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Marriage Matters: Elegant Hometown Vow Renewal in Atlanta

Although Nikki + Jason eloped in heart-flutteringly-gorgeous Hawaii months ago, it’s their hometown vow renewal that’ll really take your breath away. From their symbolic sand ceremony, to the Mai Tai’s served at their gorg reception, every detail is tropical with a traditional twist. Sawyer Baird captured it all in THE VAULT, and every single moment is about to show you exactly why marriage matters!


From Sawyer BairdNikki & Jason eloped earlier this year in beautiful Hawaii and decided that they wanted to have a vow renewal in their hometown later on in the year for family & friends to celebrate their love story. When Nikki reached out to me about photography and looking for a place to for photos in a natural setting I knew the perfect spot, Cator Woolford Gardens, just a short drive from the ceremony location.

Amberly with Wrennwood Designs completely transformed the Decatur Corthouse into a beautiful space. From the florals to the beautiful relaxed layout of the space.

Along with all of the beautiful details Nikki also added a fun touch for her guest to have portraits done during the reception. It was seriously such a hit and fun addition to the reception.

From The Groom.. From the moment she walked into my life, God’s journey for us began. My curiosity about her on our first date started with a flicker in my heart. When I drove away from Parish, my heart grew warm and a smile appeared on my face. At that moment I knew she was very special.

From The Bride….I walked into Parish Cafe and saw the most handsome man with sparkling blue eyes. He looked at me from across the room with a magical smile. When I walked away from him that afternoon my heart whispered “he’s the one.”

534 days later…Jason and I were married at a sunset ceremony in Maui, Hawaii. It was a private ceremony that allowed us to solely focus on our love for each other. The beauty of Hawaii and the union of two souls painted a fairy tale picture. It was the happiest, most romantic day of our lives. We said our personal vows on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, ran around the beach embracing life and laughter as the wedding photographer captured each moment. We ended the evening returning to the location where our ceremony took place and danced to “Love of My Life” under the summer stars.

Four months later, we were so grateful to have a vow renewal and reception with family and friends to celebrate our marriage. The guests were served Hawaiian Mai Tai’s as they awaited our arrival. All of the joyful emotions came to life all over again as we said our personal love and commitment vows in front of our guests, followed by a symbolic sand ceremony with sand brought back from the oceanside. We ended our ceremony with a toast thanking our family and friends for all of the support, encouragement, love and laughter they contributed to our lives. The celebration was just as much about them, so we had a card made for each place setting that read “Together is a wonderful place to be.”

As for wedding details, everything mattered from the personalized vow book design to the hand painted floral vases to the monogrammed decorative pillows. We wanted the wedding to depict modern elegance with an overtone palette of grays and whites, yet portray our playful spirit, so we had a caricature artist draw guests throughout the evening and warm krispy kreme donuts served for a late night snack. Everything about the wedding reception was a reflection of us and was simply perfect. But, the best part about our wedding day was the realization that we married our best friend and as individuals, we are beautiful people, but when our lives are blended into one we form something more miraculous. Every day Jason and I are together is the greatest day of our lives.

See why marriage matters!

Photography: Sawyer Baird | Event Planning: Wrennwood Design | Floral Design: Wrennwood Design | Venue: Decatur Courthouse | Location: Frazer Center

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Whimsical Santa Barbara Engagement Session

When two software engineers who’ve worked together on movies like How to Train Your Dragon 2, Kung Fu Panda 2 and Puss in Boots decide to tie the knot, the e-sesh simply must have a nod of whimsy. They let Sunstone Winery and the beaches of Santa Barbara play backdrop as Rebecca Yale captured behind the camera, and you just might see a few Mickey & Minnie moments in THE VAULT!

From Rebecca Yale PhotographyBridgette and Alex are getting married next year in California and wanted their engagement session to feel distinctly California, but also a little unique. After talking about locations all over the state they decided to pick two perfectly “California” spots- the beach in Santa Barbara and Sunstone Winery tucked beautifully between the mountains in the Santa Ynez Valley. We started at sunrise with the beautiful pink light rising behind us in the East and stayed cozy on the beach with a warm blanket. As the sun and temperatures rose we headed over the mountains to Santa Ynez for a late morning walk through the vineyard and their gorgeous villa- and of course some wine. The bride works at Disney so we ended the session with her adorable Mickey and Minnie doppelgangers, dressed chicly in grey, matching their outfits perfectly!

From The Bride… Alex and I met in September 2011 while building custom animation software for the film industry. Our love of animation inspired us to work together on movies such as How to Train Your Dragon 2, Kung Fu Panda 2, Puss in Boots, and more.

What started as an office romance quickly flourished when I was invited by a colleague to join Alex’s weekly bar trivia team. This sparked a lot of hanging out together outside of work. Soon, we were inseparable– at work during the day, and either exploring our hometown of Los Angeles at night, or staying in while Alex serenaded me on the piano with improvised ballads and love songs.

A nod to serendipity, we discovered that we shared an alma mater of The College of Computing at Georgia Tech, and even had mutual friends there. Alex invited me to a Georgia Tech alumni event at a computer graphics conference on August 6, 2012, which we consider our first official date. There, we reminisced about school, talked about technology trends and our favorite amusement parks, and danced all night.

Since then, we’ve enjoyed many weekend excursions, fine dining, and ending the night with a glass of fine scotch in hand. To my wonderful surprise, Alex proposed in October 2015 during a romantic, candlelit evening at our favorite restaurant, Providence. We love the natural beauty of California, which led us to choose a sunrise engagement session at Butterfly Beach in Santa Barbara and Sunstone Winery in Santa Ynez Valley.

Photography: Rebecca Yale Photography | Bride's Shoes: Elin King For Marciano | Hair: Trina Duarte | Groom's Attire: J.Crew | Venue: Sunstone Winery | Bride's Dress (Beach): Free People | Bride's Dress (Winery): Anthropologie | Groom's Shoes: Johnston & Murphy

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Decode the Dress Code: Your Wedding Guest Outfit Cheat Sheet

All eyes will be on the Bride and Groom at any wedding (as they should be), but that doesn’t mean you the wedding guest can’t look your best. But, when the invite arrives, how are you supposed to know the difference between black tie optional and black tie? Don’t worry—we’re breaking down the terminology (and giving you some killer outfit ideas) so you can look gorgeous and confident at any wedding.

What the Dress Code Really Means
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What the Dress Code Really Means
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More Wedding Guest Tips & Tricks

What to Wear to a Winter Wedding | Lauren Conrad’s Guest Style Rules | How to Be the Best Guest Ever

DIY Gold Leaf Donut Favors

You know we love to get crafty around here, and these Gold Leaf Donuts might be the most genius DIY yet. With a sprinkling of edible gold leaf (yes, that’s a thing) and some cute packaging to boot, your guests will be talking about these yummy favors for good, long time. Watch the easy tutorial captured by Elysium Productions below!




step-1Start with glazed donuts (any kind will do!) Using tweezers, release small bits of edible gold leaf and gently place them onto the glaze of your donut.

step-2Next, begin building your favors. Using spray adhesive, glue your circle cut paper to the lid. Then, gently place your donuts inside the jar.

step-3Print out the “love is sweet labels” on the label paper and cut out with scissors. Add a printable label to each jar.

step-4Don’t forget to add a little bling. Cut your gold glitter tape so that you have two thin strands and secure on the jar. Trim the edges to hug the “V” of your first sticker. Voilà!

Film: Elysium Productions | Photography: Leila Brewster Photography