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French Garden Wedding Inspiration at Château de Villette

French garden wedding goodness at a dreamy chateau? Yes, please! If any of the preceding words are in your wedding vocabulary, I urge you to carve out some time today to get cozy with this blueprint for beauty. Planned and designed by Fete in France, this editorial features an edgy emerald hue we don’t often see—making it all the more alluring. And what’s more, Koman Photography documented every ounce of inspiration to perfection per usual. Don’t miss their striking film below, too!

From Fete in France… When the opportunity came up to do a styled shoot at the beautiful Château de Villette we jumped at the chance. This spectacular property, nicknamed Le Petit Versailles, located not far from Paris is one that we have long admired for its perfectly symmetrical 17th century proportions, stately décor and formal Jardin à la française designed by André Le Nôtre, the same landscape architect responsible for the gardens at Versailles.

With the talented team of the Komans behind the photo and video lenses we had our departure point for the shoot! After re-visiting the spaces we decided to actually use the Orangerie which had beautiful light during the day and afforded us a neutral canvas for our table set up. The Orangerie was full of lemon trees being stored for the winter and those deep green leaves and citrus colors ultimately inspired our décor.

With a backdrop of the clean stone, we wanted to infuse a pop of color and warmer texture so we had a velvet tablecloth custom made of the event in a dark green to set off the soft citrus hues of yellows, oranges, and pinks artfully arranged by Floraison.

We then accented the table with fresh white linen napkins, blue Porto plates and green and blue glassware provided by Maison Options. In lieu of traditional paper, the talented Joy of Studio French Blue personalized alabaster coasters in gold calligraphy at each place setting.

Sweet Creations Cakes integrated the emerald green perfectly into the cake design with a stunning modern geode design. Fresh colors were peppered throughout the design and we had fun styling all the brightly-hued ring boxes from Voeu du Coeur, the green stationery by Studio French and the accessories by Lindsay Marie Design.

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Photography: Koman Photography | Cinematography: Koman Photography | Floral Design: Floraison | Wedding Dress: Galia Lahav | Wedding Dress: Musat Bridal | Wedding Dress: Inbal Dror | Cake: Sweet Creations Cakes | Shoes : Bella Belle | Hair and Makeup: Ava Belle | Venue: Villa Balbiano | Accessories: Lindsay Marie Design | Bridal Shop: Metal Flaque Paris | Event Planning and Styling: Fete in France | Paper Goods and Calligraphy: Studio French Blue calligraphy + design | Rentals : Options | Ring Box: Voeu Du Coeur | Scans: Richard Photo Lab

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
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Blush Spring Wedding at Calistoga Ranch in Napa Valley

This incredible day captured by Weddings By Scott And Dana comes with SO much more than a collection of pretty images. It comes with my favorite kind of writeup—from the Bride herself. She’s taking us from their meet cute all the way to their Big Day and sharing a few things, like why they decided to forgo certain traditions and their favorite wedding day moments! L’avventura Events guided them in their planning process and it’s all blush California romance to a T!

From the Bride… Always overly pragmatic on all things love, I was never sure that I was meant to be married – but upon meeting Andrew through a mutual friend soon after moving to Seattle in September 2017, I quickly learned that I had only felt that way because I just hadn’t met my person until that day. After the most incredible year together, we decided to celebrate our first anniversary and shared love for a good adventure over a trip to Portugal. Two days into the trip, Andrew dropped down to one knee in the gardens of the Pena Palace in Sintra, the most beautiful backdrop for a proposal that you could imagine. Despite being completely surprised and taken aback, I had never felt more confident about saying yes to something in my life. Turns out, there is something to be said for the old adage “when you know, you know”.

From the start, Andrew and I shared the same vision for our wedding: romantic, elegant, inclusive, and most importantly, with no shortage of our personalities infused throughout. While we are a relatively easygoing and casual couple, we wanted to make sure that we made each aspect of our big day feel like “us”. Given our shared love for wine and how the area has long been a special place to my family, getting married in the Napa Valley was a natural choice for us. Similarly, after touring the property and learning about the unique opportunity to get married in its stunning wine cave, selecting Calistoga Ranch as our venue proved to be a no brainer as well. We had no doubt that the cave and outdoor Lommel Lawn area would serve as the perfect spaces to host our guests, and that they would also provide the perfect backdrop for the neutral & classic palette that we had envisioned for our big day. We still can’t thank my parents enough for all of the research and groundwork they provided during this process, as they even toured venues on our behalf when we were unable to take time off work to fly down to do so ourselves.

Soon after securing April 20th at Calistoga Ranch, we were incredibly lucky to be introduced to our exceptional wedding planner, Brittany Payton Anderson from L’avventura Events, whose expertise and hard work ensured that things continued to fall into place for us from there. Brittany connected us to an absolute dream team of vendors – including our Photographers, Weddings by Scott and Dana, the kindest and most talented photographer couple that not only completely assuaged our fears of camera shyness, but also captured our wedding more beautifully than we could have dreamed of; Marisa from Revel Floral, who took the vision we provided her and blew us away with the asymmetrical arches and lush greenery hanging from the wine cave’s chandeliers for our ceremony; and Josh from Boutique DJs, who ensured there was never a dull moment by expertly reading the crowd and playing music beloved across all generations in attendance throughout the day. We also worked with the talented folks at Pike St. Press on our invitations and to arrive on our emblem, a hybrid “K” and “A” centered between our wedding month and date displayed in Roman numerals, which we included on everything from our gift bags to our wine cork place card holders to Andrew’s personalized champagne saber that he used during our cocktail reception to open a bottle gifted to us by my father.

In order to achieve our goal of creating a carefree day that made each of our guests feel like an integral part of every moment, we also chose to forgo many of today’s standard wedding traditions. For example, we decided against a wedding party and, instead, chose to have an open door policy while getting ready in our hotel room – which meant that while Jocelyn and her team from Bella Bridal worked their absolute hair and makeup artistry magic on us (while also proving to be a ball to be around, I might add), I was able to also enjoy the company of our friends, family, and even Andrew throughout the day. We also opted out of first dances and into enlisting the help of Little Burro Events to secure sweet little Zoey – a miniature, flower crown-wearing donkey – to serve champagne to our guests throughout the cocktail reception. Lastly, and while it was already perfect, I had the best time personalizing my beautiful Ines di Santo wedding gown – from cutting off its long sleeves to adding a belt and bows to the updated cap sleeves, it turned out even better than I had even dreamed (thank you, Andra Bose Bridal Tailoring!).

Without a doubt, my favorite moment of the day was the bridal processional. While a cover of one of our favorite Kanye West songs by the Vitamin String Quartet’s played, my dad walked me through the wine cave doors to see the smiling faces of all of the people that I love and my soon-to-be husband waiting for me at the altar looking unbelievably handsome. It was the happiest, most powerful moment that I had ever experienced in my life – and, despite being a relatively unemotional person, I couldn’t help but shed a few happy tears as we walked down the aisle.

Andrew and I could not feel luckier or more grateful for our incredible family & friends, who have supported us and traveled from near & far to celebrate our love, and for Brittany & our wonderful team of vendors, whose talents and hard work helped us to achieve the wedding of our dreams. To my fellow brides who are just beginning this journey – I would encourage you to not shy away from forgoing tradition to make your wedding day more “you”, to always trust your instincts, and to select vendors with whom you just “click”. We absolutely adore Brittany, Dana, Scott, and the rest of our wonderful team both personally and professionally, which not only made the process a lot less stressful but also made it a whole lot more fun. If Andrew and I could do it all over again, we wouldn’t change a thing.

Event Planning: L'avventura Events | Florist: Revel Floral | Dress: Ines Di Santo | Catering: Blue Sky Ranch | Hair + Makeup : Bella Bridal Hair & Makeup | Disc Jockey: Boutique DJs | Suit: Indochino | Transportation: California Wine Tours | Champagne Burro: Little Burro Events | Dress Shop: Bridal Galleria | Invitation/Emblem Design: Pike Street Press | Photographers: Weddings By Scott and Dana | Rentals : Encore Events Rentals | Resort: Calistoga Ranch Resort | String Musicians: Vitamin String Quartet

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A Destination Wedding with Classic California Style at Park Hyatt Aviara Resort

From high school sweethearts to husband and wife – this couple’s love story is something out of a Nicholas Sparks novel! He was her first ever boyfriend and 11 years later he proposed. Thanks to I Do Details Weddings & Events, their wedding was just as perfect as their love story. Filled with blush blooms from Honeycomb Affair and a flower girl that is TOO CUTE for words – all captured flawlessly by Tenth & Grace! Keep on reading to hear their romantic story told through the bride’s beautiful words.

Tell us the story of how you met and got engaged!

From the bride… Jake and I met back in high school – he was my very first boyfriend! We remained friends but it was always something more, and we were always going back to each other. This went on for 11 years! We began officially dating again in 2016 and got engaged just a year later. Jake proposed to me on top of Daou mountain in Paso Robles, California. And as Jake says, “I knew in my heart that all these roads were leading me back to you. I have loved you since I met you, and I always knew you would become my wife.”

What was your favorite moment of the wedding day?

Jake did not want to see me until I was walking down the aisle, but I really wanted our vow reading to be intimate. Instead of a first look, we decided to read our vows back to back right before the ceremony! It was such a raw, emotional moment that we got to share together, and not being able to see each other made me even more excited to walk down the aisle.

Tell us about the location and style you chose and why.

I really wanted an intimate wedding but due to the size of our families, it wasn’t going to happen. So I wanted to make the ceremony and reception feel as intimate as possible! We share a love for wine country but couldn’t have our wedding there. So we wanted to incorporate wine in a unique way! 

That’s how we came up with our escort card display as mini wine bottles. We also brought in our own wine from a small winery in Paso Robles to share with all our guests! We chose Carlsbad for our wedding because we both went to school in San Diego and my mom lived in Carlsbad for years. We created beautiful memories there and the tiny little town feels like home to us.

Any tips for brides currently planning their wedding?

I was so nervous that everything would go wrong, and the day couldn’t have been more perfect. I hate that I wasted so many nights stressing over what was the best day of our lives! 

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Photography: Tanya Menoni | Videography: Hoo Films | Florals: Honeycomb Affair | Wedding Dress: Pnina Tornai | Stationery: SHE Paperie | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Bella Bridesmaid | Makeup: Vanity Belle | DJ: Vox DJs | Groom's Attire: Mastroianni Fashions | Groomsmen's Attire: Men's Wearhouse | Wedding Venue: Nomi Restaurant | Bridal Hair: Hair by Lauren Wish | Bridal Shoes: Badgley Mischka | Bridesmaids Robes: Plum Pretty Sugar | Bridesmaids' Hair: Vanity Belle | Dance Floor & Stage: Dance Floor Decor | Draping: Concepts Event Design | Linens: BBJ La Tavola | Photo Bus: The Booth & Bus Co, | Planning and design: I Do Details Weddings & Events | Rentals: Signature Party Rentals | Rentals: Found Rental Co. | Signage: Salvaging Eden | Strings & Band: Lucky Devils Band | Vow Books: Kelsey Malie Calligraphy | Wedding boutique: Kleinfeld Bridal

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Elegant Napa Valley Wine Country at Long Meadow Ranch

Wine country weddings have an effortlessness about them. Truth: a LOT of work goes into them, but a successful one—looks something like this—where the day flows with ease and every detail seamlessly meets the next. Your Event by Erin made that happen for Erin and Jack’s Big Day, while Mae Flowers graced the day with beautiful blooms. A palette of light gray, navy and ivory neutrally pops against the vineyard backdrop, making Jordan Galindo‘s job of photographing it all, that much easier. Join us here to experience Napa Valley at its finest.

From Jordan Galindo Photography… This Napa wedding was the perfect combination of romantic elegance with a modern twist. Erin and Jack most importantly wanted a wedding that was fun and intimate where their closest friends and family could come together to celebrate.

The couple incorporated accents of grey and gold into their day which showcased their timeless style perfectly. Mae Flowers made sure to use a neutral palette with garden roses, dahlias, anemones and an abundance of greenery to highlight Napa’s natural beauty.

Erin chose to get ready at her Aunt’s gorgeous farmhouse estate which was the perfect intimate setting to get ready for her groom. Her taste in accessories was nothing short of exquisite. Erin’s wedding dress was a beautifully structured satin gown which fit her like a glove.

Czar Press designed a beautiful scripted letterpress invitation suite for the couple’s guests. Erin and Jack said “I do” underneath bistro lights and an aisle lined with wildflowers. After the ceremony, the guests were able to enjoy a farm to table dinner amongst the glowing candlelight. 

Photography: Jordan Galindo | Coordination: Your Event by Erin | Florals: Mae Flowers | Gown: Rita Vinieris | Invitations: Czar Press | Shoes: Louboutin | Groom's Attire: Suitsupply | Groomsmen's Attire: The Black Tux | Venue: Farmstead | Beauty: Bella Bridal Hair & Makeup | Bridal Shop: The White Dress | Bridesmaid Gowns: Katie May | Dessert: Sweetie Pies | Film Lab: Goodman Film Lab | Linen: BBJ La Tavola | Ranch: Farmstead | Rentals: Bright Event Rentals | Rentals: The Chiavari Guys | Styling Surface: Heirloom Bindery | Veil: Jules Veils

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An Enchanting Wedding at Villa San Juan Capistrano with Fun Hidden Dinosaur Details

An intimate ceremony scene covered in greenery and flowers, the cutest pup of honor, unexpected and fun hidden dinosaur details and a dress that we’ll be talking about for weeks to come – this wedding planned by Joy n’ Company truly has it all. Siren Floral Co. created the most romantic blush floral arrangements from the centerpieces to the bouquets to the perfect flower crown for their pup. Check out all the pretty at the full gallery of images taken by the talented Kristina Adams Photography.

From the bride…Nik and I met at church about 6 years before our wedding and have been best friends ever since. Once he asked me to marry him, it had been a long time coming so we jumped right in. Our driving factor for the wedding was intimacy; both Nik and I wanted the wedding to be meaningful and peaceful.

We were very careful about who we invited and asked God to bless those who would come to our wedding. I was a Classics and Art History double major in college, so our venue was a product of that! Everything I chose really came back to how I wanted the night to feel like we had all been transported to a European garden in the big band era. And then, of course, we threw in a bunch of dinosaurs for good measure!

One of my two favorite parts of the day, was walking down the aisle to my two best friends, my fiancé and my dog! My other favorite was our toast with our families in the back room while Nik and I signed our marriage license with our pastor. Both of these moments made me feel like time had stopped and I could just soak in all of the blessings. I wasn’t even phased by my 15 pound dress!

It was a beautiful day with tons of mistakes and problems that didn’t matter in the end, because we were married and got to go home together!

From Kristina Adams PhotographyNik and Lindsey’s wedding was endlessly romantic and pretty, but I also love that they had so many fun dinosaur accents included in the day! You’ll see them on groom’s socks, as the place card holders, there’s a dinosaur made out of foliage, and bride and groom dinosaurs next to the cake!

Photographer: Kristina Adams Photography | Photography: Mission San Juan Capistrano | Event Planning: Joy n' Company Events | Floral Design: Siren Floral Co. | Wedding Dress: Stephen Yearick | Bakery: Grace & Honey Cakes | Hair and Makeup: Beach Bridal Beauty | Harpist: Chiara Turner | Bridal Suite Food: Practical Provisions | Ceremony and Reception: The Villa San Juan Capistrano | Painter: Laura Jane Fine Art | Rentals: Archive Rentals

Charming California Wedding at The Ebell Club Long Beach

A patterned tile ceremony aisle, delicious blush and peach blooms from Milieu Florals and moments like this one that’ll pull at your heartstrings… these are just a few gems from today’s fete at Ebell Long Beach planned by Jane Events. I love that the Bride & Groom made every single decision together, which resulted in a day so uniquely themThis Modern Romance was in attendance to document it all, dive in below!

From the Bride… Planning a wedding is an exciting, unpredictable experience filled with unknowns no one can truly prepare for. We spent countless of hours, days, weeks, and months piecing together an event we could only envision with our imagination. In the moment, it felt like we didn’t know what we were doing. The decisions were endless but the clock counting down to our big day kept on ticking! With all the wedding “noise” from family, friends, and other brides-to-be, it was too easy to get overwhelmed by unnecessary taboos and expectations.

Through the planning process, we learned a handful of lifelong lessons that helped us relax on the wedding day, and be present so we could enjoy all the little moments. We decided to make our decisions together so that the wedding day would ultimately feel like us. There are certain details only brides notice, and it’s not worth wasting the time and resources on things guests wouldn’t even enjoy or remember. Every bride is different, and it’s okay to not know what you exactly want – that’s what the process is all about! Trust your gut (and your vendors). You chose everything for a reason, so there’s no need to stress about all the little details.

Four years ago, Jacky and I met at our first job at an advertising agency in Los Angeles. We were young and naive, and quite the opposite in personality. But after a couple of drinks, lunch breaks at Chipotle, and late-night conversations in the car, we became the (unadvised) couple who secretly dated at work.

Through our relationship, our differences developed into complements as we learned how our strengths supplemented each other’s weaknesses. Long story short, we fell in love! This led to March 30th, 2019, a beautiful, sunny day at the Ebell, Long Beach where we celebrated the union of our marriage.

The sunshine perfectly beamed into the courtyard, highlighting the beautiful hanging floral installation designed by Milieu Flowers. The reception dining room was carefully coordinated by Jane Events, displaying our custom vellum menus and wedding favors designed by the groom’s brother (MadeByEnger). The evening was filled with precious moments including toasts, conversations, and tons of dancing! All captured beautifully by our photographer, This Modern Romance.

We absolutely loved how everything came together, but even more so, it was the special moments we shared with family and friends that we will cherish forever.

And now? Enjoy this short film from Etcetera Productions of Jacky & Luke’s wedding for even more of those very special spoken moments they’ll treasure for a lifetime!

~ from Luke’s vows “…we don’t strive for perfection… perfection is not our calling, we’ll still stumble, what I promise is our togetherness… today we become one.”

~ from Jacky, “You see my strengths before my weaknesses, you meet me wherever I am , you walk at my pace… whoever I am today, or tomorrow, is enough.

It will not be us against the world, but us for the world….We are better together & we will journey wherever our story takes us….

Jacky + Luke from Etcetera Photo on Vimeo.

Our Favorite Moments…

  • First Look with Father – a wedding can be a bittersweet day for a father, but Jacky’s dad was filled with utter love and excitement.
  • First Look Bride & Groom – nothing beats a good ugly cry and we both played our part.
  • Written Vows – this was the most special for us as a couple. It was a precious moment where we gave glimpse of our relationship to our family and friends.
  • Toasts – hearing from the people closest to us left us with giant grints and teary eyes.
  • Cake Cutting (with our flower girls) – we learned there are no rules to wedding because it’s your party! We invited our flower girls up to help us cut our cake and enjoy the delicious treats!

Our Favorite Details…

  • Custom Menus & Wedding Favors (designed by Groom’s brother – personalized vellum overlays with guest names and an illustration of their selected entree)
  • Groomsmen Socks! (Luke and his party all wore different socks inspired by some of his favorite foods – Sushi, Burritos, Eggs & Bacon, Chips, and Pizza!)
  • Hanging Floral Installation– Initially, we were concerned with our selected color scheme due to the eclectic style of the venue and elaborate black tiling on the floor. Many of the weddings we saw featured at the Ebell consisted of deeper hues, but we went with what we wanted and LOVED how our colors and florals softened the style and overall ambience of the day, giving off major spring vibes and warm positivity.
  • Desserts!

Photography: This Modern Romance | Videography: Etcetera Productions | Event Planning: Jane Events | Floral Design: Milieu Florals | Cake: SusieCakes | stationery: Made By Enger | Reception Venue: Ebell Long Beach | bride's shoes: Bella Belle | Bridesmaids' Dresses: BHLDN | Catering: Tres L.A. Catering | hair + makeup: Kohnur | lighting: LB entertainment | DJ: Vox DJs | wedding favors: amborella organics | mini desserts: Artelice Patisserie | photobooth: third eye photobooth

These Featured Designers are members of our Look Book.
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10 Things That Will Likely Go Wrong While Wedding Planning and How to Handle It

There’s a certain nineties song that talks about “raaa-iii-aayyy-n on your wedding day” (you totally just sang that in your head, didn’t you?). While Alanis Morissette meant it metaphorically, the truth is, it happens. Weddings are vulnerable to all sorts of problems—and rain is sometimes the least of them. The good news? Most problems show up during the planning process, and very often they are 100% preventable. You’ll be even better prepared after reading this: 10 things that are very likely to go wrong while wedding planning, and how to handle it all with grace.

Photography: Jose Villa 

1. Committing Too Soon

So, you’re riding that newly-engaged high, and you can’t wait to start planning, book a venue, and announce your date. It’s natural to want to make decisions right away, but this is the very moment you can’t afford to rush. Your aesthetic is revealed over time, as you become familiar with the planning process and discover your creative voice. You could book an industrial venue right away, only to find that you really love the idea of an estate wedding with garden florals and cocktails on the lawn.  In order to avoid problems like these, Becca of Rebecca Rose Events urges brides and grooms to hire a capable planning team first:

“We often wish brides and grooms would ask ‘what should we do first, or next?’ The reality is that many people dive in to planning a little too quickly. They make decisions and/or hire vendors even before they’ve hired their planning team and have committed themselves legally and financially to services and/or products that may not really be the best fit for them. It’s imperative that all decisions be in sync with a comprehensive master budget and an overall guiding vision. Sadly, we often have to turn prospective clients away if they’ve already done too much before they approached us about our services, because they have made mistakes that we may not be able to undo.”

Photography: Rebecca Yale | Venue: Greystone Mansion| Floral Design: Unique Floral Designs  | Event Design: Encore Event Design

2. Hiring A Vendor Based Solely Off of Their Instagram Presence

Instagram and Pinterest are wonderful places to find vendors and inspiration, but don’t let them be your only resources. As you search for vendors, understand that social media can only reveal a very limited—and curated– glimpse of how a vendor approaches an actual wedding day. Most wedding services are very visual, but a beautiful picture isn’t enough to determine your ideal creative fit. Mallory of Mallory Dawn Photography encourages her clients to look beyond social when choosing a wedding photographer:

“I am always happy to share full galleries with my clients… Instagram and websites only show the best of the best and you really want to see how your photographer approaches and captures an entire wedding day start-to-finish. I always tell my friends that are getting married to ask this when inquiring with photographers.”

Photography: Ana Lui 

3. Family Matters

When you announce your plans to marry, you may find yourself navigating some complex and sensitive family dynamics. Maybe your family has been gracious enough to lend financial help, but that gift may come with expectations. Unfortunately, some family members will equate money with power or a say in your wedding decisions. You can feel, little by little, that you are losing your voice, and more and more that it is your job to keep the peace. “Weddings bring out lots of different emotions and everyone handles them differently,” empathizes Mallory of Mallory Dawn Photography. “I see lots of family members making comments that stress out the bride or groom and everyone handles them differently.”

In any event, it’s time to reclaim what is yours—your voice. “It is important to set boundaries with your family and friends… as hard as that can be,” says Mallory. But boundary- setting need not be painful or ungentle. Be thoughtful but clear as you address family members with simple statements like “We have decided together that…” It’s excellent practice for those times when you’ll need to announce your Christmas plans, i.e. “We have decided as a family to spend this Christmas in the mountains, even though we really appreciate your offer to host again this year.”

Photography: Sophie Epton

4. Overspent 

During the planning process, most brides and grooms will encounter vendors’ services for the first time; it’s only natural that they would be unfamiliar with costs. “It’s common for prospective clients to lack an understanding of how much time and effort is involved in planning, designing, and producing a wedding,” says Becca of Rebecca Rose Events.

“To prevent undue stress,” counsels Betsy of Rebecca Rose Events, “itemize your wish list in chronological order at the very beginning and make your budget expectations crystal clear. Prioritize the things at the top and be prepared to sacrifice or revise some items at the bottom of the list, so as to not spend outside your comfort zone.” No matter the scope and scale of our wedding, few of us can afford to make every service a priority. But we can splurge on the things we love the most—exquisite florals, aspects of guest experience, or a haute couture gown (we see you, Ines di Santo!).

Photography: Tenth and Grace | Floral Design: Moss Floral  | Event Planning & Design: Chic and Pretty Events

5. A Huge Guest List

On that note, if you are looking to keep your budget realistic, then your guest list is the first place you will need to look. “The single most impactful factor in a wedding budget is the number of invited guests,” states Betsy of Rebecca Rose Events. “Each person has a significant cost associated with them – from the invitations, to the china, glassware, flatware, meal, beverages, and the list goes on.” But editing a guest list is problematic in and of itself. How do you leave guests off in a tactful way? Betsy has the following litmus test for guest list inclusion:

“Our advice is carefully consider the list and ask yourself a few questions. Would you invite this person to your home for a backyard barbecue seven years from now? Would you treat this person to an evening out and spend over $1,000 on them?” If the answer to either question is ‘no,’ then gently reconsider. In the end, your event will feel more intimate and meaningful, and your budget will thank you. (And if you still need help deciding who makes the guest list, check out SMP’s advice here, here, and here!).

Photography: Lauren Fair | Floral & Event Design: Oleander | Venue: La Badia di Orvieto 

6. Little Arguments

When you go out for a date or get off of work, it’s natural to slip into wedding talk with your fiancé. That last e-mail! The rental company’s chair shortage! That cryptic text from your mother! You may find that all of your conversations start to follow this pattern. Little fights and tearful misunderstandings are almost inevitable.

In order to keep the wedding in its rightful place, set aside designated times for wedding planning. Be focused and clear about your goals for that hour or that evening. Divide and conquer your inbox. Make decisions together, and know that this is excellent premarital practice for difficult tasks you will face later on. And as much as you possibly can, leave your wedding in the capable hands of your planners and vendors. That trust will free up so much time and energy, that you can then spend on enjoying your engagement.

And remember– take your free nights! Dress up, go out, laugh together, and leave thoughts of the wedding completely behind. You’ll nurture your relationship and everything else will benefit from that. Because it’s true, what they say– the more in love you are, the less dire the possibility of melted buttercream will seem.

Photography: Greg Finck 

7. Timeline Issues

When creating a wedding day timeline, be mindful of your photographer’s requests. Your photographer approaches your wedding as both artist and planner, balancing your schedule with the demands of light and time. If you want your wedding photos to have that golden hour glow, plan around your photography timeline—and share that timeline in advance with other vendors and family members!

“I really try my best to educate my couples on natural light and how it can be tricky to work with sometimes because in many ways it can be unpredictable,” counsels Mallory of Mallory Dawn Photography. “I usually block out 30-45 minutes on a wedding day for the couple’s romantic portraits right around golden hour. And sometimes this gets shortened if the wedding starts to fall behind. This can be due to family members not being present during family portraits or multiple other reasons. I think my advice would be to trust your photographer when it comes to timeline and dealing with light… couples need to be flexible and really ask questions early on about the best timing for wedding day events when it comes to lighting.”

All of your vendors will have similar timelines, and in order to have a seamless wedding day, it’s imperative to follow them!

Photography: Rebecca Yale  

8. Failing to Make a Beautiful Plan B

Remember that whole thing about rain on your wedding day (or were you trying to forget…)? No one wants to consider the possibility of rain– or any other kind of inclement weather– on her wedding day, and many brides, in an effort to remain optimistic, will refuse to entertain the possibility. Sunshine and birdsong it will be! But “planning the day as if that’s the only way it could happen is a huge mistake. It is imperative to have a weather backup plan for any wedding or special events,” states Betsy of Rebecca Rose Events.

Instead, consider weather from every angle, and, with the help of your planners and designers, create a gorgeous plan B. Allow your florist to implement creative ideas for an interior space, perhaps creating a canopy of flowers to hang above the head table, or a stunning mantel installation. Begin to envision and embrace the idea of a room full of crystal, flora, and fireside. Make friends with the Sperry tent. Above all, make the alternate plan inviting, so that you begin to associate it with feelings of artistry and love. When you are as excited over plan B as you are for your primary plan, no act of weather will unmoor you. You’ll just move serenely to a space that you have already addressed—and maybe even wished for. “It’s not enough to develop a logistical weather plan,” admits Betsy of Rebecca Rose Events. “You need to truly prepare your mind and heart for inclement weather too, so that you’re every bit as comfortable with plan B as you are with plan A.”

And take solace in the fact anything unexpected—even rain—can be a blessing in disguise. Things may not be as we imagined them; they may indeed be better. Mallory of Mallory Dawn Photography can attest to this:

“I have an example from my own wedding day,” offers Mallory. “We were supposed to have our cocktail hour outside in the beautiful California sunshine, however, it started pouring the day of our wedding, so we had to move it indoors. We never thought it would rain in April in California so this never even crossed our minds. It actually ended up being so wonderful and our guests still talk about now nice of an atmosphere it was. The room they brought our guests into had a full bar and a fireplace in the center of the room which was so cozy and intimate. Our guests really got to connect with one another in the smaller space while staying dry from the weather outside. They chatted and mingled by the fireplace and it is something our guests still rave about to this day!”

Photography: Jessica Rose | Floral Design: Studio Mondine |  Venue: Old Stone House, St. Giles

9.  Destinations Can Be Difficult

“Destination weddings require an exceptionally high aptitude for event logistics,” notes Becca of Rebecca Rose Events. In fact, destination weddings are so complex that they deserve an entire category unto themselves—it’s not one thing that could go wrong but a complex cocktail of destination-specific things. “Our team has spent years honing and improving our destination wedding planning and production process… so much so that it’s hard to even imagine a family tackling such a significant task on their own, without solid professional guidance,” admits Becca, before listing some of the possible complications (or, at best, considerations) when planning a destination affair:

“Every wedding requires careful research and due diligence, but destination projects really up the ante. For example, it’s important to become knowledgeable about local laws and ordinances, customs requirements, taxes, what resources do (or do not!) exist nearby, transportation options, guest accommodations, licenses that may be required for certain services, cultural sensitivities, possible language barriers, etc. Even if the destination is not an international one, there are many important considerations that need to be taken into account.”

So whether you’re planning that gorgeous Vail mountain wedding or Tuscan retreat, hire a dream wedding planning team who is capable of handling the high demands of destination planning. You’d rather have an itinerary full of things like après ski or vineyard walk than rescuing flower shipments from the customs department and delivering event chairs to the accessible-by-foot-only waterfront property.

Photography: Oliver Fly 

10. Things Feel Different Than You Thought They Would

Maybe you’ve always dreamed of carrying peonies in your bouquet, but you just miss peony season. Maybe, instead, you’ve had your heart set on a winter wedding, but a family circumstance compels you to move your date up. Or you’ve always pictured your best friend standing by your side as maid of honor, but the two of you have drifted. If, as you wedding plan, you are married to things being a certain way, you are almost bound to experience some heartbreak. And that heartbreak shouldn’t be discounted—it is hard when things just aren’t turning out as we envisioned they would.

“I feel like my creativity as an event designer often flourishes most when I have to work through a problem,” muses Becca of Rebecca Rose Events. And in the end, it’s true. The more that all of us– designers, planners, brides and grooms alike– loosen our grip on things, the more room we make for elements of artistry and surprise. Allow yourself to relax and trust in a process that may lead to unexpected graces.

Photography: Mallory Dawn 

11. Parting Words

In all likelihood, your vendors will be extremely professional and devoted, and any problems come up will be the unavoidable sort.

“We over-communicate and organize every little detail, so I find when something goes wrong, it tends to be beyond the control of proper planning and preparation,” reflects Callista of Callista & Company. “My biggest piece of advice is to surround yourself with a quality wedding day team, so if anything goes awry, you have a dedicated, creative, and responsible group of people there to turn things around. Utilize the long-standing relationships your planner has to offer. Great vendors step up beyond their contracted roles, arrive early and stay late, and go above and beyond to ensure your expectations are exceeded, no matter the circumstances.”

In the end, know that any of these problems may just be the setbacks from which you experience your deepest joy. Trust your dream team– and watch as that trust translates into resourcefulness, creativity, and beautiful design.

Photography: Laura Gordon Photography | Floral Design: Sarah Winward | Venue: Dos Pueblos Orchid Farm

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La Jolla Vow Renewal Inspiration That Embraces Tradition

Vow renewals and anniversary sessions are the perfect opportunity to capture moments that you might not have on your Big Day—and a really good excuse to document your growing love again! For Ariel and Sam that mean honoring their heritage by wearing their Hanboks (something they didn’t do for their wedding). Natalie Bray captured their sweet connection and the best glowing golden hour light to perfection, as she always does.

From Natalie Bray StudiosWhen considering a vow renewal Ariel and Sam knew they wanted to incorporate their heritage by wearing their Hanbok as they did not get to at their celebration a year before. This was a way to honor their parents and grandparents as well. Also, Ariel is a very talented photographer herself and knew she wanted the beauty of film to capture this moment.

With light pastel colors leading the way with the Hanbok, the florist accented the look with the most stunning blooms that had pops of purple, pink, and cream. Ariel’s ring was custom & we wanted to highlight that with a gorgeous grey blue ring box from The Mrs. Box.

We chose a location that would let the vibrant colors of the hanbok really shine and with the super bloom of wildflowers all over Southern California, we took advantage of natures beauty as well. This was such an honor to be a part of and these two are the most sincere and kind couple. Happy 1 year Anniversary!

Photography: Natalie Bray Studios | Styling: Ariel Min Photography | Floral Design: tiny victories | shoes : Kate Spade | hair: Hair By Kayti | Film lab: The Find Lab | Hanbok : Custom from South Korea | ring box : The Mrs Box | vow booklets : Shasta Bell Calligraphy

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Punta Cana Oceanside Destination Wedding at La Cana Golf Club

Juan and Edna’s wedding day celebration was a culmination of high school sweetheart love to a long-distance challenge while Juan served as a Marine to a Today Show proposal. As someone who married my own college sweetheart who serves in the military—I feel the most meaningful connection to these two and know that their bond is so, so powerful because of it. Today, we get to play virtual guests to their Big Day, planned by CM Events and Design and captured by Asia Pimentel.

From CM Events and Design… Edna and Juan are high school sweethearts. They went to Eastside High and call their love story an “Eastside Love Story”. After high school, Juan went off to the Marines and Edna stayed in New Jersey attending college. Once Juan completed 4 years in the Marines, he returned to New Jersey and pursued his dream of becoming a firefighter. Juan surprised Edna with a proposal, live on the Today Show!. Fast forward to the wedding weekend in the Dominican Republic.

Juan’s family is from the Dominican Republic and Edna’s family is from El Salvador. They knew they wanted a destination wedding and the Dominican Republic just seemed like the perfect destination to bring everyone together. Working with the planning and design team from CM Events and Design, Edna and Juan celebrated the weekend with about 60 of their closest friends and family at Punta Cana Resort and Club.

The bride wanted vintage details incorporated throughout the wedding, so for the invitations, the bride had custom newspapers designed and printed that included information about the weekend, their proposal and fun information about the couple.

Puntacana Resort & Club is home to the Caribbean’s ultimate beach and golfing experience, with 3 miles of magnificent white sand beaches and 45 holes of championship golf. The understated elegance and timeless vision of Oscar de la Renta, which defines the uniquely Dominican experience of staying at Puntacana Resort & Club, makes it a favorite and was the perfect location to host their sophisticated wedding celebration.

For the design, the bride wanted to incorporate two of her favorite colors, blush and dusty blue while still keeping the design romantic and timeless. Although the white sand beaches at the venue are some of the most beautiful in the world, the couple wanted to use the beach and the Caribbean Sea as a backdrop and opted to have a ceremony on the grass. The planning and design team had a custom arch built so that the simple ceremony space would have a statement design piece. White rose petals filled the aisle and white chivari chairs completed the ceremony space. Special touches during the ceremony were the flower girl wagon that carried the bride’s niece, the violinist and the vows that Edna and Juan wrote.

After the ceremony, guests were greeted with custom monogrammed coconuts; chilled coconut water was the perfect refreshment. To find their seats, guests found their place on the custom-built escort display wall which held vintage keys and name tags tied with hand died silk ribbon. The reception was held on the upper level of La Cana Golf and Beach Club on their Spanish Patio. The couple wanted an open-air feel with views of the beach and sea. The florals and decor included linen and table runner drape by BBJ, lounges with compote arrangements, gold rim chargers, taper candles, low centerpieces filled with garden roses and designed by Katie of Bloom 52. The open-air terrace was decorated with hanging bistro lights and smilax, and trees were added to the terrace area to transform the space as well. Other special touches included a cigar bar, a simply frosted fresh floral Dominican cake and a signature drink called the Yoshito named after their dog Yoshi which was given to Edna by Juan while he was deployed.

Photography: Asia Pimentel Photography | Event Design: CM Events and Design | Event Planning: CM Events and Design | Floral Design: Bloom52 Floral Co. | Flowers: Mercaflor | Wedding Gown: Pronovias | Stationery: Paper Tales Custom | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Joanna August | Catering: Puntacana Resort & Club | Makeup: Melanie Gabrielle | Hair: Olga Montilla | Calligraphy: Custom Crafted | Tux: Generation Tux | Officiant: Jehison Cabrera | Venue: Puntacana Resort & Club | Clubhouse: La Cana Golf and Beach Club | DJ and Lighting: Vizman Entertainment | Linen: BBJ La Tavola | Rentals: JR& CO | Ribbon: Jefferson Lane | Video: NCH Films

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15 Tips for Writing Your Own Wedding Vows

Nothing resonates with hearts of today’s brides and grooms like personalized wedding services. More and more, we see personalized touches everywhere— from hand-painted wedding flowers on custom invitations to designer welcome bags and place settings with the most exquisite calligraphy. Of all the ways to personalize a wedding, nothing could be more personal than writing your own wedding vows.

A union is created with words and wedding vows, insists Laura of The Paris Officiant, “are the heart and climax of every wedding ceremony.” But how do you pull off personal vows with style and grace? How do you write clear, beautiful vows that contain real promises and elicit real emotion? How do you make those vows sparkling, sincere—and not the least bit sappy? We promise those perfect-for-you vows are just within reach, and we might just make you fall in love with the writing process, with the help of some very talented wedding insiders who have all the best tips!

Photography | Sophie Epton 

1. Decide If Personal Vows Are Right For You

As with any other wedding-related decision, the decision to write your own vows is something you must come to personally. You will likely know, deep down, if personal vows are right for you simply because you have a strong desire to write them. But if you aren’t feeling so settled in your choice, look to other areas of your life for affirmation. Ask yourself, do you have a powerful response to poetry and literature? Do you love to write and receive letters? Do you feel your best when you are creatively or personally expressed? Writing your vows should feel like a natural extension of who you are. And if you are wondering how personal vows will influence your ceremony, know that it will only be for the sweeter: “Self-written vows make the ceremony more personal, emotional, and genuine,” reflects Laura of The Paris Officiant. “Choosing your own words for your personal promises and saying them out loud can make the commitment feel more thought-through, deliberate, and stronger.”

Photography | Lauren Fair Photography

2. Ask For a Blessing

Before you give yourself over to the writing process, know that you may first need to obtain a blessing from your officiant and/or your church. Some faith practices disallow the use of personal vows and expressions; others will require that you recite the vows traditional to your faith practice prior to saying your own.

If it is necessary to say traditional vows, but you still long for a more personal form of expression, Julie of Elysium Productions has a beautiful idea for you! Know that “you can always [say] your own private vows to each other during your first look or after the ceremony in some quick alone time!” promises Hill. In addition to enhancing your wedding day experience, these intimate moments lend themselves to being beautifully captured on camera and film.

Photography | Lauren Fair Photography

3. Establish Framework

Once you have decided to write your personal vows, you may want to have a discussion with your partner. Take the time to talk about the planned length, format, tone, and scope of your vows. While you will likely want to keep the details of your vows private, you may find it helpful to establish a common framework, and set a shared tone for the vows. You’ll be spared the embarrassment of writing vows that just don’t vibe—imagine, for instance, if you recited selections from Whitman and your fiancé told jokes for three minutes. We mean.

If you can’t bear the thought of discussing your vows with your partner, but still want them to feel complementary, know that you can turn to your officiant for support. “I understand if the couple has the wish that their vows are not too different,” empathizes Laura of The Paris Officiant, “and I am happy to help with that in case they want to keep their vows a secret.”

Photography | Erich McVey

4. Create A Beautiful Writing Process

Once you’ve done a bit of research, fully embrace the creative process, and make that process beautiful. Go somewhere where you can retreat. Light a candle. Pour a glass. Play a bit of classical. Set a gentle, creative mood. It’s so easy to feel pressured to write ‘perfectly,’but there’s no room for anxiety in your creative process. With your essential oils diffusing and your cool-girl playlist on, you’ll be able to write from a relaxed state. You’ve got this.

In this reflective space, you get to be nostalgic as you like, and you can let your mind drift to dreams of the future. Laura of The Paris Officiant echoes this need for a safe and non-critical creative space; “start with a very free brainstorming,” Laura urges, “and write down everything that comes to your mind—without judgement.” Reflective analysis can and will come later; for now, free yourself from self-critique. Relax and allow your expression. View this time as a kind of luxury—a chance to let go of wedding planning (and other) stresses and simply connect.

Photography | Kate Holstein

5. Take Time

Now that you’ve dedicated time to your writing, it’s time to walk away. Give your ideas time to rest. Take a walk, or take a weekend. Once you’ve finished your first draft, “put it aside for a few days,” encourages Laura of The Paris Officiant, “Then read your draft once more with a bit of distance to see if that’s really what you wanted to say.” Know that the time you take off isn’t wasteful; you will return to your writing refreshed, with a renewed sense of clarity and a deepened understanding of what you want to say.

Photography | Rebecca Yale

6. Look to Literature

In one of our favorite- ever onscreen wedding scenes—from the movie Love Story— Ali MacGraw’s Jenny Cavalleri and Ryan O’Neal’s Oliver Barrett say some stunningly personal vows. Jenny recites a sonnet from Elizabeth Barrett Browning—with the hauntingly beautiful opening lines, “When our two souls”—and Oliver responds with a passage from Walt Whitman’s “Song of the Open Road” that ends with question– really an invitation– “Shall we stick by each other as long as we live?” The silence that follows is dear—as though no one wants to intrude on the moment with words of their own. It was an iconic movie moment, notable for its restraint; while we usually think of weddings in terms of visual beauty, this was an instance where the vows—and really, only the vows—mattered.

When it comes to writing your vows, look to literature. Steep yourself in poetry. Leave behind the usual choices (unless they are your favorites) and seek out rare poems, passages, and authors. Poetry is intimate and, when read well, creates a powerful moment that transcends the couple and reaches out to include the audience.

Photography | Lance Nicoll

7. Read Old Letters

If you have kept a journal over the course of your relationship, mine it for treasures! Look back on pivotal moments and memories. Read prayers that you may have written for your husband or wife. You won’t want to isolate your audience with too-personal details, but do use elements of your experience. That experience belongs to you and only you, and therein lies its beauty.

Photography | Esther Funk Photography

8. Say a Blessing

Instead of trying to summarize your love story, consider writing your vows in the form of a blessing. There is something so powerful about offering up a prayer and speaking a blessing over your union, in the presence of many witnesses. Consider the power of a spoken blessing as you read these words written by John O’Donohue:

“Though the words are intoned on a particular day on a special occasion, the light of the blessing reaches towards them from eternal time where memory and future live within one circle. The blessing of the journey already knows more about the journey than the new couple do… all beginning risks the unknown; a blessing was intended to be a shelter of light around the pilgrim and place. A blessing brightens the road; the heart is no longer completely vulnerable to the dark.”

Photography | Meiwan Wang

9. Speak About the Trials

Nothing grows love and intimacy like adversity. As you write your vows, don’t be afraid to reflect on the hard things you have walked through—together or separately. Few things you write can be truer. The deeper the sorrow, the greater the joy there is to be had—and you will be feeling that so completely when you arrive at your wedding day. Express what it means to have made it through pain to this moment of healing, beauty, and union.

Photography: Mallory Dawn Photography

10. Incorporate Your Faith And/Or Cultural Heritage

Your love story, while wonderful in its own right, is delicately interwoven with so many other aspects of your personhood. As you write your vows, consider ways to infuse elements of your faith and/or cultural heritage into your vows. Many couples, notes Montorio, “incorporate Bible quotes or a prayer or words in a different language or a saying/proverb from their cultural background into their vows” and these inclusions add richness, texture, and context to their vows and the promises they make.

Photography: Laura Gordon Photography

As you research your ancestry and background, you could take the opportunity to connect with family. Have tea and share stories with a grandmother or great-aunt. You just might find a pearl– a story, a tradition, or lesson from your faith. Place it with loving care into your vows– it will be a sweet tribute to the love and legacy that formed you.

Photography | Erich McVey

11. Remember Your ‘Why’ 

If you find yourself struggling to write your vows, just look to your everyday life; endless inspiration waits there. Think of the person you love, and what his or her presence means to you on a normal day. If you need a reminder, be intentional about spending a little time together. Go on a walk, or out to dinner, or if you are lucky, take a little trip. Simply delight in being in each another’s presence. Notice the little things—the way he smiles when he spots you in a crowd, or, in the words of a favorite poet, “the way her hands dismantled bread.” You don’t have to look far for inspiration; you have everything you need, in the here and now.

Photography | Lauren Balingit

12. Familiarize Yourself  

Give your vows the gift of your preparation. Practicing your vows will give you peace of mind and calm a case of wedding-day nerves. Memorization is optional (just be sure and keep a vow book with you just in case!) but familiarization is non-negotiable. You want to be able, at certain points in your vows, to look up from your vow book and speak directly to your partner. To lock eyes. To speak to the soul. These promises should feel innate, and if you spend time getting acquainted with them, they will.

Photography | Lauren Fair Photography

13. Feel It All 

…But don’t think you have to stay on script and prevent any breaks of emotion. Laura of The Paris Officiant encourages brides and grooms to feel whatever emotions rise as they say their vows: “Don’t be scared to get emotional and show your feelings,” she says reassuringly, “Nobody expects you to stay cool and composed on your wedding day.” Your emotional response will doubtless touch others as well; though she has presided over countless ceremonies, Laura feels that “[e]very self-written personal wedding vow is unique and special.” She adds, “I often find myself tearing up when my couples read their vows because I feel their words come directly from their hearts.”

Photography | Erich McVey

14. Prioritize Emotions AND Visuals

When most of us plan our weddings, we are consumed with the visual. We plan tables, linens, florals, and décor with painstaking care. But what if, throughout the planning process, we brought just as much thoughtful attention to the emotions and intentions surrounding the wedding day? Before the wedding, reflects Julie of Elysium Productions, “it is all about the visuals for the couple,” but afterwards “it is all about the experience…. and that’s where those personal vows come in… while the visual things are great, they go away as soon as the event is over and all that is left is the memory of the experience.”

In every wedding she officiates, Laura of The Paris Officiant also recognizes this dance between the visual and the intangible. But words alone, she notes, have the power to transform: “A wedding above all means pronouncing promises which make a couple step over a threshold. This happens during a wedding ceremony. Before the ceremony they are a couple, lovers, friends… after the ceremony they are husband and wife. This transformation happens through words, meaning, and emotion.”

Photo Courtesy of Emily Mayne Studio

15. Keep Forever

Finally, if you really want to create vows that last forever, consider how to preserve them. If you have commissioned a fine art stationer to create a custom illustration, then consider having your wedding artwork printed on a beautiful vow book or stationery. Emily  of Emily Mayne Studio can envision her custom artwork—for instance, an “elaborate and elegant botanical motif that highlights [the couple’s] wedding flowers”—printed on a hardcover vow book or exquisite stationery. Using custom artwork for multiple purposes like the vow book “not only creates a cohesive and intentional design throughout your wedding day, but the pieces I create are designed to be opened and appreciated just as much tomorrow as they will be years from now when you’re sharing your wedding with your children.” This artwork transcends the wedding day and can become a fixture in your lives—and your children’s lives (just imagine your someday daughters playing ‘wedding’ dress-up and asking to see your vow book.) “[W]hat a tangible way to not only share artwork with the bride and groom’s family and friends, but to also create a lasting keepsake for years to come,” says Emily—and we couldn’t agree more.

Photography | Joey Kennedy

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A Small, Intimate Wedding at Natirar Mansion in New Jersey

We see it all, here at Style Me Pretty, from big, elaborate weddings to weddings like these; small, personal and intimate and I have to say, I adore them both. Today’s nuptials photographed by Jessa Schifilliti took place at the historic Natirar Mansion, a hidden East Coast gem of a venue. With loads of greenery and soft white flowers, Brave Floral designed the picture perfect dinner party for their small amount of guests! Take a peek below and check out the full gallery for non-stop smiles from the happy couple!

From Jessa SchifillitiLindsey and Adam planned the most intimate wedding day in September at Natirar Mansion in Gladstone, New Jersey. With a mile long, enticing drive once you turn into the grounds, you are captivated by the time you reach the mansion. I fell in love with their vision for an intimate day with a small ceremony and special dinner with their family and closest friends.

We had so much fun with their first look and taking portraits all around the stunning property. There definitely wasn’t a shortage of backdrops! This was such a refreshing day, watching these two focus on what truly matters to them with such a small, intimate day. 

Ninety Acres, a farm to table restaurant within the mansion is simply exquisite and delicious and, the guests were so impressed with the menu and service. Brave Floral created the most intimate dinner party with greens and whites, it felt like such a special evening!

It was so much fun capturing this gorgeous couple and being apart of each little moment. After witnessing this special wedding day with the couples tight-knit group, I can say that micro-weddings have a special place in my heart!

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A Romantic Wedding at Eritage Resort with Sweeping Vineyard Views

It was the perfect sunny day a bride always dreams of in Eastern Washington for these lovebirds to say “I do” at Eritage Resort. The bride looked absolutely stunning in a classic, vintage-inspired Monique Lhuillier gown while her bridesmaids donned feminine, apricot colored dresses. Kasey D Weddings planned every detail of the day from the romantic vineyard ceremony to the al fresco reception under the stars. See all the magic unfold below with images from Kat Braman Photography!

From Kat Braman PhotographyThe Bride and Groom met in the Bride’s little farming town, Heppner, Oregon while she was home visiting her parents. The groom had just become a recent resident. It seemed that their paths crossed every time she returned home until he got the courage to ask her out on a date. It was only fitting then that the couple should pick a new venue in Eastern Washington that was surrounded by wheat and was reminiscent of the Bride’s farm upbringing as well as the place it all started for them.

“We wanted a destination wedding but also wanted it to be a drive away for all our family and friends, so the wine country of Walla Walla seemed like the most natural location for us and then we found Eritage Resort and we knew we found our venue. The vineyard and intimate resort for our guests’ cut out of the wheat fields of Walla Walla was a magical combination for us.”

The couple embraced the natural beauty of the venue’s surroundings and went with a soft and neutral color palette with warm hues to play up the golden wheat fields. The Bride wore a classic lace Monique Lhuillier while the Groom donned a custom burgundy suit with a velvet jacket. The bridesmaids wore Jenny Yoo Dresses in the color “Whipped Apricot” in the Liana, Vivienne, Inesse and Jacqueline styles. The groomsmen looked dapper in navy suits as the navy was carried out in pieces of their day-of papery.

The bouquet featured soft and feminine florals with a variety of garden roses, sweetheart spray roses, astilbe, and snapdragons. The bride’s father walked her down the aisle to a lush circular arch atop a mound overlooking the surrounding landscape. After the couple officially became husband and wife, they snuck away for a moment to themselves and popped their own bottle of bubbles before joining their 250 guests. They had a family-style feast featuring a Pacific Northwest-inspired menu including slow roasted Chinook Salmon, grilled corn risotto, Culotte of Washington Wagyu. A Shigoku oyster bar was the focal point during the cocktail hour. A live band kept the energy high for the rest of the evening as guests danced under the stars.

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Photographer: Kat Braman | Videographer: Riley Wilkinson | Event Planning: Kasey D Weddings | Floral Design: Kasey D Weddings | Wedding Dress: Monique Lhuillier | Wedding Cake: Sarah German | Invitations: Jen Simpson Design | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Jenny Yoo | Catering: Eritage Resort | Hair and Makeup: Beaute | Band: Blue Wave Band | Groom's Attire: Michael Allen's | Transportation: Dream Ride Charters | Venue: Eritage Resort | Ceremony and Reception Venue: Eritage Resort | Rentals: Dawn Alderman, Owner of John loves June | Veil: Annie Ekstrom Bridal

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Rancho Palos Verdes Beachside Wedding at Terranea Resort

Raise your hand if you’re dreaming of a seaside wedding venue?! Undoubtedly, I have a feeling you’ll love today’s wedding just as much as I do if you’re coastal-obsessed. With the Pacific as their backdrop, Melissa and Joey celebrated in the sweetest style at Terranea Resort. They called on Details Details to help with every facet of their day and the beauty truly shines through in Caroline Tran‘s imagery. Take it all in below.

From Caroline Tran… The love that Melissa and Joey share for one another is so inspiring and their wedding day was spectacularly beautiful. Fayaz from Bloom Box Design did an incredible job of bringing their wedding day dreams to life. Melissa’s simple and chic garden bouquet of greenery and pale blush blooms was definitely a trendsetter for many brides to follow. Her beautiful gown with bead and embroidery details was a show stopper as well.

Their magical first look with the amazing Pacific Ocean backdrop was beautifully captured by Caroline Tran. Their ceremony which was also over looking the ocean was flowing with greenery and blush flowers as well. Angelica Strings played the most beautiful tune as Melissa walked down the aisle to unite with Joey, the love of her life.

Following the intimate ceremony, guests enjoyed Cocktail Hour and found their personalized golden wood cut outs of their names on their seats. It was such a unique detail that guests could enjoy at home long after the wedding. An amazing dinner followed which had the guests choose their dish with the many different food stations. The evening continued under the stars with great entertainment by Encore Band and West Coast Music. Congratulations again Melissa and Joey. Wishing you a lifetime of happiness!

Photographer: Caroline Tran Photography | Videographer: Hoo Films | Event Planner: Details Details | Florist: BloomBox Designs | Lighting: Shine Lighting | Venue: Terranea Resort | Ceremony/ Cocktail Music: Angelica Strings | Makeup/Hair: Design Visage | Photobooth: Pixster Photo Booths | Reception Music : West Coast Music

Classic Vintage Wedding Inspiration at Las Palmas Vintage Estate

I might sound like a broken record here, but there’s really no better jumping off point for your wedding design than letting your venue guide you. That’s exactly what VIP Events & Weddings did for this striking editorial at Las Palmas Vintage Estate—jam packed with SO much beauty, I might add. Pulling from the vintage charm, a peach and blushy and subtle golden yellow palette take center stage while lace and layers of tabletop textiles and blooms from Mulberry & Moss offer just the right amount of texture. What’s your favorite detail? See it all below captured by Sposto Photography.

From VIP Events & Weddings… The inspiration for our shoot came from this gorgeous vintage estate which has been THE hospitality venue in the heart of Orange County, CA since 1881. We wanted to give a nod to its rich history by having a timeless vintage and romantic feel with the twist of modern.

Walking up a 1,000-foot driveway lined with bougainvillea and holly trees immediately transports you to the time long ago. Keeping a neutral palette with elegant and organic florals and decor allowed a classical vintage lace masterpiece by Claire Pettibone to truly shine in this homage to another era.

The soft and delicate feel of the lace carried over to the stunning florals, French silk runner, tapered candles, vintage gold accents and gorgeous tabletop jewels of Borrowed Blu creating a perfect symphony of classical vintage romance.

Collaborating with uber talented creatives, who have the keen eye for detail and design, Shauntelle Sposto of Sposto Photography and Sarah of Mulberry & Moss, reminded us of the true meaning of “the ultimate dream team”!

Photography: Sposto Photography | Planner: Sanya Strelec | Florist: Mulberry & Moss | Bakery: Sweet Traders | Invitations: Seniman Calligraphy | Shoes: Bella Belle | Catering: Jason's Catered Events | Hair and Makeup: Megan Muchow | Bridal Gown: Claire Pettibone | Ceremony and Reception: Hamilton Oaks Winery | Groom Tux: Friar Tux | Rentals: Jake Duke Studios | Table Top Rentals: borrowed BLU | Textiles: Tono Co

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An Elegant Emerald Green and Black Wedding at the Vintage Estate

We always get so excited whenever we see couples opting for unique, non-traditional wedding color schemes. This gorgeous day in Northern California planned by A Saavy Event came alive in a rich palette of black and emerald green hues. The bride is literally beaming with happiness (and the most contagious smile) in every picture captured flawlessly by Sylvie Gil. She donned a Monique Lhuillier dress fit for a princess and a classic, can’t-go-wrong lily of the valley bouquet from Vignette Floral Design (she’s basically our style goals.) Keep on reading to see this magical day unfold!

From the Bride… Back in the summer of 2013, Will and I met in Seattle, literally hours after I had decided to quit my job & move back to the SF Bay Area. On our second date, Will skipped rugby practice to help me move out of my apartment and for our third date, Will made the brave decision to fly to California to visit me for the weekend. Needless to say, our hometown date went extremely well! Over the next 5 years, Will & I bonded over our love for 5am workouts, boating on Lake Tahoe & enjoying a crisp glass of reposado tequila.

With the help of my family, Will shocked me with a Tuesday afternoon proposal in one of our favorite towns, Yountville. Getting married in Yountville was not only appropriate because of our engagement, but it seemed like the perfect place to bring our family and friends together. The quaintness of Yountville made the weekend feel like a ‘destination’ for both our local guests and those traveling from the East Coast, where Will is from.

We instantly fell in love with the Vintage Estate because not only did it accommodate our large guest count, but it provided a beautifully surrounded space where we could make our vision come to life. As a lover of all things fashion, picking out attire was an important part of the planning process. My wedding dress dreams came true when I got to select my wedding dress with designer, Monique Lhuillier, herself. My bridesmaids wore rich emerald green Reformation dresses, the men wore classic black tuxes and the rest of our wedding party wore black, my mom’s Gucci dress was a fan favorite.

Our family friends of Heller Jewelers invited me into their shop where I selected stunning diamond earrings and a diamond pinky ring, both of which served as my ‘something borrowed’, what a treat! When discussing our wedding, Will and I wanted to hit 3 points: sentimental, classy (but not stuffy) and FUN! Our wedding ceremony was held at St. Francis Church, checking the box for sentimental. 

With the help of our wedding dream team, we produced a classy dinner party for 345 guests under gorgeous florals and finished the night off with an afterparty, coined “The Haydock Honkytonk” complete with country music, black solo cups and a Casamigos Bar. Our wedding day was flawlessly executed by a team that worked hard with us for over a year and a half. Thanks to our photographer, Sylvie Gil, we are able to relive our perfect day as often as we want through our treasured photos.

Photographer: Sylvie Gil Photography | videographer : Kindlewood Films | Planner: A Savvy Event | Floral Design: Vignette Floral Design | Wedding Dress: Monique Lhuillier | Invitations : Underwood Letterpress | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Reformation | Make Up : Hailey Hoff | Lighting : Illusions Lighting | DJ : Boutique DJs | Band : Hip Entertainment | Wedding Venue: Villagio Inn And Spa | Cigar Roller : Oye Productions | Photo booth : Giggle and Riot | Rentals : Bright Event Rentals | Rentals : Found Rental Co. | Rentals : BBJ La Tavola | Rentals : Theoni Collection | Rentals : Hensley Event Resources | Tranportation : Pure Luxury | Wedding detailor : The Wedding Detailor | Weddings cake : Pretty Please Bakeshop | Welcome Gifts: Poppins & Post

Watters Model Says I Do at The Vine in Texas

You might recognize this gorgeous duo from their proposal that went viral. Chad (sweetest Groom ever) could think of no better way to pop the question to Nicole—a stunning Watters model—than on the runway! And while they sure did look the part on that runway, their real Big Day was a complete dream. With Lean On Me Events at the planning helm and Luisa’s Secret there to capture every sweet moment, we get to experience a bit more of their story today.

Once upon a time ago, two of the kindest and most genuine people in the world happened to be in the right place at the right time. From the first impression, there was a spark. And a broken tooth. Their love story began to unfold as Chad, a dentist, was able to provide comfort in a very uncomfortable situation. From day one he was Nicole’s rock. Her shoulder to lean on. Treated her like a Disney princess. They fell in love in the month of July, traveled 22 cities, 12 countries, all leading up to his surprise proposal during NYC fashion week. The unique engagement ring incorporates a pink ruby underneath the main diamond representing the month they fell in love. And the rest of their happily ever after is history!

Concluding their love for traveling, Nicole & Chad’s wedding day was filled anything adventure!!! Details from past and upcoming experiences. A globe served as the guest book, tables were labeled by the country or city both have visited together, and even the wedding cake was decorated with a golden world map. All beautifully topped with timeless florals and lots of candle lights!!!

Nicole’s breathtaking wedding dresse(s) were custom designed by Watters. Nicole has modeled for Watters and Chad proposed during a Watters bridal runway show in NYC!

Photography: Luisa's Secret Photography | Cinematography: Meant to be Films | Floral Design: blooms design studio | Wedding Dress: Watters | Cake: Cakes by Gina | Invitations: Zazzle | Invitations: Minted | Ceremony Venue: The Vine | Reception Venue: The Vine | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Watters | DJ: DJ RLE | Groom's Attire: The Black Tux | Groomsmen's Attire: The Black Tux | HUMA: Amy Bjork | HUMA: Ricky Dallas | Planning: Lean And Me Events | Rentals: Aztec Events And Tents | Rentals: My Memory Mirror | Wedding Rings: Lindsey Leigh Jewelry

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The 10 Best Things to Eat and Drink to Reduce Wedding Planning Stress

We totally get it – reducing stress during the crazy wedding planning process seems next to impossible. But we want to help with that!! That’s why we’ve partnered with celebrity nutritionist, Cara Clark, to fill you in on the many things you can eat and drink in order to reduce stress and improve your overall mental and physical health throughout wedding planning. You may even be surprised by a few of these items on the list.

P.S. Cara is launching a wedding nutrition challenge for all you beautiful brides out there who are looking for a non-diet approach to getting in your best shape for the Big Day! Use code SMP20OFF for $20 off your purchase!

There’s no one thing to eat or drink that will take away all the stress of planning a wedding, but a combination of some should definitely help!

1. Plenty of water

Purified, spring or alkaline water is best to ensure proper hydration and avoid any last minute toxins!

2. Detox water

Speaking of water, we highly recommend detox water. The blends of herbs with fresh fruit with help sharpen your mind to keep stress at bay. One of my favorites is cucumber, mint and raspberry.

3. Kombucha

With its natural fermented state, you’ll be drinking your probiotics! This will help to keep your digestive system healthy, which is always a good way to reduce stress.

4. Green and herbal tea

Tea has many health benefits and some of the most powerful antioxidants in the world. It also doesn’t give your body a jolt of energy, but slower releasing energy, unlike coffee.

5. Dark Chocolate

I know, we’re best friends now that I said that. :) Chocolate covered walnuts are a bonus because you have the combo of cacao vitamins and antioxidants with a healthy fat loaded with omega 3. You’re welcome!

6. Maca powder

Try it in your smoothie or your greek yogurt parfait, but Maca is known for its mood boosting flavonoids and hormone balancing compounds. It’s also said to fight free radicals. Win, win!

7. Green leafy vegetables

I know, you’re shocked! But seriously spinach can go in anything from salad to soup to smoothies and greens are rich in folate, which helps your body produce mood regulating neurotransmitters. Think serotonin.

8. Fermented foods

Drinks like kombucha and foods like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut and more create a happy digestive tract. Happy gut, happy mind! Remember, our gut is our second brain, so we have to keep it healthy.

9. Blueberries

Bonus if they’re wild caught! The antioxidants found in blueberries aid in production of dopamine, which is critical to coordination, memory function and mood!

10. Omega 3

Omega 3 can be found in wild caught fish like salmon, and nuts and seeds, like walnuts and chia seeds. This powerhouse nutrient plays a huge role in emotional well being. If you’re not eating it enough, consider taking a supplement.

We know this can be overwhelming, which is why we hope you can join our program and understand how to take care of your body to reduce stress. Don’t forget to give mind rest through plenty of sleep, meditation and fun in the sun!

Photography: Angelica Marie Photography

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Classic Wedding Anniversary Shoot With Pops of Color at The Rift Bowral

We receive inspiration shoots and engagements shoots every day but it’s not every day that we get an anniversary shoot! But when we do…they certainly do not disappoint! When the Mr. and Mrs. reached out to We Are Origami to set up an anniversary photo session, they jumped at the chance to photograph this stunning couple at the ever so beautiful Rift Bowral in Australia, which offers lush gardens at every turn. It is safe to say we are a big fan of anniversary shoots….I mean who doesn’t love the chance to wear your wedding gown(s) a second time! Check out the entire dreamy photo session here and the multiple jaw-dropping dresses!

From We Are OrigamiWhen Jennifer and David reached out to me to do their wedding anniversary photos at the beautiful The Rift Bowral venue, I was so stoked! The Rift is a grand Victorian Italianate mansion and historic gardens in Bowral, Australia. The house is an original ‘gentlemen’s residence’ constructed in the late nineteenth century.

Nestled in the Southern Highlands, a leisurely 90-minute drive from Sydney, The Rift is surrounded by established cold-climate gardens and the lush, rambling countryside. The estate’s original stables were converted into accommodations which made for stunning photo opportunities for every outfit change both inside and out. 

Jen had a few amazing dresses from her big day that she wanted to wear again (who wouldn’t want to wear these gorgeous gowns again?) and we thought this was the perfect opportunity at this majestic venue. Things are usually so frantic on the big day that generally the portrait section on the actual wedding day would be the first to be cut short! Having photos like these, after the fact are a nice way to still get those images and relive that beautiful day all over again. 

Photography: We Are Origami | Makeup & Hair: Veronika Moreira | Blue Dress: Alice McCall | Location: The Rift, Bowral | Red Gown and Wedding Dress: Oscar De La Renta

An Intimate Peach & Blush Ballroom Wedding at The London West Hollywood

We’ve never seen a ballroom quite like this – beyond breathtaking yet so effortlessly intimate all wrapped up into one. This charming affair was planned to perfection by So Happi Together. As guests took their seats at beautiful tables adorned with lush blooms and gilded details, the bride and groom exchanged vows under the blush pink floral arbor of our dreams from Camellia Floral Design. The entire space is anchored by romantic drapery that we seriously can’t stop staring at. Take a peak at these gorgeous images from Jen Huang Photo and see for yourself!

From Jen Huang Photo An airy ballroom decorated with opulent blush florals from Camellia Floral Design and coral draping set the scene for Jessica and Song’s intimate wedding at The London West Hollywood.

Guests were seated at banquet tables for the ceremony – which brought a touch of East Asian tradition to the Western decor.

Jessica and Song wanted to be swimming in romance throughout the day. They completely transformed the modern, chic Hollywood hotel for their festivities and poured flowers into every corner including the lush floral arch.

Every inch was covered in blush and pink, with hints of gold on the tableware. They truly brought the outdoors in so that their guests could relax in comfort, surrounded by a veritable garden.

Each guest was gifted individual Korean rice cakes from Rise Blossoms that looked too perfect to eat! And their flower girl (wearing bunny ears) carrying a floral “ring” of peonies and ranunculus was the perfect detail to round out a gorgeous, thoughtful day. It truly couldn’t have been a more beautiful wedding celebrating the love between Jessica and Song!

Photographer: Jen Huang Photography | Event Planning and Design: So Happi Together | Florals: Camellia Floral Design | Stationery: Red Letter Day | Hair and Makeup: Chiali Meng | Hotel: The London Hotel | Chairs: Revelry Event Designers | DJ/MC: Mister x Rocks | Dance Floor, Lighting, and Tables: Chiavari Chair Rentals | Linens: BBJ La Tavola | Photobooth: Pixster Photo Booths | Table Top Rentals: Casa de Perrin | Traditional Korean Rice Cakes: Rice Blossoms

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Elegant St. Petersburg Winter Wedding at Vinoy Renaissance

What does a winter wedding look like in Florida, you ask? Well, it looks like this collection of pretty images from Ledia Tashi. A mostly-winter white palette, with touches of silver, fresh peonies and a side of pink venue thanks to Vinoy Renaissance. One look at the captures below and you’ll be floating on whimsy, magic and elegance. Dive in right here!

What did you envision your wedding being prior to planning?

I wanted a beautiful all white wedding with touches of silver. We decided on December, right before Christmas to do the wedding. Vinoy park right outside the hotel we had our wedding in st Pete was filled with lights. We wanted our out of town guests to really enjoy the atmosphere and have a good time! The weather around this time in Florida is absolutely perfect. Little to no chances of rain and cool weather with no humidity and beautiful sunny weather. I couldn’t have asked for a better day.

What was your color palette and your style vision?

All white wedding, touches of gray. My vision was luxe, flowers everywhere. The main focal point for me was the stage where my husband and I would sit in front of the dance floor. This is where people come up to greet the bride and groom and take pictures. I wanted a halo above the white sofa with florals dangling from above and arrangements around the stage.