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Modern Meets Classic With This French Inspired Elopement

Do you dream of baguettes and croquembouche? Yeah, us too. But all french deliciousness aside, this elopement inspiration crafted by Et Cetera Event Company and Clayton Floral gives a fresh, modern twist to Old Montreal. Bringing together the classics along with a stunning, sculptural gown and elegant, minimalist details, the beauty of this charming city comes alive through Gabe Aceves’s stunning images.

An amazing team of vendors and I recently collaborated on a beautiful shoot in Old Montreal inspired by French themes and colors with a mix of old and new. Jerica of Et Cetera Event Company designed and planned a beautiful french elopement with modern touches set in Old Montreal. We paired simple, minimal elements with a modern dress and details against the backdrop of a beautiful old world French city. We wanted to inspire a mix of old and new with a simple French blue and white color palette and details inspired by French tradition with our own simple, modern twists.

Photography: Gabe Aceves Photography | Event Planning: Etcetera Event Co. | Floral Design: Clayton Floral | Wedding Dress: Sarah Seven | Cake: Eleventh Hour Bakery | Invitations: Christa Alexandra Designs | Rings: Studio 1040 | Makeup: Jennifer Perellie Make Up | Hair: Formal Hair Design By Kerry | Bridal Boutique: Everthine Bridal Boutique | Bridal Robe: Melinda Rose Design | Rentals: Vermont Tent Company | Ring Box: The Mrs Box | Styling Surface: Emma Natter

We Have the Secret To the Perfect Garden Wedding

If you dream of a wedding filled with cherry blossoms, daffodils, forsythia and hydrangea, you’re definitely not alone. The question is – where exactly to host this bloom-filled wedding, and when? We’ll let you in on a little secret. Before the Montauk summer crowd gets crazy, May and June are the perfect months for that garden party you’ve always wanted. And Solé East Resort is the perfect locale to host.

If we’re being honest, outdoor weddings are some of our favorite ways to say “I do.” We’re always down for a ceremony smack dab in the middle of a garden paradise, followed by a tented reception… or an al fresco celebration under the starry night sky. Which is just one of the many reasons we love Solé East Resort – not to mention their gorgeous manicured lawns, amazing Backyard Restaurant and fabulous pool, complete with St. Tropez lounge beds. And when you book your Big Day during those breathtaking spring months, you’ll even get pre-season room rates for your guests. That’s a win-win in our book.

If you’re ready to take the plunge and say “I do” amongst the beautiful gardens at Solé East Resort, call 631.668.2105 or email info@soleeast now to start planning your dream day. And don’t forget to ask about the Spring 2018 Wedding Discounts for available May and June dates.

Venue : Sole East Resort | Mark Kopko Photography: Mark Kopko Photography

Simple + Beautiful Sonoma Vineyard Wedding

As a wedding planner herself, this Bride knew exactly what she wanted for her own wedding day. She planned a casual, al fresco fête with the help of her team at Sip and Twirl – think a mix of round and rectangular farmhouse style tables bedecked in romantic La Tavola linens and topped with fresh arrangements by Fiori Floral Design, all aglow under the Sonoma sun. Luckily for us, Dawn Heumann Weddings captured the day and is sharing it all right here!

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From the Bride… When I thought about my wedding day, the key word for me was “simplicity”. I wanted to keep the focus on the natural beauty that the venue and its surroundings had to offer. In my mind, there was no need to go overboard on any of the design elements since the breathtaking vineyard view and dreamy Redwood grove spoke for themselves. Being a wedding planner in Scottsdale, Arizona, I have seen a variety of weddings and was able to pick and choose things that I have seen work well (and leave out elements that I feel haven’t worked the best). For example, we chose to forego a cake altogether and instead have a dessert bar where guests could pick and choose bite sized desserts intermittently during dancing. We also decided to have a pseudo “wedding party” who were very much involved in festivities leading up to our wedding and got ready with us on wedding morning, but only my sister and Shane’s brother stood up with us during the ceremony.

It was an interesting experience for me to go through the planning process as a Bride instead of a planner and to truly see things from the eyes of my clients. No matter what type of wedding you are having, there are always things that are thrown your way! The last month before the wedding is stressful because not only are you finalizing everything with your vendors, but you are also receiving last minute RSVPs and answering questions from guests. If you are able to put things in perspective and remember the ultimate meaning and reason behind your wedding day, I think that helps a lot in staying calm and collected. I can now speak to my clients from a Brides’ perspective, and I think that has given me a stronger connection to each couple that I work with. The day goes by in a flash, and it’s so important to soak up every moment and be as present as possible.

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Photography: Dawn Heumann Photography | Event Planning: Sip And Twirl | Floral Design: Fiori Floral Design | Wedding Dress: BHLDN | Catering: Trends Catering | DJ: AMS Entertainment SLO | Groom's Attire: Celebrity Tux And Tails | Venue: Vine Hill House | Photo Booth: Flying Camera | Rentals: BBJ Linen | La Tavola Linen

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These Featured Designers are members of our Look Book.
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5 Things Most Women Feel Insecure About

If my 16 year old self was able to see my 32 year old self, I think she would have been pretty damn proud. But yet, I still have to remind myself on a regular basis to let go of insecurities that creep in. We all have them. Whether it’s worrying about how we look in a picture a friend posted on Instagram, getting engaged or moving up the ladder in our careers, here are five insecurities we face as women and how to kick them to the curb.

Our Social Media Appearance

As an editorial stylist, I can tell you that a whole lot of photos make their way onto the cutting room floor before the final imagery is selected for publication. Such is the same with our appearance and social media accounts. In most cases, our feeds are a beautiful array of the brightest moments in people’s lives. Now, there’s nothing wrong with celebrating those moments—but we all need a swift kick in the booty and a reminder that those snapshots are exactly that, snapshots. Let those moments inspire you, but don’t forget that your favorite fashion blogger has bad hair days too.

Getting Engaged

Life’s milestones should absolutely be celebrated (there’s this great site out there, have you heard of it? wink, wink!). But those milestones—especially getting engaged, doesn’t always happen as organically and effortlessly as we’d like it to. Or, as quickly as we’d like it to. It’s not something that, we as women, are simply insecure about—it’s a societal pressure that weighs down on us, too. Raise your hand if you’ve ever been to a bridal shower as single or un-engaged and had someone say to you, you’ll have your time too my dear. As if they read your slight frown as jealousy, when really, you were just pissed that they were all out of rosé… who runs out of rosé at a bridal shower anyway?! But in all seriousness, why do we then judge ourselves and our status based on committing to another person and sporting left-hand bling or planning a wedding? Some of my happiest, most successful friends are in their early thirties and still not engaged or married (or even dating someone!). Do I think any differently of them? Hell, no.

Take it from the girl who was with her boyfriend for eight years before getting engaged. Did I wait patiently all of those years for him to ask me? No way. I stubbornly stomped my feet, I dug deep into our relationship to try and figure out what was wrong, why hadn’t he asked yet? I lost touch completely with what brought us together, pushing him further and further away. After a couple years of that nonsense, I was exhausted and finally threw my hands up in the air. I woke up and started living life each day for myself, while still loving him, but loving myself first. You know what? We got engaged just a few months later, and I don’t think that was a coincidence. The point? Don’t live your life chasing after a shiny rock for your left hand or a status update, and ultimately, a commitment from someone.

Starting a Family

While we’re on the topic of milestones… let’s talk babies. You might be thinking, how can this girl relate after just having a baby?! But I was simply lucky to have been the shoulder for some of my family and friends to lean on in their experiences and struggles, and they taught me a great deal. And even then, I had my own insecurities. Just like committing your life to someone, it is so, so important to put yourself first before even considering starting a family. Bringing a life into this world is absolutely a joyous time, but it does not instantly make you a happier or more successful person.

Whether you’re years away from even trying or you’re in the midst of infertility challenges, the most important question to ask yourself is why do I want to start a family. A very smart person in my life asked me that question a few months before I got pregnant and it completely changed my outlook on having a baby (for the better). At the time, I didn’t have an answer and felt sort of embarrassed. Was I just doing the motions? Taking the next step, because that’s what everyone else was doing? Wanting to provide grandchildren to my parents? Thinking it would bring my husband and I closer together? Partially, yes, to all of the above. But once I came to realize my true why, all insecurities faded away. Having a baby will not make you a stronger person, it won’t make your relationships better, it won’t fill a void and it won’t erase the competitive-natured people in your life. Only you can make those changes.

Having a Successful Career

To quote the very inspiring Steve Jobs: When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like, “If you live each day as if it were your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me… and since then, for the past 33 years I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself, “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I’m about to do today.” And whenever the answer has been, “no” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

If your answer is “no” too many days in a row, it’s time to redefine what a successful career means to you. Does success mean being your own boss, calling all the shots? Does success mean numbers? Does it mean flexibility and free time? Does it mean climbing to the top? Does it mean providing for your family? Sure, there is necessity in work to pay the bills, but if you’re feeling insecure on the regular, it’s time to start asking yourself these questions. What will make you say yes?

What Other People Think About Us

This commercial a few years back made me cry, and empowered me. It inspired me to change the way I interact with people entirely. It made me more confident and it made me care less about what other people think about me. Every single one of the topics listed above involve what other’s think about us—the worst insecurity. So the next time you find yourself saying sorry, make sure to add on not sorry.

A Black-Tie Affair in the Most Romantic Garden Setting

If you thought black-tie affairs were relegated to weekends only, think again. This Tuesday celebration is a classic pairing of formal and alfresco set against the gorgeous backdrop of Greystone Mansion. With planning by Wish, Wonder, Dream and lavender and blush blooms by Wild Muse Floral, get lost in this pastel beauty through images by Ether & Smith.

From the bride…We met in Temecula, California. I was working in a tanning salon and he was tanning! We hit it off right away and began chatting via text message (remember T9 word?). On our first official date, he asked why I had accepted his invitation to dinner and I said, “I’d like to marry a man like you.” In 2012, we officially wed. It was a secret ceremony that we told no one about for the first few years. We agreed that we would have a wedding later!

Because our wedding took place on the 5th anniversary of our marriage, there was less pressure around the big decision to marry and we could focus on planning an intimate affair (fewer than 40 people including the wedding party)! Our theme of “West Coast Formal” began to emerge as a garden-party affair with men in black tie. It’s funny what little details become overwhelmingly important to each couple – for us, a venue that could support my vision of one long table for guests to sit together became critical. We also wanted incredible photography to capture these memories and amazing food! We skipped guest books, photo booths, party favors and many other common wedding staples.

A lot of brides say that they forget much of their wedding day. I have so many memories of mine! It might be silly, but I spent hours researching how to “be present” and “mindful” on my wedding day. Putting all of those articles to good use, I recall taking deep breaths and feeling the grass under my feet, the sun on my face and the pearl necklace that my aunt was wearing. Together, we remember our caterer bringing us hors d’oeuvres after the ceremony, me changing into a surprise reception dress, exploring the mansion at Greystone with our friends, the sun setting on our beautiful day, and my stepson telling me I was the most beautiful bride.

Planning a wedding that feels like “yours” requires truly knowing what is important to both of you and what is not. For us, a Tuesday ceremony that ended at 8 PM without a DJ (we opted for a string quartet) felt right.

I really wanted a dress-code, but did not want to impose any bridezilla madness on our closest friends and family. We decided that asking people to attend our wedding on a Tuesday and wear certain clothing would be their gift to us so we did not register.

Couples should anticipate little things going wrong and mentally prepare to let these things go! Our microphone/sound system for the ceremony was not turned on. We forgot to remove our rings prior to the ceremony. Luckily, things going “wrong,” can end up being your favorite memories. My groom realized that we would not be able to exchange rings if we were already wearing them! So he whispered “give me your ring” and started slipping it off my finger! This surely would have been picked up by the microphone had it been on, but we were able to slip off our rings with just a bit of laughter! Things will be imperfect, but that’s okay. Perfection isn’t what a wedding or marriage is all about.

Photography: Ether & Smith | Videography: Shutter and Sound | Planner: Wish Wonder Dream | Floral Design: Wild Muse Florals | Cake: Fantasy Frostings | Invitations: copper willow paper studio | Bridesmaid Dresses: BHLDN | Catering: Made By Meg | Hair and Makeup: Bliss Bridal Beauty | String Quartet: Arroyo String Trio | Ceremony Dress: BHLDN | Ceremony Rentals: Found Rentals | Garden: Greystone Mansion | Parasols: Bella Umbrella | Reception Dress: BHLDN | Reception Rentals: Premiere Party Rents | Shoes/Earrings: BHLDN | Spray Tan: Organic Beauty Spray tan | Suites: Friar Tux | Vintage Stamps: Treasurefox

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5 Tips For Merging Heirloom China With Modern Registry Items

My Mimi never had “everyday” china. For her, every meal was a formal occasion. Lunch, dinner, or dessert – she served guests on the appropriate piece from her own wedding china. My Mimi, always the quintessential Southern Belle.

When she left me her collection, I knew it would be so special someday to serve my guests on those same plates. The only problem: her intricate pattern is a far cry from my more modern taste.


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I reached out to Chelle Watson from The Ivy House in Dallas for some advice. She has helped dozens of brides find their style – even when that means merging with another generation.


Pick A Few Pieces
According to Chelle, most brides don’t register for a five-piece setting in the same china pattern. So pick your favorite pieces from your grandmother’s set to incorporate into your own.

“I try to keep the dinner and bread and butter plates the same. So I’ll tell a bride to use her family member’s salad plate or dessert plate. It’s like paying a little homage to someone special every time you set the table.”


Julie Paisley Photography


Find a Color
Pick colors you like from your grandmother’s china to incorporate into your own pieces. For instance, if you inherited pieces of “Blue Willow,” then find the same blue in solid color pieces or a pattern that speaks to you. Weaving one color throughout multiple patterns or pieces will help bring it all together when you set the table.


Play with Patterns
If boho, rustic, or shabby chic styles appeal to you, then you might want to mix a coordinating pattern. Bring a piece of your Grandmother’s china with you to the store. Then hold it up against patterns you like.

According to Chelle, it’s a really personal decision. “You have to play with patterns. Go to a specialty shop like The Ivy House, or any department store. You’ll have more options and someone to help you pull it all together in a place setting.”

The key is finding something you like that complements the pieces you already have. If the china you inherited has a super busy pattern, then find something simple to put with it.


Anna Delores Photography

Consider a Traditional Style
Take a tip from the First Ladies in the White House. If you’re preppy – or planning to host formal dinners – consider picking solid white or cream pieces with an accent monogram. A gold or silver monogram will go with everything, or you can choose a coordinating color (see tip above).

Work in your grandmother’s salad or dessert plates, cups and saucers, etc. to add pops of color to your traditional setting.


Moss + Isaac


Grab a Charger
Chelle says this is the easiest way to change up a pattern. Chargers are the biggest piece under the place setting, used to pull it all together. (Since they’re not used for food, you can find them in almost any material and color.)

“Chargers can be so versatile and inexpensive. Grab a metallic color to bring modernize almost any vintage china pattern.” This is a great idea for brides who don’t choose to register for their own china patterns.

Chelle put together an amazing place setting with my Mimi’s china and the updated pieces I chose. To me, it was more than just picking plates to set the table. It was bringing together generations of women in my family who loved to serve others.

Although I might not ever master her banana pudding recipe, I will be able to serve future guests just like my Mimi. In the South, we call that Modern Tradition.

Style Me Pretty Contributor – Madeline Littrell is a corporate PR strategist and freelance writer. Born and raised in the South, she loves big hair, country music, and chicken fingers. Madeline lives in Dallas with her Sheltie puppy, Tennessee.

Inspired By Art, This Shoot Has Captivated Our Attention

I studied some art history in college and fell head over heels with the Dutch masters. I would stare and soak up their work for hours, eager to learn all I could about them. And this styled shoot, inspired by their work, is no different. It has that classic elegance and rich color palette that draws you in… and doesn’t let go. Audra Wrisley captured every purposeful detail and pretty moment and you can see them all in our gallery right this way!

From Audra Wrisley… The 17th century is known as the Golden Age in the Netherlands; a time in which their fast ships conquered the oceans, and brought an incredible wealth to the young republic. The intricate, moody works of Dutch master painters like Rembrandt and Vermeer also gained infamy during this compelling period, and this served as inspiration for our shoot created to excite the most classic souls.

Castle Oud-Poelgeest, a historical venue that traces its roots back all the way to the 1300’s, served as the backdrop for our lady in waiting bridal shoot. We couldn’t help but immediately fall in love with the impressive scenery paintings covering the ancient walls in the main room, paired with a stately fireplace mantel in the center of the space. The elegant table setting and floral design were inspired by the beauty of the Dutch still life masterpieces, which blended seamlessly with the tones scenes in the large canvases. We paired the transcendent French lace bridal gown by Sibo Designs with an endless veil, and completed the look using a delicate hand-painted hair accessory.

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Photography: Audra Wrisley Photography | Coordination: RedWhiteBluePink | Floral Design: Bloom Your Life | Wedding Dress: SIBO Designs | Cake: Majesteit Taart | Stationery: The Sparkle Company | Hair + Makeup: Marianne Roza Hair and Make up Artist | Hair Accessory: SIBO Designs | Lace Robe: Mes petites dentelles | Modeling Agency: EVD Agency | Veil: SIBO Designs | Vintage Rentals: Joske Seegers | Vintage Ring Box: The Mrs Box

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We’re Declaring Private Vow Exchanges the Next Big Thing

As weddings have increasingly grown into elaborate – and sometimes overwhelming – events, an increasing desire to make space for intimate moments between the couple is only natural. So these two decided to privately exchange the vows they wrote themselves one month prior to their wedding day at The University of Chicago. Dressed in a romantic Anna Campbell gown and carrying a bouquet of fall foliage from Flourish + Bloom Events, this beautiful Bride-to-be shared promises from the heart with her beloved in a sacred moment captured by Kristin La Voie Photography. We love this idea so much – get inspired for a private, pre-wedding vow exchange of your own by all the heartwarming images in the Vault!

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From Kristin La Voie PhotographyOne month before their wedding day, love birds Katie and Tommy had a pre-wedding day shoot to wind down and celebrate during what is typically a stressful time in the days leading up to the big day. Not only is it important to take a moment to breathe and enjoy each other during this exciting time, but it is also important to relax and find quietness and intimacy while you can.

This beautiful Chicago session takes place in a peaceful, ivy-covered garden in the middle of the busy city (symbolic of this rare moment of peace during a whirlwind of wedding preparations). On this day, Katie and Tommy share their vows to each other, their appreciation of one another, their commitment for their lives together.

In my nine years in the industry, I have seen private vow exchanges become increasingly popular. With stricter church rules that forbid personal vows, couples who prefer privacy, and couples who want additional time to share their love for each other outside of the ceremony time constraints, a separate vow exchange is the perfect way to capture that beautiful moment. What better way than to create a separate shoot devoted to this sacred commitment?! A shoot completely dedicated to the promises you make to each other, without the worry of everyone around listening in. A moment to truly cherish, and now documented for eternity.

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Photography: Kristin La Voie Photography | Floral Design: Flourish and Bloom Events | Wedding Dress: Anna Campbell | Makeup: Joanna B Artistry | Hair: Megan Hollinger | Location: University Of Chicago

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The Modern Traditionalist Approach to Decorating Your Home

Trends can be fleeting but crafting a home that’s timeless yet still feels fresh will always be in style. If you are stuck on just how to achieve this delicate balance, take note from designer Kendall Simmons. She is giving us the scoop on designing a space perfect for the modern traditionalist.

From Kendall…Tired of design trends that feel fleeting? Just because your taste in interiors leans toward the traditional, doesn’t mean that your home needs to feel like it’s full of your grandmother’s hand-me-downs! Use the following tips to embrace your inner Traditionalist, no matter your age!

Embrace High Gloss Paint, But Keep It Bright White

High sheen is chic, no matter who you are. But if you’re traditionally inclined, restrict the high gloss paint to shades of white. Use high gloss paint on ceiling beams, wainscoting, or fireplace mantles to add instant high-style.

Dress Your Drapery With Trim, But Keep It Tailored

Follow your dream of dressing up your drapery with decorative trims, but keep them simple and tailored in order to prevent them from looking fussy. (Read: tassels and fringe.) My personal favorite is always a wide decorative tape trim in a contrasting color. The teal Greek Key trim on this Family Room drapery did the trick! Designer Tip: Line the inside or “leading” edges of your drapery panels with decorative trim, top to bottom. I usually like to set my trim back about 1 inch from the edge to give it more room to shine!

Choose Classic Fabrics That Have Been Reinvented in Fresh Colors

There’s nothing wrong with embracing toile, check, damask, or chintz fabrics. If anything, these traditional fabric patterns are experiencing a renaissance! But, consider purchasing your favorite classic patterns in fresh colors that have been updated to suite a younger aesthetic. Buy toile wallpaper, but mix it up by buying it in a chic shade of purple or teal! For example, the Schumacher check pillow fabric in this Family Room has been reinvented in a punchy wine color, and the Jim Thompson floral urn pillow fabric has a new life in bright yellow!

Nail the Nailhead Detail

Nailhead trim is a staple in traditional design. Be sure to incorporate this important tactile detail into your home. Consider using nailheads in a cool fresh way, like the X detail on each side of the custom square ottomans in this light and bright Family Room


Ignore the Newest Trends When Kitting Out Your Kitchen

When designing your kitchen, stick with perennial favorites for your permanent fixtures, then punch it up with your accessories and decor. Classic white painted cabinetry, bridge faucet, farmhouse sink and white marble tile are long-time favorites that have longevity and go a long way in making your design feel established and grounded in traditional design. Once your traditional base is set, then you can layer on the fresh and colorful art, accessories and little details to make your Kitchen feel young and fun!

Photography: Catherine Truman | Art and Vases on Kitchen Counters: Target | Artwork near Stairs: Minted | Benches under Windows: Ballard Designs | Black and White Hex Boxes: West Elm | Blue Garden Stools: Wisteria Faux Bois Mirror | Blue and White Table Lamps: Shades of Light | Buffalo Check Throws: Ugg Brand | Copper and Wood Planters: Target | Grey Swivel Chairs: Rowe Furniture | Interior Design: Kendall Simmons | Large Woven Basket: Pottery Barn | Round Woven Tray With Handles: Ballard Designs | Sofas: Century Furniture | Striped Ceramic Vase: Target | Teal Chain Link Fabric: Jim Thompson No. 9 | Wine Check Pillow Fabric: Schumacher | Wood and Metal Counter Stools: Target | Yellow Urn Pillow Fabric: Jim Thompson

Your Heart Will Skip a Beat When You See Elie Saab’s Fall 2018 Wedding Dresses


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Photography: Greg Finck Photography | Wedding Dress: Elie Saab

Comfort Food Kitchen Essentials to Add to Your Registry

Once the weather starts to cool and the days get a little bit shorter, nothing sounds better than wearing comfy clothes, snuggling under a blanket, lighting a candle, and cooking yummy comfort food.

And for the newlyweds who are beginning to build their home together, your registry is the perfect time to stock up on kitchen essentials that will help you make the warm food you crave during the chillier times of the year.

Here’s what to register for.

Comfort Food Kitchen Essentials to Add to Your Registry
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Comfort Food Kitchen Essentials to Add to Your Registry
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Style Me Pretty Contributor – Julia Hurwitz is a freelance writer and Marketing Manager based in New York City. Her interests include travel, global craft, healthy baking, entertaining and exploring the outdoors.

The Surprising Way You Influence Your Spouse’s Career

In her best-selling book Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg wrote about the critical importance of a woman’s partner in her career success. In fact, the role a spouse plays in professional achievement is significant for both genders. For example, researchers from Washington University in St. Louis found that how conscientious a husband or wife is will influence their spouse’s workplace performance.


Ruth Eileen Photography

Additionally, you can impact your partner by the types of support you offer as he or she experiences successes and setbacks. The key is to champion your spouse in ways that are most effective for the circumstances. Here are four ways to be a supportive spouse.


Understanding work schedules
Sometimes we work crazy hours in pursuit of professional goals. This is especially true if there’s an important deadline looming or if the demands of a job increase at certain times of the year. Though work-life balance is necessary for a marriage to thrive, sometimes you need to cut your spouse some slack when it comes to putting in long hours.


Representing your spouse publicly
Depending on the job your partner has, you may be asked to offer support by attending or hosting events. This might be a small ask like going to a holiday party, but if your spouse desires a high-profile career like being a politician, you’ll play a crucial role. Whatever the situation, you need to be your charming (yet professional) self at any event you’re asked to attend. Monitor your alcohol intake and steer clear of controversial topics that could lead to uncomfortable conversations.

You should also be careful of privacy settings and what you post on social media. Remember, those pictures you put on Instagram might be seen by your spouse’s boss or a prospective client.


Giving professional feedback
When your partner asks for input, it shows the value he or she places on your judgment. Take it as a compliment, but, before responding, be clear on what you’re being asked. Is it actually a request for feedback or just for confidence-boosting encouragement? Also, be aware of the circumstances. If it’s midnight before a big presentation the next morning, it’s probably not the best time to mention 10 points you think should be changed. Pick one or two that can be improved with small tweaks.

Listening to work-related stories
Probably the biggest thing you’ll do when supporting your spouse’s career is listen. Whether senior management liked a presentation or a co-worker takes credit for an idea, you will likely get a call or text. According to research by psychologist Terri Orbuch, that’s a good sign. “The happiest marriages were ones where partners felt that their spouse regularly disclosed information about his or her life, and did not keep secrets — even details from work that might be deemed ‘boring.'”

Although important, listening can be challenging when you don’t understand or aren’t particularly interested in the details of your spouse’s career. One wife describes her strategy for handling the situation this way: “When I have trouble paying attention to long stories, I focus on how my husband feels about the details he’s reporting. Is he stressed, discouraged, excited…and I respond to that.”

No matter the challenge, finding ways to effectively support your spouse’s career should be a goal of married life. Not only does your partner’s professional success increase your income as a couple, according to Orbuch, “People who are happy in their jobs often reported being happy spouses. In effect, job satisfaction can increase relationship happiness.”

Style Me Pretty Contributor – Paula Holt is the creator of the website Practically Married, a resource to help couples prepare for marriage. She’s a self-described podcast enthusiast who enjoys singing loudly in the car and going to restaurants with her family.

5 Steps to Styling the Perfect Bridal Braid

A few years ago, I thought bridal braids were a hot trend. Oh, how wrong I was. Rather than a trend, they’re a timeless hairstyle that continues to make an appearance, and more beautiful than ever. But when it comes to styling your perfect bridal braid, there are a few things to consider—beyond showing your hairstylist a dreamy look from your Pinterest board. Grab our tips below!

Choose the right braid for your hair type.

Just because that fishtail braid looks gorgeous on the bride on your Pinterest board, doesn’t mean it’s the right one for you. Consider things like your hair thickness, color and length when choosing your perfect bridal braid, and don’t forget to experiment! This glossary of braids is a great go-to.

Choose the right braid for your dress style.

You’re going to want to work with your dress style to determine your braid style. Donning a chic strapless number? A dreamy side swept braid would be beautiful. Does your dress feature a gorgeous back? Maybe an updo with an upside down braid is your match.

Enhance your braid.

If you’re after a gorgeous, chunky braid but you just don’t have the length or thickness, don’t be scared to seek a little help! Extensions are a great way to bulk up that braid or give you the length you need to pull off the style you’re going for.

Dirty Hair, Don’t Care

The thought of dirty hair on your wedding doesn’t sound too appealing does it? Well, it might actually be better for that beautiful braid your after. Depending on your hair type, consider going with second day hair on your wedding to let your braid shine it’s brightest!

Consider Coloring Options

The prettiest braids often feature gorgeous dimension in the form of your hair color. Talk with your stylist about coloring or balayage options to get the look you’re going for.

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Transforming a Horse Arena Into a Romantic Reception Space

This Bride had a vision of transforming the tree-lined driveway of the Whispering Rose Ranch into her idyllic ceremony setting and a horse arena into a romantic reception space. Yes, you read that right – a horse arena! To bring her vision to life, she knew she needed Vanessa Noel Events, who then brought on some of the most talented and trustworthy vendors – La Tavola, Pretty Vintage Rentals, Little Gem Photo Booth, Copper Willow Paper StudioJen Rodriguez Photography, and more! It’s a good thing, too, because when the inevitable hiccup happened, the sweet calligrapher came to the rescue. See the gorgeous affair and then read more about the story, below!

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From Jen Rodriguez PhotographyThis wedding was spectacular for so many reasons. The wedding ceremony was held in the most beautiful tree lined driveway at the Whispering Rose Ranch. The designer and coordinator, Vanessa Noel Events, brought in a mix of warm wooden chairs and benches and softened up the space with textured blankets, pillows, greenery, and candles, which all perfectly accented the already breathtaking location and the beautiful florals brought in by Cocorose. The guests then transitioned to the cocktail hour where they were welcomed by personalized leather escort tags (see crazy side story about the escort cards below!), lawn games, and the start of some yummy food and drinks catered by the impeccable Field to Table Events. After the guests mingled, they moved into a fully transformed space. What was a horse arena just days before was turned into a romantic and etherial reception space that any couple would love. The icing on the amazing reception cake had to have been the flooring of all things! The bride wanted a soft space for her guests to move around on and had the whole inside of the arena sodded! To accent the lush green grass on the floor, the greenery was then also added to the ceiling in way of the dripping greenery chandeliers.

The leather escort cards were lovingly made on the East Coast by a wonderfully talented calligrapher. After the escort cards were finished, they were boxed up and shipped out to California for Carla and Bennett’s wedding day, which also just so happened to fall on a holiday weekend. Because of the impending holiday, the shipping times were postponed, and it wasn’t realized until after the order was shipped that it wasn’t actually going to arrive in time for their big day. The escort cards were set to arrive the following Tuesday. So, what does any customer-service-loving wedding professional do? Well, the calligrapher hopped on a plane from the East Coast and flew all the way to sunny California to re-do the entire order on site. When I arrived to start shooting the details, she was just finishing up. I wouldn’t have believed the story if I hadn’t actually met her myself. All I can say is that it just goes to show the extent that a true wedding professional will go to keep their clients happy.

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Photography: Jen Rodriguez Photography | Event Design + Planning: Vanessa Noel Events | Floral Design: Coco Rose Design | Stationery: copper willow paper studio | Ceremony: Gavin Roy | Catering: Field To Table Events | Hair + Makeup : Blushing Beauty | Calligraphy: Fox and Sparrow Design | Band: West Coast Music | Wedding Venue: Whispering Rose Ranch | Cake + Desserts: Frost It Cakery | Landscaping: The Lawn Ranger | Lighting + Draping: Bella Vista Designs, Inc | Linens: BBJ Linen | La Tavola Linen | Photo Booth: Little Gem Photo Booth | Rentals: Town And Country | Security: Triumph Protection | Specialty Rentals: Pretty Vintage Rentals

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This Ivy League Love Story Culminates in Wildly Beautiful “I Do’s”

From college sweethearts to the Santa Barbara Zoo, this Harvard meets Wellesley love story is taking a walk on the wild side. Classic details paired with cameos by giraffes and flamingos are only the beginning of this stunning celebration designed by Vanessa Michelle Co., with elegant florals crafted by Honeycomb Affair, and stationery by Seniman Calligraphy. Pore through every last gorgeous image captured by Luna de Mare, plus more right here.

From the Photographer… When Wellesley and Harvard collide, you get a quintessentially classic Ivy League love story. Morgan and Matt met while attending their Alma Maters, at an evening gathering on campus, and have been inseparable ever since. They Wed at the beautiful Our Lady of Mount Carmel with a traditional Catholic Ceremony and walked out to a sea waving streamers from Family & Friends who rejoiced in their Union. Guests made their way to the nearby Santa Barbara Zoo, where they enjoyed a perfect California day, sipping on cocktails and noshing on delectables, all while little zoo animals roamed around for photo ops. The Reception was held in a beautiful white Tent on the grounds, with a neutral palette of Florals in whites, soft buttery yellows & greenery among clear table settings creating an airy and quietly elegant ambience. They danced the evening away with the usual Wedding merriment, as the sun set and the tent glowed from afar, with the sound of laughter and clinking glasses filling the warm California summer night.

Photography: Luna de Mare Photography | Floral Design: Honeycomb Affair | Gown: Monique Lhuillier | Cake: Christine Dahl Pastries | Catering: Zoo Catering Services By Rincon | Calligraphy: Seniman Calligraphy | Groomsmen Attire: Vera Wang Black For Men's Warehouse | Bridesmaids Gowns: Monique Lhuillier | Event Coordination & Design: Vanessa Michelle Co. | Groom’s Attire: Hugo Boss | HMUA: TEAM Hair and Makeup | Invitations & Paper Goods: copper willow paper studio | Linens: BBJ Linen | La Tavola Linen | Rentals: Town And Country | Ring Box : The Mrs Box | Styling Surface: OneStone West | Watercolor Crest: Lana Dreams Designs

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How To Get The Perfect Pregnancy Glow for Your Maternity Shoot

I remember the morning of my maternity session—I was a hot, sweaty and frazzled 7-month mama-to-be. I felt anything but glowing! If you’re growing a tiny human you know what I’m talking about. Thankfully, with some planning on my part and working with a photographer who was able to translate those beads of sweat into glowing images, I was happy with the results. I’m sharing some of my tips with you today alongside this gorgeous session captured by Katta Tubio!

Pamper Yourself

When you’re in your third trimester (the common time to do a maternity session), getting ready on any given day is a challenge. So, when it comes time to really fancy yourself up, there’s no denying you’ll want to stick your entire body in your freezer or maybe take 10 minute breaks in the process. Here are a few things I did to keep my cool, literally, and work that sweat into a pretty glow:

First, make sure to hit the spa in the days leading up to your shoot to take care of those rogue brow hairs, get a facial, manicure and pedicure—whatever makes you feel good about yourself!

Get plenty of rest the night before—that is, if you’re not getting up to pee every few hours (it’ll happen). But in any case, try to go to bed a bit earlier than usual to feel well rested for your shoot. When it comes to the day of, give yourself plenty of time to get ready as well. Rushing is never fun, especially when you’re toting a watermelon around. I think I started getting ready 3-4 hours before my photographer arrived and took some breaks in between to stay relaxed.

Makeup + Wardrobe

My favorite maternity sessions are the ones where the mama-to-be’s natural beauty shines through. Consider going for a more natural look for your makeup, with a little extra fancying. Eyelash extensions are a fun way to enhance your natural look and blotting papers are lifesavers, too! Get them, you’ll thank me. I also took breaks in between shooting to freshen up and use the ladies room several times, of course. If you’re not comfortable doing your own hair and makeup, hire a professional—you deserve it mama.

Choose flattering dresses to show off that cutie bump of yours. Flowy styles are perfect, or opt for a form-fitting number to enhance your bump, especially if you’re doing your shoot a bit early on in pregnancy. These ones were my favorite!

Find a Photographer You’re Comfortable With

This might be the most important part. Regardless of how much you prep, pamper and primp yourself, getting in front of a lens with a bump can be intimidating and make you feel suuuper awkward. But if you work with a photographer that makes you 110% comfortable, that “glow” will come through beautifully in their imagery.

Letting your photographer guide you and make suggestions is always a good idea, but don’t be afraid to tell them how YOU are most comfortable. Do you have a side of your face you like better? It sounds silly but a lot of women actually do. Raised hand over here!

You can also practice maternity poses as well beforehand to help loosen up your nerves. Take a peek at other maternity sessions for inspiration!

From Katta TubioThis lovely maternity shoot took place in Prague in different locations. First one, the interior location was the Soho restaurant Prague, beautiful, peaceful place by the river with amazing design, a total match with our desire colour palette. Other two external locations was in Vojanovy Sady, little park right in the heart of Prague’s most touristic area called Mala strana. This little oasis is well known by the locals for its wilderness of peacocks walking freely around and the other external locations was in Wallenstein garden which is on the other hand known for its beautiful baroque paintings. The amazing mum to be is very passionate about fashion and both she and her husband also work in fashion. Together we prepared very pastel colour palette to create soft and elegant look. Playing with the textures of an old buildings.

Photography: katta tubio | Earrings: Christian Dior | Husband sneakers and jewelry: Louis Vuitton | Maternity dresses: ASOS | Restaurant: SOHO | Satin slippers: Zara | Straw bag: French baskets | garden 1: Vojanovy Sady | garden 2: Prague

5 Easy Ways to Sneak Culture into Your Wedding

Often, getting married isn’t just about you and your husband. For many couples, it’s also about celebrating two families becoming one. And with that celebration comes many different cultural aspects that you and your fiancé may want to incorporate. Whether you are joining two different cultures and want to sprinkle in a little bit of both, or want a full-blown culture-filled wedding, here are some tips on how to do it right.


Adrian Wood


The Ceremony
The ceremony is a great place to recognize your culture. Consider adding in a few readings that fit well or incorporating a tradition. For example, if you want to add Jewish flair, consider breaking a glass at the end of the ceremony or circling the groom after you walk down the aisle. Greek tradition has the bride and groom wearing crowns as they marry. Adding in a few different things your culture or cultures do will make for a beautiful and unique wedding.


This Love Of Yours Photography


The Reception
The reception is all about fun—but that doesn’t mean you can’t sprinkle in some culture here, too. Most cultures have traditional wedding songs, like the Horah or the Italian jig Tarantella. These songs only last a few minutes, but can make a big impact on your family and make the reception feel personal.


Docuvitae


The Décor
This is where you can get creative. See if your culture uses a certain type of flower, or even consider using your country or state’s official flower. You can also base your color scheme off your culture—use the colors of the flag for napkins, centerpieces or invites.


Taylor & Porter


The Food
Your menu is a great way to add culture with a big impact without changing any other aspect of the wedding. Use your cocktail hour to add in a variety of bites that please different cultures or go all out and have your main course resemble your family heritage. Did your grandma always cook a specific meal from her home country? Serve that as the entrée! Is your fiance’s family Greek? Try adding Mediterranean aspects to your cocktail hour—just make sure everyone knows not to break any plates!


Taylor & Porter


The Fashion
When it comes to your fashion, you can go all out or keep it simple. Wearing jewelry that has been passed down through generations is a simple way to do this, but many brides may also want to consider wearing traditional garb down the aisle or during the reception. You can always do an outfit change if you still want to wear a traditional dress—the choice is yours!

Style Me Pretty Contributor – Jessica Tzikas is a freelance writer, editor, and content manager from South Florida, who recently moved back to the sunshine state after living in Philadelphia for the past few years. When she isn’t writing, you can find her reading by the beach, practicing yoga, and exploring nearby towns with her new husband.

Playful Blue Ridge Mountains Engagement Shoot

I mean, come on. Just look at this pup! Have you ever seen anything so cute!? I think not, but coming in as a close second are these two cuties. Kylie Noelle captured them in their element (and with their fur baby) for their adorable e-shoot and we’re crushing hard. From smiles to stunning views, this shoot has it all – see more here!

From Kylie NoelleShot in the Virginia Blue Ridge Mountains and at James Monroe’s Highland and UVA in Charlottesville, this Pennsylvania couple wanted to travel down to Charlottesville for their session because they’ll call the city home after they tie the knot next May. Both of them love that the area is rich in colonial America history, so in addition to a sunrise shoot along the Blue Ridge Parkway, they wanted to include some of that feel into the second half of their session. They brought their ADORABLE pup along as well, proving that the only thing that makes a sweet engagement shoot better is a sweet engagement shoot with an appearance by a fur babe!

From the Bride-to-be… Kylie contacted me last minute and asked if Drew and I wanted to do our engagement session in the Blue Ridge Mountains. I couldn’t resist. Drew recently moved to Charlottesville for law school and we have both since fallen in love with the surrounding mountains and historic downtown. I have always dreamt of an engagement session in the mountains and I couldn’t be more grateful for Kylie’s willingness to travel to UVA’s main grounds for a few shots with our furry little friend, Teddy. We picked Teddy up just two days before pictures – what he lacked in cooperation, he made up for in cuteness! A huge thank you to Kylie and her husband Ben for making us feel extremely comfortable and natural. We had so much fun and we were so glad to be able to take our engagement pictures in the place where we’ll begin our journey of marriage together!

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Photography: Kylie Bricker Photography

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Transforming a Small Cottage Into the Perfect Weekend Escape

There’s nothing that a coat of white paint, a family of greenery and a disco ball can’t cure. Just ask Lauren Kelp. Together with her husband, she revamped a cozy little cottage in Michigan to escape the hustle and bustle of the Chicago work week. Take the tour of this sweet spot made perfect with a little elbow grease and cool, bohemian decor.

After living in downtown Chicago for several years, my husband and I realized we needed a space to go and disappear from the grind of urban living. We stumbled upon this 700 square foot gem right in the heart of New Buffalo, Michigan – just about an hour outside of downtown Chicago.

The inside was painted an alarming Kindergarten yellow, the yard was overgrown, and the rooms had an awkward flow but the light was magical and the erratic landscaping made us feel like the house was something out of a storybook. After almost a year of tearing down walls, moving things around, and several thousand YouTube tutorials later, we have turned this little #TinyKelpHouse into our favorite weekend retreat.

 Within days of getting the keys, we knocked the wall separating the kitchen and the living room to open everything up and give it a more communal feel. Once the majority of the wall was down, we DIY’ed a fun countertop area that doubles as a bar, extra counter space, and a great nook for additional seating.

 Space is coveted in a small house, so everything has to have multiple purposes or uses, and this bar space is one of the most used areas in the house. We found this gorgeous sofa from Rove Concepts and worked the Living Room design around it. The Hygge & West wallpaper helps give the room a bit of a glam vibe while the red velvet and décor accents make the space feel cozy and bohemian.

Truthfully, once we repainted everything white (paint is Promenade by Valspar) the house completely transformed. Everything became lighter and brighter, and with the addition of a few wall sconces, the small room took on a life of its own.

Originally the bedroom and the bathroom were flipped, so with a little demo finesse, we were able to transform the bathroom into a serene space that doesn’t feel cramped. Truthfully, this was another case of finding an amazing product and re-working a space around it. In this case, it was those amazing encaustic tiles! I am a big believer in having a clutter free bedroom, especially in a weekend home.

Your bedroom should be a space to let your hair down and unwind, not a place of anxiety. The velvet upholstered bed from Joss & Main and the neutral grey wallpaper adds drama to the cozy room without feeling crowded or stuffy. We ditched the traditional bedside table for something a little more casual, so we stack our current bedtime reads on the floor and charge our phones in the kitchen. A tech free bedroom is an absolute must in our house! 

 

Photography: This Girl Sylvia | Design and Styling: Lauren Kelp | ANDANZA wallpaper in Copper: Hygge & West - Petal Pusher | Bar Stools: Lamps Plus | Bathroom tile, Tess I: Cement Tile Shop | Bedroom Wall Sconce: Lamps Plus | Braided Rug in Off White: RugsUsa | DIAMANTE wallpaper in Grey: Hygge & West - Petal Pusher | Erika Upholstered Bed: Amazon | Kitchen Cabinet paint, Wet Pavement: Vaspar: Zephyr Pink | Linen Roller Shades: The Shade Store | Promenade paint: Vaspar: Zephyr Pink | Scarlett Sofa in Cardinal Vintage Velvet: Rove Concepts

This Moody Bridal Style Editorial Is a Work of Art

Art has long been a source of inspiration for creatives, so it’s no surprise this gorgeous wedding editorial came about after Sara Weir Photography viewed Pieter Claesz’s still life painting, Breakfast With Fish. Much like the painting, she explored the transition from light to dark, and it’s so gorgeous, it will surely take your breath away. From the exquisite Zac Posen gown to the dramatic florals by The Potted Pansy, we’re declaring this bridal styled shoot a work of art.

From Sara Weir PhotographyThis beautiful shoot was inspired by a still life painting, Breakfast With Fish, by Pieter Claesz. In the painting, Claesz uses every shade of neutral to depict a simple meal. It struck me as so beautiful that I decided to create wedding inspiration using neutrals from light to dark. With this inspiration, I set about to convey this message through every detail. Rather than seeing this transition literally on each piece of the wedding suite, Nikkol of Refine used the individual paper to convey the transition of light to dark. I particularly love how The Potted Pansy worked her light to dark magic in the floral installation. And the Zac Posen gown from Shop Gossamer speaks for itself. It was a pleasure creating this shoot, and I hope you find beautiful inspiration here for your own wedding!

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Photography: Sara Weir Photography | Floral Design: The potted pansy | Wedding Dress: Zac Posen | Hair + Makeup: Kohnur | Calligraphy: Refine Studio | Bridal Boutique: Gossamer | Ceramics: Notary Ceramics | Model: Pamela Gidahi