Summer 2019 To-Do List

Summer is unofficially here, though it’s felt like summer for weeks now in North Carolina! Summer signals the arrival of endless pool time, jaunts to the beach, cookouts and grilling, nostalgia for childhood summers, ice cream date nights, hanging our American flag and celebrating the 4th of July, catching fireflies, lots of watermelon, hosting friends, and enjoying all that nature has to offer this time of year. I love summertime so much, and the possibilities for this summer are endless. I adore making seasonal to-do lists (as evidenced in 20182017201620152014, and 2013), and Rob and I have been brainstorming what we want to check off this summer’s annual bucket list of fun! Wedding season, for me, is definitely in full swing til the beginning of August, but we’re definitely going to be embracing time when we can to seek out new adventures, explore our area, revisit old favorites, and soak up all this happy season has to offer.

Without further ado, here is this year’s Summer Checklist:

  • celebrate the 4th of July, one of my all-time favorite holidays!
  • pick blueberries
  • visit Lavender Oaks Farm – all that heavenly lavender!
  • enjoy a beach week with family
  • hang patriotic bunting on our front porch
  • travel to and enjoy three friend weddings this summer (all three in the DC area!)
  • read lots and lots of books
  • go to the farmer’s market often + cook lots of seasonal meals and desserts
  • walk around Lake Johnson (where we had our second date!) and kayak
  • go to Umstead Park for a long walk and picnic
  • take a spontaneous day trip (or three!) to the beach
  • visit the sunflowers
  • outdoor movies at the NC Museum of Art
  • Fridays on the Front Porch at the Carolina Inn
  • go shag dancing at North Hills on a Thursday night
  • go to a Durham Bulls game
  • visit Mapleview for ice cream + to sit in the rocking chairs
  • check out lots of local festivals
  • explore the Eno River State Park
  • make ice cream
  • visit Jordan Lake
  • play tennis 2x a month (and mixed doubles, too!)
  • host a cookout

I think that’s more than enough to include on this year’s edition of my annual summer checklist! We are so lucky to live in an area that has so many fun activities going on, and I love getting out an exploring new-to-us areas and events, seeking out adventures, and spending time with loved ones during such a beautiful season.

What are you most looking forward to this summer Do you have anything new you’re itching to check out or try? And if you have any local favorites (in the Triangle of NC), you know I’m all ears to hear more suggestions and ideas!


Bride Spotlight: Melissa F


I have to say, I have been anticipating the wedding of Melissa and Mike for over a year now, and I can’t believe their wedding week is actually here!! Melissa reached out to me moments after they were engaged in Thailand early in 2018, and I was instantly excited to work with them the moment I met them. I truly believe weddings should be a sincere reflection of each couple and that you should have a wedding that is reflective of the two of you, your interests, your style, and what you love most. When Melissa and Mike told me they were contemplating a garden, intimate brunch wedding, you know I was all in!! I am thrilled to (finally!) be planning my first brunch wedding, and you can bet that the details and the entire day are going to be utterly phenomenal, so meaningful to these two, and such a sweet celebration of their love with their nearest and dearest family and friends.

It has been so fun to get to know Melissa and Mike over the past year, to learn more about these two, and to witness their love for one another! They adore Crossfit and working out, adventuring and traveling together, and curling up in the mornings with coffee and a crossword puzzle. You can bet that so many of their favorite things to do together will also be a part of their wedding! As much as I want to divulge all of the bespoke details and design right now, I’m going to try to wait til after their wedding so that their guests can fully enjoy everything. As Melissa mentions below, their brunch wedding will kick off with a coffee truck and mini pastries for their family and friends to enjoy before the ceremony even begins, and the fun and surprises certainly don’t end there!

I love have my brides do a little spotlight/interview in the weeks before their wedding, and I am so excited to share Melissa’s with you today! I am so, so excited to bring their wedding to life in just a few days with so many of my very favorite local vendors, and you can bet it’s going to be the most stunning, memorable, colorful Spring brunch wedding for a truly remarkable couple!!

1. Tell us a little bit about you and your fiance, Mike!
Mike and I met six and a half year ago.  Our first date lasted the whole day.  He asked me out for coffee after a Crossfit workout.  We got coffee and then got a bite to eat.  After lunch we decided we would meet back up later to see a movie and after the movie we went out for drinks.  Now we live in Raleigh with our two cats, Aries and Rooney.

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 so excited for all of it, but if it had to pick one thing it would be the coffee truck! I love all things coffee.  Some of my earliest childhood memories are hanging out at Dunkin’ Donuts with my mom.  Going out for coffee was our first date and remains one of our favorite things to do.  When Mike and I are traveling, I love to try all the local coffee shops. I am so excited to incorporate my love of coffee into our wedding day.  I hope the guests enjoy their lattes before the ceremony as much as I know I will!
The moment I am most excited about is walking down the aisle!

3. What was your biggest inspiration for your wedding design? 

I never saw myself having a big traditional wedding and we even tossed around the idea of eloping, but when I saw some pictures of a brunch wedding on Instagram I immediately knew that would be perfect for Mike and I.

4. Are you doing a first look or saving it for walking down the aisle? 
My favorite part of a wedding is seeing the groom’s reaction to his bride walking down the aisle so I wanted to be traditional in having Mike not see me until I am walking down the aisle.  Also, with it being a morning wedding, we wouldn’t have had much time for a first look.

5. Describe your style in one word. 

6. What’s your favorite way to relax and unwind? 
My favorite way to relax is to spend time with Mike lounging around the house drinking big cup of coffee and snuggling with our two cats.


7. What is something you’re passionate about? What are some things you and Mike love to do together? 
We are passionate about traveling and experiencing new things together.  Continuing to travel and go on adventures together is something we want to make a priority in our marriage.

8. What has been the biggest surprise in the wedding planning process? 
How fast it goes by! We started planning 15 months in advance, but it has flown by.  I can’t believe our wedding day is almost here.


9. What is your favorite part of your wedding design? 
My favorite part of our wedding design is all the personal details! I cannot wait to see how everything comes together.

10. What is your favorite thing about Mike? 
His patience

Stay tuned this weekend for sneak peeks from Melissa and Mike’s brunch wedding, and you can see plenty of behind the scenes on my Instagram as we celebrate the marriage of these two!

gorgeous downtown Durham engagement session by Rebekah Senter Photography