Ashleigh and Charles

Congratulations, Ashleigh and Charles!

ashleigh-charles1

This weekend, we’ll be celebrating the wedding of one of our own! It’s time for Ashleigh and Charles to tie the knot, and we couldn’t be happier for them. Ashleigh has written some blog posts during her wedding planning journey, and I’m sure that after some down time she’ll share with us what she learned along the way!

I have gotten to witness three of our team members say “I do” – Emma, Melanie, and Lauren – and I’m so excited to add Ashleigh to that list. Best wishes to the happy couple!

Pure Barre: An Ideal Workout For Brides-To-Be

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Most brides want to take steps to look their absolute best for their big day.  That may entail things like getting a tan or whitening their teeth, but I’ve observed that, above all, most brides feel the need to tone up before their wedding. I certainly felt like it wouldn’t hurt to find a new workout routine, and when I found out that Pure Barre was opening a studio in my neighborhood, I thought I’d give it a try.

Pure Barre is a full body workout that’s becoming very popular all over the country, and has become a favorite among many celebrities. It’s a 55 minute workout that is sort like a mixture of yoga, Pilates and ballet. Every class focuses on working out arms, thighs, bottom, hips, and abs; trying to target all the popular women problem-areas. The whole class is low impact, protecting your joints by avoiding jumping or bouncing. Every strengthening section is followed by a stretch, making it easy to push through difficult workouts. One of the main keys to success of the class is to make sure you perform everything in small isometric movements to isolate the muscle group quicker.

My first class was extremely interesting; I’ve never done a workout quite like Pure Barre, and I’d like to think I’ve tried many different classes, but Pure Barre is in its own league. The class starts off with an intense warm up that includes planking and pushups, and then continues to go through all the different focus areas. The instructors are all helpful and encourage everyone in the class while playing fun and upbeat music to motivate all throughout the session. The next day I was sore in areas I’d never been sore before, but surprisingly enough I was eager for more.

Pure Barre has different package specials, including a bride-to-be package. If you’re interested in trying a Pure Barre class, make sure to wear pants or capris. Socks are also required and then all equipment is provided for you.

I took full advantage of the bride-to-be special and attend religiously. I love the way I feel after every class and can absolutely see that I’m building toned muscles.

Everybody will find their own desired way to bridal fitness but it’s important to remember to start the process early as there may be stumbling blocks, changes-in-direction or even a required push to step up results before the big day.  However, it’s critical to remember that this push needs to be healthful and energy-building as the months leading up to your wedding will be very full with preparation and lots of fun activities, and you’ll want to be your healthiest!

 

Selecting The Perfect Church For Your Wedding

StAugustineWedding117One would think choosing a church for one’s ceremony would be simple, but I found it to be a bit more complicated than expected. It was very important to me to have our wedding in my hometown, Orlando, FL. Picking our reception location was easy; my godparents live on a beautiful property in the Gotha area of Orlando. They have seven and a half acres on a lake, and I knew it would make for an ideal tented, rustic/chic reception location.

I grew up Methodist, and still belong to a Methodist church in Orlando, but Charles was brought up Catholic, and we both decided that we wanted our ceremony to be Catholic. I had to basically start from scratch when it came to selecting our Catholic ceremony location.

I started by looking up all the Catholic churches that were near my godparents’ house. The closest church to their home was a very large and well known Catholic church in the Orlando area. My mother and I attended the Christmas Eve mass to examine the size, look and feel of the church. It was very voluminous and grand, and all of the people who were there seemed to truly love their church. I thought “This could very well be the church!” After Christmas settled down, I emailed the church to gather all the information for having a ceremony there, and what the pricing situation was. I’d always assumed that a church rental for a ceremony wouldn’t be more than a couple hundred dollars; this church started at $1,200.00 for non-members. There was also a complication in booking the church. For a Catholic ceremony, you have to take pre-marital classes that last 6-8 months, and this church wasn’t going to allow me to reserve my date until after my classes were complete. I didn’t want to take the gamble of someone else stealing my date, so I decided that church just would not do.

After researching a few more Catholic church options, I stumbled upon a charming little Catholic church that I often passed when I lived in Orlando. The church is also close my reception location, but I overlooked it at first because it was a Maronite Catholic Church, as opposed to a Roman Catholic Church. I did my homework and found that there are many types of Catholic Churches, and that they’re all recognized by the Pope as equal. My fiancé, mother and I attended a mass one Sunday and absolutely fell in love with the people, charm, and most importantly the priest. Everyone in the congregation made us feel at home. We all knew right away that we’d found our church.

Finding the all-important perfect church location for your ceremony can be overwhelming, but just remember to do your research early, attend a service before-hand, and get on the church calendar/marriage class roster as soon as your decision is made.  Once these steps are underway, you can feel excited that you are well on your way toward your perfect church wedding!

Blogger Bride: Meet Ashleigh

ashleigh and charles

Three-and-half years ago while celebrating my birthday, I was introduced to what I knew instantly was someone special. A friend of a friend of a friend brought my husband-to-be along for the celebration.  Charles and I instantly had a connection and were even holding hands by the end of the night. We had our first date at Bahama Breeze a few days later, and as we were getting to know each other I thought to myself, “this guy is definitely marriage material!” By the end of the summer we were officially “an item.”

The recent proposal took place in Savannah, Georgia.  Charles first told me we were going on a camping trip on those dates, but then plans had to change when he saw that it was going to rain that weekend… sneaky, sneaky.  He took me to a beautiful bed & breakfast that exuded old Savannah charm. After we got settled in, we took a bike taxi to find a place to eat for dinner. Charles mumbled the location to the taxi driver, and we arrived at a stunning square in front of The Old Pink House. Charles sat me down on a bench and recited a poem he’d written for me. I was crying so hard at the time I didn’t even hear it. Of course I said yes. The rest of the weekend, I was on cloud nine!

Over the years we’ve grown a lot as a couple. We’ve had our good times, our share of bad, gone through deaths, adopted a lab-mix together, and at the end of the day I can honestly say my fiancé has proven to be not only great marriage material but truly my best friend!

Watch for my posts about our wedding plans!