Lengthy Wedding Post

Wedding vendors

In my last wedding post, I posted a glimpse of my vendors.  Now I will post a longer more in-depth version.

Our wedding was everything we imagined and more.  Honestly, we were never stressed about anything. Both of our families were there for us as well as our friends.  We could not have done it with out the professionalism of our vendors and the help of our family.

We currently live in NJ, but got married in my hometown area of Hampton Roads, VA.  As much as we LOVE New Jersey (at least I really do), neither Tim or I have family here.  It didn’t make sense to have a wedding around here.

While being engaged, we visited VA four times.  Each visit we hit the wedding planning hard.  We had back to back meetings but got everything done.  It wasn’t nearly as scary as we both had anticipated.  I think that the majority of the no stress was because our wedding planner, Hannah, was so helpful.

My philosophy of weddings is it’s one giant party.  That is how we treated it the entire time..

Previous wedding posts:


Engagement Photos

Rejected Wedding Ideas

Wedding Preview


The Wedding

With the exception of the venue, we booked the first vender we met with in every category.  I was happy with each person and company so we thought it was silly to continue looking.  Wedding planning is like playing the slot machines, you quit while we were ahead.

First, I’ll start with my wedding planner: Hannah Hiladabrandt.  Hannah helped through most of the wedding process.  I found her in August and she helped until our wedding April 12.  She is truly an incredible women and I am so glad to have found her!


After emailing a few people, she made me the most comfortable and she was the most laid back.

  • She helped put us in contact with our venue as well as the DJ, and makeup.
  • She also gave ideas along the way and put together a timeline the month before of the wedding
  • She also gave a lot of ideas of things I never thought about.  There were so many little things that piled up the last month!
  • At the wedding she made sure everything went smoothly and our only job was to have fun.  This was the most important and having her allowed us to truly enjoy the day.

I cannot stress how much having someone else in charge made the day much easier.

hannah 1

All I did at the wedding was drink booze, talk to family and friends and dance.

Neither Tim nor I worried about a single thing.  Hannah and her staff were there to help, coordinate and make sure the timeline went as anticipated.  She was great and I 100% recommend her.


We got married at the Half Moone Cruise Center in Norfolk, VA.   About a month after we got married, it reopened and has a few different cruises that dock there.  I loved the center because of the massive windows and how modern it was.   It’s not normally a wedding venue but Hannah was able to get into contact with them.

half moon cruise center 4

half moon


Justice Images have done a lot of photos for myself and my family and friends.  The Justice’s are family friends as well as professional photographers. If you ever need any sort of photography done I would recommend them.


Sometimes people fear wedding photographers are intrusive but we never felt that way. I will always book the Justices for any photos I need.

aisle 2


For food and alcohol, we used Omar’s Carriage House in Norfolk, VA.


My bridesmaid, Theresa,  recommended them and after trying them once I knew Omar’s was perfect.  We had a steak, seafood and vegetarian option.  We chose buffet style because you never know what someone wants portion size.  Everyone wants a different amount of food and it’s nice to pick and choose.  We had more than enough food and I was happy to have some for breakfast too.

I think my favorite part of the wedding was when the caterer says: “You know, most brides don’t eat but you are already up here for round two…”food 2

One thing I can’t stop raving about was Omar’s “Delux” Coffee Station. Obviously an important and necessary part of the wedding was a coffee bar.  Tim and I’s wedding had a coffee bar with coffee syrup, whipped cream, and all the things you put in coffee.

My mug was filled 50% kaluha and 50%, 20% coffee and 30% whipped cream.

coffee station


My cake was done by Diana’s Sweet Tooth  Honestly, it turned out beautifully and it was the best cake I have eaten. I’m definitely a cake snob too.  In fact the only thing that upset me during the evening was the cake didn’t come home with us.  I wanted midnight cake!


Our favorite type of cake is red velvet.  Since our colors were navy and white, red totally clashed (haha!).  Diana dyed the inside so the cake was “blue velvet”.  The cake was dense and had the perfect frosting.  The top tier is still sitting in my freezer haunting me.

cake cutting


With the recommendation from Hannah, we went with Astro DJ.  I was really happy because shortly after we booked Astro, I found out one of my personal friends was a DJ. It was truly incredible to have a personal friend and famous local runner, Jon, as our DJ. He was great and we danced the entire night.  He is extremely friendly and I don’t think we ever stopped dancing.

dance 1

Dancing and having fun was the important part of the wedding to me.  I can guarantee we did that!  In fact I think I was upset when I couldn’t dance.

dance 2

dadlolz dancing


The same women who cut my chlorine filled hair in middle school, styled my hair for the wedding. It was perfect and I loved everything about the style. Tiffany is truly incredible and I think she did so well with everyone’s hair.  I honestly couldn’t think of anyone else I wanted there for my big day.

hair 1

hair 2


My makeup was done by Blush Tones. Hannah recommended her when I had absolutely no idea where to go.

Before the wedding, I hadn’t ever tried airbrush makeup.  I kept telling the woman, it’s like you are putting on a whole new face! If you are one the fence about getting your makeup done for your wedding, I recommend it. It was such a fun experience and I loved it.

blush tones 3


My flowers were done by personal friend Kyle.  We grew up and swam together.  He worked at a florist so was able to really help us out.


Flowers were also something I had no idea what I wanted or even needed.  We wanted flowers to enhance the wedding but didn’t know anything about different types, centerpieces and arrangements.  I told Kyle “I know nothing about flowers please help me and I trust you“.  He did such a wonderful job and we could not be happier.

tim and i 3

Theme and Decorations:

The Half Moone is a beautiful venue to begin with and that made decorating much easier.  We used a few flowers as well as plane related decorations.  We went with a traditional navy blue and yellow theme with cute plane designs (since T is a pilot…). I wanted old running shoe center pieces but that just isn’t as cute.

We kept it simple.

planes table


We had a last minute issue with transportation so luckily another personal friend Chasity was able to give me a connection to a limo service where she manages.  I would highly recommend them for any weddings, proms or times you want to rent a limo.


As you can see everything with my vendors went extremely smoothly.  If there is anyone getting married locally, I would  recommend any of my vendors to work with with. I was never stressed and everything was perfect.  They were all professional, friendly, and more on top of their game than I certainly was.

It will take me a bit longer to write up the last couple of posts with more photos and final thoughts.  In cliff notes, my wedding was everything I hoped for.


About four months ago I got married.  I wanted to wait until I received wedding photos to write a post.  To keep from typing 1000 words I plan to have several posts.

This is just a brief wedding post, mostly consisting of photos, but if you are interested in a longer post with more detail it’s here. 

We truly had the greatest day of our lives.  Our family, our friends and loved ones were all there to support us and I could not have asked for a better day.

Date: April 12, 2015

The Venue: Half Moone Cruise Center Norfolk, VA
Wedding Planner: Hannah Hildebrandt
Flowers: Personal friend, Kyle L
Dress: Maya Couture
Photographers: Justice Images
Caterer: Omar’s Carriage House
DJ: Astro DJ and personal friend Jon L
Hair: Tiffany
Makeup: Blush tones
Cake: Diane’s Sweet Tooth

half moon cruise center 4

half moone cruise center 1


flowers 1


cake 1

planes table

flowers table


hair 1

blush tones 1

groomsman 2

bridesmaids 10

wedding party 1

wedding party


behind dress


first dance]

tim and i 3

Run for the Hill of it 5 Miler (34:40)

The Run for the Hill of it race was held in the Wissahickon park. The park is just north of Philly.  Since I didn’t work I was able to travel a bit further for a race.  The name of the race should have given the course elevation away. I didn’t realize it was a trail race and the actual elevation profile. I assumed it was a race with a few rolling hills. I was wrong.

My original goal was to try and race the same pace as the Belmar Chase but once I realized the difficult of this course, I knew that was not happening.

I met Kara at registration and we warmed up together.

Kara and I

We arrived at the start and they announced it would start at 8:30 sharp.  I have to hand it to them…it did!

Once the race started, I found myself as fourth women overall.  Philadelphia is home to many incredible runners who are definitely out of my league.  The first mile was actually the easiest of the five.  I didn’t realize it was net downhill but it was my fastest mile of 6:37.  I passed one women and found myself as third!

During the second mile I passed two women. I didn’t feel great or terrible.  Wissahickon is a beautiful park so I was focused on enjoying the scenery.  I ran side by side with a couple of men for almost the entire race.  The park wasn’t closed for the race so we were definitely weaving around other runners (6:50).

The course was out and back so at 2.5 miles we turned around.  I saw the leaders come by about 3 minutes before I hit the halfway.  The leader didn’t look like he was trying at all despite being far in front.  Shortly after he passed, a few more males ran by as well as the lead female. I finally hit the halfway in exactly 17 minutes. While turning around I saw Kara who looked strong.  I like out and back courses because I know what to expect on the last half of the race.

The fourth mile was uneventful.  I ran side by side with the same men as earlier. The trifecta of three (myself and two men) didn’t part ways for most of the race.  We passed several people running in the park.

I didn’t realize we had gone slightly downhill the first two miles until we began running uphill for the way home.  The last two miles I just focused on finishing (7:04).

Once I hit mile four, I just gave all of my energy.  I wanted to finish the race as soon as possible.  I was done with hills and trails.  Don’t get my wrong, I enjoyed the race but I was exhausted.  We don’t have many hills in New Jersey and I barely run on trails.  It makes sense a hilly trail race would exhaust me more than a road race.  I finished the last mile in 6:58.

I crossed the finish line in 34:40.  I was second female overall.  I’m happy with the race because it was definitely a hard course.  It lives to the name of running for the hill of it.  I enjoyed a change of race scenery and I will be back to run in the park soon!

Questions for you: 

What is the hardest run you’ve ever done? 

Do you like running on trails, pavement, treadmill or the track the best?


Training: Track and Trails

This week begins a more interesting part of training. This week I began formal speed work!

Monday: 10 miles easy
Tuesday: 10 miles fast finish
Wednesday: 12 400s average 87
Thursday: Rest
Friday: 10 miles easy
Saturday:  Run for the Hill of it Trail 5m (34:40)
Sunday: 14 miles with my coworker
 Total:  67 miles


On Monday and Tuesday I ran similar runs. I kept my base miles easy. On Tuesday I finished with a “fast finish”. On my personal “fast finish” runs, I like to end with the last mile about 1 minute faster than the overall pace.  It keeps the run more interesting and focusing on the important aspect of the race!

On Wednesday I went to the track for the first time in a very long time. My track workout experience is limited. In all honesty it’s almost nonexistent. I’ve only been to the track 5 times for workouts during my entire running experience. When I was doing formal speed work, I choose tempos.

My body is now able (knock on wood) to handle 2 days of speed right now so I opted for a track workout.

I did 12X400s with 1 minute standing rest in between. My average was 87 seconds for each, which ends up being 5:45 pace.

Appropriate foot on track post workout pose
Appropriate foot on track post workout pose


I was pleasantly surprised with this workout. I was more surprised that I enjoyed it a lot! I’m glad I am getting out of comfort zone and doing speed work.

On Thursday I needed rest. Thursdays have become my tradition to walk to a local coffee shop during my run time. I enjoy chatting with the barista and just relaxing. The last two Thursdays have been nice to do that but if it gets too hot then I’ll drive. 😉

On Saturday I ran the “Run for the Hill of it” trail race in Philadelphia.  It was a lot harder course than anticipated but I had a great time with Kara!  Plus I found the Wissahickon state park and I will definitely be back for trail and hill training!

kara and I

On Sunday I ran 14.5 miles with my coworker and friend who is training for the Chicago marathon.  I have been enjoying running with others because it makes the miles fly.

anita and i

Next week:

I’m honestly not sure my plans. I might do a 5k in Super South NJ. I know I’m super south but there is about 40 miles south of me…who knew?! I also plan to do another speed workout.

Questions for you:

Do you like the track or tempo workouts?

Marathon Grill

After Kevin and I’s long run last weekend we got brunch.  I’m an avid user of foursquare and a quick search of  restaurants brought us to the Marathon Grill.  It made sense to go with a name like marathon. It’s technically classified as an upscale diner, so I thought why not review it?

The Marathon Grill has several locations in Philadelphia. There is no parking but I had already found a garage for the run.

We arrived at the Marathon Grill around 9:30am.  For a Sunday the restaurant wasn’t as crowded as I anticipated.

Atmosphere: A 

The inside is clean and modern.  The walls are decorated with bright colors and bird cut outs.  It reminds me more of a hip and trendy restaurant.

From their website
From their website

The waitress was extremely nice and refilled my coffee and water a lot.  After running I was extremely thirsty for both coffee and water.

Coffee: A 

The coffee was a local Philadelphia brew called Chestnut Coffee. After doing research, I realized Chestnut Coffee is not far away and I’ll be visiting their coffee store soon.  The coffee itself is slightly nutty.  Personally I like flavored coffees the best so I drank a lot. The whipped cream was good as well!

marathon grill coffee

Food: A 

The Marathon Grill has multiple options from omelets to cookie dough pancakes to lunch items.  The problem was I wanted everything.

I ordered the smoked salmon omelet, which came with smoked salmon, tomatoes and goat cheese.  I ordered a side of fruit and their multigrain bread!

marathon grill omelet

As you can see from the photo they did not limit the goat cheese!  It was oozing out of the omelet. The omelet was a three-egg omelet and was probably 50% cheese. It was definitely one of the best omelets I’ve had in a while.

Cost: $

The cost of the omelet was $12.50.  The quality of the food and the ingredients they used made it 100% worth it.

Overall thoughts/Would I come back? 

Yes I will definitely be back.  The food was great and you could tell they use high quality ingredients.  I want to try the cookie dough pancakes as well as the design your own salad.  (This is basically me inviting anyone close by to go right now! Ha ha)

Cliff notes: 
Atmosphere: A 
Coffee: A
Food: A
Cost: $10-20
Overall score: A

Questions for you:
What is your favorite type of cheese?
What do you like to eat after a run?

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