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Our Wedding Day

Wow! Where do I even begin? I have been anticipating writing this blog for so long. September 14th, 2019 was one of the best days of my life. I had dreamt of it since I was a little girl but had no idea how perfect it could truly be. Being from California but living in New Zealand made it that much more exciting. For those that don’t know, Robbie (my husband) is from New Zealand and I am from the States. We have been living in New Zealand and I planned our wedding from overseas. With family all over the world, it truly was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for all of us. We had friends and family traveling from New Zealand, Australia, the UK, Spain, Minnesota, Arizona, Idaho, and more.

I’m going to save all my advice and all the things I learned for a different blog post but I’ll walk you through a little bit about our day. If you want to see where we got all of the beautiful items to help pull together our wedding day, click here. All the images in this blog were taken by Susannah Lynn Photography and edited by me (Mary Taylor Photography). Click on the images to view them larger. 

Some of the links below are commissioned links. This means I may earn a small commission when you use these links. It doesn’t cost you anything and I cannot see who purchases what. 

We started our mornings in separate locations (the guys got ready at an airbnb and the girls got ready at my mom and step-dad’s house). The first vendor to arrive were our videographers from Hart Marketing! They had already been to see the guys! They were so flexible about going back and forth to capture exactly what they needed. Hair and makeup by Peretti Hill Glam Squad showed up a bit early just to make sure I would be done on time! I started to feel like everything was coming together. My artist, Saundra, was completely on top of it! She even allowed my mom to add on hair last minute! I couldn’t believe it! Our last vendor to arrive was the amazing Susannah from Susannah Lynn Photography just in time for getting ready images! Susannah and her team captured myself and the girls getting ready as well as the guys getting ready. I loved the moment they captured above of our officiant (one of Robbie’s best friends) trying to puncture a hole in his formal shirt in order to fit the cufflinks! I’m kind of glad I wasn’t there to witness that! 

We also got images of all of the little details throughout the day. As a bride, I put in so much time and effort into picking out everything to make our day special – even the small things. It was so nice to have someone like Susannah noticing those details and photographing them! We absolutely loved the custom ring box we got from AliExpress as well as my beautiful earrings to match my ring. The wood watches were engraved on the back and gifted to the groomsmen to wear on the wedding day!

She also captured this beautiful bracelet that Robbie’s mom gifted to me and the blue handkerchief that my aunt surprised me with at my bridal shower. It happened to my grandmother’s before she passed away and although I wasn’t going to participate in “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue,” I ended up bringing this handkerchief with me as my something blue on our wedding day!

I love getting to see the behind the scenes including gift givings, my dad seeing Robbie for the first time, the girls and I drinking champagne, and me seeing my dad for the first time. Doing a first look with your dad is super special!

It’s easy to forget these moments when you look back but to have images of everything means the world to us. I truly feel like I can relive the day just by looking at these images. Especially the images of us getting ready since we weren’t there together in the moment! Like this moment of Robbie giving our dads the custom wallets he bought them!

They also captured me giving my mom Pounamu (New Zealand Greenstone) earrings. This gift was SUPER special to me and not many know the story behind them.  I had been searching for months for the perfect thing to gift my mom. I knew I wanted it to represent New Zealand as we would both now be a part of New Zealand forever. 

In order to make sure we had time to spend with friends and family during our wedding, we did a first look! Honestly, in terms of the timeline, it the best decision we made! Although the boys were a bit late that meant I had time for some portraits of myself! My photographer and coordinators kept saying that I had planned our timeline perfectly and even had extra time for more images and the slight slip up of the guys being late. If you want to see our timeline check out my previous blog about timelines here.

Once Robbie arrived we got him into position with his back facing me. Unlike most first looks, Susannah wanted me positioned further away from Robbie so he could really absorb the full look! Seeing his face light up as he turned around was absolutely incredible. It was so nice to have just a moment to ourselves before the craziness of 80 guests!

After our first look, we got to see our entire wedding party and our families! One of my favorite prompts from our wedding party images was “walk as if you’re drunk!” We all laughed but the images actually turned out really good! I had a super hard time finding dresses that I wanted for my bridesmaids but when I found Azazie, I knew they were the one! They had every size (even custom sizing), shape, color, and style of dress and tie! They even had matching bow ties for Robbie and his nephews! I was so happy with the price, colors, and quality! If you’re a current bride or just looking for a dress or matching tie, I highly recommend Azazie!

I can’t imagine if we had to have done all pictures after the ceremony! Getting family pictures was so important to us because of everyone living so far away. I’m honestly so in love with how these images turned out! I tried to come up with every variation of image possible and I think it worked!

Our ceremony was absolutely perfect! I know I might be biased but it was a great combination of funny, serious, sentimental and unique! Some things that made our wedding different included our bridesmaids walking down the aisle with lanterns instead of bouquets, I walked down the aisle with both my parents (and again, no bouquet), we performed a hand ceremony during the wedding ceremony, and didn’t have our wedding party stand at the “alter” with us. As I walked down the aisle, my Godfather, Art, and his wife, Marilyn, sang “Can’t Help Falling in Love” by Elvis Presley! It meant so much to hear their beautiful voices as I walked down the aisle. Fun fact: they also sang at my mom’s wedding when she married my step-dad!!

Our officiant, Robbie‘s best friend Quentin, did an amazing job!! I can’t wait to share the video which has some snippets of our ceremony and wedding in real time! Look out for an update to this blog for our wedding video. You can also watch it “live” with us at our second reception here in New Zealand on December 14th (if you’re in the US it will be December 13th). We will be having a viewing “party” on our Facebook page – just give us a like so you don’t miss it! 

One thing we made sure to do was look out at everyone. It’s hard to remember to take a second to breathe and see all your loved ones who are there to celebrate you! It was such an amazing feeling! 

We wanted to incorporate something within our ceremony that we could remember for the rest of our lives. Something physical we could take home and keep forever. We thought about doing a sand ceremony but when I was researching officiant speeches and other things to do, I read a hand ceremony that I fell in love with. The night before our wedding, during our rehearsal, we made a sculpture of our hands which we then displayed at the ceremony and reception. Our bridesmaid, Michelle, and our groomsmen, Adam, performed our hand ceremony for us! Here’s what they said:

Michelle: Today, as you face each other and hold hands, I want to remind you of the gift these hands are. These are the hands of your best friend, young, strong, and full of love for you. These are the hands that are holding yours on your wedding day as you promise to love each other today, tomorrow and forever. These are the hands that will work alongside yours as together you build your future. These are the hands that will passionately love you and cherish you through the years, and with the slightest touch will comfort you like no other. These are the hands that will hold you when fear or grief temporarily comes your way. These are the hands that will countless times wipe the tears from your eyes, tears of sorrow and tears of joy.

Adam: These are the hands that will give you support and encouragement to chase down your dreams. These are the hands that will hold you tight as you struggle through difficult times. These are the hands that will give you strength when you need it. These are the hands that will lift your chin and brush your cheek as they raise your face to look into eyes that are filled with overwhelming love for you. And lastly, these are the hands that even when wrinkled and aged will still be reaching for yours, still giving you the same unspoken tenderness with just a touch.

And after our ceremony we took a few last-minute group photos including photos with our friends! I definitely recommend doing this! It was so much fun and such a good memory of who was there to celebrate with us!

Now, for the party! We did a grand entrance with our wedding party and went straight into our first dance. Our first dance was to the song “This Is It” by Scotty McCreery. After our first dance, so many people told us that it looked like we had practiced a lot and choreographed our dance. Truth be told, we had never actually practiced!

And it was also our first time seeing our reception venue set up! It looked better than I ever imagined! The team at Shadowridge Golf Club used my drawing diagrams, explanations, and all our decor to make my dreams come true! I 100% trusted that they would make it look beautiful and they did just that!! 

I LOVED how our centerpieces and cake table turned out! Wedding Apparel NZ did an incredible job with our custom wine labels which we used as table identifiers. Each place was somewhere in the world that meant a lot to us. We even included a little snippet on why it was important! We also had custom luggage tags for each guest to take home. They were a HUGE hit! 

After our first dance and some food, it was time for speeches! Everyone did such an incredible job – even if some of the speeches were slightly embarrassing (but that’s what makes it fun right?!). They had the whole room laughing!!

Then, it was finally time to dance! We did three special dances – mother/son, mother/daughter, and father/daughter! It was absolutely perfect!

And last, but certainly not least, the dance floor opened up to guests! What a day!

A quick but big thank you again to our amazing vendors (especially our coordinators Anna and Codie from Shadowridge Golf Club), our family and friends who made time to celebrate with us, and to our wedding party for all their help and love! We couldn’t have done it without all of you there!

If this blog helped you to get some inspiration or you just enjoyed reading it, don’t forget to follow me on Instagram at Mary Taylor Weddings and join me in my deals Facebook group Mary Taylor’s Wedding Deals & Finds for more wedding shopping fun!

Signing off,

Mary Taylor <3

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Our Wedding Day Purchases

Hi brides and grooms! I am so excited to be sharing some of my behind the scenes wedding day purchases! These items helped us to pull off our beautiful wedding. If you haven’t read about our wedding day and seen all the pictures, check out our wedding day blog here. More links coming soon!

Some of the links below are commissioned links. This means I may earn a small commission when you use these links. It doesn’t cost you anything and I cannot see who purchases what. 

Our Wedding Flowers

Please join our Facebook group for links to these flowers. They were purchased from several companies! 

If this blog helped you to get some inspiration, don’t forget to follow me on Instagram at Mary Taylor Weddings and join me in my deals Facebook group Mary Taylor’s Wedding Deals & Finds for more wedding shopping fun!

Signing off,

Mary Taylor <3

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AliExpress 11/11 Day Sale – Wedding Shopping

If you haven’t heard yet, AliExpress is hosting an 11/11 day sale! Most items all across AliExpress are on super special for two days only! We’re shopping tons in Mary Taylor’s Wedding Deals & Finds so if you’re not already a part of your group, come join us in the shopping fun! If you want to find other items that are on sale (like clothes, home decor, Christmas decorations, gifts, and more) you can also join our group Mary Taylor’s Shopping Finds. Check out some of the best wedding day finds for the AliExpress 11/11 day sale that is happening TODAY! Click the images or highlighted words to take you to that item.

*Please note that the links below are commissioned links. This means that I may earn a small commission from these links. It doesn’t cost you anything and I can’t see who makes purchases though.

  1. Luyue’s 13 Branch/Bouquet Artificial Peony Flowers! I actually got the same ones from Amazon but they didn’t have as many as this one! They have several different colors of these Peony flowers available. 

2. Artificial Rose Flower Garland! These are the ones that we got for our wedding! We actually really loved them. Check out the picture below to see how we used ours. They come in several different colors as well!

© Susannah Lynn Photography

3. Personalised Wedding Welcome Sticker Sign! This would go perfectly for our blog about wedding signs. You can read all about how you can create your own signs with decals like this one! 

4. Gold And White Balloon Arch Chain Wedding Balloons – These come with over 130 balloons in order to help you make your DIY balloon arch!

5. Ball Gowns Spaghetti Straps White Ivory Tulle Wedding Dress – If you haven’t picked out your wedding gown yet, you should definitely check out AliExpress for gowns. This one has over 400 purchases and has fantastic reviews… and check out that price!! If you end up getting this dress or got another dress on AliExpress, we would love to see it! Post a picture in our group Mary Taylor’s Wedding Deals & Finds! <3 

6. 4PC Strap Top Pants Suit Pajamas Sleepwear Sets – These are a MUST in my opinion! I searched long and hard for the perfect bridesmaids gifts (aka bridesmaids robes). I wanted something that had options so everyone was comfortable. Being summer, I wanted something they could wear braless (super important when you’re wearing a dress that doesn’t have straps) and something that they could layer! These were amazing! Here’s our picture below <3 

© Susannah Lynn Photography

7. Relojes 2018 Watch Men LIGE Fashion Sport Quartz Clock Mens Watches – Something for him too of course! This has an insane amount of reviews and purchases and is a must look at this 11/11! A perfect gift for the groom, groomsmen, and fathers!

8. Men high quality genuine leather belt luxury designer belts – Another great option as a gift for groomsmens, groom, or even fathers! Everyone who wears a suit needs a belt! 

Black or Brown available

9. Bridal 925 Sterling Silver Jewelry Sets Green Zirconia Stone Earrings For Women – There’s so much amazing jewelry on AliExpress! Here’s one of the sets on sale and above four stars (pro tip: sometimes it’s hard to sift through everything on AliExpress. I always look for things above 4 stars and with the most reviews and purchases I can find). This set comes in different colors so make sure to click the images to see if there’s a color you like (if you don’t see one you like below).

10. Mr and Mrs Wood Letters Cake Topper Love Birds Tree Topper Wedding Party Decoration Wooden Wedding Cake Toppers – Last but certainly not least! These gorgeous wedding cake toppers! There are several different options but below are three of them! Which one would you go for? They have designs to suite any wedding style! 

To find even more deals and finds don’t forget to join our Facebook groups and come back to this blog as we may update it with more as the sale continues! If you purchase something from AliExpress (during the sale or not), please tag us on Instagram @MaryTaylorWeddings and post the image in our wedding shopping group! We would love to see what you got! We love to see all online purchases and love to share deals and finds from all over online! 

If this blog helped you find something you were looking for, informed you about the sale, or you think it may help someone else, feel free to share it. Just copy and paste the URL onto Facebook or forward it onto friends <3 Don’t forget to tag us @Mary Taylor Weddings on Facebook or Instagram so we can say thank you!

 

Signing off,

Mary Taylor <3

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Wedding Sign Inspiration & How To’s

Nowadays there seems to be a sign for everything – from welcome signs to unplugged wedding signs to bar signs! There are several ways to make and create wedding signs and do it on the cheap. You can use vinyl cut outs, paint, markers, or even just simply print and frame signs. First let’s look at some inspiration from other brides so you can get some ideas on what signs you could make and what look you may be going for:

This blog contains commissioned links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. This means I may earn a small commission for purchases made through the links provided. I cannot see who purchases what and it doesn’t cost you anything! 

Now that you’ve seen some inspiration, let’s discuss how you can create these looks!

First and foremost, one of the best ways to save money (and time) is by making your own vinyl cut outs using a Cricut machine. This machine is not only good for making signs but also for customizing anything (shirts, cups, etc) which can then save you money on gifts and more. If you want to check out the Cricut machine you can do so here.

Pallet signs are probably the cheapest signs you can make. They’re large and can hold a lot of information as well as most likely being free on the side of the road. For a pallet sign all you need is a pallet and vinyl cut outs (make them yourself with the Cricut or get some on Etsy) or paint to write in what you’d like. The pallet sign is great to make a timeline of wedding day events for your guests! You can also use the pallet to make a timeline of your relationship.

Another way to make a wedding sign is by using a plain piece of wood, Plexiglass, mirror or even a chalkboard which you can buy online and then buy or make your own vinyl cut outs (again, Cricut, Etsy, or Amazon. You can even find tons of great ideas on AliExpress). You could also paint directly on the wood, Plexiglass, or Chalkboard. If you’re in search of any of these items to buy online, join my Facebook group Mary Taylor’s Wedding Deals & Finds and let me know what you’re looking for! 

Here are some good options for DIY paint (click on the image to bring you to Amazon to purchase/read more):

Amazon
Amazon
Amazon

The most simple way to make DIY signs though is by printing out a pre-existing template (which can be found for super cheap on Etsy – link to wedding sign templates on Etsy). Then, you can frame the print out to make a sign! Here are some that I made and we used at our wedding too! You could also make your own signs using Word, Adobe, or Canva.

Etsy Printable Template

If you’re not much of a DIY purchase, you can also just buy your signs already made. Here are some examples (click the image to shop the look)!

Etsy
Etsy
Etsy
Etsy
AliExpress
AliExpress
Amazon

If this blog helped you to get some inspiration, don’t forget to follow me on Instagram at Mary Taylor Weddings and join me in my deals Facebook group Mary Taylor’s Wedding Deals & Finds. Comment on my post in either the group and/or the page with more wedding sign inspiration and your favorite wedding signs you’ve seen in the blog.

Signing off,

Mary Taylor <3

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My Experiece With Wedding Apparel New Zealand

Shopping for our wedding has been nothing short of an adventure! Because we are having our wedding in California, we have used companies all over the world to find exactly what we were looking for. I started following Wedding Apparel New Zealand a while ago – before I even started Mary Taylor Weddings! I loved following their Facebook page and seeing all their new custom creations. I was so excited when I got in touch with them and they said they’d love for me to try out some of their products! What I like about Wedding Apparel New Zealand is that they’re not only local but they’re personable. You know that these are real kiwis doing their best to help brides and grooms all over New Zealand. They communicated with me regularly and allowed me to make changes to my items as I needed! 

So let’s get in to what I actually got! I will include links below so you can easily find the items on their website! First up is this hat! How gorgeous is this hat?! I love that the brim is metal so I can easily shape it. I plan to wear this for not only my bachelorette party but also our honeymoon in Hawaii! To see me wearing it then, follow me on Facebook and Instagram! I can’t wait to get to show off this hat in person and take super cute photos with me! 

Next is the sash! I know there’s lots of places to get sashes but having our wedding color be gold, I saw this sash and HAD to have it. The gold is really sparkly and I love the ring design that’s added to it. I plan to wear this for my bachelorette party and possibly even my bridal shower! 

This next thing is probably one of my favorites because being a photographer, I know how important it is to have a beautiful hanger. It’s not something you normally think about but it’s great for pictures of your dress hanging up and it’s a keepsake that you can use to store your dress even after your wedding day.

Lastly was our custom wine bottle stickers! When I saw these, I fell in love with the idea! Our wedding is wine and travel theme so this added touch is going to look beautiful. For the ones we got, I wish they were a bit more purple toned instead of brown but nevertheless, I still love them and cannot wait to use them (you’ll have to come back to the blog to see what we do with them on our actual wedding day)! 

They also included this super cute custom cake topper for my bridal shower as a little gift! It was perfect time because when they emailed to let me know, I was had just emailed our baker to order our cake for my bridal shower! 

Thank you so much Wedding Apparel New Zealand! I cannot wait to include your gorgeous products in my wedding day celebrations and to show off how we use everything! 

If you want to check out Wedding Apparel NZ’s website head to: https://weddingapparel.co.nz/

Don’t forget to follow them on Facebook to see all their amazing products and updates! 

To learn more about wedding planning tips, tricks, and deals head to my Facebook page: www.facebook.com/MaryTaylorWeddingPlanning and follow me on Instagram: www.Instagram.com/MaryTaylorWeddings. You can also find other amazing deals and products in my Facebook group Mary Taylor’s Wedding Deals & Finds.

I hope this helped you to learn more about Wedding Apparel NZ, their beautiful custom products, and a little bit more about our wedding day! We cannot wait to show you more!

Signing off,

Mary Taylor <3

 

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Spray Tanning Before Your Wedding – What You Need to Know & Who I Recommend

Have you ever had a spray tan or used self-tanner? I see so many brides asking about tanning before their wedding day. We all want to look our absolute best of on our big day but if you’ve never used artificial tanning before it can be a bit daunting. You should still look like you. And have you ever see people who turn out looking orange?! Wouldn’t that be a nightmare before your wedding day?!

As many of my readers know, I live in New Zealand but our wedding is in California. With seasons being flipped, we will be leaving our winter to attend our summer wedding in the States. The majority of our guests will be blessed with a glowing tan but I will be a shade of pale. I actually didn’t fully consider doing a spray tan until I saw a company called Little Honey. They’re crafted here in New Zealand (yay for local products), paraben free, cruelty free, and vegan! I loved that I could do it at home, take it with me to California, and apply as much or as little as I wanted to. When I first got the box, I was SUPER nervous about trying it because I had no idea how it would turn out. Would it be difficult? Would I end up orange? Would I do it wrong and end up with an uneven tan?! I had posted a picture on my Instagram story of it and had friends asking for me to video myself trying it out. So, I did! Check out the Instagram story footage below.

 

Look at this end result!! Not only was it SUPER easy but it smelled amazing! I was really scared it would hurt my sensitive skin after shaving but it didn’t hurt or sting at all. I am SO impressed! And, it didn’t rub off on anything. It takes only 10 seconds to dry and I was under a white fuzzy blanket after (yes, it’s freezing here). 

I cannot say how other tanning experiences would go since I haven’t tried any others yet but Little Honey was exactly what I was looking for. And lucky for you (no matter where you live), they ship internationally! 

So here’s some tips I have in general for any spray or self tanning for your wedding day.

  1. Do it ahead of time to see what you like and don’t like. You don’t want your first time to be the week of your wedding.
  2. Shower and exfoliate BEFORE you get your tan.
  3. If you’re doing it at home, have someone help you with your backside (legs, back, shoulders, etc.)
  4. If applying at home, apply carefully onto your elbows, hands, etc. because of the creases in your skin.
  5. Wear shorts or loose clothes directly following your tan so it doesn’t rub.
  6. Wait a minimum of four hours before showering after your tan (this could change depending on the type of tan you use). I personally waited until the next day.
  7. You CAN tan your face as well (check with whoever you purchase your tanning solution from or where you get your tan done just to be sure).
  8. Each day after your spray tan, remember to moisturize your skin so the tan lasts longer and your skin feels smoother!

I hope this helped you to not only decide if a self-tanner is right for you but also helped you learn more about self/spray tanning and Little Honey! If you’re going to try Little Honey, go comment on the Facebook post about this article! Don’t forget to join me on Facebook at Mary Taylor Weddings and Mary Taylor’s Wedding Deals for fun wedding shopping and great deals.

Find Little Honey on Facebook here or online here. Images by Mary Taylor Photography.

Signing off,

Mary Taylor <3

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Bride’s Guide to Prime Day 2019

It’s Prime Day 2019! As of now there is just over 27.5 hours left to grab these amazing deals!I never really shopped much on previous Prime Days but this year, I am a bride! That means not only do I get to do lots of shopping but I am also looking for the best deals around. Just today, I finally got to purchase flowers that had been sitting in my cart for months! I had no idea they would be on sale but was thrilled when I realized I had just saved over $8! If you’re not already a Prime member, you can sign up for a FREE 30-day trial here. If you would like to create a free wedding registry on Amazon click here.

If you’re looking for a constantly updated list of the best wedding deals, join our group Mary Taylor’s Wedding Deals on Facebook. I have been posting for over 8 hours today with Amazon Prime Day deals! There are so many cool things about the group!

  1. You get to interact with other brides and share your reviews and purchases.
  2. You don’t have to do all the work to find the deals you want – I do it for you!
  3. You can turn on notifications for specific threads that you want to stay updated about (for example: bachelorette party items)
  4. Even after Prime Day, you’ll get to see new deals and get exclusive discounts to all different online stores!

Here are some of the most popular items I have posted about so far!

Bachelorette Party Finds: