When Danny and I started this epic four-month engagement, the number of items on the to-do list was staggering and I felt completely overwhelmed. Some can afford to hire a wedding planner (if it’s in your budget, it’s a huge asset), but that wasn’t in the cards for us. Organization has helped and not procrastinating has proven to be key. But there are so many expenses associated with a wedding. Individually they seem small, but the cost begins to rack up when you add them all together.

Incredibly, right after Danny and I announced our engagement, people started offering their help. Our parents were incredible! My parents insisted on paying for the wedding. Danny’s mom took to the internet, searching for amazing deals and potential venues. Help also came from surprising sources—friends I don’t get to see as much as I’d like to, co-workers excited about making our day perfect, people from our congregation and more.

At first, my pride wanted to turn them down. I wanted to be Superwoman, able to leap over my towering to-do list in a single bound. Then I realized that they truly wanted to help. They wanted to offer support and wish us well. If helping us made them happy, why should I turn them down?

We’ve also had to ask for favors. I have always felt horrible about asking for help, but each person I’ve asked has gone above and beyond. We have friends creating the invitations, making our cake, taking candid pictures during the wedding, filming the wedding, being the DJ/MC, cutting the cake, decorating, planning the showers and more!

Amazingly many of these people are professionals at what they do, and they’re gifting their services to us or giving huge discounts.

A local florist, who has been a family friend for years, is preparing the bouquets. The Flower Lady in Virginia Beach is an incredible floral artisan. When I asked for her help, she took all my ideas and put together an exciting, original creation.

A young hairstylist named Karlie Dare, a friend of Danny’s and an amazing renaissance woman, offered to do my hair. Not only does she run her own business, Hair by Karlie Dare, but she also helped found an incredible non-profit called Love and Scissors.

I’ve known our photographer, Shannah Phillips, since she was a little girl. With an impeccable artistic eye, she does more than just take pictures, she creates incredible portraits that the subjects can treasure. For years she worked as a professional photographer, but now she runs the Post Production department at New Dominion Pictures. On the side, she still runs two businesses: Shannah Phillips Photography and Young Living Essential Oils distribution. She braved the sweltering August heat to take our engagement pictures (pictured above), and will be doing our portraits for the wedding.

What a blessing to be able to count on these friends for their support and generous help. What makes it even more special, is that these incredible people love us enough to be a huge part of making this wedding happen.


When planning your wedding, raising your kids or going about your life, there’s no time to get sick! With flu season just around the corner, this week’s giveaway will make sure brides, moms and everyone stays healthy. Thieves, by Young Living Essential Oils, combines incredible cleaning power with a spicy, aromatic scent. To win, respond to this post on the Coastal Virginia Bride Facebook page and tag two friends. 

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