Encouragement

Featured Couple: Ashley + Ryan Wood

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Meet Ashley & Ryan Wood! Ashley & Ryan live in Wake Forest, NC where Ashley is a Preschool teacher and Ryan is a student at Southeastern Seminary and is a customer service move coordinator. They have been married for one year and four months!

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Ashley described Ryan as gentle, diligent, and smart and Ryan described Ashley as gentle, compassionate and faithful.

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On any given Saturday you can find Ashley and Ryan sleeping in, sharing a big breakfast together, spending some time reading, going out to lunch, visiting a coffee shop, and eating dinner together while watching something on Netflix. 

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What do you love about your marriage most?

Ashley: The friendship with our marriage. Being able to have someone to share the good days and the bad days and knows so much about you and your heart. Someone you always enjoy being with, it’s a very special friendship. You feel very safe and I love the safety I feel.
Ryan: The simplicity and to be with one another a lot. The companionship of it. We get to do the exciting and mundane things together. The simplicity of companionship. Just being able to be with one another. The pressure is off to keep the romance as the center of the relationship. We are together forever. We just love one another.
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What advice would you give to someone who just got engaged?

Ashley: Enjoy the season. It goes by so quickly. It’s such a sweet season and it’s hard in the waiting. Sometimes that waiting can overshadow the joy and excitement. Enjoy all the little things and all the people. Use that time to build that friendship with one another.
Ryan: I’m thankful for our engagement because we were a part for a lot of it, which is tough. Use your engagement to become the person you want to be for your spouse. WE both had a lot of time to grow. Allowing that time to look into your life and seeing what you want to change and who do I want to become. The Lord used that time to grow us.
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How do you honor your spouse in conflict?

Ashley: Ryan will say, “I’m not deliberately hurting you,” I’ve had to tell myself this truth. That really stuck out to me one day. I would take it very personally. Being the one that is more sensitive is I have to remind myself that he isn’t against me and giving him the benefit of the doubt. Regardless of how you are feeling, remembering this person lvoes me and remembering where he is. We are a team and he’s for me. It’s a lot of grace and forgiveness. You do have to forgive and very quickly not hold it over them or against them.
Ryan: Addressing it quickly. Allowing myself to be “inconvenienced” by resolving the conflict immediately. I normally feel like it is something that can wait, but working through it and talking about it right after so we can move on. 
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We loved getting to know more about Ashley and Ryan's marriage! They have such big hearts and we glad to have them on the blog!

Special thanks to Eleanor Stenner & Katie Snyder

xoxo,

Michaela

The Busy Bug + 4 Tips for Time Off

I want to challenge your perspective on something. You might not have time for rest. There are probably a million phone calls, a million emails, and a million projects you'll start when you get 10 free minutes. 

Think about it.

You get a text that says, "Can you shoot some last minute pictures of my kids?" or "Do you have time for lunch to talk about that picnic we need to plan?" 

Are any of those bad options? Should you say no to either if you happen to have an open hour and the ability to contribute? 

But on the inside you wilt just a little bit when someone has added what feels like another cinderblock to your load. If you cringed when you got that text, then it's time for you to set some boundaries. Not scary boundaries that make the people in your life feel afraid to ask you for a cup or sugar or a hug on a bad day, but the gentle kind of boundaries that let people know when you're at your max, or you've chosen to rest (even if you still have 3pm-4pm available). 

If you feel like the victim of people pulling on you, you need to get back into the driver's seat of your planner. Are any of us mad at the President for not joining us for coffee today? No. He's just got a job and he's doing it. If you're raising kids and straight up don't have time for that neighborhood garage sale, SAY SO. If you have photoshoots all week long and you're not sure you can squeeze one more in, SAY SO. 

Question: 

 When is your next day of rest? If you can't answer that, then I am praying for your sanity because I know it's being stretched. 

  • How can you do your best work if you're not rested? 

  • How can you keep on being kind to people if your rest tank is on empty?

  • How are you the best you when you have barely had time to sit alone for a minute?

This is right where I've been, friends. I have not taken a break from work since May of 2014. And people say owning a business is easy (?!). 

Fun Announcement:

So here's where I'm at currently. I have been carefully planning a month of rest since October of 2015. It is now June of 2016 and my month of rest starts in just 3 days. 

Thankfully, I didn't just arrive at the end of my rope and slam doors in the faces of people I really care about. That is not a healthy way to go about it (unless slamming a door is really necessary for you, I suppose). I kept my schedule free of weddings in July. I handed all my work tasks over to the two lovely women who work with me and have prepared to run the show.

I am planning to deactivate my Facebook, sign out of Instagram, put up my email vacation responder, and say "See ya later!" to my desk. 

I am sharing all this with you because I hope you do the same. Sometimes I see friends in destructive patterns of busy-ness and I wonder what will happen if they ever (God forbid) break an arm. Would you say, "I don't have time for this bone to go to the hospital"?!

I just watched my sweet, beloved Papa go home to be with Jesus. At the end of his life he wasn't fretting about all the things he didn't get done. Actually, the most-talked-about things we all shared at the funeral were memories of him sitting in a lawn chair, talking with my little brother in the driveway, and walking around the house singing, and eating Ramen on his TV tray watching Price is Right. 

Y'all. Let's stop inflicting busy on ourselves. It's not that important. 

Grace for busy seasons. Grace for moms chasing 3 toddlers and asking how this applies. Grace for someone who just started a business and can't see a break. Grace for someone who lost a job recently and is struggling every day to find a new one. But if you are just in a cycle of crazy, there is a way out, but it's going to take some intentional effort on your part. 

So (I'm no expert, but) here are my 3 steps for how to rest.

1. Choose a time.

It can be a week, a day, a few hours, or from 2:00-2:10 in the closet every Wednesday. But you are going to have to hold back the people who will not know that's your rest time and will immediately start placing requests on that day/time. Do. Not. Compromise.

2. Tell your people.

They will both help carry your tasks, care for your kids, answer your phone, cook your food or water your plants because I PROMISE they want to see you rest too. They will help you defend that time.

3. Make a rest list.

When you get to your rest day/time, you will have a list of things you've been "wanting to do" if you get a minute. The beauty of rest time is you can CHOOSE whether you feel like painting that flower pot, and because it's a rest day, you have the freedom to say yes or no to that restful project. 

4. Stay off social media.

When was the last time you hopped off a 30 minute scroll through Facebook and said, "I feel so rested!" No, people.

Results:

Once you've gracefully drawn a box around that time for yourself, and that is respectable and healthy, your friends and family will definitely respect it. 

The Lord WILL speak to you if you slow down enough to listen. I love you, I am for you, and if your eyes have glanced over these words, then friend, you've already been prayed for by me. I hope you find a time to take a breath, and I can't wait to be back in the saddle in August. See you then!

 

 Lauren Carnes Photography

Lauren Carnes Photography

 

 

What Do I Wear For My Engagement Photos?

Michaela Pollock for Laurel Avenue

Your engagement photos are coming up and you have gone through every item in your closet and you are not satisfied! Laurel Avenue is here to help! 

 

 Whitney and Scott's darling engagement photos on the campus of Mercer University in Macon, GA.

Whitney and Scott's darling engagement photos on the campus of Mercer University in Macon, GA.

 Jilly Doty Photo

Jilly Doty Photo

 

First off,

wear something that you are comfortable in. We would definitely recommend trying your outfit on before the day of. 

 

Secondly,

get another's opinion (besides your fiancé's). This can really help you make sure you are being "you," and not overdoing it. 

 

 

 


Wait, what does he wear?!

 Phil and Jes' cozy engagment session in Georgia by C Hope Photography

Phil and Jes' cozy engagment session in Georgia by C Hope Photography

       Great question! Have your man compliment you, if you're wearing red, he can rock a neutral.

 Stephanie and Hunter's precious engagement in Aiken South Carolina

Stephanie and Hunter's precious engagement in Aiken South Carolina

 Savannah and Will's dreamy engagment in Atlanta, Georgia by A Thomas Photo

Savannah and Will's dreamy engagment in Atlanta, Georgia by A Thomas Photo

 Gabby and Caleb's whimsical engagement in Covington, GA. 

Gabby and Caleb's whimsical engagement in Covington, GA. 

 Once Upon a Time Photography

Once Upon a Time Photography

 

Overall, be sure to remain yourself!

This isn't a time to try to overdue it or to try a new trend. Remember,  they're just pictures and your love being displayed is of the most importance! 

 Britt Croft Photo

Britt Croft Photo

XOXO,

Michaela Pollock