real wedding:: bright & colorful plantation wedding

Oh, Stephen and Jenn. I occasionally cry at the weddings I work, but this one was a particular tearjerker/emotionally-attached wedding:  the wedding of my brother-in-law and his high school sweetheart.

Despite the tears (in fact - the reason behind them), it was absolutely the happiest day. We were all beaming from morning until midnight that night. So much love came together to make everything absolutely perfect for the sweet couple and their Carnton Plantation wedding Memorial Day weekend.

Jessica McIntosh did a PHENOMENAL job photographing the intricacies of the day. We are all blown away by the portraits of these two -- aren't they just to die for? Jessica risked limb and life by creeping down in fields of flowers and greenery to get these shots -- and that was before we found the snake hanging out in the garden before the ceremony!

wedding gown hanging
yellow bridal bouquet

Jenn's bridal bouquet was absolutely gorgeous -- Cheryl's Flowers composed a beautiful arrangement of ivory hydrangea, calla lilies, roses, and peonies with a few pops of yellow.

pink flowers

Can anything really beat the natural beauty of this stately Southern plantation home? So lovely, especially at the "golden hour."

groomsmen tying ties
first look

I seriously die over all these portraits. That garden is just to die for!

bridal portrait
bridal party.jpg
first dance.jpg

The Southern-style spread for dinner was out-of-this-world insanely good. Bacon & Caviar for the win!

carnton plantation mansion

Once the party got started, OH how we wobbled...

carnton at night.jpg
slow dance.jpg
matron of honor family

Planner | Kelly Dellinger Events
Photographer | Jessica McIntosh Photography
Venue | Carnton Plantation
Caterer | Bacon & Caviar
Hair & Makeup | Brenna Mader
Personal Flowers | Cheryl's Flowers
Lighting | Bright Event Productions
Audio | Stager Audio
Rentals | Music City Tents & Events
Cake | The Bekahry Bake Shoppe
Honeymoon Planning | 2 Travel Anywhere - Excellence Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

what to actually pack on your honeymoon

The first weekend of 2014 marked our first wedding of the year -- Laura & Michael's! In the days leading up to the wedding, Laura approached me about feeling frazzled, comparing a zillion lists of what to pack for her honeymoon, and not knowing what on earth to actually take or leave behind. If there's one trip in a person's lifetime that important things ought not be left behind, it's a honeymoon!

Aerial view of Mexico from our honeymoon in 2012!

Aerial view of Mexico from our honeymoon in 2012!

So from a practical standpoint (and from someone who's taken two tropical vacations over the past year and a half), here's my no-nonsense honeymoon packing list (for a 5 - 6 day tropical honeymoon):

  • Lingerie/Underwear (sexy AND legitimately comfortable -- you will want both); strapless bra OPTIONAL depending on your outfit choices
  • A pair of Lightweight Pajamas (but only bring 1 -2 pairs of PJs, max)
  • Swimsuits (you only really need 2)
  • A few Coverups (this can be a jersey knit dress, just something easy to throw on and off -- no jean shorts; this can also be something you wear first to a meal and then to the beach)
  • Light Cardigan/Lightweight Jacket (that will match most things - sometimes the restaurants are chilly; bring 1 - 2)
  • Nice-ish Dress (knit jersey is great for this if it's a little fancier in style, otherwise a sundress or casual-nice dress is good -- it's fun to dress up a little for formal dinners but you don't have to go too fancy)
  • Sandals (at least two pairs, one that's nicer -- you'll wear these everywhere, exclusively)
  • Flip-Flops (super casual, easy to wear to the actual beach and back)
  • OPTIONAL: Lightweight slip-on close-toed shoes for your flight and back (if you're traveling in the cooler weather months)
  • Comfortable, cute shorts or lightweight capris/pants (2-3 pairs to mix and match)
  • Comfortable, lightweight tops (tanks are great! 4 - 5 of these - they can get sweaty or sandy, so make sure you have enough)
  • Hat (baseball cap or floppy sunhat to shade you)
  • Sunglasses, his and hers
  • Small Clutch (OPTIONAL - if you want something to carry around your room key/camera/lipstick when you go to dinner)
  • Mousse/Hair Product to best accentuate your natural hair texture (there's no time or desire to straighten your hair when you're on tropical vacation)/Bobby Pins/Ponytail Holders
  • Curling Iron (only if you want to get fancy a night or two)
  • A pair of Statement Earrings that will go with lots of outfits or a Statement Necklace (no need to accessorize too much on vacation!) -- a little goes a long way.
  • Camera/Memory Card (maybe an extra)/Charger/Batteries
  • iPhone/Charger
  • iPad (OPTIONAL - only bring if you'll actually use it on the plane or at the resort)
  • Passport
  • Marriage License copy, signed (don't bring the real thing)
  • Resort & Flight Confirmations 
  • Driver's License (extra ID)
  • Credit Card (for emergencies)
  • at least $100 in small bills, cash, to tip (even though the resort includes gratuities, they really really appreciate tips and you'll get better service. Worth it.)
  • Emergency Cash
  • Advil
  • Gas-X or Beano, if you want to avoid any unromantic moments onset by overindulging at the all-you-can-eat dinners
  • Deodorant
  • Nausea medicine, if you're prone to getting ill out of the country
  • Contacts & a spare pair/Solution/Glasses
  • Toothbrush (toothpaste is usually included there)
  • a LOT of sunscreen (it'll be $80 at the resort if you run out)/Sunblock chapstick
  • Aloe Vera (small container) if either of you burns easily or if you're not vigilant about applying SPF
  • Razor
  • Face Soap, travel size
  • Makeup (not your whole kit -- just some mascara and eyeliner, maybe a shade of eye shadow, and lipgloss. you don't need much, you'll be rocking the 'newlywed glow!')
  • Makeup Remover, travel size
  • Hairbrush
  • Contraceptives
  • Feminine products (even if you're not expecting your period, you never know! Better to be safe than have to buy them overpriced at the airport!)
  • Bug spray! If you are going somewhere tropical, there are bugs! It's inevitable!
  • Cortisone, in case you slacked on applying the bug spray
  • Ziploc bags in varying sizes, in case you want to protect your phone while you're at the beach, OPTIONAL
  • A trash bag to separate your dirty clothes from the clean, OPTIONAL
Is this love, is this love, is this love, is this love that I'm feeling?  Absolutely -- Excellence Riviera Cancun is absolutely swoon-worthy. View from our room.

Is this love, is this love, is this love, is this love that I'm feeling? Absolutely -- Excellence Riviera Cancun is absolutely swoon-worthy. View from our room.

Ultimately, I tend to subscribe to the less-is-more approach. Plan your outfits to be layerable, stay away from heavy fabrics or materials, bring more than enough clean (and comfortable) underwear. Feel free to get a little fancy a night or two but don't bother packing an 80lb sequined pageant gown and stilettos -- you're at the beach! Definitely pack more sunscreen than you think you'll need and aloe vera if you burn easily or tend get overconfident about your tanning abilities when sunbathing (hand raised). Take a ridiculous amount of pictures, eat and drink to your heart's content (maybe bring some Pepcid if you're really going to let loose), and have one helluva honeymoon!!! And don't forget to put all of your liquids in your checked bag!

Stay tuned for the follow-up post about what NOT to pack on your honeymoon!