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A Surprise Proposal with a Little Help from Gray Malin

To say I’m in love with photographer Gray Malin‘s work would be putting it mildly. From his wanderlust-inducing La Dolce Vita series to the whimsical scenes in Gray Malin at the Parker, any one of his photos is guaranteed to make me smile. And today, my smile is from ear-to-ear because this happy photo is also one Groom’s sweet proposal! That’s right, this thoughtful Groom contacted Gray to surprise his girlfriend with what I think may be the cutest proposal ever—just saying!

From the Groom-to-Be… Nicole & I were introduced in high school but started dating in college. She went to the University of Texas and I attended SMU, so we spent our weekends traveling between Dallas and Austin (although I spent a LOT more time on the road than she did!). I knew I wanted to pursue a career in film and Nic had always wanted to be in LA, so I landed a job at a talent agency and we moved here, along with our pup Wills, as soon as I graduated. 

We have been fans of Gray’s work for years, starting our collection the year that we moved to LA. We both take a lot of pride in our home and are always on the lookout for cool pieces that we’ll be able to keep forever. Our first purchase from Gray was one of his classic beach scenes and we’ve since added several more.

When Nicole surprised me with the “I AM BUSY” print, I was inspired to incorporate our shared love of Gray’s work into my wedding proposal. I reached out to Gray to ask if it’d be possible to shoot something with the phrase MARRY ME, thinking that I was really setting myself up for disappointment given the demand for his work. But, sure enough, Gray responded and told me how much he loved the idea and that he could shoot it 2 short weeks later while in Palm Springs. The rest was history and I was able to curate the entire proposal around the print – which turned out absolutely perfect, I should mention. I decided to recreate the photo in person at our favorite celebration spot, Mr. Chow. Fast forward a few weeks…she said YES!

From the Bride-to-Be…The fact that Don was able to pull this off is really impressive. He has the hardest time keeping surprises from me and there were so many fine details to the event that I really can’t believe it! We have been dating for several years and grown so much in our time together that I was absolutely overcome with emotion when I realized what was going on. He always goes above and beyond to take care of me, but he totally outdid himself. Seeing the print was the icing on the cake – our shared admiration for Gray’s work is even greater now than before.  

From Gray Malin… It was an honor to play such a sweet role in Don & Nicole’s love story. ​I mean, it’s just incredible to think that your artwork can help bring two people together and ultimately become a story that we will be able to share with loved ones for years to come. I have to say, though it’s definitely a fun twist to include it in the proposal. Who knows, maybe it’ll be something we add to our Up & Away series for other inspired couple’s proposals?

 When Don approached me, I thought it was such a cute and unique idea, that I couldn’t say no. I was happy to do it! I also love that they owned a whopping 5 pieces of mine and already were so connected to the GM lifestyle.

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Elegant + Romantic Atlanta Spring Wedding

This Bride had a vision, a very clear, chic vision for the dress she’d wear when she walked down the aisle. And when, after searching high and low, she couldn’t find it anywhere, what did she do? She got creative – and it’s with that talent and perseverance that she’s our new style crush. With the same passion she created her whole wedding and Carla Gates captured it all. Spend some time getting to know this fashion-forward lady and her handsome man in our Vault right this way!


From the Bride… We met in the Big House during our first football game at the University of Michigan. After a year of studying for economics exams, nights at Scorekeepers, and swimming dates at the campus gym, we made it official during a matinee showing of “The Goonies” and never looked back. We kept it going through graduation, my law school, and ultimately, cohabitation in Chicago. On the day before Thanksgiving, I came out of my office on the streets of Chicago, looking to meet my assistant’s mother, and Drew was outside in a tux kneeling on the sidewalk! The rest is history!!

I was really inspired by using a shabby chic feel combined with an elegant twist. There are so many weddings that are really over the top, which is great, but I wanted the “less is more” look, while not looking bare. Heather from Tulip was beyond incredible! We shared pictures, thoughts, and ideas to set the stage for the most perfect night.

The colors were blush, champagne, and other soft colors. Lots of string lighting with hanging lanterns and candles. I wanted to capture a soft, ethereal feel – making you want to fall in love with our story when you walked in the door.

So the dress is a long story! I was inspired by one of my favorite bloggers as far as the top, and knew I wanted a slim fitting bottom, with a WOW factor in the back! Of course, there was nothing that quite hit the nail on the head when you have this vision in mind. So what do you do when that happens? MAKE IT YOURSELF! I ended up finding a dress with the right bone structure, and then let my imagination run wild. With the help of my amazing seamstress Hanan, and eight 5-7 hour fittings later (including sewing the sleeves on my dress the day before the wedding!), we created the dress of my dreams!

It is amazing :) All lace with an overlay, beaded on the top with shoulders covered by a hanging piece of beaded fabric. All backless! There are buttons that go all the way down the train.

Puritan Mill was the perfect space that lend itself to the shabby chic feel I knew Drew and I both wanted to achieve while being convenient to our guests in Atlanta. It was a big space, yet could be intimate at the same time. The ability to work from a blank canvas was definitely a plus!

My mom and I went wild with DIY decor! I felt like a little kid again doing art projects! One day, my mom and I were scouring our basement and found old window frames that were going to be tossed out. We spray painted the frames and I blew up pictures of our grandparents and parents and taped them to the back of the screen. It looked great and was a perfect way to incorporate some of the people we hold dearest who couldn’t be there to celebrate with us.

Also – I am a total sucker for cotton candy, so we ordered a bunch of bags online (which ended up being delicious) and then created customized stickers! Etsy became my best friend for the nine months that led up to my wedding. I was inspired by a lot of ideas on Pinterest and then made them come to life with the help of my mom, who was my rock throughout this whole process (along with Drew).

My most memorable moment was when Drew and I signed our wedding Ketubah before our actual ceremony began. In Jewish weddings, the Ketubah is a wedding contract, which is signed before the ceremony. It is considered an integral part of a traditional Jewish marriage, and outlines the rights and responsibilities of the groom, in relation to the bride. I remember when we signed it, my heart was beating out of my chest. This was the first time when everything felt surreal. It was actually happening! I was marrying my best friend and love of my life.

Additionally, seeing my dad for the first time. I am Daddy’s little girl, and I couldn’t believe that I was being given away!

My advice for future brides is that the process is supposed to be FUN! Don’t sweat the small stuff, and just breathe :)

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Photography: Carla Gates Photography | Cinematography: Artworks Cinema | Event Planning: Magnolia Events & Planning | Floral Design: By Tulip | Wedding Dress: Justin Alexander | Cake: Frosted Pumpkin Gourmet | Bride's Shoes: Valentino | Bridesmaids' Dresses: BHLDN | Catering: Affairs To Remember | Makeup: Tara Young | Hair: CK Designs | Groom's Attire: Theory | Venue: The Foundry At Puritan Mill | Bridal Boutique: Atlanta Bride Couture | Ceremony Music + Band: Event Performance | Film Processing: Richard Photo Lab | Invitations + Stationery: With Grace | Wedding Dress Seamstress: Hanan's Bridal

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Elegant Vintage Style Hair Knot

Are you looking for the perfect wedding hair-do without having to follow a million little steps? Well, thanks to this tutorial now you can have a legendary look without all the effort. Complete with vintage flair and a stylish side knot, this Old Hollywood hairstyle is ultra glam and sure to add a lil’ somethin’ to your special celebration. Press play and learn how you can get this timeless look below!

See even more head-turning hairstyles below!

Celebrity Hair + Makeup Looks to Steal for Your Wedding | Hair Adornments | Modern Wedding Hair | 100 Drop-Dead-Gorgeous Hairstyles | Best Hairstyles of 2015

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Videography: Elysium Productions | Photography: Leila Brewster | Hair: Jennie Kay Beauty

50 Adorable Couple Moments That Will Sweep You Off Your Feet

Here at SMP, we love love. (I mean, it is our job.) And with Valentine’s Day fast approaching, it’s safe to say we’re in full-fledged rom-com, heart-eyed emoji mode. To celebrate this momentous holiday, we’ve rounded up the all-time cutest #RelationshipGoals moments that will turn your heart to mush, and sweep you off your feet — literally. So go ahead and get a little carried away with us, we won’t judge!

Romantic Couple Moments That Will Sweep You Off Your Feet
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Romantic Couple Moments That Will Sweep You Off Your Feet
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More Major #RelationshipGoals Moments

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