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Adorable Atlanta Botanical Gardens Engagement Session

When this sweet, sweet duo landed their cute little selves onto my screen, they stole a little piece of my heart and tucked it away in this tiny, but love-filled gallery from Gracie Blue Photography. And let me tell you, it’s filled to the brim. Filled with ear-to-ear grins, gentle forehead kisses, hand holding amongst the tulips and one furry little white friend that just so happened to steal my heart, too.

From Gracie Blue PhotographyMelissa and Michael are such a fantastic couple. Any description I give wont do them justice, so here are a few of my favorite things they had to say about each other.

From The Groom…I love the way she looks out for everyone but herself. How she is more concerned about the welfare of others than her own. It fits well because she is the only thing I really care about, so it allows me to take care of her while she takes care of the rest of the world. That’s why we fit together so well.

From The Bride… I love how he’s not afraid of anything, and he truly believes that–no matter what happens in life–things will always work out in the end. I am definitely the worrier of the two of us, and he can always comfort me and convince me that everything will be okay. Watching how he lives life so fully and without fear encourages me to be strong and brave.

We can play normal in front of other people (for the most part), but when it’s just the two of us, all bets are off. We always seem to be making jokes and running around the house playing with each other. We’ve given up on saying any version of the word “hello” to each other after being apart for any length of time, instead opting to scream, “LOVE!” upon being reunited.

Photography: Gracie Blue Photography | Garden: Atlanta Botanical Gardens | Park: Piedmont Park

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Elegant Affair at The Georgian Terrace

When I first laid eyes on this beauty from Belle Of The Ball Events and Our Labor Of Love By Heidi, I couldn’t help but be mesmerized by it’s sparkly, shining elegance. The Georgian Terrace, the iconic hotel with it’s delicate marble detailing, grand staircases and fancy chandeliers paved the way for every inch of sophistication and Gertie Mae’s Floral Studio added just the right amount of romance with their lush florals. Head to the gallery to be enchanted.

Colors
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Fall
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Elegant

From the beautiful Bride…There are some moments in time that will forever stay with you. Just a blip on the radar when you think about a lifetime, but no matter how much time passes it always stays clear and vivid in your memory. Mainly because you know that from that moment on you will never be the same. First laying eyes on Rob in that quaint Baltimore bar, Memorial Day weekend 2011, is one of those moments. He was confident, sensitive yet strong…incredibly handsome. He took me off guard with his charm and impressed me with his chivalry—the man of my dreams. Two days after we met that day in May, we went on our first date and 6 months later we were engaged to be married. Not long after, prompted by a job opportunity for Rob, we packed ourselves up, kissed our hometown of Baltimore goodbye and moved to Atlanta. While we missed (and still miss) the Chesapeake Bay, crab cakes and our families dearly, we were happy to embrace the warmness of both the people and the weather in the south. Although, I must admit, when it came time for us to plan our special day, we didn’t quite know where to begin. Having just moved to this southern city, we knew little about where we wanted to tie the knot. I knew only that I wanted Veronica Lake inspired waves and Rob, well, he just knew he wanted me as his wife. So, as I assume most newly engaged couples do, we began exploring venues. And while a few outdoor locations did steal my attention, the Georgian Terrace stole my heart. Everything about the chandeliers, marble floors, delicately spiraled staircases and intricate architecture of the iconic hotel held an elegance that allowed us to envision our love story unfolding between its walls. We wanted a palette and florals that complimented the innate beauty of the ballroom, so we kept it romantic, yet classic with ivory and blush tones. Hints of gold arrived in the reception decor as it seemed only right to include them in such a grand space. As a designer for a living, I delightfully took the invitation look and feel upon myself. The beauty and art of letterpress has always held a special place in my heart, so we enlisted the help of Farmwood Press to have my designs crafted that way. Before stuffing and sending them off, Rob and I wrapped each invitation suite in a tulle bow and then Myrtle and Lloyd, a local calligrapher, added to the loveliness by hand addressing each one. After we had selected the reception venue, we needed to nail down the ceremony location. This was easy for us as Rob and I had always talked of wanting a sacred occasion of love and commitment. Therefore, exchanging vows at the breathtaking Cathedral of Christ the King was the perfect choice. One of my fondest memories today is walking down that magnificent aisle towards my groom as Pachelbel’s ever-lovely “Canon in D” was played on the harp. It was magical! After our nuptials, Rob and I were whisked to the reception in a 1947 Rolls Royce Silver Wrath while buses transported our guests to cocktail hour. There they noshed on hors d’oeuvres and sipped champagne while a pianist filled the air with classic love songs. After a seated dinner and toasts, guests spilled onto the floor and danced to an array of tunes by Chris Watson of Lethal Rhythms. To cap off the evening we had milk and cookies passed at midnight and gave out sunglasses in an array of colors shortly there after. Rob and I danced joyfully together well into the morning hours, surrounded by a 100 of our nearest and dearest — me with my Veronica Lake curls (and my dear husband!) and Rob with his wife.

Photography: Our Labor Of Love By Heidi | Videography: Wages Films | Floral Design: Gertie Mae's Floral Studio | Wedding Dress: Jim Hjelm | Cake: Frosted Pumpkin Gourmet | Invitations: Farmwood Press | Ceremony Venue: Christ The King Cathedral | Reception Venue: The Georgian Terrace | Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Rings: D.Gellar And Son | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Bari Jay | Catering: The Georgian Terrace Hotel | Hair & Makeup: Brushworx On Location Hair & Makeup | Calligraphy: Myrtle & Lloyd | DJ: Lethal Rhythms | Favors: Macaroons | Groom's Attire: Jos. A. Bank | Groom's Attire: Joseph A. Banks | Ceremony Harpist: Julie Albertson | Cocktail Hour Pianist: Bob Cardone | Coordination: Belle Of The Ball Events | Linens: The Georgian Terrace Hotel | Transportation: Atlantic Limo | Veil: Jim Hjelm

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Behind The Blog: Waiting On Martha

You know when you meet someone and you just know you’re going to be lifelong friends? Well that’s kind of how I feel about Mandy of Waiting on Martha. She’s no stranger to SMP (in fact, she’s part of our contributor network!) but we’ve yet to take the chance to delve a little deeper. With photos from Rustic White, we’re going behind the blog!

SMP: Tell us a little about Waiting on Martha!
MKR: Waiting On Martha is a lifestyle blog with the philosophy of making every day beautiful. From food and cocktail recipes, decorating tips, fashion and beauty tutorials and most importantly, entertaining ideas, I believe that everything, no matter the apparent importance, presents a reason to celebrate and raise a glass.

SMP: What’s one change you made that really made your blog thrive?
MKR: Original imagery really made my blog thrive. With millions of blogs penned daily, I knew I would have to make a splash and I’ve tried to do that by telling stories through gorgeous imagery. Whether it’s a simple cocktail party or a lavish dinner party, I want my readers to be able to visualize my ideas so that they can truly put them to use.

SMP: What piece of advice would you give to a blogger just starting out?
MKR: Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s end. Some bloggers have been around for a decade and they didn’t have millions of followers from the start. It takes time to cultivate an identity and loyal readership. Also, be consistent. Blogging is a job, so if you promise your readers 5 blogs a week, then you better blog 5 days a week.

SMP: If you had the opportunity to get a message across to a large group of people, what would your message be?
MKR: Kindness. The world would be a much better place if we could all be kinder–kinder to each other and kinder to ourselves.

SMP: If you could do it all over again, would you change anything?
MKR: No. I truly believe that where I am in this exact moment is where I’m supposed to be. Life is too short for “should’ve, could’ve, would’ve.”

SMP: Your most favorite item in your home?
MKR: My Gray Malin, A la’ Montagne, Top of Aspen Mountain photograph. It’s huge (36 x 54) and framed in a gorgeous white lacquer. It was the first piece of art I invested in and it represents the Mr. and my love of skiing, so it’s very personal.

SMP: Three things every style savvy homeowner should have?
MKR: Every style savvy homeowner should have a well-styled and stocked bar cart so he/she can be ready to throw a party with a 20-minute notice. They should also have a personal collection of something. Whether it’s of coffee table books, ginger jars, or Staffordshire dogs, a collection is a personal touch that will stay with you from house to house. Finally, high quality bedding is essential. You spend half of your life sleeping so you might as well be comfortable!

SMP: What’s your best tip for balancing work and personal life?
MKR: Work hard play hard. I may work more than I play, but when I’m spending time with friends, family, the Mr., or even enjoying some quiet time to myself, my phone is off and I’m 100% in the now.

SMP: The best job you ever had?
MKR: This job! It’s a job I never expected to have and I now I can’t imagine doing anything else. I really am living my dream.

SMP: What advice would you give to your younger self?
MKR: Live in the moment. Learn a second language. Don’t pine for adulthood because you’ll be an adult much longer than you’ll be young. Take school a bit more seriously and always wash your makeup off before bed.

SMP: What’s your secret to success?
MKR: Hustle, humility, and understanding. Hustle. If you want a thriving blog, business or relationship you have to work at it every single day. Humility. I love the quote “work hard in silence, let your success be your noise.” Understanding. I think the biggest key to success is honest understanding. You have to understand yourself, your business, your audience and your competitors and keep adjusting your game plan to that reality.

SMP: Why do you think Waiting on Martha has done so well?
MKR: I think Waiting On Martha has done well because I try to put an original spin on everything we create. I also try to share content that offers something for everyone: recipes for foodies, entertaining ideas for the hostess, outfits for the fashion forward, and interior inspiration for the decor obsessed.

Photography: Rustic White | Hair & Makeup: Jennifer C. Nieman | Blogger: Waiting On Martha | The Optimist: The Optimist

Jacquelyn Clark