Hey y’all! I am beyond excited to partner with WeddingWire to bring you another installment of their Engagement Edit series. The lovely ladies at WW and I chatted all things wedding planning and we’re dishing it all below and on WeddingWire.com HERE. Not only that, but I am taking over WeddingWire’s snapchat this Saturday to go wedding dress shopping! Be sure to follow along @WeddingWire. And stay tuned for another post from me coming soon on their site 🙂

WW: Congrats on your engagement, Cortney! Tell us about your #JustSaidYes moment to your fiancé, Jeremy.

CD: Thank you! You may know already that Jeremy is a race car driver in NASCAR’s XFINITY Series. Having such an exciting day job, he really has to raise the bar to get his kicks. Jeremy had mentioned in the past how he has always wanted to skydive. Trying to seem cool, I agreed, assuming I could back out in the future if he actually took me up of the offer. Well, in the days leading up to our anniversary, Jeremy booked a pair of tandem skydives. I couldn’t eat the week of I was so terrified. I combed online forum after online forum that covered the sport’s injuries and deaths. I can tell you every stat!

Our anniversary arrived and I got in Jeremy’s car and headed to Skydive Carolina, having made no clear decision about the jump. I signed my rights away with a trembling hand, suited up, and boarded the miniature cargo airplane. Jeremy remained cool as a cucumber as I mentally made my peace with God. As we reached 14,000 feet, Jeremy and his instructor made their way to the door and out of the plane. I froze, but as I was strapped to my own instructor like a Baby Bjorn, he scooted me down the bench and out of the plane after them.

The dive was exhilarating and unlike any of my preconceived notions. The parachute (thankfully) deployed and we made our way to the ground. Jeremy ran over to me as soon as I became detached from my tandem partner, got onto bended knee, and asked me to marry him. I couldn’t believe it! He had zipped the ring into his jumpsuit and skydived with it.

Watch the video HERE

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WW: We realize that in addition to blogging, you also have a full time job! How have you balanced work, travel, blogging, and life (and college football season!) as you plan your wedding?

CD: I realized right away that I was going to need help. With the NASCAR XFINITY Series racing on 33 Saturdays a year, we were extremely limited on date options. We opted for May, but that left us with only nine months to plan. Luckily, I have two friends who were recently married and have been amazing to lean on for advice and a helping hand throughout the process. They called around setting up venue tours for me, forwarded over receipts from their vendors so I had comparable prices, and overall just provided a reality check that at the end of the day, it will all come together beautifully.

WW: But wedding planning isn’t all stressful, right?! What’s been the most exciting thing about wedding planning thus far? What’s been the most stressful?

CD: The most exciting has been planning our honeymoon (does that count?) We are planning on forgoing a registry in favor of a honey-fund and have narrowed our options down to Positano, Italy or Hawaii. Neither Jeremy or I have been to either so we are open to suggestions!

I have also really enjoyed the opportunity to craft my little heart out! The bridesmaids’ proposals were so much fun to make and I am really looking forward to shower and bachelorette party invitations, games, décor, and more! Working in NASCAR, I am forced to suppress my girly side, but wedding planning gives me the opportunity to let that flag fly!

On the other hand, most stressful was definitely finding a venue. It was first on the to-do list and so much of the wedding hinged upon this key element. I spent days scouring the internet, reading reviews, and imagining scenarios. When I finally called my perfect location and told them my date in May, they all but laughed at me! Haha, silly girl, we’re booked totally through 2017! I was so naĂŻve…I had no idea venues book up so quickly and the bookings extend out so far.

In the end, out of the hundred places I called around the Charlotte area, only four had the night available. Two of those venues were not my style and one was out of my price range, leaving Langtree Plantation as the winner.

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WW: Have any wedding planning tools on WeddingWire been especially useful to you?

CD: Yes, I am relying heavily on the WeddingWire planning tools. The Monogram Generator was priority one because we’re Southern so monogram all the things! The Checklist lights a fire under my butt every time I check my progress…which I need. But I’m avoiding the Budget Tool at all costs because I think my budget is out the window already!

WW: Did you find any of your vendors on WeddingWire? If so, which ones?

I am all about reviews so the vendor section helped immensely in determining where to find my dress. My mom is coming up from Atlanta so we only have a handful of opportunities to shop together and I didn’t want to waste my time on a bridal boutique that didn’t have what we were looking for. Fingers crossed that with almost 100 5-star reviews, Hayden Olivia Bridal will be where I find the dress of my dreams.

WW: How would you describe your personal style? And how do you plan on incorporating it into your wedding day?

I would describe my style as Southern and feminine, but a little unconventional. Now I don’t intend on reinventing the wheel on my wedding day, but I don’t want to be run-of-the-mill. This means deviating from the traditional sweetheart neckline and incorporating elements that aren’t typically considered bridal…think alternate-colored dresses and a donut station!

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WW: Any exciting details you can share with us about your wedding? Any nods to NASCAR or college football? Will your favorite color pink be in the wedding color palette?

CD: Yes, yes, and yes! Jeremy has not asked for much throughout this process, EXCEPT that we have our grand entrance to the Days of Thunder theme song (exactly what I dreamed of as a little girl). Additionally, our officiant, Lonnie Clouse, is a NASCAR chaplain who prays with Jeremy before almost every race. I was so excited he had the date available because we already have a good relationship with him, plus he was with Jeremy the first time he ever spoke to me at the race track.

Beyond that, the wedding will be more understated than people would expect from me, especially after seeing how colorful my blog and fashion choices are. Pink will be the main color, but a muted nude blush instead of a fun neon like I am accustomed to. But I am making sure that the ceremony and reception will emanate Jeremy and I as a couple.

WW: Do you have any tips for our engaged readers about the wedding planning process?

CD: My main tip would to be realistic. Most of the “weddings” you see on Pinterest aren’t actual weddings. They’re staged by a vendor or venue for advertising purposes. Each and every component of your wedding is going to be far more expensive than you could have ever imagined, even with these unrealistic expectations aside. Because of this, you are going to have to compromise or go broke.

Think long and hard about what is most important to you on your big day. Key elements for me were an open bar with liquor, a fabric-draped ceiling, and a live band. Because of how pricey each of these are, I had to cut costs in other areas…our rehearsal dinner will be super casual, we will have a buffet instead of plated meals, and I will have my ceremony on the property. We’re ballers on a budget, but with good music (and good alcohol) our guests should enjoy the night.

Full outfit post of this look HERE

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