Life After the Dress {Episode 22} Stephanie Hedger

Life After The Dress Marriage Series

Hello and welcome to the next episode of my #LifeAfterTheDress series here on my blog. In this series I interview married women of all ages and from all walks of life and ask them real questions about their lives now, after all the glitter and sparkle of their wedding day is over.  You can read more about the other ladies I have interviewed so far by clicking here.

Today I have blogger and traveler extraordinaire, Stephanie Hedger. Stephanie makes up half of the drool worthy, Hedgers Abroad blog along with her husband, Ryan. Having connected with her over social media, I am so looking forward to meeting her in person later this month to collaborate on a new styled photo shoot I have in the pipeline.

So grab yourself a cuppa and get ready to be inspired.

x

Life After TheDress Stephanie Hedger

Q1: Please introduce yourself (age, of both yourself and your husband, where do you live, what do you do & how long have you been married for?)

Hi! My name is Stephanie and my husband’s is Ryan. We are both 28 years old and are we are from small towns in Oklahoma. Two and a half years ago we moved to South Korea to teach English and blog about our travels at Hedgers Abroad! In July we celebrated our 4 year (?!) wedding anniversary!

Q2: Which Disney character do you feel sums you up to a ‘T’?

Good, well rounded Disney female characters are hard to come by. Most of them are just girls who go through some sort of hardship which is eventually solved by falling in love.

I think the character that I could identify most with would be Merida from “Brave.” When I was young, I was very headstrong and quite the tomboy. I had a hard time seeing eye-to-eye with my parents and always wanted to do things my way. I guess I am still sort of like that now haha!

Q3: How did you and your hubby meet?

We met in college while hosting a conference for Oklahoma State University. It was awful timing as he was planning to pack up and move to Chicago for photography school in just a few short months. We just had the summer to be together and by the end of it we decided that we were simply just meant to be. He stayed just to be with me and reenrolled at our university. We have been inseparable ever since.

Q4: Was your wedding everything you hoped it would be? Would you go back and change anything? Do you have any advice for brides-to-be?

Planning our wedding was stressful. A lot of people had a lot of opinions about how we should be doing it. We actually considered eloping halfway through the planning, but stuck it out. In the end, our day turned out to be really special and our friends and family came from all over the country just to be there. We were glad that we stuck it out and had the celebration with everyone there. If we could go back and change anything, we would just have kept everything low key and simple; get married in the fall out in our family’s backyard.

There is so much pressure to have the PERFECT wedding that couples can easily lose sight of what is most important. So figure out what’s the most important for you to have on your special day and consider nixing the rest. Don’t get so caught up in the planning that you forget to enjoy yourself!

Q5: Has ‘life after the dress’ been as you imagined it would be?

Yes! We dated for three years before getting married, two of which we spent living together. We were basically already a married couple at that point without the actual paperwork. By the time we were married, we already knew everything about each other and the only thing that changed was my last name.

This trend is becoming more popular with couples and I think it really helps to test relationships. When there is a fight, you can’t just walk away and wait to see who will call to apologize first. You have to face problems head-on. You become a team and, in time, you are able to see the other person’s values and priorities.

We loved living together and even adopted a few animals in the process. We knew pretty much right away that we wanted to be together for the rest of our lives and after that, it was only a matter of time before Ryan popped the question!

Q6: What do you think makes marriage work?

My advice is to never stop dating each other. Just because you are married doesn’t mean you can just stop trying! Do new and exciting things together, be spontaneous, learn something new, go on road trips, or find a new hobby to do together. Don’t become complacent.

Q7: What have you learnt about yourself since being married?

I have learned that I have the tendency to pile WAY TO MUCH onto my plate. Eventually, I stress out and in the midst of my panic and frustration, there’s Ryan to pull me out of my spiral. He goes through life with such a carefree attitude and it is something I really admire. I get so caught up in life that sometimes I completely forget to take it easy, but I am working on it.

Q8: If you could describe your marriage in 3 words, what would they be?

Fun, daring, happy

Q9: Do you have any pearls of wisdom you would like to share with my readers about being married? Perhaps something some wise person once told you, or something you’ve learnt the hard way?

 Be silly. Make each other laugh. Life isn’t as serious as everyone makes it out to be.

CityGirlSearching Life After The Dress Hedgers Abroad

You can follow our journey!
Blog: Hedgers Abroad (www.hedgersabroad.wordpress.com)

Instagram: @hedgersabroad (https://instagram.com/hedgersabroad/)

Facebook: Hedgers Abroad (https://www.facebook.com/hedgersabroad)


I hope you have been enjoying this series as much as I have enjoyed putting it together.

If you would like to be featured here on the blog, you can drop me an email using the contact form above or leave me a comment below. I look forward to hearing from you!

Life After The Dress {Episode 21} Kristin Louw

LifeAfterTheDRess CityGirlSearching Interview

It's been a little while since my last #LifeAfterTheDress post and I have been wanting to share Kristin's story with you for ages, so I am very happy to finally have it ready here on the blog. 

In this series I interview married women of all ages and from all walks of life and ask them real questions about their lives now, after all the glitter and sparkle of their wedding day is over.  You can read more about the other ladies I have interviewed so far by clicking here.

So grab yourself a cup of tea and get ready to be inspired by Kristin's story.

x

LifeAfterTheDress CityGirlSearching

Q1: Please introduce yourself (age, of both yourself and your husband, where do you live, what do you do & how long have you been married for?)

My name is Kristin Louw (28), married to my husband Etienne Louw (29) for one year and seven months. We live in an apartment complex in Greenstone, Johanneburg (South Africa). My husband is a software developer and I work as Digital Marketing Services Manager for NAB Caxton. We had dated for 6.5 years when we got married. He proposed on New Year's Eve, an awesome surprise, and were engaged for just over a year before tying the knot!

Q2: Which Disney character do you feel sums you up to a ‘T’?

Probably Ariel due to her fondness for collecting things and upcyling things for a new purpose! Plus I love the seaside.

Q3: How did you and your hubby meet?

We met at university where we were each donating blood with a friend! I brought him juice & biscuits afterwards because I thought he was cute :)

Q4: Was your wedding everything you hoped it would be? Would you go back and change anything? Do you have any advice for brides-to-be?

It was the most perfect, blissful day surrounded by family & friends. The day before POURED (and I mean POURED) with rain so we were a little nervous, but after all you can't predict the weather when you set the date a year ago! But on the day itself we were blessed with blue skies and just a little drizzle that started as we did our first dance so it was kind of magical.

My advice to brides to be would be to a.) BREATHE and b.) Enjoy every second - from the time you get engaged to the moment you through that bouquet and jet off on honeymoon. It really does go by extremely fast, especially the big day itself. Take the time to catch your breath, take in your surroundings and soak up the moment. When else will you ever have all the people that you love in one room again? But at the end of it all, even if your wedding was not the "flawless day" you imagined, just remember it's one day in a long lifetime of days and every day of marriage can be better than the last.

Another piece of advice that I would perhaps give to my pre-married self would be to take a local honeymoon! Firstly, nowhere is more beautiful than our own country, but you can save yourself the jet lag, 25 hour travel time and extra money. While we went on honeymoon to Thailand and we both really did enjoy it, both my husband & I agreed afterwards that overseas travel is all about adventure & exploring, whereas honeymoon is a time to really just relax, sleep and enjoy your first weeks as husband & wife while recovering from the race to the wedding.

Q5: Has ‘life after the dress’ been as you imagined it would be?

It's been weird & wonderful - what I expected & not (in a good way). My husband & I did not live together before we were married so there was a lot to get used to. While we did bicker a little at first, we soon found our groove and it has been lovely overall. We love not having to balance our schedules and make arrangements to see each other - you just wake up and decide what you want to do together that day! It's like having a sleep over every day with your best friend.

Q6: What do you think makes marriage work?

We give each other space to our own person, but always remember that we are two parts of the same whole at the end of the day. I think faith, trust, love and appreciation are key ingredients that make marriage work. Plus a good healthy dose of patience! Ultimately however, I think a marriage with God as the foundation is the most important thing to making it work.

Q7: What have you learnt about yourself since being married?

I quite like baking, which my husband does not complain about! ;)

Q8: If you could describe your marriage in 3 words, what would they be?

Adventure, honesty, laughter

Q9: Do you have any pearls of wisdom you would like to share with my readers about being married? Perhaps something some wise person once told you, or something you’ve learnt the hard way?

I was once told that marriage is not 50/50. It's 100/100, and if you both give it your all every day, you will never run out as you will always balance & refuel each other.

Also, marriage is a triangle with you and your partner on the bottom corners & God at the top. The closer you grow to God, the closer you will ultimately grow to each other :)

LifeAfterTHeDress CityGirlSearching

I hope you have been enjoying this series as much as I have enjoyed putting it together.

If you would like to be featured here on the blog, you can drop me an email using the contact form above or leave me a comment below. I look forward to hearing from you!

Life After The Dress (Episode 20) Yalanda Ludtke

In this series I interview married women of all ages and from all walks of life and ask them real questions about their lives now, after all the glitter and sparkle of their wedding day is over.  You can read more about the other ladies I have interviewed so far by clicking here.

Today I've got Yalanda, a teacher & blogger living in Seoul with her husband (the very talented artist behind This Painted Life). Yalanda blogs over at LaughAnyway, a travel and lifestyle blog which will have you wanting to pack your bags and move over here to Korea instantly. 

I found Yalanda's blog one day via Instagram while searching for images of Seoul. She has an amazing collection of trendy & travel inspired photographs taken all on her adventures all over South Korea.

So grab yourself a cup of tea and get ready to be inspired her story.

x

 

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Q1: PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF (AGE, OF BOTH YOURSELF AND YOUR HUSBAND, WHERE DO YOU LIVE, WHAT DO YOU DO & HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN MARRIED FOR?) 

Hey there! I'm Yalanda. Wife to one, friend to many and lover of all things food! My husband is of the bearded, artsy variety and his name is Jason. He's silly and I'm equally so making us a perfect match! Jason and I are both 30...lies. I'm 31. But I might become one of those women who perpetually turns 29. I haven't decided yet.

We are currently living in Seoul, South Korea teaching English although, we are both originally from the midwest. We met randomly while out with friends, but it turned out that we worked for different schools within the same school district. He's an art teacher and I'm a speech pathologist. We had an amazing 5 years of perfectly synchronized work/vacation schedules that has continued here in Korea. We have never had any excuses not to travel! 

Q2: WHICH DISNEY CHARACTER DO YOU FEEL SUMS YOU UP TO A ‘T’?

I have to buck the system here. I don't think I have a Disney kindred spirit. Although when I asked a Disney loving friend to help me with this one, her description of Merida sounded sort of like how I view life and one of my personal favorite Disney films is 'Alice In Wonderland'. So I'd be an adventurous character to isn't afraid to take the road less traveled.

Q3: HOW DID YOU AND YOUR HUBBY MEET?

After a midnight showing of a movie my friend and I decided we weren't ready to go home. We stopped to have a drink and as soon as we walked in Jason caught my eye. Because he was literally right in front of my face. He smiled a huge smile, said hi and meandered back to his friends. My friend and I spent the next hour or so chatting and if I'm honest, making jokes about Jason and his friends, because they were a big group and being pretty silly. Eventually, he got closer and closer and finally struck up a conversation. We talked for a long time and asked me on a coffee date. The rest is history! Don't let anyone tell you nothing good happens past midnight! 

Q4: WAS YOUR WEDDING EVERYTHING YOU HOPED IT WOULD BE? WOULD YOU GO BACK AND CHANGE ANYTHING? DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR BRIDES-TO-BE?

This is a tough one. If I'm being honest, there are things I would change. I wish I could be one of those brides who remembered it being everything I dreamed of. But, there are always limitations. Couples have to settle for this or that when XY or Z isn't an option. Sometimes as much as you remind yourself, it's your wedding, there is still an amount of pleasing others you end up feeling obligated to do. And, being a bride is a little nerve wracking! More than anything, I wish I had enjoyed the process more. I was very anxious and stressed, even though I would have been and still am the first person to say, don't let it stress you out!  My advice is, go with your gut! 

Q5: HAS ‘LIFE AFTER THE DRESS’ BEEN AS YOU IMAGINED IT WOULD BE?

No. I didn't think I would think about our relationship differently. But I absolutely do. It's hard to describe, but I couldn't have possibly understood how marriage would feel to me before I got married. 

Q6: WHAT DO YOU THINK MAKES MARRIAGE WORK?

Honest communication. Even when things are hard to say. 

Q7: WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNT ABOUT YOURSELF SINCE BEING MARRIED?

I've learned that I'm even more stubborn than I ever could have thought, I'm a work in progress. I've learned how important it is to be a good person. This life isn't just mine, it's ours. I've also learned that being an only child has made it nearly impossible for me to share a bathroom nicely! 

Q8: IF YOU COULD DESCRIBE YOUR MARRIAGE IN 3 WORDS, WHAT WOULD THEY BE?

Team Ludtke Laughs :)

Q9: DO YOU HAVE ANY PEARLS OF WISDOM YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH MY READERS ABOUT BEING MARRIED? PERHAPS SOMETHING SOME WISE PERSON ONCE TOLD YOU, OR SOMETHING YOU’VE LEARNT THE HARD WAY?

If something was working before you got married, don't stop! 

CGSLifeAfterTheDRessYalanda

You can find Yalanda at the following places:

I hope you have been enjoying this series as much as I have enjoyed putting it together.

If you would like to be featured here on the blog, you can drop me an email using the contact form above or leave me a comment below. I look forward to hearing from you!

Life After The Dress {Episode 19} Marketa Forstova-Horton

LifeAfterTheDress

In this series I interview married women of all ages and from all walks of life and ask them real questions about their lives now, after all the glitter and sparkle of their wedding day is over.  You can read more about the other ladies I have interviewed so far by clicking here.

Today I've got Marketa, an incredible talented illustrator & creative who blogs over at Bohemian Mint. I found Marketa's blog one day on Pinterest and just loved her style and illustrations so much that I sent her a hello email. We have been friends ever since! Marketa is just such a lovely soul and I really hope to meet her in real life sometime soon. We are planning a very special collaboration in the next few months that I can't wait to share with you...watch this space! In the mean time, grab yourself a cup of tea and get ready to be inspired!

x

#LifeAfterTheDressMarriageSeries

Q1: Please introduce yourself (age, of both yourself and your husband, where do you live, what do you do & how long have you been married for?) 

Hi! My name is Marketa Forstova-Horton, I just turned 30 and I work in the wedding industry - I am a wedding invitation designer and an editor for a wedding website. My husband’s name is Eugene Horton, he is 32 and works for a  plumbing company. We have been married for almost 8 years and we currently live on Long Island, New York.

Q2: Which Disney character do you feel sums you up to a ‘T’?

Hmmm. In order to answer this question, I would need to take a trip to Disney world! J I grew up in the Czech Republic, so I am not gonna lie- there are gaps in my Disney knowledge! Is there something like a fairy with a whimsical sense of humor who loves insane amounts of chocolate? If not, somebody suggests to Disney to create that character, please.

Q3: How did you and your hubby meet?

We met in college. We both took the same class, and Eugene was sitting a few rows behind me. One day after class, he caught up with me and asked me how I liked the class. Turns out I liked him much more than the class (I ended up dropping the class, but kept him).

Q4: Was your wedding everything you hoped it would be? Would you go back and change anything? Do you have any advice for brides-to-be?

My wedding was nothing like I ever imagined for two reasons:

1.     At 22, I really never thought about weddings.

2.     We eloped, so I didn’t really have time to think about my dream wedding. It happened on a Tuesday night- I wore a white and black dress that I picked up at Macy’s and a pair of black pumps. (Since then, the dress fell apart but I save myself a little scrap from it!)

Looking back, the one thing I regret is not having my family there. My husband and I are actually planning to do a vow-renewal ceremony, where we invite our families. Oh, and I am having an awesome naked wedding cake with a ton of berries on it for sure. Considering I work in the wedding industry, I am overflowing with ideas!

My advice- and I think that’s the only advice I can give, considering my elopement, would be not to stress anything out. The ceremony became about us, not about the flowers, the shoes, or whether the favors are placed in the right or the left corner.

Q5: Has ‘life after the dress’ been as you imagined it would be?

Again, everything became so sudden that I had no time to think about it. It just happened. In a way, it was great, because there was no time for second-guessing and worrying. But we have been married for almost 8 years, so I suppose this strategy works! J

Q6: What do you think makes marriage work?

Though different for everyone, for me, it’s the idea of us being a team. “Marriage is like communism”, I say. There is no such thing as “my money”, or “I earned this, so this is mine.” We each have our career and passions but we always make the big decisions together.

At the same time, however, I think it’s important to have something that’s solely your own- your job and your hobbies.

But if you lie or cheat, then even communism can’t save you.

Q7: What have you learnt about yourself since being married?

Before I met my husband, I thought that I wouldn’t get married until I was like 35- I wanted a life of adventures first. I ended up getting married at 22 and I learnt that all the adventures I had in mind were more fun when I shared them with someone. I suppose I have learnt that I really love marriage and the idea of having a teammate for life.

Q8: If you could describe your marriage in 3 words, what would they be?

Love, Teamwork, Adventure

Q9: Do you have any pearls of wisdom you would like to share with my readers about being married? Perhaps something some wise person once told you, or something you’ve learnt the hard way?

Stuff I've learnt:

Don’t sweat the small stuff. And let stuff go. Dirty socks on the floor are not worth the fight- I learnt that after about 2 months of marriage.

Also, before I got married, I used to look at married couples and say: “I would never do…XY. Ever.” And then I caught myself doing XY. So the chances are that the stuff you say you would never do (like go to bed angry or throw out the dinner you cooked because you are just so damn mad), I bet your bottom dollar that you will- and it’s okay!  

Lastly, marriage is a marathon. If you are in it for the long run, there will be times when you are out of breath or when you trip over. (And there will be times when you will want to trip him over, believe me) Don’t sweat it. Love is beautiful, love is messy. And as long as you are running together and having fun, you are all right! 

LifeAfterTheDressBohemianMint

You can find Marketa at the following places:

I hope you have been enjoying this series as much as I have enjoyed putting it together.

If you would like to be featured here on the blog, you can drop me an email using the contact form above or leave me a comment below. I look forward to hearing from you!

Life After The Dress {Episode 18} Amy Brown

In this series I interview married women of all ages and from all walks of life and ask them real questions about their lives now, after all the glitter and sparkle of their wedding day is over.  Today I've got Amy, a fellow South African blogger over at Tea With Mrs B sharing with us her her life after the dress.

Grab yourself a cup of tea and be ready to be inspired!

x

Q1: Please introduce yourself (age, of both yourself and your husband, where do you live, what do you do & how long have you been married for?)

Hello! I am 24 year old Amy Brown, married to 26 year old Duane Brown for a year on the 21st of March. We live in Cape Town, South Africa and I am a freelance copywriter and social media manager.

Q2: Which Disney character do you feel sums you up to a ‘T’?

Ooh this is hard! Ha ha I would say either Merida from Brave or Mulan. Mainly because they’re both fiercely independent but also because they both love adventure. I also have ridiculously curly hair like Merida, but it’s not red.

Q3: How did you and your hubby meet?

We met at the after party thing for an old friend’s 21st. He was friends with someone I knew and just like good ‘ol Murphy, he actually used to live next door to one of my oldest friends, although we had never met prior to the after party.

Q4: Was your wedding everything you hoped it would be? Would you go back and change anything? Do you have any advice for brides-to-be?

My wedding was 100% exactly how Duane & I both wanted it! We really wanted a day where both of us would completely enjoy ourselves and our guests would just have a blast and that’s what we got! The only thing I would change, and it isn’t even a major thing for me, would be to not invite one or two people out of obligation. Advice? It’s your day, you and your hubby to be are the ones that look back and remember it and it needs to be a memory you love going back to! No one should take that away from you so do what makes you happy!

Q5: Has ‘life after the dress’ been as you imagined it would be?

It has, actually. Because Duane and I didn’t live together before the wedding, a lot of people told me that it would hard adjusting to living with each other and that the first year is the hardest. And whilst I agree that marriage does take hard work, it’s definitely something I would do 1000 times over again! Duane makes life so much fun and I really feel like I’m doing life with my best friend. 

Q6: What do you think makes marriage work?

Communication and LOADS of patience! Patience gives the other person the grace to make mistakes and space to do better. It allows the person to try again. And communication is key! People can’t read minds so it’s unfair to expect someone to know what you’re wanting/feeling/expecting if you haven’t spoken up. 

Q7: What have you learnt about yourself since being married?

Oh gees, so much! I’ve realized that I’m more imperfect than I knew and that I suck at communication. I’m big into talking about feelings and stuff (I should’ve been a psychologist) and I honestly thought I had communication down, but when you get past the whole romantic notions of love and realize that, unlike 10 Things I Hate About You or Nottinghill, you realize that men don’t always automatically know what you want and expect. You need to communicate.  

Q8: If you could describe your marriage in 3 words, what would they be?

Fun, loving, forgiving.

Q9: Do you have any pearls of wisdom you would like to share with my readers about being married? Perhaps something some wise person once told you, or something you’ve learnt the hard way?

Marriage is definitely not easy, but it is incredibly worth it and rewarding! It should be loved, nurtured and protected at all costs. Patience is not just a virtue, it can often be a saving grace. Give your Significant Other the space to be human and never be afraid to be the one who loves the most!

You can find Amy at the following places:

I hope you have been enjoying this series as much as I have enjoyed putting it together.

If you would like to be featured here on the blog, you can drop me an email using the contact form above or leave me a comment below. I look forward to hearing from you!

Life After The Dress {Episode 17} Elicia Shepard

LifeAfterTheDressAliciaShepard

It's been quite a while since my last Life After the Dress story (click here to read about the other ladies I've had here on the blog). In this series I interview married women of all ages and from all walks of life and ask them real questions about their lives now, after all the glitter and sparkle of their wedding day is over.  Today I've got Elicia, a fellow English Teacher & blogger here in South Korea.

So grab yourself a cup of tea and be ready to be inspired!

x

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Q1: Please introduce yourself (age, of both yourself and your husband, where you live, what do you do & how long you been married for?)

Hi! I am Elicia and my husband is Tom. Together we are the Shepards. I am 25. Tom is the ripe old age of 28!! We were married 2 and a 1/2 years ago in the Dominican Republic on a destination wedding and now we are currently both teaching English in Korea! We’ve been here for about 2 years and in just about 2 months we will pack up our stuff and say goodbye to Korea!!! After some traveling and some time at home in the USA we will be headed to Morocco to teach at an international school there. I married this guy who has given me quite the life full of adventure and Jesus.

Q2: Which Disney character do you feel sums you up to a ‘T’?

ANA from Frozen!!! I love the sisterly bond her and Elsa have (I have 3 sisters!) & because my students are constantly calling me “ANA TEACHER!” when I wear my hair in a braid.

Q3: How did you and your hubby meet?

We met through a mutual friend. My friend was dating his childhood bestie and we met going to church actually. The boys picked me up for church and this ridiculously polite tall handsome guy got out of the backseat to let me have the front seat. I remember thinking “wow what a guy!” and trying not to stare as we drove to church. At church we sat next to each other and whispered back and forth during the service (oops!) but we were sharing our favorite bible verses. After church we made a massive breakfast and that sort of became our tradition each Sunday. We hung out pretty much constantly from that point on. He was hilarious and there was just something about us that made it extremely special It’s no coincidence I remember almost every detail from that first day. HAHA!

Q4: Was your wedding everything you hoped it would be? Would you go back and change anything? Do you have any advice for brides-to-be?

YES!!!! We began to plan our wedding after being engaged and it became very very very expensive very quickly. How were we going to narrow down the list? We initially wanted an old barn style wedding with an outdoor reception in the states. We both love the outdoors and I love vintage deco so we began to plan for that. I became stressed trying to call all the vendors and when we started adding up the costs it just didn’t “feel” right. Tom asked me one day- “Elicia, what do you really want? WHAT is your dream?” I responded quickly with “to be on a beach in a tropical place.” It was as simple as that. Next thing I knew we were looking at tropical destinations and settled upon the Dominican. We had about 25 close family and friends attend and our pastor from church flew out to marry us. It was so intimate and so special for us. The beach/resort was fantastic and I loved that we just took the plunge and did it! That was just the beginning of our life of adventure together. I wished our grandparents could have been there, but it was what we had dreamed of and the low key environment was totally just- us! My advice for brides to be…. Listen to your gut! When hiring vendors or choosing a location whether local or abroad make sure you listen to that little voice inside you- are you “clicking” with them?  Do you trust them? Will they work with you to provide you with what you want/need!?

Q5: Has ‘life after the dress’ been as you imagined it would be?

Yes. And no! I’ll start with no. The beginning was sort of an adjustment period. We didn’t live together before we were married and so it took quite some time to figure out how to converge our two lives into one. We had to learn how to share our space, chores, and life with each other. Which wasn’t always the easiest in the beginning. You learn what each of your strengths are as you go and I think marriage only gets better and better. As time passes I know Tom better than I did the day before! We are always working together as Tom says “in lock step” so that we are walking through this thing we call life together- hand in hand. Each decision is no longer MY decision but OUR decision. So in a sense, yes, life after the dress has been what I imagined. I always envisioned us as a team working together- moving forward together!

Q6: What do you think makes marriage work?

For us- I can think of three things God, compromise, and LOVE or RESPECT. Depending on which one of us you ask ;)

Also, I think just having fun together. We make time to hang out together and just enjoy each other’s company. I want to be with him because I love hanging out with him and vice versa (I hope!) HAHA!

Q7: What have you learnt about yourself since being married?

I’ve learned a lot. Marriage has been challenging at times and rewarding at others. I’ve realized that I’m not really that good at saying I am sorry first. I’ve also learned that I am the more laid back one when it comes to the house. Tom really likes things a specific way and done in a timely manner (love you hunny!) and so even though I think in real life he is much more laid back than me- when it comes to the household those roles are reversed!

On a more serious note, I’ve learned that love/marriage is a choice that I must make each day. I must wake up and choose love. To walk in the light and respect my husband. Some days are harder than others, but I’ve made it my mission to not allow any other choice but to respect and love him.

Q8: If you could describe your marriage in 3 words, what would they be?

Exciting. Evolving. Adventurous.

Q9: Do you have any pearls of wisdom you would like to share with my readers about being married? Perhaps something some wise person once told you, or something you’ve learnt the hard way?

My grandmother always told me “love all” and I think that (perhaps most importantly) applies to marriage. Also I would add : Be kind to each other & don’t let the little things that bother you turn into big things that bother you and get in the way of why you married each other.  

LifeAfterTheDressCGSEliciaShepard

You can find Elicia at the following places:

I hope you have been enjoying this series as much as I have enjoyed putting it together.

If you would like to be featured here on the blog, you can drop me an email using the contact form above or leave me a comment below. I look forward to hearing from you!

Life After The Dress {Episode 16} Megan Wait

In this series I interview married women of all ages and from all walks of life and ask them real questions about their lives now, after all the glitter and sparkle of their wedding day is over. If you'd like to read more about the series and meet the other ladies I have interviewed, click here.

Today's interview is with Megan, who blogs over at The Sun House:

TheSunHouseBlog

Megan is a newlywed like me and has a lovely blog where she writes about her and her husbands adventures with their pups. So grab a cup of tea or coffee and get ready to be inspired.

x

LifeAfterTheDressMeganWait

Q1: Please introduce yourself (age, of both yourself and your husband, where do you live, what do you do & how long have you been married for?)

Hi there, my name is Megan, and besides being an editor by day, I am also a blogger at The Sun House. I live in a house on Sun street, with my husband of just over a year (12 October for the win). His name is Flip. Our garden needs a bit of tending. We also have three dogs.

Flip is three years my senior, an old man of 29 ;) He owns his own logistics company. 

Q2: Which Disney character do you feel sums you up to a ‘T’?

Oh, uhm, I think the girl from Tangled might be my best bet. She is feisty, cooky, has an insatiable desire for adventure, even though she gets more than she has bargained for, but in the end, she is still a girl, and vulnerable at that. I like that she isn’t your typical, helpless Princess. She’s free-spirited and independent. Or Merida from Brave. Oh wait, I just saw that it doesn’t have to be a princess. I’m definitely Gus Gus from Cinderella. Haha. I love food. And used to love fine wine. 

Q3: How did you and your hubby meet?

We met through mutual friends at a braai. He fancied the crap out of me and I was entirely oblivious, because I fancied someone else. But then one day, he sent me a Facebook message: “I think you are hot and awesome, this is all for now.”I didn’t even reply. I was a bit flabbergasted.Three weeks later, I got another message: “Would you go on a date with me?” We saw each other a couple of times in between and this didn’t come up once. It was really so funny. He suggested a movie, I said no. Then he suggested dinner and he took me to a sushi restaurant. I never had sushi prior to this – now I’m hooked. 

I officially fell for him when one evening I told he could not come over because I was colouring my hair and when I got to my room, the whole bed was spread in white and red roses. My roommate sneaked it in. He officially fell for me when I stuck a fork in his leg. 

Q4: Was your wedding everything you hoped it would be? Would you go back and change anything? Do you have any advice for brides-to-be?

Our wedding was the most humbling event of my life. As soon as I put on my dress, I became a nervous wreck. I was in pieces, but I refused to take any calming stuff, because I wanted to live and feel every part of our day. I loved every minute of it. Our wedding was also very intimate, with only 60 guests. This, to me, made it all the more personal.

If I could change anything, it would probably be the fact that I walked down the aisle very fast, which I didn’t even realise. I was also so nervous that I couldn’t keep looking at Flip as I was walking down. I would want that moment over.

My advice to brides-to-be would be that if your mother wants to be part of your wedding day, let her. It’s just as an important day to her as it is to you. My mother practically took over all the décor planning and I couldn’t be happier about it. It relieved me of so much stress to know that she was there and that she helped me in every way she could.

Q5: Has ‘life after the dress’ been as you imagined it would be? 

Yes, it is. There were some serious changes in the dynamics of our relationship. But one thing I can say is that everyone’s telling the truth when they say that being married is the best thing ever. 

Q6: What have you learnt about yourself since being married?

Surprisingly, I learnt that I am an uncompromising brat. Under Construction

Q7: If you could describe your marriage in 3 words, what would they be?

Wow, this is really difficult. I would describe it as ‘perfectly us’.

Q8: Do you have any pearls of wisdom you would like to share with my readers about being married? Perhaps something some wise person once told you, or something you’ve learnt the hard way?

The best thing in life is to love and be loved in return. But sometimes it will be hard work and other times it will be smooth sailing. If you have a fight, listen first, understand, respect your spouse’s feelings and talk it out.This might sound like a newlywed speaking here, but find something about your spouse that will make you fall in love with them every day.

LifeAftertheDressMeganWait

You can find Meg at the following places:

I hope you have been enjoying this series as much as I have enjoyed putting it together.

If you would like to be featured here on the blog, you can drop me an email using the contact form above or leave me a comment below. I look forward to hearing from you!

Life After The Dress {Episode 15} Hannah Keppler

In this series I interview married women of all ages and from all walks of life and ask them real questions about their lives now, after all the glitter and sparkle of their wedding day is over. If you'd like to read more about the series and meet the other ladies I have interviewed, click here.

Today's interview is with Hannah, owner of The Ruby Orchard in Howick:

I used to stop by The Ruby Orchard whenever I was in Howick and longed for the day that I had a home to fill with all of the delightful goodies in store. It's been so wonderful getting to know Hannah (although it has all been over email) and I look forward to meeting her for 'real' soon.

Go grab yourself a cup of tea and get ready to be inspired.

x

LifeAfterTheDressHannahKeppler

Q1: Please introduce yourself (age, of both yourself and your husband, where do you live, what do you do & how long have you been married for?)

Hello! I am Hannah a 33 year old British Mum on a South African adventure! I am married to Greg a 38 year old South African and we live in Howick, KZN. We have been married for almost 6 years... and then we were 3! Our 3 year old Jonah arrived 3 years into our marriage – possibly the cutest boy on the planet!

We lived in the sleepy Devonshire Countryside in UK, and were both career monkeys who barely saw each other. Since moving to SA in 2012, Greg has joined the family business and I have opened The Ruby Orchard a décor furniture and gift shop in the Midlands. From Director of Sport to buying pretty things and designing furniture – Such a change, but so worth it. Greg and I now see each at least 4 times a day and I blog about our shop, decor ideas and products at TheRubyOrchard.

Q2: Which Disney character do you feel sums you up to a ‘T’?

Sally from cars. She grew tired of her high powered job and made a new start in a small town. She is straight forward, hardworking, and witty! 

Q3: How did you and your hubby meet?

Cringe... The Walkabout bar in Exeter, Devon. Jugs of snake bite, dancing, kebabs... the usual shenanigans of a 22 year old singleton. 

Q4: Was your wedding everything you hoped it would be? Would you go back and change anything? Do you have any advice for brides-to-be?

Our wedding was 100% everything I had hoped for and more. So many wonderful friend and family have said since that it was the most relaxed wedding they had ever been to. No strict timings for the day (apart from the ceremony) made it flow effortlessly. 

What I would change...? Maybe the music. In hindsight I wish we had had a live band rather than a DJ. Mainly because my mother in law kept hijacking the decks with Celine Dion... ah man...! 

My advice for brides-to-be: You don’t have to spend a fortune, have a fancy venue and hundreds of guests to have a beautiful wedding. We got married on my parents farm, arranged the flowers on the tables ourselves, I did my own makeup, friends played the music in the church, we hired the students I was teaching to run the bar and waitress and we borrowed our wedding cars from friends and famous Cricketers! 

Q5: Has ‘life after the dress’ been as you imagined it would be?

I have loved every minute of building our lives together. Our 6 years of marriage have been pretty hectic (careers, finding forever home, a baby boy, packing up our lives, goodbye forever home, immigrating, starting a business, drawing plans for forever SA home). Doing these things with a husband who supports and cares, is honest and gentlemanly has made life after marriage exactly what I hoped it would be. 

Q6: What do you think makes marriage work?

Acceptance, appreciation and lots of giggling. Accept each other for whom and what you are, you should not have to change to make a marriage work. Appreciate each other every single day and always giggle... especially at the little things that only the two of you understand! 

Q7: What have you learnt about yourself since being married?

I have leant I don’t need hobbies or sport or things anymore... A Sunday with Greg and Jonah washing the car, mowing the lawn, doing washing and baking in our little cocoon family world is pure bliss. 

Q8: If you could describe your marriage in 3 words, what would they be?

 Trusting – Devoted - Understood 

Q9: Do you have any pearls of wisdom you would like to share with my readers about being married? Perhaps something some wise person once told you, or something you've learnt the hard way?

Never go to bed with an issue that hasn't been resolved, if you are cross, upset or unsure... it needs to be ironed out over a cuppa and chocolate before bedtime! 

I hope you have been enjoying this series as much as I have enjoyed putting it together.

If you would like to be featured here on the blog, you can drop me an email using the contact form above or leave me a comment below. I look forward to hearing from you!

Life After the Dress {Episode 14} Christine Bernard

LifeAftertheDressCitygirlsearching

In this series I interview married women of all ages and from all walks of life and ask them real questions about their lives now, after all the glitter and sparkle of their wedding day is over. If you'd like to read more about the series and meet the other ladies I have interviewed, click here.

I 'met' Christine through her awesome monthly magazine, Flat White. I submitted a travel post on my a road trip from the Eastern to the Western Cape of South Africa (you can see it here) and we have been in touch via social media ever since. Christine is such a happy bunny, full of energy and enthusiasm and I loved reading her answers to the questions below.

So grab yourself a flat white and get ready to be inspired.

LifeAftertheDressChristineBernard

Q1: Please introduce yourself (age, of both yourself and your husband, where do you live, what do you do & how long have you been married for?)

Hello. I’m Christine, 32 and my husband is Warren, 34. I run a Graphic Design business called Flat White Concepts and host a monthly online lifestyle magazine, Flat White Magazine and a blog; The Flat White Blog. Warren is a photographic retoucher and photographer at Flat White Images. We live in the beautiful Rondebosch in Cape Town and we have been married for just over 8 years!

Q2: Which Disney character do you feel sums you up to a ‘T’?

Lilo from Lilo & Stitch. I look a bit like her, my mom is Mauritian so I feel like I have a bit of ‘islander’ in me. She is a very spirited character and I’m very attracted to her sense of ‘weirdness’. Feeling like she doesn’t always quite fit in but embracing who she is no matter what. Her affectionate feeling towards Stitch reminds me of my own love of animals!

Q3: How did you and your hubby meet?

We through friends at a club in Durban. The first thing I said to him is ‘I like your shirt’. We didn’t go out straight away but stayed friends for a while, however my mom told me one day that she knew who I was going to marry and that she would write the name down in an envelope and open it when I got married. The name was ‘Warren’. She said it was obvious we would eventually fall in love because I couldn’t stop talking about him.

Q4: Was your wedding everything you hoped it would be? Would you go back and change anything? Do you have any advice for brides-to-be?

My wedding was amazing. At the time we were living in London so we came back to get married at Lythwood Lodge in the Natal Midlands. Our colours were white and forest green and I wanted everything to look as natural as possible. Apparently a cow walked past the chapel when we were getting married, heh heh. I only got into the design world a few years after marriage so if I could go back I would probably add a lot more creative touches to the wedding. Other than that I wouldn’t change a thing. My advice for brides-to-be is to not take the day too seriously, to be as relaxed as possible and enjoy every second because after months of planning the actual day goes by in a flash.

Q5: Has ‘life after the dress’ been as you imagined it would be?

I don’t think I had any expectations which I think is quite important. For me, I was just marrying my best friend and it seemed like the most natural thing in the world.

Q6: What do you think makes marriage work?

Communication and a hell of a lot of laughter. Warren taught me not only how to laugh at the world but also at myself. Having the same values and the same sense humour helps a lot.

Q7: What have you learnt about yourself since being married?

I learnt how to take things a little less seriously and to laugh when things go wrong. I have learnt that I am the type of person that needs to talk things out and that a big hug, a cup of coffee and a packet of chocolate raisins always cheers me up.

Q8: If you could describe your marriage in 3 words, what would they be?

Laughter, Trusting, Adventurous

Q9: Do you have any pearls of wisdom you would like to share with my readers about being married? Perhaps something some wise person once told you, or something you’ve learnt the hard way?

Laugh as often as you can. Be yourself (the good, bad, ugly and just plain weird). Don’t take life too seriously. Go out and have fun. Stay in and have cuddles.

LifeAfterTheDressChristineBernard

I hope you have been enjoying this series as much as I have enjoyed putting it together.

If you would like to be featured here on the blog, you can drop me an email using the contact form above or leave me a comment below. I look forward to hearing from you!

Life After the Dress {Episode 13} Andrea Barras

In this series I interview married women of all ages and from all walks of life and ask them real questions about their lives now, after all the glitter and sparkle of their wedding day is over. If you'd like to read more about the series and meet the other ladies I have interviewed, click here.

Today is the 13th feature of my Life After the Dress series, and I am thrilled to have had so many wonderful ladies sharing their stories. The response to this series has been amazing, and these are some of the posts I most look forward to sharing with you. Today's interview is with Andrea from Clever Bird Banter. Andrea is the wonder woman behind both her own blog (Clever Bird Banter), a graphic design business, and recently, the unique kids accessory store; Baby Bird Basics. This multi talented mom (to 2 little cuties), wife, blogger and small business owner sure has a lot on her plate, and with having just moved house I so appreciate her taking the time to be a part of this series.

Go grab yourself a cup a tea and get ready to be inspired.

x

Q1: Please introduce yourself (age, of both yourself and your husband, where do you live, what do you do & how long have you been married for?)

Hello! I'm Andrea (30), wife to Murray (31) and proud mom to Addison (2) and Julia (8 months). I'm also a graphic designer, blogger and craft/DIY enthusiast! Murray and I have been married for nearly 5 years and we've just (last Saturday!) moved into our dream house in Howick, in the beautiful KZN Midlands.

Q2: Which Disney character do you feel sums you up to a ‘T’?

I’m definitely Ariel, The Little Mermaid - minus the voice of course - my husband would attest to that despite my efforts at singing! I would describe myself as determined, quirky, curious – I wear my heart on my sleeve and I’m certainly not afraid to break the rules. I have a romantic outlook on life and have a tendency to be a bit stubborn. Like Ariel, I love to re-purpose everyday finds into useful things (I wouldn't go as far as brushing my hair with a fork though!)

Q3: How did you and your hubby meet?

Murray and I met through mutual friends while we were both living in London, although I remember his name from school days and we are pretty certain we both attended some of the same events and parties! We’d been introduced on the top deck balcony of The Boathouse in Putney, overlooking the river Thames, where we spent ages talking until I decided to leave (I wasn't feeling well!) We connected on Facebook shortly after and the rest, as they say, is history ;)

Q4: Was your wedding everything you hoped it would be? Would you go back and change anything? Do you have any advice for brides-to-be?

Wow! Let me begin by telling you that a) Murray and I were married before we’d even been together for a year, and that b) we went from engaged to married within 7 weeks - just to clarify (what most people at the time were thinking): I wasn't pregnant! I knew within the first three months of dating that Murray was The One.  After a couple of months, the issue of his visa running out (we were still in the UK at this stage) started casting a huge shadow over our relationship. I was fully prepared to move back to SA with him but we were both happy in London and wanted to get British Passports. After speaking to immigration lawyers, we decided that getting hitched was the best way forward! Our families were on board and amazingly we managed to plan a beautiful full-on wedding here in SA in a very short time frame! It was a wonderful day and there are very few things I would change. Sadly, Murray’s mom passed away shortly after our wedding so, visa reasons aside, I do believe in my heart that it was meant to happen when it did so that she could be there to share the special day with us.

My advice for brides-to-be is simple: don’t forget what a wedding is truly about, it’s not about the big party and impressing everyone, it is about your marriage – remember to spend time with each other on the day! I know this sounds obvious but there are so many guests around that bride and groom are often apart while making the rounds to thank and greet everyone – steal a few moments for each other <3

Q5: Has ‘life after the dress’ been as you imagined it would be?

To be honest, life has carried on much as I expected it to. We obviously party/socialize less but I think that has more to do with age, settling down and children!

Q6: What do you think makes marriage work?

Communication, communication, communication! You can be the most well-suited couple on earth but if you aren't able to communicate with each other, life will be very difficult.

Q7: What have you learnt about yourself since being married?

I’ve had to practice much patience and compromise – especially during our first year of marriage because we hadn't really lived together properly before that and were still learning things about each other. I like things my way and so does hubby so we can butt heads a lot, haha!

Q8: If you could describe your marriage in 3 words, what would they be?

Ooh, I really battled with this question – it’s so hard to pick only 3 because there are so many words that I’d need to use to describe the full spectrum of amazingness that is our marriage! I know it’s probably a bit of a cop-out but I’m going to go with “living, loving, learning”

Q9: Do you have any pearls of wisdom you would like to share with my readers about being married? Perhaps something some wise person once told you, or something you've learnt the hard way?

Being married doesn't automatically turn you into some different person, one half of a whole - you still get to be you and you still need to focus on living your own dreams and making your own happiness. Obviously these ambitions need to consider your spouse, and children in our case, but I think it’s important to keep following your own passions as well as creating new dreams and having new hobbies etc with your partner. Marriage also takes energy and effort – you have to put in the time to make it work and to build a rock-solid foundation.

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I hope you have been enjoying this series as much as I have enjoyed putting it together.

If you would like to be featured here on the blog, you can drop me an email using the contact form above or leave me a comment below. I look forward to hearing from you!

Life After The Dress {episode 12} Maureen Kohler

CGSLifeAfterTheDress

Today's post in my Life After the Dress series is a little different to those you may have read so far. To read all of their other interviews, click here. Today I am going to be introducing you to one of the most precious people in my life, my Gran.

My dear sweet Gran is a very private person, and when I first asked her to be part of this series she very graciously declined, but after some serious arm pulling, she agreed to write me a little email response to my questions. I wanted to post what she wrote to me as it is so inspirational, and well, being married for 57 years is just such a wonderful accomplishment (is accomplishment even the right word to use here?).

May all of us married women have a marriage as prosperous and loving (and as long!) as theirs.

CGSLifeAfterTheDress

My grandparents have been happily married for 57 years. He was her best friend’s brother and they started dating at the tender age of 17, finally marrying at 26, after my Grandfather (Charles) qualified as a dentist. 

"We have four lovely children and are still happily married – now with 7 lovely grandchildren!

'After the dress' we were very much in love and I was happy to marry and spend the rest of my life with my new husband. I regarded married life as a “vocation”, bringing up the children and looking after my husband.

Life for both of us was very busy — Charles in practise and me running the home — I was fortunate in not having to go out to work but mostly it felt like “running a small hotel singlehanded” to quote a friend of mine!

But we had lots of fun. We have a lot in common and enjoyed our tennis, music, good friends, weekends away with the children, holidays at the cottage and so many things go into making a happy home life!

Of course there were ups and downs along the way but nothing we could not sort out together; having our religion in common is a big plus for us too.

'A pearl of wisdom' to quote my beautiful sweet mother “ Tis loving and giving that makes Life worth living”; this is very true". 

Thank you Granny, I love you very much xxx

 

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Life After the Dress {episode 11} Cindy Alfino

Marriage-Inspiration-CityGirlsearching

Welcome to episode 11 in my Life After the Dress series. In this series I interview married woman and ask them questions about their lives after after all the fluff and sparkle of their big days have passed. You can read all the other interviews by clicking here. 

Today I've got the lovely Cindy and her gorgeous family here on the blog. Cindy has her own delightful corner of the web "3 Kids, 2 Dogs and 1 Old House" in which she chronicles her family adventures, putting finger to keys to help keep all the memories alive. Married at 20 and a mommy to three by 25, this lady knows her stuff. So grab yourself a cup of something warm and get ready to be inspired.

Q1: Please introduce yourself (age, of both yourself and your husband, where do you live, what do you do & how long have you been married for?) 

Hello!  I’m Cindy (27) and I’m married to Seth (29) – we live in the most beautiful city in the world, which is Cape Town of course.  In March we celebrated our 7 year anniversary.  In case you didn’t spot that, it means that I was the tender young age of 20 when we got married – at that time my parents still had to sign in consent (the legal age has since changed to 18).  Aaah, good times.

Since then we have been blessed with 3 gorgeous kids – Kyla (4), Riya-Ray (3) and Knox (18 months), parenting together has been so much fun (despite the hair tearing out moments) that we blog about it as 3 Kids, 2 Dogs and 1 Old House.

 

Q2: Which Disney character do you feel sums you up to a ‘T’? 

I don’t know why, but my first thought was Rapunzel.  Maybe it’s the long blonde hair thing that we have in common or that she likes to beat people with frying pans, who knows?

 

Q3: How did you and your hubby meet? 

We happened to go on a church camp together when I was 16 years old.  Our eyes met from across the room, there might even have been a nervous, shy smile shared and then it erupted from there.  I go into far too much detail in this post if you feel like taking a little trip back into time and my embarrassingly new blogging days!

 

Q4: Was your wedding everything you hoped it would be? Would you go back and change anything? Do you have any advice for brides-to-be?

In hindsight I think that our wedding was actually so perfectly “us” at that point of our lives.  Sometimes I wonder if I had the chance to do it differently if I would, but it would probably lose some of the casual, understated charm that I remember so fondly today.  Also, weddings now are just so beautiful but it sometimes feels like people get too lost in the décor/dress/event in the stress to have THE PERFECT wedding, that they lose sight of each other. 

I was borderline Bridezilla with my file, my almost to-the-second schedule and my strict instructions for no one to be late or wear white. But you know what?  Things didn’t go absolutely perfectly and other people wore white (I know right?!). 

My advice is to do what you feel you need to have a great day and then on the morning let go and enjoy it – come what may.  It’s hard to think of like this, but it really is only one day in the rest of your lives together – when I look back at our life, this day is obviously special but definitely not the only one that defines our relationship.

 

Q5: Has ‘life after the dress’ been as you imagined it would be?

Yes and no.  Knowing that Seth and I are “doing life together” is such a joy to me.  Being able to parent our babies and grow old together is something that I try not to ever take for granted and I think our love has grown deeper because of it.  Knowing that we are in it together for the long haul – despite what obstacles may come is very comforting and, dare I say, essential for any partnership.

However - marriage is no joke.  Despite what people may make you believe about it, it actually takes work to survive.  Although we spent as many waking hours as we could together before we were married, nothing quite prepares you for living together which we only did after we were married.  The first year was a bit rough, with us finding our feet and adjusting to our new environment (read: Seth adjusting to just how untidy I was), but through a lot of communication and the occasional blow out, we made it through to the other side. 

I really do think the first year is the hardest by far. 

 

Q6: What have you learnt about yourself since being married?

 That I am more selfish, untidy and stubborn than I ever thought possible.  But at the same time, I never knew I could love so much or as deeply.

 

Q7: If you could describe your marriage in 3 words, what would they be?

“Tackling life together”

 

Q8: Do you have any pearls of wisdom you would like to share with my readers about being married? Perhaps something some wise person once told you, or something you’ve learnt the hard way?

We went on a marriage course before we got married and that already helped us to set realistic expectations in marriage (I’d really recommend it).  But what actually being married has taught me is that there are 2 important things to try and remember:

Manage Expectations – Don’t have all these expectations of your husband, especially if you know that it is out of his character to live up to them.  I’ve found that it is pointless being mad at him if he didn’t even know that I wanted him to do something.  Express your expectations to him and then if he doesn’t do it, you can be angry ;)  This is especially important once you become a Mommy – whose turn is it to go and give baby a bottle or walk around trying to get them to sleep?

Talk It Out – Early on in our marriage I would get so intensely upset about something, but instead of talking about it, I kept it bottled up.  Instead of dissipating, it grew and grew, I added more things to it and eventually I was so mad at him that we had a huge an unnecessary argument about the stupidest things.  Being open about it and talking about things as and when they come up has saved my sanity.

Oh, and get a dishwasher – that managed half my expectations in one go.

Flower fairy pictures (middle two photographs) taken by  Magical Moments&nbsp;In Time

Flower fairy pictures (middle two photographs) taken by Magical Moments In Time

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I hope you have been enjoying this series as much as I have enjoyed putting it together.

If you would like to be featured here on the blog, you can drop me an email using the contact form above or leave me a comment below. I look forward to hearing from you!

Life After the Dress {Episode 10} Erin Kendrick

In this series I interview married women of all ages and from all walks of life and ask them real questions about their lives now, after all the glitter and sparkle of the day is over. If you'd like to read more about the series and meet the other lovely ladies I have interviewed, click here.

Today I have a very interesting love story for you, from Erin who blogs over at  Traveling Techies. Erin and her hubby are also here in South Korea, but they aren't doing what 99% of us are doing here. They are doing something a lot more interesting.

So grab yourself a cup of tea  and get ready to feel inspired.

x

Image by Dorette from  Dots I Am Photography

Image by Dorette from Dots I Am Photography

Q1: Please introduce yourself (age, of both yourself and your husband, where do
you live, what do you do & how long have you been married for?)

Hello! My name is Erin and I blog at Traveling Techies! My husband and I are both 28 and we've been married for about 3.5 years, the last 2 years of that spent working in one of the largest shipyards in Korea. We're both engineers (a little nerdy, I'll admit it) and love to travel which is how we ended up a long way from home! We make sure to post fun stories about the places we're traveling and also what it's like working in a Korean shipyard. I hope you'll come check us out! 

Q2: Which Disney character do you feel sums you up to a ‘T’?
I'm going to go with Belle from Beauty and the Beast here - not only is she a brunette just like me (brunettes definitely have more fun!) but she was smart, witty, and able to see the beauty inside people which I think is wonderful. I'd like to think I'm a little like her...I'm usually pretty quick to make a joke to make others laugh and I always try to remember not to judge a book by its cover and get to know people for who they are inside. 

Q3: How did you and your hubby meet?
Math class. I know - so romantic...just how I always dreamed it would be! It really is a true story - we met in our differential equations class sophomore year of college and became really good friends over the next 3 years. Once we graduated, we realized we missed each other more than we missed our other friends so we decided to see if dating would work out. Secretly, we both knew that if we ever started dating, that would be it - we'd get married and spend the rest of our days enjoying life together. And, that's just what happened! He moved down to Texas and we started working at the same company, about 6 months later - he asked me to be his forever and we had a beautiful wedding in New England a year later. 

Q4: Was your wedding everything you hoped it would be? Would you go back
and change anything? Do you have any advice for brides-to-be?

Absolutely - I married the man of my dreams and got to celebrate with my family and friends - it was fantastic! We made it our goal early on to: "Get married" - and, all I can say is...mission accomplished! Did everything go as planned?! Of course not...it was pouring with rain...I mean, seriously POURING rain the night before...it even woke me up with all of the thunder and lightning, but it didn't waver my spirit in the least. The next day, as soon as I started putting my dress on, the sun came out in full force. It ended up being great because the grass was extra green for our pictures which was awesome! 

We also had a cross word on our programs to entertain our guests and the way they were printed, it left off some of the boxes. My mom came to me confessing the error and how sorry she was that she didn't catch it and I just laughed and said, "Well, we stumped a church full of engineers...there's no way they can solve it then." 

So, my advice is to remember the end goal is to start your new life with your husband and let everything else be like water on a duck - just let it roll off and keep your smile bright!

Q5: Has ‘life after the dress’ been as you imagined it would be?
I would say it's been better than I imagined - we're traveling the world together and loving it. We make sure to spend quality time together and encourage each other in all that we do. While there have been some bumps in the road and things didn't work out the way we planned all the time, we have absolutely loved being married to each other and are both extremely thankful with how our story has unfolded thus far.

Q6: What have you learnt about yourself since being married?
I CAN cook! In college, they used to tease me because I couldn't really make anything other than sandwiches and Kraft macaroni and cheese. Once we got married, I really loved to make dinner for my husband. I started trying all kinds of new recipes and it's now one of my favorite hobbies! My hubby tells me I have become quite the cook and he's always happy and well fed so it's a win-win in the Kendrick household. 

Q7: If you could describe your marriage in 3 words, what would they be?
This came straight from my husband: "Pretty Damn Sweet"

Q8: Do you have any pearls of wisdom you would like to share with my readers
about being married? Perhaps something some wise person once told you, or
something you’ve learnt the hard way?

Keep your sense of humor - go the extra mile every day to make your hubby or wife laugh and make sure to laugh with them. We feel so much closer to each other when we laugh and often bring up funny stories later because they are inside jokes for us which makes us smile even more. They say a belly laugh is good for your health (lower blood pressure, reduces stress, etc.) and I can assure you that there is nothing better than rolling on the floor laughing with your spouse; it really makes you happy all around. Making those extra efforts to do this as often as possible will keep such a fun spirit between you that even when the stresses of life (finances, major decisions, family drama, etc.) start to get to you, you've got a way to release that for a little while and feel awesome together.  

Top and bottom left&nbsp;Images by Dorette from&nbsp; Dots I Am Photography

Top and bottom left Images by Dorette from Dots I Am Photography

You can find Erin at the following places:

Blog

BlogLovin

Pinterest

I hope you have been enjoying this series as much as I have enjoyed putting it together.

If you would like to be featured here on the blog, you can drop me an email using the contact form above or leave me a comment below. I look forward to hearing from you!

x

Life After the Dress {episode 9} Ché Dyer

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In this series I interview married women of all ages and from all walks of life and ask them real questions about their lives now, after all the glitter and sparkle of the day is over. If you'd like to read more about the series and meet the other lovely ladies I have interviewed, click here.

Today I am so happy to have Ché up on the blog sharing her stories with us about her life after the dress. 

Ché and Warren are a fun loving South African couple living in London. Ché is a ball of energy and smiles and I feel like I have known her for years (even though we have only met once in 'real life' our paths have crossed virtually and we seem to have just missed each other wherever we have gone...we both went to Rhodes University, then to South Korea to teach English and then we were both back in the Midlands area for a short time before we both got married). We also both love sharing our passions with you on the world wide web. Ché has a delightful and hilarious blog called IndieBerries, the perfect place to pop on over to forget about your worries and your strife (no idea why The Jungle Book appeared in that sentence*) but her blog is witty, and full of fun, just like her. 

So grab yourself a cup of tea, make yourselves comfortable...and enjoy! x

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Q1: Please introduce yourself (age, of both yourself and your husband, where do you live, what do you do & how long have you been married for?)

I’m Ché, I’m 28 and my husband is Warren who turned 31 last week! We are originally from South Africa, but currently live in Wimbledon, London. I am a freelance illustrator and designer and run the blog indieBerries. Warren is a portfolio manager for a Hedge Fund Firm. We have been married (almost) one year!

Q2: Which Disney character do you feel sums you up to a ‘T’?

Ooh, this one is a toughie! I don’t actually know!
I’d like to say Belle – if only for her epic library – and I definitely married a  handsome beast.
Or maybe that seagull from The Little Mermaid – I always feel like I’m losing my marbles.

Q3: How did you and your hubby meet?

We met at Rhodes University  - at a formal dinner. Really, there was nothing “formal” about it. We were all dressed like “Trailer Trash” and they served us KFC straight out the bucket.  

Q4: Was your wedding everything you hoped it would be? Would you go back and change anything? Do you have any advice for brides-to-be?

Our wedding was absolutely EVERYTHING I could ever have hoped for and more. We had the most incredible, beautiful, sunny day with our most favourite people celebrating with us. Unfortunately, we lost all our professional wedding photos in a horrific “dog-meets-hard-drive” accident

– so maybe if I could change one thing, I would have hired a different photographer! But, if hiring a different photographer meant that anything else about our day had to change, then I’d keep everything exactly as it is.
planning, preparing and the big day with the your gorgeous man! Think out the box! We had an awesome “food story” to go with our food and the guests LOVED it!

Make it your own and celebrate in a way that means everything to you. (also – double check your photographer’s back up system!) And my advice to brides is to ENJOY the planning and the preparing!

Q5: Has ‘life after the dress’ been as you imagined it would be?

Warren and I have had a strange journey – when we got engaged we were not even really dating, and we had been living in two different continents for the previous 3 and a half years (it’s a long story), so just about everything “after the dress” was new and exciting – including just being in the same country!  Moving into our first house together was SO exciting! (And super weird to begin with!) 

Q6: What do you think makes marriage work?

Being mindful, of yourself and of your partner –  appreciating him/her, having their best interests at the forefront of your heart. Laughter, love and complete support – even if it means sacrificing something for yourself – so that no matter what pitfalls or speedbumps you encounter in this life – you will always know that there is one person who will undoubtedly believe in you, always stand up for you and always protect you. Become the one thing – whatever it takes - that makes them feel happy to wake up every morning and come home to every night.

Q7: What have you learnt about yourself since being married?

That I have a freaken EXCELLENT taste in men.
Just kidding.

Warren has taught me to believe in myself on a level that I have never experienced before. He has taught me increasing patience and forgiveness and how to really listen, through the way he lives his own life and the way he is with me. I feel so privileged to spend so much of my time with such a true gentleman.

Q8: If you could describe your marriage in 3 words, what would those words be?
Beautiful precious cocoon

(I asked the same question to Warren and he replied with, “Better than sex” –which, is slightly inappropriate)

Q9: Do you have any pearls of wisdom you would like to share with my readers about being married? Perhaps something some wise person once told you, or something you’ve learnt the hard way?

I read somewhere recently a quote which said, “Don’t be afraid to be the one who loves the most” and I absolutely love it!

From my personal experience – I can totally say, before you move into your first house together (whatever stage of your relationship that may be) make sure you find out the exact procedures for trash and recycling – or else you will end up, up to your elbows in two weeks worth of stinking garbage juice – and there will be tears. Trust me.

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You can find Ché at the following places:

Blog

Facebook

Etsy Stationery Store

Instagram

Twitter

I hope you have been enjoying this series as much as I have enjoyed putting it together.

If you would like to be featured here on the blog, you can drop me an email using the contact form above or leave me a comment below. I look forward to hearing from you!

x

Life After the Dress {episode 8} Fiona Rossiter

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I am very excited to feature the lovely Fiona Rossiter today, the lady behind Cape Town based lifestyle blog Inspired Living. Fiona is the 8th guest I have had here on my blog in my Life After the Dress series where I interview woman of all ages and walks of life and ask them real questions about their lives now that all the fuss and fluff of the big day is over. 

I am hoping that when Farmboy and I get back home to South Africa in a couple of years time I will be able to meet these ladies for a real cup of tea. I have learned to much from each of them, and I love posting each of their stories here on the blog. Thanks for being a part of this Fiona! 

x

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Q1: Please introduce yourself (age, of both yourself and your husband, where do you live, what do you do & how long have you been married for?)

Hi I am Fiona and I am happily married to the love of my life, Grant! Last year was quite an emotional year, with me reaching a major milestone in my life! I turned 40!!! Something I still do not like to say out loud but am starting to accept! My hubby Grant is only 11 months older than me so we keep each other young. We live in Noordhoek, Cape Town – in my opinion the most beautiful city in the world (not biased at all)! We have been married for 17 years – it’s was our anniversary on the 7th of December. I cannot believe how time has flown, it seems like just yesterday he was down on one knee, proposing to me! We have two gorgeous girls, who make our world a better place – our lives would not be complete without them. I am a full time mom, blogger and true creative at heart, with too many ideas and not enough hours in the day. Grant is a Portfolio Manager for an investment company (in his own words he makes other people rich ;) but a true entrepreneur at heart!

Q2: Which Disney character do you feel sums you up to a ‘T’?

Amazingly this was a bit of a difficult one to answer, I could not decide on my own, so I opted to do two on-line quizzes to see what the “experts” had to say! As a Disney Character I am apparently like PINOCCHIO yes Pinocchio! Even I was surprised – the synopsis:

“You like to work towards dreams you have, but you sometimes get tempted by the devil in disguise. But when it comes down to it, you're quite a happy person who just wants to be the best they can be!” I had a good giggle but in essence this is all very true. As a Disney Princess I am apparently much like Jasmine, as I dream of freedom from my lifestyle and I hate pompous jerks (ain’t that the truth)!

Q3: How did you and your hubby meet?

Funny story really – I was essentially his boss. I worked at a jeweler and he started working there, as a holiday job, while he was at university. I hate to sound cliché but it was love at first sight – well for me anyway! We were young but I think we both knew what we wanted out of life – or at least we thought we did. We did date for four years before we got married, which I think was important to establish our relationship.

Q4: Was your wedding everything you hoped it would be? Would you go back and change anything? Do you have any advice for brides-to-be?

My wedding was amazing, something fairy-tales are made of! Not having my own mom around when I got married was tough but I have been blessed with the most amazing mother in law! We did get married very young and were the first in the family to tie the knot, Grant is one of four boys and I have a younger brother. As you can imagine there was great anticipation from all involved, being the first to get married {no pressure at all ;)}. Would I change anything about my wedding day - yes I probably would. Our wedding was way too big but being the first in the family we did not know better. We had a very traditional wedding which we both wanted but I guess if I did have to do it over I would have a smaller more intimate affair. Please don’t get me wrong, I loved every minute of my day but know what I do now I would do it differently – I am wiser I guess. So my advice for brides-to-be, is no matter how big or small your wedding, make sure you actually enjoy it – dance, have fun because it is a once in a lifetime experience!

Q5: Has ‘life after the dress’ been as you imagined it would be?

I think that life is never exactly what you expect it to be but if you had to ask me if I was happy - I would definitely have to say yes. Growing up I dreamt that I would meet my prince charming, get married, have two children and live happily ever after – see dreams do come true!

Q6: What have you learnt about yourself since being married?

I am an extremely stubborn person and a perfectionist, someone who does not like admitting when I am wrong {which is mostly never} but marriage has taught me that if you want to be happy, you need to make allowances for others and at times compromises. This is true for all relationships in life but especially true, if you want your marriage to work. I was extremely independent before we got married, so for me the biggest lesson has been to learn to rely and trust someone else. Oh and as my hubby will tell you I am very high maintenance!

Q7: If you could describe your marriage in 3 words, what would they be?

LOVE, ACCEPTANCE, TRUST

Q8: Do you have any pearls of wisdom you would like to share with my readers about being married? Perhaps something some wise person once told you, or something you've learnt the hard way?

I think the most important thing is to marry your “best friend”, yes it is important to marry for love but you also need to “like” the person you are marrying. If possible marry someone with the same beliefs and morals as you have, this is especially important when it comes to parenting children. Don’t get me wrong I am not saying marry a carbon copy of yourself that would be boring but discuss what you want and envisage for your life before you get married, to ensure you are actually on the same page! Oh and most of all have fun, remember to laugh – if nothing else it keeps you young!

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You can find Fiona at the following places (in particular on her Youtube channel where she posts great videos about her favourite makeup and beauty products, as well as showing you how to use the products!)

Blog

Facebook

Pinterest

Instagram

Twitter

I hope you have been enjoying this series as much as I have enjoyed putting it together.

If you would like to be featured here on the blog, you can drop me an email using the contact form above or leave me a comment below. I look forward to hearing from you!

x

Life After the Dress {episode 7} Caley Rosenberg

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Todays lovely interviewee is the sweet Caley who blogs over at Ellie Love. I feel like I've known Caley for years, thanks to the wonders of social media. We haven't officially met in person {yet} but I have loved following along in her blogging journey and seeing photos of her cute little one on Instagram. Her blog is a delightful place to wonder around and get lost in, so grab yourself a cup of tea and read all about her life after the dress.

In this series I will be interviewing ladies of all ages and asking them questions about their lives, after their big day. It is my hope that you feel inspired, and leave my blog feeling hopeful and happy, with renewed energy for your relationship, or excitement for what the future may hold for you.

Happy reading!

x

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Q1: Please introduce yourself (age, of both yourself and your husband, where do you live, what do you do & how long have you been married for?)

Hi lovely CityGirl Searching readers. I am Caley and I blog over at Ellie Love. I am married to my gorgeous blonde husband, MC and we live in Durban, South Africa. Both born and bred in this beautiful coastal city, the sun, sand and sea are our home. I am a qualified primary school teacher but I am now a stay-at-home mom to our little 20 month old daughter, SJ and baby #2 on the way (due June 2014).  MC works for a Mining Facilitations Company and is involved in many mines in Africa and investments worldwide. We met in 2006, got engaged in 2009 and got married on 2nd October 2010 - a blissful and eventful 3 years of marriage.

Q2: Which Disney character do you feel sums you up to a ‘T’?

I would have to say Ariel from The Little Mermaid. Ariel is a free-spirited mermaid who knows her mind and doesn't follow the crowd. She overcomes the hurdles in her life and follows her dreams to find her Prince Charming and live her fairytale. There is also something magical about a mermaid's tail and living under the sea.

Q3: How did you and your hubby meet?

You can read our full story here but a short version is: we met in a local night club with me staring at MC's crotch area, admiring his impressive belt buckle (cringe!)

Q4: Was your wedding everything you hoped it would be? Would you go back and change anything? Do you have any advice for brides-to-be?

Our wedding was the most magical day of our lives - everything ran smoothly from start to finish and we had a lot of fun with special family and friends. We loved all our little details and really felt that everything was a true representation of us as a couple. A dream come true.

As the times and styles change over the years, there are definitely things I would do differently if I were to re-do it all over again - especially as there was no Pinterest during my wedding planning! But I would change anything from our special day.

My advice to other brides-to-be - stay calm and enjoy every moment. There is so much to do, so much to think about and potentially a lot to worry about but it really doesn't matter. Things find a way of all coming together and as a bride, it really isn't for you to worry about on your big day. Enjoy every moment from the second you wake up and open your eyes with a tummy full of butterflies and excitement to the pure content feeling of falling asleep in your husbands arms. The day goes by so quickly and you don't want to miss a thing - especially because you were too busy worrying about something trivial. Have fun and enjoy!

Q5: Has ‘life after the dress’ been as you imagined it would be?

It has been everything I had imagined, and so much more. Marriage has been the most wonderful commitment MC and I have made. It was also the start  of our lives together, in the same country (after our long distance dating) and spending every moment together has been magical. We have been blessed with a special bond and an incredible friendship that has blossomed into a strong and beautiful marriage - full of fun and special memories as well as sticking together and growing as a couple through the difficult times. "Life after the dress" has been exciting and fast paced and a great adventure, as well as the start of our sweet family.

Q6: What have you learnt about yourself since being married?

I have learnt that I am a changed and better woman with MC by my side. He brings out the best in me as well as calms me down and keeps me level-headed in moments of need. He has helped me grow as a person in all walks of life, realise my potential and encouraged me when I had my doubts. I have learnt to that I can defy all odds (and my upbringing) and be the wife and mother that I always dreamed I would be.

Q7: If you could describe your marriage in 3 words, what would they be?

Loving, supportive and exciting.

Q8: Do you have any pearls of wisdom you would like to share with my readers about being married? Perhaps something some wise person once told you, or something you’ve learnt the hard way?

Never say a bad word about your spouse and never put them down. You are there greatest supporter and number one fan, and your belief in them is what keeps them going each day. I cannot find a negative thing to say about my dear hubs and it's not because he doesn't have faults or traits I don't agree with but he is the man I married with everything so amazing about him, and the man I fall more in love with each day.

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You can find Caley at the following places:

Blog

Pinterest

Instagram

Twitter

I hope you have been enjoying this series as much as I have enjoyed putting it together.

If you would like to be featured here on the blog, you can drop me an email using the contact form above or leave me a comment below. I look forward to hearing from you!

x

Life After the Dress {episode 6 } Kathryn Rossiter

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Today is the sixth episode in my Life After the Dress series where I interview real women, asking them real questions about their lives after their wedding day (click here to go back and read the other episodes).

Today I am very happy to introduce you to the beauty and brains behind the lovely lifestyle blog Becoming You. Kathryn and I have been in contact for a while, but in between kiddies parties, Christmas and my computer going on the brink, it's taken a little while to get her post up.

So go grab yourself a cup of tea and get ready to be inspired.

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Q1: Please introduce yourself (age, of both yourself and your husband, where do you live, what do you do & how long have you been married for?)

My name is Kathryn, I'm 33 years old and have been married to my husband Brad for 12 years in April. If you do the sums you'll discover I got married when I was only 21. A child bride as some of my friends like to tease me! We live in Cape Town and have 2 kids aged 7 and 3.

Q2: Which Disney character do you feel sums you up to a ‘T’?

You'd think with the amount of Disney that gets played in our house that I would have a definite answer to this question but I'm really not quite sure who I identify with. So instead I did a quiz called "What Disney character are you" to discover that I am in fact... Mary Poppins - does she count as a Disney character? Or must it be animated? In that case I want to be a princess ;)

Q3: How did you and your hubby meet?

How did you meet? is one of my favourite questions to ask couples too! Probably because our story is quite unique. Not many people can say that they met on a blind date! I'm now a big advocate of taking a chance when it comes to meeting "the one" - I encourage my friends to go on blind dates, try internet dating, step out of their comfort zone. I had to and it paid off beautifully...

Q4: Was your wedding everything you hoped it would be? Would you go back and change anything? Do you have any advice for brides-to-be?

My wedding at Suikerbossie in Hout Bay was so lovely, I have very fond memories of the day. I loved the process of planning it and became quite involved as the project manager with a HUGE file of ideas but back then (sounds like it was centuries ago) the wedding industry wasn't nearly as hectic and as long as you had a venue, dress, florist and photographer you were good to go. The only things I might change looking back is to have had beading on my dress, less plus+1s I didn't know and that my honeymoon flight wasn't at 4am the next day! The day goes by in such a blur of busy-ness that my advice would be not to sweat the small stuff too much as often you don't even notice that stuff and neither do your guests. It makes you so incredibly busy in the run up to the wedding and takes the focus off what is actually happening - you're marrying the love of your life!! On the day something WILL go wrong so expect it and then just roll with it! Hand over responsibilities to as many people as you can so you can just glide through the day and enjoy it. And don't forget to stop every now and again and sit back to soak in the day. Capture little pictures in your memory of the people, fun, smells, views, everything.

Q5: Has ‘life after the dress’ been as you imagined it would be? 

Yes and more! We didn't live together before we were married, in fact we didn't sleep together either! I know some people think that's pretty crazy or weird, but for us it was the best decision we made and we are so blessed to have only known each other. The first year can be up and down while you both are still finding your feet and needing confirmation of your partners commitment to the relationship but if you can push through those times, keep talking always and use every conflict to help you grow in your understanding of yourself and your spouse, then they will be worth it!

Q6: What have you learnt about yourself since being married?

I was pretty undomesticated moving overnight from my parent's home to our marital home so I had to learn a lot about cooking, cleaning and I still do! I've learnt how to communicate better and that it's important to talk even when I don't feel like it or don't have the right words to say, I need to be prepared to talk things through and that's a start.

Q7: If you could describe your marriage in 3 words, what would they be?

An Honest, Fun, Partnership

Q8: Do you have any pearls of wisdom you would like to share with my readers about being married? Perhaps something some wise person once told you, or something you’ve learnt the hard way?

I've learnt that giving each other a little bit of space and room to breathe is far healthier than living in each others pockets. In the first year of marriage I remember trying to do everything together but keeping your own interests and having something that is uniquely yours, especially once you're a mom, is so NB for your sanity (and his). Spending time with my girlfriends and maintaining those relationships is also very important to me but I'm careful not to over share with others about our private world especially if my husband is sensitive about a topic. Another top tip is to travel with your spouse as you learn a lot about them that way. You can do this before you get married or after but I would say you need to do this before you have kids so that when the going gets tougher (once the babies arrive) you have some fun memories to fall back on to pull you through. Also our pre-marriage course and counselling sessions that we attended (before we were engaged!) were invaluable and I recommend everyone does something similar through their local church or marriage counsellors as they help you to discuss the big questions you might never have thought of. 

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You can find Kathryn at the following places:

Blog

Facebook

Instagram

Twitter

I hope you have been enjoying this series as much as I have enjoyed putting it together. Each lady I have been in contact with so far has taught me so much about life and marriage, and I feel so honoured to be able to share their stories with you. Thank you Kathryn, and thank you to each of the wonderful ladies I have featured here so far. You are all so inspiring <3

If you would like to be featured here on the blog, you can drop me an email using the contact form above or leave me a comment below. I look forward to hearing from you!

x

Life After the Dress {Episode 5} Sophie Smith

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Todays interview is with one of our closest friends from University, a very talented photographer and adventure seeker; Sophie. Sophie was the first person we wanted to have capture our engagement in 2012, and she did a fabulous job of it (click here to see the wonderful photographs).

Sophie and her husband Cam are a dynamic couple with a massive heart for adventure and people, and we are so happy to call them our friends.

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Q1: Please introduce yourself (age, of both yourself and your husband, where do you live, what do you do & how long have you been married for?)

My name is Sophie Smith and I have been married to my wonderful husband Cameron for almost 3 years and a half years. I am 26 and Cam is 28, and we are just starting out a new season in our lives in Cape Town. I am trained as a photojournalist, a teacher, and most recently, an outdoor adventure leader in the Canadian Rockies. But now we are back to real life in South Africa - I am working for a great online tourism company called Go2Africa as a photographer and image editor and Cam is the manager of a camp facility on the Table Mountain National Park near Llundudno. I am also doing wedding and couple photography and am hoping to expand the business over the next few years . You can see more of my work here>> SophieSmithPhotography

Q2: Which Disney character do you feel sums you up to a ‘T’?

Nala, from the Lion King

Q3: How did you and your hubby meet?

We met at the rock climbing wall at Rhodes University and became friends through Dale (Roxy’s hubby). We were friends for a number of years before we started dating… Well, Cam wanted to be more than friends for a number of years before I finally woke up and realized that, in the words of my dad; “He’s a good man and he’s not going to wait around for you forever”.

Q4: Was your wedding everything you hoped it would be? Would you go back and change anything? Do you have any advice for brides-to-be?

My wedding was wonderful but certainly not what I had imagined it would be when I was growing up. Cam and I kept it very local in Grahamstown and did not want to spend a huge amount of money on our wedding because it was just one day, and we wanted the emphasis to be on our marriage, not on our wedding. An example of this was getting my dress made but then selling it back to the boutique for rentals so I only paid half price. We also got friends and family involved in décor and set-up which was cheaper and way more fun. In retrospect I would have liked to pay a little more attention to some of the details but the people, the weather, and the whole day were wonderful.

There are two pieces of advice that I found useful when preparing for my wedding day. The first was not to stress about how things turned out because only you will know how it was meant to be. The second was to take in every detail and enjoy every moment of the day, don’t wish for the next part of the day, just enjoy every moment because it is over so soon. I took this advice to heart, especially when I was walking down the aisle.

Q5: Has ‘life after the dress’ been as you imagined it would be?

I didn’t find married life a huge challenge or transition, perhaps because Cam and I spent so much time together when we were dating. I think I went into marriage with some unrealistic expectations though and have learnt that, in the words of William Shakespeare, “Expectation is the root of all heartbreak”.

It has been amazing to have a friend and a partner to adventure through life with. We have not, and still do not, know what the future holds but it is great to know that we have God and each other and that is enough.

Q6: What have you learnt about yourself since being married?

I have learnt that I like to get my own way and normally can’t see how I could possibly be wrong. I’m normally late. I leave the cupboard doors open. I talk too much and don’t listen enough.

Q7: If you could describe your marriage in 3 words, what would they be?

Adventure, compromise, team

Q8: Do you have any pearls of wisdom you would like to share with my readers about being married? Perhaps something some wise person once told you, or something you’ve learnt the hard way?

I don’t believe in finding “the one”, because one day you may find “another one”. Marriage is a choice – a choice to love, a choice to forgive, a choice to stay together no matter what.&nbsp;

As I mentioned earlier, expectations can set you up for disappointment and frustration, especially when they are not communicated properly. Believe it or not, your husband can’t read your mind and know what you want or are hoping for.

Growing up, we watch Disney movies where Prince Charming sweeps the lovely heroine off her feet.  While I love Disney movies, good old Prince Charming messed things up for me a bit. You see, they taught me that the Princess is only happy when she finds her Prince. But in marriage, you have to be whole and secure and happy in yourself before you get married. The other thing I learnt from Disney movies, or came to expect, is that my husband would be perfect and exciting everyday - which he isn’t, and that’s ok, because neither am I. It really helped when I realized that I was very far from a perfect princess and that it was unrealistic and unhelpful to expect Cam to be the perfect husband. In fact I think I like him better for his imperfections (A lot of these ideas are from a great book I read called Before you get Engaged by David Gudgel).

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You can find Sophie at the following places:

Website

Instagram

In this series I am interviewing real woman and asking them questions about their lives after their wedding day. I am asking them real questions about their marriages, and of course having them give me and you some pearls of wisdom that they might like to share. If you would like to read more about this series, or if you would like to be featured here on the blog, click here or you can drop me an email here or leave me a comment below.

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Life After the Dress {Episode 3}...Irene Woodhams

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Today I am introducing you all to the lovely Irene. Irene is my third guest here on the blog in my new blog series entitled {Life After the Dress}. In this series I am interviewing real woman and asking them questions about their lives after their wedding day. I am asking them real questions about their marriages, and of course having them give me and you some pearls of wisdom that they might like to share. If you would like to read more about this series, or if you would like to be featured here on the blog, click here or you can drop me an email here or leave me a comment below.

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Q1: Please introduce yourself (age, of both yourself and your husband, where do you live, what do you do & how long have you been married for?)
My name is Irene (Lulu to family and close friends) and my husband’s name is Moresby. I am 57 and Moresby is 61. I do a little freelance work as a Kitchen Designer and sell retro/vintage items. My blog is called ‘Lulu, Yesteryear Redeemed’. Moresby is a mathematics teacher. We have been married for 34 years (next month) and have two sons. We have lived in the same house for 32 years! To some this might be boring but to us, our home is full of memories!

Q2: Which Disney character do you feel sums you up to a ‘T’?
Oh dear, I have not thought about Disney characters for a very long time! I would say I am a little like Snow White who has a cheerful, trusting nature and motherly character. 

Q3: How did you and your hubby meet?
A group of people from our church would meet in the Addington Hospital Chapel before going off to visit patients who did not receive visitors. I remember the day Moresby walked into the small chapel and I thought, wow, what a nice looking guy! He had his hands in his pockets and a friendly smile on his face. 7 
months later we were married! Many family and friends thought that we were rushing but we knew that the Lord would be the foundation of our marriage. I was 23 and Moresby was 27.

Q4: Was your wedding everything you hoped it would be? Would you go back and change anything? Do you have any advice for brides-to-be?
Our wedding was wonderful. We got married on 21 December 1979. I don’t just mean the pretty things on the table or the flowers. Even after all these years, I have memories of holding my dad’s arm and how emotional he was as he walked me down the isle. The excitement and smile on Moresby’s face that I was about to become his wife. The pastor’s message. How we held hands as we said our vows to each other and to the Lord. And lastly as we turned to leave the church and saw everyone sharing in our joy! 

My advice to brides-to-be is to enjoy every moment of your wedding day because it all goes by so quickly! Ask family and friends to take lots of photos – often they capture special moments which the photographer doesn’t. 

Q5: Has ‘life after the dress’ been as you imagined it would be? 
To be honest, all I hoped for was our marriage to be a happy one. But we both realized that to be happy we would always have to consider each other. We decided that we would never make a decision no matter how small without consulting the other. We still do it to this day. As the years passed we bought a home, had children, lived on a tight budget so that I could be at home with the boys and then we went through the teenage years! All those experiences brought happiness and challenges to our marriage. Sometimes we reacted differently and had to find a way to work through the situations together. Or at times one was stronger than the other and visa versa. The greatest joy was having children. I could not imagine my life without them.

Now that 34 years has passed we don’t sweat about the small things like we used to, we now joke and laugh at each other – most times! We have come full circle – the boys have left home (sometime ago!) and we are on our own once again and 
loving it!! 

Q6: What have you learnt about yourself since being married?
I am still the same person with the same values and beliefs. Maturity and life experiences over the years has taught me to be a little calmer and to wait on the Lord for change. What makes it sweeter is that Moresby has been my anchor when I have been emotional (blame it on my Greek heritage!) and I felt like a little boat bopping up and down on the sea of life.

I still have my wedding dress so I pulled it out and ironed it to photograph it for all to see. It is still in good condition, as if it was made yesterday except I that I can no longer fit into it!

Q7: If you could describe your marriage in 3 words, what would they be?
happy, content, safe. 

Q8: Do you have any pearls of wisdom you would like to share with my readers about being married? Perhaps something some wise person once told you, or something you've learnt the hard way?
Oh yes! Chat about everything BEFORE you get married e.g. each others role in the marriage, finances etc. Ask advice and guidance from older couples who set a good example. Good marriages don’t just happen, it takes communication and hard work . Always appreciate your spouse’s good qualities. If you only focus on each others faults and weaknesses you will become discontented. I know it can be hard at times! Remember, love is not a feeling: it is an unconditional commitment. Trust and forgive because there will be many times when you will need forgiveness! And lastly, try your best to respect and talk kindly to each other. I admit it is not always easy but you will reap the rewards if you do. 

To my husband: Thank you for being honest and kind. A man who loves the Lord and a good example to our sons. On a lighter note: thank-you for helping me make our bed every day for the last 34 years!
Ephesians: 5:33 "However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband"

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You can find Irene at the following places:
Blog LuLu-Yesteryear Redeemed
Facebook: Lulu Shop

If you enjoyed this post, I'd love to hear from you in the comments below! If you would like to be featured here in this series, please do drop me a message here, I'd love to hear from you.
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Life After the Dress {Episode 2}...Chelsea Diamond

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I am so excited to introuduce you all to the second lovely lady in my new series {Life After the Dress}. I started this series last month with Natalie Hutton (click here to read her story), and in it I will be interviewing ladies of all ages and asking them about their lives, after their big day. It is my hope that you feel inspired, and leave my blog feeling hopeful and happy, with renewed energy for your relationship, or excitement for what the future may hold for you.

For a lot of woman, it is too easy to get caught up in the fluff and glitter of the actual wedding day, and very little time and thought is spent on preparing for what comes after. Marriage is such a wonderful journey, and once the cake has been cut and the guest have left, it's just you and your new husband, and the rest of your lives.

I hope you enjoy reading Chelsea's story, I so looking forward to meeting this bundle of energy (her travel blog is just such a rich source of information, and she has wonderful advice for traveling with your hubby, and tips on keeping in your budget too!). You can pop on over to her blog here.

Enjoy!

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Q1: Please introduce yourself (age, of both yourself and your husband, where do you live, what do you do & how long have you been married for?)

Hi everyone! I’m Chelsea and I blog over at Lost in Travels. A blog to spark your wanderlust, encourage you to get out of your comfort zone and explore, all while staying on budget! My husband and I were married three years ago when I was 22 and he was 27 (I’ll let you do the math ; ) Scared by the thought of ‘settling down’ after we got married, we packed our lives into two suitcases and headed half way around the world to South Korea to teach English. We’ve been here almost three years now and haven’t looked back!

Q2: Which Disney character do you feel sums you up to a ‘T’?

I had to think about this one since it’s been awhile since I’ve seen the movies! I would have to say Ariel based on her sense of adventure and curiosity of the unknown!

Q3: How did you and your hubby meet?

My husband and I have a little bit of a different story. Long story short, I saw him through friends in common on Facebook and added him on a whim. After two months of talking, he got up the nerve to fly to Chicago from Tulsa where he was living and visit me for the first time. So the first time we actually met was in the domestic terminal of the O’hare airport! If you want more of the ooey gooey details you can read the whole story here.

Q4: Was your wedding everything you hoped it would be? Would you go back and change anything? Do you have any advice for brides-to-be?

I wish I could say that my wedding day went smooth but as with any big event, there are always bumps in the road. But with all that being said, nothing horrible happened and I still remember the day for the most important part, saying goodbye to dating and hello to life living with a boy!

My biggest advice to brides is to not sweat the small stuff. At the end of the day, it won’t matter anyway. I remember my mom rushing into the bridal suite hours before the wedding, stressed that the rental company had delivered one less tablecloth than we needed. Expecting me to be equally stressed by this I simply told her that we would have one less table then. I had gotten to the point that I didn’t care about the small details anymore, what did that matter when all I really wanted was to have fun that night and get to the honeymoon!

Q5: Has ‘life after the dress’ been as you imagined it would be?

Yes and no. Which I think every married woman can relate to. I was never one of those people with rose colored glasses on who thought that marriage was going to be love notes and snuggles in bed every day (even though I wish!) Marriage is challenging in new ways everyday. It stretches a person, makes them realize how much work a successful relationship really takes. Sacrifices must be made, feelings must be cared for and communication is key. I say all this but at the same time, it’s the most rewarding experience I’ve ever had. When we look back at our relationship when we were first married, we thought is was so great. But we had no idea how much better it would get with time. But it takes all of that hard work and all of those trials to go through to get us to where we are today. Especially living abroad together we have learned to heavily rely on each other, to be each other’s biggest support system. Something I think would be possible if we never left the states but not in the magnitude that it is now.

Q6: What have you learnt about yourself since being married?

I need to RELAX! I’ll be honest, I married a daredevil. The more dangerous the activity, the more my husband wants to do it. When we were first married I was so uptight! Always telling him to be careful, telling him not to do certain things because they were dangerous. After a year of this I learned that he’s a big boy and he loves me and therefore would never do anything that he knew was beyond his limits (duh). Too bad I didn’t learn that sooner!

Q7: If you could describe your marriage in 3 words, what would they be?

Adventurous, spontaneous, comfortable

Q8: Do you have any pearls of wisdom you would like to share with my readers about being married? Perhaps something some wise person once told you, or something you’ve learnt the hard way?

Always be in pursuit of your love. After being married, it can become all too easy to get too comfortable in marriage and as a result stop trying. I encourage everyone to continue to date his or her spouse throughout your marriage.

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You can find Chelsea at the following places:

I hope you enjoyed reading the second post in my new blog series, if you did, leave me a note in the comments. I love hearing from you! x

If you would like be featured here on my blog, drop me an email (citygirlsearching-at-gmail-dot-com).

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!

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