Brady-Arroyo Wedding Weekend: THE WEDDING

Saturday morning began bright and early. As soon as her alarm went off, I turned to Erin and said “Happy Wedding Day!” Scout immediately came in the room, jumped on the bed, and wagged her entire butt when I told her that Erin and Bryan were FINALLY getting married!

After dropping Erin off at Portage Country Club, the location of the wedding, I did what all good Maids of Honor do: went on a Starbucks run!

Did I mention they gave us 2 of our drinks for free?!

Did I mention they gave us 2 of our drinks for free?!










After arriving back at the country club, we relaxed and ate some breakfast, drank some mimosas, and listened to love songs while getting hair and makeup done. I absolutely LOVED my hair and makeup (hair by Jolene, makeup by Erica of Beauty Therapy)!












One by one all of the bridesmaids arrived, along with the flower girls, and my very best friend (and hot date for the evening), Mo! Mo is learning more about photography and she came to get some shots of us getting ready! She’s the best!

Clearly this was BEFORE my makeup

Clearly this was BEFORE my makeup












After hair and makeup were done, everyone got into their dresses, and I got to help lace my big sister into her wedding dress! It was such a surreal moment for me, and she looked absolutely stunning.


Photo by Mo!













Once we were all ready, we went outside for some photos with the bride. After that it was time for my dad’s first look at the bride. It was pretty emotional watching the two of them see each other for the first time. It was just me, my mom, my sister, my dad, and the photographers (S and B Photography, who were awesome, by the way!) in the room and it was so nice to have a moment with the family on such a hectic and beautiful day. I’m pretty sure we all teared up at some point, and the photographers snapped a couple family pictures while we were in there (can’t wait to see them!).

After a little bit of waiting, it was time for the ceremony!

Leaving my sister alone with my dad before I walked down the aisle was emotional for me. I hugged my sister, teared up, and began my walk. As soon as I saw Bryan waiting at the end of the aisle I got even more choked up–I couldn’t wait to see the look on his face when he saw my sister!






















Erin walked down the aisle to the Israel Kamakawiwo’ole (and yes, I had to Google that spelling) version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” The ceremony was beautiful. Short and sweet.

Cutest ring bearer ever? I think so!

Cutest ring bearer ever? I think so!













Being given away by Daddy





















Before we knew it, Erin and Bryan were husband and wife and the newlyweds were making their way back down the aisle!

Is this not the best picture?! Good work, Mo!

Is this not the best picture?! Good work, Mo!













Then it was time for professional photos! There was some downtime between pictures, which was the perfect opportunity to snag some photos with my BFF!





















We got rained on a bit, but moved inside for indoor pics and were able to go back out shortly after. They say rain on your wedding day is good luck, and I see nothing but sunny skies for Erin and Bryan in their future together!

After pictures it was time for the PARTY! Stay tuned for my reception post!

ALSO, a huge, big, special THANK YOU shoutout to Mo! Seriously, she was like my right hand woman on wedding day and was willing and eager to help however she could. I am convinced that I have the BEST best friend!


Brady-Arroyo Wedding Weekend: Rehearsal

After a busy day of wedding preparations, we finally arrived at the rehearsal!

Since the wedding was in Ohio and the ceremony was supposed to be outside, we of course rehearsed both outdoors and indoors. There’s just no telling what Ohio weather will do!

I don’t know about Erin, but as soon as we got to the rehearsal things started to feel real to me. To the point that my dad and I had a moment and cried briefly–SO unlike me! With such a happy occasion, though, I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed by emotion.

Sister Selfie!

Sister Selfie!



















After the rehearsal was finished we headed to the party house in our family friend’s neighborhood (the same place we had Erin’s shower) for dinner made my friends of my parents. It was delicious!

The night consisted of spending time with family and friends, telling stories about Erin and Bryan from when they were younger, and taking lots of pictures!


Me and Erin

Me and Erin
















With my new brother!

With my new brother!
















Our new family

Our new family















Last Kiss before they become husband and wife!

Last Kiss before they become husband and wife!



















The night ended pretty early, which was probably a good thing since we were up bright and early the following morning for WEDDING DAY!!!

Brady-Arroyo Wedding Weekend: Wedding Prep

I’m finally starting to recover after what was an amazing weekend home in Ohio for my sister’s wedding! After ten years, Erin and Bryan finally tied the knot, and it was a weekend to remember!

Because of events at work last week, I was not able to fly home to Ohio until Thursday afternoon. I was greeted at the airport by my parents and sister, and we headed straight to my parents’ house for last-minute wedding preparations.

While my mom and sister put together the escort cards/favors (picture frames for photo booth strips) together, I worked on alphabetizing them to put out at the reception. I’ve recently started admitting my love for alphabetizing, and I’m pretty sure my family thought I was crazy for enjoying it so much. 















The night didn’t consist of just work, though. While out searching for props for the photo booth, my mom came across Wizard of Oz masks. Since this has been Erin’s favorite movie her entire life, they were obviously purchased.

…And I obviously had to play Toto for a few minutes.





















Speaking of dogs, my parents dog Scout loves having Erin and me home, and decided to sleep with us that first night. Even though we have our own rooms, when we are both home Erin and I typically both stay in her old room. This could get weird now that she and Bryan are married. This is how Scout decided to sleep the entire night. 















And did we move her? Of course not. Instead Erin and I pretty much shared her side of the bed and had “moon landings” all night (Modern Family, anyone??). I think it’s worth it for such a cute pup!

After laughing for quite a while, we finally fell asleep and were up early on Friday for nail appointments!

PS Has anyone ever had a gel manicure before? A week later and it’s still holding strong–totally worth the extra cash!

Mom and Renee

Mom and Renee



















Erin and Katie

Erin and Katie



















The day consisted of nails, brunch with the bridesmaids (and my parents), picking up THE DRESS, and the rehearsal dinner! 

More on that in my next post!

Getting Sexy in the City

After cleaning up from the bridal shower, it was time to head back to my parents’ house to get ready before heading over to Erin’s friend Anna’s apartment to kick off her bachelorette party. Anna and I decided on a loose Sex and the City theme, which could be interpreted however the attendee wanted (wink wink). Our plans were to meet at Anna’s for some wine and appetizers before driving to Cleveland for dinner and a night out.

Becky, Robyn, Me, Erin, Katie and Renee

Becky, Robyn, Me, Erin, Katie and Renee

While at Anna’s we played the famous Panty Game! If you’ve never heard of the game, each girl that attended the party brought a pair of new panties for the bride. The panties could reflect the bride’s personality, make the person think of the bride, make the bride think of the person, etc. Erin then had to look at all the panties and guess who got her each pair.


Erin didn’t do a spectacular job, but there were a few she guessed right away!

Who could these be from? ;)

Who could these be from? 😉

We presented Erin with her veil and sash, opened gifts, and were on our way to Cleveland.

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The folks at D’Vine Wine Bar were extremely kind when I called to tell them we were running late (shocking, I know), and told us our table would be ready when we got there. We were seated as soon as we arrived and started looking over the menu. I have to admit that I was a little disappointed. I am one of those people that obsessively looks at menus before going to a new restaurant to see what I might like to eat. For D’Vine, I had it narrowed down to a couple options–neither of which was on the menu when we got there. I scanned the menu for a bit and ended up getting the Ugly Tom (heirloom tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil, and balsamic vinaigrette served in a Parmesan bowl), and Tipsy Shrimp (I don’t remember the exact description since it’s not on the menu, but it was shrimp sauteed in white wine, served in some sort of tomato broth, I believe). Both were delicious.

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 From dinner we headed to our hotel to check-in, and were pleasantly surprised! Would you have guessed that this is a Residence Inn?

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The staff there was also extremely accommodating! When we realized that one of our rooms (which was more like a suite), would fit all eight of us, they allowed us to cancel our other room with no charge. On top of that, there was an amazing breakfast buffet the next morning that was included in the cost of the room that I wasn’t previously aware of. It was a steal, that’s for sure!

After checking in to the hotel we hailed some cabs and headed to The Blind Pig to listen to a band and do some dancing. The band, The Faction, was really fun and played everything from Jessie’s Girl to Thrift Shop. At one point they called Erin up on stage to dance with them.

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Around the time the bar was getting ready for last call, we headed outside to get a cab before the rush. We hopped in a van that took us back to our hotel, and proceeded to fall asleep pretty quickly–it was a long day for all of us!

Erin Hit Her Target

My sister and her fiance, Bryan, met ten years ago when they both worked at Target. Erin was 18 and thought Bryan was cute, but was too nervous to ask him to go to Prom with her. So she didn’t. Fast-forward ten years and they will be having an even bigger and better dance party–their wedding! When Erin got engaged, one of the first things I said to her was “At least you already know your wedding colors!” Erin was confused, and I jokingly told her that they obviously had to be red and khaki, and that their favors had to be from the Dollar Spot. I’m not sure why, but she wasn’t a fan of that idea…I think she said something about nightmares. Who knows.

Since Erin nixed my Target-themed wedding idea, I decided it would be perfect for her shower! In my head I referred to her shower as “Erin Hit Her Target-themed,” and this is the invitation I came up with:


The decorations at the shower were red and white, and I tried to incorporate the Target with the heart bulls-eye that I created as much as I could.


Because the party room where we had the shower had limited decorations, I did my best to spruce the place up a bit. I spent the weekend prior to the shower taking a trip to Hobby Lobby and doing some crafting.

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Their wedding date

Their wedding date


Their new monogram

Their new monogram

I’m pretty sure TSA got a kick out of my luggage when they found it full of plastic silverware, bridal shower decorations, and prizes. I’m sure they’ve seen crazier things.

The menu for Erin’s shower included:

  • A salad bar with grilled chicken and plenty of topping options (tomatoes, peppers, hard-boiled eggs, sunflower seeds, baby corn, etc etc)
  • Fruit cornucopias (ice cream cones filled with fruit)
  • Mini quiches
  • Deli spirals
  • Dinner rolls
  • White wine sangria
  • Arnold Palmers

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And for dessert:

  • Dark chocolate fudge and funfetti cupcakes
  • Milk and Dark chocolate-covered strawberries
  • Red and white M&Ms


We also played a few of the typical bridal shower games. Back in March I visited my sister and Bryan in Arlington. One day while my sister was at work I asked Bryan a few questions…and recorded it. Some of the questions included:

  • If you could be any animal, what would you be?
  • What was your first job?
  • If you could get rid of one item in your apartment, what would it be?

There were a total of 15 questions, and I started by giving Erin 25 one dollar bills. If Erin answered a question the same way Bryan did, she got to keep her money. If she got a question wrong, she had to give a dollar back to me. The money is supposed to go towards doing something fun on their honeymoon. Erin was nervous about the game, and got about six questions right (thankfully I had basically given her $10 to start since there were more dollar bills than questions). I have to admit that some of the questions were pretty obscure, and Erin was surprised that she got some of them right.

The next game was to see how well the shower attendees knew the bride and groom. Sample questions were:

  • What did the bride and groom do on their first date?
  • What is the bride’s middle name? The groom’s?
  • How long have the bride and groom been together?

Out of 16 possible points, I believe the winner got 14, but prizes were awarded to those who got 12 or more correct.

The last game was Bridal BINGO. Before opening gifts, I gave everyone a blank BINGO board that they had to fill in with gifts they thought Erin might receive. If she opened one of the gifts on their board, they got to mark that square and hope to get five in a row. I had played the game in the past and enjoyed it because it gave the shower attendees something to do while the bride opened gifts other than just watching.

Erin got so many wonderful gifts! Some were things from her registry that she really wanted.


Others were gifts that the giver put a lot of thought into.


And leave it to my mom’s crafty friends to stick with my theme on their gift-wrapping!

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After opening gifts most people started saying goodbyes, and we took the opportunity to snap some pictures!

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Grandma and cousins from my dad's side

Grandma and cousins from my dad’s side


Cousins from my mom's side

Cousins from my mom’s side 


Erin and her bridesmaids

Erin and her bridesmaids





Bridal Shower Prep

This past weekend I went home to Ohio for my sister Erin’s bridal shower and bachelorette weekend. Since Erin has lived in Arlington, Virginia long before she got engaged we had planned to do her shower and bachelorette party in the same weekend since it would be more convenient. While it was convenient, it was also exhausting.

Friday morning my alarm went off at 3:30am so I could get ready and catch my 6:45am flight. I live over an hour away from the closest airport, and really need to put more thought into what time I am booking my flights! Thanks to awesome deals at CVS, I was prepared for the drive with a free Starbucks iced coffee. It was clutch.

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Thankfully I had planned my travel outfit and packed my bags the night before, so there wasn’t a whole lot I needed to do prior to leaving my apartment except to love on Miss Bella a little bit and load up the car. Since no one was awake to tell me good morning, this thoughtful spider traveled to my apartment overnight so he could greet me as I left. How sweet….

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After a brief layover in Chicago (where my first priority was coffee!), I arrived in Cleveland and was greeted by both of my parents. We headed to their house to drop off my stuff before my mom and I headed out to do our grocery shopping for Erin’s shower the next day. After hours (literally) of buying food, we returned to my parents house to begin chopping fruit and veggies in preparation for the next afternoon before heading to the party room where the shower would take place to drop things off and get the tables set up the way we wanted them. The shower took place at the party room in a family friend’s neighborhood, which overlooks a lake.

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From there we went to my grandparents’ house to visit with them, but not before stopping to pick up some dinner. You should know that there isn’t a Chipotle near where I live now, so it’s been a rough two months of withdrawal. Naturally that’s where I chose to pick up my dinner from…and it was delicious!

Bowl with brown rice, chicken, pico de gallo, corn salsa, and guacamole

Bowl with brown rice, chicken, pico de gallo, corn salsa, and guacamole

After finishing dinner, it was time to start icing cupcakes for dessert at the shower. I have zero experience as a professional cupcake decorator, and had to text my cousin for instructions. Turns out cutting the corner of a Ziploc bag works pretty well! My grandmother was kind enough to bake the cupcakes, my mom helped me ice them, and my dad and grandfather were excellent taste-testers!

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My sister and her fiance, Bryan, arrived at my grandparents’ house around 9:15 or so that evening after being stuck in lovely DC traffic for a bit. We all had dessert before heading back to my parents’ house so I could package prizes for the shower the next day and mentally prepare for what was sure to be a busy day. This girl slept well that night!

I will be back to do separate posts on the shower and bachelorette party rather than one huge post with a million pictures!



Trip to Charleston

I know I’ve been slacking lately with my blog posts. I’ll blame it on my upcoming trip to Ohio this weekend and all the preparation that has gone in to the weekend’s events! I promise to do better!

A couple weekends ago I took a trip down to Charleston, SC to visit some friends for the weekend. I had never been to Charleston before and was excited to explore a bit!

When I first got to Charleston, I met my friend at Folly Beach where we spent some time catching up (we figured out we hadn’t seen each other in over a year and a half!) and soaking up some sun.

folly beach

I’d say the majority of my trip centered around food, and I did my best to eat semi-healthy while also trying out some new things!

After we left the beach, Rachel and I were hungry and she decided to take me to one of her favorite places: Black Bean Co! I had driven past a Black Bean on my way to meet her at Folly and was intrigued, so I was excited when she suggested we go there for a late lunch!  Black Bean’s “thing” is that they serve organic, all-natural Energy Food, and everything on the menu sounded so good! Eventually I chose the Spring Street wrap: chicken, hummus, heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers, fresh homemade tzatziki, mixed greens and sprouts with a side of fresh fruit salad. It was delicious and I forgot to snap a picture until I was halfway through!

black bean

I also chose a Karma Wellness Water out of the cooler. Karma’s flavored vitamin waters are unique because you add the vitamins from the cap yourself in order to gain the maximum benefits of the vitamins. I went with the Raspberry Guava Jackfruit flavor. While the flavor was different, I enjoyed it and was excited when I found some other flavors at my local TJ Maxx! It wasn’t until I had finished the water that I noticed that each flavor has a specific wellness benefit. The flavor I got was a Fitness Accelerator, which I didn’t necessarily need at the moment but will keep in mind for future purchases!

That evening Rachel and I went to “The Joe,” the home of the Charleston RiverDogs Minor League Baseball Team. Rachel plays on a Charleston Sports and Social Club Kickball Team and there was a huge party as well as playoff Kickball games being played on the field.  The league offers other sports, as well as social and competitive divisions. It was so fun to watch Kickball being played in a huge baseball stadium, and I’m pretty jealous that they have such an awesome program! I might need to move to Charleston someday just to participate in this league!


As we were leaving Black Bean on Friday, the workers offered us two free salads that they had made on accident. Naturally we accepted them and saved them for lunch on Saturday!


That afternoon we met up with a friend, her husband, and their three children to head to Kiawah for a day at the beach. Unfortunately no pictures were taken, as my valuables were safely tucked away in the car since we got rained on sporadically throughout the afternoon. The kids didn’t seem to mind and we had an awesome time playing with them in the water!

After cleaning up, Rachel and I headed to dinner and drinks with a couple of her friends. We ended up at Poe’s Tavern in Sullivan’s Island. The atmosphere was very laid-back and we sat at the bar for a bit while we waited for a table to open up. Once we were seated, I apprehensively ordered fish tacos with citrus marinated mahi-mahi, pico de gallo, shredded cabbage, and chipotle sour cream. I was pleasantly surprised and had no problem finishing them!

fish tacos

We attempted to go out to the Cocktail Club in Downtown Charleston following dinner, but didn’t stay long before we were all ready to go home and go to bed. Such old ladies, we are! I’m really bummed that we were all so tired because the atmosphere at the Cocktail Club was really fun and I would have liked to enjoy it a bit more. I’m hoping on my next trip to Charleston we can check it out again! Funny story about the time we did spend there: When we arrived at the bar and were waiting to order drinks, we sampled some of the bacon-flavored popcorn that was sitting on the bar. It was DELICIOUS and we all couldn’t stop talking about it! As we were leaving the bar and waiting for everyone to close their tabs, I was looking at the menu up on the wall and noticed that the bacon popcorn was $4–which meant we were either eating someone’s leftovers or stealing their popcorn from under their noses. Oops! If/when I go back, I will be placing an order of that popcorn for sure!

I had to drive home on Sunday, but not before heading to brunch with Rachel and her friends. We went to one of Rachel’s favorite places: Triangle Char & Bar in West Ashley. Again it took me some time to decide what I wanted since everything on the menu looked delicious! I settled on the ham & cheese folded eggs with a side of fresh fruit and grits. Oh, and dollar mimosas! This was only my second experience with grits, and I absolutely loved the cheese-topped ones at Triangle! While they may not have been the healthiest option, they definitely were delicious and worth every calorie 😉

triangle brunch

Following brunch, Rachel and I headed to downtown Charleston to check out the Charleston City Market. We walked around for a bit and looked at all the fun stuff the different vendors had. I feel like I could have spent hours looking through there! Sadly it started raining, and Rachel and I headed back to the car before we got stuck in a downpour. Upon our return to Rachel’s apartment I packed up my things and hit the road. The trip to Charleston was way too short and I definitely have to make another trip soon. Maybe next time I will do a better job of taking pictures of something other than my food (like people, perhaps?)! Thanks to Rachel for hosting me and showing me around the city! It was definitely good to see some old friends, make new ones, and explore a fun new city! I’ll be back, Charleston!

  • What are some of your favorite spots in Charleston?
  • Any other South Carolina cities I need to check out?