Who else has some holiday parties coming up? I have Jay’s work party, which is really a pretty lit party filled with 20-somethings who have that NYC-startup thinking going on. It’s such a fun time of year to dress up and really go all out. This time of year, along with vacation, are my favorite things to dress for. I love a good excuse to get fancy! A lot of these items are also perfect for winter weddings. I have one next week and I think that so many of these dresses would be perfect for it and the welcome dinner. I hope this helps get you in the festive spirit!
The Wedding Video
Our one year wedding anniversary is a month from today and we finally got our wedding video so I thought that it would be the perfect time to share it! This will be the first of my wedding day posts. I haven’t been able to do them until now because I haven’t had my digital images from the wedding day. Apparently, in my contract with the photographer, it stated that I would only have access to the digital images once my album was ordered and FINISHED. I guess they do this so that you don’t print your own images but it seems crazy that I can’t get them until the album is completed, even though I paid for and ordered it monthssss ago. Anyway, it’s something to look out for in your contract because I had no idea about this rule until the wedding was over. Once I get the pictures, I’ll be continuing the wedding day blog posts! I plan on giving any and all advice that I can think of, sharing all of our day of details and invitation suite, and walking you through the amazing day!
The video is the perfect thing to show first anyway because it makes you feel like you are really there on the day! I know that video is something that people cut from the budget first and I have to say that I think that it should actually be one of the last things that you cut. That’s just my personal opinion, based on my experience and having 20/20 hindsight. Watching it is the closest that I can come to reliving my wedding day over and over again! I’m so grateful to have it as a time capsule of sorts. When I’ve had hard days, I’ve pulled it up and watched it (along with smelling the essential oil that I bought in Bora Bora haha) and it brings me to my happy place! Jay and I also received all of the raw footage from our wedding (it was just automatically a part of the package) and it was fun to watch that! We had it waiting for us when we returned from our honeymoon so it was nice to have something to immediately watch. Its cool because you see parts of the day that you missed since you can’t be everywhere at every moment with every person. Plus, the dancing scenes are THE BEST and our friends and family crush it. In full disclosure, the first time we watched it, I just loathed myself so much that all I could focus on was hating my voice, watching myself cry, and all that but then we immediately rewatched it and I was able to get over myself and enjoy it. I’m the most grateful to have our ceremony, first look, speeches and first dance captured. There were also a lot of special moments that I’m glad we have on the raw footage that didn’t make the trailer, like Jay crying opening my gift (he HATES that part and I LOVE it haha). I kept a journal throughout our engagement and wrote him notes during milestones throughout it, reasons I wanted to marry him, song lyrics, and things like that. It was long so he only read some of it on camera but watching his face change as he scanned the words is something that stuck with me. People have asked if we were able to select the clips that were included in the trailer and we were not, which was fine. The editors selected the clips and voice overs and compiled it all but we were able to select the songs.
I've always considered watching wedding videos a hobby of mine so its so fun to get to share my own! After my accident, I would lay awake all night in pain and go down a tunnel of watching random people's wedding views and crying as I felt the love that these strangers on the internet were showing. Jay always says, "you love love" and it's true. I am a romantic at heart so wedding videos are my jam.
We got married at Bonnet Island Estate, which is located on the bay, right as you’re coming onto Long Beach Island over the causeway. I’ve been going to LBI my whole life and in 1999 my parents built a house there. They named the house Tranquility (it was featured on the map of the island in our invitation suite, which I will include in one of the upcoming blog posts)! I thought that it was so embarrassing that my parents put up a sign outside the house calling it Tranquility as a kid but I quickly grew an appreciation for it. It truly is my happy place and my home where I feel the most Tranquil. Nine winters ago, Jay and I had our first little getaway alone at the house and it quickly became his happy place as well! The fact that he LOVES it down there so much makes me love him even more. We have had so many memories down there, both good and bad (I recover down here from most of my surgeries) throughout our relationship. The first time that our families met was 8 summers ago down in LBI and we have continued to spend time down there, all together, every year since. It was also fun to go down to LBI with our parents throughout our engagement to do wedding planning tasks and create all of those new memories. My (and Jay's) friends and I also share SO many memories from down here (some of my bridesmaids and I have been coming down here together since we were 3 years old)! We had too many party weekends down here (throwback to after prom), a million slumber parties as kids, sorority pledge class “reunions,” couples weekends and more down here with friends so it was suiting to have the biggest party of our lives here. Yes, my parents are the most generous creatures on Earth! Needless to say, it was a special destination to celebrate our love, officially blend our two families and party with our friends.
The owners built Bonnet Island Estate when I was a kid and as I watched it get built from the ground up, I would always say, “I want to get married there when I’m grown up”. I can confidently say that the majority of plans that we have in life don’t actually end up happening the way that they thought they would...it’s a reality I’ve faced many times and constantly have to work on making peace with. The fact that this dream came true is something that I will forever be grateful for! I’m so insanely thankful towards my parents for making that childhood dream of mine come true and to my groom for being even more than I could have fantasized about! Luckily, Jay was/is totally obsessed with it as well so it was easy. Of course, as a kid I didn’t know that I would hate the carpet so much haha. But the reality is no venue is perfect (I hated the decor inside, the barn where we got married was way too small and didn’t have AC, I disliked the table and chairs, and the list goes on). However, I LOVE it there so much, to the point that it felt like a second home. I genuinely miss it and can’t wait to go back there this summer and every year to just walk around and hang out. It just felt right. We plan on going back every summer to hang out (the people that work there are super encouraging of that). We rented out the estate for the night as well, which was PERFECT. We were able to get ready there in the morning in the salon (the guys had a separate hang out area), do a first look by the dune grass, take photos on the property, have rest time (I needed to get out of my dress and lay down in bed before the ceremony so I was glad there were beds on site), have the guests arrive via shuttle from the hotel and then go straight to the ceremony, cocktail hour and reception. Then, we had an after party (with food from The Chicken or The Egg aka CHEG brought in) on the deck and our families plus some bridesmaids and groomsmen were able to sleep over. We woke up the next morning and went back onto the deck for brunch with everyone, which included our favorite doughnuts from Ferraras Bakery and breakfast from the Cheg. I love that it was a ‘one stop shop’ and that it was so seamless. It was also great to be able to just walk (or in my case take the elevator up one flight haha) upstairs and go to sleep in the bridal suite.
We had 197 of our friends and family members filling up that property with so much love. Our ceremony was in a little barn on site., with doors that opened on one side to the bay and to a garden on the other side. The entire venue is set on the bay with marshland in view. That’s why our wedding hashtag was #CarlyAndJayByTheBay!
Jay’s sister, Renee, was our officiant and it was SO special to have someone so close to us marry us. We didn’t include any religion in the ceremony (I’m Jewish and Jay is Christian but neither of us identify strongly with our religions), so we just created the ceremony along with Renee, from scratch based on what felt the most ‘us’. It was very personal and we both cried a lot during it (but my ugly crying face is the one they chose to show more in the video haha). I will do a blog post all about creating a non-traditional wedding ceremony but I already wrote one for Style Me Pretty that you can find here as well!
My dress was made by Inbal Dror and purchased at Mark Ingram Atelier in Manhattan. I actually went there specifically for this dress because I had seen it online and nothing else that I was finding while dress shopping was measuring up in my head. It’s funny because I had a lot of self doubt when I purchased it because I pulled money from other areas of the budget to cover it and it felt selfish. However, it ended up being one of the decisions that I was the happiest and most confident about. The alterations were not easy though. Apparently I have a really short torso and they couldn’t alter it short enough to not show my butt crack so I eventually had to find underwear that was close to my skin color (not an easy task) to wear under the sheer mesh backing of the dress, among other things. It’s supposed to be ‘made to measure’ but we had to change a lot but it all worked out in the end! Jay LOVED it, which made/makes me really freaking happy. He still talks about it and every time he does I’m like “tell me more”! I felt like myself in it, just a better version haha. I bought little block kitten heels but only wore them during the ceremony and first look. Besides that, even during photos and our first dance, I wore white Nike ID running sneakers that said “Jay’s Bride” on the back of them. I wanted to wear cooler/trendier sneakers, but they just weren’t as comfortable for my joints and I needed anything that would help my endurance in getting through the day. Going into it, I was self conscious about it (I mean, everyone looks better in heels, period), but so many people were coming up to me saying how hilarious and awesome it was that I was wearing running shoes and they were relatively hidden by my dress. That is, until Jay stepped on and broke my bustle after our first dance aka 5 minutes into the reception haha. The bridal attendant tried to sew it but after 20 minutes of missing my reception, I begged for her to just let me go and held my train the rest of the night. I’m SO glad that I wore the running sneakers because the wedding day was truly equivalent to running 2 marathons on my body and I needed all of the help that I could get!
Jay’s suit was from Suit Supply in Soho. I was really happy for him that he got to have a cool, special experience when buying his wedding outfit as well! Everyone that worked there was so helpful and cool. The place looked like it was straight out of GQ and everything was such nice quality. I thought that the suit was the perfect shade of grey for our summer wedding. We steered away from linen because it wrinkles really easily and didn’t feel as dressy. His tie (and the groomsmen’s ties) along with his suspenders were from Tie Bar. He wore navy suede shoes from Zappos. His boutonniere had a ranunculus and a succulent. In my completely unbiased opinion, he could not have looked like a more handsome or studly groom! I will forever have the image his amazing smiling, eyes staring into mine with tears in them, looking extra blue from all of our beautiful surroundings. Lucky is an understatement!
All of the bridesmaids wore Joanna August dresses. I told them the color (AKA Into The Mystic, which I thought was perfect for the venue) and they picked whichever style they wanted out of 60 or so choices. I think that they all looked BEAUTIFUL and that the dresses complimented the guy’s outfits perfectly. 95 percent of them chose wrap dresses, which was helpful during alteration time because they could adjust the tightness on their own and only worry about getting the hemline altered. We gifted them their earrings, robes from Plum Pretty Sugar (not shown) and hair appointments.
The groomsmen rented suits from Black Tux, which worked out really well. It was really inexpensive and easy because you just send in all of your measurements online. Only one guy had a problem with the fit when it arrived (that I know of haha) and sent it back but received the replacement in time. We gifted all of the groomsmen their Navy suede Sam Edelman shoes and their Tie Bar ties. Their suits were slightly darker than Jay's but Jay's suit had some of the darker color in it. I thought that it was a nice contrast while matching seamlessly.
Unfortunately, the ring bearer and flower girl aren’t in the video and it was the one thing that we were both really upset about after seeing the video. We are really close with them (they’re Jay’s sister and brother in law/best man’s kids). I asked the editors to swap out a clip from the ceremony (and gave them specific timing of a clip to swap out that timed up perfectly for an even swap) in order to include them walking down the aisle but they wouldn’t do it. You’ll see how freaking adorable they looked once we get the photos though! I bought the ring bearer’s outfit from Janie and Jack and the flower girl’s dress from BHLDN. He was 1.5 years old so I picked his whole outfit for him and I LOVED it, especially the little starfish boutonniere and straw fedora. Our niece is older so I showed her 15 or so choices for dresses and let her pick which one she wanted to wear. She (deservingly) felt like the other bride and looked SO beautiful in it! I had the florist make her a little flower crown with silver dollar eucalyptus, which I think looked so sweet.
The flowers were all done by A Touch of Elegance and I think that they did an awesome job! Some of the colors weren’t what I would have hoped for (I don’t like peach, its too close to enemy aka orange haha) but with flowers, its hard because they’re natural things that grow from the Earth, obviously. I was in love with the idea of doing a mini flower wall to rest on the mantle in the ceremony and then get moved to behind our sweetheart table love seat for the reception. I would have loved to have some peonies but it was too late in the season for my florist to get them but I love garden roses so much so I’m glad that we were able to incorporate them! My parents surprised me with some flowers and eucalyptus on the archway in our ceremony, which I had wanted but didn’t end up ordering because it would have brought us over budget. It was such a sweet gesture and made me cry 1/100390 times on the day. I am going to include details on the centerpieces, cocktail hour flowers and all of those details once we get the photos.
We booked the Nick Campbell Band through Hank Lane music and loved them so much! They were really fun and energetic and so talented. Hank Lane is a really professional, amazing company. So many of my friends have used them and I’ve been impressed every time. They match you with a band that fits your style and budget and I think that they did a great job pairing us with the Nick Campbell Band. My favorite musician of all time is Dave Matthews band and our song has always been Crush so we decided to dance to Crush for our first dance. The band did DMB justice and were just so fun throughout the whole night!
More details to come in future posts but for now, click play on this video and join us in reliving the greatest day of my life! https://vimeo.com/248187006
Are you guys going to any holiday parties this year? My husband's company, Casper, is having a holiday party in Brooklyn and it's Black Tie optional! I'm excited to get all dressed up and celebrate this festive season. I think that these outfits would be awesome for any holiday party.. after all, a party this time of year is a fun excuse to get all dressed up! These pieces would also be perfect for any winter weddings. As always, click on an image below to shop it.
Shop The Photos
I knew that I wanted our wedding to feel very customized and personal. I wanted our guests to look at whatever we put out and think that it screamed us. I thought that it would be a good idea to create a custom wedding website as a part of that mission. It definitely took a lot more time and effort, but I was happy with the end product. I also think that services, such as The Knot, make it easy for engaged couples to put personalized information onto a pretty website in a much easier and quicker fashion. I think that having a website for your wedding is both practical and fun. I bet you that a lot more of our friends went to our wedding website over for the information instead of pulling out our invitation when the weekend got closer. Unfortunately, I will have to shut down our site soon because it costs money to keep it running so I wanted you guys to get the chance to look at it before that happens. Our wedding domaine is www.JayandCarly.com
I used Square Space, which is the same platform that I ended up publishing this blog to (afterwards). They have clean palettes and helpful customer service who chat with you online. I chatted with them many times in the launch of both of these sites and learned a lot from the tutorial videos that they would send me in the process.
There are a few crucial components of a wedding website. I love wedding websites that include these
1. Your "Story": This is a good time to include some personal information about the two of you. Include part of the tale of your love. What brought you to the moment of creating this site? There are a lot of logistics and dry facts included on wedding websites so its nice to have a page that is more personal.
2. When & Where: You need to include the logistics for the wedding weekend. Where will the wedding be held? Will you be providing any transportation? Are there room blocks at any hotels? What is date and time for the wedding? Are there any other wedding events that guests are invited to that weekend? This is also a good space to include recommendations for any local restaurants or sites that you think out of town guests may find useful.
3. Registry: It's a good idea to include links to all of your registries on your wedding website. My mom & bridesmaids put the link for our wedding website on my bridal shower invitation, which was awesome because all of the registries were in one place. It's also the only place that you can really include a honeymoon registry, which we had.
4. Bridal Party: While this page isn't crucial, I think that it's fun. I also think that it provides a nice space for your bridesmaids and groomsmen to get a little bit of recognition that they deserve. They put in time and money to be a part of your bridal party so its fun to showcase their pretty faces.
Our Wedding Website URL
We said goodbye to Moorea and hopped on a plane to Bora Bora. The plane landed and we went to get off of it. While collecting our carryons we heard "next stop Bora Bora" over the speaker. Apparently planes there work like our trains here! Once we landed in Bora Bora, we had a boat waiting to take us to the hotel. I think that its a v-nice touch that the hotel sends private boats to pick up each of their guests. +10000 points and we hadn't even gotten to the hotel! The fresh flower leis didn't hurt the arrival points either!
I have the mental reel of us pulling up to the hotel engrained in my mind for forever. The iconic huts jut out into the water, the insane mountain was showing off, and the water was the most crystal clear and blue water I have ever seen BY FAR. It sh** on Moorea's water, which was the clearest I had seen. Prior to the trip, I was worried that photos would overhype the destination. There are so many filters and ways to boost color when editing pictures. We purposely didn't look at any photos of our destinations and did not follow the hotels on Instagram in order to not become 'immume' to the beauty before arriving. Even if we had, the photos would not have done it justice AT ALL. The same can be said for my photos. It was just so much more spectacular in person and that water was just so much more vibrant.
We were greeted on the dock of our hotel, the St. Regis, by a butler who handed us drinks and walked us into the lobby. He then gave us a tour of the property via golf cart. We were SO pleasantly surprised by the property. We expected to be obsessed with our room and to not want to leave it. We didn't expect to be so in love with the resort property in general. It was freaking unbelievable! It was like a whole other world, tucked away right on this Motu (little island inside the barrier reef). The property was huge and was 98 percent nature and 2 percent buildings. There was so much to explore and so much beauty to soak in everywhere that we turned.
Our last stop on the tour was our villa and it was everything that I hoped that it would be. It was the size of our apartment and was truly what honeymoon fantasies are made of. I wish that I could live there permanently. I'd have to swap out some of the bright colors if I did for some white decor but it was cool to have Tahitian decor for our vacation.
The coolest thing inside was our shower. The bathroom had sliding mirrors at the vanity that could be opened up so that it was an open flow between the rooms. I loved how you could shut the mirrors because it gave the option for privacy. Most of the time we kept them open though because you could look straight out and see the blue water off of our deck! The shower didn't have any doors and was just an open rain shower. That means that we got to stare at the insane view outside while in our shower...WIN!
The best part about our villa was obviously the outdoor space. It was SICK to have this place that we could be alone and experience paradise together. We had two cushioned lounge chairs (cushions are the first thing that I check for in pictures of hotels now sadly haha but they are game changers for even ‘normies’). We also had a table and chairs, which was perfect for ordering room service. We looked out at the amazing water and it was insanely peaceful. It was a little less private than we expected it to be. There are walls on either side of the area with the lounge chairs, so your neighbors can’t see you from their villas. However, everyone on jet skis, canoes…can see you from the water. There were a few times when boats would just stop in front of the villa and the guys would look over at us. I think that they are maybe looking for celebrities and hoping to get the Bieber d*** pics part 2. This only happened a couple of times and besides that, it was really secluded feeling.
The first morning I woke up to find my cute husband reading out on the deck for sunrise. Generally speaking, I thought that the sunrises and sunsets were a little anticlimactic considering we were in this beautiful tropical place. It was definitely beautiful to see but the sky wasn’t putting on a crazy show. I think that it has something to do with how the atmosphere is different there (same reason as to why the clouds are so low). Suddenly I’m a hard core scientist who knows things?! I know nothing haha.
Breakfast was included with our room and it was a legit buffet spread. One of my favorite parts of vacation is the breakfast buffet so I obviously went IN on it. I attribute most of my vacation weight to the endless croissants that I ate. They also let you order things off of the menu, which is perfect for someone who values freshness and hot food to an extreme like I do.
The hotel provides complimentary bikes that are part of a shared program, like in Amsterdam. You can grab any bike that you see, as long as someone did leave their belongings in the basket and mark it as theirs. I haven’t really gone on bikes since my accident and was scared but it was good for the flat surfaces. I held onto one of the bikes for the duration of our stay because it was the lightest and easiest to maneuver. The bikes were perfect for exploring the large property. You can also call a golf cart at any time, but I quickly learned that I could be in increased pain if I got a bad golf cart driver so we walked everywhere and sometimes rode bikes.
We explored all of the little canals and different areas of the lagoonarium. We got our bearings for where everything was and oohed and aahed over everything. There is something to be said for wandering around aimlessly in a new place with your partner. My favorite memories from when Jay and I studied abroad were from the times when we would just walk around for hours discovering new things. We got lost CONSTANTLY, but it was okay because we just discovered new alleys and canals in Venice, for example. Well, our first day in Bora Bora was a lot like that. I feel mega grateful that I got to wander around a new place with this guy as my husband.
You guys, the people there literally SING their greetings. Everyone is just so happy there because how can you not be?! The staff was all so friendly and helpful. They learned our names, which was SO impressive!
The marine biologist at the hotel does an educational fish feeding and shark feeding twice a week. We went to the fish feeding at the lagoonarium and were shocked to see how many fish there were. There is a net with holes in it where the private property begins. The fish can swim in and out at their leisure. One fish (this crazy blue one) is the only one that can’t leave because he is too big. He came when he was only a baby but never swam out when he was small enough. Clearly they like the lush life at the St. Regis and the endless supply of food…I’m with him!
Jay made fun of me a lot for being an “8 year old in school” at the shark feeding. He does a pretty good imitation of me saying, “do fish sleep?” FYI the answer is that some do and some don’t…this lemon shark never stops moving because he has to move to get oxygen but he sometimes swims slower to rest and the lagoon shark sleeps on the bottom of the ocean. I learned a lot…as in we stayed after the session for a solid 20 minutes chatting with the sweet marine biologist about everything. I feel bad for the sharks there because they were originally trapped by other fisherman by accident and brought to the hotel. They are treated really well and they do their best to not interfere with their natural way of life. I wish they could be free and treated well, but it seems like there are a lot of problems with Tahitian tourist culture with how they use sharks as entertainment and let people swim with them (sharks are supposed to be afraid of humans but they are being positively reinforced to want to be near them since they are getting fed by the humans).
We spent the afternoon at our villa and then went to this ‘secret spot’ on the beach where the staff lives, to watch the sun set. We literally chased down the sun across the property and got to watch it pop through the trees and disappear below the horizon. It was a magical collection of moments that I will never, ever forget.
My friend, Michelle, gifted us tickets to the Polynesian Show for my bridal shower. We had Tahitian food and then the show began. I know that they do this stuff for tourists but it was so cool to see and experience. I pretty much want one of the grass skirt things that make twerking look cool.
Our travel agent was able to get us a free couples massage at the spa since we were on our honeymoon. The hotel makes you send a copy of your marriage license to them in order for you to get the benefits, which is crazy! It makes sense though since SO many people there were on anniversary trips (more than honeymooning maybe). After breakfast we posted up at the beach in front of the spa. It was my favorite spot at the resort because it had SUCH a cool view of the mountain and it was always super secluded. You can go to the spa beach and use the spa facilities at any time during your stay at the hotel, which is cool. We snorkeled in the lagoonarium and I sucked at it. I was being stalked by a school of fish and basically spent my time swimming away from them like a baby. Jay kept getting water in his snorkel from laughing so hard at me.
The massage was awesome! They give us disposable thong underwear (yes, US), that you can wear during the massage. I thought that it was weird that they were thongs but it made sense after we saw how intensely they massage your glutes. Let’s just say that Jay was a fan (roll eye face).
That night, we took a boat to the main land and went to Villa Mahana, which our travel agent, Lauren, told us is a must. The boat left from the main dock of the hotel with other people who were going to dinner on the main land. The boat part was the easy part in comparison to the car ride on the windy roads once we got there. Jay and I tried asking the driver to take it easier because of my back injury but he didn’t speak any English and our poor signaling didn’t work. It was a damper on the night but I put on a good face like a champ as best as I could because it was such a romantic place. We sat out in this back garden that felt like we were in Tuscany with lots of candles. It is a tasting menu so Jay got a variety of carnivore dishes and they had a vegetarian friendly tasting menu for me (this is rare and usually pushes us away from places with fixed menus so it was awesome). Jay also did the wine pairing, which was cool. Half way through our meal it suddenly started to POUR. The restaurant didn’t have any tables inside so while the guests ran inside, the staff lifted all of the tables and brought them inside the tiny indoor space. I felt so bad for them as they hustled hard. By the time they brought everything in, the filets were floating in water and the linens were soaked. They changed out everything from the tables as we all laughed about it. There is only one boat that leaves the resort each night and one boat that comes back to the resort so they had to rush to serve us the rest of our food in time. We finished our meals inside and they kindly comped everyone’s bills for the inconvenience.
My friend, Lubin, got us a yoga class for my bridal shower. It was awesome to do yoga right on the lagoon. We saw fish swim right in front of us and we heard birds chirping. Who needs a yoga playlist when you have real life nature? Instead of closing my eyes each time that the teacher instructed us to, I looked up at the palm trees swaying in the breeze. It was such a cool experience that I will never forget. It was also the only exercise that we did the ENTIRE trip...whoops! Annddd I did it supppperr modified. There wasn't any time to waste working out so I don't have any regrets, as soft as it made me.
The other nights we went to dinner at the resort. People say that a downfall of going to Bora Bora is that you can’t leave the resort easily to go out at night and that it’s pretty quiet and dead at the resorts. I personally thought that it was an upside because we love the simplicity of walking to dinner. One of the reasons that we don’t want to move out of a city is because we love just strolling to dinner. We didn’t mind that it was quiet at night because we are used to not staying out late with my injuries. We also liked getting to bed early because it meant that we woke up early without being tired. It’s Bora Bora’s winter during our summer so the sun is out for less hours. We wanted to make sure that we enjoyed every second that the sun was up. We prioritized the daytime and loved it.
One night we got back from dinner and I went to take off my makeup and walked into our living room to see Jay like this. He was staring at the fish through our floor for an hour! And he called me the 8 year old about the fish…
My one complaint about the trip was that it was WAY too short. We spent 6 nights in Bora Bora, but we traveled during two of the days, which sucked up our time but also hurt my back for the day. So, we had four full days there, which was not even close to enough. The reality is that we would never have enough time there and would always have been sad to leave. I don’t think that I could get sick of that lifestyle with Jay, I’d only get sick of the bill.
One night we decided to just order room service to our deck. It was SUCH a great decision because we got to stay out in our bathing suits for longer and not rush to get ready for a dinner reservation. We rushed every single day getting ready for dinner because we just didn’t want to leave our deck to get in the shower! On the night that we stayed in, Jay put on his robe after he showered and I was like “DOWN!” I laid fresh towels on our lounge chairs and we laid down staring at the stars and listening to music. We ordered dinner and they set it up so nicely for us, with a candle and flower arrangement.
We both agreed that while Moorea was awesome, it felt a lot like a really legit vacation that we were taking right after getting married. It was fun to talk about the wedding and just bask in that newlywed feeling. We were majorly in love in paradise, so it was obviously awesome. However, it didn’t feel SO much different than the trip where we got engaged (dare I say that the trip that we got engaged during actually felt more different than any other awesome vacation that we could take together). This changed when we got to Bora Bora and I don’t know exactly why. It just felt more special and different. I think that most of it was because it was iconic and it was this dream that we both shared for as long as ‘we’ were even a thing. I also think that the awesome luxury lifestyle didn’t hurt. The level of service was insane and we got to just sit back and chilllllllll. I think that the secluded feel of the villa deck with the amazing view was also to thank.
I truly have to say that the best part of all was getting so much time alone with Jay. We both thrive with alone time and all of that individual attention. We were in full obsession mode and just having the best time being along with each other. Other honeymooners at the hotel tried to be friends with us and we would chat briefly but we were then kind of rude and unfriendly (which is the opposite of my M.O. in life), because we just wanted to spend all of our time alone together. We smiled non-stop and just obsessively talked about how happy we were in each moment. We tried our best to soak it all in and continuously talked about how we were living out our dreams and we couldn’t believe it.
It was made tenfold more special by the fact that we were honeymooning. We straight up abused the words wife, husband, Mr. Robinson and Mrs. Robinson. We couldn’t get close enough to each other, even with all of the space that we had to ourselves. Basically, we were mega annoying so I won’t drone on about it. I have been struggling with how to not make the whole thing sound cliché when people ask how it is because it just WAS amazing and it WAS insanely romantic and it WAS a dream come true. So, there you have it. It felt so special and crazy to know that this man was now my husband. We spent way too much time staring at his wedding band. I think that he looks like such a MAN with it on and it’s alarmingly hot.
I have one more post coming with our boat tour and snorkeling pictures so stay tuned!
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We're not just planning a wedding, we are also planning for a marriage. We will write vows that we share during our wedding ceremony where we make promises to each other. But, what about all of the regular ol' day-to-day stuff?! Jay and I made a plan that on one of our anniversaries (not our wedding anniversary since that should be all fun), we will have an "annual review" of our marriage. We want to discuss what we think is working well and what we think we need to improve upon. We are all about living with intention and we practice it regularly in our relationship. I mean if you hate communicating and talking about your feelings then you would hate living in our house haha. We're not sitting around singing cumbaya and playing the banjo getting all mushy all of the time. We just keep each other and ourselves in check. We have lots of personal goals and goals in our relationship and we need to stay on course. I think that once you begin to veer off course too far and don't redirect yourself back quickly enough, you create distance between you and your partner.
I feel like there are "plateau" in marriages that people reach. Once you hit a certain plateau there is no turning back. Resentments form and dynamics change. I think people pass multiple plateaus without being fully aware of it and then once they realize it is just so hard to change a dynamaic and rhythm that was created while they weren't REALLY paying attention. I want to pay attention to my marriage. I want to pay the most attention to it of anything that I do. If I dedicate myself to my marriage completely then I will get a strong return on investment. I will give a great gift to my children one day of having a very happy home and two parents who love each other raising them.
I don't mean to give off the impression that I view marriage totally as a business exchange. I'm using words like annual review and return on investment. The thing is, it is work and it is a job. The work that I put into my relationship is the easiest work though. It comes naturally and feels so good. What I get out of it is so much greater than what I put into it. I want us both to feel like we have full love tanks all the time, regardless of whatever tough things life throws at us. I know from first hand experience that love and the unconditional support of a partner during tough times is crucial. It is the one thing that I can rely on to keep my head above water when I feel like I am drowning. Therefore, it is the most precious thing that I do. Like I said...the return on investment is SO good. So...here are some of our rules for marriage that we came up with. Of course life throws curve balls and there will be times when we need to make exceptions to some of these rules. Times like when I am recovering from surgery or we have a newborn baby. However, these are part of the foundation that we are actively choosing to lay for our marriage. We have been applying the (non child related) rules to our relationship over the past 7 years and they have worked well for us. We know that what comes in the future will be so much harder than these first 7 years and that our relationship will require much more effort and energy when kids are brought into our home.
At our "annual review," we will bring out these rules and discuss how well we are following them. We also plan on reading our vows on this day to discuss how well we are sticking to them. These guidelines are personal. They are what we decided as a team for what works for us. Each relationship is different and unique and we all have different goals and dreams. These are by no means the "right" goals. They are just what we hope our marriage will look like and we are determined to make it happen! What are some of the guidelines that you follow in your relationship? Do you have any advice for us as we embark upon our marriage? If so, please leave a comment! I always love to hear input and advice!
Jay and Carly's Rules for Marriage
Look each other in the eyes when the other person is sharing something that he/she feels
Respect the other as a coparent who has his/her own way of parenting. Hear each other out on what that person thinks is the best child rearing move and discuss it with all opinions considered
Have a date at least once a week...quality time together, alone
Speak highly of one another, especially in front of the children
Go away alone at least once a year (even if it's just a weekend away close to home)
Put our marriage on a pedestal
Once a year (on the specific date), have an “annual review” with what you each think is working really well in the relationship and what each of you thinks could be going better
Build one another up--compliment, positively reinforce...
Continue to try to stay in shape and look good for each other
Actively listen and lend an empathetic ear when the other spouse is sharing an emotional experience or feelings
Come to one another first with news, for opinions…be each other’s number one
Conduct the relationship with intention and look at the big picture..don’t just go through the motions
Don't take your stresses out on your partner. Treat your partner as your number one teammate and ally who is on your side.
BE your partner’s number one teammate and ally. Stand by what they feel, who they are and support them. Have the other person’s back
Do things sometimes that make your spouse happy with a smile, even if you don't really want to
Do things to let your spouse know that you are thinking of him/her...send a romantic text, bring home a gift...
Look at each other as husband and wife in ADDITION to coparents of mom and dad
Build and nourish friendships as a couple and maintain a fun social life
Kiss, hug and grope your spouse regularly...make them feel desired and cherished
Trust the other person completely...to be loyal, to do a good job with the kids when alone, to take care of you…
Make big decisions together. Don't tell the other person what you are going to do. Discuss how you each feel, what you think and come to an agreement
Bridge the gap in your day to day lives. Discuss things from work and ask for input. Discuss what happened in your day at home with the kids. Don't separate it into two worlds. Let your partner get a glimpse into your day so that you remain actively engaged in all aspects of each other’s lives and don't feel like an outsider
Discuss when something is bothering you. Don't stonewall. Don't ignore the problem.
Celebrate milestones and the small victories. Relish in the good times and happiness with proper acknowledgement
Express problems calmly and with love behind them not hatred. Fix things before they get too out of hand and resentment builds
Leave love notes
Show your partner that you care about what he/she says. If your spouse is unhappy with an aspect of your relationship and expressed it nicely, work towards changing it. Making the change will communicate to your partner that you truly care and value what he/she feels
Celebrate anniversaries by doing something special
Have regular sex. With the exception of medical situations and extenuating circumstances, have sex at least once a week. Prioritize that connection.
Do simple gestures to fill your spouse’s love tank--make lunch, let the other one sleep in once kids are in the picture, bring home a favorite treat, buy a present for no reason, offer to give the other person a massage...it's the little things!
Don't micromanage the other person’s spending and criticize it. This communicates trust. If there is an issue, bring it up in a calm, “bigger picture” way that is not accusatory
Hold up your portion of the household responsibilities without being asked to do so by your partner
- Say I love you
I LOVE white clothes so the second I've got even a hint of a tan, I am decked out in them. After I posted pictures from my vacation to St. Lucia where Jay proposed, I had so many people ask me if I knew I was getting engaged because I wore so much white on the trip. It hadn't even occurred to me because I just think that the perfect things to wear on a tropical vacation are white bathing suits and sundresses. I also just love how feminine and chic white clothing is...especially white lace! Well...those people were right in that it is also the perfect bridal wear. Whether you are headed to explore the streets of a city or lounge on the beach, I've got you covered. I know that the honeymoon costs are high enough already without buying a super expensive honeymoon wardrobe so I included lots of affordable pieces in this list. You've got enough wedding planning tasks on your plate...let me help you shop for the perfect honeymoon wardrobe!
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