Tag Archives: church

Milano, Italia

So, the car ride out of Lucerne was pretty much full-on Annie trying to coerce Justin into stopping in Milan..

“Honey, I’ve never been to Milan.. Love, we’re driving right through.. I love Italy what if we never come back?!”

He’d break about 45 minutes outside of the city and thought he could prove his wife wrong in that there wasn’t anything to see. Ha. While not as lovely as Florence, Milan was still able to add to her love affair with Italia. So we park the car in the first lot that we find in the (what we assumed was) center of town and begin our trek around the city to see the sights in pit-stop number two on our way to Verona. We spot a tower and figure, ‘hey, that must be something important.’ Ends up that we’re walking next to the beautiful Sempione Park on our way up to the 15th century Sforza Castle, one of the largest citadels in Europe. Psh. J and his ‘nothing to see’. A of course made friends with the first musical street performer we come across..

IMG_1519IMG_1560Milan, ItalyMilan, Italy IMG_1516

Wandering through the castle’s renaissance courtyard, we find one of the entrances with a long boulevard on the opposite side. The trek continues down the street and leads us to the Piazza del Duomo, where Annie with all of her inner strength fights the urge to say, ‘see, told ya.’ But she doesn’t need to, he knows, he knows. It was a good pit-stop, the square is dominated by the Milan Cathedral, the fifth largest cathedral in the world and the most important example of Gothic architecture in the country. This guy that takes six centuries to build is just as grand on the inside, but unfortunately the cathedral ushers don’t let A in since she’s in shorts.. Women in shorts are forbidden, men in shorts are fine.. What year is this?

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After J makes a quick run through the inside our eyes turn to the left of the cathedral where we find a giant glass covered walkway – the Galleria Vittorio Emmanuele II is the worlds oldest shopping mall – but we were hard pressed to notice the shops while looking up at the ceiling the entire way through.

The little trolley car at the stop on the other side reminded us of our days back on McKinney Avenue in Dallas. We smile, and think, ‘yeah, we’d much rather look at them in Milan’ while we make our way back to our chariot. Next stop, Verona. Annie promises her husband no more pit-stops on the way.

Milan, Italy IMG_1554-002
Milan, Italy Milan, ItalyIMG_1563


Filed under Italy

Mechelen, man

Via our friend Doris we’ve found out about this awesome map of Brussels made by Use-It. It’s a free little guidebook of sorts made up by young locals to point out some of their favorite spots in the city, keeping you in the cool, not too touristy parts. We’ve been whipping out our Brussels one every once in a while to get some ideas on new places to try out or areas to stroll through, so we were excited to find out that they’re a Europe-wide sort of thing. In Belgium they’ve got all the big cities – Antwerp, Bruges, Gent and Leuven – but also a name we hadn’t seen come up all too often: Mechelen. So one slow Sunday we figured we’d give it a go and visit this place that finds itself about halfway between Brussels and Antwerp.

Now that we’ve built up this map you’re probably assuming that we’re checking off all the hot Mechelen spots. Well, no. Who knows what happened (ok, it was because Doris hand delivered the Brussels one and the tourist office doesn’t find itself in our living room) but we ended up in the town mapless. Comme d’habitude. Our first stop was St. Rombold’s Cathedral, mainly because we could spot the tower from where we parked and figured it’d be in the center of town.. And if that tower looks a little unfinished to you, it’s because it is. They stopped when the town ran out of money way back in the 16th century and it’s stayed a flat-top ever since. Inside we found a corner full of gossiping statues, presumably talking about whoever went broke.


Cleanest. Belgian. Town. Stuff was almost shiny, and the city had flowers almost anywhere they could fit them. It did have a little emptiness to it though – the place felt like it was made for way, way more people. But it was a Sunday, sunny, and holiday season so it’s not too far fetched to think that the residents had vacated their pristine little town for the beaches. The extra space gave Annie some time to practice her cartwheels. Or maybe all the locals are at the spots we should have known about if we had our Use-It map..



Filed under // Day Trips, Belgium

Firenze, Italia

Duomo in Florence, Italy via MontgomeryFest

Bonjourno Italia, you’ve got it goin’ on! To celebrate our one year anniversary that we’ve been going on and on about, we booked a trip to Tuscany. And this little corner of the world completely stole our hearts (and stomachs). The beautiful narrow streets that open up to gorgeous pops of color. Europe is filled with grand, historic cathedrals and palaces with ornate details and gold trimmings, so much that we’ve become a little numb to it. But, Florence brought it with the Wow Factor. The green and white marble that you just can’t stop looking at. The details even had details. We split our time meandering through the streets and patio-ing – which, I had to describe to my mom as ‘sitting on a patio drinking’ and we’re very good at it, to which we received a shocked, ‘Anne!’ Don’t worry, there was enough ravioli and gelato to soak it up. Mamma Mia!

Duomo ceiling in Florence, Italy via MontgomeryFest
Duomo floor in Florence, Italy via MontgomeryFestFlorence, Italy via MontgomeryFestDuomo in Florence, Italy via MontgomeryFestColorful carousel in Florence, Italy via MontgomeryFestColorful doors in Florence, Italy via MontgomeryFestRed bicycle in Florence, Italy via MontgomeryFestLooking down on the streets in Florence, Italy via MontgomeryFest
MontgomeryFest in Florence, ItalyPiazza in Florence, Italy via MontgomeryFestPiazza in Florence, Italy via MontgomeryFest

^ This adorable group of Italian men. Y’all. The cool cat in all black – yes, that’s a black leather hat to go with his black leather jacket and shades – rides up on his fancy two-wheels and throws down that kickstand. His friends all stand around admiring and you know we were thankful to have the best patio spot in that piazza.

The view overlooking Florence, Italy via MontgomeryFest
Detailed doors in Florence, Italy via MontgomeryFestThe Arno in Florence, Italy via MontgomeryFestThe Arno in Florence, Italy via MontgomeryFestNarrow streets in Florence, Italy via MontgomeryFestTypical breakfast in Florence, Italy via MontgomeryFest
Italian made things in Florence, Italy via MontgomeryFestRoom keys in Florence, Italy via MontgomeryFestFlorence, Italy via MontgomeryFest

Aside from our much needed dose of sun after the Belgian winter, we couldn’t get enough of the pasta, wine and gelato. Delicious. I can’t tell you how fun it was to break out some of the dresses that had been locked up for months. I was maybe a little overeager with the flip-flops..Ouch. It was painful for J to watch, mostly. So many hills. So much walking. But we wouldn’t have traded it for anything. Best vacation of our lives.

On the last night, we sat on a dinner terrace talking about before we were married and how fun the engagement was like his conversation with the first person he told he bought the ring. Oh, and we tried grappa for the first time.. That last photo up there was after the grappa. I know my writing has been a little way sappy-centric lately, but I had to get it out. I’ll try to keep the sappy to a yearly thing/minimum and get us back on regularly scheduled programming..try. So with that said, the rest of our trip which included an amazing wine tour through Tuscany and a ginormous garden will be making an appearance in the coming days. Arrivederci!


Filed under Italy

Our Wedding // The Church

Boutonnières via MontgomeryFest | Photography by Taylor Lord Photography | Florals by Bows and ArrowsThe groom's boutonnière via MontgomeryFest | Photography by Taylor Lord Photography | Florals by Bows and ArrowsDetails, details via MontgomeryFest | Photography by Taylor Lord Photography | Florals by Bows and Arrows
First look via MontgomeryFest | Photography by Taylor Lord Photography | Florals by Bows and ArrowsFirst look via MontgomeryFest | Photography by Taylor Lord Photography | Florals by Bows and ArrowsFirst look via MontgomeryFest | Photography by Taylor Lord Photography | Florals by Bows and ArrowsThe bride and her maids via MontgomeryFest | Photography by Taylor Lord Photography | Florals by Bows and ArrowsThe groom with his men via MontgomeryFest | Photography by Taylor Lord Photography | Florals by Bows and Arrows
Ringer bearer via MontgomeryFest | Photography by Taylor Lord Photography | Florals by Bows and ArrowsRinger bearer via MontgomeryFest | Photography by Taylor Lord Photography | Florals by Bows and ArrowsMother-daughter moment via MontgomeryFest | Photography by Taylor Lord Photography | Florals by Bows and ArrowsThe bride and her flower power team via MontgomeryFest | Photography by Taylor Lord Photography | Florals by Bows and Arrows Gather round via MontgomeryFest | Photography by Taylor Lord Photography | Florals by Bows and Arrows Walking down the aisle via MontgomeryFest | Photography by Taylor Lord Photography | Florals by Bows and ArrowsChrist the King Catholic Church via MontgomeryFest | Photography by Taylor Lord Photography

You just want a quick glance? Okay:

|1| I love velvet ribbon  |2| I did a painting of this here  |3| I told you…love. and gold. lots of gold  |4| we’re always reaching for each other  |5| there are no words for this moment  |6| can we just take a moment for this  photography. thank you.  |7| my girls  |8| well, hi there, handsome  |9| are these two not the cutest ring shots you ever did see?  |10| I’m holding on to that pillow for your day, buddy  |11| mama moment  |12| Flower Power  |13| insight into the future Montgomery fam?  |14| perspective  |15| majestic

For those of you who like a good story, I’ve got a few for you:

Deacon Tim – Officiant, friend, future Costa Rican retirement neighbor.
As soon as we got engaged, we set out to find a priest with whom we were comfortable. Our then church had older priests who rotated a lot and we never formed a relationship with any of them.  We went to multiple masses per Sunday all over Dallas and asked our friends who grew up there for recommendations. We called it stalking church. Well, somewhere along the process, we met Deacon Tim.  We kept talking about how much we both loved his words and the way he treated us so kindly and respectfully. So, after a couple more weeks of stalking, we finally got up the courage to ask if he’d  like to officiate our wedding. As a deacon, he can choose who he will marry. He invited us over to meet his wonderful wife and get to know us and why we knew we were ready for the Sacrament of Marriage. Of all of the pretty details going on around us, it was Deacon Tim who led us through the preparation and now the act of marriage. It makes my heart swell to think about how thankful I am they are in our lives, even if we only hang out for baptisms (in 5+ years) and, of course, when we retire on the beach.

Oh, that was just back story. The wedding: I was a nervous wreck when people started showing up. Handling that many people is not my forte and the mimosas had worn off. J and I snuck off to a private section of the church to catch our breath. Deacon Tim came to find us. I remember him sitting us down so calmly and telling us how confident he was in us. I mean, phew. That was it – it was just the three of us that needed to make this thing happen. He also asked if we had seen The Princess Bride – neither of us had (weird. I know). Then, he, again calmly, asked if we were ready to walk in, as if we had all the time in the world to say ‘more time please’ but we didn’t need to anymore. We were ready to get married. More than ready. Throughout the ceremony he kept making me laugh, so hard that people later kept asking me if I was crying, even J since he was holding me up while I was shaking/giggling. ‘Wove Twue wove.’ It’s now our favorite movie and one of three we brought overseas – including our wedding video and SATC, of course.

Cute story coming up in 3, 2, 1..
Gavin, the adorable ring bearer up there, kept coming up to me before the ceremony to tell me he didn’t know what to do. He was so nervous, but trying not to show it. I kept reassuring him that it would be as easy as the night before at the rehearsal and that he just got to walk with his little cousin down the aisle. Easy peasy, you got this. He was still nervous. Fast forward to after the ceremony when the wedding party all met back in The Bride’s Room. All I remember were masses of people hugging and poking me with their boutonnières and Gavin. Little Man pushed his way through the grown-ups to tell me ‘That was nothin’!’ He was so proud. Gavin, you rocked your role on our special day.

That 3rd to last row of photos is kinda a secret from J. I edited those two in after he read the post. Because he’s so straight-forward, he’ll probably think some of this story is inappropriate. C’est la vie avec Anne (that was my French name in high school and my birth name and one of the names J called me before he had the courage to ask me out since he couldn’t figure out how I pronounced it – apparently, I was Annie-Anne for the longest). Anyway, I can’t look at that first pic without hearing ‘I love your pretty dress’ in my favorite little high-pitched voice. I tried to get the girls to do a ‘1, 2, 3, Flower Power!’ with me every time I had the three of them rounded up. They just looked at me like I was crazy. I probably was. AND THAT GROUP SHOT – I debated whether I wanted my mother to see that because even though she has 11 (!!) grand-bébés, J and I are still being constantly asked if it’s time. To which my response is decidedly, ‘I want to see Bora Bora first’ that way it’s on J’s plate and there’s a perfectly sensible way to take it off. wink.. 

Do we have time for one more?

Okay, I’ll make it a good one.

You might have caught that we walked down the aisle together. It’s my favorite part. Like the bells chiming when I said ‘Yes.’ While we were indulging in homemade chocolate chip cookies at Deacon Tim’s house, he asked us if we’d like to walk down the aisle together. He said it’s something he’s asked all of his couples and none had taken him up on it. I have to tell you, this was a soft spot for our plans. I had trouble  envisioning someone strong enough to hand me off to Justin. Symbolically and figuratively..sheesh. Not to mention, I was wearing high, high  heels and had to practice standing without locking my knees. Anyway, I remember we both looked at each other. Like – um, oh, hmmmm. The subject was dropped and days later, we were getting ready for the day and I asked him how he felt about the idea. As conservative as he is, I assumed he’d say he wanted the image of me walking toward him. I was wrong. He thought it was a great idea. At that point, words started pouring out of my mouth (as they do) about how meaningful it would be to see our ceremony through the same perspective. That he was the one I trusted with everything…including my high, high heel uneasiness. How perfectly us it is that we would be inseparable and bold enough to break the tradition.

I mean, unless you want to talk more about weddings in the comments. Because I’ve been smiling profusely all week because of your sweet comments.

Reception fun tomorrow – à demain!

Photography: Taylor Lord Photography | Wedding Planning: After Yes | Floral & design: Bows & Arrows | Ceremony Venue: Christ the King Catholic Church | Bridesmaid Dresses: Amsale | Ring Bearer Pillow: BHLDN


Filed under Our Wedding

Day Tripping to Tournai

Tournai, Belgium via MontgomeryFest

Do you ever get to 2pm on Saturday and you’re just like, ‘we gotta get outta here’? It happens to us a lot..we’ve just gotta explore, stat. Especially with this crazy Belgian climate. We wake up in the morning, look at the map and do a very scientific-like calculation of driving time x amount of sun x temperature. Similar to The Day Tripping Bowl of Destiny, but less fancy. That’s how we ended up in Tournai last Saturday. Well, we showed up and were still lacking a bit on the sun, and it was still a little on the chilly side so our walking was limited to the area to just around the cathedral. That was fine because we still got to cross something off of our UNESCO list, but the rest of this little town we’re going to need to save for a sunnier, warmer day..but, really. these photos are some of my faves, so I wanted you to have a peek..

Tournai, Belgium via MontgomeryFestTournai, Belgium via MontgomeryFestTournai, Belgium via MontgomeryFest


Filed under // Day Trips, Belgium

Abbaye de Villers

Abbaye de Villers via MontgomeryFest

Just when we thought spring had sprung, we woke up on Sunday to another dose of winter. The ground was a fluffy couple layers of white, so we took advantage and headed to one of the more picturesque areas of Belgium we’d had on our list. Abbaye de Villers is a Cistercian abbey founded in 1146 (!). The abbey was completely rebuilt by the 13th century during its high point. The estate covered a good twenty-five thousand acres with 100 monks and 300 lay brothers (I mean, whoa). It wasn’t until the French Revolution that the abbey was abandoned in 1796. Today, the ruins make for an exquisite day trip if you’re in the area. For springtime photos and the inspiration for our trip, check out Cheese Web’s article.

Also, I told J that he should write this post since it’s his photos and his story to tell ( I was kinda just dancing around this place. It’s whatever.) and he maybe uttered two sentences that I’m supposed to remember at this point how? So, I’m just going to let the pictures do the talking and if you need a story, HERE‘s one. I probably reference her story once a day because obviously.

Abbaye de Villers via MontgomeryFest

I couldn’t choose which were my fave,
so I went a little cray with the photo uploading.
Click here to see the whole lot of ’em..


Filed under // Day Trips, Belgium

Sax Appeal

Dinant, Belgium via MontgomeryFestIMG_0631
Ever since our stop at Maison Leffe on this tour and the first time we drove through this craziness right HERE, we’ve been itching to get back to Dinant to check out this fab little city. It’s got some serious history, landscape, and tunes. The first mention of this city was in the 7th century..yeah, didn’t even have a 1000th place. See below for stunning views.  And it’s lined with saxophones for a reason..birthplace of Adolphe Sax, inventor of the saxophone. Continue reading

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Filed under // Day Trips, Belgium