A Valentine’s Day Tradition

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Happy (almost) Valentine’s Day, friends! Today I wanted to share a fun (and slightly myterious!) Valentine’s Day family tradition with you:

Every year of my life (and long before I was born), my sister, cousins, and I always received a sweet but mysterious Valentine in the mail, signed with a question mark. Who was this mystery Valentine from every year?! Over time, of course, we figured out that our amazing grandparents in Ohio were the ones behind our question mark mystery Valentines, and we looked forward to receiving it in the mail each year, even throughout our college years and our twenties! This simple but fun family tradition was at least three decades long, and it’s something that’s impacted me so much, especially since my grandma passed away… and the continuation of our mystery Valentines with her passing.

However, last year, I decided to take matters into my own hands and continue my grandparents’ tradition with our whole extended family. But I had to be extra careful so no one would know it was coming from us in Raleigh (we live literally all over the country!). I made Valentines for each member of my mom’s side of the family, had Rob write all of the question marks and the addresses (so no one would recognize my very recognizable handwriting), mailed a large packages of envelopes to my aunt (on the other side of our family) in Ohio (who lives right by where my grandparents used to live), and had my aunt pop those mysterious Valentines into the mail in Ohio.

Over the next week, it was SO fun to see my parents, sister, aunts, uncles, and cousins receive their Valentines, simply annotated with a ?. Group texts were flying, and no one could quite figure out where they came from. I may have fibbed a time or two when asked if I sent them, but the keeping up the suspense and wonder was really special and fun — and a way to honor our incredible grandparents, the little and big family traditions they instilled in us, and the legacy they created in our family.

Several months later, at our big family reunion, I couldn’t keep a straight face any longer and divulged the Valentine’s Day card plan to everyone, including how we managed to keep the surprise intact. This year, though it’s no longer a mystery who is sending those question mark Valentines anymore, I had the honor of carrying on my grandparents’ Valentine’s Day tradition by again mailing out Valentines to our whole family, signed with a question mark.

I am forever grateful for such loving, wise grandparents who created such a legacy of love, celebration, and family values in all of us, and it is such a privilege to carry on so many of the traditions they passed down to us!

Bride Spotlight: Anna

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Anna and Kyle’s much anticipated wedding week is officially here!! (And yes, Stephanie Shaul Events planned back-to-back February weddings this year!) Oh my goodness, I am utterly ecstatic for these two to become husband and wife in mere days!! I know just how much Anna and Kyle have been anticipating their wedding day and being married to one another, and it brings me the deepest joy knowing that we’ll get to witness their vows to one another, celebrate such a joyful occasion with their beloved family and friends, and kick off married life in such a beautiful, memorable way! It’s going to be epic, meaningful, gorgeous, special, and oh so remarkable in every way for two people who were clearly made for one another.

Since the moment Anna reached out to me to inquire about becoming her wedding planner, I have felt like we’ve been friends forever. She’s a kindred spirit; that’s for sure! Every single day for the last many months, Anna has emailed me the most thoughtful, appreciative, generous, loving, encouraging notes of gratitude, and I tell my husband almost every day just how fortunate I am to know Anna and to be a part of this magical season. She has become such a blessing to me, and I have simply adored getting to know her and to work with her — and to celebrate Anna and Kyle in this sometimes overwhelming and hard, yet joyful and hope-filled, season of their engagement and wedding planning as they prepare for marriage. The thoughtful emails and conversations I’ve had with Anna showcase just how much she and Kyle love one another, how amazing of a man she gets to marry, how much she loves her family and friends, how excited she is to celebrate on her wedding day, her deep faith and treasured relationships… and how much excitement and peace she has about marrying Kyle and beginning the rest of their lives together. These two have spent their engagement season loving one another with such intentional, thoughtfully loving on and serving their family and friends, giddily anticipating becoming husband and wife, wisely preparing for marriage… and goodness, being even a small part of this day just gives me chills.

Anna and Kyle, your wedding week is HERE, and I hope you feel nothing but an abundance of love, peace, and joy as you two are married and are celebrated with such happiness!

I’m so excited to share Anna’s bride spotlight with you today, where you can learn more about the two of them, their love story, and what they’re most excited about on their wedding day! Also, are they not the most attractive couple?! Their love and joy simply radiates in their engagement session — swoon!!

1. Tell us a little bit about you and your fiance, Kyle:

We are extroverted introverts who love to be at home – but also love a good adventure.
2. What are you most excited for about your wedding day? Do you have a moment of your wedding day that you’re most anticipating?
I am most excited to be with all of our favorite people on such a special day. Walking down the aisle – no question!
3. What was your biggest inspiration for your wedding design? 
Winter & rich colors (merlot, sapphire blue, etc.)
4. Are you doing a first look or saving it for walking down the aisle? 
Saving it! One of the very few things we were in complete agreement on from the beginning.

5. Describe your style in one word. 

Classic

6. What’s your favorite way to relax and unwind? 

Reading

7. What is something you’re passionate about? What are some things you and Kyle love to do together?

Helping kids and their families. We love visiting breweries, watching movies, being with our friends, cooking, traveling, and going to concerts together.
8. What has been the biggest surprise in the wedding planning process? SO.MANY.DETAILS. I like to plan something in one sitting, get it all done, and keep on moving. Wedding planning requires a longer time frame and more patience than I naturally have.  I am also big picture person – so, the details were truly the worst part for me. Thankfully my mom and Kyle are VERY detail-oriented people (and so is Stephanie – thank God) – so I leaned on all three of them A LOT.

9. What is your favorite part of your wedding design? 
The flowers + my something blue.

10. What is your favorite thing about Kyle?

Tough to pick just one. A tie between his sense of humor, his patience, and his integrity.

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Stayed tuned this weekend for lots of sneak peeks of their wedding on my Instagram! I already can’t wait to see it all come to life for Anna and Kyle… and then to see how Megan captures their joyous, gorgeous day!

all photos by Megan Kerns Photography

PS: read more bridal spotlights here + here + here + here + here + here!