Wedding Planning

Choosing A Wedding Dress

Choosing a wedding dress is the biggest decision of your wedding, alongside choosing your venue!  The dress will set the stage for the event theme and and is also something you hold on to for a long time.  You will forever have a photo of you, in your dress, with your husband on your desk/in your house… But you already knew that, right? 

With that being said, I’m not going to add to your stress by reminding you how important picking the right one is; instead, I’m going to help you navigate the options and make the process easier!

The first step in picking the perfect dress is to establish a budget.  Getting a dollar value in mind will help narrow down choices and save the heart ache of falling in love with a dress that’s way out of your price range.  You’ll want to consider all the possible extra expenses, such as a belt, veil, jewelry, alterations, a crown (if that’s your style), and even dry cleaning!  All of these thing quickly drive up the price of your purchase!

The next thing you’ll want to do before you prepare for your big shopping day is get an idea of styles of dresses you like!  You can start by browsing magazines, Pinterest, and other wedding blogs to get a sense of your like and dislikes.  Keep in mind while you are browsing, hair styles are a big part of what complete the look for your wedding day, so you’ll want to choose styles that will complement your hair, as well.  For example, a flowy, simple dress may look gorgeous on that model with perfect, long hair all tossed in a flawless, messy braid, but your short bob may not have enough interest to dress up the plain dress.  You’d need a detail necklace or statement earrings to bring that kind of detail to the same look, all of which cost a fortune as you add on details!  It’s not impossible, but spending some time considering all of your options will make the process much easier.

After you’ve settled on a look and have a few ideas in your mind, it’s time to gather your girlfriends and head to the boutique!  I advise researching the store you are booking with before you go.  Check out the lines they carry, their average price portfolio, and if they have seasonal “sample sales.”  The place you purchase from is just as important as the dress itself.  You want to go somewhere that has experienced dress experts, and somewhere they understand your style.  There is nothing worse that walking out in a dress you love, only to be met by someone with completely different taste than you.  It is also infuriating to have an expensive dress (that’s outside your budget) presented to you, only to find out you couldn’t have it, even if you sold your liver!  Moral of the story?  DO YOUR RESEARCH BEFORE YOU BROWSE!

Now that you’ve gathered all of your girlfriends, family, and bridesmaids, it’s time to hit the fitting room!  But what dresses will you try on?  Explaining your look to your representative is vital!  She may let you browse the racks, in addition to pulling a few of her favs for you.  Don’t be hesitant to let her help, she has a lot more experience with dresses being made for different body types.  Also, don’t be shy to try on samples if they are having a sample sale… The dress may have been tried on a thousand times, but it’s 1/3 of the cost and a quick dry clean and alteration will make it brand new, custom fit for you.   Trust me ;) It’s beautiful, eh?


Raise your arms!!  HERE COMES THE DRESS—This is the most exciting part!  It’s the most important part too.  You’re in your first dress… YAY!  You walk out, mom cries, the whole world is revolving around you.  It’s easy to begin to feel overwhelmed, in this moment!  But take a deep breath and bask in it.  It’s your day!  However, take my advice.  Don’t fall in love with the first dress.  Trying on wedding dresses is a different experience; you’ve looked forward to this moment your entire life and no matter what dress you are in, you will feel special.  It takes a few dresses to get used to the idea that they are allllll beautiful dresses.  They are wedding dresses and someone will wear them on the prettiest day of their life.  THAT BEING SAID…. They are not all your wedding dress. 


So how do you pick?  My advice?  Try on a hundred dresses.  Take your time.  Love all of them.  (Don’t worry) you’ll hate some too.  But take the time to really process the dresses.  Go to lunch and mull the options over.  I promise…. I had always heard that “when you know, you know.”  I didn’t believe it after trying on a thousand dresses that left me in tears, but believe me when I say… It’s true.  You just know!

Don’t let price, selection, or the sales clerk get you down.  There is 100% a dress made just for you.  You just have to enjoy to journey of finding it!






A huge thanks to:

Blue Bridal in Downtown Denver for my gorgeous dress!  My experience was amazing and couldn’t have been an easier/more pleasant!


Walnut Street Photography for capturing the most perfect day of my life.  You were wonderful to work with and absolutely professional with all of my family!



St. Thomas on My Mind :: Honeymoon Day 3

Sailing in... absolutely breathtaking. 

Sailing in... absolutely breathtaking. 

I cannot believe I was a day late publishing this post…. Mainly because it was my FAVORITE DAY of our entire honeymoon and I am beside myself with excitement to share it with you!

Day 3 of our honeymoon was spent in the most beautiful place in the entire Virgin Islands… St. Thomas. 

As our cruise ship sailed into harbor, we were welcomed by the prettiest views I’ve ever seen!  It was majestic to smoothly glide across the water, witnessing the scenery scape by us (reminding me of the south of France) while we enjoyed our coffee and breakfast on the balcony! 

After getting dressed, we went out on the balcony to try out our new selfie stick (hahahah – so embarrassing!!) that I insisted we get for this vacation!  We had a blast and I even got a cute shot of my swimsuit of the day – which has been linked below… 

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Then we left the boat to head to our first adventure of the cruise!  Coki Beach and Secret Harbor Beach are directly next to each other… making in easy to see both in the small time window we had on the island!  Having picked these two beautiful private beaches, grouped close together, to visit we loaded into a taxi.  Needless to say, the taxi ride was absolutely breathtaking, as we were able to see most of the island from the hilltop views.  The water was the perfect color of blue and the weather was everything you could hope for on a tropical vacation.

The view from the Taxi ride

The view from the Taxi ride

Once there, we were greeted by the friendly staff and were offered a variety of chairs and cabanas for rent, our choice where they would be placed!  Once we picked our spot, two men quickly appeared and began building us our perfect little spot for the day.  The view was amazing… and the personal bartender/waitress was an even better perk!

I look like a wet dog, but we had an incredible day!

I look like a wet dog, but we had an incredible day!

After relaxing for a bit, and applying sunscreen to my white, spray-tanned body, we headed just a few steps away to rent some paddle boards.  Stand up paddle boarding is one of my favorite things… it’s also one of the first things I ever set my mind on doing when I started this blog—I’m so appreciative of how everything comes full circle!  We had a blast blazing through the mellow water, exploring the views from different vantage points!  The coolest part was getting to paddle all the way across the cove to a little island all to ourselves.

The "Private Island" - discovered by the Barrilleaux's

The "Private Island" - discovered by the Barrilleaux's

We ordered lunch from a local restaurant and had it delivered to our little piece of heaven!  When they brought us our Jerk Chicken Platters, they surprised us with my new favorite tropical beverage… a BUSHWHACKER.  If you have never had one, they are a rum-chocolate-dream lovers every desire.  I had them the rest of our vacation (that’s probably why I gained 10 lbs…)!

After enjoying a perfect, relaxing afternoon, it was time to say goodbye.  We loaded back up in our “round trip taxi” and headed back to the ship.  We had dinner reservations for Formal Night and we were so excited to get dressed up for each other!

Pre-Dinner Drinks at the Champagne Bar

Pre-Dinner Drinks at the Champagne Bar

We enjoyed an amazing menu offered by the Royal Caribbean chef and had way too much fun trying all the wines… That night, I was so in love with my husband and in awe of how handsome he is, I wanted to capture that night just as I was feeling it.  So I took a picture of Andrew from across the table.  It made me so happy, that I kept doing it the rest of the trip.  The little collection ended up being amazing and makes me so happy that I am going to be sharing them with you as we go through the rest of our days…  So here’s to the first shot from the “Andrew Across Table Series!”

Andrew Across the Table - Still #1

Andrew Across the Table - Still #1


Rebecca B.

Finding the Perfect Make Up Artist!!

All things wedding!!  WHOOP!

I couldn’t be more excited that it’s wedding season.  Having had the perfect wedding (in my opinion), I’m loving every opportunity to celebrate someone else’s big day and reminisce on our own memories! 

This weekend I am on my way to Denver’s version of Vegas, Blackhawk, to celebrate a sweet girlfriend and fellow blogger’s bachelorette party!  Be sure and check her out at and follow me on Snapchat (username : thenovicenative) for all to follow us and join in on the fun!!  It going to be a great time with some much needed girl talk.  SQUEEEE!!

But let’s talk your wedding, and review hands-down the best makeup artist in Denver! 

First things first… finding your make-up artist can be a bit hard, but following my simple steps will help make the process easier.  Referencing my post Choosing a Hairstyles will be helpful, as it involves the same steps with a more elaborate outline of the steps.  However, if you’re life me, you prefer the Cliff Notes! 

So, here they are::


  • Ask around!  Friends are a great way to get good, real life feedback.
  • Peruse Instagram and blogs! 
  • Google
  • Make a list of your top choices, narrow it down to 10.

Reach out…

  • Send an initial email to your top 10.  Include your date, wants, and needs, as well as photos if you have them.  Ask for pricing and availability!

Choose your artist!

  • Rule out everyone outside of your budget once you’ve gotten a majority of the responses.
  • Dig a little deeper into your top 3.  Talk to each of them, see if they offer trials (most of these will cost money, be prepared)
  • Choose your artist and sign your contract!

Now that you’ve chosen the perfect partner, you’re ready to set up your trial run!  I HIGHLY recommend doing one, as there were a few changes I needed to make after mine.  Scheduling it in the morning is ideal, as you can see how the makeup wears throughout the day!  You don’t want it to slide off, or smear with the slightest glisten.  Having a photo to bring with you on the day of your trial will be very helpful for the artist.  If you can, bring a few options in case the artist suggests that one may not work with your skin tone, etc. 

If you are happy with the way your trial went, get with your artist and determine a timeline for the big day!  You will want to consider how many girls are getting their makeup done, and factor that in to the hair schedule. 

I am going to leave you with this little suggestion for scheduling and deciding what work is done… If you are considering paying to have your bridesmaid’s make up done, or asking that they pay for it themselves, one of the best ways to cut down on the cost is to ask the makeup artist if she does “mini facials”.  If she doesn’t understand, you could suggest and ask if she would be willing to do “eyes only” or “full face with no lashes” for each of the girls.  This will cut down on her work load, but also give her the opportunity to earn additional business since she is already booked that day.

For all who have asked-- I found my DREAM Makeup Artist, Tori, in the most roundabout of ways… Yes, I followed my steps listed above, but it goes to show you all methods counts.  I reached out to a friend of mine who suggested her top pick in Denver.  After reaching out, I learned that she was already book for my wedding day, but recommended Tori, from Bronze and Beautiful.  Once finding her, I browsed her website and decided to add her to my list!  After chatting on the phone and exchanging emails, I decided to book with Tori.  Not only did she have a fantastic resume, but also one of the main reason’s a chose her was because of the last tip I provided above… You see, we decided to treat our bridal party with a little glam makeover the day of the wedding and Tori was more than willing to work with me to create a look for each of my girls that was in my price range… She did a more than exceptional job, helped make my day absolutely perfect, and even came to my home the day before for a spray tan and brow tint!  Dreams do come true!!!!!!  PS It lasted all night :)

I hope this helps you find your perfect match – You’re going to be beautiful!



All Aboard, San Juan!! :: Honeymoon Day 2

IT'S THURSDAY and you know what that means.... TRAVEL DAY on the Novice Native - YAYYYY!!!!!  I have tons of recent adventures to share, but I can't help but continue to focus on the amazing trip we took for our honeymoon!

Day 2 of our Honeymoon was just as exciting as the first!!  

After an amazing night's sleep, we took some time to reminisce on everything that had happened in the past 48 hours! 

All packed up and ready to board our Royal Caribbean cruise, we couldn't wait to get the day started!  Our morning began with a delicious and relaxing rooftop brunch at our hotel (The O:live Boutique Hotel).  We had some tasty drinks and enjoyed the beautiful view as we laid by the pool, wait to head to the dock.  The patio at the O:live is definitely one of my favorite places of this whole vacation.  The small room count helped keep every experience feel intimate and exclusive!!  

After some relaxation, we left our bags with the bell boys and headed out for some adventure!  Exploring the busy streets and doing a little shopping was just what the doctor ordered.  We had a wonderful time people watching and taking in all the sights and smells that Condado (the little neighborhood surrounding to hotel) had to offer.  They were full of life, safe, and so much fun!  

With a few bags in hand, we headed over to Oceano's Sleek Eatery, on of the city's best rated brunch spots for a second brunch of the day.  Yeah- go ahead and judge us!  The view from our patio table was breathtaking and we couldn't have imagined a bigger selection of perfectly cooked tasties!  I mean look at that... Andrew had a gourmet chicken strip :)  

Basking in all that is a honeymoon, we took way too many pictures of our newly legal commitment!! 

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After a delicious second brunch, we headed back to the hotel to pick up our bags and head to the dock!  We were overly excited to continue on our journey with the wonderful crew from our ship.  Over the next few days, we experienced the magic of 4 different islands, each hosting their own treasures and special moments!  But first, we had to get settled in and explore the boat :) 

Until next time --  xoxo, R

Exploring San Juan :: Honeymoon Day 1

Our private patio/shower at the O:live Boutique Hotel

Our private patio/shower at the O:live Boutique Hotel

I could not be more excited for this post!!!  Over the next few weeks, I'll be outlining everyday of our honeymoon individually, talking about the places we went and the things we experienced.  It's going to be a great time and I hope to show you all the love we experienced on this vacation.

Headed to Puerto Rico!!

Headed to Puerto Rico!!

Day 1 started with a glorious nights stay at Wooley's Classic Suites in Denver!  

We were so excited to find this gem while searching hotels for our wedding night.  While perusing Trip Advisor for ideas on honeymoon destinations, I came across a list of 50 Best Rated Hotels in the World 2015.  As I clicked through the list of beautiful hotels, I found myself dreaming of laying on a beach drinking something fruity, when all of sudden DENVER poped up!  Out of all the places in the world, a Denver hotel made the list.  Andrew and I looked into what seemed to be a mistake and found that it, in fact, was not a mistake.  The beautiful finishing and amenities were just what we were looking for in a wedding night hotel!  From the minute we arrived, Wooley's was everything we could have hoped for in a hotel.  It was beautiful, the service was amazing, and the room was perfect!  The next morning, they provided us with transportation to the airport free of charge.

Pappasito's Cantina -- NOM!!  (You can't find good Mexican in CO)

Pappasito's Cantina -- NOM!!  (You can't find good Mexican in CO)

Now that we were on our way to BEAUTIFUL San Juan, Puerto Rico.  Andrew and I took some time to text loved ones and said thank you to everyone who showed unimaginable support as we said "I Do!"  Once at the airport, we grabbed a snack and boarded our flight for Dallas where we would connect and continue on our way!  Lunch in the Dallas airport was everything I could have dreamed of... Hungover having Pappasito's Mexican Cantina is how I imagine I will want to spend my last meal.  I was beyond excited to get a little taste of home and start our marriage off on the right foot- OLE! 

As we continued on to Puerto Rico, I was becoming more and more excited for our next hotel!  Andrew, being the savvy hotel finder he is, had secured us a room at the most luxurious boutique hotel in PR.  Upon arriving, the O:live Boutique Hotel was absolutely breathe taking.  Winning the 2014 Boutique Hotel Award was no surprise, as this place makes you want to live there!  From the moment you arrive, you are embraced with luxury accommodations thick with European influences.  In addition, the Puerto Rico influence adds a hint of character that can't be captured in words!  Greeted with a Coquito shot, we immediately fell in love with the hotel!  Bell boys carried our luggage to our room as we took a stroll down the nearby streets.  

Check In at the O:live Boutiqe Hotel

Check In at the O:live Boutiqe Hotel

After finding the beach, we headed back to the hotel where we showered (in our outdoor hottub shower) and dressed for dinner.  One of our favorite parts of this hotel was the award winning restaurant located in the lobby, home of renowned chef Mario Pagan.  However, after checking out our private balcony and shower, we decided that enjoying our dinner on our deck would be far more romantic.  The O:live staff delivered each course from Sage Steak Loft directly to our room, as if we were eating in the restaurant!   The food was to die for and the wine was paired perfectly!  If you ever get the chance to try it, you can't live without the Lobster Mac N' Cheese... I know.  I'm sorry!

Sage Steak Loft, served privately on our balcony!

Sage Steak Loft, served privately on our balcony!

With full tummies (and hearts) we headed up to the rooftop bar for a late night drink and some dancing!  The view from the roof took our breath away, as we enjoyed ourselves with other couples and families.  After closing, we headed back down to our room, where we nestled in to bed, tired but ecstatic for the next day! 

I could go on and on about this magical hotel and experience, but I'll let the pictures do the talking!  We cannot wait to go back in a few years for an anniversary.



Wedding Hair Styles

Our wedding was absolutely perfect!  I cannot believe its been 60 days since we said "I DO."  Time has flown and I feel like a lifetime of things have happened since the beginning of the year!  I am loving the space we are in right now and it's been such an adventure to take this step together.  

Now it's your turn!  You are finally going to take the plunge.  The big day comes with a ton of emotions and stresses, but if you take a minute to read my experiences, you'll be able to minimize the unpleasant parts and enjoy every moment of the important parts.  SOOOOO -- Today's post is all about WEDDING HAIR!  

Obviously the way you look on your wedding day is a big deal... You've spent month preparing and planning for an event you will remember forever. These pictures will hang in your house and your family will look at them for generations. Hopefully at this stage, you have a pretty clear idea of what you want your image to look like!  You're probably picked out your dress and have been fitted - yipeeeee! But now it's time to decide how you want to wear your hair. I suggest looking in magazines, perusing Pinterest, and also thinking about your own hair... The last one is important because you need to set real expectations for what your hair can do. If you have thin, fine hair getting a full up-do will be nearly impossible. 

Once you have a hair style you've chosen, it's time to choose your stylist!  Finding a stylist can be hard, especially one that wont break the bank -- so here are a few steps to make the process of choosing a hair artist for your big day a little easier::

  1. Ask around- personal referrals are the best way to get a list of possible stylists, even searching wedding blogs in the area would be helpful!
  2. Peruse Instagram accounts of stylists in the area of your wedding, add ones you like to the list of referrals. 
  3. Google "Wedding Hair Stylists in XXXXX."  Check out their websites and add the ones you like to your list.
  4. Send Initial Contact email to all stylists on your list.  Ask them for pricing, availability, and a list of what you are hoping to have done.  If you have photos of the look you want, that will be very helpful in determining price!  You'll also want to ask about having your bridesmaid's hair done, if you're planning to do that.  How to choose those styles is suggested below!  NOTE: Some stylist will give you a discount for bigger groups.  Lastly, You'll need to ask for their "day of timeline" and travel costs, if you are having them travel a long way.  
  5. Gather all of the responses and weigh your options.  You will immediately be able to rule out a good number of them if you are financially bound by a certain price point.  
  6. Choose your stylist and sign the contract!

I think the biggest challenge when planning the "bridal party look" is deciding what you want the ceremony to look like.  Luckily, by this point, you've already chosen your wedding dress and your venue.  The next step is choosing the bridesmaid's dress and hair styles!   There is definitely a method to this madness and I would recommend picking out the dresses before deciding the hair styles, but they should be decided in the same time frame.  If you won't be paying for the girls to have their hair done, you may want to consider dresses that would flatter a simple curled hairstyle or half up, half down looks.  If you are going to be wearing your hair down and would like all of the girls to wear their hair up, you will need to consider this when picking dresses.  

I've linked photos of all the hairstyles we used for our big day:

For all of those who have asked, I had the pleasure of working with Mackenzie from Haute Hare Salon in Castle Rock.  The girls were absolutely amazing and you can see from the photos, they ROCK at their jobs!  You can check out her gallery on Instagram - @acoloradohairstylist

Headshots by Noah Berg Photography