February 01, 2022

Love is In The Air Part 2

Love is In The Air Part 2

Today on Life with Loverly, we are kicking off heart month with wedding coordinator, Erin Bruce! This episode is twofold as she discusses your next steps in wedding planning, while also raising stroke awareness. Erin is a wedding guru and stroke survivor who is here to share her tips on both topics. 

In this episode you’ll hear:

    •    Your next steps to take in planning your big day

    •    How your wedding party can help keep planning fun

    •    The importance of knowing your fiance’s vision

    •    How to create the big day of your dreams 

    •    Erin’s personal stroke survival story 


  • Facial drooping- Ask them to smile. 
  • Arm weakness- If they raise both arms, does one fall down?
  • Speech- Is the person slurring or unable to speak?
  • Time to get help- Call 911 
  • Tongue- Can they stick it out? Does it fall to one side?

Donate to the American Heart Association here

Follow Erin on Instagram @peaches.and.dream

Listen to Love is in the Air Part 1.

Shop Brittany’s closet on POSHMARK.

“If It’s Not A Hell Yes, It’s a No”

Grab your iced coffee and let’s continue the chat over on Instagram @lifewithloverly!


This podcast was transcribed using Descript. Please forgive any typos or errors.

Brittany: Hi friends. Welcome to Life with Loverly. I'm your host, Brittany Sjogren. I'm excited to share my heart with you beyond the 15 seconds we get on Instagram, grab an iced coffee and let's do life together.

Hello? Hello. How are you guys? Happy Tuesday. So excited to be back on Life with Loverly today we have a fun special guest today. We have our wedding coordinator back, Erin Bruce. Hi Erin. 

Erin: Good morning. 

Brittany: How are you? 

Erin: I'm so excited yet again to be here. 

Brittany: Yay. I feel like you had a busy, since you were here last, engagement season.

Erin: Yes.

Brittany: And I feel like from watching your stories and watching weddings and things that you had going on, it feels like you had a busy time.

Erin: Yes. And busy in the best way. December I had a lot of weddings which was so fun. December weddings and then Christmasy decor I just love. Then had a couple New Year's Eve weddings. That was amazing, and now January wedding wise has slowed down, but it has amped up as far as booking new couples, so that's exciting. 

Brittany: That's awesome. So you mentioned before we started recording that you had a vendor meeting over the weekend, what does that kind of look like for maybe a new bride who is in this phase. I know we talked a lot about what to do right after you get engaged in the last episode, which if you haven't had a chance to listen to, we will put a link for it.

So you can listen to that one first and then come back and listen to all the next things to do, but in a vendor meeting, what kind of happens and how does that work for you? Are brides like booking you there? Or what exactly does that mean?

Erin: Excellent question. When I talk vendor meeting, I forget that it can be jargon to someone else. They're like, what is that? It looks differently for different venues. Sometimes venues will host to the public and you maybe purchase a ticket and they round up all of these vendors. They have photographers, videographers, photo booths, caterers. They have every vendor you can think of wanting to hire, which can be overwhelming.

 Go in with a nice deep breath, go in with a notebook and a plan of action. There are venues that you are invited to their vendor meeting once you have booked with them.

Brittany: Okay. 

Erin: So this particular meeting last weekend was at a sister venue and it was open to the public. A lot of our couples have booked there and a few of them have not, which is great because they still get to meet all of us and they are not auditioning. They are meeting who they vibe with the best, their package when you have an all inclusive package, it will come with a coordinator, florist officiant, baker, caterer, photographer. Then from there, obviously different packages include different things and they get to meet the four or five coordinators that are associated with that venue.

They get to meet four or five caterers. They may not love barbecue, but they love this taco bar that this caterer does. They may love the cupcakes and the cutting tier of this baker or their macaroons. It's so great because it gives them so many options in one place under one roof. 

Brittany: It's probably really nice for people just have options laid out instead of going to magazines or looking online and then getting lost or going down a rabbit hole and then not being able to clearly see, here's what this could look like for me. I feel like that makes it really easy for brides and grooms to visualize the potential of their day.

Erin: Absolutely. 

Brittany: Which is awesome. I wish that there was something like that when we were getting married, because it was very much okay, here's our venue. I don't really know a lot, and then there was this big time of limbo. It felt like.

Erin: For sure. 

Brittany: I think we're gonna touch on that a little bit today. So we thought it would be fun to talk about the next steps in the wedding planning. So once you're engaged and you've picked out some of those bigger things to start, then what happens after that? In between this planning phase and the actual wedding day. 

Erin: Yes. There are going to be, like you said, there's just different stages throughout the process, and before COVID, there was more of a timeline of when to book what vendors I know on the last episode we mentioned really focusing on photographer, videographer, DJ coordinator. Those, I would still start without first. I would book all of my vendors as soon as you can simply because in the current stage we are in this year is set to be the biggest wedding year since 1984.

Brittany: Oh my gosh. 

Erin: Like 2.5 million weddings was the statistic and the article I was reading. So it's better to go ahead and book your vendors. Then you may not be doing a tasting necessarily right away. If we're eight or nine months out, you may not be choosing your cake flavors. At least you've paid the deposit, and you've got your caterer that you wanted. You've got them on the books, right? You've got the vendors locked in. Once you get that, then you'll go to the personal side of it. Okay. I've got my dress ordered. What kind of shoes do I want to wear? Do I wanna wear a veil or a head? Or just my hair down.

You'll start thinking about your wedding party. Who do I want to ask? Who does my fiance want to ask? And then how do we want to ask them? It's become promposals are a thing, and when we were in high school, you just ask to go to prom, right? And now it's this whole proposal for your maid of honor and your bridesmaids.

Which I am here for being extra. I also advise my couples not to get trapped by that either. Do not feel like you have to spend $150 each bridesmaid when you have six of them to ask them to be your bridesmaid. 

Brittany: It's so true. I think back on weddings that I've been in and I don't remember how they asked me to be in their wedding. That's not something that's a memory that sticks out. So I feel like that's really good advice is not to just harp on how am I gonna ask? But I do remember feeling like that was the next big thing in the planning. And so I was like, this has to be exciting and feel big, but I also think just a handwritten note or something special is gonna be more sentimental later down the road, instead of spending $150 to be like, Hey, will you be my bridesmaid?

Erin: It doesn't have to be crazy. You're going to remember the bachelorette trip. You're going to remember showers versus the cup and the bath bombs and everything you had been given in the box.

Brittany: I feel like save your money and maybe do some type of bag or something for the actual wedding day because that's another thing that I know when I got married, I gave all of my girls a monogram tote bag and a matching robe that we could wear to get ready and a piece of jewelry to wear in the wedding and maybe one other thing. And so I saved the money that I could have spent for the bridesmaid side to give them something, to make the actual day a little bit more memorable.

Erin: Yes.

Brittany: So that's another thing , but I feel like at this point of planning, it's I wanna do something big now, I wanna make an impact now. But is that the best money spent? 

Erin: And it's an honor, like we mentioned before, you're hand picking these people. It's a huge honor to be chosen. It doesn't have to be this elaborate thing. Then once you've asked them, you figure out with the girls, either the maid of honor starts the group text or the bride. And we start to look at bridesmaid dresses, whether or not you've chosen your colors. We can't really start bridesmaid dresses until we have a color scheme.

 Decide if we want to use a certain brand, whether that's online. Do we wanna go in store? Does the online option offer trying on in store. For example, our sister did Show Me Your Mumu, and it's mainly online ordering, but they do have dresses at Nordstrom that you can go try on and see if they work.

Brittany: I feel like this is getting into the fun part where you get to pick your colors and your dress. And this is where all of those Pinterest boards of your secret wedding album is coming to life, which I feel like was the fun bulk of planning the wedding. 

Erin: Yes. 

Brittany: That's where we are.

Erin: Yes, because vendors are good. Now you get to pick the pretty things.

Brittany: I think too, it's important to maybe start considering what the guys are gonna wear. I remember Chris was I want a three piece suit or a vest situation. And I was like, no. I think it's important to get on the same page with what your vision for their outfit is gonna be and what their vision for the outfit is gonna be. If you need to meet in the middle or whatever, we ended up doing Navy tuxes, and that was hard to find. The guys ended up renting them, but I feel like it also takes the guys a lot longer to get that process done. So that's probably another thing that needs to happen sooner. I feel like sometimes guys get so stuck in, this is what I wanna dress like, and that's it.

That's the only thing I care about in this wedding. Sometimes I feel like maybe the bride, her view of this is so different. So I feel like you gotta get on board with each other's taste.

Erin: Yes and time of year. Yeah. My sweet brother-in-law insisted on having a vest and their wedding. So hot that they regretted the vest.

Brittany: That was one way I was able to get around the vest is because our wedding was in August. I just pulled the you're gonna be so hot. Think of how hot it's gonna be. A cumber bun is much more like a way to go here, please, yeah. I think getting on that is important. And I don't know. I think you can still have a lot of fun with all of this. 

Erin: Absolutely. 

Brittany: What else should we be doing while, speaking of bridal party, any other important things surrounding them? 

Erin: We mentioned how you're gonna ask them, and even how you mentioned just start brainstorming their present for the day of because then you can start watching for sales.

 I love especially when you're buying multiple of the same piece. It doesn't hurt to get that baby on sale and you'll start building your website, and on there typically it has a spot for your wedding party. You wanna get little quick bios that you put in there about them. You'll start considering if you're going to have a shuttle, especially if you're serving alcohol.

 Your guests definitely appreciate a shuttle. Book your blocks of rooms, whether that's at one hotel or a couple hotels in the area. So there are some super fun, pretty details. And there are some less sexy details, right? Shuttles and hotels, but also so necessary. With the busyness of it, you can't do it too soon. Once you make out that list, whether you keep it on the computer or you keep it in a binder, I'm a very pen and paper, I have to cross off the task. Just keep it organized and just knock off those tasks a little bit at a time. 

Brittany: I think this is where a wedding coordinator really comes into play to help and give ideas to your couple. You can give scenarios where, Hey, I had a wedding where we had a bus for transportation and it was great, but we had to wait for every time some, the bus dropped somebody off, then it was like 20 minutes back, so it took longer to get everybody there. I feel like you can give examples of, this is why I would go with this way.

Your venue only allows you to do this. So like, how can we make that work for what you had in mind for your special day? That is where you come in to make it just makes sense to them. I feel like.

Erin: Absolutely. Even with your coordinators ideas in general, I remind my couples. You can take or leave them. It's not going to hurt my feelings. I won't take anything personally. I will give you the honest truth from what I've seen in the past of all of the weddings I have done. Yes. I've tried that scenario and it was a little chaotic if it means that much to you, we can figure out how to make it happen.

Or sometimes just hearing that it was chaotic is enough for that bride to be like, okay, we'll scrap that idea. I always say I don't want them to see a friend doing something or a family member and them think, oh, where was Erin on that one? So I'd rather them say no to stuff I've thrown out versus not even give them any ideas.

Brittany: I think just being a sounding board because you have experience with so many weddings and your bride and groom might not, or they've been to their friends' weddings or maybe they're the first of their friends to get married. And so they're setting the bar. I feel like doing as much research as you can and talking to other people who have been in this industry, it just only seems like it could benefit you during this intense planning phase. 

Erin: They're planning one wedding. Whereas I've seen how many? It helps to have someone with those eyes and like that's such a great point. They may be the first of their friends to get married, and I've also had couples where they're the last of their friends to get married. And my groom was like, I don't wanna do the garter toss. They're gonna call out for those single guys, and I'm gonna have maybe one buddy go out there or an uncle and that's where it's like reminding you to make your day true to the two of you.

If you don't wanna do the garter toss, don't do the garter. In fact, for that wedding, we did a gift card toss. 

Brittany: Oh, that's cool. 

Erin: It was so fun. It was in November. So it was right before Thanksgiving, so what she did was she tossed an Amazon gift card because hello, black Friday shopping.

 For the girls. And then for the guys, they were really into craft beer. So they tossed a brewery gift card and we didn't make it about singles. It was just, all right, ladies, come on the floor for your chance for an Amazon gift card. And then the guys, all right, guys who wanna chance for a brewery gift card.

And it was a bigger crowd that came out and so fun. 

Brittany: That's really cool. I've never heard of that before, but that's another thing get creative with your wedding. You do things that you've never heard of being done in weddings. It's okay to create a new set of rules for your special day, if it's important to you.

Erin: For sure. That's so fun. 

Brittany: This is making me wanna plan a wedding and get married again. 

Erin: My list of what I would have done differently gets longer every year that I keep doing this there are just so many things that I love and we didn't necessarily follow all the rules. I. My brothers were my bridesmaids. Quincey had one of his best girlfriends as one of his grooms girls. So we did break the mold a little bit. There are so many things I would've done differently.

Brittany: I know when we got married, I felt like the mold wasn't really broken yet. It seemed very traditional still, and people weren't really stepping out of their comfort zone or saying oh, I'm gonna do this different, but also I feel like social media wasn't what it is today. So you didn't have all these just like ideas that you could just so easily access the way that you can today. But I feel like there are some crazy ideas out there that it's that is so cool. I would've never thought to do on my wedding day.

Erin: And it's one of those things that can also lead to just this decision fatigue and this overwhelm . So I remind my couples once you've made your decision and you feel solid in that decision, close the book, move on. The trends you're gonna change in the time that you've chosen your bouquet in the four months that you're talking to your florist.

If it's something that you want to change, then by all means you're not locked in, but close the book cuz you know what you love. There is a podcast episode that I refer my brides to time and time again, it is Living with Landyn and it's such a simple concept and it applies to everything, but I love it specifically for wedding planning and her tagline is if it's not a hell yes, it's a no.

So when you're looking at TikTok or looking at these trends or you're on Pinterest, if it doesn't give you goosebumps, shivers up your spine, it's a no. 

Brittany: I love that. Cause it's so simple and it really makes you think. Because there's so many things out there that it's oh, that's really cool. Should we do that? Let me look into that. How much money is that gonna cost? And then you go down this big rabbit hole of wasting time to be like, oh, that's not gonna work for me, but it was never a hell yes to start with. It was just a, well that's cool. 

Erin: Exactly. 

Brittany: So especially when it comes to planning a wedding, because you can do so many different things. That's great advice. 

Erin: We just want to eliminate that overwhelm because it just inevitably happens.

Brittany: So if you had to choose, or I guess what would you say is most common between your couples getting a band or having a DJ lately? 

Erin: It has been DJ. Okay. One of our favorite weddings as a family that we went to was our cousins up in Michigan and she had a live band. They were unreal. It was one of the best weddings we'd been to. And it was all aspects of it. It was just a fun day. It was at the Elks Lodge and the live music, man it was so amazing. I do love when they have bands. I also know that it's a little higher on the budget.

So also like the, that tagline, if it's a hell yes. Then let's figure out, do we have to work overtime? How are we going to pay for it? Because it might have a price tag on, whereas if it's a no, that's fine. No pressure there. 

Brittany: I feel like sometimes I wish there were combo options, which I'm sure there are, but there's so many times I've loved like the band and then it's okay let's turn this up with a DJ and all the great dance songs and you feel like the crowd's vibe, but you're not at the mercy of a band playing a slow song next or something. Does that make sense? I always want like the live music to get it going. Then sometimes I feel like my favorite part of wedding receptions was when the band would take a break and turn on an iPad or an iPod.

And then it was like all those like fun music dancing that everybody knows everyone's singing. but.

Erin: I know, the perfect day would include both. I've had where they had a DJ for reception and we had a mariachi band for cocktail hour. That was super fun.

We've also had the DJ for the reception. And then for the cocktail hour, it was this string band and just very folky for lack of a better word. It was so fun and everyone loved it. All ages loved like you said, just the mix of having the live music and the DJ. 

Brittany: Yeah. Also speaking of music, I feel like it's important to start that day of getting ready playlist, what songs do you maybe wanna hear while you're getting your makeup in hair done and your hanging with your bridal party. I think of songs that you later, when you hear them on the radio, you're like gonna have a memory of, oh, that was so fun. That's when they were doing my hair, we did a champagne toast while that song was playing. So getting that list together for a pre-wedding jam session, if you will.

Erin: Yes. Oh, for sure. We always attach songs to memories, and we want what the bride wants. So that's another great task for our maid of honor and bridesmaids. What do we wanna see on the playlist? Do we want it to be heavy Beyonce in *NSYNC. It really is such a vibe in the bridal suite and on my list of what to bring, I'll say bring a Bluetooth speaker. There's nothing like having your jams while you're getting ready.

Brittany: So with that, you mentioned having your bridesmaids or maid of honor start getting that list ready. I feel like there's a lot of tasks that you can maybe offload as a bride or groom could even offload some of these tasks to people in their bridal party, but it's knowing to have them start researching those type of things. So it's not like a last minute, week of wedding being like, what are we gonna listen to? I don't know. I wish I would've asked somebody to make a list of that type of thing. I'm sure there's other things like that are great tasks to like offload to your bridal party. 

Erin: Yes, absolutely. I am reminding more often so my brides than grooms to not be afraid to delegate. This is a great, if you are getting favors, this is a great task to ask your girls, have them come over, get a bottle of wine and assemble your favors. For my sister's wedding, I did an itinerary for the week. I had our Tuesday nail appointment on there and I gave it to guys.

So I had our Tuesday nail appointment, the address of the nail salon, the time we were meeting, and then the Wednesday rehearsal dinner, the address of the venue and address of the rehearsal dinner, and then Friday, where the guys were going for their eight o'clock tee time. Ladies, you have to be here at the venue at this time, we'll start hair and makeup.

And it was nice cuz they had phone numbers, the wedding hashtag, they had addresses. Actually from that list, his best man saw that we were getting our nails done, and he was like the guys wanna get our nails done. So he made an appointment and the guys went all and got manicures. Like it was so fun, but why that's awesome.

Why are we not included in this? And it just helped. My sister, the bride, no. Okay. The wedding party knows when to be and where they're taken care of, or the maid of honor can delegate. Let's start looking at dresses. Do we want to do different styles and maybe one color anything that you can help take off of the bride's plate because they have so much it just makes you MVP. 

Brittany: If you are somebody listening to this right now, that is maybe in a wedding part of the bridal party remembering to start asking now Hey, what can I help you with? I know we're three months out, but I'm happy to do whatever it is that is on your list. What can I help clear out? Continuing to offer your help is gonna I don't know. I feel like you are really great friend to this bride, but also is gonna help her day go so much smoother. 

Erin: Absolutely. I'm not sure what I want for makeup. Great. I'm gonna hop on Pinterest and let's look at makeup trends or let's look at different hairdos or different styles, and then you are sending ideas to the bride and at least it's helping her narrow it down and she may not want that, which is fine. But at least you're offering, and that's huge. 

Brittany: And I think too when someone has offered to help, sometimes you're more likely to be like, okay, sure. Yes, I would love your help here. Instead of just being like, unless you're just a queen or king of delegating, sometimes I feel like it's hard. For me personally, I have a hard time delegating out and being like, Hey, can you help me do this? If somebody came to me and they were like, Hey, what can I do to help? That would take so much pressure off of me, and I'm sure there are brides who are the same way who would just love to be asked, what can I do to help you here?

Erin: Yes. What are you in the thick of right now? What can I look up? Shuttle companies. Great. I'm on it. Yeah, I'll do that. You start looking at website, what website you wanna do. 

Brittany: And I think some of my, like most fun memories were those like random girls' nights sitting in the apartment, drinking wine, planning, the wedding, or planning something specific or, and then the other girls are reminiscing if they've done it before, or oh I went to this wedding and we did this. Those memories are so fun to look back on and that was actually such a fun experience when we did that or whatever.

Erin: Because the whole process you want to enjoy, it can be a lot. You want to have fun with it. It's such a fun day to plan that you have to remind yourself to have fun planning it. Set a timer and say, okay, tonight we are going to work on the family shot list. I have to get this to the photographer within the next month. I wanna go ahead and start this for me. We have a huge family. So our family list would be rather large.

I have some couples that the family list is not as large and they're able to knock it out in one sitting when you set the timer, let's say 30, 45 minutes. When the timer goes off, close the book close Pinterest, walk away, like you said, it can be this rabbit hole and I don't want you to dislike the planning process. So it's great to chip away at it. Set your timers and it becomes more enjoyable. 

Brittany: That's great advice. Okay. So one other thing before we change the subject here in just a second, we need your help listeners out there. We need your help for some gift ideas. So this week Life with Loverly Instagram stories. We're gonna put up a few question boxes that ask for what was your favorite gift that you ever received as part of a bridal party? Or what did you gift to your parents or your in-laws as a thank you. Another one that I think we're gonna share is about the best registry item that you registered for.

So we have a lot of gift ideas coming because I feel like there's always a question around what should I get my bridal party? Or I need to start registering, but I don't know what to register for. So we're going to pull the people and get you guys a bunch of really great ideas.

So I'm excited about that. So if you are in this season and you need ideas, then make sure you are following along in stories on Life with Loverly 's Instagram. So before we let Erin go, today is February 1st, which is American Heart Month. And I know that this month and this American Heart Association is very close near and dear to your literal heart.

You are a survivor of having a stroke. 

Erin: That's right. 

Brittany: I thought it would be really cool if you could maybe talk to our audience a little bit about what your experience was like, just because it is American heart month and we are gonna be doing some things to give back. I think it's crazy how this all ties in together. And I think people would love to hear your story and just bring awareness to American heart month.

Erin: I love it. I would love to. One of the things, I think it was a couple months after the stroke, and we were at Kroger, grocery shopping, and they were there with the boot raising money. One of the firemen that was there, Quincey said he was there. He was at our house when I called 9 1 1. So I took a picture with him, and it gave me the idea that I wanted to go to the fire station and thank everyone who was there, who was on hand. We are pulling into the driveway and I look over at Quincey, and I tell him, turn around. This is crazy. They do not care.

And he said we're already here. Let's just go in. So I took a deep breath. We went in. The first fireman who greeted me, he knew who I was. He wasn't on my run. He knew who I was and he knew who was that he was able to direct me to who to thank. He also said something that has stuck with me. He said, we always wonder what happens to the people we take to the ER.

 He said so often we are asking the nurses that we have become friends with. Hey, what happened to that gentleman we brought in, was it a true heart attack? Did he make it, what happened with that woman? Was it a stroke? And he said, we ask and we follow up on all of. And I thought how crazy, like here, I thought it was ridiculous that I was going to thank them, and they loved knowing that I made it. 

 I got to thank them and then it turns out a couple other guys were at a separate station. So we went over there and as we were leaving that station, this one gave me a great just a good long hard squeeze. He had his hands on my shoulders and he looked at Quincey and he looked at me and he said, you're too young to have had this. We need you to speak out, and it stuck with me. And at first I thought, large scale, where do I even start speaking? How am I gonna get into hospitals, or what platform am I going to use? I had a mentor recently just within the past month. She said just start talking, get on your stories, start telling your story, and there's a part of you that it starts to think. People think she wants attention or she's looking for sympathy and it's really.

We have to raise awareness. My father-in-law had one in December and that to me was the catalyst like, okay, we've gotta speak out. So my particular stroke was August 21st, 2016.

Our first born was six months old, and I had met my mother-in-law for lunch that day. We went to Chick-fil-A and he was the first grandchild. So of course my parents and his parents both had infant car seats. , at the ready. And she said, do you mind if I take him home to go surprise, pop? Then you guys can come over later and we'll go get dinner or something.

When you have a six month old, you are so grateful for four or five hours to do whatever you need to do at home. So I jumped on that opportunity. She took him home. Quincey got home from work. It was about I don't know, 5, 5, 15 at six o'clock it started. And he looked at me and said, what's wrong? And I said nothing.

 Another minute went by and he said, no, Erin, what's wrong. And I'm like, nothing. He asked me a third time. At that point I'm starting to get frustrated. Nothing is wrong. Why are you asking me this, and at that point I was talking to him and I could feel the right side of my face melting.

And I'm like, oh, okay. And he said should I call 9 1 1? I said no. And he said it again and I'm like, no, all I could think of was senior year. And my AP psych class, this girl had Bell's Palsy and this is what her face looked like. So I'm thinking this is Bell's Palsy. This is it'll go away. This is nothing and stuff just starts to keep not feeling.

So I sat up, it's like when it's raining and you turn the radio down, I'm like, okay, let's assess the situation. I sat, and I looked down, and I looked at my left hand on my left leg. Again, my face is melting and I'm like, that's okay. 

I can see five fingers on my leg, but when I grabbed it with my right hand, it just felt like this cold ball of flesh, it didn't feel like five fingers and I'll never forget turning and looking over my shoulder, and Quincey said, I'm calling and I just nodded. Yes. 

That's when I knew something's not right.. And I could hear on his cell phone, I could hear the dispatcher say, has she had a stroke before? And I'm like, crap. This is real. At this point, I'm like, I don't wanna wear this to the hospital. 

He said it doesn't matter. what you're wearing to the hospital, we're going, so the paramedics get there. I remember they got me on the stretcher. They wheel me down our driveway, our neighbors are out there. I try to smile. I couldn't smile. And I'm like, geez Louise. They get me onto the ambulance. They close the door and it was then that I lost the ability to speak.

I've been in an ambulance before I have had life saving surgery the year before I wasn't ever scared in those situations, not being able to speak, I was scared. If you watch Grey's anatomy, it's a few years old, so this should not be a spoiler, but when McDreamy dreamy gets in the car accident, and he's in that hospital and he cannot tell them the procedures he needs them to do, that's how it felt.

I could think my thoughts. I could not speak, and he was asking me the paramedic was doing all the vitals and he was asking me, did you take any drugs today? And all I could think of was unless they spiked my Chick-fil-A lemonade. I'm good, but I couldn't even say my joke. I closed my eyes and I kept trying to say baby bag, cuz I knew was about to be in the hospital and that he would have to stay with someone.

I couldn't say that. I just kept closing my eyes and he said, ma'am, you have to look at me. You have to look at me, open your eyes. And I just wanted to say, if you let me close them, I can see my baby., And that's gonna get me through one of the things about taking an ambulance ride, which I didn't know at the time I learned later, which is why every minute counts is that they are calling the hospital getting the room ready.

They are saying we have a possible stroke patient. They are clearing out the MRI. They're clearing out the CT scan. They are getting the place ready for you. Versus we think it's Bell's Palsy driving them to the hospital. It's so serious. They're getting it ready. I got in fact they did my first MRI and it came back with evidence of a previous stroke that I did not know I had.

From there that 20 minute stroke was already agony and they told me I had to have a spinal tap. The spinal tap was to make sure that the evidence was not a brain infection. We were like, great. Tap the spine. Let's make sure cuz that is very serious. That came back clear. I had to go in for a 40 minute MRI.

I would rather birth a baby versus doing that 40 minute MRI again. It was so hard. You just had this brain injury. They are telling you to stay absolutely still. Keep your head still, your neck still. It was awful. I prayed to our granny the whole time. Then from there we had to just figure out why it happened.

I didn't have the typical predisposition factors, right? It's a lot of 'em are high blood pressure obesity, if you have sleep apnea, I didn't have high blood pressure, I wasn't overweight, I didn't smoke. So all these typical precursors, I didn't have. On the third day we did, what's called a TEE it's a trans esophageal echocardiogram.

It's a very uncomfortable test as well, and that is where we discovered the hole in my heart. 

Brittany: Wow. 

Erin: Had never known I had this and I have learned so much about hearts through my stroke, which is people are probably thinking, okay, where's your stroke story going? Bring in the heart. 

This was where I learned so one in four of us have this it's that super simple thing where you take the first breath when you're born and it closes. Mine didn't close. So it's called a PFO patent foramen ovale. Very common. So my cardiologist explained it because I wanted to know the ins and outs. How did this happen? Why did this happen?

I don't get it. What in the world. He said all of us we all throw clots every day. Some of them, the size of a grain of sand, some of them bigger. When someone else with atypical heart, the clot comes into the heart. From there, it's pumped onto the lungs. It dissipates. The body takes care of it. Mine, that clot was coming into my heart and it's going through that hole up to the brain, and that's where the stroke was. Wow.

Brittany: And you never would've known any of this?

Erin: Nope. Had no idea. And there was no reason to ever get tested. Because I asked why haven't we tested this before? And there was no reason. In fact, when I had my PFO closure last year, I asked his nurse, she was amazing and I said, how did I teach TaeKwonDo for nine years? How have I been and not ever had an issue. And she said it's not medical advice, but just dumb luck that this just happened. Now in my research, some of it could be that I was postpartum. Your blood supply increases when you are literally creating a human it increases like 45%.

So obviously our clot risk goes up. I think the biggest thing for me was here. I didn't think it could have been a stroke, but it can happen. Any age, it doesn't just happen in the elderly. It can happen when you're in your thirties, in your twenties. That was a weird realization to have, yet I'm so grateful for it.

I'm so grateful for it. I'm so glad it was me. I'm glad it wasn't my husband. I'm so glad it wasn't my children. It wasn't my parents. It wasn't my sibling. It was me. I can handle it. I cried during your episode with Jarryd because I've only ever thought of my stroke as my thing. I never even thought of it from like my sister's point of view or Quincey's point of view.

 How did they feel going through it? It was like, I'm good. I've got this. I'll do what it takes. I'll do therapy. I'm fine. I've had people ask me if I ever felt, why me and I don't like to overstate. I don't like always or never. I've never felt that. It was meant to be part of my story.

God was with me, even through the stroke. My son was at my mother-in-law's. My husband was home. Whereas if it had happened three hours earlier, I would've been home alone with the baby. I don't know if I would've known to call 9 1 1, or if I would've let it get to the part where I couldn't speak, he was there.

Yeah. I had a stroke. It's just part of my story. When I was talking to my, our dad after my father-in-law's stroke in December, I was talking about the simple tests. If you think someone's having it, we all hear about fast. 

You check for facial drooping, arm, weakness, speech are they're slurring their speech. Then tongue, they will not be able to stick out their tongue. 

They will not be able to put their arms above their head. My dad looked at me and he said, Erin, I've never known this. I'm 67. I've never known this. That's when it was like we've got to tell people. 

Brittany: Yeah. This is the first time I've ever heard this, too. As you're telling your story, I'm like how can we tell people what to look for? Or I think even just that takeaway from this could save somebody's life, knowing what to be aware of. 

Erin: Yes. And calling 9 1 1, my biggest thing was don't call 9 1 1. This is not an emergency. Do not. This is crazy. You can take me to the hospital. Every minute counts in a stroke. 

The statistic is that 1.9 million brain neurons die every minute during a stroke. 

Brittany: Wow. 

Erin: Get them to the hospital. 

Brittany: Yeah. And what you said to about riding in the ambulance, that's so important so that they can get ready at the hospital because they know you're on way, and that's just with anything. If you need medical attention, riding in the ambulance seems like oh, I'm fine. We don't need to do that, but there's it can be a life saving ride and you don't even know it.

Erin: Literally. Cuz they're working on you ahead of time and prepping the hospital, which I didn't even think about that aspect until. We talked to the driver, which it was his first time getting to drive the ambulance and he got to get it to 115. So of course Quincey loved that part of the story. But I didn't know I didn't know, they call the hospital and prep and get ready. It's all these things you don't think about.

Heart attack, anything that is emergency related. You get right in. 

Brittany: know that this is an emotional story for you. Obviously we can hear that in your voice, but it is part of your story, and I love that you can recognize that. I think we all have these things that happen to us in our life that are part of our story.

In the time when I was going through IVF, I was like, why is this happening to me? And now I look back and I'm like, I was able to handle that. Now I'm able to bring awareness and hope that other people can feel okay about that. That was part of my story. As we kick off the, this month of love and heart awareness, I think that's so important.

I'm so glad that you shared that with us today. Something that we are gonna do, you guys know that I always donate the money that we make from Poshmark. Every time we upload new clothes or things like that, all of the proceeds and all of the money that is made through Poshmark mark, we donate that to charity every month.

 This month and the month of february we are gonna be donating everything to the American Heart Association. We will also put a direct link to make a donation. If you feel led, if any of our listeners, if you feel led to make a donation the details will be in the show notes so you can easily do that.

And I'm so thankful for you bringing us great advice about weddings, but also telling your story. I know it's gonna change somebody's life because they listen to what you have to say today. So thank you so much for that. 

Erin: The thanks go to you and this platform, because it's one of those things and you hear it said time and time again if it helps one person it's worth it. It goes for this too. 

Brittany: Thank you so much for being here and I can't wait to have you on another time to talk all things wedding coming soon. 

Erin: Yes, I'm always ready. 

Brittany: All right, friends. Thank you so much for tuning in to today's episode of Life with Loverly.

We will chat soon. Thanks for listening to today's episode. I can't wait to continue these conversations with you over on Instagram at Life with Loverly until next time. 

Nichelle: That was perfect.

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