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Milwaukee 40th Birthday Party

It’s no secret that our style leans towards the glittery and girly but that’s not to say we can’t fully get on board with a 40th birthday bash with not an ounce of pink in sight. When it came to planning her husband’s party, Lauren of Ryder Sloan Events, pulled out all the stops. The result is a masculine meets elegant dinner party in Brew City with a trio of cakes that you’ll want to devour. See it all captured by Laurelyn Savannah right here!

When it came time to start planning my husband’s 40th birthday party, we threw around a lot of ideas, Miami, Cabo, Vegas, etc. But ultimately, we really wanted to bring everyone together in his hometown of Milwaukee. This meant that his friends and family could both be included.

I first reached out to Aerialist Press, a local letterpress studio where we currently live in San Francisco to create a beautiful but masculine invitation suite to get everyone excited to visit Brew City. And while we made a whole weekend of it with activities each day, Saturday night was the big party. We rented out Braise Culinary School’s private event space and rooftop garden (where they forage much of their food from). For example, the honey flavored birthday cake was made using fresh honey from their beehive.

As a wedding planner, I couldn’t stop at just that and tried to bring in some beautiful decor without going too feminine! Flower and Bee made lovely loose table garlands accented with succulents and local flowers. And as a custom touch, we rented vintage cocktail glasses and brass candlestick holders from Relic Vintage Rentals in which I used three different shades of gray tapers. I also had TAP Plastics here in SF cut gray acrylic squares for me to write 42 custom copper calligraphed menus which also acted as place cards for each guest.

We were lucky to have Laurelyn Savannah document the memorable night and we even snuck away early in the night to get a few Christmas card worthy shots of just the two of us

Photography: Laurelyn Savannah Photography | Event Design: Ryder Sloan Events | Event Planning: Ryder Sloan Events | Floral Design: Flower & Bee | Invitations: Aerialist Press | Reception Venue: Braise Restaurant & Culinary School | Rentals: Relics Vintage Rentals

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Grecian Aphrodite-Inspired Bridal Shoot

Gorgeous? Well that doesn’t even begin to describe the achingly beautiful captures from Willow & Stone Photography. Not. even. close. I mean, anytime you mix the talents of Canvas Weddings with the mastery of  Alluring Blooms the results are bound to send anyone into a Pinterest frenzy, and you can get started right here!

From Corinne Van Arsdale of Canvas WeddingsI have always been fascinated by Greek mythology, and particularly with Aphrodite, the goddess of love, beauty and pleasure. So many mythological deities have seemingly one-dimensional personality traits or skills — but not Aphrodite. She was said to be beautiful and infinitely desirable, as she was born of a god and the sea, but she was also a warrior, a schemer and a savior. This duality was ultimately the inspiration behind this shoot — Aphrodite is beautiful, soft and graceful, but she is also powerful and strong. We wanted this shoot to celebrate the strength and beauty of women — which is why we chose to place three women at the center of this wedding universe.

While we wanted this shoot to be clearly inspired by Greek mythology, we wanted to avoid designing a “theme” wedding. From the beginning, we wanted to design a wedding environment that evoked the opulence of the mythology in a modern, contemporary way that midwestern brides would want to replicate at their own weddings. For that reason, we avoided putting our models in predictable chiffon, draped gowns, and opted instead for body-skimming formal gowns with lace or jeweled details. We also chose dinnerware and stationery with a slightly modern edge to bring this world into the 21st century.

Once we had our primary inspiration in the character of Aphrodite, we turned to Greek antiquity to gather ideas for our design. First, we needed a location — and we almost immediately settled upon the Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum in Milwaukee, a villa built by a Milwaukee architect in 1923 that is situated right on the shores of Lake Michigan. The villa’s sprawling gardens and Italian Renaissance-inspired architecture were perfect backdrops on which we based our designs.

We took or cues from Renaissance art of Greek mythology when determining our color palette — lush greens, delicate blush, champagnes, ivories and hints of gold. We wanted the colors to evoke the decadence of Greek mythology as well as the obvious reverence for nature in their worship practices. This we achieved by combined lush and bountiful greenery and blooms with light gold leafing in the bouquets, table garland and ceremony arrangements.

All other details, from the lace robe to the dynamic hairstyles, dramatic ceremony draping and the lush draped chairs were inspired by the duality of Aphrodite’s softness and her strength.
This vision of beauty and strength was brought to life with the help of many of Wisconsin’s best wedding artists, including Willow & Stone Photography, Alluring Blooms, Jaxie and Sugar River Stationers. Many, many thanks go to Bloom Bake Shop, The Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum. A La Crate Vintage Rentals, The Rock Agency, Event Essentials and Sevva Salon for their contributions to this shoot.

Photography: Willow & Stone Photography | Event Design: Canvas Weddings | Floral Design: Alluring Blooms | Wedding Dresses: Brandi's Bridal Galleria | Cake: Bloom Bake Shop | Invitations: Sugar River Stationers | Hair Stylist: Cheryl from Sevva Salon | Accessories: Jaxie | Models: The Rocky Agency | Photoshoot Location: Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum | Rentals: A La Crate Vintage Rentals | Rentals: Event Essentials | Robe: Kohl's | Veil: Brandi's Bridal Galleria

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Art Museum Wedding in Milwaukee

You know how couples often exchange sweetest gifts the morning of the wedding? Well, this Groom took things one step further and surprised his Bride with probably the cutest gift EVER – a collar for the new family puppy they’d pick out together as newlyweds. It’s a wedding day surprise we can 100% get behind, but it’s only the beginning. More beautiful moments captured by The McCartneys right here.


From The McCartneys Photography… With a soft color palette and modern lines in mind, Elise and Tyler designed the wedding of their dreams with lots of help from Elise’s Mom, and an amazing team of creatives! The Milwaukee Art Museum absolutely blew us away with its grand beauty and refreshing walls of white.

But more importantly, we were lucky to capture this fun, at ease couple’s wedding day. Elise and Tyler are not only a gorgeous bride and groom, but an amazing couple to be surrounded by. The happiness they emitted was never-ending from the moment we arrived to our hugs goodbye, and you could see in their eyes that they were SO grateful for all of the friends and family who traveled to celebrate with them on their wedding day!

Elise and her ladies were pampered with final makeup and hair touches, then Elise slipped into her beautiful Anna Maier~Ulla-Maija wedding gown (and stunning Manolo’s!). We were even able to tag along as Elise’s maid of honor delivered a special boudoir session wedding gift to her groom. From the look on Tyler’s face, our guess is that he was quite surprised!

The first look took place in a galleria completely overflowing with gorgeous light and white walls and floors everywhere you looked! Our hearts may have skipped a beat when Elise opened Tyler’s gift to her – a brand new collar so they can pick out their first puppy and start growing their newly formed family of two! From that moment on, their smiles were painted on and we had a BLAST with their very charismatic wedding party! Inside the museum and out, Elise and Tyler and their stylish wedding party (donning Burberry and Adrianna Pappell) looked amazing, and we were thankful to have lots of portrait time with them!

The entire wedding day was set in the Milwaukee Art Museum, but the transformation that took place from the moment the ceremony ended until their reception tables were glowing with candlelight was incredible!! Guests were whisked into another galleria for cocktail hour and an amazing guitarist serenaded everyone as they enjoyed Wisconsin treats and beverages. From a gorgeous ceremony white washed in radiant light and gorgeous florals to a reception celebration with linens, colorful up-lighting, centerpieces and never-ending thoughtful details that filled their reception, all of the friends and family of Elise and Tyler were in for a real treat!

From the Bride… I had ALWAYS envisioned having my wedding in my hometown at the Milwaukee Art Museum and so Tyler knew there was not much room for discussion :) We did not look at any other venues and in fact, choosing the venue was one of the easiest decisions that we made related to the wedding. We LOVED the modern architecture, location, lighting and white color scheme.

We did not want to overpower the beauty of the Milwaukee Art Museum and so we chose a simple elegant aesthetic. We used neutral and champagne colors (with a hint of sparkles, of course!), autumn flowers and lots of candles for decoration. For the wedding, we wrote our own ceremony words and vows, and incorporated poems and music that had been important to us in our lives.

We created wedding favors made up of local caramels wrapped in monogrammed “C” boxes and tied with ribbons. With my mother/wedding planner extraordinaire and some wonderful family friends, I had a “craft brunch” (complete with mimosas) to help put everything together. Most of the supplies came from Michaels and we went so many times that my mother has vowed never to step foot in another Michaels again!

Our favorite moment of the wedding day was the special and private first look that we shared. Seeing each other in advance of the walk down the aisle calmed our nerves. This was also when my groom presented a dog collar as a token of his readiness to bring a wheaten terrier fur child into our loving family! Thanks so much for capturing the joy of this moment, McCartneys!

If I were to share a piece of advice with future prides, it would be: ENJOY, ENJOY, ENJOY the entire wedding planning process and try not to let the daunting nature of some tasks overwhelm you. Oh, and do not forget to plan the most awesome honeymoon :)

Photography: The McCartneys Photography | Wedding Coordinator: Mother of The Bride, Jean Simbro | Floral Design: Michael Huebner | Invitations: Broadway Paper | Bride's Shoes: Manolo Blahnik | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Adrianna Papell Via Bella Bridesmaids | Catering: Cafe Calatrava | Makeup Artist: Diane Yokes | Hair Stylist: Robert Schneider | DJ: Sound By Design | Groomsmen's Ties: Burberry | Officiant: Judge Jeff Kremers | Wedding Venue: Milwaukee Art Museum | Additional Paper Goods: Coqui Design | Bride's Dress: Anna Maier, Ulla-Maija | Bride's Earrings: Gemma Collection | Bride's Headband: Halo & Co. Crystal Headband, Nordstrom | Cake Artist: The Cake Lady | Groom's Tuxedo: J. Crew | Guitarist: Joe Wray | Up-Lighting: Sound By Design | Wedding Rings: Bachendorf's

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Romantic Bridal Hair Inspiration + Tutorial

Here at SMP, we’re never one to turn down a good dose of beauty tricks. So, when this pretty tutorial landed in our laps, we were eager take notes and bask in the beauty. It’s a dose of gorgeous locks that are sure to have you testing out a few fabulous styles. Scan the slideshow for terrific tips by Aliza Rae Photography and Gina of Wide Eyed Beauty below!

Click for the Steps
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Click for the Steps
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From Aliza Rae PhotographyThis bridal hair and makeup inspiration shoot was a collaborative effort with Wide Eyed Beauty, AnnKat Jewelry Designs, and MinkMaids. Gina and Maggie are the masterminds of beauty behind Wide Eyed Beauty, and I was so thrilled to be able to capture the romantic wedding day looks that they created. AnnKat made the most stunning bridal jewelry collection that speaks to the most bohemian and even traditional of brides. Of course, MinkMaids lovely dresses accompanied this bridal inspiration shoot, giving depth and variety for every bride and bridesmaid look.

From Gina of Wide Eyed Beauty… These days bridal hair styles are heading in more of the “anything goes” route. If you have ever looked at Anthropologie or J.Crew’s wedding editorials and thought you would love to try that perfectly imperfect whimsical hair but don’t know how, I can give you a few simple steps to creating that kind of look at home.

I recommend starting with clean damp hair. Lots of the products used for this type of look actually create that “dirty” feel for you, and too much oil or product build up in the hair before you start can ruin this look. Texturizing sprays and dry shampoos have made their way to the top of popular products. I have a couple favorites that I depend on.


  • Bobby pins (the color of your own hair)
  • Back combing brush, and a regular brush
  • Curling Iron (1” to 1.5” depending on hair length)
  • 2-3 large Velcro rollers
  • Hair dryer
  • Strong hold hairspray / (unscented spray)
  • Optional: A pretty vintage inspired hair comb, or even fresh flowers

Photography: Aliza Rae Photography | Wedding Dress: Lazaro | Bridal Slip: Jane Woolrich | Custom Wedding And Bridesmaid Dress Designer: MinkMaids | Film Scans: Indie Film Lab | Hair And Make-up Artists: Wide Eyed Beauty | Jewelry Designer: AnnKat Jewelry Designs

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Pop of Spring: A floral workshop

Flowers are not a particular strong suite for me even though I love em, love em. If you’re in the same boat, this floral workshop is right up your alley. Crafted by Mint & Lovely Studios along with floral maven, Belle Fiori, and photographs by Jenna Kutcher, it’s an afternoon spent getting crafty with blooms. And as an awesome takeaway, we have a floral recipe for crafting your very own centerpiece below!

The inspiration to host this event stemmed from our mantra of ‘consuming less and experiencing more’. We wanted to create a unique and stunning event that inspired women to begin creating more in their lives and we feel our Pop of Spring floral workshop did just that!

Everyone gathered at a fantastic locally owned store, Hot Pop, in the historic third ward district of Milwaukee. The talented and always joyful Jenna Kutcher documented the day with her gorgeous photography. After checking in, each guest selected their apron with their initial embroidered on it and used it to reserve their seat in the workshop area. The attendees sipped on shrub cocktails handcrafted by the master bartenders at Onesto and snacked on sweet treats from Yield Bakehouse.

Owner Emily, of Belle Fiori, enlisted the help of her amazing and talented team who walked each guest through the basics of flower arranging. The creations included ranunculus, peonies, roses, tulips and even a clementine for an added unexpected element. All of the blooms were nestled in contemporary white hobnail jars.

Everyone headed home with a fantastic arrangement and a custom tote bag that included a ton of great goodies from small business we adore. Custom zippered pouches from Deerly Made housed a floral shears as well as recipe cards for additional arrangements each person could recreate on their own at home. Gold earrings from Woodbury Lane, hand poured candles from Big White Yeti and spring scented soap from Fern + Nettle had the women smiling with delight. Each guest took notes with Letter C Design’s gold stamped notebooks and pencils. To top it all off, each person took home a gorgeous hand printed towel from Parris Chic Boutique as well as adorable greeting cards from Emily Balsley Illustration.


Pop of Spring: A Floral Recipe

  • Vessel: 4” hobnail jar
  • 2 green roses
  • 2 orange carnations
  • 1 blue mountain thistle
  • 1 orange spray rose
  • 1 mini green hydrangea
  • 1 pink lisianthus
  • 2 peach hypericum berry
  • 3 coral ranunculus
  • 2 white alstromeria
  • pittosporum and variegated oregonia as foliage

Photography: Jenna Kutcher | Event Styling: Mint & Lovely Studios | Floral Design: Belle Fiori | Venue: Hot Pop | Anchor Necklace: GlamMKE | Candle Favor: Big White Yeti | Desserts: Yield Bakehouse | Drinks: Onesto | Earring Favor: Woodbury Lane | Event Styling + Coordinating Of Event: Mint & Lovely Studios | Gem Planter: Janelle Gramling | Greeting Card Favor: Emily Balsley Illustration | Notebook + Pencil Favor: Letter C Design | Retail Store: Hot Pop | Soap Favor: Fern + Nettle | Table + Chair Rental: Lakes Area Rentals | Tea Towel: Parris Chic Boutique | Zippered Pouch: Deerly Made