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The Woods' Celebrate Ten: Vegas Celebration Recap

Wow! It's been 10 years since my husband and I said "I do." It went by so quickly. However, it was not all peaches and cream. If I'm going to be completely honest, years one through six were rough. Divorce lawyers were consulted. Separate bedrooms were slept in. Apartments leases were explored. It was a rough road but my mother gave me some good advice when I would complain about my husband to her. She said "If you leave once, it will be easier to leave again and again and again, until there's nothing to return to."

Clearly, we stuck it out. We made it to our 10th anniversary. The separate bedroom thing lasted for like 3 hours. LOL! The apartments were only a few quick Google searches. The truth is, in all of our mess, we love each other and always knew that we were made for each other, so why fake like we could ever live apart? Year six, we put in some serious work on our marriage and on ourselves. The truth is, no matter how great you may seem to everyone on the outside, the people in your house see your true colors and know how horrible your poop smells. Our grass is green but our water bill is astronomical. Moral: We have paid the price for our happiness.

Year seven was bliss, as close to a happy marriage as we had ever seen. Year eight, I found out I was pregnant and almost lost my life giving birth (Click HERE to read all about that experience). So year nine was even better than year seven and eight because there was a new lease on life. Near death experiences tend to have that effect on people. So, we decided that we would renew our vows for our anniversary in 2017. Neither one of us had never been to Las Vegas, so we thought it'd be a good idea to do it there. I had visions of super fly cocktail attire in a tacky chapel with Elvis performing the ceremony. But what's a vow renewal without the people you are close to being their to witness? I sent out a little text invite to get a gauge of who wanted to come. Then life happened....

I became a full time entrepreneur and my son grew from a cute little infant into an active toddler. I got busy, so I delegated the planning. I hired Cordially Invited Events to put it all together. I literally only told them that I wanted a wedding at a tacky chapel and to take everyone who came out to dinner afterward. Dassit. When I tell you my husband and I were overwhelmed by the experience, that is an understatement. We thought maybe 50 people would respond and only about 30 people would show up. Almost 70 people made their way to Vegas to celebrate with us. The chapel was perfect. The meal venue was fly, black owned, and the food was delicious. The decor was super cute and represented our union flawlessly. The icing on the cake was that one of my bestest, most deserving girlfriends got engaged. It was a perfect weekend.

We had so much fun with our family and friends. It was truly a memorable event. I want to share this experience with you. Click HERE to see some of the pictures. If you want to watch the re-cap video (it's about 6 minutes), click HERE.

I have to list the Production Credits because it was a production. Ashanti and I really just showed up.
Event Planners: Cordially Invited Events
Photographer: Nice Shot, Kyle Pompey
Videographer: Apeture, Stephen Jones
Make Up: Beauty By Bre
Dress: Brides and Grooms, Pikesville, MD
Jacket: Turning Point
Arto and Syvilla Woods: Sponsors for Meet and Greet as well as Cocktail Hour
Centry and Preston Greene: Traveling babysitters

Cordially Invited Events handled everything from arranging the hotels, guest transportation to and from the chapel, harrassing Mandalay Bay after the shooting to try to get us some complimentary stuff and upgrades, table decor at the lunch, running around when all the decor didn't get delivered on time, harassing me to make sure I had my slide show together after my hard drive crashed and I lost all of my pictures from 2005-2013 (Thank God for Facebook). I'm sure there are other things they handled that I didn't know about but they'll spill it at the Post-Event Debriefing. LOL!

Kyle and Stephen....what can I say. These are two of the most humble and talented "shooters" I know. They are usually out doing celebrity shoots and high profile jobs but they penciled the Woods' in for 4 whole days to make sure our weekend was captured properly, from all angles. A photographer once told me "You only get one time to capture the moment. Then you can re-live it over and over again. Never be cheap with capturing it." I am so thankful for them. We keep looking at all of these shots and video just smiling and laughing and blushing. Stephen even over came his fear of flying to take his longest flight ever, just for us. We had NO IDEA! As if him being there wasn't special enough, that made it even more meaningful.

Quinceanara/Bride of Beetleguise Dress
Of course there was dress drama. My sister, Thee Fashioneer, found me a fly dress way in advance that had to be made custom. I ordered it. It came. It was hideous. I had 6 weeks to get it together. I couldn't find anything I liked on the interwebs that was within my budget. So, one day I was out running errands and decided to stop in Brides and Grooms, on the corner of Reisterstown Rd. and Slade Ave. The sales lady gave me a side eye when I said "wedding" and "2 weeks" in the same sentence but found me 2 dresses in my size and desired color within my budget. The first one I tried on was the one.

Ashanti and I always talk about how blessed we are to have 2 sets of AMAZING parents. We definitely could have been dealt a different hand in life. When I told Mama Woods we were over budget for the meal (I definitely didn't budget for 70 people. LOL!), she stepped right in because "Don't be coming all the way to Vegas and trying to penny pinch the details". Her words. Not mine. She went to Sam's Club and balled out for snacks, drinks and liquor for us to have in our suite over the weekend. I'm so happy our parents have a great relationship with each other. Both sets worked out their "Vegas Fun" schedules with each other so they could be available to hang out with their grandson while we had fun celebrating.

Becoming a full time entrepreneur has been a HUGE financial sacrifice for us but some things deserve a proper celebration. We planned, budgeted, and saved for over a year to prepare for this so that our responsibilities wouldn't suffer in the aftermath. I had many second thoughts but always came back to life being about moments and experiences. I am SO happy we followed through with this plan. Thanks for reading. Now get back to work. LOL!

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