Category: Our Wedding

our first anniversary
August 12th, 2013     |    Our WeddingRelationships


One year ago today, Mr. Lively and I were wed in a quiet corner of le Jardin du Luxembourg in Paris.

To celebrate, we are spending the day together revisiting our vows, reflecting on the past year, and looking forward to the year to come.

While we are savoring this year, I thought it might be nice to share some links to posts related to our (intentional) wedding for those who may not have read about our wedding last year.


Why We Eloped


Our Wedding Ceremony


Our Vows


What I’m Wearing on My Wedding Day


 Designing Our Wedding with Intention

For those who would like the complete recap, hop over here!

photos by
the wedding comes to a close
November 26th, 2012     |    LifeOur Wedding


Over the weekend our extended families came into town to celebrate our marriage and elopement over Thanksgiving, a cocktail party on Friday, and a dinner on Saturday.

Though I never expected to have such an unusual wedding celebration three months after the ceremony, the weekend could not have been more perfect ending to our wedding story.

We loved welcoming our families into our new home and introducing them to our new little pup, Franklin. We loved getting to see them all throughout a long weekend of fun and food (and wine).

I can now totally understand why some brides feel a sense of let-down after their big days. The amount of love poured onto us was overwhelming in the best way possible.

And of course the weekend was not without it’s own share of personal pressure. I was downright frantic leading up to the festivities getting the home finished(!!), the food prepared/purchased, and managing the puppy at the same time.

Thankfully, I didn’t implode from my self-inflicted perfectionism with the help of Mr. Lively’s teamwork (as well as his sense of humor), my incredible brother Mike (who stayed with us and watched Franklin and helped in every aspect of the weekend), and family support. Lots of family support.

As everyone began departing yesterday, I felt a tidal wave of bliss and joyful gratitude. I will remember the feeling long after the logistical details of the celebrations fade away.

And though I am sad to see the weekend pass, I am also so thankful we get to spend future times with our families. There will be other events to celebrate and times to share.

But do you want to know the best part? Now that we are moving past our lovely elopement, we get to spend our time focusing on our life as a family.


marriage vows
September 17th, 2012     |    Our WeddingRelationships


During our wedding ceremony Mr. Lively and I took turns reading aloud our marriage vows. These joint vows were in addition to our personal vows and now serve as the foundation of our relationship.

Similar to a constitution, we created these vows to last for a very, very long time unchanged. But as we evolve and our family grows, we plan to add amendments to these intentions to suit our future needs.

I had every hope of spending long hours curled by a fire drafting these intentions together. But in reality we discussed a few themes on some runs together, and took the time to write them down at an O’Hare International Airport bar with a Corona in hand.

Not exactly the romantic setting I had in mind… but it worked.

Once we move into our new home, I would like to frame these intentions and hang them on the wall. Then they can serve as daily reminders of what we believe and what we stand for as a couple.

And though our vows are customized to our lives and values, hopefully they might serve as an example of what marriage vows can look like.


Trust is the foundation of our relationship. We trust each other’s loyalty and integrity. 

We choose to love each other through good times and bad, because our marriage is worth it.

We seek first to understand, then be understood. It is important for each person to feel that they have been heard. This is the basis of our communication. 

We are capable individuals responsible for our own happiness. We come together to improve ourselves by helping each other. Our progress in this area will be extended to the world around us.


As you can tell, they aren’t particularly sweet or sentimental. That part of the ceremony was saved for the individual vows we shared with one another after these combined intentions where shared. The purpose of these vows was to provide a framework for us going forward that would help guide our actions.

The first statement is important to us because we believe that trust and loyalty is essential to have a prosperous and positive relationship. The second intention illustrates that love is an action, not a verb. We want to keep this in mind when we have challenges come our way and we may not feel lovey-dovey feelings but still remain dedicated to love in it’s truest form.

The third statement is really for me to keep in mind when we have disagreements. I think this is important to be in our vows so that I can remind myself when emotionally worked up that I have agreed to listen as much as share.

And lastly, we felt it was important to recognize that happiness is not an outcome of our marriage, it is something that we bring to it. I think it would be easy for either of us to blame the other if we are ever feeling unhappy. But the truth is we are both capable, proactive adults.

We do not need our happiness to rest on another person.

If we place too much emphasis on each other’s actions, we rob ourselves of our own strength and ability to create joy from within. It is not our job to make the other person happy. It is our job to share our happiness with one another.

We hope that by living from of this positive, empowered place we will be able to increase our joy and serve one another fully… which is the ultimate goal of these vows and our marriage as a whole.



photo taken by
paris in photos
August 30th, 2012     |    LifeOur Wedding

As requested, I have more photos from the trip. To capture a bit of our experience I thought I’d create a photo collage of the things we saw and did on the trip.

And of course if anyone is considering a trip to Paris, I hope this also can act as a mini guide of sorts.

Near the Pont des Artes there are vendors along the river selling all kinds of mementos. We chose a beautiful gold book of French poems for our coffee table.

Though we did stay near the Louvre during the first part of our trip, we spent our museum time in Musée d’Orsay.

One hot afternoon Mr. Lively spotted several children playing in a fountain.

He decided to join them.

Hotel Crayon is where we spent our first three nights. It was artsy, cozy, and surprisingly affordable.

On our last night the hotel granted us the suite in honor of our wedding… with this bathroom. 

Kim and Scott led the way to the Les Puces flea the morning of our wedding. Simply incredible.

The “honeymoon” portion of our trip was spent at the Champs Elysee Plaza. Though we may not stay in that area on future trips, we loved the hotel and our suite so very much.

While indulging in a break from the French language at an English Pub near our hotel on Wednesday night, we struck up a conversation with the bartender about fish and chips. She insisted that London had much better fish and chips than the Parisian pub.

So on a whim, Mr. Lively booked us tickets on the Euro Star to London the following morning.

It was a one day whirlwind of sightseeing, shopping, and eating some fantastic fish and chips at The Dog and Duck.

In addition to our vows shared during our ceremony, we also had a lock engraved with our names and anniversary before the trip as a symbol of our union.

As is tradition, we put the lock on the Pont des Arts and threw the keys into the Seine.

We intend to re-visit Paris on our five year anniversary to relive our honeymoon and find our lock.

Laduree. The best wedding cake I’ve ever had. (Three days after the wedding.)

Thanks to my consulting client, Leland Prince, I found out about an English speaking cooking class in Paris.

Mr. Lively’s new passion happens to be cooking, so it was a no-brainer that I needed to surprise him with his birthday present towards the end of the trip.

He now openly admits that it was his favorite part of the trip. It even trumped our wedding. (Humph.)


And just so you don’t think the trip was all sunshine and roses (okay, well, a lot of it was actually), I have another “keeping it real” pic for ya.

When wedding cake tastes this good, you ignore the cameras.


our wedding
August 27th, 2012     |    LifeOur Wedding

I cannot being to tell you how much joy it has brought me to share our rather unconventional wedding with you. And as many have requested, I have a few more photos to share from the rest of our wedding day. These are purely the pretty shots that help depict how awe inspiring Paris’ Jardin du Luxembourg truly is.

Also, for those who may want to look back on our process of eloping and designing our wedding with intention here’s what I’ve shared:

The Luckiest Man on Earth

We Eloped to Paris

Why We Eloped 

Designing Our Wedding with Intention

What I’m Wearing on My Wedding Day

I’m Back

Our Wedding Ceremony

Overall, I can also say that our decision to elope was a bit scary at first. I knew it was right for our life intentions and finances, but to do something so drastically different than what friends and family expected us to do… was hard at first. I also feared that the ceremony itself would feel less special than a traditional wedding with guests. I worried (just a little bit) that I would go through it all and wish I had a regular wedding instead.

But all of those hang-ups melted away as we actually went forward with our plans. I am so, so thankful that our wedding came together so beautifully and also has left us in such a wonderful position for the rest of our intentions as a new family going forward.

So for anyone else out there thinking about a wedding, I cannot urge you enough to truly begin with the end in mind, determine your intentions, think about what is most important to you and your lover and go forward fearlessly! A huge, bustling wedding or an intimate moment in a quiet spot in a public garden are just a few of the many awesome options out there.

And now it’s time to share the pretty!

Thanks so much for following along on our wedding journey. I hope that our story will help others getting married consider all the amazing ways that weddings can be designed with the intentions of the couple in mind.

our wedding ceremony
August 23rd, 2012     |    LifeOur Wedding

When we eloped in Paris, we decided to craft our own wedding ceremony. Mr. Lively is not partial to any religion and though I adore teachings from many religions, I identify as spiritual myself. But let’s be honest, since I was part of the equation I made sure there was a hefty dose of intention in there, too.

Beforehand, I was honestly a bit worried about how “special” our ceremony would feel to me since we were doing it in a public, but secluded, part of Paris. I really hoped that I wouldn’t feel like I missed out on the specialness of the ceremony by not doing a traditional wedding with guests, singers, and music.

Thankfully, the ceremony was a huge success. Exactly the right fit for us.

When we landed in Paris we had no idea where we were going to have the ceremony. So right after landing in France, we chose the location the day before the wedding with our friends Kim (our photographer) and Scott (our officiant).

We knew we wanted it to be in a beautiful and semi-private space the following day. Hopefully in a garden. After trekking around the city taking in the breathtaking buildings, the gardens of Notre Dame, Jardins des Plantes, and a few other spots, we found the place. Once we walked into le Jardin du Luxembourg, we were sold.

We then walked around the garden to find the perfect ceremony spot and discovered that behind a bee house, there was a quiet curve in the far corner of the garden. Our spot.

The following day, our wedding day, Mr. Lively and Scott drove arrived early in a taxi to our location and stood ready for Kim and I to arrive.

When Kim and I got there, I dashed out of the taxi to avoid being seen prematurely. Kim then set herself up to shoot the wedding and I then walked into the garden to meet them all.

Once the ceremony began, Scott started off with a short introduction of the ceremony. Then, he read messages from our parents.

Because we had not read the messages beforehand, I was shocked to find out that my parents had sent along with their message two dozen photos of me as a child I had never seen before. The emotion from looking back to discover new things about my own life was an emotional tidal wave.

And Mr. Lively’s parents also shared personal insights from their marriage and gave us wisdom on what it means to be married.

At that point, Scott talked about his own insights from his marriage to Kim, and what things we have to look forward to as a married couple.

Next, Mr. Lively and I took turns reading our Marriage Vows we had created together. These vows serve as the foundation of our marriage and family going forward (more on that later).

After that, we each shared our own individual vows to one another. This is where I chose to work in my own personal spiritual beliefs about our marriage and where Mr. Lively discussed our future life and home that we will build together.

Once the vow exchange was over, we placed our wedding bands on our fingers and kissed.

All the way through the ceremony I kept thinking to myself, this is so perfect. Exactly as it’s supposed to be. And though the ceremony was not very long, time stood still for me. So for anyone else who is considering elopement and might fear, like I did, that the ceremony might be a bit of a let down compared to a wedding, please know that I did not feel that way at all. Because we had such personal connection to what was shared during the ceremony, it was exactly as we wanted it to be. It felt right.

And for those who’d like the short, visual version of our ceremony, here you go!

We laughed.

I cried.

Then our officiant, Scott, cried too.

As Mr. Lively says, I finally put a ring on it.

And we kissed.

So many thanks go out to our dear friends Kim and Scott for travelling, shooting, and officiating our wedding across the globe. They did a fantastic job, we couldn’t have picked a more perfect duo to travel and get married with.

I’d also like to thank our parents for sending such wonderful messages for us to read while we made such a meaningful commitment. Their words made our day more special than I could have imagined.

There will be more pictures to come from the rest of the wedding soon!


All photos by Kim of Yellow Brick Home


i’m back!
August 20th, 2012     |    LifeOur Wedding


To try to explain this trip will not be easy. It was delightful, relaxing, and will be forever sentimental for Mr. Lively and I.

As I get back into the swing of things (due to a delightfully productive period of jet lag), I want to share a few photos from the trip. I’ll go over our wedding ceremony and honeymoon in more detail later this week. As many have requested last week, there will be lots of photos!

Here are a few to start…

what i am wearing on my wedding day
August 17th, 2012     |    LifeOur Wedding


Now for the fun part, my outfit!

Though our wedding isn’t traditional in many ways, I still wanted a white dress. However, since we are most likely holding the ceremony in a garden or someplace quiet, but public, I didn’t want to attract too much attention with a big gown. Anything that could draw a crowd was out of the question… but I still wanted it to feel special.

Given our tight timeline, I knew ordering a bridal gown was unlikely which made my shopping trips limited and focused. I went to Nordstrom, Bhldn, and J.Crew. I also knew that I wanted to wear flats. So a short dress seemed ideal to not overwhelm my height or attract a crowd.

And again, going for short, white, wedding dress that is off the rack made the search even more specific.

Though I found some nice options at all the places I tried, the one that hit exactly the right feel and fit for me was at J.Crew in their bridesmaids dresses. 

Yep, I’m wearing an ivory bridesmaid dress that I got for $240 with tax. Because I opened up a J.Crew card with all my honeymoon shopping, I snagged some savings on the dress at the same time.

So though the dress is not “inexpensive” for a bridesmaid dress, it is a great bargain for a wedding gown. Especially since it fit off the rack.

The savings on this piece opened up my wedding gift clothing budget for lots of other items I’ll be able to wear on our honeymoon and year-round. Plus, my wedding dress can be worn on our special day and possibly at our friends and family parties, too. It’s a win-win-win.

In fact, the shoes I found ended up costing more than the dress.

Ever since we abandoned the traditional wedding route, I no longer had to consider wedding colors or bridesmaids dresses to match (which would have been coral). So I used the old adage “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue” for inspiration.

Because of my short dress, my shoes were an obvious place for me to have some fun with blue. Which apparently Something Bleu agrees with too.

Even the box matched my impromptu wedding color scheme.

As did this lovely pair of flats.

French blue. Flat. With a bow! I mean, common, they were begging to be worn in a Paris elopement ceremony (or any special occasion for that matter).

They are comfy and dressed up enough to add a little something extra to an otherwise pretty simple wedding dress.

And then it was time to add the sparkle.

The rhinestone bracelet and earrings were my late Grandma Constable’s. I am thankful that I’ll also have a piece from my late Grandma Gravette: my engagement stone. So my Grandma’s will be with me through these special pieces.

The pin, which will go on my waist, is from the 1930’s and was bought from a Brooklyn street vendor for $20. The lady vendor had a huge tray of vintage pieces, and this pin seemed more special than any that I had seen in the stores. I adore it’s design and tarnished patina so much. It also fits right in with my Grandmas’ jewelry.

I’ll also be using my Grandma Gravette’s beaded purse. When she passed away in 2004 I inherited a lot of her accessories. This was one of them. Though I’m not sure, I like to think that she might have been married with this purse, too.

For the “something borrowed” part of the equation I’ll be wearing an item my mom sent me to wear which was given to her by her mother (Grandma Gravette) on her wedding day. I’m not sure what it is yet, but I can’t wait to find out.

When it comes to hair and makeup, it cost a pretty penny 200 euros at a local Paris salon to get my hair done on a Sunday (when most salons are closed). So rather than splurge on the hair, I’ve decided to do it myself* and buy new makeup which I will apply myself.

Thanks so much for following me on this journey this week, I can’t wait to share details from the trip when I am home!


* To ensure that my curling iron would work in Europe, Mr. Lively did some Amazon research and found what I can only call The Mega Converter. Hopefully this monster will do the job.

designing our wedding with intention
August 14th, 2012     |    LifeOur Wedding

Now that I’ve shared why we decided to elope, I’ll share what traditions we decided to keep, what we edited, and what we invented.

As I’ve mentioned before, our decision to pass on a traditional wedding is saving us a substantial amount of money. Which has allowed us to intentionally splurge in some areas like our honeymoon and wedding gifts, and save on others like an expensive wedding dress, floral arrangements, and venue.

Overall, I think we’ve successfully tailored our wedding to our personal preferences. I feel over-the-top excited about our plans and incredibly grateful for such an unexpected and unconventional way of getting married. I never would have imagined we’d be eloping, but it turned out to be a perfect fit for us.

Which of course goes to show how individual each wedding should be. What we have done is certainly not right for everyone. It’s really all about doing what is best for each individual couple and their intentions.

Here’s how we crafted our wedding traditions.

Engagement Photos

Though we did not plan to get engagement photos taken, we got very lucky. My friend and photographer Kelly Stonelake tweeted me about a photography workshop (Film Is Not Dead) in Chicago that needed engagement couples to shoot. So we snatched up the opportunity and got some great free photos like this one by Catherine.

The other few engagement photos on the last few posts were by the adorable Jonah of Jen and Jonah (if you live in Ohio, I definitely recommend them!).

Wedding Invites

When it came to wedding invites, this was high up on my priority list. And though we weren’t inviting people to our ceremony, our friend and family celebrations definitely warranted nice looking invitations.

And when it came to invites, I knew exactly who I wanted to design them: Claudia of Fig. 2 Design Studio. (She’s also the designer behind our Jess LC stationery as well.)

And when it comes to packaging, Claudia kills it.

I still can’t believe my invites were inside these adorable packages! (I was pretty much squealing when I opened them.)

And there she is. Our lovely little invite.

We decided to make it an announcement about our elopement without event details. Printing only one announcement for both the family and the friend gatherings helped us save money and keep things simple. I also designed a wedding website (through Blogger so I could customize the look) and have the party details going out in an email to friends and family later this week.

You’ll notice that we went with a French blue and gray scheme which is very… French looking. But in fact the color choice originated from the color of my shoes. I’ll share more about what I’m wearing soon.

Somehow the beautiful blue color also popped up in most of our wedding details despite the fact that I’m not personally a huge fan of blue (except for this shade, of course). If I had a traditional wedding it would have been gray, white, coral, and gold all the way.

But crazy things happen when you do something completely different than you imagine.

And it all just seems right.

I cannot wait to see the invite framed on the wall with a photo of our shoes.

Wedding Officiant and Photographer

When we first decided to elope in two month’s time, the task of finding French officiants and photographers sounded… not fun.

So we instantly decided to invite our friends to fill these roles, rather than try to work with people we’ve never met before.

photo by

We are flying our friends Kim and Scott to Paris with us. Kim is a fantastic photographer and Scott is exactly the kind of person who is perfect for running the ceremony. So rather than fork over a chunk of cash to people we don’t know, we are treating our friends to a trip to Paris instead. (They are super psyched.)

Kim and Scott will be with us for three days and then fly home. At which point Mr. Lively and I will stay for our honeymoon.

Side Note: we decided to skip the hassle of trying to get a French wedding license and did it here in Chicago ahead of time. So as Mr. Lively likes to say, we were “legally” married for a few weeks, but not “officially” until our ceremony.

Ceremony and Dinner

We devised the ceremony itself (this was a big deal to us) and I’ll will share it in more detail when I get back.

But as far as location and restaurant afterwards, we don’t really know yet. Getting married on an August Sunday evening in Paris means quite a lot of places will be closed (we’ve heard) so we are going to wing it.

I’ll share more on what we decided to do when we return.

I’ll also be finding a little bouquet from a market on Saturday… of whatever looks fresh and beautiful.

Wedding Gifts

Because we are eloping and not having a traditional wedding, we are skipping a wedding registry. I’m happy that we can leave the gifts out of the equation and just spend our time with our friends and families when we celebrate with them in September and November.

But we didn’t ditch the idea of a wedding gifts for one another. This is where we intentionally splurged.

I got Mr. Lively a fancy-pants espresso maker. Since Mr. Lively worked as a barista one summer in college, our kitchen is now a mini-Starbucks, much to his delight. (I really think he likes making me lattes just so he can foam the milk.)

And Mr. Lively gifted me a very generous shopping budget for new clothes and my wedding outfit. I’ve been beyond thankful for his gift and he’s loved watching me evolve my wardrobe this summer.

Much to my intern Caitlin’s delight, she’s reaped the benefits of my wedding gift as well. She’s been on the receiving end of a substantial closet exfoliation.

Bachelorette Party

Since we were keeping the elopement a secret, it was not possible to have a bachelorette party ahead of time. So when we celebrate with friends I won’t be a bachelorette anymore.

Which is why I’ve decided to have a “Mrs. Party.”

Yep, I’m inventing my own special lady party that is going to celebrate the fact that I’m already married. I’ll elaborate more on this party once it happens.

So there you have it! I’d love to hear if anyone has made similar choices in their weddings or elopements. (And if these ideas resonate with others and get adopted into their own nuptials I would be thrilled!)

why we eloped
August 13th, 2012     |    LifeOur Wedding

When Mr. Lively proposed on May 30th, I was planning on a traditional wedding next fall.

The following day his parents came into town and we talked about possible venues and catering for three whole days. But during their last night in town we finally broached the subject of our honeymoon.

We decided we wanted to go to Paris.

I’ve never been to France before and Mr. Lively speaks French and hasn’t been to Europe. So it seemed like a great trip for the two of us to enjoy together.

However, we quickly realized that since we were footing almost the entire bill for the wedding, funds would most likely be so tight by that point it would be out of the question. I recently found out our budget was $20,000 less than the average wedding spent in Chicago… so our estimate was probably a naive assumption to begin with.

Then suddenly, Mr. Lively’s father suggested that we elope to Paris and do the ceremony there.

At first I was unsure… I mean, we had been working out the math and if we saved – substantially – each month, we would have the money we would need to meet our wedding budget. So though a Paris honeymoon might not be realistic, the wedding part was something we could do here in Chicago…

But it didn’t take long to reflect deeper and begin with the end in mind. Growing up, I dreamed about my ring (I worked in a fine jewelry store in high school and I’m a jewelry designer) and my home (I used my mom’s interior design stencils to draw out new floor plans for my bedroom when I was 9).

Yet my wedding was never something that I thought about so it never had huge significance to me. It was mostly about creating a bond with my husband and God, and celebrating with our friends and family. Which is what a wedding accomplishes, but at a pretty high expense for our current income. Though we could most likely foot the bill without debt, we’d have little more than a small emergency fund to show for it afterwards.

Which meant saving for a home in our future was going to take us quite a while after the wedding next fall. 

So while I did get the ring of my dreams (my late Grandmother’s stone is nestled in my favorite setting), my home was going to be somewhere far off in the somewhat distant future. It also made preparing for parenthood in a few years financially more challenging.

Which means that on a leap of faith, we embraced the wedding road less travelled and decided that the elopement idea really did intentionally suit our lives and long-term goals.

If we had an unlimited budget that didn’t set us back a penny on our other savings goals… I’m honestly not sure that we would have eloped. But that isn’t our reality and the fact is that over the past two months of preparing for this trip, I’ve been surprised at how wonderful the whole process has been – and compared to a wedding – pretty stress free.

And Mr. Lively has been loving every second of our unconventional plan.

We are also grateful to have families that support this endeavor. In fact, our parents have each sent us words to read aloud so we have a piece of their wisdom during our ceremony.

We planned on keeping this a secret from almost everyone, but we needed to fill our extended families in so that we could reserve the hotel rooms needed for the family celebration. Though a few members thought it would be nice to see us get married, no one wanted to see us get married at the expense of our financial well-being. And the vast majority of our families have applauded our choice and are excited for a fun family weekend.

Yep, though we will be eloping for our private ceremony, we are still going to have a friend bash in September and a family celebration over Thanksgiving weekend. So in a way, we’ve kind of deconstructed a wedding. Many of the traditional elements that are important to us will still be kept, but we are skipping anything that is not very important to us.

Which means for half the cost of our original wedding budget we are getting a five star, nine day honeymoon to Paris, a celebration with friends, and a family weekend (not including the family dinner my parents are paying for). We’ll also have a nest egg growing for our future home as soon as the end of this year.

Inadvertently, our new plan also allowed us to do some things we always thought would be a bit of a challenge for us in a traditional wedding. We are now going to be able to devote our full attention to our friends and family separately at each event. Plus, we’ll be able to welcome our families into our new home over our first Thanksgiving weekend as a married couple.

Early this year we set an intention to always make a big meal for Thanksgiving and have an open door policy for friends and family to join us. And there is no better way for us to begin this tradition than to open our new home to our extended families this fall. So while we are fortunate that the weekend itself is a good one for guests to get time off, it has huge significance for Mr. Lively and I as a new family.

Phew! It is such a wonderful privilege to share this all with you! If you’ve been following along this summer you may have noticed a few points where I was super stressed… that was largely due to preparing for this elopement in two and a half months and preparing for our move and new puppy this fall. It’s been a wonderful whirlwind I never predicted. Our lives have changed quite a bit since May 30th.

But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

In case you are wondering when we are going to have our wedding ceremony, we already did. Yesterday. August 12th, 2012.

Tomorrow I’ll be sharing all the traditions we kept in our unconventional wedding, those we ditched, and those we invented.


photo by
we eloped to paris
August 10th, 2012     |    LifeOur Wedding

Yep, you read that right.

Mr. Lively and I are on our way to Paris to get married! 

I know many have wondered whether Mr. Lively’s name was a pseudonym or his actual last name. It’s his real last name.

Which means my name is now going to be Jess. Jess Lively.

I like my new name so much that I’m evolving past MakeunderMyLife and evolving the site into I hope you like the new look we added too. But more on that when I get back from Paris.

While I’m away (August 10th through 19th) I have wedding posts all lined up to explain why we eloped, how we designed our wedding/elopement with intention, and the “important stuff” like what I’m wearing.

So stay tuned, there will be plenty of pretty and wedding intention to come next week.

Thanks so much you guys, this has been the most delicious surprise to share with you. I’ve been waiting all summer to fill you in!


photo by
why i’m marrying mr. lively
June 20th, 2012     |    LifeOur Wedding


When it comes to getting ready for marriage, I’ve had quite an interesting journey.

After peacefully ending a long relationship, I was determined to find out “why” it happened. And the only answer that I could ever arrive was that there must be something out there that was a better fit for both of us.

So with that in mind, I entered the single world in search for the person who was that “better fit” for me.

But in between the past relationship and my current one, I went from a paradigm of “a good relationship is a healthy one,” to “a great relationship is a perfect one.”

For a year I struggled with the idea that I very, very much wanted to get married. And I very, very much wanted to find the perfect person to have a perfect relationship with.

As Mr. Lively and I dated, I honestly struggled with the concept that we were right for each other because he didn’t “complete me.”

Though Susie, my partner in crime at Jess LC for three years, would tell you that she’s never seen me happier than when I dated Mr. Lively, I had my doubts as to whether he was “enough.”

It hurts me even to type this. But it was true.

Mind you, I have never in my life struggled with the idea of a perfect man or perfect relationship before. In high school I dated a guy that wouldn’t even call me his girlfriend, and even asked someone else to prom instead of me… and I stayed with him anyways. 

But with Mr. Lively I suddenly turned on the microscope.

Though in real life I felt completely great and confident with our relationship, when I looked at relationships shared online I felt we were missing something.

All the glossy pics of couples and tender stories of love had me pining for that kind of relationship. The fairy tale online kind.

So needless to say, it seems fairly obvious that I should have just smacked myself upside the head and bolted out of my insanity. But that isn’t what happened.

Instead, I doubted us.

And when that fear bubbled up I would also have a nagging worry: are you with him because you want to get married? 

Oh yeah. That’s a great thought, I can tell ya that.

To help myself process all of these conflicting emotions I turned to prayer. Whenever I prayed about the situation, I got some calming responses in my heart, but it didn’t give me the outright direction I desperately wanted.

But eventually, after months of spiritual growth, great times with Mr. Lively, and the general maturing of our relationship, I had a breakthrough.

Instead of running away from the fear that I wanted to get married more than I wanted to find the “right” person, I embraced it.

Rather than push that fear down, I brought it up to the light and celebrated it.


The reasons I wanted to get married were largely spiritual by that point (as opposed to some early ego wishes exacerbated by rom coms and romantic blog posts). I now believe that a holy relationship (which can be in the form of a marriage, or not) can bring me even more personal growth. To commit to being with someone through thick and thin, to celebrate them, and accept their weaknesses. To grow together and start a family that I can share this acceptance and love with. That is what a holy relationship, or in my case, marriage, is really supposed to be about for me.

However, as my prayers led me to understand, my ego will inevitably wish for someone that will “complete me.” And I will inevitably fail to find someone who does.

So I basically get to choose someone who has traits that I value, via a mix of my spirit and a bit of my inevitable ego, to be my partner in this journey.

Instead of waiting for “Mr. Right” who sweeps me off my feet so that I’m suddenly ready for a holy relationship because he is perfect, I’m putting the commitment to a holy relationship above my future Mister’s perfection, or lack thereof.

No longer am I looking though a dirty lens of “What does he do for me? Me. Me. Me.” I’m now looking through a clearer lens of “I’m choosing my partner in this journey so we can love, grow, and give together.”

And since I intend for this commitment to be a lifelong one, I’m not taking my partner decision lightly. But I’m also not waiting for a pedestal.

When I think about what person I want to be in a holy relationship with for the rest of my life, my mind and heart immediately turned to Mr. Lively.

The answer suddenly became simple.

His kindness, wit, intelligence, loyalty, thoughtfulness, and good-heartedness are all qualities I’m excited to celebrate in our lives. And with our future children.

And though this may not be the way most people arrive at their marriages (or talk about them online), for me, it is what feels good and real.














Contact us

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.