Why You Should Do A First Look With Your Dad on Your Wedding Day

Why You Should Do A First Look With Your Dad on Your Wedding Day

I’m sure you’ve heard about couples who do a “first look.” You know, when the bride and groom choose to go against tradition and see each other before their wedding ceremony. Typically, it’s a private moment carved out in the hustle and bustle of the day for the groom to see his bride for the first time and have the wedding photographer capture his reaction.

My husband and I decided not to do a first look because I wanted him to see me in my dress for the first time walking down the aisle. I also had a little surprise planned for him  — I walked down the aisle to his favorite song.

However, I did do a first look with my dad, and it turned out to be one of the most memorable and precious moments of my wedding day.

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Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue

Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue

When we began planning our wedding, there weren’t many traditions we were keen on keeping.

Cake cutting? No thanks. We’d rather just grab a cupcake and mingle with our guests.

Bouquet and garter toss? Nah. We’re in our late-20s and most of our friends are already married, so throwing out a bouquet or a garter that had been strapped to my sweaty leg all day didn’t appeal to us. Plus, we didn’t want to take away from dancing during the reception. We just wanted to party.

However, there were some traditions we couldn’t part with. Like not seeing each other before the ceremony, a first dance and dances with our parents, and, of course, my something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue.

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I’m Wearing Chacos to my Wedding and This is Why

I’m Wearing Chacos to my Wedding and This is Why

We are about three months away from our wedding day and I feel like things are finally falling into place.

Which is great for my sanity and that of my soon-to-be husband.

I recently celebrated a promotion at work and the end of my first semester back in school — if you didn’t know, I am pursing a master’s degree — by ordering my wedding shoes: A pair of custom-made Chaco sandals.

From the moment Justin and I started planning our big day — before I had a dress or even a venue — I knew I would walk down the aisle with Chacos on my feet.

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Counting my blessings

Wedding dress shopping day

Saturday was surreal, beautiful, and memorable thanks to the women in my life.

As a motherless daughter who is planning her own wedding, I have been dreading going wedding dress shopping for the past 5 months.

I had so much anxiety about the anticipation of missing my mom on this special day that I strategically planned to put off shopping for my dress as long as I could.

I was avoiding it so much that I even pulled out my planner at some point along the way and calculated the last month I could comfortably start shopping before the wedding.

However, when one of the premiere bridal shops in the Charlotte area announced they were going out of business and their entire inventory was heavily discounted, I knew I had to put my emotions aside and make an appointment to try on dresses.

So, I invited my two aunts and cousin down from Asheville to join my maid of honor, matron of honor, mother-in-law, and me on this adventure.

Then, I panicked.

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Becoming a Motherless Bride

Becoming a Motherless Bride

I am walking on unknown territory right now and have debated whether or not I should write down my thoughts about becoming a motherless bride. Not sharing my experiences, especially as a motherless daughter, goes against my foundation for starting “dammit, Hali,” though. So, here I am, trying my best to describe the pain of being a woman who is planning a wedding without her mom and put into words the rollercoaster of emotions I have already experienced.

Yes, this means that after 6 years together, Justin and I are finally planning a wedding. While I am excited to exchange vows in front of our family and friends and officially become his wife, the planning process to this point has been bittersweet and plagued with many emotional highs and lows. In the 2 months since we announced our wedding date and made it “Facebook official,” I have said out loud “I wish my mom could be here” more times than I have altogether in the 7 years since her passing.

When my mom died in July 2009 I was 19 and could not imagine myself getting married or having a wedding without her. Moms and wedding planning typically go together, and the fact that my mom was taken from me before I got to experience the joy — and frustration — of planning a wedding with her is cruel.

Fast forward 7 months to a cold February night when Justin and I met at a college party. I thought he was funny and kind; I’m not sure what his first impression was of me, and I don’t think I will ever ask. We exchanged phone numbers and quickly became friends before we made it official and started dating.

I wish I could say that I immediately knew Justin was the person I would marry, but for the first several months of our relationship I was very much determined to not get married. Then, at some point along the way, I looked at him and it became clear, this man is the one and I will marry him … someday.

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