Fiesta, Siesta, Repeat

I had been super excited for this past weekend because over the past month or so, I have been watching my co-worker, Brenda, put together the most adorable bridal shower for her best friend. Brenda and I share a love for Mexican food, so when she was throwing around ideas for a Mexican-themed bridal shower, I was already in love.

She totally took the idea and ran with it, and I had fun making some suggestions for a few details here and there, When I saw the photos, I was so impressed! To top it all off, Brenda and the other girls there did all of this without the bride, Kirsten, knowing. How fun is that? Take a look at some of her cute ideas:

Check out all this color! It was the perfect contrast to Kirsten’s contemporary loft in KC, and a huge component of that was these beautiful blankets that Brenda found on Amazon.

She coupled these with a collection of bright, summery flowers and succulents for the middle of the table. Then, she used galvanized chargers and bright yellow plates to create a place setting. And to add a little bit of personalization, she found matching galvanized place card holders, so guests knew exactly where to sit.

No fiesta can be complete without a margarita, and to take it up a notch, Brenda created a margarita bar. She offered lime, mango and strawberry margaritas, which were served in adorable cactus margarita glasses. The Dollar Tree is the perfect place to look for festive little adds to your party, such as glassware, that you don’t want to spend tons of money on.

After noshing on tacos, chips, salsa and, of course, queso, the menu was rounded out with this adorable “Señora Conley” cake. How cute!

As party favors, custom tanks were made for the girls and the bride. The best part? The bachelor and bachelorette party are taking place in Mexico, so the tanks can be dual purposed for both celebrations.

Buen trabajo, Brenda!

These Are A Few of Molly’s Favorite Things

Most likely, I will be singing that “Sound of Music” song in my head all evening now! But how cute is that for a bridal shower theme? As a bridesmaid in my friend, Molly’s, wedding we were enlisted by her Maid of Honor to help put on a shower including all of Molly’s favorites eats and treats.

The menu selections included a vast array of options:
-Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp
-Cheesy Gordita Crunches (yes, I was super pumped about this one!)
-Red Vines
-Swedish Fish
-Cheese, Crackers & Meats
-Popcorn
-Yogurt Parfaits
-Chicken Salad Sandwiches
-Etc.

And let me tell you, this preggo girl really appreciated the green smoothie shot in Molly’s honor instead of the typical alcoholic toast…celebratory and healthy!

Yes, it was a little random but totally Molly, and I loved each and every item. Since we used to be roommates, I had a great time looking through all the options and remembering Molly enjoying all of the food and drink selections at various times.

In addition to the cute theme, I have to give our girl Kaitlin a huge shout out because invitations and signage for the shower were beautiful. She’s a graphic designer by trade and even has her own side gig (check her gorgeous designs out at Flan De Vida Designs).

Molly and Chad’s wedding is incorporating lots of lush greenery and a neutral color palette, which is a trend I am so on board with! Kaitlin incorporated that as well as threw in a fun pop of pink to add to the shower color scheme.

It was such a fun afternoon getting to celebrate with girlfriends, enjoy delicious food and see an abundance of monograms (because what St. Louis girl doesn’t love a good monogram?). Getting excited for the wedding in October! #younglove

Photos compliments of Kaitlin Carratero & Morgan Flannery. 

 

Free, Convenient and Totally-Worth-It Workouts

Well, let’s state the obvious: no, I am not a fitness coach. In fact, I have a hard time keeping myself motivated to workout and eat healthy. But I’ve recently become obsessed with some online workouts, and I wanted to share them with you!

popsugar-6When my husband and I were on our honeymoon, I grabbed an easy-read book at the airport titled “Power Your Happy.” It gives insight into Lisa Sugar’s life and how she created the online pop culture source PopSugar. If you’re a go-getter girl who is searching for success, life balance and the opportunity to have a family all at the same time, I definitely recommend the read.

Anyways, I dabbled a bit on PopSugar’s website, but I had never really considered it a go-to. That was until I discovered their workouts. They are amazing! First and foremost because they are free. I had recently contemplated paying for Beach Body workouts, but these online workouts kicked that idea to the curb.

Now you’re probably wondering why the heck I’m endorsing a workout website on an event planning blog. Well, let’s be honest. It doesn’t matter what event you’re attending, everyone wants to look their best! Whether you are the bride who is the center of attention, headed to a high school reunion where you haven’t seen people in years or just want to look back at the photos and be proud of your shape, working out is a necessity.

And if you’re anything like me, time and money are two of the things that get in the way of having a killer body. So, these are the reasons that I love PopSugar workouts:

1. They’re completely free!

Yup, you heard me. Zero dollars. All you need is a laptop (which i often hook up to my TV through an HDMI cord) and yourself. There are some workouts that require a small set of weights or a mat, but for the most part, they use your body weight for effective workouts. They even have some workouts that you can adapt or take to the gym to utilize while on an elliptical machine or treadmill. So if you already have a gym workout, you can still use them to mix it up and keep muscle memory guessing again.

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2. The workouts are quick yet effective.

Even if you just Google “PopSugar workouts,” before getting to the site you can click on the timeframe you’re looking for.

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When you have a hectic schedule or just not feeling the hour and a half commitment to get dressed, drive to the gym, workout and drive home, here is your answer. My favorites are the 30-minute workouts, or I like to mix a 20-minute strengthening workout with a 10-minute cardio blast.

3. The variety.

There’s a little bit of everything on this site. There’s high-intensity, fat-burning workouts that will leave you dripping in sweat. These are my favorite to do when I’ve eaten my energy-packed foods all day and work hasn’t completely drained me.

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There’s yoga and Pilates videos that are a little bit more low key. I love doing these workouts in the morning when I want to get some fitness in prior to work, but I don’t have the energy to jump around (did I mention I’m not a morning person?)

popsugar-4And lastly, there’s tons of celebrity trainers that know how to kick your booty while keeping the workouts exciting and different. My personal favorite is the workout with Selena Gomez’s personal trainer. No wonder that girl looks so good!

So if you find yourself saying you don’t have time to workout or you don’t have the money to spend on a gym membership or a subscription to a workout program, the PopSugar workouts are the answer to your prayers. No go knock ’em dead at your next event, and I hope you feel your absolute best!

Note: All photos in the blog post are images from the PopSugar website. 

The Seasons of Weddings

It was quite a busy year of weddings in 2016, and I had the pleasure of attending weddings all 12 months of the year. For today’s post, I pulled some of my favorite weddings from this past year’s archives. Using the seasons as a guide, I wanted to share with you some snapshots of these weddings that so beautifully fit into the seasons:

Spring
Bride & Groom: Jill Elder & Josh Smith
Wedding Date: June 4, 2016…Ok, so I stretched this “spring” wedding. It really was at the beginning of summer, but with all the beautiful colored blooms, I couldn’t help but include this in the spring section because it’s a great inspiration for spring brides.
Ceremony Location: Columbia Country Club Event Lawn
Reception Venue: Columbia Country Club
Photos compliments of Silverbox

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The Pre-Wedding:
Jill and her bridesmaids were dressed in beautiful matching robes during their wedding preparations and started the day off with floral accents from the beginning!

 

 

jill-josh-2The Color Scheme:
Everywhere you looked were bright, beautiful flowers. From the ceremony archway to the reception tables, pops of purples, pinks, yellows, greens and oranges were all complimented with gold accents. The bridal party wore greys, whites and blacks, which allowed the flower colors to shine.

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The Dessert:
A five-tier cake had the spotlight as guests entered the ballroom for the reception, which of course was also dripping in flowers. Edith Hall worked her cake magic once again!

 

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The Sweet Touch:
Josh proposed to Jill while the two were on a camping trip. So, guests were given “S’more Lovin'” as their favors, which were individually packaged s’mores supplies.

 

jill-josh-7A Unique Detail:
One of my favorite details was incorporated into this wedding. TooRooster Artistry was at the reception live painting each and every detail of the celebration. If you haven’t checked out Cindy Scott’s work, definitely do! It’s entertaining for the guests, and a great memory for the couple to take home with them.

 

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The Wow Factor:
I know I’ve talked A LOT about these flowers, but Kent’s Floral Gallery really outdid themselves. The show stopper? This gorgeous archway that the couple stood under as they said their “I dos.”

 

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The Seasonal Touch:
With warmer weather and a large guest list, the couple utilized the country club’s veranda for outdoor seating in addition to the indoor seating.

 

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The Perfect Ending: 
This reaction. Doesn’t every groom want a bride who is this happy?

 

 

Summer:
Bride & Groom: Alex Weishaar & Zachary Kluesner
Wedding Date: June 25, 2016
Ceremony Location: Church of St. Mary’s in Fulton, MO
Reception Venue: Sorenson Estates in Columbia, MO

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The Pre-Wedding:
Alex is a huge fan of monograms…ok, that’s an understatement. She LOVES monograms and was super excited to be able to change her monogram to her new last name. It did not surprise me one bit when the bridemaid’s gift were adorned with each girl’s monogram.

 

 

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The Color Scheme:
Keeping in tune with the naturalness of the outdoor reception, the wedding decor was full of ivories, creams, golds and forest greens.

 

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The Dessert:
A simple yet elegant three-tier white cake adorned with flowers coordinating with the bouquets and centerpieces. Plus, there was a nod to the groom with his own groom’s cake.

 

 

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The Sweet Touch:

Since the reception was outdoors and there was lots of dancing to be done, Alex and Zach offered their guests flip flops to be warn when the party got started.

 

 

13533086_10153833626035914_1982605932848900480_n 13537789_10153833625935914_4660732316999410563_nA Unique Detail:
If you live in Columbia, you are aware of the downtown staple: souvenir plastic cups. Because the couple met at Harpo’s where Alex used to work and manage, they served their guests drinks in personalized Harpo’s cups.

 

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The Wow Moment:
When Alex and her mom came down the aisle holding hands, I couldn’t help but tear up. it was evident how strong their relationship was and really represented them standing by each other’s sides through life’s endeavors.

 

 

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The Seasonal Touch:
It wouldn’t be a summer party without a game of bags! During cocktail hour, guests were able to socialize outdoors with a little friendly competition using this personalized game of bags.

 

 

 

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The Perfect Ending:
The bride and groom along with their guests danced the night way under the stars, moon and this gorgeous arrangement of Italian-style string lights designed by SW Productions.

 

 

Fall
Bride & Groom: Emily Milford & Tom Stevenson
Wedding Date: November 5, 2016
Ceremony Location: Mary Queen of Peace in Webster Groves, MO
Reception Venue: Forest Park Visitors Center in St. Louis, MO

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The Pre-Wedding:
The crisp, fall air and the early rising for the bridesmaids coupled so perfectly with the mismatched flannels worn during hair and makeup.

 

 

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The Color Scheme:
Red was the obvious bridesmaid dress choice for Emily’s love of the color, and rich dark and pastel florals created the perfect contrast for the fall festivities.

 

 

 

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The Dessert:
A classic beauty in white adorned with coordinating flowers, it was simple yet elegant just like this couple.

 

 

 

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The Sweet Touch:
Each of these bridesmaids and all of their mothers have been friends since these girls were in elementary school…talk about long-lasting friendships! The ceremony also took place at their elementary school.

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A Unique Detail:
Both Tom and Emily have a true love for beer. Tom works for Anheuser Busch, and Emily has an immense knowledge of craft beers. So instead of stuffy, posed photos, the couple decided to have the wedding party enjoy beers at Urban Chestnut Brewery during photo time for more candid photos.

 

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The Wow Moment:
Although my favorite moment of the night was when the groom swept Emily off her feet (literally) and spun her around during the first dance, we also were very appreciate of this firey sunset that was a gorgeous backdrop for the perfect day.

 

 

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The Seasonal Touch:
Guests were greeted by a table of small white pumpkins, which were not only great seasonal decor but also doubled as escort cards.

 

 

 

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The Perfect Ending:
Tom and Emily said goodbye to their guests as they exited through a (rather long) sparkler aisle lined with all of their guests. It was truly a magical part to the evening.

 

 

Winter
Bride & Groom: Carroline Kirtley & Michael Stoll
Wedding Date: December 17, 2016
Ceremony Location: Rocheport United Methodist Church in Rocheport, MO
Reception Venue: Columbia Country Club

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The Pre-Wedding:

A nasty ice storm the evening before made travel into Columbia a little crazy and changed the plans around for the rehearsal. But a little inclement weather cannot stop true friendship!

 

 

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The Color Scheme:
We saw lots of shades of red this year, and of course a winter wedding wouldn’t be complete without it! A mixture of burgundies and pinks popped from the flowers, and lots of wintry greenery was incorporated on the mantels, in the bouquets and as part of the centerpieces thanks to Addie Jane Originals.

 

 

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The Dessert:
A naked cake. Whimsical and perfectly fitting for this bride’s style.

 

 

 

 

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The Sweet Touch:
Although I wasn’t at the church to witness this precious moment, this photo of the bride and her flower girls is one of my favorites of the day!

 

 

 

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A Unique Detail:

Carroline enlisted the help of Courtney Canine with the rental company Pretty Little Things to add beautiful antiques to compliment the 1920s venue. My personal favorite was the pairing of a vintage table, an old window turned into a sign and and old mailbox used for the card box. Adorable!

 

 

15578487_1124212824358654_1220016279465755869_nThe Wow Moment: 
The best man’s speech was great! I wish I had a video of it, so I could share. I’ve seen lots and lots of speeches, and his was definitely up there as one of the best. He was witty, showed emotion but held it together and truly summed up the relationship between himself and the groom.

 

15542053_1124212697692000_828034969302906938_nA Seasonal Touch:
At each place setting was a thank you note from the bride and groom expressing their gratitude for all of their guests attending their big day. And laid right on top of that was a small piece of greenery. It was such a small detail but really tied everything in together.

 

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The Perfect Ending: 

Just after the bride and groom swayed to their first dance, a light sprinkling of fluffy snow began falling and made for one epic photo! Photography compliments of Catherine Rhodes Photography.

The Infamous Question

As I kicked up my feet tonight after a 14 hour day, I started reflecting a bit. And as I poured myself a bowl of cereal and a cocktail (I swear I don’t eat like a college kid when my husband is home), I started thinking more about my job in general.

Almost every event I work, I get asked, “How do you work such long days?” or “How do you just never seem to stop moving?” or my favorite, “Why do you work so hard?” I used to always respond so simply: “I hope on my wedding day, I have a me.” And that was true. All the energy I put into each wedding and event was because I knew that on my wedding day, I wanted someone to work just as hard on my big day.

But now that our big day has come and gone, nothing has changed. I still buzz around work exactly as I have done before. I still have a stash of flats under my desk for those unexpected busy days. And I will do anything to see a genuine smile. To be fair, I feel like I always go above and beyond. Well, now why? What’s my reasoning for not accepting good but always striving for great?

I think what it comes down to are two simple things. First and foremost, I’m real. When a guest tears up during a speech, I tear up right along with them. And when something is not going as planned, I want to make sure I pull out every trick in the book to make sure it’s taken care of. And secondly, I think this world is really lacking a little bit of love. Now more than ever, I feel like more people need to respect and take care of other people. Now don’t worry; I’m not going to go into some political rant (unless it’s promoting this awesome video by Kid President).

Our world lacks humility. Everyone always puts number one first. Now don’t get me wrong, there’s a time and place for putting yourselves before others, but I feel it happens all too often now. People are too worried about what’s best for them. All I’m saying is if people spent a little more time making sure other people are comfortable and taken care of, it would help everyone out.

I did have the tiniest bit of hope when I was on my way home tonight. I swung by the grocery store since I haven’t been shopping all week (like I said, my husband has been out of town). When I pulled into my parking spot, I turned to grab my purse, and I witnessed a young man running around the car to open the door for his girlfriend. Ahh chivalry isn’t dead!

So I am going to leave you with this: If we all just gave a little bit of effort to focus on others’ happiness instead of our own, the world would be a better place.

Nighty night!

 

Cheers to Creativity!

Photograph above compliments of B. B. Photography

When you’re in that phase of your life wheen everyone under the sun is getting married, sometimes the wedding celebrations do get a little repetitive, or I hate to say it, stale. But a good friend of mine has made it very clear how easy it is to add a little creativity and spunk to a bridal shower to create an unforgettable event.

Her sister’s bridal shower was not only a surprise, but she incorporated it into the bachelorette party weekend, so guests only had to travel one time. So smart, right? Especially when you have girlfriends flying or driving long distances, why not kill two birds with one stone?

And in addition to the surprise, the theme was not only unique but absolutely adorable! Her sister is a big runner and was actually proposed to by her fiance during a run. So, Nancy and her other sister decided to do a marathon theme for the shower. They used punny wording, including the “race to the altar” and even created these adorable race number invitations.

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And what sparked this blog post was the theme for my own bridal shower this past weekend. She and a few of my girlfriends got together to plan not only a thoughtful but hilarious bridal shower. The theme? McDonald’s. Ok, the back story helps a bit. My fiance and his family are franchise owner of McDonald’s, so the theme was awfully fitting. Byy tag-teaming with Brenda, a co-worker of mine, they were able to throw me the shower at my workplace without knowing a single detail.

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Photograph compliments of B. B. Photography.

They went all out making sure the golden arches were well-represented in the space, and they not only included the McDonald’s classics but also made sure to add Kristi touches.

For our menu, we noshed on mini burger sliders, french fries and chicken tenders. And of course, you can’t forget the sauces!

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Photograph compliments of B. B. Photography.
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Photograph compliments of B. B. Photography.

And since I am a lover of ice cream, we finished off the meal with a Make Your Own McFlurry complete with the original cups and those infamous McFlurry spoons.

I must say, however, my favorite part of the event was the take-home gift they sent with all the guests. They created “Happily Ever After Meals” in adorable little boxes that contained bath salts and a candle “from Kristi’s shower to yours.”

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Every aspect of the shower was carefully thought out, and I truly appreciated all the hard work, creativity and planning that went into the shower. I truly cannot wait to celebrate with all of these ladies at the wedding in a few short weeks. Cheers to being on Instagram with a bunch of cheeseburgers #imlovingit #McRuprecht

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Romantic Winery Wedding

Above photograph compliments of Kristel McCoy Photography

Clearly, it’s been a while since I have written a post. I have been extremely busy with all of the celebrations happening in my family. And one of the most important events my family has recently celebrated was my sister, Alyssa’s, marriage to her long-time boyfriend, Tony.

Initially, I wasn’t quite sure what to think about when my sister told me she would be getting married in Temecula. Of course I had heard of it since Tony had spent two of his six-month rotations for his current job in Southern California. But I had no idea where to begin with a destination. Because quite honestly, I had never attended nor been involved in planning a destination planning.

aly wedding 1But as I stood next on a step next to her during their intimate winery ceremony, it all made sense. That place was not only breathtaking but it represented such a powerful time in their relationship. It was a time that the two of them were living halfway across the country from each other and yet their dedication to each other allowed them to get past the distance and built a stronger foundation for love….and marriage on July 15, 2016.

And of course the day was as picturesque as I could have ever imagined from start to finish.

manorIt all started in the bridal suite of the Wilson Creek Manor (thanks for the pictures, Alex!)…

And let me tell you, it felt as if we were on the set of “The Bachelor,” and I was continually waiting for Chris Harrison to come around the corner clinking a champagne glass. The accommodations were incredible, and not only was it the perfect space to get dolled up for the big day, but it also served as a mingling venue for the wedding party and guests throughout the weekend.

The Dress
I had seen it before in person and in pictures, but there’s nothing quite like seeing your sister in her dress on her wedding day. Not to mention Amanda did a beautiful job of creating the perfect balance of glamour and classiness for Alyssa’s look. And ladies,  can we talk about that train? Shout out to Gina for killing it in the MOH department.

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IMG_4336The Venue
Right after seeing the winery, my initial was why this one? (Side note: I thought wine country was in Northern California, but Temecula has 45+ wineries!) Her answer was simple: Wilson Creek is based on family values. And not only do they have family values covered, but the owner even hand-delivered a wedding present to Alyssa and Tony during their reception.

The ceremony took place in front of a gazebo in the courtyard of the winery, and cocktail hour and the reception followed in the breezeway and the winery’s barrel room. The room glowed with a romantic ambiance thanks to candlelight uplighting, and the room was filled with whimsical flower arrangements from Sweet Petals Floral Design Studio.

IMG_0039My favorite part of the intimate reception was the table layout. Bride, groom, Maid of Honor and Best Man sat at the head of the table, and the rest of the guests were seated perpendicular to the honored guests. It made for easy conversation and created a family-style atmosphere even in such an elegant setting. Different shades of purple and gold accents adorned the table covered with beautiful calligraphy place cards and menus made by Blue Poppy Lettering.

The Party
The only part of the celebration Alyssa was worried about was feeling awkward during the dancing portion of the evening. But there was no need to worry! The DJ from Pacific Entertainment kept Beyonce, JT and ’90s hits bumping all night long. I did have the best dance partner if I do say so myself 🙂 The DJ basically had to stop the music from playing for guests to go and enjoy the cake. But oh, was the break necessary!

The Cake
Almond champagne cake. Enough said.

Well, Cakes To Celebrate really does deserve a little bit more attention than that. It was effing delicious for lack of a better weird. Wilson Creek Winery is known for its almond champagne, so it was only appropriate to incorporate it in the cake flavor.

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And now that I’m back home and back to my normal routines, I can’t help but be missing that gorgeous California weather, the simple celebration of life and more importantly, seeing the love that Alyssa and Tony had for each other on that day and I know they will have every day. Lucky for us, there’s a Milwaukee reception in a few weeks! Until then….