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A Nutcracker Themed Birthday

The Nutcracker is a holiday must and as a theme for a big 2nd birthday bash? Um, even better.  Megan Wappel Designs took the essence of this famous ballet and transformed it into a dream of a party for Sophie and Simona. From ice cream to holiday crafting, ballerinas and a Santa sighting, this party photographed by Mango Studios will so get you into the holiday spirit. T minus 1 day!

Megan Wappel Designs had such a great time planning this fun-filled Nutcracker birthday party for two year olds Sophie and Simona.

With children being the guests of honor, the creativity and imagination we were able to apply to the design and decor was endless. From the Nutcracker ballerinas, to the caricature artist, ornament making, Santa visits, balloon making and ice cream galore there was never a dull moment at this party!

Each of the guests left with their hands, bellies and most importantly hearts full of joy!

Photography: Mango Studios | Event Design: Megan Wappel Designs | Event Planning: Megan Wappel Designs | Ballarina Costumes: Malabar | Balloons: Pacha Balloon Creations | Cakes and Desserts: Truffle Cake and Pastry | Caricature Artist: Fogle Entertainment | Gold Plates, Red Wine Glasses and Gold Utensils: Megan Wappel Designs | Ice Cream: Ed's Real Scoop | Party Stakes: Party Stakes & Paperdolls & Co | Pink Napkins, Clear Wine Glasses and Utensils: Chairman Mills | Red Chairs: Detailz Chair Couture | Santa Chair, Desserts Tables, and Little White End Tables: Luxe Rentals | Stationery (tags, nutcrackers, signs) : Megan Wappel Designs | Table Linens and Draping: Have a Seat

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Backyard Autumn Engagement Party

My parents threw my fiance and I an amazing engagement party and I still smile whenever I think about the wonderful memories. This backyard celebration for these two lovebirds was the perfect way to kick-off their wedding planning adventures and I’ve no doubt there will be plenty of smiles whenever they too look back, with photos by Redeemed Photography and an adorable film by CB Wedding Videography.


From the Bride… Ben and I are high school sweethearts, and although both of us are still considerably young, we’ve been together for four years. We knew we were meant to be even before we even reached our first anniversary, and since then it’s just been a waiting game. So last Christmas when Ben finally took a knee and asked me to be his wife I was elated, it was the perfect Christmas present.

We set out to plan our own engagement party, and we knew it would be our family and closest friends who we wanted to celebrate with so when it came time to pick the venue there was no hesitation to host our party at my family’s home in the countryside. Planning our own party proved to be a difficult and stressful task, but as we got closer to the day we were overwhelmed by all the help that was poured onto us from those closest to us. They made our cake and all our pastries, they put together our appetizers and fruit platters, and made our flower arrangements. They were there from morning to well after dusk to help set up and then clean up. Our church lent us all of our plates, silverware, tables and chairs. One of our Mennonite neighbours even made for us the large red flower arrangements, and Denisa, our wonderful friend, and talented photographer at Redeemed Photography offered to come and capture the whole day for us.

Stylistically, we threw a rustic chic party, with the majority of decor being DIY. We didn’t want it to feel themed, but we did want to match the season. Since it was a gorgeous September afternoon, it only made sense to incorporate reds, and oranges, and touches of navy. Going into fall there we peaches and apples a plenty. We used local apple cider as our main drink, and for favors we handed out little jars of Apple Butter, a product that Wellesley is relatively famous for. The babys breath seemed like the obvious choice for flowers because it fit in perfectly with the outdoor country setting, as did the burlap table runners, and the log pieces. The night before was a terrible thunderstorm and we were so worried about the weather, but we were blessed as the following afternoon it had fully dried and it was the most wonderful afternoon. We celebrated with our family and friends right until the sun was setting behind us.

At the end of the day our party was all we had hoped for and more, it was not only a celebration of us, and our love, but also a celebration of our two families who joined together to truly bless us in ways I could not have imagined.

Photography: Redeemed Photography | Videography: CB Wedding Videography | Invitations: Vistaprint | Groom's Attire: Stars Men's Shops | Bride's Attire: Dress & Statement Necklace: BCBG Max Azria | Catering: Main Course : Golf Steak House | Favors And Apple Cider: Wellesley Apple Products | Flowers, Vases, Log Slices, Linen Napkins: Wedding Dream | Makeup: Definitely Diana Makeup | Table Linens, Glassware: ABC Party-Time Rentals | Tent: Burke's Tent Rentals

Prettying Up a Builder Kitchen

If a custom kitchen is not in the budget, you’re in good company. This designer went to work to add thoughtful touches that feel luxe without breaking the budget. The result is one stinkin cute kitchen and some great take-aways to work into your own space. Read on for great tips from Vanessa Francis Design and find even more captured by Stephani Buchman right here in the full gallery.

From Vanessa Francis Design… Without doing a full renovation, I was able to update my kitchen so it would look more aesthetically pleasing and feel a little more personalized. The layout and the painted maple cabinetry itself were fine but the counter, backsplash, faucet, sink and range all needed replacing.

The new commercial style range with legs gives the kitchen a high end feel. The counter in a honed finish mimics marble but is more durable. Rather than taking the backsplash to the ceiling, I opted for a pretty floral wallpaper that mimics something hand painted. It reminds me of my childhood home in England. I didn’t want a modern faucet so I opted for this beautiful bridge faucet which again is what you might find in an English country home.

Another change which made a great impact was taking the cabinetry to the ceiling. My cabinetmaker built a riser and crown and this really makes the kitchen feel more luxe. He also built a hood fan cover to match the cabinetry which replaces the microwave over the range. Adding decorative panels to the peninsula again pretties up the kitchen. Adding antique mirror to some of the upper cabinets gives the kitchen a glam feel as does changing out the boring pewter knobs to these polished nickel knobs and pulls. I chose a black and white wallpaper so that the kitchen would read as neutral and I could change out the accessories to bring in whatever accent color I desired. 

Photography: Stephani Buchman | Flowers: Fiori Oakville | Art Print: Cliffs At Sundown | Art Prints: Bon Appetit | Cabinetry: Dan Faccin | Cookie Jar: Ceramic Frenchie | Counter: Silestone Lagoon | Faucet: Waterhill Chrome Two-Handle High Arc Faucet | Interior Design: Vanessa Francis Design | Knobs: Button Faced Knobs | Pendant: Parisian Architectural Pendant | Pulls: Duluth Pulls | Range: Electrolux Icon Dual-Fuel Freestanding Range | Sink: Blanco Quatrus R15 U2 | Stool: Madeleine Backless Stool | Wood Pedestal Bowl: Wood Pestal Bowl | Woven Tray: Woven Tray