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Champagne + Flower Crown Bridal Luncheon

I think we can all agree this interior designer-turned-bride knows a thing or two about throwing a killer party. She gathered friends near and far for a flower crown + champagne-themed luncheon in Napa with Jacin Fitzgerald Events by her side. And the results? Pure gorgeous. Tec Petaja was on hand to capture the festivities and the gallery is bursting with more girly goodness than you can even imagine.

From the Bride… From the beginning of my wedding process, there were two things I knew for sure. That there would be an amazing bridal luncheon and that there would be flower crowns. I also knew that in addition to having bridesmaids (because for a Vanderbilt sorority girl, a mere ten person attendant party really is not enough), I would embrace the southern tradition of having a house party, composed of close friends and family, with whom I had cherished relationships, to which I desired to honor and pay tribute to. After living in Cincinnati, OH for all of my pre-college life’s entirety, I decided to make up for lost time by becoming an urban nomad and jumping around residences, between Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago, all within 5 years post graduation from Vanderbilt. All of this moving made for many a best friend in many a different city. Add to this a continuously migrating group of childhood and college friends, as well as a sister in law in Hong Kong, and getting all of my favorite girls and family together in Napa Valley was a challenging feat yet true treat.

As an interior designer, I had many a specific vision for not just the style, but feel of this event. This was both a blessing and a curse but luckily I had my amazing wedding coordinator, floral designer, and now, friend, Jacin Fitzgerald, to execute, style, and plan my dreams into fruition (she really is the best). Jacin suggested Domaine Chandon’s Étoile Restaurant as a venue. This ended up being the perfect setting as the beautiful gardens and barrel-vaulted patio evoked a true aesthetic of wine country that uniquely differed from any of our other wedding venues. Also Domaine Chandon is centered on the art of champagne, which really was perfection, as I cannot imagine anything more perfectly girly than an afternoon on a covered lanai, laughing with friends and sipping bubbly beverages.

Because the flower crowns were a definite, the style of the entire event really evolved from there. Since all the ladies would be provided with flower crowns, I thought it would be fun and really beautiful if the guests of honor, all of my ladies, donned shades whites, pinks, and florals. With this in mind, the amazingly talented Chelsea Petaja, of Oh My Deer! Handmades, penned custom invitations in rose gold foil on pale pink card stock with a request for all those in attendance to dress in their “prettiest pinks, loveliest whites, or most beautiful blooms!” Thanks to Chelsea, each one of my guests felt special and honored, prior to even arriving in wine country, as the luncheon was given an aesthetic theme to parallel it’s inspiration of cherished love and friendship.

The luncheon began with lots of laughter and story telling as everyone gathered together to kick off a wonderful weekend. An abundance of girl talk was accompanied by an education and tasting of some of Chandon’s most covetable bruts and rosés The afternoon progressed and were seated to officially become ladies who lunch as we intimately dined at one large rectangular communal table. Here, the theme of allowing for the crowns take center stage, also carried through as Jacin made the brilliant decision to allow for the flower crowns at each person’s seat to speak for themselves with a very simple name tag as a place card. Due to smaller size and scale, the luncheon ended up lending opportunity to embrace floral themes and aesthetics that I loved but were unable to incorporate into our actual wedding ceremony and reception. This rang true in the incorporation of the Jacin designed gorgeous garland runner to ornament the table. Simplistically beautiful yet dramatic in statement, the perfectly scaled garland ideally juxtaposed the bold florals of the crowns to make for a beyond picturesque tablescape and setting.

With every completed beautiful course, the afternoon became bittersweet as I wished this idealistic afternoon might last forever. After gifting all of the ladies in attendance with wedding appropriate palette themed gifts of metallically monogrammed cream grass cloth totes, rose gold Jack Rogers, and Pretty Plum Sugar getting ready garbs, the afternoon came to close and I felt a sense of pure happiness. I had successfully taken advantage of the opportunity to throw a fun female-centric event, in honor of my close family and friends. The event allowed the opportunity to make each person in attendance feel the reciprocation of specialness and love that they had granted to me over the years, in each of our uniquely close relationships. Add to this the laughter accompanied by champagne and attempts to successfully don oversized flower crowns and there are few other things a girl could ask for.

I am forever grateful for all of our amazing vendors that made this small little event possible and with all of the above said and done, I must admit that second to getting to wed my handsome husband, I would have to say that my very favorite thing about getting married was the multitude of quality girl time I got to spend with all of my nearest and dearest ladies. Most simply put, this bridesmaid luncheon at Domaine Chandon successfully epitomized my vision of chicly flower crown powered bliss.

Photography: Tec Petaja | Event Planning, Design + Florist: Jacin Fitzgerald Events | Hand-Lettered Place Cards: Chelsea Petaja | Venue: Etoile At Domaine Chandon | Champagne Tasting: Domaine Chandon 

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Molly Sims’ Tips for Finding the Perfect Dress

It’s no secret that we are kind of obsessed with Molly Sims! From her beauty tutorials to her fabulous wedding we featured in 2013, Molly has been our go-to supermodel (and supermom) for tips & tricks to looking fresh and fabulous before and after the ring. Which is why we enlisted Molly’s help for one of the more daunting and important aspects of planning a wedding: Finding the dress! With Molly sharing her easy tips to finding that dream dress, we promise, things just got a little easier!

From Molly … There are so many things to consider when it comes to purchasing your wedding dress. It can be completely overwhelming as you go through the process, but I’m here to share with my experience and hopefully give some sage advice to help you along the way. I’m not going to sugar coat it, this wedding dress business is not all champagne bubbles and unicorns. It can get rough out there ladies, and you may even question your own sanity by the end of the process! Remember the significant other that you are going to be married to at the end of the day and all the happiness in the world that will follow. I promise you will get through this and look fabulous!! I’m going to share my top 10 rules for finding the perfect wedding dress and then give you my tips on wedding dress styles and what body types they suit best.

Rule #1: Your goal should be to look like the best version of yourself

Not the image in your head you’ve had since you were six, but the woman you are right now. Don’t get a dress that you aren’t comfortable in… I’m talking about fit as well as how it makes you feel when you put it on. This is your day to shine and if you don’t feel good in your dress it will show. You and your dress are going to be front and center. This is not the day to be a shrinking violet in a dress you don’t love and feel your very best wearing.

Rule #2: Don’t go too trendy & keep the sparkle to a limit

You will live to regret a dress that is super trendy or on the other end of the spectrum fashionista cutting edge. Unless you are having a Dancing with Stars themed wedding there is no reason to deck yourself out with head to toe sequins and beading. Too much of anything is never a good thing. Think about looking at your wedding pictures with your grandchildren. Did the bedazzled zebra striped ombre’ dress really translate over time?

Rule #3: Be aware of the 360°

I talk all about this in my book, The Everyday Supermodel. You need to know how your dress looks from every angle. I think it is something to consider with almost any outfit, but more than incredibly important for your wedding dress. Take a million pictures so you can see exactly how your dress fits and looks on you. NOT just the selfie kind…we all know how to precisely move our bodies to get the most flattering angle! Bring a friend or family member to your fitting and take those pictures.

Rule #4: Don’t fall in love with the first dress

You will never forget your first, but it doesn’t mean you have to get married in it. You can always go back to dress # 1, but you need to explore your options and see what’s out there before you make any decisions. I know someone who bought that first dress. She ended up returning it and buying another one. Complete headache.

Rule #5: Budgets are NOT made to be broken (well maybe a tiny bit)

 Your wedding budget is going to be challenged, pulled and stretched to the limit already.  Why bring your dress into the fray?  Don’t get financially off track by going way over budget on your dress.  If a dress is way too expensive and out of reach, move along to the next.  Don’t ever feel pressure from a salesperson to purchase something you can’t afford.  Are you dying for a designer dress or one that is out of your financial league?  Consider purchasing a pre-owned dress.  There are companies that specialize in selling second hand dresses like oncewed.com, preownedwedingdresses.com and even Ebay.com.  

Rule #6: Location, Location, Location

They always say that location is the most important facet to consider in real estate and it is equally important to consider when you are thinking about your wedding dress. Where do you plan on getting married? Know your setting as the atmosphere definitely makes a difference. For example if you are getting married at the beach, a ball gown wouldn’t probably be an appropriate selection. Even if you haven’t booked the exact venue, don’t stress, because you probably have an idea of what type of vibe you are going for. That being said, this is your wedding and if your dream is a ball gown at the beach, then I say, go for it!!

Rule #7: Good undergarments are a MUST

Body shapers, slips and bras are the foundation for a smooth and flawless overall look. You have spent the money on the dress. Do not skimp on your undergarments. It can take a dress from a 7 to a 10. Improper undergarments can take you from a 10 to a lumpy and bumpy 6.5.

Rule #8: Try, Try Again

It is so important that you try on your dress more than once. It is important to try it on with the exact heels you plan on wearing. Try it on with all of your undergarments. Try it on with your jewelry. The most important is to try it on about a week before your wedding with a tailor in case there are any last minute alterations. We brides are notorious for under/over eating due to all of the stress of the upcoming nuptials. Make sure you are covered.

Rule #9: Find a reputable tailor

You have invested a great deal of time and money into this garment. It is key to make sure you have your alterations handled by a professional. Find someone who has wedding dress experience. Ask around for a recommendation.

Rule #10: Take a chill pill

I say this with the upmost amount of love and experience. I lost my mom’s wedding veil in a taxi coming home from a fitting. To say I was devastated is putting it lightly. The wedding dress horror stories are sadly true. I know of a bride buying and returning 5 dresses, a bride who’s dress was so long she had to hold it up as she walked down the aisle, to a bride who spent 8 hours in an emergency fitting the day before her wedding and the dress still was wrong. These aren’t myths, these are real women I personally know. What I’m trying to say is that the bad dress story may happen to you. I pray that it doesn’t, but IF it does, do your best to take it in stride and move through it with grace. Call your bridesmaids and vent! Do what you have to do, but just remember the reason why you are putting the dress on in the first place.

PS: Be sure to check back very soon for even more amazing tips, tricks and everything in between from Molly Sims!

Photography: Gia Canali Photography

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Wedding Bouquet Styles 101

If you’re a Bride-to-be, you already know there are literally thousands of flower types out there. But did you know there are also over a dozen different shapes and styles of bouquets out there to carry them in? We chose the top ten most popular bouquet shapes with our favorite real wedding examples so you can see which look best suits your style!

Wedding Bouquets 101
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Wedding Bouquets 101
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Chic Spring Miami Engagement

Leave it to Sawyer Baird to elevate our Saturday to a whole new level of chic. With a sunny spring day in Miami and quite possibly the cutest couple EVER, she worked her magic behind the lens and the result is everything an engagement session should be – fun, fresh and chock-full of love. Peek at the full gallery over here.

Colors
Seasons
Spring
Settings
Outdoor
Styles
Casual

From Sawyer Baird… Delaine & Michael are some of the sweetest humans I have ever met! When we were discussing locations for an engagement session many places came up… some being Savannah, Jacksonville, etc. Finally we decided that we would love to go somewhere that neither of us have been before – Miami. Delaine & Michael live in Tampa so the short drive was nothing for them & the quick plane ride for me was easy too.

When scouting out Miami I had known about Vizcaya for some time. It was on the back of my mind from the very beginning. I knew that it would just be something special. After talking to Delaine and showing her the images of Vizcaya we knew that it was the perfect fit for them. We were also excited to know that it would be something different than what is common for most engagements. They trusted me 110% on this one – and I am so so happy that they did.

Later we continued the engagement session to a nearby beach with some of the city in the background. We grabbed coconuts (well my other half 6’6′ man did!) and had a little picnic on the ocean complete with a beautiful sunset!

It really was the perfect day…

Photography: Sawyer Baird | Venue: Vizcaya Cafe