Dinner & A Blizzard: Where Things Began For #ZolaCouple Sara & Brooks

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A big group dinner. A blizzard. Philadelphia. October, 2011. That’s the scene that sets the stage for how #ZolaCouple Sara & Brooks met. Although Brooks almost didn’t make it – due to the snow – it’s a good thing he did, or he might have missed out on his future fiancé! The two bonded over wanting to see the “amazing/terrible” movie In Time, and after a rousing round of karaoke, Sara asked him to that movie the following weekend. Both soon realized there was something truly special between them…

With 23 days left until their wedding, now is the perfect time to get to know this spontaneous #ZolaCouple, take notes on their wedding tips, and check out what they’ve selected for their newlywed home.

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How did you get engaged? We were visiting the Mociun store in Williamsburg and found a beautiful ring that we decided to buy. When we got outside, Brooks asked for the ring back so he could properly propose later, but neither of us really wanted to wait. So we got engaged right there on the streets of Williamsburg. It was the perfect mixture of spontaneity, romance, and negotiation.

What was the first thing you did after you got engaged? We chugged a celebratory glass of champagne at a nearby bar and drove immediately to another friend’s wedding. The following day we went to my parents’ house, where my parents, grandparents, and aunt were celebrating Father’s Day. It was wonderful to be able to tell them all about the engagement in person.

Any tips for balancing wedding planning with your everyday busy life? Lists and spreadsheets are your friend. It’s a sad but true fact. The more organized you are, the easier things will be. I have to acknowledge Riley & Grey and Zola in this process – having everything online and in one place has made tracking RSVPs and gifts so streamlined and simple. My other tip would be to be realistic about how much you need to do. It’s so easy to go down the rabbit holes of wedding planning and get so caught up in the details. Turn that computer off! Don’t check every blog! It’s been really important for us to keep our eyes on the prize, plan smartly, and step away when possible.

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Where are you going on your honeymoon and how did you pick the destination? We are going to Hawaii! While we both love to travel, and considered going someplace far-flung, but in the end we decided that it’d be easier to just get on one (long) flight and go to a place where passports, currency, and SIM cards aren’t a hassle. Plus Hawaii has all we could ask for: hiking, swimming, great food, and lots of opportunities for relaxation (i.e., I won’t indulge too much in my over-planning tenancies).

Packing tips? We are staying in a bunch of rental homes where laundry is available. This will hopefully help us cut down on the amount of stuff we have to bring. And we’re not making it a fashion show — a few caftans and bathing suits are all I really need!

What do you two do for adventure? We love to travel, cook, and try new restaurants. Philly has so many exciting restaurants opening every day — it’s been hard to keep up!

Best trip you’ve ever been on? In the summer of 2012, we went on a month-long trip to the Netherlands, Belgium, and Italy. A particular highlight was the week we spent in Sicily with a group of friends. We rented a farmhouse, cooked lots of fresh fish, hiked around a nature preserve, and went line dancing with the locals.

BHR and SJM 4

What are you most excited for on your registry? That’s a hard one! On the practical side, maybe our simplehuman trash can? One can never overstate the difference a really good trashcan makes. On the more ephemeral side, we’re really happy to get both honeymoon and charity donations. We both love experiencing things together, and the honeymoon fund will make it easier for us to do that while bouncing around Hawaii. And the charity donations are so special – we believe that we are already so fortunate to have a good life together, and are so excited to celebrate with those we love, and we wanted to make sure to help other people in the process.

We love that you added a charity to your registry. How did you decide to do that? Charity in general is important to us, and we wanted to make sure to give back to those in need – especially in the midst of our big wedding celebration. We picked the Children’s Literacy Initiative because we have heard far too many stories about the struggles of the Philly public school system. Reading is important to both of us, and we recognize it can make all the difference in a child’s life. We are proud to live in Philly, and wanted to promote the city’s well-being while celebrating our wedding. Reason to Ride is a charity close to Brooks’s family. It is a foundation that supports research into brain tumors, and one that Brooks’s dad supported while battling his own brain tumor six years ago. We wanted to make sure to honor Brooks’s dad, and knew that he would be proud of the donation we’ll be giving to Reason to Ride in his name.

Any last registry tips? Just pick what you’re actually excited about. I know the rule is to have one gift per guest, but I think it makes more sense to only select the things you really want. The great thing about Zola is that you can pick larger-ticket items and make them a group gift, or make several cash funds for things like your honeymoon, a down-payment on a house, charities, etc.

Thanks for chatting, Brooks & Sara, and for sharing your story with the Zola community! We’ve picked a few of our favorite gifts from this #ZolaCouple’s registry, but be sure to check out their entire selection here.

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1. Honeymoon in Hawaii
2. Eccolo White Anniversary Frame
3. Dansk Kobenstyle Ramekin, Set of 2

Images || Sarah McKay from Lauren Fair Photography

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