Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Change is a Comin!

Dear Readers,

You may have noticed it has been a little quiet around here lately. There is a reason! Koala Chique is getting a new look and a new home, coming very soon! My dear friend over at Moose Wreck Designs is putting the Chique in Koala Chique!

More fun wedding talk coming again soon. So much to catch up on!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Lasting Love

“Love does not consist of gazing at each other, but in looking together in the same direction.” 

~Antoine de Saint-Exupery~

The statistics are grim: the divorce rate in America is hovering around 41% for couples in their first marriage. Nate and I both have personal experiences with divorce; both sets of parents in fact. We understand that it was all for the best and that all parties involved are much happier now because of this decision, but it has left us both a little gun shy in the marriage department. We struggled with the idea of a lasting relationship and what it truly takes from both sides to be in a happy marriage. As a result, our expectations for one another in the early stages of our relationship were high reaching to put it lightly. Of course, we are human, thus we fell short of each other's unrealistic wants; naturally, disappointment ensued. 

It was the little things that unraveled us, the WAY he said something or perhaps he left his wet towel on the floor, which I was convinced was a testament to the overall health of our relationship. Or perhaps it was the terse manner in which I said something that came across as a little too harsh, or the bobby pins that seem to infiltrate every corner of his apartment. None of these things were a big deal in themselves, but because we didn't tell each other it was bothering us, it became a big problem.

Now here's the good news; we are not who we were four years ago. Are we all knowing and ever wise when it comes to making our relationship work?, No way jose! But I've been doing a lot of thinking about this lately, what with that little thing called OUR WEDDING coming up, and I've come to a conclusion. Our marriage is gonna last, and here's why I know this to be true.

~We fight and yell. . and that's ok


I'm not going to sugar coat it, fighting with the person you love the most sucks. You feel anger, guilt, and in my case, an overwhelming desire to be stubborn at all costs. Why is this good for us?

Because it's communication. If we are angry, we let each other know. If one has hurt the other's feelings, we let each other know. If we are feeling like we are being pushed down the priority list in the other person's life, we let each other know. Some may argue that yelling and fights in a relationship are unhealthy, but I make a case for the opposite. Yes, if all you do is fight and nothing healthy comes of it, that is bad. However, if you can express your emotions to one another in an honest manner, make progress, find a solution and move on, that is so so good.

~It's not what we are doing, it's the fact that we are doing it together


Folding laundry is the bane of my existence. I avoid it all costs. Right now there is a huge pile of clothes sitting on the couch just waiting to be folded; it's taunting me. You know what makes folding laundry suck less? Folding laundry with Nate. 

It doesn't matter if we are having a night out on the town or cuddled up on the couch absorbed completely in our Macs (nerd alert!), it's better because we are doing it together. We enjoy the simple things that daily life brings, because we are experiencing it together. Him making his scrambled egg whites in the morning (as I look on in complete and utter disgust). Wandering the isles at the grocery store, and inevitably spending a good chunk of our time in the wine aisle. Taking a walk through our neighborhood as evening settles in and the sun sinks below the tree line . . it's the little things that make up a life together, it's the little things that make it all worthwhile.

~We never go a day without saying "I love you"


Even if it sounds repetitive, even if what's really going through your mind is "wow they are really getting on my last nerve", say it anyway. We try never to assume that the other person knows how we feel, because assuming has never worked out well for us. So we say it, and we say it every day from a place of honesty and sincereness. Nate is so much better at telling me this than I to him. I need to tell him even more.

~We make goals, and we accomplish them together

{It's good to have goals}

I'm trying to get in better shape for the wedding and Nate offered to be my workout buddy cause I need some serious motivation that never seems to appear when I exercise alone. Strange. . .
We are both itching to go on a trip to Scotland. It probably won't pan out to go for the honeymoon, but we are saving up a little at the time so that someday we can both realize a dream. Even last week, after we had finished dinner, we peered into the kitchen to find that a mysterious kitchen elf had come in and trashed the whole place! Not to be defeated by mischievous elfin behavior, we gave ourselves the goal of cleaning up the kitchen, and rewarding our gallant efforts with a trip to Starbucks. Amazing, you throw coffee in the mix and it's crazy how much you can accomplish in such a short period of time. Goal. Met.

~We compromise, and learned to say "I'm sorry"


Say it with me, "I'm sssss. . .I'm ssssss. . .I'm sss. ." ARRRGGG! Why are these two simple words so freaking hard to say!? I have a stubborn streak a mile wide and six feet deep; it is BAD. Admitting my wrongs is one of the hardest things I have ever had to tackle. I hate admitting I'm wrong, it feels like an admission of failure. It's also a very humbling experience. 

But sometimes, I just know that I have screwed up. I said something hurtful, I dismissed his feelings, and it makes me feel cruddy. So I screw up the courage, take a deep breath, and spit it out, "I'm sorry". Whew, wow the sky didn't fall? That's not so bad.

Not only have we learned new vocabulary, but we have also learned to take a step in the other's direction. That is, we have to compromise. Sorry Burger King, oftentimes in a relationship, you can in fact, NOT have it your way. More often than not, it is not about you at all. It is about the other person, and how much their happiness means to you. I may be less than thrilled about the creepy tiki mask that Nate insisted be hung in our apartment, and he may be less than stoked about my choice to cook with copious amounts of butter and salt (I'm southern! It's in our genes!), but we smile, shake our head, and move on. 

 This is not a soap box preaching on how perfect our relationship is (quite the opposite!)It is a hard learned lesson and the message is this:

 A lasting love is not one that is perfect, love is after all, not a feeling, but a commitment. Acknowledging each other's flaws, and loving them all the more for it. A commitment to appreciate one another, support each other, and most importantly, laugh as much as possible. 

Monday, October 18, 2010

Searching for our piece of "I do" turf: Part Three

Remember here where we started our search in the great state of NC? Then we started looking here for the perfect place in my home state of GA. To summarize: I struck out both times. I was learning though! Learning what it was we were really looking for in a venue. We discovered that we wanted: historic, in the city, not all inclusive, and budget friendly.

A few weeks later, I was sitting on my computer, sifting through old photos from college and past trips. Scrolling through the thousands of pics, I came across a trip my parents and I had taken back when I was in high school to Charleston, SC. It was such a wonderful weekend, the beautiful lantern lined streets, the top notch dining options, and the beautiful views of the river and the marsh. As I reminisced, it hit me. This was it. This was where we would get married.

Historic? Most definitely

Non inclusive? Of course, we could choose from an array of options and our guests would have plenty to do.
{Charleston Sunset}

Budget friendly? If we played our cards right, we could make it happen.

As soon as I mentioned the idea to Nate, he was completely on board and loved the idea. Good thing as I was running out of ideas; not kidding. Deciding on the city was the hard part, choosing a venue in this amazing city was incredibly and surprisingly easy. With the help of an amazing wedding planning duo (more on that later!) we were able to set up a weekend to travel to Charleston and choose the ideal venue. It only took two places, (shocking I know!), yep only two venues to decide where our wedding would be held.

Stop numero uno: The River house at Lowndes Grove

This place was gorgeous, so I will let the pictures do the talking (all taken by my amazing assistant with his superior iphone skills and detailed note taking at each stop. . . that's you Nate)

They were actually setting up for a wedding when we arrived; it was great to see how they were dividing up the space into dining, dancing and the mud wrestling pit. . .just seeing if you were paying attention.

The River House

Inside the River House

Check out that awesome dance floor!

The View! (Saved the best for last)
 The ceremony would take place outside, with everyone looking out towards this breathtaking view of the river. Then dinner and dancing would move to the inside and brick patio area. My parents (who came along to offer advice and errmm, financial support) Nate, and I all agreed, this place was pretty and would definitely work for the feel we were going for. Was it the one? We just weren't sure. We decided to look at the two other sites on our schedule for the day; in the cars we piled; down the road we went.

Our next venue option sealed the deal. It had charm, uniqueness, and was just oozing with history.

FINALLY! Our piece of I do turf. Oh you want to see pics? Well alright . . .

29 Montagu St

This early 1800's private residence gem actually fell in our laps because our awesome planner knows the owners of the house. It is right in the middle of the downtown historic district, walking distance to all the best hotels and restaurants, and completely within out budget. The best part? Well duh, did you see the pictures?! It's so so purdy. I just want to kick back in one of the porch chairs with my mint julip and shout "I do declare!" for no apparent reason.

After we saw this place, we only looked at the third venue for about 5 minutes, because truthfully, we had already made up our minds.

Ceremony on the lawn, cocktails on the porches, and getting down on the dance floor under the stars. I'm zipping my lips now about the venue, you'll have to wait to get all the details!

Did you ever struggle with a decision only to have the right answer reveal itself in it's own good time?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Do Me a Favor

I would like to interrupt the never ending saga of finding a venue to talk about something that was one of my first big wedding ideas; and one that I am beyond excited about. Wedding guests, this one is for you, cause I'm talking about favors.

I knew of the typical wedding favors: the bubbles, the monogrammed tea candle, the personalized mint tins

 I am all for minty breath and cute candles, but these ideas just weren't. . . us. I imagined something either useful or tasteful for our guests. Not tasteful as in "woah so tacky", but tasteful as in "oh yumo that's so good".

Lightbulb moments are my favorite, and I have them often. I will be thinking about something completely unrelated to the topic at hand, then WHAM, brilliant idea!

Marrying (pun totally intended) our love of food and sipping hot drinks during the cold months, I devised a favor that represents Nate and I to a tee (ha, see! I did it again).


My grandmother has the most delicious tea cookie recipe that I plan on using to bake up some edible  favors for our guests. The cookies will be shaped like so

I think I am going to try my hand at royal icing to give the cookies an extra special touch. What goes best with tea cookies? Why, tea of course! We will probably choose an earl grey variety or a black tea variety and package two tea bags with a few cookies.

It would seem that the experience of opening a wedding favor is much like opening a present; there is anticipation involved. Who doesn't love opening a box all wrapped up cute? This is one of the most obvious ways  we will be showing our guests how much we appreciate them for being there for our special day, I want to take the time and do some beautiful packaging. Perhaps some cute boxes all wrapped up with a pretty ribbon? Or perhaps some adorable patterned favor boxes such as these from Jane over at Olive Hue Paper Goods

{Lovely Photo from here}
 I found some olive green ribbon at the dollar bin at Michaels. If I can find some wrapping paper that I love I think we will be all set! I can premeasure and cut the ribbon and paper ahead of time to cut down on the last minute push. Since I can't bake the cookies until the week of (any volunteers for assistant baker?) you will have to wait and see how it all turns out!

I am hoping that by making the gifts both practical and personal, our guests will appreciate and enjoy this little labor of love. Perhaps a little midnight snack when they get back to their hotel room?

Since I'm a novice, any tips out there for applying royal icing? I hear it's tricky.