Our First Utah Ski Season Recap

This was our first winter in Utah, so we wanted to take full advantage of the ski season! I’ve been skiing since I was 3, but only in Wisconsin and the UP of Michigan. I took Matt skiing a few times at Mt. La Crosse in our college town, but it was his first full season here in Utah. We got season passes to Brighton, a local Utah resort and were able to try a few other resorts with my corporate ski passes at work.

BRIGHTON

We’ve spent most of our season skiing at Brighton since we have an unlimited pass here. It’s been a great learning experience for us both, and it was the perfect place for Matt to learn. There are plenty of green and blue runs with lower elevation change for us to practice and improve our skiing! I love the atmosphere here, its a blend of college kids and young adults, and it is very relaxed and laid back. The resort sits at the top of Big Cottonwood Canyon, so the views are incredible of the Wasatch and Heber Valley.

SOLITUDE

This resort is right next to Brighton, and our season pass gets us 2 ski days here. We’ve gone once in January and on closing day in April, and we had so much fun exploring the resort. It definitely has a different vibe, with nicer lodges and less crowds, and less young adults. The terrain is steeper and has more blue and black runs, so it was a great resort to try later in the season. It was a powder day both times, so we had great snow conditions and got to try so many new runs due to no lines!

DEER VALLEY

This resort is well known for tourists and groomed runs. It’s tucked away in Park City and it’s a ski only resort. It’s the most expensive resort in Utah, but luckily our Brighton pass gives us 2 free days here. We felt a little out of place with how fancy this resort is, but it’s so fun! There are over 20 chairlifts, so the runs are endless and you can try so many areas of the resort in one day. I’ve gone once on a bluebird day and once on a powder day, and each experience was so much fun. I’d highly recommend trying this resort!

PARK CITY

Matt and I went to this resort with my work passes, and it was a great experience! We only explored one side of the resort near downtown, but there is so much more to see. The resort is the most well known resort in Utah and it has a lot of tourists. We went during the week so it was less crowded. I met people from all over the world on the chairlifts and we tried a different run the whole day. The runs are very wide, groomed, and perfect for someone new to skiing in the mountains. There is a wide variety of terrain throughout the resort.

ALTA

My friend Maggie and I went to Alta on a powder day with my work passes! This is the only other ski only resort besides Deer Valley. It was my first time skiing during a white out blizzard and we had so much fun. The terrain was so amazing and it was my first time using my new all mountain skis, and it felt great to move through the powder so easily. We skied both sides of the resort, and I liked the east side at the top of the canyon the most. It was less crowded and there are more tree runs to explore. You can take a tow rope between each side and that was unique!

SNOW BASIN

Matt and I went to Snow Basin up in Ogden Canyon with my work passes. It’s about an hour north of Salt Lake, but it’s so worth it! The views here are so different from the Cottonwood Canyons but it is a beautiful resort. The lodges here are fancier and it was fun to explore all sides of the mountain. There were very few people on the day we went, so we had the runs to ourselves and the snow was amazing the day after a snowstorm!

CANYONS

I went to the Canyons side of Park City with my work passes while my friend Emily was in town from the Midwest. We got to meet up with a few other friends from Minnesota and ski most of the resort. I loved this resort because there were over 20 chairlifts, and you could ski a different run all day! Most of this side of the resort is blue runs, so it wasn’t as touristy as the Park City side. There are plenty of cat track runs as well, so you can soak in the views while skiing. The snow conditions weren’t the best because of the warm temps, but it felt so good to be warm while skiing! We even got pretty sunburnt that day. Can’t wait to try this resort again next year!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Escalante Spring Camping Trip

Our friends Katie & Sam planned a camping trip to Southern Utah the last weekend in March. We made the 5 hour road trip from Friday evening and drove back on Sunday afternoon. It was fun to experience Escalante with friends and camp this time instead of staying in the Yurts. We even got to celebrate two of our friends getting engaged! While the camping weather wasn’t ideal (25 degrees overnight), we embraced it and soaked in the sun on our hikes during the day!

Saturday

After getting to camp around 11:30pm and sleeping in below freezing temperatures, we were all trying to warm up and drink all the coffee on Saturday morning. After breakfast we made the short drive to Spooky and Peek-a-boo slot canyons. We hiked the 3 mile loop with our group of 12 and it was a blast! The sun made the hike so warm and I had a great experience hiking these slot canyons for the second time. It came with challenges like climbing down boulders and sneaking through the narrow parts of the canyon.

After eating a quick lunch we kept making our way down the dirt road to Coyote Gulch trailhead. We hiking on the opposite side of the road and made our own path to sunset arch. There was no one around, so it was the perfect time and place for our friends Emma and Davis to get engaged. He proposed on top of the arch (amazing!) and we got to celebrate them with champagne right after. We made our way back to camp after some pictures and had a campfire, dinner, and drinks to celebrate the engagement!

SUNDAY

After a long day of hiking and a 10 degree temperature difference overnight (YAY 35 degrees!) we all slept amazing and were refreshed for our last day. The next morning we packed up camp and headed to our next hike, Lower Calf Creek Falls. It’s a 5 mile hike with little elevation change that leads to a beautiful waterfall! The canyons and views along the trail are incredible as well. We took some pictures and made our way back to the car for a lunch and the long drive home. Overall it was an amazing trip with friends and I can’t wait for more this summer and fall! Next time I’ll be more prepared with layers and warm blankets for overnight. The foot and hand warmers were definitely needed! Thanks to our friends Sam and Katie for planning the whole thing!

Finding Joy from the Outdoors

As a part of the Gratitude and Happiness Committee at work, I was asked to write a blog post on how I’ve connected to nature and how it’s benefited me mentally and physically. I thought I’d share this article on my personal blog too!

This time of year has me feeling grateful for all of the outdoor activities in Utah. How lucky am I to live in a place where it’s possible to explore the mountains any day of the week? The spring is especially my favorite, because I can choose to ski, hike, or road trip to the national parks down south when it comes time for the weekend.

I feel lucky that job opportunities brought my husband and I from the Midwest to Utah. Living close to the mountains and national parks was always a dream of mine, and now it is finally happening. My mental and physical health always improves from being outside, and I love that there is no “off season” in Utah where you’re stuck inside hibernating and waiting for Spring to come. The Wasatch Mountains, Zion, Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, and Bryce Canyon are among some of the most beautiful places in the world and they are right in our backyard.

In my ten months of living in Utah so far, I’ve been able to see Bryce Canyon, Zion, Escalante, and hike or ski almost every weekend in the Wasatch. I went to Bryce Canyon this past weekend, and it was amazing to see it snow covered and experience what the park has to offer in different seasons. Escalante is a national monument full of slot canyons to explore and waterfalls to see; we went there last fall and stayed in the Yurts and they were so beautiful. I went to Zion in the fall and we did Angel’s Landing and Observation Point hikes. I can’t wait to head back to this park and explore more and see the rest of the national parks in Utah.

My favorite time to hike in the Wasatch has been the fall. The leaves start to change, the crisp feeling in the air, warm layers and the sun shining makes it the perfect escape from the city. Fall is one of my favorite times of year, you can see and feel so much of nature changing around you. Some of my favorite hikes are tucked away in Big and Little Cottonwood canyons and the hiking scenery and weather is perfect during September and October. Utah has such an amazing variety of places where you can check out all the changing colors and different trees as well. Some of my favorite hikes so far are Lake Blanche, Red and White Pine Lake, Lake Mary at Brighton, and Cecret Lake at Alta. I love hiking after work, and for those hikes I tend to stick to the foothills or behind the Avenues neighborhood so that I can fit in a quick hike before dinner and sunset. I also joined a hiking group this year that will take group hikes once a week after work in the Spring through Fall; it’s a great way to meet new people and explore new parts of the Wasatch!

No matter how short or long I hike, just getting outside makes life so much happier! I feel so much joy from exercising and being outside, and Utah makes it so easy to do those things. I felt especially joyful during the winter this year, which has not always been the case living in the Midwest. I was able to ski every weekend with my Brighton ski pass and some weekdays with the Clearlink ski passes. My favorite resorts have been Alta, Deer Valley, Park City/Canyons, and Snowbasin. Something else I do to get fresh air during the work day all year long is take a walk outside at lunch. Just a 15 min break and fresh air can make a big difference with my energy levels in the afternoon!

There are so many beautiful places to explore near Salt Lake and in Utah, and I am so thankful to live here and be able to share it with friends and family. The mountains truly make me feel grateful and happy. With Earth Day coming up on April 22nd, I hope you’re able to get outside and appreciate this beautiful place we live in. 

Bryce Canyon National Park

This past weekend Matt and I took a road trip with our friends Kate and Jeremy to Bryce Canyon National Park, 4 hours south of Salt Lake. We left Friday morning and got back to Salt Lake on Sunday afternoon, and we were able to fit in 4 different hikes! It was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been, and the fresh snow made the red rock and hoodoos even more breathtaking. While it was more like winter weather when we got there, it was fun to explore new trails inside and outside of the National Park!

FRIDAY

When we got to the National Park on Friday afternoon, we saw that hiking options were very limited due to heavy snow amounts and avalanche warnings. We opted to hike the rim trail that day since it was the only hike open in the park. The views were incredible after the snowstorm they had earlier that week, and we had a blast exploring the amphitheater section of the park and going to the different lookouts.

SATURDAY

Since we covered most of what was open in the park on Friday, we decided to explore Red Canyon on Saturday. This canyon is on the way into the Park, so it’s only a 15 min drive from where we were staying. We did a hike called Golden Wall Trail, it was a 4.5 mile hike that took us back into the canyon and had incredible views of the hoodoo’s and red rock. When the snow got too deep to trek through, we went off trail and hiked up to the top. The 360 degree views were incredible and we ate lunch up there before making our way back. Our friend Jeremy sled down part of the back side of the mountain, and he had so much fun we all decided to join and sled down the mountain instead of going back on the trail. It was so much fun! After it became too flat to sled, we made our way through the deep snow until we got back to the trail head. It was an adventure to say the least! We decided to cross the highway and do a few shorter hikes before heading back to our hotel. We spent the afternoon hiking Pink Ledges and Bird’s eye trails and the snow was completely melted on this side of the canyon. The views and hoodoos were amazing here too!

SUNDAY

We started the morning early by catching the sunrise at Sunrise Point in the National Park. The views were amazing and we got there early enough to watch the whole sunrise. The pictures don’t do this place justice 🙂 After the sunrise, we did one more hike before heading back to Salt Lake. At dinner on Saturday we had a hike recommended to us that is part of the National Park and was the only other hike open to the public. It has a cave and waterfall, and we went of the trail and did some exploring on our own. We found a beautiful hole in the red rock with the light pouring in and walked along the river up to the top.

 

Over all we had an amazing trip and are so glad we went, despite the weather. We can’t wait to explore the rest of the National Parks in Utah and come back here in the fall when the temps are a bit warmer 🙂

Arizona Getaway

Over President’s Day Weekend on of my close friends got married in Phoenix, so my college friends and I made a girls trip and flew down for the weekend to celebrate! I arrived on Thursday and got to spend that night and Friday with my brother who recently moved there. It was so fun to catch up with Blake and his girlfriend! I hadn’t seen them since my wedding last May, so it was awesome to see their new home.

FRIDAY

Blake took my friend Rachael and I to South Mountain Hike near his home in Tempe, and it was gorgeous! The weather was 65 and sunny and we had a blast exploring the desert. It was a really nice change of pace from the cold and snow in Utah.

For lunch we met up with my cousin and his family downtown Phoenix, and it was so good to see them and meet his baby girl Willow! I hadn’t seen them in a few years, so it was so nice to catch up with them and be with family in Arizona.

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We met up with my other girlfriends who were in town and went to our friend Kelly’s wedding that evening. The weather and scenery were gorgeous! It was a venue out in the country next to the mountains, and it had a vintage/rustic feel. Everything was outdoors, including the reception and dance and that was something I had never experienced before. It was an amazing atmosphere and I had a blast catching up with my girlfriends and the bride and groom!

 

 

 

SATURDAY

In the morning we went to OHSO brewery in Scottsdale and it was so cute! The back patio is huge and faces Camelback mountain. Every meal comes with a mimosa or beer which was so fun! Since we were so close to Camelback, we decided to do the hike afterwords! It was a gorgeous day and we had a blast hiking together and soaking in the sunshine. It was more challenging and steep than I anticipated, but it felt so good to do a hike again after only skiing for the past couple of months! The views from the top were also incredible!

The bride and groom hosted a cookout at their home in Phoenix that evening after the wedding, and it was a great chance to see them again and socialize with everyone at the wedding who stayed in town! They have the cutest back yard with a fire pit and it felt like a summer BBQ.

SUNDAY

On Sunday my friend Haley and I had brunch at the cutest crepe restaurant in Tempe, and it was nice to have the morning to relax before our flight home. I left that afternoon and came home to a blizzard and freezing rain, so I missed the warmth immediately. I’m so excited to have friends and family down in Arizona so I can go back and visit often!

 

Life Changes

For those of you that don’t know me, I am an extroverted introvert working as a corporate accountant. In a sense, I love social gatherings and one on one conversations, but I tend to be shy in new situations with big groups of people. I also crave alone time after a lot of social time to re-energize. This past year I have gone through so many life changes, including planning a wedding, getting married, leaving family and friends and moving across the country to Utah (homebody over here), starting a new job, making new friends, moving in with my husband, and living the mountain life. It’s been hard but so worth it! I fully trusted in God’s plan and it turned out to be so good! He has provided in more ways than I could imagine and I am so thankful prayers have been answered. I also started this personal blog last year, and that has been go good for me to stay connected to family and friends back home. I think my #1 fans are my Grandma’s, but I love that! I want to inspire people to follow their dreams even if it’s scary! That’s where the growth comes from.

Trust me, I didn’t always have this mind set. I grew up in a smaller Wisconsin town and went to college in the town right next door (Go Eagles!). I majored in Accounting and Finance and continued my career in the corporate world after graduation. I thought moving from WI to MN 3 hours away from home was a huge step! And it was for me, I met so many new people and started my career there. The corporate world has its ups and downs, but I have learned so much and it’s helped me grow to where I am today. 

Starting my own business and being creative always was a dream in the back of my mind, but I didn’t think it would actually happen. I made a conscious decision this year to go out of my comfort zone and try something that challenges me! I have been a swimmer for most of my life, so my hair has been damaged by chlorine for as long as I can remember. I’ve tried every salon brand and chlorine treatment out there, but nothing has brought my hair back to health. I used to have thick, full hair, and recently it’s gotten frizzy, dry, and thin. When my friend introduced me to new hair products, I was skeptical at first. I wasn’t sure I wanted to buy products that I had never heard of,  but I knew I needed something to help my hair get healthy again. I also loved that were naturally based, cruelty free, 100% vegan, and gluten free. She was also a swimmer with me in college and the products had improved her hair so much, so I decided to try it out. After the first few washes I could tell a difference, but now just a few months later I am noticing dramatic results. I love that you use so little of the product each wash instead of dousing your hair to make it smooth, so the products last much longer. I used to have greasy hair after a day or less because I was using so much conditioner to compensate for my dry and frizzy hair. Now I can go 2-3 days before I need to use dry shampoo (even after doing hot yoga everyday!). I wash my hair 2x a week and I am working up to 1x a week. It air drys so nice, the wave and curls I always wanted! It no longer is frizzy and out of control, and it holds a curl or stays straight when I style it until the next wash. I just do a touch up every morning or add a little dry shampoo if needed. I was already telling all of my friends about how my hair has improved, I thought why not help my girlfriends out and start a business of my own?

I am so excited to face fears and try something new that I am passionate about! I want people to feel confident about themselves and I am so excited to help women and men with their hair. Please reach out if you have any questions or want a free hair consult. I would love to help. The link is in my Instagram bio!

 

Winter Photos at Big Cottonwood Canyon

I surprised Matt for Christmas with a winter photo session in the mountains! I wanted to capture our favorite place in our new home, Big Cottonwood Canyon in the Wasatch Mountains. We’ve been in the canyon too many times to count for hikes and skiing, but it was so special to get dressed up and have some fun in the snow with our photographer Jordynn! The week before we met, Utah got 40in of fresh snow. You could say it was an adventure taking photos while trying not to fall through the snow past our hips. One of my favorite moments was at the end of the session when Matt suggested he throw me into the powder. I agreed and Jordynn captured the most epic shot of me in the air! I sunk so deep in the snow it was hard to get back up, but it was a blast! For anyone in the SLC area, we would highly recommend Jordynn (@jordy.b.photo on Instagram). She is so creative, bubbly, and fun to be around! We felt comfortable right away and I’m so happy with how our photos turned out. Here are some of my favorites. I will treasure these photos forever!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Home for the Holidays

This year was our first Christmas as a married couple, and it was so fun to be back in Wisconsin for the Holiday’s with both of our families! We fit in so much during our 10 days home and I can’t wait to share our favorite traditions and memories back home. It was bittersweet coming back to Utah after such a fun week, but we felt ready to be back and start the new year in our new home.

HUDSON

We spend the first 4 days of our trip in Hudson, where my Husband Matt’s family is from. We got lots of family time with his immediate family and extended families on both sides. It was so great to see everyone! Some of the highlights were going to Christmas Eve Mass with Matt’s Grandpa, that is his favorite tradition. Another favorite memory was hiking at Willow River State Park with Matt and his siblings to the waterfall on Christmas Day. It is gorgeous this time of year! We also played lots of rounds of our favorite board game, Ticket to Ride.

LA CROSSE

The day after Christmas we went a few hours south to the La Crosse Area to spend time with my family. We got to see my parents, Grandparents, and a few friends! I missed not having my brother home since he recently moved to Phoenix, but I will get to celebrate with him in less than a month when I visit. A few highlights were going to our favorite spots in our college town, including Grandad’s Bluff, our college campus, and favorite Bar & Grill Howie’s. We also played lots of Ticket to Ride with my parents, and Grandma surprised us all being the champ her first time playing!

APPLETON

For the weekend after Christmas we traveled to the East side of the state to visit my extended family. On our way there I was able to celebrate my college friend Kelly’s bridal shower and see all of my college besties! After that we went to our family Christmas and did a secret Santa gift exchange and played lots of rounds of catch phrase. The boys pulled ahead this year, but I’m confident the girls will take back the lead next year 🙂

PACKER GAME

The next day we traveled north to Green Bay to cheer on our favorite NFL team, the Packers! It was a great experience being at Lambeau Field again, and the weather was around 30 degrees so we weren’t freezing! They had a tough season and didn’t score any points this game, but we still had a blast and the crowd is amazing.

NEW YEARS

After our long trip across the state, we decided to stay close to home & the airport for New Years, especially since we were flying back to Utah the next day. We spend New Years dinner with Matt’s friends and the evening in Minneapolis with my college friends! It was so fun catching up and playing our favorite game, salad bowls.

Overall it was a great trip back to the Midwest, but we are so excited to be making Utah our home. I can’t wait to make this a yearly tradition!

San Francisco Friendsgiving

For Thanksgiving break I flew to San Francisco to visit friends from my hometown in Wisconsin! It was different not being home with family in Wisconsin, but we had so much fun exploring the Bay Area. Our hosts Gabby and Kyle planned out three packed days for us to see different parts of the city. They hosted the perfect weekend trip, and I can’t wait to go visit again, hopefully with my Husband next time!

DAY 1 – PACIFIC COAST

On Thanksgiving day we drove Hwy 1 and visited all of the small towns along the coast. It was my first time seeing the Pacific coast on the US side and it was beautiful! We started with the Santa Cruz pier to watch the surfers and sea lions and made our way north to Davenport, where we stopped for lunch. Next we went to the Pigeon Point Light House, and then drove to Half Moon Bay where we had a sunset picnic and went to Thanksgiving Dinner at the Moss Beach Distillery. The food, drinks, and company was amazing!

DAY 2 – SILICON VALLEY

On Friday we went to Palo Alto to visit Stanford University’s campus, downtown, and a few tech company headquarters. Stanford’s campus was incredible! We walked around the main quad, visited the bookstore, and pretended we went there 🙂 Next we visited downtown Palo Alto and grabbed brunch at Local Union and coffee at The Blue Coffee shop. Their downtown restaurant and shopping area was adorable and packed with black Friday shoppers! We visited Google’s campus and rode the bikes around, then saw Instagram and Facebook. Their campuses were pretty incredible! Our last stop before heading back home was for a Winery tasting and Thomas Fogarty Winery in the mountains. It was pouring rain and foggy at that point, so we didn’t get to see the incredible views of the bay but the wine was delicious! We went to a local favorite Mexican restaurant in Redwood City for dinner and had some drinks downtown!

DAY 3 – SAN FRANCISCO

On our last day we drove into downtown San Francisco to visit Gabby and Kyle’s favorite spots. We had just enough time to see the highlights of the city before I left for the airport. Our first stop was driving down Lombard Street. It was pretty cool to see in person! Next we get to the top of Coit Tower to see 360 degree views of the city. It was the first clear day in a while with no fog, so the views of the bridges and downtown were amazing! Next we drove to see the Golden Gate Bridge and took lots of pictures. We drove across the bridge to have lunch at Barrel House Tavern in Sausalito, CA. The restaurant had great views of the Bay and the downtown area was very cute! We went to a spot north of the Golden Gate Bridge to take in views of the city from up above before heading back to downtown. We drove past the piers where there were tons of tourists, through the Little Italy and Chinatown neighborhoods, and stopped at the Painted Ladies houses from Full House before leaving for the airport. There were so many fun spots in the city and I can’t wait to come back so I can explore them more! Overall it was a great Friendsgiving trip to the Bay Area!

 

 

Wedding Planning

I wanted to share the details of our wedding planning on the blog in hopes it would help other brides and grooms with their future plans! Matt and I planned almost the entire wedding ourselves, with the help of our venue coordinator, so we wanted to share what we did and learned. We also planned the wedding from 3 hours away, so there were some added challenges with traveling and doing things virtually. We kept things simple and affordable, and it turned out to be the perfect day celebrating with our family and closest friends.

VENUE TOURING

We started calling venues a week after getting engaged, because we had heard how fast they fill up. We confirmed it’s true; venue’s were booked a year to a year and a half in advance. We booked our venue two weeks after the engagement in early June. We wanted to get married in La Crosse, WI since I grew up in the area; we also went to college and started our dating relationship there. We toured four venues in La Crosse, and ultimately decided on The Waterfront Venue. I had always thought I would get married there, so when they told us they had one weekend opening left for the summer season, we jumped on it! We loved the location in downtown La Crosse, there is a beautiful outdoor ceremony spot and reception hall, incredible staff, wedding coordinator, and we could make it affordable to fit our budget. It also happened to be the location that Matt said I love you and proposed to me, so you could say it was our favorite place!

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PHOTOGRAPHER MEETINGS

I met with a few different photographers in the Minneapolis area about a month after getting engaged. Their schedules fill up almost as fast as venues, so I wanted to review styles, packages, and pricing before while our date was still far enough out. I had met our photographer Jennifer when she photographed my friends wedding, and I loved her photo editing style, candid pictures, and wedding package. We met in person for a consultation, and we booked with Jennifer in July for both engagement and wedding pictures. You can see more of her style on my previous wedding blog post and at her website, jenniferjanephoto.com.

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ENGAGEMENT PHOTOS

We took our engagement photos in late October, about 6 months before our wedding. It was perfect timing for sending our invites out, printing photos for the Holiday’s, and it landed in our favorite season of fall. Since we planned a spring wedding, we didn’t want to miss out on taking pictures when the leaves were changing. We scheduled our photos a couple of months in advance on a Sunday, so we could get on our photographers busy fall schedule. The weather was incredible, and we met during golden hour just before sunset. You can view more details of our engagement photos in my previous blog post!

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FOOD TASTING

We did our food tasting with the venue in early December, 5 months before the wedding. We tried all of the meals we were considering for the wedding, and narrowed it down to 3 that were around the same price per person. We decided on 2 meals with meat and veggies, 1 vegetarian option and a side salad for everyone. We brought both of our parents along, so they could help us decide and tour the venue. It was such a fun day with all 6 of us together!

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MARRIAGE LICENSE

We got our Marriage license from the County Clerk’s office in the county we got married in about 3 weeks before the wedding. There are different rules for every state, but there are a lot of requirements for paperwork and timing. Make sure to visit your state or county’s marriage license website to see the requirements. We made sure to get ours within the month of our wedding, but more than a week in advance because it took 6 business days to process. It was difficult because Matt already moved to UT, but he flew back for his Bachelor Party so we fit it in that Friday before! There is a process before the wedding, on the wedding day with witnesses, and after the wedding when they mail you the actual document so you can change your name, etc.

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FLORAL ARRANGEMENTS

We chose our Florist, Monet Floral, about 3 months into wedding planning, and met with them a few times before the wedding day. We had heard great reviews from other brides and wanted a local florist that was able to deliver on a Sunday. We were able to do a lot over phone and email since we didn’t live in La Crosse, but meeting with them in person was also very helpful. We gave them our vision for the wedding party, head table, and ceremony arch, and our vision came to life perfectly the day of. We were so happy with our choice and we even stayed within budget!

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ORGANIZATION

Staying organized was very important to me from the start of our engagement, and I am not a procrastinator when it comes to planning. I started our Google excel doc the week after we got engaged and started brainstorming ideas and our guest list. It was the perfect way to keep Matt and I and our parents on the same page about our wedding plans. The To-Do list tab had a list of things to plan, the cost, and the details once it was completed. This kept our budget in check from the beginning. The guest list tab had all of our names, addresses, table numbers, meal choices, and Yes/No responses. The venue tab had the number of meals, drinks, timeline, add-ons, and total cost for the venue. We had a timeline tab, listing the details of the entire weekend, location for each event, and time of day that we could share with our wedding party. We had a registry tab, photography tab, DJ tab with songs for each dance and our playlist, Ceremony tab with details of bible verses, order of events, songs, etc., and flower details. It was so helpful to stay organized and I was able to capture the total cost of the wedding day. Planning the main events and details in advance made the month leading up to the wedding a lot less stressful!

DRESS & SUIT SHOPPING

Dress shopping was so much fun for both myself and my bridesmaids! I went to Annika Bridal Boutique in Edina, MN to try on dresses for the first time to see what styles I would like. They happened to be having an inventory sale, so dresses off the rack were 50-75% off. I scheduled an appointment at the last minute and invited my roommate and best friend in Minneapolis to join me. We had a blast drinking champagne and trying on absolutely every dress that was in my size off the rack. I didn’t want to limit myself to any style before I knew what they would look like on. I ended up loving styles that I didn’t originally pick myself wearing, like a illusion neckline and short sleeves! Luckily for me, my size is the typical stock size so a lot of the dresses fit really well. However, I fell in love with 2 right away and my favorite dress was the last one. I loved it so much and it fit like a glove to the point that it wouldn’t need any alterations(besides length). The girls and I had the same reaction that it was THE ONE, so I bought my dream dress that day and all under my budget!

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For the girls, I knew I wanted our wedding dress color to be perriwinkle (a mix between light blue and lavender). I also wanted the dresses to lay just above the knee and come from a women’s clothing store so that they could try them on and wear them for another occasion. The dress color is hard to come by, so I started looking at places like Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, and JCrew. I bought a simple classic maroon dress from JCrew Factory that happened to come in a perriwinkle color as well. There was a 50% off sale on their website that day, so I bought all of the girls their dresses for $30 and they were able to try them on after I ordered them. They worked out great for the wedding day since it was almost 100 degrees, and I even bought an extra one for myself!

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We found the groomsmen’s suits in Rochester, MN at Knight’s Menswear. They had custom fit suits that you could buy for cheaper than renting at most places, so we went with Navy suits from there. We were also able to find matching ties to the girls dresses.

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WEDDING PARTY

We wanted to get our bridesmaids and groomsmen simple gifts that they could use again! I ordered the girls necklaces from Etsy that they could wear with their bridesmaid dress and other occasions. I paired it with a card designed by a friend who does calligraphy! For the wedding day, I got them all matching floral robes to wear while we got ready. Matt ordered his groomsmen stainless steel coozies that they used at the bachelor party and can use for other occasions! For the wedding day, he bought their ties that matched the girls dresses.

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WEDDING WEBSITE

I created our wedding website on theknot.com a couple months after getting engaged. It was so helpful to have all of our wedding info in one place to stay organized. We posted our wedding day details, wedding party, and love story on the home page for guests to read. On the next page, we added hotel and parking accommodations and things to do in La Crosse, WI. Next, we added Proposal and Engagement photos. After that, we had our electronic RSVP for guests to reply and pick their meal without having to mail anything back. Finally, we linked our Amazon and Target registries for guest to purchase gifts for the shower and wedding. It is a user friendly website for all ages and easy to set up. I would recommend this site to anyone planning an event!

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INVITES

We decided to combine a traditional save the date postcard with a traditional wedding invite into one card. We had a picture on the front announcing our wedding, and the details of our day listed on the back. Since our RSVP’s and details were on our website, we sent our invite out about 5 months in advance for our guests. It saved us a lot of time and money and we were so happy with how they turned out with Vistaprint!

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DECORATIONS

We wanted to keep our decorations simple since our venue was a beautiful space. Our florist handled the ceremony alter/arch with floral arrangements, decorated the head table and half of the guest tables with eucalyptus rings, and we re-used the bridal party bouquets as centerpieces for the other half. Matt’s cousin lent us her glass cylinder vases from her wedding, and we used them for the head table and the guest tables without bouquets. I ordered floating candles from Amazon to float in the vases for the reception. Our entry way was full of engagement pictures, wooden signs made with leftover barn wood and decorated by my coworker, date night ideas on popsicle sticks, and letter boards from Amazon. Our guest book was a shadow box picture frame with our invite in the middle. We saved a lot of money by keeping the decorations simple, and it turned out to be the perfect addition to our venue.