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Blogger Bride: Margs + Maids with Dressed By Jess

Hello SMP brides! It’s Jess from Dressed By Jess and I’m so excited to share the very special story of how I asked my bridesmaids to be a part of my big day. I really wanted to create a memorable moment for the girls to enjoy. There are so many ways to pop the question, but I ultimately decided to surprise them with a fiesta-inspired lunch themed, Margs and Maids. The keyword: surprise.

When I first started planning the lunch I didn’t realize how difficult it would be to coordinate schedules for six girls. Not to mention, all of them live in different states. Thankfully, I was able to nail down a date that worked for all of them. The hardest part was keeping it a secret between all six of them. Before I started planning the lunch, I engaged with my wedding photographer Jessa of Love & Light Photographs. It was important to me to have her there to capture all the details, and of course the priceless reaction on each of their faces. I honestly felt so lucky to have her join in on the fun. She was a huge part of the planning process as well!

Once I decided on a theme it was time to get to work. I started shopping for decorations and reaching out to some of my favorite wedding vendors to help me bring my vision to life. Originally, I planned to host the lunch on the beach, but here in New Jersey the weather is always uncertain so I decided to switch gears and bring it indoors. My future mother-in-law was kind enough to let me use her dining room (which is so stunning) for the occasion. Both her and my mom helped cook and run errands leading up to the lunch. I am so thankful for both of them. It’s not easy to plan and execute a party by yourself!

I began handwriting letters to each bridesmaid about a month prior to the lunch. Before officially asking them to be a part of the wedding, I wanted them to know how important their friendship is to me. It took me hours to write the notes. Have you ever tried to sum up your love for a friend in a few paragraphs? It’s really hard, but I’m a hopeless romantic so I enjoyed pulling at their heartstrings. The morning of the lunch was complete chaos as I anticipated. There was so much to set up and so little time. With the help of my mom, future mother-in-law, and Jessa, I was quickly able to transform the dining room into the Margs and Maids fiesta that I dreamed of.

After organizing each place setting with the handwritten notes and mini piñatas, I adorned each chair with custom tote bags from Alyssa Thiel, Owner of Parris Chic Boutique. I met Alyssa at one of her calligraphy workshops in the beginning of the year. She is extremely talented and her hand lettering is so beautiful. She created the most gorgeous sign on watercolor paper to tie the theme together. In my opinion, she had one of the most important roles, writing the words “will you be my bridesmaid” on handmade paper that I later buried inside the piñatas as the final surprise for the girls. They came out delicate, beautiful, and exactly what I was looking for. I couldn’t have been happier with the results. It’s also worth mentioning that Alyssa was traveling at the time of my request and she was able to turn around my order in 24 hours. For that, I am forever grateful for!

At the stroke of noon, the girls started to arrive and one-by-one they entered the house totally confused. They thought we were going to brunch and then shopping in Red Bank. We all sat down in the dining room and after I gave a quick speech, I told them we weren’t going shopping after all, as I had other plans in store for them. I directed them to open the letter in front of them, which led them to the mini piñata. Stuffed inside each piñata was a tiny insert which read, “will you be my bridesmaid?” The room was teary-eyed and at that moment I felt so completely whole. I couldn’t believe I pulled off the surprise without any of them finding out, with the exception of my fiancé’s sister, Lindsay. She later told me she started catching on the week of the lunch! At least I had her fooled for a few weeks. It was all in good fun. The whole day went by in the blink of an eye. After weeks of planning, it was so nice to relax, sip on margaritas, and catch up with the girls. It was such a special day.

So what do you think? How did you ask or are you planning to ask your bridesmaids? Would love to hear your story in the comments below. xx Jess

Follow Jess’s Journey:

Meet the Bride + Engagement Session

Photography: Love & Light Photographs | Floral Design: Sickles Market | Calligraphy : Parris Chic Boutique | Venue: Private Residence | Dress + Heart Cookies: Hudson Cakery | Eat, Drink + Be My Bridesmaid Signage: MLShaughnessy Designs | Ghost Chairs: A Party Center | Invitation Suite: Mary Kate Moon | Keep Calm+ Drink Margaritas Signage: MLShaughnessy Designs | Mini Pinatas : You Wanna Pinata

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Jess Galfo

From the pages of the
{ The latest from our most exclusive, hand-picked list of vendors }
Classic Summer Wedding at the Adamson House

We’re right in the thick of holiday engagement season, so if you’re one of those lucky ladies rocking a new ring let me officially welcome you to this place of inspiration called SMP. We love to celebrate real weddings plus the amazing vendors behind them, and this day is the perfect case study of pretty. Featuring the work of The Little Branch on floral design, Fiore Beauty on hair and makeup, and Diana McGregor behind the camera, and there’s lots more to pin inside THE VAULT.

Al Fresco

From The Bride… When my fiancé, Jared had the chills walking into the Adamson House in Malibu, California; we decided on the spot that it would be our wedding location. Our wedding day chills continued and was a direct result of the most surreal moments, those moments where you want time to stand still and forever be captured. One of my favorite moments was when our pastor challenged us to not kiss each other 24 hours before our big “day of kiss” as Mr. and Mrs, making the kiss as husband and wife so meaningful and delicate.

Looking over the Malibu Pier, we shared our first look and a letter I wrote to Jared, “As your wife, today I commit to you, to us, setting sail on this hand-crafted boat, known as life, as we find gratitude together in the sunny days, swim through the rough waves, survive and thrive every storm, and dance together in the rain.” During this time that handcrafted decorative sail boat designed by his best friend Geoff, who has passed the year prior, was awaiting Jared’s first look as well.

Each touch created by Carina Mclaughin at Tealight Events expanded those chills through the little details, which was defined by the talent and ability of each vendor to execute on our simplistic, vintage beach theme. The final touch; a grateful goodbye to our favorite guests in attendance as they tossed birdseeds over us on our departure in a 1968 Chevrolet Woodie.

Photography: Diana McGregor | Cinematography: Seven Star Films | Event Planning: Tealight Events | Floral Design: The Little Branch | Invitations: Page And Mason | Catering: Truly Yours Catering | Hair And Makeup: Fiore Beauty | DJ: Red Shoe LA | Venue: The Adamson House | Bridal Boutique: Uptown Bridal | Paper Goods, Cake Topper, Hand Lettered Goods: Page & Mason | Rentals: Circa Vintage {Rentals}

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
For membership information, click here
SPG Weddings by Starwood Hotels

There are some major decisions to be made when planning your big day, that’s a given. And after you’ve decided with whom you’ll spend forever, you’ll need to decide just where those “I dos” will take place. Thankfully, there’s SPG Weddings from Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Inc.

From the mountains to the beach, there’s a SPG Wedding venue perfect for every couple-to-be. One of the top locales on my list? Le Méridien Delfina Santa Monica. Between the breathtaking penthouse ballroom offering incredible ocean + mountain views to the intimate, garden-like Terrazza outdoor ceremony space and the incredible, central location, this spot has it all. Looking for something a little different? The Westin Snowmass Resort gives your guests incredible views of Snowmass Village as well as the surrounding mountains. The stunning hotel has direct access to the ski slopes as well as an incredible spa — your guests be thanking you! We’re also head-over-heels for The St. Regis Monarch Beach which overlooks a private Orange County beach. Perfect for a couple who loves the sun + sand, the gorgeous resort takes care of every last detail for a big day that exceeds expectations.

Let’s talk for a second about the Westin Bellevue Hotel. Showcasing the Pacific Northwest landscape in the heart of downtown Bellevue, Washington, this locale is the perfect balance of city and beauty. Last but surely not least, we’re loving the Sheraton Universal Hotel   —  offering amazing amenities and an incredible experience in the heart of beautiful Los Angeles. OH, and did I mention the SPG Weddings Honeymoon offer? If you host your big day at a Starwood Hotel, you’ll earn points to use toward your honeymoon at any participating hotel in North America and Latin America! For all the details, head over here. Happy planning!


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