Category Archives: Wedding

Considerations for Planning a Long Distance Wedding

planning a long distance weddingIt’s time for another #WeddingWednesday! Lately I’ve been feeling a bit nostalgic for wedding planning (I never thought I’d say that!). I originally wanted a fall wedding because I love the flowers that are in-season and the crisp, cool weather. But one of Steve’s few requests was to not plan a wedding that could conflict with football games, so we had a spring wedding. Now seeing everyone’s fall hues and sunflower bouquets, I am getting a little jealous!

I also mentioned feeling nostalgic because there was one part in particular of planning a long distance wedding that I really enjoyed with Steve. That was planning a long-distance wedding. Our wedding was about five hours from Chicago, so we designated a few weekends to drive to Dayton, Ohio, and do some in-person meetings and logistics. I cherish memories of those weekends because it was just the two of us – neither of our families are from Dayton – and we were acting as a team. I went to college in the city but a lot has changed, so in between vendor meetings we explored the city for a good cup of coffee or took a break at a brewery.

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Wedding Wednesday: Get Your Guy Involved In Planning

how to get your groom involved in wedding planningOnce Steve and I got engaged the questions started flying at us: Did you set a date? What’s the venue? What do the bridesmaids’ dresses look like? I immediately felt overwhelmed by the thought of planning a wedding! And the feeling didn’t go away until the ceremony began. With all the details expected of couples these days – gift bags, favors, day-after brunches – it’s enough to make a girl lose her mind. Luckily, Steve was very involved in our planning process, a fact that made me feel grateful and appreciate him even more. But then, it was also something I expected of the him as a fiancé. The wedding was half his party, too. In fact, he’s the one who had some very particular requests like a craft beer selection at the bar. He was looking forward to the party aspect of the whole thing, while I was fretting over the decisions that had to be made to get us there.

The way we each went into the planning is something I hear from many women. The guys are looking forward to having a great time with friends and family. The brides are worried over costs and responsibilities. I thought it might be helpful for me to share tips on how to get your groom involved in wedding planning. I realize this topic or some of the tips may come off as sexist, which is not my intent. However, I know some people still have a sexist attitude toward wedding planning: that it’s the bride’s big day and she should do the work. I don’t agree with that, and if you’re engaged or have been, I bet you don’t either.

Here are my suggestions on how to get your groom involved in wedding planning:

1. Make wedding meetings fun, not a hassle. Maybe you want to meet the wedding planner Wednesday night, but that’s the night your guy already has plans with his bro. Instead of planning meetings for inconvenient times for one or both of you, try to make it a date night. Once you’re done with your venue walk through, go down the street to that new restaurant you’ve wanted to try. Or head to the brewery that carries the craft beer that will be served at your wedding. (Steve and I did that during one wedding planning trip and it was a great way to unwind.)

2. Give your groom responsibilities, but ones he can handle. During one linens meeting Steve was in, I noticed he had a dazed look in his eyes. I realized he had no idea what these “runners” were that we were discussing. Lesson learned, he wouldn’t be choosing our linens. However, there’s a lot Steve could, and did, do. He had an opinion on the beer and food served at the wedding, so I gave him the job of finalizing our catering contract. He also was a huge help the week before the big day once I gave him a list of places he needed run to simply to pick up decor I had already ordered and paid for.

3. Talk about costs and what goes into a wedding before you start planning. Toward the end of our wedding planning, Steve said if he’d known in advance how much work it was he would have eloped. Ugh, hello! That’s what I said the moment we got engaged. No, I truly wouldn’t have eloped, but there were other ways I envisioned the wedding because I knew it would cut back on costs and headaches. Though I was truly happy with the way it turned out, I wonder if it wouldn’t have been easier to reign Steve in had he had a better understanding of what it takes to make a wedding.

To help your guy understand what’s going to be required of the two of you, start by looking up average costs of weddings in your area or estimates for things he mentions he’d like to have. Will he budge on the video photobooth once he sees the cost? There’s one less vendor to coordinate, too. Is he really willing to spend $50 a head to feed those guys from his freshmen year dorm that he insists need to be there, although they haven’t talked in 10 years? I’m not saying you need to fight about every cost and what’s important to who, but it helps to see how every decision fits into the overall budget you two (hopefully) decided on.

4.Talk to your guy about details at other weddings. We started looking at other weddings with a different eye once our planning process began. After each wedding we debriefed on what elements we might want to incorporate into our own. Coming to an understanding of what one another liked and expected to see at our own wedding helped us plan out all of our needs even more.

how to get your groom involved in wedding planning

So no, there will probably never be a smooth wedding planning process (if you’ve had one, I’m jealous), but I can say that having Steve’s support during ours made me a lot less stressed. I can only imagine what my stress levels would have been had Steve not helped! I truly hope you can get your groom involved in wedding planning, so you can both look back at your special day and know you did it together.

Did you miss the beginning of our love story? Check out:

Photos by Tonya Espy Photography


Chicago Bachelorette

This post continues Bachelorette Week on Sincerely, Jennie. Read Monday’s post for the story on my unexpected Charleston trip, and Tuesday’s post for bride-worthy outfits and accessories.

Chicago bachelorette

So I couldn’t spend all week talking about bachelorette fun without mentioning my coworkers. Remember how my bachelorette party in Charleston didn’t go quite as planned? One of the first people I texted for support was my coworker Marissa. Coworkers sometimes know more about your day-to-day life than other friends, and that applied here. Marissa had heard for weeks about what I wanted to do on the trip, what I’d wear, etc. She’s always so supportive both with professional and personal issues, that I reached out to her when I got the bad news about my friends’ flights.

In addition to Marissa, I work with a special group of people and throughout my wedding planning they became even closer to me than just coworkers. Especially when they went to great lengths to throw Steve and me a bridal shower and bachelorette party – complete with an unsanctioned Snapchat filter and a big surprise! (more…)

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Category: Wedding


And the Bride Wore White

This post continues Bachelorette Week on Sincerely, Jennie. Read Monday’s post for the story on my unexpected Charleston trip, and Friday’s post about a special coworker bachelorette in Chicago.

white dresses for bachelorette party

I never thought I’d be that girl searching for every white dress or “bride” T-shirt once I got engaged. But as my bridal calendar started to fill up, I found myself also filling up online shopping carts with those things. Truly, I don’t have a lot of opportunities in life to wear a white dress (the last time I think I had one was for college graduation), so I was excited to wear white to signify that I was a bride-to-be. I used Rent the Runway Unlimited so that I could have access to many white dresses and bridal accessories. Paying a flat fee per month I thought I’d have a rotating closet, and not several white dresses hanging in my closet that I wouldn’t wear again. (For those who don’t use Rent the Runway, scroll to the bottom to see my round up of white dresses for bachelorette party events.)

white dresses for bachelorette party

Throughout my engagement I found myself using the Unlimited program differently than I’d planned. For two of my bridal showers I ended up choosing pink dresses. I chose those simply because pink is my signature color and the style of the dresses suited me better. I only found one white dress on the site that ended up being a great white dress for bachelorette party activities in Charleston. In the end, Unlimited came in handy because of their clutches fit for a bride, like this Kate Spade clutch that I would only ever carry during an engagement, and jewelry options for my wedding. Can’t wait to share wedding photos so you see what I rented for the big day!

white dresses for bachelorette party

In the end, I did purchase a white dress for my reception party dress because I wanted the option to alter it if needed. (Luckily, there was no need and it was a really affordable price for the party!) Friends got me fun T-shirts or accessories for a bride, and I purchased a few when I saw them on sale. I decided that I would be engaged for one fun year of my life, and I wanted to enjoy it by wearing any silly graphic T-shirts I wanted! Renting was an option I was happy to have at my fingertips, but I also liked purchasing some items for keeps.

white dresses for bachelorette partyThe shoes are sold out, but Banana Republic has the same style in an adorable polka dot fabric! | Lipstick – MAC Liptensity Claretcast | Kendra Scott earrings via Rocksbox {get one month free with code “SincerelyJennieXOXO} | similar Do Not Disturb hat 

Below are options I’ve rounded up for bachelorette activities, whatever you might be doing!

Bride’s Night Out

Bride Loungewear

Bride Accessories


Bachelorette Week: An Unexpected Charleston Bachelorette

Charleston Bachelorette PartyIt’s Sincerely, Jennie’s bachelorette week, betches! Haha, sorry for the enthusiastic start, but that’s how excited I was with each wedding festivity leading up to the big day. The excitement is coming back to me as I write about it.  I already talked a bit about my Charleston bachelorette party, and you can read about why I chose the city here. This week I want to share some bachelorette party tips, outfit ideas and musings about the people who are there for you to celebrate your special day.

I’ll start this week’s theme with a bit about my Charleston bachelorette party, and how it didn’t turn out like I thought. But, it’s just an example of how the wedding planning process isn’t always smooth. You’ve just gotta roll with the punches, because it will all lead up to something great if you let it!

P.S. If you are looking for a white dress, this one is no longer in stores but I’ll be sharing links to available dresses in tomorrow’s post. (more…)


Wedding Wednesday: Out of the Office

Charleston bachelorette partyImage via Gal Meets Glam

Well, I’m about to put up my “out of office” email and don my “do not disturb” hat. I’m so excited to be traveling to the East Coast tomorrow for my bachelorette party! I had a hard time choosing where I wanted to travel because there were just too many good choices! As much as my friends and I love Vegas, I decided it isn’t exactly the atmosphere I wanted for this girls trip. I loved Austin when I was there two years ago, and could see myself going back with friends but instead wanted somewhere new. In the end I chose to have a Charleston bachelorette party despite never having been to the city. From what I read, Charleston seems like the perfect combination of night life and charming daytime activities. And the weekend we have planned will reflect that.

I’m packing a bag for the range of activities and to fit into that cheery, preppy Southern vibe I gather Charleston has. Here are some of the items in my suitcase:


As for what all we’ll be doing, my five friends and I will end up all being in Charleston for a relatively short time. So we aren’t trying to cram too much into the trip. Instead, we have a few things planned but are keeping the rest of the time open to wander at will. Charleston is a super foodie town, and we were even too late making reservations two weeks in advance to the most popular spots. Thankfully there are a lot of options, and we did get a few good restaurants on the calendar.  And since everyone  suggests the carriage rides through historic Charleston, we purchased tickets for an afternoon. Other than that, a trip to the beach, a rooftop bar and perhaps a to-go coffee from the Butcher & Bee are on my list.

I hope you have exciting weekend planned. I myself am excited to get started on mine early with a Charleston bachelorette party!


Wedding Wednesday: Bridal Shower

Pinterest Bridal Shower

One of the best parts about being engaged (besides getting closer to Steve!) has been celebrating with our closest friends and family. A lot of our friends have witnessed the evolution of our relationship since the beginning. For example, at my friend Amanda’s wedding in November, a college friend and her husband were laughing remembering when Steve and I came to their Washington, D.C., wedding nearly four years ago. Steve and I had only been dating about four months. Apparently when I RSVP’ed they were like, “Who is this random Jennie is bringing to our wedding?” It turned out to be my future fiancé!

Pinterest Bridal Shower

While on that trip, Steve and I stayed with my friend Amanda (above). She lived in a studio apartment, and I shared her bed with her while Steve graciously slept on an air mattress. Amanda and I gossiped about our relationships late into the night. At one point, Steve called out through the dark, “You know I can hear you!” It’s happy memories like that at the beginning of our relationship that make celebrating our impending nuptials with the same people so fun! For today’s Wedding Wednesday I wanted to share photos from my friend bridal shower in Chicago. It was the perfect Pinterest bridal shower, as described by Amanda, the hostess with the mostess. Keep reading to see more amazing decor and bridal inspiration.
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Save the Date

creative save the date

Monday marked three months until Steve’s and my wedding. Eek! One thing on our list that we’re currently executing are our invitations. The invites will be quite different from the save the dates we designed as a couple on Photoshop. Our invitations will take a traditional route, while Steve and I put our heads together to make what we felt was a creative save the date. We wanted something that showcased us as a couple. We also wanted it to involve social media.

Social media/our online presence played a large part in our relationship since the beginning. We met on OKCupid, moved our conversations to Gmail, then text, then to in-person. In the early flirtatious days we often commented on each other’s social posts. (This was back when writing on Facebook walls was cool. We cringe when some of our public messages show up on the site’s “On This Day” feature.) Now, between my blog and Steve’s job at a social media agency, there’s not a night that doesn’t go by that we’re not sharing social posts with each other on the couch. Therefore when it came time to make a creative save the date, we felt it was time to unveil our bitmojis in the form of a Snapchat mockup. We hired Steve’s coworker to do the art. I have to say, I like the artistic license she took with the flower in my hair.

Our friends caught on to the cards right away. Our parents, well, they just complimented us on such cute cartoon characters. We were really happy with our design turned out, and I like seeing that it sticks out on our refrigerator among all of the more traditional save the dates. The point of this Wedding Wednesday post is to share that you can bring your own personality into weddings. And it can begin with the first branded piece you share publicly with your guests. I’ve pulled some other creative save the date cards as inspiration. Continue after the jump to get your creative juices flowing.

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Wedding Wednesday: Being In the Wedding

how to be a good bridesmaid 1

In continuing with my wedding Wednesday theme, I am writing about another aspect of weddings today. The aspect of being a bridesmaid. I’ve been in a few weddings, the most recent one being my friend {and former blog partner} Amanda’s Chicago wedding. The day was just so much fun and special – I was honored to be help her and Brian celebrate their love.

Going into their wedding day, I had the mindset that it was Amanda’s day. I tried to ignore all of my little concerns (would my curls stay? would Steve remember the gift?) to make sure all of the bride’s were addressed. In the end, I would like to think I succeeded! (I even took it upon myself to help Amanda in to her shoes, that’s me up top.) There are so many ways to be a good bridesmaid. As I’ve already learned from my bridesmaids, it’s not all about helping the bride into her dress. Today I’m sharing five tips on how to be a good bridesmaid, as well as some gorgeous photos from Amanda and Brian’s big day. Keep reading for both!

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Wedding Wednesday: Finding the Ring

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I was recently talking to a girlfriend who confided in me that she and her boyfriend looked at engagement rings (eeeee!). The conversation was so exciting, and it brought me back to almost a year ago when Steve and I started seriously looking at rings. We went to a very fancy jeweler in Lincoln Park simply because they carried rings by the designer that I thought I wanted. Steve and I each had a glass of champagne and picked out a favorite ring. But we left a little overwhelmed and knowing there was still more ring shopping to be done! Thankfully, with the help of experienced friends and a {different} jeweler, Steve surprised me with an amazing ring!  For today’s Wedding Wednesday, I thought I’d take you through some of things we found to be helpful when engagement ring shopping.

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  1. Shop together in-person. Some couples might agree that they want the ring to be a surprise and I think that’s great. But, I found a lot of value in trying on rings in-person with Steve. It helps to see the cuts and metals on your own hand to know if what you see in magazines will resonate with you on your finger day to day. Your partner can also take notes about what you like so you can still be surprised!
  2. Follow your instincts. As I mentioned, Steve and I went to a specific jewelry store first because it carried a certain designer. Although the salesperson there was perfectly nice, we didn’t really connect with her. Thankfully, we found someone else who patiently helped Steve better understand what to look for in engagement rings, was sure to invite us to a wedding ring Trunk Show, and has kept up with us via email so we can ask any questions we may have about my ring at any time. It’s great to feel as if we’re actually in control and can trust the person we’re working with.
  3. Do. your. research. Don’t just trust the first jeweler you meet to sell you the diamond and ring. Don’t commit before talking to your parents, your friends (who’ve been there), and reading up on your options. Going in feeling knowledgeable about the four C’s will help you be more confident in your purchase. (P.S. I found a lot of great infographics on Pinterest that break down the ring shopping process.)engagement ring shopping
  4. Don’t get caught up in designer names. In the end, you are going to look at your engagement ring everyday, so you – and probably your partner – are the only ones who should have an opinion. It doesn’t matter if the ring is by a well-known designer or just something you dreamed up and a local jewelry designer helped come to life. You just need to love it.
  5. Lastly, let people spoil you. As I’m enjoying finding out, people want to make you feel special during the engagement process. So have those glasses of champagne while ring shopping, gush to your friends about it, and don’t be afraid to celebrate once the engagement finally happens. It’s just the start of many more celebrations!

Photos by Hannah Drews Photography