We're Maryal and Chris Carter, the crazy-in-love couple behind the blog and the specs. Our love of chambray and mutual blurred vision unites us, and this is where we share our adventures in love, style, food, DIY and so much more, seen through our bespectacled eyes. Thanks for joining our journey!

Our 2nd Wedding Anniversary & Our Best Wedding Ideas

Our 2nd Wedding Anniversary & Our Best Wedding Ideas

  All wedding photos by  Ashley Slater Photography

All wedding photos by Ashley Slater Photography

Time flies, guys! We celebrated our 2nd wedding anniversary earlier this week and holy crow do those two years feel like they went by fast. It seriously feels like just yesterday we were saying, “I do!” and celebrating with all of our friends and family in Northern Michigan! Time really does fly when you’re having fun, and as you guys know we’ve been having some serious fun as a married couple in these last two years. Life has been good, to say the least. 

Also we had no idea that your 2nd wedding anniversary is in fact your Cotton Anniversary so… t-shirts? Comfy bed sheets? Cotton bouquets? Do they sell cotton bouquets? And who assigned these items to these anniversaries and why on Earth did they not just switch back and forth between gold and diamonds? 1st anniversary, gold. 2nd anniversary, diamonds! 3rd anniversary, GOLD! Way more fun than cotton, am I right? Cotton is cool though... I guess.

And we’re not kidding when we say that we get emails weekly from brides or loved-up couples who found our wedding photos on some corner of the interwebs and are seeking insight or advice about wedding planning or how we executed elements of our wedding -- from the dress to our venues to the flowers, the band, the invites, the bridesmaid and groomsmen looks, the tablescape, and more -- we've gotten it all. And it makes our hearts so full to offer other happy couples out there any insight we can as they plan their dream wedding day! 

In light of that, we thought that it would be such a fun way to celebrate our 2nd wedding anniversary here on the blog with you guys by not only sharing some of our very favorite snaps (from our incredible wedding photog Ashley Slater) from all aspects of our day and reliving the magic of it all, but also to offer all of you out there planning your special day the most distilled, honest, big-picture wedding and wedding planning advice we have to offer. We’re each spilling the two fun details that we loved the absolute most from our wedding day and why. See what we did there? 2nd anniversary? Two things we loved? Synergy, people. Synergy.

This may have been a tougher task if we weren’t as far removed from the planning and the day as we are, but when reflecting on it all now it feels so easy to choose the two fun little details or elements that we incorporated into our wedding day that really made the day that much more awesome for both of us. And obviously that’s aside from the fact that we both got to marry our best friend. That’s a given, people! That’s a given. We’re talking all of the other wedding day details here. The nitty gritty. The other choices we made that we ended up really loving in hopes that it provides some clarity, or helps you guys make some of those tough decisions, or just go with your gut. 

We're firm believers that your wedding day should just be filled with all of the things you and your betrothed love, no explanation needed, in order to share those things with your guests and invite them all into your love story. Because life's too short to do this day any other way. And it's with that sentiment that we bring you our his and hers breakdown of our two favorite fun wedding day details!

Her Favorite Wedding Ideas

1. Great Live Music

Our mutual love of music is one of the things that we immediately bonded over when we first started dating. We'd spend hours sitting at the table in my backyard listening to all kinds of music and asking each other a thousand questions to get to know each other. And the music we listened to sort of became the soundtrack to our love. So when we started planning our wedding, we knew right from the start that we wanted to share that with our guests in the most special way so that they could feel what we felt when we fell in love. The answer? Really great live music.

First, I surprised C with an acoustic version of "our song" when I walked down the aisle, which was performed by the most insanely talented teenager, Dylan Holmes, who drove all the way across the state... with his mom... just to be at our ceremony and sing that song on our special day (actually he also ended up singing all night at our rehearsal dinner, too and it was incredible). That was an element that I was determined to incorporate no matter how difficult it may be to coordinate or how left-field of a request it may have been. Pretty sure my mom thought I was nuts. But it was absolutely magical, filled with emotion and C's face when it the song started was unforgettable.

The other live music element that absolutely made, and I mean made our wedding was having a live Motown band play at our reception. I've never seen so many people, of all ages, out on the dance floor at any wedding I've attended and for such a long period of time. Some people never sat down from the time the band started playing until the reception was over! It was the absolute coolest, most fun, most memorable way to celebrate with our friends and family.

Not only was the Detroit-based band, SoulXPress out of this world talented in their own genre (a genre that, let's be honest, everyone loves), but they, unprompted, asked what song we'd like played for our first dance and told us that we could pick any song and they'd master it. So we went with it, chose one of our favorite contemporary jams, "When I Get My Hands on You" by The New Basement Tapes, and to our shock and awe they not only nailed it, but I'm pretty sure they gave Marcus Mumford a run for his money. It. Was. Insane. If I could give couples planning their day one piece of advice, it would be this: find a great band you absolutely love and book them. It was such a fun process for us to find this band, fall in love with them together and incorporate that into our day. Worth every penny and any challenges that came with getting them there. 

mix-and-match-wedding-party-style.jpg

2. Mix and Match Wedding Party Attire

Our wedding was classic and traditional in so many ways, which we absolutely loved, but one thing that certainly bucked tradition or at least recent wedding trends was the attire. Not only our own as bride and groom, but our entire bridal party, too and we're both so happy we went that route. When I told Sarah, our wedding planner, that we wanted to let our bridesmaids and groomsmen choose their own mix and match outfits for our wedding day that they could all love, I know she'd tell you that she was slightly concerned. Sarah wants to make sure everything's perfect for you as a bride and groom (and she's so good at that), and I think she was worried that we wouldn't love the outcome or would be disappointed.

Actually a lot of people encouraged us not to do that and go a more traditional route. But we were dead set on having our bridesmaids and groomsmen show their personalities, the unique personalities we loved, on our wedding day and wear something that made them feel awesome. We gave them some guidance and inspiration so they had some sort of direction that would be helpful and not make them feel like they were out there on a limb, and they took it from there. We've both talked about this many times since our wedding -- seeing what all of our bridesmaids and groomsmen showed up in was one of our favorite parts of the day! Every single outfit was so "them" and so fun, and they all looked amazing because of it. 

And we took the same approach with our own wedding day getups. My bestie who was one of my MOHs came with me to L.A. for my final dress fitting and when I told her that I was planning to rock a red shoe, she flat out told me she had her doubts. Love her and that brutal honesty! But I had already fallen in love with the idea, brought my shoes to the fitting and once she saw it all in action she immediately admitted, "OK, this is awesome and totally you." Mission accomplished! Sure I could have played it safe and gone with a bridal blush lip and some sparkly nude shoes, but that just didn't feel like me or sound fun to me. My gut said no, and there was no changing that. And I don't regret it for a second!

Aside from my brutal, totally accidental sunburn from too many epic lake days and feeling slightly like a wet dog with really sad, overly hairsprayed wet hair from all of the rain, I felt totally and completely like "me" on our wedding day and that made the whole day so much more fun for me. And C did the same. He walked into Hugo Boss, spotted that suit with the bold blue check, mixed it up with a funky pocket square he loved and a fun bow tie, and now he finds any excuse he can to rock the suit he loves so much again. So I guess what I'm saying is that if you're considering doing something slightly funky or unconventional with any of the wedding day attire, whether it's mixing up the wedding party outfits or rocking a bold piece you absolutely love for your own wedding day getup... do it. Wear the red shoes, rock the red lip and have the best damn time doing it! I think this is the appropriate moment for a YOLO?!

His Favorite Wedding Ideas

1. The Dinner Portion of the Reception

So go figure that I would really enjoy the dinner and food portion of our wedding, but everything about the dinner and dessert portion of our wedding just made me so happy. I feel like sometimes the food and dinner portion of the day is a slightly underrated element at weddings, and that's totally OK (to each their own), but we love food and wanted the food to really be part of the experience and the celebration for our guests. A huge part of our goal when wedding planning was to show our mostly out-of-town guests what made that little corner of the world so special -- Northern Michigan is one of a kind and so close to our hearts. So we sourced most of the dinner items from around Northern Michigan so our guests could enjoy the food the region does best and it was so, so tasty.

I also had no idea that I'd love the whole wedding cake thing so much. It's as much of a surprise to me as it is to you guys, believe me. But when we cake tasted with the most amazing local baker Jessica Stubbs from Simply Sweet by Jessica, I was completely blown away. We loved her cakes so much that she ended up creating three different cakes for our wedding day all with different flavors, and that was basically all at my urging. I think Mar thought she'd created some sort of cake monster! Even if no one else appreciated the cake (which wasn't the case - there were a tons of guests that doubled down), Mar and I absolutely loved it and both ate several pieces that night and after so... worth it. 

We also served pie from a diner in Petoskey that the Miller family has loved for decades and served so many great Northern Michigan wines and beers. Relaxing for a minute next to Mar and sharing a really good meal with over 100 of our favorite people was incredibly touching and memorable. There were so many clinking glasses and laughs, accompanied by loving eyes from across the room as we listened to the heartfelt words of our siblings, best friends, and fathers. The speeches were full of embellished stories, love, prayers and so many emotions for both of us and I just loved that part of the day. I had no idea that I'd enjoy that part of the day so much, so I say don't underestimate how amazing the whole dinner part of the reception can be. Not boring or lame at all -- so relaxing and perfect.

2. Live Music

I had no idea that Mar was going to choose this, too (even though I knew she loved it), so it's pretty awesome that we both said this. Must mean that this part of the day really was that awesome! The most incredible emotion that I've ever felt was watching Maryal walk down the aisle with her dad. It really got me! I just remember feeling the world stop turning. Hearing that song play, which completely surprised me, just flooded me and everyone else in there room with emotion as we watched her come down that aisle.

It's hard even now to describe that moment accurately and do it justice -- the tears on my mom’s cheeks, my dad beside me, and the warmest smiles from our friends set to our favorite song. I think even some of my groomsmen were crying! I couldn't imagine that moment any other way. When I think about the definition of gratitude, I think of that whole day, but also that specific song played that specific way and the electric air in the church. Music can change the entire vibe of the day in the best way if you let it.

Ok there you have it guys -- our favorite fun wedding day details that we'll never forget and why! This was so much fun for us. We actually sat down and watched our wedding video again while we were celebrating our anniversary and cooking up this post, and looked through our entire wedding photo album with the biggest smiles on our faces. If you're planning your wedding, we hope this helps you on your way as you work through all of the million decisions you have to make leading up to the day. 

Follow your heart, include things you both truly love in life, share that love with your friends and family and you'll have one magical day on your hands.

wedding-dog-outfit-ideas-with-bowtie.jpg
A Casual Navy Blue Jumpsuit for Fall

A Casual Navy Blue Jumpsuit for Fall

Casual Summer-to-Fall Transition Outfit

Casual Summer-to-Fall Transition Outfit