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This International Wedding Lavishly Hosted Over 300 Guests

Pack your bags for Cyprus for this black-tie international affair. Loutsiana and Panayiotis met while away on holiday and continued their love story through a long-distance relationship. A 20-hour flight from Melbourne to Cyprus couldn’t stop Panayiotis from visiting Loutsiana over 20 times! When it came to wedding planning, the couple had a clear vision in mind. They set out looking for a venue that could host both a ceremony and reception, and also accommodate over 300 guests coming in from all over the world! Just take one look at the Anassa Resort, which showcases Mediterranean living at its finest, and you’ll see why it was the perfect fit. Sotiris Tsakanikas superbly captured the beauty of the location and love the couple shares, see all of the sublime details in the full gallery.



From Splendid EventsIt was pretty clear the place had to be no other than Anassa Resort. The palm-fringed, Mediterranean designer den, comes with immaculate views over the secluded bays of Akamas Peninsula that meet elegant, marbled interiors, exclusive designer boutiques, restaurants and pools, fragrant gardens, private villas and of course a gorgeous beachfront.



The couple’s vision for the Big Day was timeless elegance meets a warm ambiance, and -literally- tons of orchids. The church and churchyard were festooned with endless rows of white orchids, white hydrangeas for volume, white spray, and David Austin buds.



We set the scene for the reception right in front of the couple’s church of Saint Athanasia, the saint-protector whose name Panayiotis’ grandmother shares. According to the groom’s family, it would be a nod and a lovely tribute to her memory. The terrace was festooned with strings of lights and a sea of candles on the tables, while long family-style dinner ensued honoring every Greek-Cypriot tradition and ritual.



Photography: Sotiris Tsakanikas | Event Planning: Splendid Events | Floral Design: Splendid Events | Wedding Dress: Steven Khalil | Invitations: Letterpressed | Reception Venue: Anassa Hotel | Groom's Attire: Tom Ford | Bridal Shoes: Christian Louboutin | Rentals: Party City

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Ice Age Inspired Birthday Party

We love seeing a truly creative birthday party theme — and this Ice Age themed party is so COOL. (pun slightly intended)

One of the best ways to find a theme for a kid’s birthday party is to elaborate on what your child is particularly into that year, and this party does just that! Take a look!

From the planner, 50 by 50 Event Design: La Brea Tar Pits Inspired Birthday Party

What do you do when your daughter’s favorite place to go is the La Brea Tar Pits and requests a Tar Pit themed birthday party?!

I wanted to evoke the feeling of being in a museum that transports you directly to the Ice Age.

It all began with an invitation diorama beautifully drawn by Zachary Baldus and the quote “It all began with a single snowflake.” We included her favorite Ice Age animals… Sabertooth, wooly mammoths, Dire wolf and ground sloth.

We had an excavation station where you could dig for crystals and a “Tar Pit” ball pit. Art Camp LA did such a beautiful job with the crafts, the children got to create their own Ice Age terrariums. We used lots of white ferns, since they look not only like skeletons but also they are an ancient plant.

Dawn with Earthbaby Flowers created centerpieces that felt like they were growing right out of the ground… Natural and whimsical. In terms of colors I still wanted to keep it soft and natural, reminiscent of the colors that nature creates in the snow… Not just white, but dusty blues and soft pinks.

The dessert display was definitely an ode to a museum display showcasing the fossils of all the animals from the Ice Age. The desserts were so meticulously and beautifully created by Rachel of Elisecakes…@up_up_intheair created an amazing balloon ceiling eluding to falling snow… And I also created tassels white fringe to carry on the idea of constant snow.

We gifted our daughter Eames her very own “Dire Wolf” (German Shepard) named Lucy. To close the party we made it snow here in sunny Los Angeles, which the children absolutely loved.

 

Photography: Billye Donya Photography | Florals: Earth Baby Flowers | Acrylic Signage: Creative Amme | Backdrops: 50 by 50 Event Design | Balloons: Up Up In The Air | Concept & Design: 50 by 50 Event Design | Craft Station: Art Camp LA | Desserts: Elise Cakes | Invitation Artist: Zachary Baldus | Invitation Design: 50 by 50 Event Design | Photo Booth: Brass Street Booth | Rentals: Teak & Lace

Set Sail On The River Seine For This Parisian Wedding

It doesn’t get more romantic than Paris. That is until you include a lavish garden wedding, ethereal gray gown, and a clipper yacht down The River Seine. For their Paris destination wedding, Bradlee and Kevin pulled out all the stops. They decided to combine their two worlds by honoring their past and creating new memories for the present in the city of love. Claire Morris Photography was there to exquisitely capture the romance of the day. Visit the full gallery for a look at this wedding that’s equal parts elegant and awe-inspiring.



From the bride… We decided to get married in Paris because that is where I studied and have wonderful memories of my mother visiting me there. I wanted his family to establish new memories in Paris on their first trip there. We wanted to combine two worlds and do things a little differently than our peers.



The idea for the color palette was elegant and simple, just a bit ethereal, and adoring of the surroundings.  We complemented the garden with a sweet floral palette of white and blush peonies and roses, white hydrangeas, and greenery.  Gilles Pothier Floriste designed a gorgeous chuppah that was an extension of the garden, and minimalist bouquets for the spaces that needed them.



I wanted to pay homage to the people that wouldn’t be with us that day, and also make sure that the people that would be with us had an amazing time and adventure– something they would remember forever.  I wanted to focus on the experience, on what already existed, on the history, on the beauty of Paris and all the memories I (and we) have there… and simply fill in the details around that. The result was magical. 



Photography: Claire Morris | Flowers: Gilles Pothier Paris | Wedding Dress: JLM Couture | Cake: Ritz Paris | Reception: The Clipper | Shoes: Christian Louboutin | Rings: Michael & Sons, Reno, NV | Hair and Make up: Modern Beauties | Suit: Armani | shirt/pants/shoes/accessories: Hugo Boss | Planning and Design: Lucas Somoza | Ring Box: Allen Gleur

Home 101: How to Style Bookshelves


One of the hottest topics these days is the #shelfie. We’re talking open shelving, decorative shelving, an isolated floating shelf, a bookcase all decorated with bits and bobbles of meaningful decor, pretty decor and, obviously, books.

This FEELS like a task that should be able to be accomplished in an afternoon… A little of this here! A little of that there! Some layering on this shelf, some layering on that shelf…. And at the end of all that effort, something feels off.

So what makes a good shelfie? We broke it down into a few core elements that compose a great shelf, and then adding a few extra tips and tricks at the bottom!

1. Collected Items

Some people collect pottery, others collect little bowls. Shelves are the PERFECT place to display your collections! After all, you want to display what you’ve worked so hard to assort, not hide it.

2. Horizontal Stack

One of the best tricks when it comes to displaying your books is to switch up the way they go on the shelf! This is especially useful when you’re working with books that are abnormally large. The “horizontal stack” allows for you to center up some books, place a nice vase or figurine on them and switch up how you read the spine.

3. Light Reflective Surfaces

When you’re dealing with a bookcase, chances are you’re dealing with a lot of soft, light-sucking surfaces. Giving a space “life” sometimes means giving it light, and in the case of styling, you’re shelf you’re definitely going to want to add a reflective surface or two. That could be a picture frame, small ornate mirror, metallic vase or anything that makes the light bounce around.

4. Storage

One of the best functionality elements of the shelf is sneaky storage. You can hide things in bowls, baskets bins, and cute cartons. Let your style serve a purpose for you too and you’ll be really happy with how well it looks AND how much it works for you.

5. Vertical Stacks

This is a given on a bookshelf as it is the standard way to display books, so think of this as your staple, anchored element. This is what the eye is trained to expect when approaching bookshelves, so keep this as a baseline standard peppered throughout your display.

6. Storied Items

Think of a shelf as a GREAT conversation starter and pepper in items with stories that you love and are great indicators of your personality. Don’t feel like this has to be exotic! It certainly can be, but stories of all location and price point are so fun here.

You could display a vase you got at a flea market while you were in Italy, or a vase you got for $. 50 and your bargain-hunting heart totally fluttered. You could display a camera that once belonged to your great, great grandfather, or the camera that was your first ever big-time investment… but is probably worth like $20 at most now. Whatever the story is, own it, and tell it!

7.Coordination Elements

This is where we get into layout. When you’re setting up your shelves thing of the whole unit as a scale — it requires balance. So if the top shelf has a squared basket on the left, consider putting your square bin on the right on the shelf right below it. Placement is by far the hardest part, but the best thing we can say here is to keep it balanced and to try out as many variations as your little heart desires until it feels *right,* and *right* typically means coordinating elements on different shelf levels.

8. Figurines

Since it is a bookshelf you’ll likely be dealing with a lot of absolute straight lines and squared up boxes. Figurines help to bring some more organic lines to the shelf-unit and help break up all those strict edges!

9. Natural Elements

A mixture of textures is important for balance, and being sure to add in natural textures is really important! Adding in natural textures is one of the quickest ways to bring in a “cozy” element to the shelves since you likely will not be fitting a textile :)

10. White Space

Many times the thing you’re missing most is the thing you least accounted for — blank space! You need to give your eye a place to rest. Everything doesn’t always need to touch and sequentially work perfectly together. A great collection of displayable items takes time! So you can breathe easy here knowing that your shelves won’t be perfect in a day, and in the meantime utilize that white space to your favor and let your eyes rest.

A Few Other Tips

-Be intentional about how you organize the books: You can organize by genre, size, color or author! You can seriously make a huge statement by choosing any of these options.

-Mix The stack: The traditional way to fill the shelves is to neatly stack your books vertically on the shelf one by one across the length. Mix it up! Add in some horizontal stacks, make smaller vertical stacks and every once in a while a tilted book looks a little chic.

-Pepper in other decor: Once you’ve mixed up how you stack your books, you now have new platforms for highlighting other elements. For example, a fun, collected figurine looks at home on top of a horizontal stack of books. A small, sturdy potted plant acts as a good bookend to hold up a vertical stack, and if you’ve got an area that needs attention, framed photos or peices of art always make a set of shelves look good!

curve ball

Now that you know the basic cadence of styling shelves, here’s where we really confuse you. KNOW the rules, then BREAK the rules — intentionally. A few of our favorite rule-breakers we’ve seen:

-Everything is filled with books. There are no figurines, greenery or vases. It’s a sea of books. It’s beautiful

-A sea of books TURNED AROUND so that you see the page side instead of the spine. Warning if you try to execute this one — it will be very difficult to find your books. It looked cool, but we can’t imagine it was easy to locate The Hobbit.

– Lots of figurines, a handful of books, some baskets, barely anything on the shelves. Sparce, sleek and ultra chic.

At the end of the day, the shelf is there to show off you and you’re style. So whatever YOU do is right for you. Happy decorating!

Romantic Estate Inspiration Every Princess Bride Will Fawn Over

An estate fit for a princess, an enchanted garden, a lace dress and flower magic from Hanaki Floral Design – this stunning styled shoot from Jacqueline Rae Weddings is nothing short of a fairytale. It perfectly combines traditional elegance with romantic details, leaving no detail left unturned. Head on over to the full gallery captured beautifully by Kristyn Harder Photography to get seriously inspired for your big day.

From the Photographer… Built in 1911, Hycroft Manor is a breathtaking mansion that was once the center of Vancouver’s social scene. It was known for its parties, which were attended by the city’s elite. In addition to its rich history, the buildings architecture and surrounding gardens are a sight to be seen. This is truly a magical place, which is why it’s still a sought-after venue for weddings and events today. As a wedding photographer, I believe there are two keys to a beautiful wedding portrait. A couple whose love shines brightly, and a picturesque setting surrounding them in their bliss. Add in the stunning details such as florals, a classic car and designer wedding gowns, and even more magic is made.

This inspiration shoot at Hycroft Manor came together with the contribution of some of the best vendors Western Canada has to offer, and a crazy-in-love couple who was preparing for their own wedding day just one week later. During a trip to Vancouver, I visited Hycroft Manor and was blown away by how beautiful the mansion and the grounds were. The architecture is classic and detailed, with the view of the front and the grand back staircase stealing the show for me.

In one corner I found the Heritage garden, blooming with assorted flowers, falling vines, and adorned with sculptures. The view terrace was the perfect spot for a reception to take place, and the Juliet balcony would be ideal for couple’s portraits as the sun set. I knew I had to photograph here, and the words classic, elegant and heartfelt inspired what was to come. I met with Jacqueline Rae, a wedding planner based out of Calgary, who is inspired by French-European Design and classic details. She was the perfect person to bring my vision to life, and together we planned our trip to Vancouver a few months later.

From the Designer… Architecture plays a large role in our classic-focused designs and the Hycroft Manor provided a breathtaking aesthetic and history to build upon and complement. Combined with a curated team of valuing connection and utter-romance, our inspiration shoot came to life in the best-possible way. Emilee and Scott are two of the sweetest people we have ever had the pleasure of working with. They were so in love and looking forward to their own wedding day only a week later. We made the decision at the start to include a real couple as part of the project, since we valued real emotion, connection and joy to come through in photographs. Not only were Emilee and Scott easy to photograph because of their connection, but they made beautiful models too. Hanaki Floral Design created the most beautiful floral pieces, including the show-stopping bridal bouquet and the balcony adornment that provided the most beautiful backdrop for our bride and groom. A blend of centerpieces filled the tablescape with mercury glass compotes, added dimension and combined with delicate blooms and vines, added an organic and Ikebana approach to a classic design. Quaint place setting bouquets wrapped in cream-silk ribbon sat atop the guest menu and place cards. A custom car wreath was designed alongside a hand-calligraphed fabric banner from Debbie Wong Designs

Debbie created the most-romantic stationery and calligraphy suite including linen menus and hand-calligraphed silk-ribbon placecards that sat on top of the delicate place settings. Paper details included a hand-drawn sketch of the Hycroft venue columns on fine vellum with a calligraphy invite suite underneath. Complementing the paper goods was hand-calligraphy love notes to the couple. Stesha Ho is a talented couture dress designer based out of Vancouver who creates custom gowns for her brides. She contributed two stunning gowns incorporating only the finest European lace and silk as well as hand-sewn beading which featured intricate, feminine details. Our Menswear included a classic black tux with a shawl lapel by Black and Lee and was tailored to our tall Groom. Joanna Bisley Designs provided the exquisite bridal jewelry including a heirloom hair-pin with pearls and delicate jewels and delicate clear crystal earrings with light ivory pearl navettes in a gold setting. The tablescape and event rentals were provided by Pedersen’s Event Rentals and featured beautifully textured White Panama Linen, Bone Coupe Plates, soft Blush Napkins, and Gold Nova chairs which allowed clear sight lines through the cane-back glass. A champagne coupe tower placed on a Shant blush linen added to the classic details of the event. Our classic car provided by Ritz Limousine was a cream 1939 Cadillac Stretch Limousine with suede interiors and peekaboo back windows adding charm and elegance to sweep our couple away.

Photographer: Kristyn Harder Photography | Florist: Hanaki Floral Design | Wedding Gown: Stesha Ho | Stationery: Debbie Wong Design | Makeup and Hair: Alisha Hopps | Car Rental: Ritz Limousines | Wedding Venue: Hycroft Manor | Accessories: Joanna Bisley Designs | Menswear: Black & Lee | Planning: Jacqueline Rae Weddings | Rentals: Pedersen's rentals | Veil: Sara Gabriel

This Inspiration Shoot Will Make You Love Italy Even More

Italian wedding inspiration at a majestic villa in Apulia?! Yes, please! Come for the white stone architecture, and stay for the color palette highlighted by the beauty of the region. This destination wedding inspiration has us feeling the amoré! The genius of Joy Proctor Design and the desire of The Wedding Boutique Italy to produce exceptional and memorable events has come together in a harmonious collaboration that’s not to be missed. Join us in the full gallery for a closer look.



From Joy Proctor DesignWe must feel inspired in order to inspire, and when a seasoned designer and wedding planner embark on a spontaneous adventure through the tiny stone-walled roadways of Italy’s best-kept secret, its Southern region of Apulia, magical things can happen.



Discovering the beautiful gem that is Masseria Pettolecchia is like stepping through the looking glass into an other-worldly dimension where the largest, lushest vegetables you have ever seen grow proudly beneath the ancient olive trees that date back over 2000 years, stretching right out to the shores of the azure Adriatic Sea. The ceremony was set in an archway of the Pettolecchia with golden candles. Cocktails were set up in an adjacent archway with a beautiful stone bar and hand-painted bar sign.



I chose a color palette accenting the beauty of the region; the taupe from Apulia stone, the blue of the azure seas, the green of the olive orchards and the gold of the sky. The reception structure was set in the olive orchard amongst the ancient trees. We built a custom structure to hang more than 50 meters of thick garland and three beautiful Italian chandeliers. This collaboration was a true meeting of minds that conceptualizes and brings to life authentic visions to create meaningful and unforgettable events, offering services throughout Italy and Europe.



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Event Design: Joy Proctor Design | Flowers: Bows and Arrows | Gown: Chana Marelus | Cake: MonAnnie Cakes | Shoes: Bella Belle | Hair & Makeup: Alessandro Mancino & Marco Carpentieri | Venue: Masseria Pettolecchia La Residenza | Custom Linens: Allegoria | Digital Photography: Matteo Coltro | Earrings: Twigs & Honey | Film Photography: Gianluca And Mary Adovasio | Paper Goods: Shhh My Darling | Planning & Production: The Wedding Boutique Italy | Rentals: Corso Gaetano | Video: Matteo Castelluccia Videomaker | Welcome Bag: Sea and Grass

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Breakfast Nook Roundup

The breakfast nook was seemingly a thing of the past, but recently we’ve seen such an inspiring array of cozy nooks that we rounded them all up in hopes that you, too, will carry on this time-honored space in your home. So grab a cup of your own coffee, cuddle up and take in all the cozy vibes from these examples.

1. Farmhouse Chic

This is a quintessential example of turning a potentially awkward space into a cozy corner. And this tile…. This tile is just straight dreamy.

from: Bedrosians Tile and Stone

2. Elegant with a killer view

Can you even imagine waking up to a view like this? Sipping some coffee and eating toast and jam while looking over the countryside is the NORM. Yeah, us either, but we dream about it. And just look at that lantern. That is all.

from: Grant Trick

3. Moody Chic with Bistro Chairs

We love when people go bold with their paint colors. This nook is so enhanced but choosing such a moody blue, and the delicate bistro chairs take us straight to Paris. (please read Paris as “par-ee”)

from: Heidi Caillier Design 

4. Architecture for the win

There’s a very, very fine line where architecture and design are interchangeable words, but this breakfast nook is a great example of it! Just look at that frame! And the windows! It’s a work of art.

from: Jeffrey Dungan

5. Pink and Plushy

This breakfast nook has a PINK bench. PINK. And look at how inviting it is! And so soft! We’d never leave.

from: Joe Fletcher Photo

6. Bright White with Lot’s of Light

This corner is everything you could ask for in a breakfast nook. It’s light, bright, has a HUGE bench and fabulous chairs with natural texture. And again with the lantern.

from: Julia Engel 

7. Golden Glow

It would appear that this breakfast nook is so perfectly located that it gets to participate in Golden Hour. Bravo is all we have to say about that. Bravo.

by: Kate Mark Interiors

8. Blue Velvet

The blending of styles that happens in this corner is one of our favorite elements about it. The art coupled with the chic blue velvet bench makes this one-of-a-kind set up so just friggin chic.

by: Shazalynn Calvin Winfrey 

9. Wallpapered and fabulous

Another great place to bring in bold wallpaper is the Breakfast Nook, ESPECIALLY when it’s so set apart like this one is.

by: Brooke and Lou

If you were particularly inspired by this round of inspiration, stay tuned for a 101 to create your own breakfast nook!

A Romantic Wedding at the Oldest Hotel in Italy Complete with Thousands of Mauve Roses

It doesn’t matter how many times we run into a wedding at Italy’s oldest hotel, La Badia di Orvieto, that regal tower and unforgettable stone archway never cease to take our breath away. It’s the most perfect setting for a timeless, elegant affair. Pair that with an abundance of mauve and blush blooms from Janna Brown Design Co. and there you have it – the Italian countryside wedding of our dreams! Check out the full gallery captured by Katie Grant Photography to see why we’re so obsessed with this day, planned to perfection by CheChic!Weddings.

From CheChic!WeddingsSarah and Tom chose to have their stunning wedding at La Badia di Orvieto. “we must say, this may be one of the most beautiful venue we have ever seen” she said. “We never saw it, we arrived there the day before the wedding: our planner Alessandra made everything possible with us just staying at home in Australia” the couple said. “Planning a destination wedding had never been so easy”. 

The ancient walls around the property are all about history and art. Located amongst endless vineyards and olive trees , it set the perfect romantic tone for this wedding. Not to mention the incredible golden hour light the Italian summer blessed them with. Just wait until you see their couple’s portraits. Stunning.

From a dramatic ceremony arch composed by thousands of pale pink and mauve roses (“this is one of the best arch I’ve ever created” Janna said), to emotional speeches, followed by an amazing dinner reception under the stars into a party to end things off, this wedding was a pleasure to take part in. 

Inspired by the amazing surroundings we designed a beautiful tabletop here facing the magical backdrop putting together modern and traditional elements for the romantic set in our mind The table design we kept simple with a focus on the pretty flowers and the natural texture of the soft silk: The table was dressed with a floor length silk runner, warm blush-toned floral to go along with this romantic theme, ivory candles, lots of fruits to complete the décor and a modern calligraphy stationery set completed the table top.

“It was the best day ever!” Sarah said.

Our favorite area of the location is the crumbling gothic stone archway over looking the city or Orvieto, where the dinner took place, If ever there were a place that will make you stop & stare, this is the view. The ceremony location was something unusual to see and a great pleasure to built. “The symmetry between the chairs was perfect, we spent hours on it” Alessandra from Chechic! Weddings said.

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Photography: Katie Grant Photography | Wedding Planner: CheChic!Weddings | DJ: Pink Panther DJ | Celebrant: TUSCANPLEDGES | Bridal Dress Instagram: Miss Hayley Paige | Bridal dress: Hayley Paige | Celebrant Instagram: Jo Bertolino | Ceremony and Reception: La Badia Orvieto | Florist Instagram: Janna Brown | Flower designer: Janna Brown Design Co. | Graphic 2: Bee in Love | Graphic 2 Instagram: Bee In Love | Graphic design : Laura Stanbury | Lights : Central House | Muah Instagram: Ginelle Dale | Photography Instragram: Katie Grant | Venue's Instagram: La Badia di Orvieto | Video: Dear Vincent | Video : whitel ane | Video Instagarm : White Lane | Video Instagram: Dear Vincent | Video Instgarm : White Lane | Wedding Planner Instagram: Chechic!Weddings | lights Instagram : central house | muah : Ginelle Dale

This Light And Airy Desert Wedding Will Make You Think It’s A Mirage

We’re heading to the desert for this destination wedding that’s so good you’ll think you’re dreaming. Meg and Justin decided on Palm Desert for their special day, a locale the bride frequented with her family as a child. They transformed their desert venue into a dreamy oasis filled with a white, green, and dove gray color palette that will take your breath away. The event was beautifully shot by Brandon Kidd Photography. You might need to pinch yourself once you see all the special touches in the full gallery.



From the bride… I grew up going to BIGHORN in Palm Desert with my family so it already held a special place in my heart, and Justin is an avid golfer so getting married on the fairway of a golf course was a dream–– it was the perfect fit.



We went for a refined, elegant aesthetic in each element of our formal wedding. From our attire to the invitation suite, floral design and more, it was important to us that all details were timeless.




We chose dove gray and white as our color palette to create a cool, airy aesthetic to complement the modern design of our venue and stand out against the warm desert backdrop.



There’s a reason people say it’s the best day of your life–– we could relive this day over and over again! All of the effort and time that went into planning was so worthwhile when we had the opportunity to share this celebration with the people we love the most.



Photographer: Brandon Kidd Photography | Cinematography: ByDesign Films | Event Planning: COJ Events | Floral Design: Lotus Garden Center | Invitations: Swell Press | Bride's Shoes: Alexandre Birman | Jewelry: Gordon James Fine Diamonds | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Jenny Yoo | Hair & Makeup: Chelsea Dorris | Calligraphy: Letter Lane Design Studio | Lighting: Perfect Touch | Entertainment: Ben Mallare Events & Entertainment | Groom's Attire: Giorgio Armani | Groomsmen's Attire: The Black Tux | Transportation: Cardiff Transportation | Wedding Venue: BIGHORN Golf Club | Accomodations: La Quinta Resort & Club | Bride's Dress: Carolina Herrera | Bride's Veil: Carolina Herrera | Dessert: Exquisite Desserts | Rentals: Signature Party Rentals

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Step Aside Neutrals This Bright And Bold Styled Shoot Will Make You Swoon

A neutral color palette seems to go hand-in-hand with an elegant estate wedding. That is until Events Held Dear and Nicole Clarey Photography teamed up to break the mold! They created a styled inspiration shoot filled with bright bursts of color that only add to the grandeur of the day. A pink gown, vibrant centerpieces, and an intricately designed floral cake prove that fun color pops can be incredibly chic. See all of the vividly designed day in the full gallery.



From Events Held DearWhile we love crisp whites and ivories and minimalistic design, we’re also color-lovers at heart and were wildly excited to bring some color into this estate in Northern Ohio.



We staged a small ceremony in the garden, had flower petals thrown as the couple was ‘married’, and Roots Floral Design took her floral concept to the ground – an installation we loved and would love to see brides do more of!



For the tablescape, we were ready to go with big color for the linen, so we settled on a velvet blue linen. It was the perfect shade and tied really well with all the pinks, creams, mauves and purples proving that color can be elegant!



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Photography: Nicole Clarey Photography | Cinematography: Anna Lord Studio | Event Planning and Design: Events Held Dear | Floral Design: Roots Floral Design | Wedding Dress: La Jeune Mariee Bridal Boutique | Wedding Dress: Monique Lhuillier | Cake: Miam Cake | Invitations: Victoria Fiaretti | Shoes: Bella Belle | Ring: Erstwhile Jewelry | Make Up: angie warren artistry | Tuxedo: Generation Tux | Vintage Car: Classic Limousines of Columbus | Wedding Venue: Kingwood Center | Linen: BBJ Linen | Models: Lola Laymon | Rentals: Event Source | Ring Box: The Mrs Box | Wedding Veil: Toni Federici

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
For membership information, click here
This NYC Couple Had The Most Epic Colorado Ranch Wedding

The beauty of Colorado meets NYC cool for a wedding that will leave you speechless. For their Big Day, Hannah and Will decided on Oak Creek, Colorado. They feel in love with its panoramic mountain views and the fact that it was a special place the bride visited with her family as a child. Together with Heather Dwight of Calluna Events, the couple brought an elevated vision out west. The destination weekend was beautifully photographed by Ashley Sawtelle. Visit the full gallery for a closer look at all the special details.



From Calluna EventsWe wanted to keep in mind the palette and textures of our surroundings to respect the landscape. I loved the idea of mixing fabrics and silhouettes in a champagne color to create really soft texture that would stand out against the backdrop.



The ranch provided a vintage forest green truck, which served as a large floral display and the perfect backdrop for guests’ portraits during cocktail hour. Other personalized details included a custom horseshoe escort card display to help guests find their seats.



The tent was designed with hanging greens, organic florals and grasses by Lalé Floral. Dinner was catered by award-winning Chef Hosea Rosenberg’s catering group, Blackbelly.



Guests were entertained with a live band and a disco ball that brought a little bit of the couple’s city life to the ranch. It was a weekend filled with wonder that no one will soon forget.



Photography: Ashley Sawtelle | Wedding Planner: Calluna Events | Floral Design: Lale Floral | Wedding Dress: Mira Zwillinger | Ceremony Venue: https://www.lucky8ranchco.com | Reception Venue: https://www.lucky8ranchco.com | Catering: Blackbelly Catering | Makeup: Jessica Shinyeda | Hair Stylist: Andres Mendoza | Entertainment: The Downtown Band | Decor: Eclectic Hive | Lighting Design: Eclectic Hive | Rentals: Colorado Party Rentals

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NY Chic Meets Carolina Charm At This Montage Palmetto Bluff Wedding

We have to admit, we love a green and white color palette. The combination is timeless and always gives us the crisp, clean vibes we crave. Need proof? Just take one look at Nicholas and Mariana’s wedding. The couple exchanged vows at Montage Palmetto Bluff, in South Carolina, amidst a sea of lush white blooms and organic greenery. The elegance and romance of the day was beautifully captured by Simply Sarah Photography. See all the pin-worthy details in the full gallery.



From the bride… Montage Palmetto Bluff has long been my family’s happy place. We’ve been traveling there for many years and, despite being born and raised in NY, there is something about the low country that feels like home. I knew immediately that this was the place for us to host our destination wedding weekend!



The venue is beautiful on its own so, for us, it was all about accentuating the amazing backdrop with an organic, clean, and elevated aesthetic. We mixed lush white blooms with greenery and moss accents throughout each space of the wedding.



At the tented dinner reception, we wanted to make the head table feel special so we found these amazing basket lanterns, inspired by a trip to Tulum, to create a dramatic installation above the center farm table.



We also incorporated tons of candlelight on the tables and scattered along the ruins surrounding the dinner tent which provided this magical glow at sunset. I couldn’t have wished for anything more – it was so magical and fun!



Photography: Simply Sarah Photography | Event Planning: Bellafare | Floral Design: Katelyn Pinner Studio | Wedding Dress: Mira Zwillinger | Invitations: Bespoke Designs | Hair and Makeup: Meg Workman | Lighting: Technical Event Company | Groom's Attire : Ralph Lauren Black Label | Ceremony Music: Palmetto Strings | Ceremony Music : Palmetto Strings | Transportation: Lowcountry Valet | Wedding Venue: Montage Palmetto Bluff | Linens: Mayker Creative | Linens: La Tavola Fine Linen Rental | MOH Dress: Erdem | Processing and Development: PhotoVision Prints | Reception Music: Elan Artists | Rentals: Ooh! Events | Rentals: 12th Table | Save the Dates: Studio R | Tenting: Skyline Tent Company

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Delicate White Roses Inspired This Fairytale Wedding in the French Riviera

When you see this drop-dead-gorgeous wedding in the French Riviera, you would never believe it was planned in just 3 short months – all thanks to the dream team that is White Eden Weddings. A wow-worthy courtyard reception, textured table lines, a romantic chateau, emerald hues at every turn and floral arrangements galore from SB Floral Design… these are just a few things you can expect to see from today’s dreamy wedding captured by Oliver Fly Photography. Head on over to the full gallery for some major destination wedding inspo!

From Oliver Fly PhotographyWhen Yulia and Filip began planning their destination wedding set just outside of Cannes, they drew inspiration from a personal place—Yulia’s love of white roses, to be exact. With that notion in mind, delicate white florals became the guiding design principle, from the stunning applique of Yulia’s gown to the three-tier wedding cake to the textured table linens, and of course, the extravagant floral design featured throughout the day. 

While the couple currently calls New York City home, Yulia and Filip dreamed of an unforgettable celebration set abroad. They chose to invite guests from Russia, Macedonia, and across the world to join them at the renowned Château de la Napoule in the French Riviera. Their wedding have been planned and designed in less than 3 months by the talented planners Mylène & Geoffrey from White Eden Weddings which is a great achievement when we see the fantastic results. 

To begin the design process, the couple selected custom stationery featuring a hand-drawn sketch of the château, with neutral tones and touches of emerald green as a nod to their color palette. They envisioned a distinctly French wedding style with a refined yet warm atmosphere, and White Eden Weddings guided the entire process to ensure it was the celebration of a lifetime. 

The scenery surrounding the château and its ceremony aisle was incredibly majestic. The goal was simply to enhance the look without distracting from its natural beauty. Lush white florals—including Yulia’s favorite white roses—were placed at the ceremony entrance and along the aisle. There was also a 13-foot high panel of greenery designed to blend with the château battlements that worked to hide the dinner courtyard for the evening reveal. 

Throughout the day, guests enjoyed incredible music, including a string quartet during the ceremony, a jazz threesome for the cocktail hour by the sea, a strolling band during the reception, and a DJ for the after-dinner party—all of which perfectly set the tone for every phase of the event. Along with music, Yulia and Filip treated their guests to a curated selection of drinks, with mixologists serving five signature cocktails.

The reception featured equally stunning moments with vintage gold chandeliers, greenery installations, custom menus with the château sketch, and an acrylic panel seating chart—each designed to complement the event’s signature white, green and gold color palette. Tableware was kept elegant yet discreet, with selections made of glass and gold trim. As the showcase of the reception, Yulia and Filip’s wedding cake was decorated with white roses as a nod to Yulia’s incredible wedding gown. While this white rose-inspired wedding was nothing short of a modern-day fairytale, no detail came close to outshining Yulia and Filip’s love for one another, as beautifully captured by a great explosive duo the photographer Oliver Fly from Paris and the videographer Aaron Novak from California.

[iframe http://player.vimeo.com/video/354260008 600 338]

Photographer: Oliver Fly Photography | Videographer : Aaron Novak Films | Wedding Planner: White Eden Weddings | Floral Design: SB Floral Design | Cake: Made In Cake | Caterer: Pavillon Traiteur | DJ: Thomas Dusseune | Chateau: Chateau De La Napoule | Cocktail Bar: D.N.A Bartending | Dress 1: Grace Loves Lace | Dress 2: BHLDN | Hair & Make Up: Olga Vashchuk | Jazz Band: Lizzy & The Gentlemen | Linens: Nuage Designs | Rentals: Deco Flamme | Rentals: Options | Stationery / Calligraphy: Silent Word Studio | Strings: Incanto Musique | Strolling Band: Johnny and the Walkers | Technics & Lights: D&X Events

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Ask The Editor: Bold Cabinets, Birthday Parties, Spontaneous Entertaining Preparations, #Beigeprison, And More!


Welcome to our first edition of Ask The Editor!

Last Sunday we opened up our digital mailbox for write-ins, requests and advice opportunities — and you guys rose to the occasion! It was hard to narrow down which questions to dive into, so at the bottom of this article, you’ll notice we’re going to take some of the questions and make full-on articles with them. Stay tuned with our Home 101 series, some of your questions just might show up there!

So here it goes!

From @jennaecurran: “Simple two year old boy birthday party”

We LOVE a good birthday party. At such a young age, a birthday party is not only a celebration of a milestone for your little one, but it’s also an opportunity to celebrate the village it takes to raise him! We’re talking grandparents, aunts and uncles, neighbors… the whole gambit.

So with that in mind, you can really have fun with the birthday party and expand your horizons to include nuggets of entertainment for the adults as well. Here are a couple of ideas!

1. A characteristic thing from their second year: Did your kid show particular excitement over something random this year? Is he ALL about bears? Or trains? This birthday party can be a celebration of what your son is passionate about in this season of his life! It will make him so excited to see his favorite things all around on his special day, and it’s a great way to document his passions in this stage when you look back on the photos and remember “gosh that kid was a Ross Geller in training, he couldn’t get enough dinosaurs!”

2. Two is a particularly fun year for birthdays because there are a lot of pun options:

– Two The Moon, space party
– Two-Two (your kid) is Two! train party
– Twotally Awesome
– Mr. Tworrific
– Two infinity and beyond, Toy Story party
– Two legit to quit
– Taco Twosday, crowd-pleaser for everybody, honestly
– “Oh-Twoodles,” Mickey Mouse Party

There are a lot of fun options for this age! We want to see what you end up doing, so share your image and use #smpparties so we can see how it goes!

From @rschapiro: “How to choose a vibrant kitchen cabinet color with an open living concept”

The key here is balance and a touch of unity! When you go big and bold with cabinet colors, balance it out by making your base furniture neutral in your living room. Choosing a neutral colored couch and set of accent chairs helps add that balance, but then add in some color coordination with throw pillows that compliment your kitchen color!

So for example, if you’re going cobalt blue with your kitchen, opt for cream or grey furniture and then top them off with throw pillows that have cobalt blue florals as part of their design! It’s aaaalll about balance.

From: Annonymous (in case their nieces and nephews are following along as well :) “When to stop buying presents for your niece and nephew”

It’s appropriate to acknowledge gift-giving situations (holidays, graduations, birthdays) in some manner. So if it’s not presents, opt for a letter! But the transition from presents to a letter really depends heavily on the type of relationship you have with your niece and nephew.

Here’s a good rule of thumb: if you have the kind of relationship where you can intuitively think of a good present — anything from a sweater you walked by that you know they’ll like, to a Starbucks gift card because you know they like their daily sugar-free vanilla latte with an extra shot of espresso — then it’s still appropriate for you to get them this gift.

If you’re scrambling to find SOMETHING that they might like without much knowledge of what they’re “into” these days, it’s an appropriate time to move on to a nice letter. But when in doubt, a nice gift card is always appreciated.

From @shamani_d: “How to approach an attic conversion”

This is going to be fun! An attic conversion means adding workable square footage to your home and that’s always a win.

To start off, take inventory of what you ~wish~ you had room for in your current square footage. Do you find yourself wanting room for a guestroom? A playroom for your kids? A workout room?

As your working through that wish list, take note of what kind of space your working with! If you’re working with a pitched roof, that provides some obvious limitations, but a cozy office is enhanced by natural features like that.

Finally, bring in the professionals to find out what you actually can do in your attic. If you can’t bring water up without it costing an arm and a leg, a guest bath might not be possible. Start with identifying what you want, then find out what’s possible. Once those decisions are discovered, the rest starts to become clearer.

From @melanieelefante: “How you maintain order and organize a home”

This question could not only be its own post, but its own series! Keeping your home organized is a balancing act everyone struggles to maintain, but there are a few common denominators that those who have a neat home tend to inherently follow:

1. Perpetual tidying: We wish we could tell you there’s a quick fix, but ultimately the quickest of fixes is building good habits of general “tidying.” Picking up this habit can look like making a lap around the house before bed, gathering bits and bobbles at the foot of the stairs every morning or an “all hands on deck” post-dinner dish round-up. Maintaining order is an ongoing process.

2. A place for everything and everything in its place: There’s a rule of thumb tidy and organized people tend to follow and it’s to not put something down where it doesn’t belong. For example, if you use scissors, once you’re done using them don’t set them down where you just completed your project, take the extra steps to return them to the drawer in which you got them. This sounds like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at how quickly this habit can change the state of your home!

3. Pretty Organization: Stay tuned, we have a whole baskets feature coming. We’ve said this before and we’ll say it again, but a confined mess is a WHOLE lot easier to tackle then spread out mess. If you utilize baskets well, it gives those “random” items a pretty holding place while you attend to other matters, and when you’re ready you can address the basket. But, in the meantime, at least it looks good :)

Again, this could be a whole series on its own, but these three steps should help get you started!

From @quewendy: “How do you decorate/style above the kitchen cabinets? Is that even a thing anymore?”

It is a thing! Many of the homes that were built in the previous decade contain a gap from the top of the cabinets to the ceiling, and that big empty space is just begging for some attention!

If you’ve got the budget for it, the biggest and most impactful thing you can do is turn that gap into extra storage by framing it out and adding doors. But, that is a heavy, long-term investment.

If you’re looking for a quick-fix, you can fill the space like you would any open shelf. Pepper in things like serving bowls, basket storage, a little bit of greenery or wood cutting boards. Adding these items in that above-cabinet gap will feel a lot more filled out and intentional.

At the end of the day, you can always benefit from extra storage so adding some natural weave baskets is a great practical, and decorative, option! Just remember that most things above the cabinets will be “out of sight out of mind,” so choose only the items that aren’t used frequently.

From @katewalthall: “How to stock a house for spontaneous entertaining since spring and summer are coming”

Another great question that could be its own series! But, to summarize, here are just a few tips and tricks to help out — keeping a candle, cookies and a good beverage on stock is a geat place to start.

1. Have an emergency “smells really good” candle: It’s ok to splurge on this candle a little bit because it’s going to work hard to help with your home’s first impression! Keep it on the entry table and only light it when people are headed your direction. Make sure it’s a light, crisp scent and it will be a preeeettty handy little tool to have in your back pocket for those spontaneous drop-ins.

2. Freeze some cookie dough now: Do yourself a favor and make a batch of cookies, scoop them into their “pop on the tray” state and put them in the freezer! Take a cue from Monica and work to find the ~best cookie recipe ever~ to have on hand, in the freezer, ready for when guests pop by. With them already pre-made like that, you can have warm, goey, freshly made cookies in about 10 minutes, and there’s no warmer welcome than that!

3. Determine a beverage to always have on hand: One of the most adorable, key characteristics in the south is their affinity for sweet tea. Popping in to someone’s home is almost always met with a sweet tea offering (well, according to Reese Witherspoon) and the token of the offering is a major gesture of hospitality. Take notes from this and refine it to reflect your own home! Do you want to always have coffee on hand? Maybe you want to offer a lovely camomille? Maybe a sweet + sour lemonade is just the ticket! The idea is to make sure that you have something to offer your guests and being prepared on the front end helps a ton!

For more tips on how to make your home guest-ready quick, read this article!

From @katiemelesurgo: “How can I make a room light and bright without many windows?”

The most useful answer on this topic is this — reflective surfaces! Mirrors are magic when it comes to extending just a little bit of natural light, but the same effect can result when using picture frames with a glass layer. The key is to strategically use the small amount of light that you do have, and help it bounce around.

Also, take care in what fabrics you use. Heavy fabrics, especially in low-lit places, can take up all of the light you do have and make it all but disappear. Using lighter fabrics in both color and make (think sheer curtains) can help extend your light!

Lastly, be careful with cream! Low-light situations can take something that, in natural light, looks completely white, crisp and clean and turn it into a putrid yellow that you didn’t know existed. Sticking with lighter colored blues helps a lot. Even going so far as choosing your light-bulb color can completely shift the appearance — pick the bluer hue of lightbulb!

From @katharinepfeiffer: “How do I bring in traditional pieces to a very modern and new home”

Firstly, congrats on the new home! Bringing in traditional items can seem really daunting, but you can use it to your favor! A lot of modern and new build homes have a tendency to come across as stark and actually NEED some older pieces, so you’re in luck!

Again, the key here is balance. If you’re working with an old armoire, consider adding a sleek vase full of textural stems on top to modernize it a little bit. If you’re working with traditional side tables, add a more modern lamp on top!

The best designs are composed of a balanced blending of styles, so you’re off to a good start! Coordinating elements and intentionality will bring it all together.

From @tiffany2979: “How to style a rental apartment you can’t paint and you don’t own the furniture? #beigeprison”

This is a tricky one! First, let’s talk about why your landlord #wentbeige, understanding that will help liberate you to take your apartment into your own hands. The thing with beige is that it’s considered a neutral, it hides stains fairly well and it’s a mass-produced color so coordinating with it is, supposedly, doable.

So, with this in mind use it as a launching pad to GO BOLD. We’re talking cobalt blues! Deep, velvety purples! Millennial pink! If you can’t change the color of the walls or furniture, add some jewelry to your space. This can be in the form of throw pillows, rugs, curtains, bedding, throw blankets, vases, picture frames, kitchenware, knick-knacks and figurines.

Obviously this can be a heavy investment, so start with the biggest impact first — textiles. Adding some color to your textiles can completely transform the space. Once your color palette is set there, then pepper in the other items.

A word of caution — avoid trying to make this apartment white. For whatever reason, when you take beige and try to clean it up with white, everything looks yellow. Best bet is to use this time to experimentally go big and bold with color, and have fun with it!

Here’s an article on 5 inexpensive ways to customize your rental for more information!

STAY TUNED FOR

@Meganblowmqvust — a “how to style your coffee table” Home 101 article is coming soon!

@mwagansmooney — next week our Home 101 is all about how to style bookshelves, and we’re not going to lie to you we’re pretty jazzed about this article.

We thought we’d answer about 5 or less questions in this blog, but as they kept rolling in we couldn’t narrow down that far! So, obviously we expanded…and we also saved a few questions from this week to add to next week’s lineup :)  so if yours wasn’t answered this week it might be answered next Friday!

Thank you all for participating, and we’ll be back next week with more questions and answers!

The Full Style Me Pretty Collection Is Here and It’s Pretty (Of Course!)

We love our jobs, really, we do – because day in and day out we get to bear witness to some of the most incredibly gorgeous weddings. From al fresco ceremonies to tented cocktail hours, romantic courtyard receptions to crave-inducing after-parties, it’s all beautiful, but it’s even better because we get to know the couples who dream these fetes up and find out how their details come together. For Abby, though, the details are just the beginning.

“They say “details are everything,” I say details are just the pretty on top of an even more beautiful love story. The Style Me Pretty collection is about you and the one you adore. It’s charm and style, wit and whimsy. It’s decidedly modern and yet forever rooted in tradition. It’s love, styled so very pretty.” #Preach.

That’s right, ladies, if you’ve been loving our Style Me Pretty collection at Michaels, you can keep falling head over heels as we have even more heaven-sent wedding must-haves for you, now available to shop the full collection exclusively on the SMP website!

No matter which part of your special day you’d like to deck out, we promise we’ve got the details locked and loaded. Read on for 10 of our most loved looks, available online right now!

1. Neon Pink ‘Love’ Sign.

Okay, so not saying you need to do some pre-engagement shopping, but if you have even the slightest inkling that a sparkler for THAT finger is on its way, you might want to start planning out that selfie… #wereengaged #finally #loveisloveislove. Can you see it now? Snap a pic under this neon LED tube light sign ((don’t worry, there are built-in loops for easy hanging!)) and Gram it ASAP. Oh! And don’t forget to repurpose it for your engagement party, bridal shower, and bridal suite the morning of your wedding.

2. Chair Signs Mr. & Mrs. Tassels

Is it ever too early to start getting used to your new titles as Mr. & Mrs.? Nope! In fact, soon enough you’ll be sliding up all nice and cozy next to each other at your sweetheart table, so why not start with something at home? These classic linen signs with tassels and gold accents lend a striking design to your at-home normal, so much so that every night can feel like celebration.

3. Gold Love Metal Hoop Decor

Speaking of celebrations, how about that engagement party? Our gold love hoop is a great photo backdrop that can be premiered at the e-party and then recycled for your bridal shower, rehearsal dinner, and cocktail hour. Cute idea for you: take a pic with your partner under or beside the sign at each of your wedding festivities and then post a carousel of the images with the sign hanging up in your home on the first #throwbackthursday following your wedding!

4. ‘But First Drinks’ Light Up Sign

We’ll stick with the engagement party for now, because where better can you pop some bubbly and toast new beginnings than a soiree in your honor? Give your bar a little ‘lit’ moment with a ‘but first drinks’ sign, and maybe even debut a pair of signature cocktails for the occasion! This can also reappear the morning of your wedding in the bridal suite, because mimosas and bellinis are sure to be flowing…

5. Gold Bubbly Bar Acrylic Sign

And how perfect is a bubbly bar sign for your bridal shower? It’s adorable and ultra festive! Plus, LBH, ladies like to stage their bridal shower pics next to something epic and experiential – THIS IS IT! The Instagram moment of the day. We like to pair ours with rosé champagne or bubbly grapefruit cocktails, but that’s just us!

6. Always You Wood Sign

Whether they care to admit it or not, guests catch feelings on wedding days, and you can help them embrace that “loving feeling” if you’re setting the stage with all the right allusions to affection. It’s wonderful when couples have members of their bridal party greeting guests as they disperse into the ceremony space, but it’s also a sweet touch to display signage with appropriately wedding-worthy sayings or quotes. Something like this “It Was Always You” wood sign is just the right thing to elicit all the “awwwws” from your attending guests.

7. Gold Taper Candles

When we talk about having a warm welcome for guests, we imagine each person strolling into cocktail hour and upon taking a look at all the wooden details mixed with modern acrylic & metallic motifs, and chunky and & tapered candlelight everywhere, feeling at home ((but still far away from theirs, because every guest wants to feel like he or she has escaped reality for a few hours)). We love the delicate, yet inviting look of our tapers displayed on fireplace mantels or shelving spaces throughout the venue – and it’s perfection when greenery or garlands are involved.

8. Gold Cheers Acrylic Sign

Want to continue fizzing up the flirt-factor of your wedding bar? This clink-worthy sign is everything you need, because what do they always say? “No great love story ever started with someone eating a salad?” That’s right, it started with something much less healthy, but a lot more fun!

9. “Our Day” Gold Chair Signs

You can have your own sweetheart table, for sure, but we’re equally here for a sit down amongst your favorite people in the world. Your seats are saved with ‘Our’ and ‘Day’ gold calligraphed signs, so you won’t have to fight anyone for those middle spots – you’ve got ‘em! Pretty sure we’re already daydreaming about what your sweet first kisses are going to look like with this stunning set behind you. Wonderful, too, if Mr. and Mrs. isn’t your style!

10. ‘Party’ Cup Tumbler with Straw

A great wedding ends with a great send off. Once you’ve departed through a sea of sparklers, bid your guests adieu till the after party, and start whoever will be joining the festivities with a refreshing mood cocktail – sans alcohol – in their own cute wedding party tumbler, complete with what else? A sassy tassel!

👇👇👇

Shop the full line on site now, we’re so excited to see some SMP on your BDE (best. day. ever.)

Budget-Friendly Tips for the Best Bachelorette EVER

Planning a bachelorette party can be one of the most overwhelming events you will ever organize. There is so much pressure to impress, not to mention the mixing of friend groups, and on top of all that–it can get super pricey! In fact, the movie Bridesmaids sometimes hits a little too close to home. Here are some tips and tricks to reduce the stress and the expense of hosting a Bachelorette party without sacrificing any of the fun! 

PHOTOGRAPHY | Everyday Pursuits

 

1. Staycation or Affordable Destination

Travel and lodging are the number one expense when it comes to planning a bachelorette party; the more you can reduce those two factors, the better your budget will be. If possible, suggest a staycation in the city where the bride or the majority of the bridal party live.

Now, we know planning a staycation sounds a lot easier than it is. Most bridal parties are scattered all over the country, if not the world, so sometimes a staycation just isn’t an option. If that’s the case for your bridal party, consider an affordable destination, like a spa weekend in Albuquerque, New Mexico or a beachy getaway to Daytona Beach, Florida. Believe it or not, Las Vegas can actually be affordable too if you do it right (we cover this a little more in the Ladies’ Night section of this article). 

Save money on lodging by booking a suite (or two) and splitting the cost. Suites not only add value by sleeping more people to a room, but they also provide a fun/safe space for all of your bachelorette festivities.

One more way to help you and everyone else in the wedding party save big is by hosting the bridal shower and the bachelorette party, on the same weekend. We recommend hosting a bridal shower brunch on Saturday morning/afternoon and then transitioning into bachelorette mode for Saturday evening. This leaves Sunday for everyone to wake up slow and collect themselves before they hop on a plane and head off to work on Monday morning. 

PHOTOGRAPHY | Esther Sun Photography

 

2. E-vite

Pricey invitations can make a big dent in the budget for any event and a bachelorette party is no exception. Consider sending an e-vite instead of a paper invitation–you’ll not only be helping your budget but the planet as well! Websites like Paperless Post make it super easy and affordable to send cute invitations and organize your guest list. 

INVITE | Unmeasured Event

 

3. Pregame

If you and your party plan on partaking in alcoholic beverages, it’s a good idea to pregame (can we come up with a new word for this already?) This means stock your suite with affordable bottles of champagne (Trader Joes has a great selection) and maybe a mixed punch bowl style drink. This will give everyone a little liquid courage for the risque games and lingerie parade that precedes your night on the town. Make sure everyone enjoys themselves, but in moderation–you don’t want to lose anyone before the party actually starts. 

PHOTOGRAPHY | Esther Sun Photography

 

4. A Gift in a Game

Bachelorette parties are for letting loose with your girls but also stocking the bride’s lingerie drawer for her honeymoon. There are a few fun games that revolve around the gifted lingerie, like lingerie bingo or the lingerie guessing game (which is one of our faves). These games are a fun way to shower your bride and include all of your guests in the fun and festivities! These games don’t cost anything extra and are a lot more palatable than some of the other, more X-rated games on the market. 

PHOTOGRAPHY | Katie Grant Photography

 

5. Ladies’ Night Deals

Look into Ladies’ night deals in the city where you’re hosting the bachelorette party. A lot of clubs and bars offer discounts, free admission, and sometimes free drinks to ladies on certain days of the week. You may not want to post up there, but it can be a fun stop on your way to your final destination. 

Not all ladies? Not a problem – consider casinos! Las Vegas is the most popular casino studded destination in the USA, and while it can be expensive, there are also a lot of deals to be had–if you know where to look. Most of the hotels in Las Vegas have casinos inside and offer discounted room rates to get guests in the door. Casinos usually have top-of-the-line amenities like spas, pools, etc., for the bridal party to enjoy during the day and then you can test your luck at the casinos in the evening before heading to the nightclubs. A perk about pregaming in a casino is that drinks are usually free, at least on the casino floor.   

PHOTOGRAPHY | Aaron And Jillian Photography

 

6. Simplify the Dress Code

It is expected that your group will have some sort of dress code that identifies you as the bridal party and highlights the bride. Some groups opt for T-shirts with cute sayings, but these can add up fast and you’ll likely never wear them again. Instead of custom T-shirts, opt for color coordination. A classic bachelorette party look is bridesmaids in black or pink and the bride in white (with some sort of tiara or veil to really hit it home – if you’d like!). 

PHOTOGRAPHY | Cavin Elizabeth

7. Have Everyone Pitch In

Traditionally the Maid of Honor (MOH) hosts the bachelorette party, but this doesn’t mean that the MOH should shoulder the entire financial burden. The best way to distribute the costs is to split them evenly across the bridal party. If any of the bridesmaids are unable to contribute the full amount, maybe ask them to pick up a few of the expenses that they are comfortable helping with. While the bride should not be asked to contribute to the bachelorette party itself, it is reasonable to ask the bride to purchase her transportation to and from the party (flight, train ticket, rental car, etc.). Just be sure to discuss the finances before booking the festivities – that way everyone is comfortable with and aware of how much all the fun will cost!

PHOTOGRAPHY | Tenth & Grace

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You Can Feel The Love At This Winter Wonderland Wedding

This heartfelt winter wedding is bursting with love. Caroline and Poorang changed their wedding plans from sunny California to snow-covered Vermont so that the bride’s mother, who was battling brain cancer, could be by her side on her special day. Caroline wanted nothing more than for her mother to watch her walk down the aisle, and with the help of both LVL Weddings & Events and Blissfully Styled, created a cold-weather wonderland worthy of a fairytale in 10 days. From start to finish the affair was a beautiful celebration of life and love. See all the joyful details in the full gallery.



From LVL Weddings & EventsThis wedding has a special story. When Caroline asked us to plan her wedding in 10 days we made it happen with the help of Hoo Films, Jana Williams, and the Stowe Vermont community. Snow-covered scenery, rich hues, and lots of love made for a truly romantic experience. Tables were covered in white and burgundy blooms and lots of candlelight for a magical reception moment. It was a moving experience for all and a special memory that the couple will forever hold dear in their hearts. We were honored to help Caroline and Poorang plan such a love-filled day.



From the Bride… For my husband and I our wedding day was genuinely our “best day ever!” My love proposed 5 years after we met and for my second (and last) trip to the alter, I wanted a big big wedding and was so excited to plan all the details! But, just a couple days following our engagement, my mom was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. We set a date for 5 months out, however, her prognosis worsened and we decided to take no chances on her being able to be a part of our day and fully enjoy it. We were already planning to be with family for Christmas and decided we would get married during that trip, in 10 days, 3,000 miles away, in Stowe, VT, a town neither my husband or I had ever been to.

We were encouraged to a simple ceremony merely for my mom to be a witness to the marriage. Friends and family and even my planner said “get married in Stowe and you can have the big party later in the year.” But, I wanted the wedding day itself to be more than a transaction to legalize love; I wanted it to be meaningful, memorable and romantic and it proved to be exactly that.



With only 10 days to plan, we got focused on the most essential things for us: our vows, our rings, a pretty setting, bridal clothes to create a wedding photo to cherish, a bouquet for me and a white cake. Even this short list of important things took a collection of amazing people to make it happen.

My dress (a sample in perfect condition) was altered in less than 24 hours (with 3 fittings); our rings were rushed to be sized and engraved (although not with the date because we weren’t certain what day it would be), my husband bought a wedding suit from Nordstroms and had it altered. Meanwhile, in Stowe, we found a gorgeous venue that was fully booked for dinner but they graciously agreed to open for lunch if we would have an afternoon reception; this created the most romantic backdrop for our happiness complete with candles and a wood burning fire. The menu would be their standard menu with no customizations, and it was divinely good. The iconic Stowe Community church was available for an early afternoon wedding complete with a pipe organ and chimes that rung as we left as newlyweds. The florist had another wedding but agreed to do our florals and deliver them early.



On our wedding morning, I receive the most heartfelt note from my Planner focusing me on being fully present in each moment of the day. This was the best advice. The day was magical! Only our immediate family was present (18 of us in all) and that made it even more special. I proudly walked down the aisle with my mom and dad! My brother-in-law served as best man. My nieces had planned to be maids of honor and on the eve of our wedding day, my nephews said they wanted to be groomsmen and stand beside my husband.

On my wedding day, I experienced the most profound sense of joy I have ever felt! I was marrying the love of my life surrounded by the most important people in our lives, our family. When I think about that day, my heart is overjoyed at how much happiness surrounded us. I think about looking in my love’s eyes as we exchanged our love for each other and vowed to love each other forever, I think about the Pastor who after only meeting us once, delivered a matrimonial service that was so tenderly specific just for us. I think about the photographer and videographer who left their own families on Christmas to be with us and capture the beauty of the day and our family’s last celebration with my mom. I feel my mom and dad’s arms intertwined with mine as I walked down the aisle and I thought how complete this moment was and smiled. I think of every mile traveled by our family to be there on our special day. I think of the snow gently falling from the sky giving the most perfect background through the three walls of windows to our luncheon at a table overflowing with winter white blooms, real candle light and the smell of a wood-burning fire. I remember the beauty of walking into a room for lunch that was glowing and more gorgeous than I ever could have planned – snowing falling, candles lit and wood burning fire in the fire place – gentle harp music in the background and my parent’s cake-topper atop a simply elegant white cake with the must have gold band to match the gold satin on my dress.

On our wedding day our love for each other was exploding out of us! All our expectations were exceeded and it could not have been better if we had unlimited time and resources to plan it! Most of all, the best part of this day is that it happened because of my mom, for my mom and it will be forever entwined with it one of the fondest remembrances of my mom!

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Photography: Jana Williams Photography | Flowers: Bramble + Bloom | Cake: North County Cakes | Makeup : Elizabeth England Studios | Hair : jessica murphy hair | Venue: Edson Hill | Video : Hoo Films | Wedding Planners: LVL Weddings & Events | Wedding Planners: Karen Sieger

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What is “Grandmillennial?”

photo by: River Spencer

We’ve talked about it, you’ve seen inklings of it — but what really is the “grandmillennial” style?

We referenced that it just might be a trend making some headway in the upcoming decade, but to embrace the trend you must know the trend. Are you a grandmillenial?

We took the liberty of diving into this topic with full speed ahead. For a long time, clean lines, neutral colors and subdued patterns have ruled the roost, but that is starting to shift.

But clean lines aren’t going anywhere. The best part about this style is that it’s really not *replacing* so much as it’s bringing to light a whole new perspective of intentional style.

So, if any of the following characteristics apply to you, you might be a grandmillennial!

by: Caitlin Wilson Design

No Fear Of Colors Whatsoever. But In Tastefully, Of Course

Pastels are essentially neutrals. Every room could use a little pop of color, but obviously in a tasteful, mature way. The grand millennial style recognizes the beauty of white paired with the graceful use of color.

by: Clary Bosby Shell 

Tight Floral Patterns Are Appropriate In Every Room

Target just released a new line of Opal House with “Italian Hand-Painted Floral Pattern” and if that’s not an indicator that this style is catching wind than we don’t know what is. The tighter the pattern, the better. And why not tastefully mix it with another gorgeous, tight-knit pattern in coordinating colors?

by: Jenny Keenan Design

A Reverence To Traditional Style

A true appreciation for the detailing that comes with older homes is a key characteristic of the grandmillennial style. We’re talking crown moulding, original hardwood floors, pocket doors, antique chandeliers…. a formal dining room!

by: Amy L Berry 

We Say “Whicker!” You Say “WE’LL TAKE MORE!”

Whicker is a true treasure, and the older the better. Whether it’s a chair or a basket it’s something you spend time collecting as much of it as you can.

by: The Dolphin Fine Linens

Needlepoint, Monogramming And Custom Embroidery Makes You Swoon

The more handmade and personalized it is, the better. A pillow doesn’t really seem at home unless it has your initials on it.

by: Bailey McCarthy

Materials Matter

You know the different uses of cotton and linen. You wouldn’t dream of re-painting a piece of solid oak furniture, the more worn the better! Teak furniture properly weathered outside is dreamy. You pick your furniture by how sturdy it is and your linens by how breathable they are. To you, what it’s made of matters a great deal.

By: Morgan Hunt

Drapes Are Simply Necessary In Every Room

A room just wouldn’t feel complete without them! And yes we extend this clarification past simply just recognizing the need for curtains. Again, we reiterate that there is no fear in choosing color OR a pattern in this category as well. (or both!)

by: Sasha Nichols

A Full Set Of Your Very Own China Is The Highest Achievement

The dream is to have a fully decked-out set of china complete with coordinating chargers and napkins. And sure, you COULD by the set all at once and have everything matching from the bread dish to the soup bowl. But there is joy found in the hunt! Finally tracking down that matching gravy boat after hears of searching is met with pure elation.

by: Traci White Designs

Wallpaper Is Always The Right Answer

There really is no need to elaborate here. Wallpaper is always appropriate.

So if any or all of these apply to you, you’re not alone. This style embraces feminine details and pink florals, and we fully embrace it. Bonus points if you read this in a matching pajama set.

Tropical Meets Chic For This Riviera Maya Destination Wedding

After six months of dating, Rahul got down on one knee and proposed to Diana with her favorite chocolate cake in hand. A few days later, they headed down to the courthouse and became husband and wife. Weeks after that, Rahul decided to ask his bride to marry him for the second time, but this time the proposal included a beautiful engagement ring! The two started planning a destination affair at Rosewood Mayakoba so that friends and family could join them in an epic celebration of their love. Visit the full gallery to swoon over all the pretty little details.



From the bride… We knew we wanted lots of quality time on a beach with our nearest and dearest so Mexico was the perfect locale – it’s gorgeous, easy to get to, and the Mexican people take such pride in hospitality. We chose the Rosewood Mayakoba because not only do we love its beautiful design, Rahul and I first met at a Rosewood hotel so we loved the symbolism of coming full circle.



Since we both like a minimalist aesthetic, the event design was modern and glamorous with a touch of tropical flair. The end result was Victorian chandeliers, beautiful orchids, lush white drapes, and lots of candles everywhere.



Just like with my husband and the dress, I just knew Simply Sarah Photography was the one. I was struck by the poetry of her images, they were beautiful, lush, romantic and timeless. Everything I wanted my wedding photos to be.



The biggest piece of advice I have for the bride’s planning destination weddings is to try to enjoy the planning process! It will all be so worth it because you will have an unforgettable time with your nearest and dearest all in one place. When it is over, you will look back and wish you could do it all over again!



Photography: Simply Sarah Photography | Event Coordination: Rosewood Mayakoba | Event Design: Mango Weddings & Events | Floral Design: VANESSA JAIMES Floral Design | Bride's Shoes: Louboutin | Catering: Rosewood Mayakoba | Hair and Makeup: Styling Trio | Groom's Attire: Hugo Boss | Wedding Venue: Rosewood Mayakoba | Bride's Dress: Monique Lhuillier | Decor & Rentals: EW Cancun | Processing and Developement: PhotoVision Prints | RENTALS: KL DESIGN EVENTS | Reception Dress: Mason

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A Wedding Photographer Shares the Pros and Cons Behind Doing a First Look!

I’ve been a wedding photographer in San Diego for about 6 years and have truly come to love first looks. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, a first look is the moment the couple sees each other before the wedding ceremony. In some cultures, such as Judiasm, the couple always sees each other before the ceremony to take part in significant cultural moments (i.e. the Ketubah signing). In other cultures, this concept seems so foreign.

Before I jump into the pros and cons of a first look, I’d love to share the history of why couples originally didn’t see each other before the ceremony. Truth be told, it’s not at all romantic. You see, in the days where arranged marriages were the norm, the parents of the bride and groom wanted to ensure the marriage would follow through. In case the groom wouldn’t find the bride attractive and thus back out of the wedding, the families didn’t allow the couple to see each other until it was “too late” (aka at the front of the aisle). Not so sweet, right? Read on for the pros and cons so you can decide what’s best for the two of you.

The Pros of a First Look

You can actually attend your cocktail hour. Many couples these days value spending time with their guests and cocktail hour is the easiest time to do so. If you do a first look, you can schedule all or nearly all of your couple, bridal party, and family portraits to take place prior to the ceremony. That way, you’ll be able to attend all or nearly all of cocktail hour! Additionally, couples tell me all the time how much this lessens their stress having the photos completed and “out of the way” before the ceremony.

If your ceremony runs late, you don’t have to worry about missing out on portrait time. Sometimes you just have a verbose officiant or the ceremony itself starts late for a number of reasons. When that happens, most venues and planners want to stick to the original reception start time in order to ensure the food is fresh. Because of this, your cocktail hour becomes shorter and you lose out on portrait time. You won’t have to sweat this if you’ve already completed your portraits!

You’ll have much more time for couple’s portraits. Without a first look, you only have the end of cocktail hour to take portraits since bridal party and family portraits must also be fit into that hour. That usually leaves less than 30 minutes for photos of the two of you, especially if you have a large family or bridal party. With a first look and proper planning, you’ll have at least 45 minutes for just the two of you meaning there’s more time to get comfortable in front of the camera and have more variety in backdrops, posing, and lighting in the photos.

Your hair and makeup are fresher for photos earlier in the day. Especially if you’ll be crying during your ceremony, you won’t look quite as fresh as you did immediately after having your hair and makeup completed. 

The two of you will see each other privately without all of your guests staring at you down the aisle. So many of my couples, especially those who were initially on the fence about a first look, often remark that the first look was their favorite moment of the wedding day. By being able to have a few peaceful and private minutes alone, it greatly lessens their nerves and allows them to experience their emotions without a large audience.

You can enjoy your ceremony emotions without going straight to posing for the camera. If you choose to do a first look, you’ll be able to ride the high of your ceremony emotions throughout cocktail hour. Going straight from the aisle to posing for formal portraits will absolutely dampen those vibes, so it’s great to be able to fully enjoy them with your spouse and friends instead.

The Cons of a First Look

You’ll have to start your wedding day hair and makeup early. Because you’re arranging for about one to two hours of portraits before the ceremony, you’ll need to begin everyone’s hair and makeup a few hours earlier in the day. This might be tough if you already have an early ceremony and potentially have to start your day at 6am.

A first look is not “traditional” and some couples truly love tradition (even if the tradition has an unfavorable origin). If breaking tradition in order to have more portraits, attend cocktail hour, etc. doesn’t feel right to you then don’t do the first look!

Some couples fear that a first look might possibly lessen their emotions on the aisle. They believe that since they’ll have already seen each other, that the aisle walk will be less emotionally impactful. Although my first look couples still exhibit plenty of emotion on the aisle, this is something to consider for yourselves.

The Decision

While I fully believe that first looks are seriously so amazing for couples’ portraits, stress levels, and the timeline, I never push anyone outside of their comfort zone for their final decision. You’ll have to decide what’s right for the two of you with the educational information I’ve written and what you learn from your own photographer.

If you’re on the fence, think about what you value more about the wedding day. Is tradition more important than spending more time with guests or having significantly more time for portraits? Skip the first look! Or perhaps portraits are the most valuable thing to you and you decide to see each other before the ceremony. Do what feels right to you and you’ll be happy with your decision!

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