Christmas To-Do List 2018

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photo Ally and Bobby + styling Stephanie Shaul Events

Christmas really is the most wonderful time of the year, no doubt about it. It’s filled with so much magic, anticipation, festivity, and childlike wonder. I am definitely one of those people who can’t get enough of any and everything Christmas, and it’s officially the Christmas season now! I have this things with season to-do lists, as you well know by now, and this Christmas is no exception! It’s now my fourth Christmastime in Raleigh, and I’ve acquired a few favorite activities to add to our bucket list – and a few new ones to check off, too!

  • send out our Christmas card (I’m going with Ivy + Linen cards this year, with new photos by Ally + Bobby!)
  • volunteer several times throughout the month (both with my regular volunteering + some seasonal events, too)
  • Duke Chapel for their annual Christmas chorale concert + sing-a-long
  • see the Nutcracker, a beloved annual tradition
  • host a Christmas movie + Christmas cookie party (and bake lots of Christmas cookies + watch lots of Christmas movies all month long)
  • get our first Christmas tree for our new house! and decorate both the inside and outside of our home (I couldn’t be more excited about this!!)
  • enjoy a quiet date night at home with the Christmas tree lit + egg nog
  • learn how to make our families’ special fudge recipe from Rob’s mom
  • celebrate at our church’s Christmas party
  • host a Christmas cocktail party and/or brunch
  • go to the Holiday Market at the Carolina Inn, followed by a trip to Fearrington Village
  • explore new-to-us Christmas festivities in Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill
  • double date night at the Haymaker’s fabulous Christmas pop-up bar
  • celebrate this year + look forward to 2019 with a fancy at-home date night with Rob
  • find meaningful ways to give at Christmas
  • have lots of fun spending Christmas in Charlotte with my family!
  • joyfully + meaningfully celebrate Christ’s birth, the true reason for the season

If you’re local and have any favorite events or festivities you love, be sure to let me know! I’m definitely on the hunt for Christmas activities to enjoy around town.

Do you have any favorite Christmas traditions? I’d love to hear what’s especially meaningful for you!

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Sneak Peek: Lauren + Grant’s Goldsboro Wedding

Lauren and Grant were married this past weekend in their hometown of Goldsboro, North Carolina, and I can’t help but share a sneak peek of their incredible wedding day now that they’re officially Mr. and Mrs. Sasser!!

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Lauren reached out to me days after they were engaged (which was an unbelievable honor + blessing!), and we’ve been busy planning and designing their dream wedding day for almost a year now. Lauren and Grant have been dating for over six years, and they were so, so unbelievably ecstatic to marry one another – and to celebrate their loved with their treasured family and friends. If you know these two at all, you know just how important their faith is to them, as well as how much they value the relationships in their lives. Lauren and Grant exude graciousness, love, and fun, and their wedding day was so beautiful, so joyous, and filled with an incredible amount of love. Who they are as individuals and as a couple was reflected in each and every detail and element of design that we planned and brought to life, and these two wanted a day that brought full glory to God, that celebrated their commitment, love, and vows to one another, and that generously celebrated their family and friends.

There were countless memorable moments throughout the day that are so vivid in my memory, and it was so sweet to witness so much love and excitement surrounding these two. Their bridesmaids and groomsmen are such amazing friends to them, and you can easily tell just how loved they are. From all of the girls getting ready together to opening the most generous gifts from her girls to seeing her bridesmaids’ reactions when Lauren revealed her stunning wedding dress to her best friends to Lauren and her dad’s first look to Lauren and Grant praying together before the ceremony (without seeing one another!) to Lauren reading aloud her card from Grant to the bridesmaids prayer before the ceremony and then to their incredible ceremony and reception… these moments and memories will be ingrained in their minds forever – and captured exquisitely by Ally and Bobby and also by Muddy Trail Films! (These two husband and wife teams are truly incomparable, and I adore when we get to work together. Having vendors who love their couples and love their jobs so well is where the magic happens, and it’s always an honor to work with these two teams!) The entire day was truly overflowing with excitement and joy, and it’s such a sweet reminder of what weddings are really about: marriage and all of the days that are to come – together as husband and wife.

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This is just a recap of some of my favorite parts of their wedding day, but you can be sure that we have so many more stories, moments, and memories to share, as it was such an amazing day from start to finish. It was also pretty awesome to be the very first wedding or event in the brand-new cocktail hour and reception space at The Firehouse in downtown Goldsboro. This venue was completely renovated, and it was the perfect spot to bring their wedding the life. I couldn’t be more in love with this wedding design we dreamed up over the last year for Lauren + Grant’s epic wedding! Lots of organic touches, soft greys with plenty of white, brass, and black, abundant greenery, gray taper candles, and so many personalized, meaningful touches scattered throughout. And filling this space with almost 200 of their closest family and friends?! Priceless. It was the most perfect fall day – sunshine, a cool breeze, and the most magnificent sunset to cap it all off. They ended the evening with Krispy Kreme donuts (their fave!) and a romantic, jubilant sparkler exit! It was a marvelous night in every way!! Endless thanks to a dream team of vendors who worked tirelessly to bring this all to life (including my three wonderful assistants!).

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I cannot wait to share so much more from Lauren and Grant’s wedding, including the sure-to-be gorgeous images from Ally and Bobby (all of these images are simply iPhone snaps). It takes a village, and I am so deeply grateful to every person who poured their heart into bringing this wedding to life for a couple that we all love and adore so much.

Photographer Ally and Bobby Fine Art Film Photography

Planning, design, and styling Stephanie Shaul Events

Videographer Muddy Trails

Venue The Firehouse

Catering + rentals Funky Fresh

Bartending Brewmasters

Florist Flowers for You

DJ Tommy King

Linens + draping CE Rental

Hair Heather Weeks

Makeup Jessica Davis of Awakened Beauty

Invitations + day-of details Oaks and Gray Paper

Bridesmaid gowns from Bella Bridesmaids

Bride’s gown from Pronovias

 

Cheers to the new Mr. and Mrs. Sasser, and enjoy every moment of your honeymoon and the start to your new marriage!! xoxox