for our living room before and after photos, my trunk makeover, and a tutorial for DIY no-sew curtains on a budget! 

 

Have a great week! 

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Sunday Adventures: Winona, MN

Posted in Adventures, Reflections
on October 16, 2016

 

Elmaro Winery in Trempaleau, WI

Elmaro Winery in Trempaleau, WI

I tend to describe myself as pretty boring. I spend most of my time either working on stuff for school (ah, the life of a new teacher), cooking/baking, working on DIY projects, and watching Netflix or reading. So basically I’m an old lady most of the time. And I’m okay with that. 

 

If you asked me to share my hobbies, normally those would be the only thing I list. But a couple weeks ago, one of my dear friends informed me that I do stuff ALL THE TIME apparently – meaning my semi-regular day trips to surrounding towns and cities. 

 

I hadn’t even realized that it’s not something everyone does. Steve is from a small town, and he has always loved just driving around, windows down, music playing, exploring the area and finding new places to see and things to do. So for a few years now, that has become my new normal, and it’s become something of a Sunday tradition for us.

 

It’s no secret that one of my absolute favorite things to do is visit nearby wineries. A few years ago, Steve and I went with some of his family members on a winery tour to several Wisconsin wineries, and our eyes were opened to the abundant number of gorgeous vineyards in the MN/WI area! Wine tasting became a fun new way for us to see new towns and enjoy delicious food and wine, all in a super budget-friendly way. 

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Me in my natural habitat

The hubby and I went to school at Winona State University in Winona, MN, and if you haven’t had the privilege of visiting Winona, I highly recommend it. It’s an “island town” set between bluffs, two lakes and the Mississippi river, and it’s truly beautiful in every season. My favorite, though, is the fall. 

 

The Winona area has several apple orchards, wineries, hiking trails and numerous other options for enjoying the fall weather, all within just a few minutes from the town. If you venture into the surrounding towns, such as Trempaleau or Fountain City, WI, you can find even more. Which is exactly what I like to do each time I go back to visit Winona. 

 

I’m lucky to have several friends and my sister who still live in Winona, so I have an excuse to visit anytime I want. When Steve was out of town a couple weekends ago, I decided to make the trip down for the day (it’s only an hour and a half from our new house!) and spend some time with my best friend on a gorgeous fall day. 

 

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We didn’t plan these matching outfits…

 

I’m sure I’ll be featuring more of Winona’s charming attractions on the blog in the future, but for now, enjoy a glimpse into a couple of the great places to visit while on a day trip to the Winona area. 

 

1. The Drive

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Lake Pepin in Lake City, MN

In order to get to Winona and it’s surrounding area, you can (or should) take the Great River Road. This scenic route takes you right along the river and bluffs the whole way, through quaint river towns and stunning views of the river and Lake Pepin, and makes for a perfect Sunday drive. 

 

2. Orchards

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It may make me a little boring, but there’s nothing I love more than a trip to an apple orchard/pumpkin patch in the fall. Especially an orchard like Eckers, which has a beer garden for guests to enjoy, complete with craft beers, lawn games and live music. Talk about a perfect fall day! 

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Is it just me, or would this be the perfect location for a fall wedding?!

Is it just me, or would this be the perfect location for a fall wedding?!

3. Wineries

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I don’t really think much more needs to be said here. I love wine, and the Winona area has a multitude of wonderful wineries within just a few minutes. My favorite, by far, is Elmaro Winery in Trempaleau, WI, which is a charming winery sitting in a valley surrounded by bluffs. The wines are amazing and this winery also features special events almost every day (Yoga and wine? Painting and wine? Food and wine? Yes please.) We listened to some live music while sipping on a bottle glass of their limited-release spiced wine, and it was the perfect way to relax on a fall afternoon, catching up with a wonderful friend. 

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We also visited Seven Hawks Vineyards in Fountain City, WI (just about 10 minutes from Winona), which is a lovely little winery with a more laid-back vibe and free wine tasting! (They also made a sangria last fall that inspired my Caramel Honeycrisp Sangria, so obviously I’m a fan.) 

 

The Winona area is also full of tons of places to hike up in the bluffs if that’s your thing, ranking from beginner to advanced rock climbing, or you can rent canoes and kayaks for a ride along the lake! You can also find lots of cute shops for antiques and gifts, and delicious coffee. Needless to say, I’m pretty in love with this place. It’s a wonderful day trip or weekend getaway, and I urge you to visit if you’ve never had the chance! 

 

I hope you enjoy seeing a little glimpse into my weekend adventures  – I’ll be back next week with some more exploring with the hubby! Happy Sunday! 

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New Home, New Adventures

Posted in Adventures, Reflections
on September 6, 2016

Hi friends, sorry for the extended absence! 

 

If you had told me at the beginning of the summer that we’d be buying a house before the end of it, I wouldn’t have believed you. I’m a compulsive planner, and we did not plan to buy a house so soon after getting married. But hey, life is a constant adventure, the stars aligned, and we bought our dream house a few weeks ago! Needless to say, life has been a little crazy and I haven’t had time for much else besides packing, moving, and unpacking (I also start back at school tomorrow for my first year of teaching!) – but I finally found some time to post a quick life update!

 

This is our new home!

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Probably my favorite thing about our house so far

Probably my favorite thing about our house so far – now we just need a porch swing!

It was built in 1867 (almost 150 years old!) by the town carpenter, and was beautifully restored and updated by the owners before us. The only project that needed to be done upon moving in was to freshen up the interior paint colors, which I’m already almost done with (yes, I tend to go over-the-top on everything). Before and afters of the inside of the house will be posted here soon.

So. Much. Painting.

So. Much. Painting.

 

This house represents many “firsts” for me. We moved from the Twin Cities to Prescott, WI, which is a small town of about 4000 just across the MN/WI border, about 30 minutes from downtown St. Paul. So this house is not only our first house and home buying experience, but also my first time living in a small town! Let me tell you, small town life is a whole new thing for me. Any new person we meet is able to instantly identify our house, and also knows everyone else who we’ve met. But I can’t complain, because the people here are so nice and welcoming!

 

And let’s talk about the town, too. Prescott is equal parts tourist destination and quiet, quaint river town. On the weekends, downtown is buzzing with boaters, bikers, and Sunday drivers who come for the food, drinks, shops and beautiful location. During the week, downtown is the perfect place for an evening stroll or a quiet cup of coffee at Twisted Oak Coffee House.

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Definitely not complaining about this view.

 

We live just three blocks away from downtown, meaning we’re a 5 minute walk away from the river, amazing pizza, burgers, coffee, ice cream, cocktails and New Glarus Spotted Cow (my Wisconsin friends will appreciate that one). We also have so many other towns nearby where we can find wineries (need I say more?), shopping, food, and hiking, all while being within commuting distance from our Twin Cities jobs and friends. I have to say, I’m loving it here.

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River Rocks Treats is the perfect place for a scoop of ice cream or some homemade candy and chocolates!

 

Steve and I spotted the first trees changing colors along the river this weekend, and I have a feeling that autumn in Prescott will be just as gorgeous as the summer! I can’t wait to share all of my home decor ideas, room makeovers and DIY projects with you all from our new home.

 

Stay tuned for more to come shortly! Hints: upcycled antiques, farmhouse decor, and delicious fall treats! 

 

Until then,

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