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An Approachable French Inspired Home

The problem with writing a blog that celebrates gorgeous homes and spaces is that I continually want to redecorate, rebuild, remodel, re-anything. And this kitchen, is really doing a number on my design stability. I’ve already called the contractor. Imagined and executed by Madison Nicole, every room in this Santa Barbara stunner just gets prettier and prettier. Come on in as Madison talks us through each space with gorgeous photos by Lindsey Drewes!

First and foremost, favorite thing in the entire house?

I really love the way the range + hood in the kitchen turned out. Originally there was a very heavy feeling hood with moulding that had carved grapevines in it, and the cream crackle subway tile that’s in the rest of the kitchen was behind the range as well. We replaced the hood with a much simpler look that matched the cabinetry, and framed it all out in a more rustic wood. I think it compliments and draws attention to the stunning LaCanche range so much more than the original design.

As you take us through your home, tell us a little bit about your design background.

I knew from a fairly young age that I wanted to be an Interior Designer. I went to Cal Poly SLO and got my bachelor’s in Architecture, and then continued on to receive my Masters in Interior Architecture from UCLA/Cal Poly, Pomona joint program. I worked as a designer + project manager at an architecture + interior design firm in Los Angeles for about 5 years before deciding to start Madison Nicole Design.

What was your design inspiration?

The previous owners of the home had created a space that was very formal and a bit too polished for my client, but we all loved the architecture of the home itself. The exterior felt a bit like a traditional French Cottage, so we started by looking at books like French Accents by Anita Joyce and New Vintage French Interiors by Sebastien Siraudeau for inspiration.

How did you go about incorporating your design inspiration into your actual design?

The house already had some French Country elements present, so we tried to leave some of those things untouched, like the beautifully carved marble fireplace surrounds in the Dining Room and Living Room that came straight from France, and the stunning oak floors.



All of the light fixtures in the home were pretty over-the-top, and almost half the rooms were covered in bold, patterned wallpapers.



We focused on bring a more casual element to balance out the formality of some of the existing spaces.

So for example, while we left the existing crystal chandelier + sconces in the entryway, we replaced other fixtures in the kitchen and breakfast room with more simple, pared down pieces. It was all about bring a more casual feel to a space that was originally very formal.

Photographer: Lindsey Drewes | Interior Designer: Madison Nicole

The Prettiest Take on a Butterfly-Themed Wedding

I’m not big on themed weddings, but subtly directed details? Those are my jam. That’s exactly what today’s editorial is—in the form of the most delicate and intentional use of butterflies. Round of applause goes to Shannon Wellington Weddings and EventsDevon & PinkettGrace & Ardor Co. Photography and the entire vendor team for crafting such a stunner editorial. I can’t wait to see one of you use this beauty as your wedding muse.

The most beautiful time in a woman’s life is when she transforms into a bride. Transient, fleeting, and vulnerable—this bridal shoot was inspired by the metamorphosis of a butterfly. Set at Cairnwood Estate in their stunning old-world gardens and terraces, an elegant, intimate setting was created by an incredible team of vendors.Beautiful blooming wildflowers in purple and pink pastel tones grew naturally up the ends of the head table.

Delicate and feminine touches adorned every thoughtful detail, including handmade paper butterflies as place settings. Fluttering about the gardens, our model shined in couture gowns that elevated the look: a striking Viktor + Rolf Mariage number that featured 3-dimensional floral appliqués caught everyone’s eye.

Videography: Adam Noone | Floral Design: Devon & Pinkett | Cake: Cake Life Bake Shop | Reception Venue: Cairnwood Estate | Hair and Makeup: Pretty On Arrival | Black Menswear: Bonobos | Bracelet and Rings: Maison Miru Jewelry | Custom Chocolates: Good Good Chocolates | Custom Cocktails: Spirit Forward Cocktails | Custom Vow Book: Wedding Story Writer | Earrings: lele sadoughi | Fashion & Beauty Editor: Kayla Hayes | Floral Guest Book: Terrain at Styers | Gown with Sheer Sleeves: Tadashi Shoji | Hair Pins: Wayfarer Bride | Heels: Courtesy Viktor & Rolf | Lily Garden Gown with 3D Flowers: Courtesy Viktor & Rolf | Lily Garden Veil: Courtesy Viktor & Rolf | Linens: Nuage Designs | Men's Shoes: Topman | Men's Watch: Eve's Addiction | Models (Raelia Lewis and Spencer Zettersten): Click Models Philly | Photography & Art Direction: Grace + Ardor Co. | Planning & Design: Shannon Wellington Wedding | Pocket Square and Tie: Men's Wearhouse | Rentals/Furniture: White Glove Rentals | Stationery/Paper Goods: Steph B and Co | Styling Details: The Styling Mat | Wedding Rings: L Priori Jewelry | White Menswear: Men's Wearhouse

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An Intimate Wedding in Napa Painted in Every Shade of Wine – from Burgundy to Champagne!

Today’s gorgeous bride and groom took their love for wine to new heights at their Calistoga Ranch wedding by incorporating every shade of wine from burgundy to champagne into their wedding color scheme – and the results are stunning. Lambert Floral Studio perfectly represented each hue with their organic arrangements featuring the most breathtaking dahlias we have EVER seen (seriously, how are they even real) Callista & Company kept the wedding festivities running smoothly from the first look to the intimate al fresco reception. Check out the full gallery captured by Rebecca Yale and prepare for some major vineyard wedding inspo.

From Rebecca Yale Photography Nicolina and Brian were married on a beautiful Summer day surrounded by just their closest friends and family at the gorgeous Calistoga Ranch in Napa, CA. The day was perfectly planned by Callista of Callista & Co with florals by Lambert Floral Studio who took Nicolina’s inspiration of all shades of wine from Burgundy to Rose and Champagne and ran with it, creating gorgeous olive lead menus, edible flowers and a beautiful custom designed invitation suite.

They chose a destination wedding in wine country because they both grew up in families that valued good food and company. Nicolina says, “As a child I remember many birthdays and holidays spent around a dinner table with an incredible home cooked meal and wines hand picked by my grandfather. My grandfather was a wine connoisseur who in his free time took my grandmother on trips to taste wines from around the world. He collected and shared these wines often during these family dinners, memories that have brought great joy to my life within his passing.

Calistoga Ranch not only offered us the wonderful food and drink that always brought our families together but an atmosphere that reminded us a lot of home (Upstate New York – The Adirondacks) and of those that we have lost that live on in our memories. “

Nicolina and Brian made family front and center at their wedding and instead of large traditional wedding parties, Brian had just his brother serve as his Best Man and Nicolina had her sister (and incredible wedding photographer Michelle Lange) serve as her Maid of Honor, with one other friend as a bridesmaid. Their nieces and nephews both served as the cutest flower girls and ring bearers ever! It was important to honor their siblings because Nicolina says, “Our siblings knew each other long before we began dating and went to high school together. My sister was actually the one that set up Brian’s brother with his current wife (Fun Fact!). Since our siblings children are all around the same age we thought it would be fun to include all of our nieces and nephews in the wedding. Watching them play and get along was definitely the highlight of our wedding day. It definitely made the day less stressful and lighthearted.”

The bride and groom had an intimate first look full of laughter and smiles before their ceremony up on the property’s Lommel Lawn. After the ceremony guests enjoyed cocktails and sunset on the lawn and as the guests made their way over to the gorgeous long table set for dinner on the far side of the lawn, the couple snuck away for a few minutes to take gorgeous golden hour portraits down in the vineyard and enjoy a glass of wine just the two of them. Nicolina says, “The best part of our wedding day was the dinner at sunset. 

Since our wedding was small we wanted it to be intimate and so we decided to do one long dinner table. We were able to look down the table at our closest friends and family and really take in the moment by watching and listening to them as they enjoyed themselves over good food and drinks, all the while enjoying a pretty pink sky and cool summer breeze. The weather and atmosphere could not have been more perfect.” Nicolina’s advice to other couples on having the perfect wedding day, “Try not to get caught up in the stresses of planning and enjoy the process. It goes by so fast!”

Photography: Rebecca Yale Photography | Planner: Callista & Company | Floral Design: Bud Botanical | Dress: Watters | cake: Bouchon Bakery | Stationery: Callista & Company | Catering : Blue Sky Ranch | Hair and Makeup: Blush Makeup & Hair | Calligraphy: Libby Tipton | Officiant: Rose Barboza | Venue: Calistoga Ranch | Linens: La Tavola Fine Linen Rental | Music: Garuda Blue | Rentals: Theoni Collection

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
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A Romantic Elopement Shoot At What Looks Like Cinderella’s Castle

There is something so intriguing about a good, old elopement, and if there was ever an inspirational shoot to convince you to pack your bags…well, you’re welcome. Set at Kimberly Crest, a historic private estate turned wedding venue, C & C Photography made all of our want-to-be princess dreams come true with this utterly romantic and timeless shoot. Manna Sun Events used the natural hues of the venue to enhance the rich color palette and added pops of color for the cake by Sweet & Saucy Shop and bridal bouquet by Oak & Amble. Take a look below for outfit changes (by bride and groom,) stunning decor and all the reasons you’ll need to say I Do with just the two of you.

From C & C PhotographyAlex and Tyler eloped on an afternoon in April filled with dreamy light on the beautiful grounds of Kimberly Crest, a historical private estate now restored into a lovely wedding venue. Inspired by their romantic love story, we captured every moment so that each and every image stands stunningly on its own, yet tells the complete story when strung together.

From Manna Sun EventsFor this French romance inspired elopement shoot, we wanted to create the overall aesthetic to be romantic, passionate, modern yet timeless and mixing old world with contemporary styling. Immediately, we agreed that Kimberly Crest would be the perfect backdrop. Inspired by 16th-century French chateaus, Kimberly Crest was a well-preserved example of the Victorian Era in California. Our inspiration came from the pond in front of the mansion. It was like a perfect piece of jade when we visited Kimberly Crest, and we decided to include this color in our design. Teals and corals were rather tropical colors, but they brought a lively vibe to something gold and something blue of the mansion. The soft and smooth velvet largely used in styling played up the classy, luxurious and festive romance.

The invitations were simple with illustrations of Kimberly Crest. Simple and classy bridal style with jewelry in overstated vintage style was elegant, glamorous, and timeless. Minimalism inspired floral arrangements for both the ceremony and the reception were used to emphasize the marvelous beauty of the mansion. The place setting incorporated modern white plates, gold flatware with vellum menus. Amber goblets and clear coupes were the finishing touches.

From the ‘Groom’…Our story was written in the heavens above, when I first looked at her there was a familiarity in her eyes like I knew her or I was supposed to know her. It was as if every action that was ever made from the start of the universe has played out so that our paths would cross at just the right moment at just the right time in just the right place. And when they did… The cosmos itself finally felt the love it was longing for.

Event Planning: Manna Sun Events | Floral Design: Oak+Amble Floral Design | Wedding Dress: Sebastien Luke | Cake: Sweet & Saucy Shop | Stationery: Blushtype Designs | Shoes: SILVIA LAGO | Ring: Tory Burch | Bow Tie: Tom Ford | Suit: SALLE PRIVÉE | Castle: Kimberly Crest House & Garden | Earrings: Oscar De La Renta | Film Lab: Goodman Film Lab | Hair & Makeup Artist: Bingmakeup | Linens: La Tavola Fine Linen Rental | Photography/Cinematography: C & C Photography | Rentals: Folklore Vintage Rentals | Ring Box: The Mrs Box | Tabletop: Folklore Vintage Rentals

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
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Just In: Jenny Yoo’s Delicate And Dreamy New Fall 2019 Collection

Jenny Yoo is back with more irresistible gowns in her Jenny by Jenny Yoo Fall 2019 collection — and we couldn’t be more in love! Here, you’ll find classic silhouettes catered to the modern bride, just in time for fall. If unexpected necklines, inspiring textures, and flattering fabrics strike your fancy, you’re in luck. Scroll on to get the preview and (dare we say?!) pick a favorite from the collection.

 

Callie

A spaghetti strap and a soft A-line design? Sign us up. As if this duo wasn’t flattering enough, the floral lace top and chiffon skirt truly bring this romantic beauty home. Trust us: This one is both striking *and* comfortable.

Carson

Let’s take the drama up a notch. The plunging deep-V neck and fit and flare silhouette make this style wow the crowd. Factor in head-to-toe beaded lace and illusion tulle cutouts and you’re guaranteed to make heads turn (even before you strut down the aisle).

Cooper

Meghan Markle fans will be *all* over this chic crepe frock. With a minimalist design and a court length trail, it was made for a princess (like you!) on your wedding day.

Evie

Sweet Evie here is a soft tulle overskirt that fits flawlessly over any Jenny Yoo gown. (Psst! The tulle panels can be styled in more ways than one to cater to your own unique style.)

Wyatt

Mirror the ballgown silhouette you love, but do in a more subdued style. The airy, organza skirt holds the volume of a ballgown, yet it’s soft enough to forgo the drama you’re wary of. Bonus: The lace on top just adds to the fun in this amorous getup.

Lawrence

Minimalists take note: This simple taffeta dress is a terrific option. Between the delicate scoop neck, extended train, and hidden pockets, it checks all the boxes for understated elegance.

Lennon

Lovely Lennon here seems to hit the mark when it comes to pleasing everyone. Consider the fit and flare style, thin straps, dramatic neckline, side cutouts, and delicate lace coverage, and it truly could be the closest thing to one-style-fits-all.

Lorelei

Lightweight, yet voluminous. Seductive, yet sweet. Simple, yet striking. This basic dress covers every contrast in the book — and we’re certainly not complaining!

Marley

Want something that hugs your figure a bit more? Turn to this matte crepe choice that effortlessly glides down the body and pools at the bottom. Take it a bit further by turning the chiffon attachment into a romantic back-bow for a memorable and sweet detail.

Neve

Two things to note of in this flawless option: The span of buttons down the back and the cutout illisions along the side. It’s a delight!

Rebekka

Seeking separates? With this pick, you might want to. A mock-neck bridal top is a terrific option for a soon-to-be bride who already has a bottom sought out. I mean, just look at that thick, jade lace detail — we can’t get enough!

Rosamund

Last, but not least, we have Miss. Rosamund. From the romantic lace and sinched waste to the full circle skirt, it’s whimsical and lovely in every way possible. Just *wait* until your groom lays eyes on you with this one!

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
For membership information, click here
These Featured Designers are members of our Look Book.
For membership information, click here
This Photographer’s California Chic Wedding Will Have You Craving All Things Autumn!

The start of Fall is right around the corner and we don’t know about you but we’re getting oh-so excited for that first crisp day of the season and pumpkin spice everything. In the meantime, we’ll just be over here obsessed over this photographer’s gorgeous autumn wedding in California – filled with fall foliage, a cozy color scheme and mini donuts (alllll the donuts)… Cara Goset of Michelle Garibay Events truly brought the couple’s vision to life. And let’s not forget about Carla Kayes Floral Design’s STUNNING arrangements. Head on over to the full gallery captured by Amy Golding to see all the autumnal magic unfold!

From Amy Golding PhotographyPaul and Cara met through mutual friends on Thanksgiving Eve and were inseparable ever since. Cara started her career as a photographer, and Paul started graduate school before taking a job in San Diego. Then in March 2018, while watching the sunset in Huntington Beach, Paul surprised Cara with the most romantic proposal.

That golden California sunset proposal gave way to the perfect wedding design inspiration- a day filled with lush golden and muted mauves florals, reminding them of that perfect moment. Carla Kayes Floral Design created stunning arrangements filled with dried preserved copper beach, as well as distant drums and mauve coco loco roses from Ella Rose Farm. A deep golden hybrid Lisianthus perfectly tied together the palette.

Knowing how important Cara and Paul’s guests were to them, Cara Goset with Michelle Garibay Events designed the reception to be an intimate affair with rows of farmhouse tables so that guest could comfortably enjoy each other’s company all night long.

Cara and Paul’s first look was nothing short of a fairytale with the couple meeting atop a hill filled with trees and the wind romantically sweeping Cara’s Leanne Marshall wedding dress. Cara’s hair was adorned with an ethereal golden hair piece by Anna Marguerite

Being huge fans of sweets, Cara and Paul decided to forgo the traditional wedding cake and serve their guests delightful sugar cookies from Batter Up Bakery and a cart filled with Mom’s Mini Donuts. Batter up Bakery shaped the sugar cookies like California frosted with a golden heart on Huntington Beach.

Photographer: Amy Golding | Floral Design: Carla With Enchanting Blooms | Gown: Leanne Marshall | Bakery: Batter up Bakery | DJ: Pacific Entertainment | Officiant: Vows From The Heart | Wedding Venue: Temecula Creek Inn | Beauty Concierge: Elwynn and Cass | Bridal Hair Piece: Anna Marguerite | Custom Stationery: Something Lettered | Donut Bar: Mom's Mini Donuts | Film Lab: Goodman Film Lab | Planning: Michelle Garibay Events | Planning: Michelle Garibay Events | Rentals: Rustic Urban Events | Rentals: Archive Rentals

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
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Every Bookworm Needs to Admire This Romantic Boston Public Library Wedding!

There’s something so incredibly romantic about tying the knot in a place, as Carrie Bradshaw once said, “… that housed all the great love stories”. The spectacular marble walls of the Boston Public Library surrounded their guests as they dined in Bates Hall, planned perfectly by Always Yours Events. It’s truly difficult describe how incredibly unique and beautiful this reception is… but it basically combines the grandeur of the Great Hall at Hogwarts and the romance of the library room in Beauty and The Beast. See for yourself at the full gallery captured by Michelle Lange Photography!

From the Bride… When Ryan and I got engaged, we knew that we wanted to find a venue that felt meaningful to the both of us. Right away we decided to tour the Boston Public Library. This particular venue is not only absolutely breathtaking, but also played a part of our story prior to our engagement. When we first moved to Boston together, we lived across the street from the BPL. Our apartment was small, dark and a little bit crammed, and so we would often find ourselves going to the BPL to do our work and study for upcoming exams. When we toured the Boston Public Library, we immediately knew that it was the perfect location to host our wedding reception for our loved ones! We were completely blown away by the character and history of the venue, and each and every space from the grand marble staircase to the Courtyard to Bates Hall left us in awe. 

Knowing we wanted to be married in the Catholic Church, we found ourselves falling in love with the Shrine of our Lady of Good Voyage in the Seaport of Boston. This brand new little church and had the most romantic and slightly more modern aesthetic, which was exactly what we were looking for when it came to a venue for our ceremony. We did not want to take away from any of the beauty at both the church and the BPL, but enhance it and create a dreamy and romantic design within the spaces. Together with our wedding planner Keri (of Always Yours Events), we dreamed up a modern romantic and garden-inspired design that was very floral forward and featured a color palette of whites, cream, ivory and light blush, pinks and a slight pop of a pale and soft blue. 

Our design was carried out into our stationery design with the talents of Taylor at Mulberry and Elm who created an entire custom stationery suite from save the dates to invitations to day of stationery consisting of a light blue crest with florals, a drawing of the Boston Public Library, and even a sweet watercolor of our pup Brady. The floral team at Les Fleurs worked with Keri to fill every space from the bridal suite to the church and every corner of the Boston Public Library with blooms, and even create a rose petal recessional as we exited the church. Upon entering the venue guests were wow-ed by the grand staircase covered in greens, roses and candles, as well as the sounds of our harpist from Gilded Harps. 

One of our favorite features was the floral escort card display where each guest’s name and table number was printed on a bud vase filled with garden roses, peonies and sweet pea and filled gold shelves at the top of the staircase. Our guests enjoyed cocktails out in the courtyard under strands of cafe lights over the reflecting pool as well as on the lower level of the Library before heading upstairs for the grand reveal of Bates Hall. Guest tables in Bates Hall alternated between garlands filled with greens and garden roses, and tall centerpieces with small crystal compote arrangements. After enjoying a delicious menu catered by the Catered Affair, we moved into the Abbey Room for dancing to the sounds of Boston band, The Connection

Our photobooth was a highlight of the reception, with a custom greenery hedge wall backdrop with our initials. At the end of the evening guests were gifted sugar cookie favors in the shape of our dog Brady in beautiful packaging. Guests lined the stairs with ribbon wands for an epic send off before Ryan and I hopped into a white Rolls Royce getaway car. To say the day was absolutely breathtaking is an understatement — the celebration exceeded all of our expectations! As we look back on our day with our stunning gallery from Michelle Lange and video from Stop Go Love, we can’t help referring to it as the best day of our lives! It was so meaningful to be surrounded by all of our closest friends and family, as well as to celebrate our marriage in one of the most historic and stunning venues we both have ever seen! We could not have done it without the support of our families and our amazing vendors, and we are so thankful to everyone who made our day so incredibly remarkable. 

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Photography: Michelle Lange Photography | Wedding Planning and Design: Always Yours Events | Floral Design: Les Fleurs | Cake: The Catered Affair | Reception Venue: Boston Public Library | Rings: ADCO Diamond | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Bella Bridesmaid | Catering: The Catered Affair | Makeup: Makeup by Sarah Lord | Hair: Jennifer Tawa | Lighting: SociaLight Boston | Band: Wilson Stevens | Groom's Attire: Indochino | Transportation: Rockstar Limo | Bridal Shop : The White Magnolia | Bridal Suite: The Lenox Hotel | Bridesmaid PJ's : Plum Pretty Sugar | Card Box: Eagle Cap Creations | Cinematography and Photo Booth: Stop Go Love | Linens: BBJ Linen | Lounge and Escort Card Sleeves: Kadeema Rentals | Ribbons: Stella Wolfe | Rolls Royce: Boston Limousine | Stationery and Calligraphy : Mulberry & Elm Design | Tabletop Rentals: Peak Event Services | Welcome Sign: Earthy Easel

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Everything You Need to Know About Planning Your Second Trip Down The Aisle

Getting a second chance at love is a beautiful thing. And getting a second chance to plan a wedding? We’ve probably all dreamed of that at least once (oh, the things we would do differently!). But things get real once you realize that the challenges surrounding second weddings are just so different than those of the first. You’re probably not at the stage in life where you’re enthused about creating your wedding registry, or dreaming about one last girls’ getaway. Instead, you may be focused on blending a family, writing your second chapter, and planning a second wedding that feels totally different than your first. That’s why we’re here, with advice that’s perfect for brides and grooms planning a second trip down the aisle. Because second weddings deserve to be every bit as beautiful as the second chance that led you to each other!

Photography: Nathalie Cheng Photography  | Floral Design: The Loved Co

1. Second weddings don’t have to be simple  

 When it comes to describing second wedding plans, couples often use words like quiet’ and ‘intimate’ and ‘low- key.’ Don’t get us wrong: we love it when brides and grooms take a subtle approach to wedding styling. What’s important, as you plan a simple wedding, is that simplicity is truly your style—and not a way of minimizing your happiness. If your dream is to jet off somewhere tropical and have a ceremony bursting with hot colors and bold blooms—you are just not going to be cool with a Thursday matinée wedding at your parents’ country club. And that’s ok! Audra of Audra Wrisley Photography encourages brides and grooms to authentically celebrate their second wedding—even if that means celebrating big. She explains:

 “Having a second wedding doesn’t mean it needs to be any less celebrated! I do feel that couples tend to lean towards simplifying their celebration, but I would absolutely encourage couples to focus on what they want- and if that means an even bigger and better bash the second time around, cheers to that! Sometimes first weddings are planned on budgets (or on their parent’s budget) and brides and grooms compromised their overall vision. A second wedding is a perfect excuse to go all- out!”

Photography: Josh & Dana Fernandez | Floral Design: Mibellarosa Designs

2.    Second weddings give you a chance to express your style

 Anyone who has been married has probably, at one point or another, dreamed of getting a wedding do-over. (Let’s be real: an average day on Instagram will leave you feeling that way.) Your style evolves over time—and so does the wedding industry! You’re probably so well-versed in wedding imagery now that you know exactly which designer you would turn to for your dress and which florist you would work with. It isn’t just an aesthetic thing: as time passes, you become more and more comfortable using your voice and making decisions. You know yourself. Rather than being divided by anxiety, you can approach the planning process with focus and clarity. Audra Wrisley of Audra Wrisley Photography beautifully articulates the differences between planning first and second weddings:

 “Second weddings are unique in that brides and grooms are experienced, and often these couples can be more discerning in including exactly what they want (and excluding what they don’t) to create the perfect celebration. Regardless of traditions or other people’s wishes, couples planning second weddings tend to focus on what’s right for them- which can be such a beautiful way to plan a wedding! The wedding day is very often less stressful but definitely not less special.”

Photography: Lauren Fair | Floral Design: Faye and Renee Floral & Event Design Team

3.  Know that you’re allowed to skip some things

 Time and experiences give us some wonderful gifts, and one of the best of all is the ability to say ‘no.’ As you plan your second wedding, know it’s more than ok to just gently let some things go.

“I think all of the ‘first wedding’ traditions can be skipped if the bride and groom don’t want to include them!” Audra of Audra Wrisley Photography says encouragingly. “Bouquet toss, formal cake cutting, even parent dances shouldn’t be required, unless the couple wants to include them. Oftentimes, our couples will focus on toasting and dancing during the reception and less planned events throughout the evening.”

Photography: Caroline Tran Photography

4.   Do things that feel appropriate and meaningful at this stage of your life

 As you plan your second wedding, you will revisit all the rituals and rites that characterized the first. You may look around your kitchen and collection of oh-so-artfully-mismatched china and think, a wedding registry is the last thing I need. If anything about the planning process feels less than right to you, listen to your heart.  “I would encourage couples planning their second wedding to let their hearts guide them on the wedding events outside of the wedding day; i.e. showers, registries, etc.” advises Audra of Audra Wrisely Photography, continuing,Most couples I’ve worked with tend to skip those since they’ve done them the first time around, but only the couple can say what’s right for them!”

Photography: Tenth & Grace 

5.   Your second wedding should feel different than your first

 You will want your second wedding to reflect your current stage in life—your growth, your maturity, your love story. This may go without saying, but emulating or trying to recapture the feeling of the first wedding would be uncomfortable for everyone involved.  The very last thing you want is to conjure up memories from the past—even if those memories are beautiful. Think of it this way: you wouldn’t keep your ex’s old shirt around to cozy up in and wear around your fiancé. For the sake of your partner, your guests, and (most importantly) yourself, focus on the beautiful stage of life you’re experiencing now.

“Planning a second wedding can present its own set of challenges, as it’s really easy to think about what decisions and choices you made the first time around!” admits Audra of Audra Wrisley Photography. “I do think it’s super important to plan your second wedding together as a couple; making your venue selection and selecting a team of vendors to create a vibe that reflects your relationship. Perhaps your first wedding was traditional and in a church, and you and your fiancé are very outdoorsy- plan a garden or vineyard ceremony with an al fresco evening to follow! Although it may be challenging, think of it this way; you have all the experience in the world to steer you towards your dream wedding day.”

Photography: Katie Grant | Floral Design: Secret Garden

6.    … But don’t just be different for the sake of being different

 That being said, don’t feel as though you have to plan a wedding that’s wildly different from your first just in order to make a statement. All wedding-related decisions should flow from your heart; when a wedding is created from a place of love, it’s palpable—you can just feel it. Alternatively, you can also feel when a decision has been forced on someone, when it just isn’t natural. “Although I do think the venue/vibe is a great way to make it a very different wedding, I think it’s super important that each of these choices reflect the couple as a whole, and not just different for the sake of being different,” admits Audra. “If you’re not a beach couple, find a destination venue that fits you (a French chateau or a vineyard in Italy) as opposed to just having a destination wedding since your first wedding was local. Make it you, and the magic will follow!”

Photography: Hunter Ryan Photo

7.   Add meaningful touches and moments of self-expression

 A second wedding gives couples an incredible opportunity to create new traditions. Now that you are freed from all the first-time ‘shoulds,’ you can create a wedding that feels personal—and even essential– to your experience. Allow creativity room for expression in your second wedding plans. Consider writing your own vows, selecting meaningful poetry passages, or including your children in your ceremony. Audra likewise encourages brides and grooms to make the wedding day their own:

 “Infusing personality into a second wedding is key, especially for couples who may have skipped or overlooked this part the first time around with focusing on all the ‘have tos’ they thought they needed to do! Thoughtful gifts the morning of the wedding is always a really sweet touch, as well as personalized vows and even a heartfelt toast later in the evening are all really great ways to make the day unique and memorable.”

Photography: Oliver Fly

8.    Second wedding, but make it fashion

 Now is the time, dear brides, to wear whatever you want. When it comes to second weddings, the sartorial possibilities are endless. Imagine wearing a pale blue or pink or floral printed dress. A sexy black sheath. Or you could always channel Bianca Jagger’s courthouse chic and opt for well-made separates: bias-cut skirt, smoking jacket, jaunty hat. “Fashion is such a fun way to mix it up for your second wedding! Keeping in mind the overall vibe of the day, I absolutely think it’s a great way to think outside of the box; a floral gown or a colorful look is always fun,” suggests Audra. Don’t be afraid to go a little couture. Now you can embrace that Claire Pettibone or Ines di Santo gown you adored– but were just too a little too shy to wear the first time around.

 And guess what? If you want a second chance at a white wedding, you absolutely get to do that. As with any other planning decision, it’s all about making the choice that’s true to you. Audra has wonderful advice for brides who love both tradition and couture: “[i]f you’re concerned that you’d like a little tradition in the day, a reception dress is always a great option!suggest Audra. Whether it’s classic or unexpected, if your dress is an expression and extension of your personal style, it will be perfect for you.

Photography: Jose Villa | Dress: Ines di Santo | Floral Design: Tulipina

 9.   Resist the temptation to constantly compare your second wedding with your first

 As you plan, it’s only natural to compare your second wedding with your first. The first wedding is, after all, your frame of reference. You may expect to encounter the same challenges as you did the first time around. And your first thoughts as you design your invitations and select your florals may be, ‘Well, the first time we did this…’ But second weddings are as unique as second marriages. Allow yourself to experience this season of life unencumbered by comparisons to the past. Allow this second wedding to be a masterpiece unto itself. And give yourself the freedom to experience something new. You deserve it!

Photography: Katie Grant

10.   Don’t feel like you have to apologize for your second wedding

 …Ever. A second wedding is not a lesser wedding.

Photography: Angel Owens

11.   Know that you’ll enjoy everything more

We’ve alluded to this before, but second weddings are so wonderful because brides and grooms are so much less concerned with performing perfectly and pleasing everyone. “I do think brides and grooms are more relaxed when planning their second weddings, but I think this comes from feeling freer to follow their wishes instead of family members’ opinions or traditions,” notes Audra of Audra Wrisley Photography. “This can be such a weight off of their shoulders, and truly allows for such a special celebration!” The freedom you feel can’t help but influence the planning process and the entire atmosphere and experience of your wedding.

Photography: Rebecca Yale Photography

12.   Prepare yourself for some hard times

 It’s very likely that something deeply painful brought you here, to your second wedding. Maybe you or your fiancé lost a spouse. Maybe, instead, you lived through a painful marriage and divorce and maybe, for a little while, you lost your hope. A second marriage is a beautiful testament to redemption and renewal, but in order to be redeemed, something had to first be lost. Even though you are so happy and in love, you may experience waves of grief or confusion as you plan a second wedding. The planning process may bring some beautiful and deeply painful memories to the fore, particularly if you have lost a spouse. And even if you have not lost a loved one, you can feel a little less innocent, excited, and hopeful as you were for your first wedding. You may feel a little disillusioned. All of these feelings are normal, but that doesn’t make them any less painful.

 To complicate things further, you may have some delicate family dynamics to work through as you marry for a second time (and potentially blend two families). Children can miss parents they have lost, or form alliances with parents that are still present. Exes may enter back in the picture and make things difficult. Family dynamics may multiply and become entangled. And while all of these problems can beset first marriages, they can be particularly sensitive within the context of second marriages. Prepare yourself for all of these delicate emotions and dynamics, and surround yourself with people who love and support you. If possible, seek counsel from a trusted source—a therapist, preacher, or friend—and be gentle with your own heart. If you are a person of faith, cling to that faith. Turn to your fiancé and try and allow any hardships to bring you closer to one another. And try, try to preserve your joy, even if it flickers dimly some days. 

Photography: Oliver Fly

13.   Include your family

 That said, the presence of family can be the most beautiful and healing part of your second wedding. Your second wedding may mark that day that two families become one, and that union is worth honoring. As often as it makes sense– and in ways that feel right to you– try to include your family in the planning process. You could take your daughter-to-be to a cake tasting or to the floral shop to have a peek at your wedding flowers. Or you could prepare a special wedding-day surprise, like a posy bouquet or a letter written to your future children. And as you say your vows, consider including promises to love and care for one another’s children—or speak those words directly to little ones. All of these little things, added together, can create a space of welcome, acceptance, and love.

Audra can recall some beautiful examples past weddings that included her couples’ children. “One of my sweet couples included their children as their bridal party, and it was so special to have their children feel included and a part of the day. The bride’s teenage son walked her down the aisle, and the groom’s children gave toasts during the reception. It was so heartfelt and beautiful, not a dry eye in the room!” As with anything else in life, you may have walked through a few valleys before arriving at your second wedding. But all of it was leading somewhere so beautiful– so meaningful– and so meant for you,  and the family you now call your own.

Photography: Kelli Lynn

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Here’s Your Blueprint for a Perfect English Country Garden Wedding

Raise your hand if you’ve ever dreamt of an English countryside garden wedding… I’m seeing at least half of you with both hands up shouting, hell yes! As Zosia Zacharia and Kim Balasubramaniam put it—there’s nothing more quintessentially English than a walled garden and the beautiful example at Turvey House was the setting for this most floral of editorials. It was indeed. Get your floral fix below!

Fragrant roses climbing crumbling stone walls, bushes of lavender full of nectar-gathering bees and wild flowers blooming where they wish. There’s nothing more quintessentially English than a walled garden and the beautiful example at Turvey House was the setting for this most floral of editorials.

Set against the backdrop of the grand Grade 1 listed house the shoot took inspiration from the floral surroundings of an English country garden. Kim Balasubramaniam and photographer Zosia Zacharia are both at their happiest and most inspired when working in country estates like Turvey House and believe that England has some of the finest architecture and most beautiful landscapes in which to hold your wedding celebrations. This particular editorial was designed to be a flower lovers dream with each element carefully curated to be placed in this unique setting.

The invitation suite, beautifully hand lettered by Lizzie Mathews, set the tone for this understatedly elegant wedding. Tones of grey and touches of white and blush ensured the look was romantic but grown up. The stationery continued throughout the day with personalised menus, placement cards and signage. A bespoke petal bar was designed to encourage guests to scatter fresh confetti after the ceremony.

The florals had to be natural, to feel like they were part of the garden, and the incredibly talented Ali from Bloomologie hand picked a selection of English seasonal blooms to perfection. From a dramatic entrance archway to the fragrant and full bouquet, to the adornments on the stonework and the living table, the floral design was key to this inspiration and is simply gorgeous.

Kim wanted to incorporate a sweetheart table to the shoot, envisaging the bride and groom enjoying their wedding breakfast a deux. She designed a living table; the crockery and cutlery set upon a natural cushion of flowers and foliage. Delicate glassware and simple flatware completed the look alongside the bespoke stationery.

The incredible wedding cake was designed by Krishanthi Armitt who makes the most realistic sugar flowers I have ever seen. Mirroring the natural feel of the flowers, Krishanti created peonies, garden roses and jasmine skilfully placed against the palest blush lace background. The cake was a real feature and looked beautiful set in the walled garden itself.

Our beautiful bride looked divine in a bespoke gown and cape by Naomi Neoh. Featuring delicate lace, silk organza and tulle, the gown felt like it was out of a fairytale. The fabrics had such wonderful movement to them and subtly carried through the floral inspiration. Her outfit was finished with heirloom head pieces and jewellery from Agnes Walker and shoes from LK Bennett.

Turvey House is an elegant neo classical home set in over 250 acres of parkland. Available for hire for weddings and special events, it has an incredible feeling of history and elegance. The breathtaking grounds are the perfect setting for a marquee wedding, whilst the house itself is simply stunning for bridal preparations. The drawing room and spiral staircase are particular features which made for the most beautiful portraits.

The Walled Garden inspiration shoot was designed to create a look that was floral-filled but not flouncy; an elegant, simply beautiful celebration in the most natural of settings.

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Photography: Zosia Zacharia Photography | Event Planning: Kim Balasubramaniam | Floral Design: Bloomologie | Wedding Dress: Naomi Neoh | Cake: Cakes by Krishanthi | Invitations: Lizzie Matthews | Shoes : LK Bennett | Hair and Make Up : Clare Pinkney | Hair accessories: Agnes Walker | Table Top: Whitehouse Crockery

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A Coastal Farmhouse in White Done SO Right

I’m grateful to live in an area where we get the best of both worlds… you can stop at a farm stand on a drive to the beach. I don’t think I could ever give that up. And when it comes to translating that style to your home—coastal farmhouse sure is winning right now. Just one look at this home, designed by Shelby of Farmhouse Living with her Mama (this is actually her Mom’s home!) and that statement will ring true. Cozy, slightly rustic, yet so fresh… all wrapped into one beautiful tour captured by Charlee Tabor.

From Farmhouse Living… My mom and I love designing spaces to create a home. I’ve watched her decorate since I was little and it’s always been so inspiring. This year has been special for us because we have both been renovating our own fixer-uppers.

This is mom’s home that we just wrapped up the kitchen, breakfast nook and living room. It was a house built in the 80’s with no updates, but the perfect layout for my parents since my mom loves open concept and my dad loves separate rooms.

She’s always incorporated coastal elements in her homes so we knew we’d go coastal farmhouse here. The living room is designed with all neutrals allowing the textures to add depth the design. We decided to try the layered rug trend in this space and we think it looks great. It took me a second to get used to the look, but it definitely made a statement that neutrals often can’t do on their own. Mom says what she loves most about the layered rug look it that she can layer a thinner rug on top of a jute rug and the jute rug helps it stay in place while the thin one can be tossed in the washing machine when necessary. We are crazy dog people so washable rugs are important.

The biggest update in this space was the fireplace and the built ins around it. Mom chose to go European with the German schmear on the white stone. We used a reclaimed barn beam for a mantle and white concrete for the hearth for a more modern look. To the right of the fireplace, mom had my dad weld a box for firewood. We live in Texas, but the second we can call the season we’re in “Fall” my mom has a fire going so I wasn’t surprised she wanted a large portion of her wall dedicated to firewood. These befores blew my mind when I looked back on what it was before.

When designing a gathering space like the living room we try to layer in as much seating as possible. These poufs from Article are a great option because they’re comfortable and don’t take up much space or block the view of the fireplace.

The living room is open to the breakfast nook and the kitchen making it perfect for hosting. The long layout gives each room a dedicated feel which appealed to my dad who prefers closed concepts.

Working with brass finishes in the kitchen was such a blast. We even went champange with the faucet to tie it all together. We think the finishes allow a traditional white kitchen to pop. We always recommend making bold statements like this in ways that are easy to change in the future. This space has already created so many memories for our family and we’re excited for more to come.

Photography: Charlee Tabor | Interior Design: Farmhouse Living

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Proof that a Plan B Tented Wedding Can Be JUST as Pretty

In another life, I will have Sinclair & Moore plan my wedding. Not only are Steve and Jamie the kindest humans ever, they are kind of like that saying “you could wear a paper bag and look good”, except the wedding planner version of that saying. They can make any fete look utterly romantic, even when it’s a plan B (hello, rain!) tented wedding like today’s fete captured by Katie Parra Photography and Cabfare Productions. Experience it all for yourself below.

Krystal Temkin and TJ Harnden married at Bella Luna Farms in Snohomish, WA on June 29th 2018. There was a light mist throughout the day, but it only added to the magical “secret garden” feel of their wedding. Bella Luna is a working farm with lush landscape, beautiful gardens, goats and a beloved donkey named Stinky. In fact the farm was originally named after the owner’s two goats Bella and Luna. Deru Market provided incredible artisan fare and Steve of Sinclair & Moore didn’t disappoint with his incredible floral installments and classic details. This couple and their families are very near and dear to my heart and it was a complete joy to share in their day.

From the Bride… It was all a dream. I remember checking the weather everyday for two weeks leading up to our wedding. I was praying for no rain, and it drove me crazy seeing the forecast go from sunny, to partly cloudy, to rain, each time I looked. Once we were 3 days away, and there was a 40% chance of rain, we decided to put up a tent for the ceremony. It wasn’t anyone’s first choice, but thank goodness for wedding planners who can turn a ‘plan b’ into your dream wedding.

As I look back on that day now, I would not have wanted it any other way. Our wedding venue was already, in my opinion, perfect – but with the misty rain, it made the entire day feel enchanted. Planning a wedding, especially an outdoor wedding in Washington, can be stressful, but there was nothing that could have ruined that most special day for me.

Walking down the aisle, with my mom and dad in my arms, seeing TJ for the first time was a moment I will never forget. Tent or no tent, rain or shine, the only thing I was thinking about was that I was the luckiest girl in the world. I am forever grateful for the team we put in place and for our incredible photographer for capturing all the magic.

Photography: Katie Parra Photography | Videography: Cabfare Productions | Event Planning: Sinclair & Moore | Floral Design: Sinclair & Moore | Wedding Dress: Sarah Seven | Cake: Midori Bakery | Invitations: La Happy | Wedding Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Catering: DERU Market | Ceremony Music: Puget Sound Strings | Transportation: Butler Valet | Ceremony & Reception: Bella Luna Farms | Paper Goods: La Happy | Reception Entertainment: Matthew Gronlund Productions | Wedding Dress Shop: The Dress Theory

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Entertaining with Abby: Autumn Grilled Cheese Party

When the beloved glossy, Better Homes and Gardens, comes a-knocking…mmm, you crank your party making skills up a notch or two. I’m so excited to share the behind the scenes goodness from our shoot with BHG, a day that was drenched in gorgeous weather, really good cocktails, a pretty awesome crew and did I mention Grilled Cheese? See all of our tips and tricks to host a party of your own below and make sure to check out the October issue of Better Homes and Gardens for more!

The theme was Fall. And embracing the cozy textures and flavors of that late Summer, early Autumn vibe that we all cling to so tightly here in New England. And what better way to celebrate than with classic, comfort food made so much more delicious through seasonal flavors and ingredients. Add in rich reds, warm blankets, gorgeous wood tones paired with classic camp style accessories and you have a soiree that is both absurdly gorgeous…and entirely welcoming.

THE MENU

“Grilled” Cheese Sandwiches + Roasted Tomato Soup

The idea was that while we often devour grilled cheese in restaurants and in our own solo time, it’s this classic dish that often feels challenging when dealing with a crowd. Enter: Your backyard grill. Where you can make these beauties en mass and play with so many incredible seasonal flavor profiles.

Check out the mag for our recipes which included Roasted Tomato + White Cheddar on a Baguette | Sliced Apple + Fontina + Honey on Rosemary-Asiago Focaccia | Grapes + Sliced Proscuitto + Gruyere on Rye | Smoked Gouda + Fresh Blackberries + Blackberry Jam on Texas Toast | Roasted Poblana halves + Cream Cheese on Sourdough.

THE DECOR

COLORS. We embraced the seasonality of our party with a rich red foundation. Then, we brought the casual in with warm plaids and the cozy in with rich wood tones. A bright white allowed every color to pop and the end result felt thought out but not cliche.

FLOWERS. We had the AMAZING girls at Foret craft the flowers for us. Why the splurge? Because they were the showstoppers of the table and everything else was just the icing on the cake. Plus, it saved us loads of time in prep and it will for you too!

ACCESSORIES. We poured candle wax into vintage tea tins found on etsy which sat on top of a simple, cotton table runners. We used rustic metal baskets to carry and house utensils, classic American barware for our cocktails and wooden decor moments to add a bit of rustic. Warm blankets were layed on top of our benches to bring intimacy and lastly, we wove apples here and there to make our tablescape really feel like Fall.

SERVINGWARE. Our place settings were perhaps my favorite part of this party. Tin white plates with a red rim reminded us of camping utensils but were decidedly more elegant. Layered with an oversized red mug to hold our soup the look felt chic and yet totally warm and welcoming.

THE COCKTAIL

2 Ounces, Whiskey
1 Ounce, St. Germain
1/2 Ounce Lime juice
3 Ounces Ginger beer
2 -3 dashes of Angostura bitters

Mix first three items together over ice. Add in the bitters. The best part about this drink? It’s good. Also great? It’s easy and everyone will love it.

TIPS + CHEATCUTS

*Prep all of your ingredients beforehand if you want your guests to build there own. Better yet, build a bunch of sandwiches ahead of time, grill them, then cut them small (with a serrated knife) and let your guests tastes everything.

*Grill your sandwiches slooooow and looooow. Repeat, slooooow and loooow. If the grill is moving too fast, have some tin foil pre-cut to quickly wrap your sandwiches in, then remove them from direct heat (ideally on a top shelf of your grill) and let them finish the “melty” process.

*Making a batch of cocktails will ALWAYS save you time. This one also uses a ginger beer which tastes great on its own so two birds, one stone.

*Make your soup the day before. Here is my favorite recipe. It’s so fast and easy and tastes better when made ahead of time and rewarmed on the day of. If you have a pretty red le creuset pot, serve it tableside directly out of it!

*Greens picked from trees and the garden set in vases would be a great cost effective way to capture the same sentiment. If you can splurge on 1-2 packages of red flowers to sprinkle in, even better. Best? Hire a florist to make your centerpiece. It’s usually worth every penny.

…….

A HUGE thank you to Better Homes and Gardens for showcasing such a fun party and for being generally amazing.

Sources

Long Wooden Table and Benches: New England Country Rentals | Red Striped Runner and Napkins: Sundance | Red Rimmed Dinnerware: West Elm | Wooden Planters: similar Save-on-Crafts | Florals: Foret Design Studio | Cocktail Glasses: Crate and Barrel | Red Soup Mugs: Pier 1 Imports | Mixed Vintage Flatware: Anthropologie | Red and White Plaid Blanket: Target | Red Plaid Blanket: Wayfair | Red Buffalo Check Blanket: Wayfair | White Knit Blanket: Target | Vintage Spice Tins: Etsy | Wooden Tags: Amazon | Small Wood Serving Board: Crate and Barrel | Soup Pot: Crate and Barrel | Striped Wax Paper: Crate and Barrel | Original Story featured in Better Home and Gardens Oct. 2015 Issue

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Exactly Who Should Go With You to Shop for Your Wedding Gown!

It’s official, you’re engaged–yay! Now it’s time to start shopping for your wedding gown! Before you start scheduling your appointments, you should decide who you want to bring with you. Going gown shopping is super exciting and it can be tempting to share that experience with everyone on your side of the bridal party. While this may sound great in theory, it’s difficult to execute and can potentially add more stress to an already stressful, albeit happy, time. We recommend limiting your gown shopping entourage to three people max. 


Stephanie Brauer

1. Maid of Honor

Now that you know how many to bring, let’s talk who. If you’re going to invite anyone from your bridal party, the first obvious choice is your MOH. She’s the best of your besties and she probably knows your style better than anyone else. 


Ashley Boyan Photography

2. Parents or Close Family Members

Chances are your parents have been dreaming of your wedding for a while now–maybe even longer than you have. There is no doubt that they’re an obvious choice to bring with you to go gown shopping; and yes, they are probably expecting an invite–especially the MOB. While you want to make your parents happy, sometimes our closest relationships are the most tumultuous. If you and your parents argue a lot or if they have a tendency to push all of your buttons, they might not be the ideal shopping partners for this part of the wedding planning process…and that’s okay! If you decide not to bring your parents or any other close family members gown shopping, try to select a different activity (one that’s a little less fraught with emotional landmines) that you all can do together so they feel included.   


Sposto Photography

3. Bridesmaids

If you have a traditional bridal party, your bridesmaids are the next natural choice. This is where things get a little tricky–it really depends on how many bridesmaids you have and where they live. If you have a large bridal party, we recommend shying away from inviting everyone to go gown shopping. That being said, you don’t want anyone feeling left out if they don’t get an invite. If one or two of your bridesmaids lives in your town, then it’s safe to invite them, but try to avoid posting a ton of pics on social media. You want to have fun, but you don’t want to alienate any of your other bridesmaids in the process. Also, try to be mindful of the fact that your bridal party will likely be traveling a lot for your wedding. If you do want your bridesmaids to go gown shopping with you, maybe schedule your appointments for the same weekend as your bridal shower or bachelorette party to save them a trip. 


Brett Hickman Photographers

4. Local Friends

These days, it’s not uncommon for each of your bridesmaids to live in a different state…maybe even a different country. If your bridesmaids aren’t local and you feel uncomfortable asking them to travel just to go shopping, consider your local friends. Is there a friend (preferably a friend who is invited to the wedding) that you regularly go shopping with? Invite them! 


Luna de Mare Photography

5. It’s Okay to Fly Solo

It’s also totally okay to go shopping alone if that’s what makes you the most comfortable! Though shopping for your wedding gown is quite different than your average stroll through the mall, we recommend doing what you usually do. When it comes to shopping, do you hunt in a pack with your friends, or do you fly solo? Some brides feel guilty about not sharing the experience with friends or family–don’t! They will understand. If anyone is bummed that they didn’t get to go shopping with you, you can always invite them to your gown pick up appointment or fitting!  


Les Anagnou Photographers

Whoever you decide to bring, make sure that they are supportive and not overly opinionated. It’s great to have honest opinions if you need help deciding, but at the end of the day, what you think and what you like are the only things that matter. We’ve all heard those cringe-worthy stories where the friend or relative makes the appointment all about them. Shopping for a wedding gown can bring up a lot of emotions, good and bad. You want someone that can help you stay focused and bring you up if you feel yourself getting down–someone that’s on your side! 

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A Bright Color Scheme Inspired by the Beauty of California Summers

We’re holding on to the last bit of summer with this gorgeous shoot styled by Blushing Joy Events featuring a color scheme inspired by sun-kissed California summers – what could be sweeter?! East Rooted Florals’ lush arrangements will instantly put you in a brighter mood while the modern table decor and contemporary bridal style will leave you feeling refreshed and ready to go on a pinning spree! See all the lovely details at the full gallery captured beautifully by Allen Tsai Photography.

From Blushing Joy EventsInspired by California Summers, we strived to bring a warm sunny feel into our design by focusing on a bright and happy color palette. Sofia from East Rooted Florals created the perfect floral design by incorporating different shades of yellow with peach accents in the bridal bouquet, and touches of pink florals in the staircase arrangements, which emulates the sun solstice.

The organic and textural floral design complements the clean neoclassical Beaux-Arts style of the mansion. We curated simple yet classic tabletop pieces from Theoni to balance out the floral centerpiece.

The plateware from Theoni topped with the menu and personalized name card from Salt Paper Co, completes the organic and clean look. We chose a modern wedding gown from La Soie Bridal with white heels from Zara for the model to fashion. The model adorned a sleek updo by Chiali Meng, and accessorized with stylish earrings from Zara.

Photography: Allen Tsai Photography | Design: Blushing Joy Events | Floral Design: East Rooted Florals | Wedding dress : La Soie Bridal | Stationery : Salt Paper Co | Shoes: Zara | Ring: & Other Stories | Makeup and Hair: Chiali Meng | Earrings: Zara | Linens: La Tavola Fine Linen Rental | Model: Delaney Sager | Ring Box : esselle SF | Tabletop and Chair Rentals : Theoni Collection

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5 People You Can’t Forget to Gift on your Wedding Day

There are many people who’ve helped you throughout planning your nuptials. There’s your bride tribe, your mother-in-law, and, hey, even the guy who’s standing up there to make it all official. So when it comes to a one-stop-shop for gifting them all, look to Mark & Graham. From monogrammed leather goods to personalized accessories for the bridal party, every item is of premium quality and looks extra top-notch too. Scroll on for a showcase of our favorite items from them (and even a surprise few for yourself!)

 

5. Officiant

This one can often get overlooked, but think about it….without them it isn’t officially official!

We love these versatile catchalls to be used for anything from jewelry to watches and cufflinks!

Wood and Marble Valet ($59) Rustic Leather Catchall ($49+)

 

4. Mother of the Bride/Mother In Law

Your mom has been by your side since Day 1 (literally) and now you are gaining a new ‘mom’ who without, you would have no groom! Say thank you in the sweetest way!

How sweet would mother/daughter matching gold cuffs be?!

Signature Gold Disc Bracelet ($49)  Mother/Daughter Bracelets ($79)

We here at SMP, personally think this engraved bracelet is the perfect gift for your new mother-in-law!

Mother of the Groom Bracelet ($179)

 

Who doesn’t love a good travel case?! AND one with your name or monogram is even better!

Dual Organizer ($89)  Travel Jewelry Case – Medium ($99)

 

3. Groom

You’re in this for a lifetime! Why not gift your hubby-to-be with a keepsake he’ll keep for just as long!

Monogrammed cufflinks or super cool travel accessories to keep your groom in style!

Cufflinks ($159)  Baseball Travel Pouch ($139)

A flask with a special message for your husband to be OR personalized suspenders, you might win as best wife ever!

Message Flask ($59)  Suspenders ($49)

 

2. Groomsmen

Go beyond the classic flask for his college roommate who flew halfway across the country! The gesture will sure not be forgotten!

Now, these are gifts his groomsmen will actually use, and love!

Wood Decanter Set ($99)  Tie Bar Set ($49)

 

1. Bridesmaids

You can’t forget your BFF who has been there through it all – first dates, first breakups, and now the ONE!

We LOVE these personalized pouches to hold everything from lipstick to credit cards! Or a champagne flute with your maids’ names – perfect for a fun photo opp the morning of!

Daily Zip Pouch ($85)  Champagne Glasses ($17+)

Another great photo opp, hangers with their names on them!

Personalized Hangers ($19)

We LOVE this nightshirt, to go with those champagne glasses! Or, a jewelry travel case – nothing worse than getting your necklaces tangled when traveling and now your girls will be able to travel in style!

Champagne Nightshirt ($99)  Travel Jewelry Case ($69)

 

And…last not but least Yourself!

All of the countless hours you have put into planning, you deserve a little something too!

Flaunt that new title with a Mrs. necklace to wear at your rehearsal, honeymoon and forever!

Mrs. Necklace ($140)  Ultimate Bride Gift Set ($99)

 

 

The Most Chic Pink Baby Shower Ever!

We’ve long admired Lindsay Longacre and Heather Hoesch for their insane sense of style and approach to design, though it has usually been focused on their incredible weddings. Thus, when we heard that Heather had thrown a baby shower for Lindsay, we only assumed that it would be bananas. But we had no idea just how bananas it would be…basically beginning and ending with the prettiest pink chairs you’ve ever seen, details that are absurdly sweet and entirely chic and perhaps the cutest baby belly on planet earth. Scroll down for even more adorableness – with photographs by Lorely Meza!

From LVL Weddings & Events…Lindsay, of LVL Weddings & Events, was expecting her first baby so her business partner and excited Aunt to be, Heather, transformed their office into a dreamy pink baby shower! Lindsay and her husband lived in Hawaii for a couple of years where Lindsay fell in love with whales. So Heather brought in her nursery spirit animal in a few whimsical ways thanks to the beautiful art by Project Watermark. And to sweeten the day, Grace & Honey cakes made the cutest trio of cakes and adorable whale cookies!

Found Rentals had recently sourced the most beautiful pink chairs and they quickly became the stand out design feature along with the black and white plates from Signature Party Rentals.

Inviting Occasion did the floral design and added touches of crystal and salt to bring in what she knew the mama to be loved and lived in her daily life.

Lindsay is a huge essential oils fan and jokingly calls them her “spirits”, so the LVL team built a Create Your Own Oil Roller for guests. But, best of all, Heather hired Chasing Linen to paint custom watercolor portraits for each of the guests … such a fun way to always remember such a special day. All beautifully captured by their dear friend Lorely Meza Photography

Photography: Lorely Meza | Floral Design: Inviting Occasion | Stationery : Project Watermark | Balloon Arch: Balloonzilla | Beauty: Lauren Hendrix | Custom Water Color Portraits: Chasing Linen | Dessert Display: Grace & Honey Cakes | Laser cut sign: Delovely Details | Planning & Design: LVL Weddings & Events | Rentals: Signature Party Rentals | Rentals: Found Rentals

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If Peonies Are Your Fave Bloom, Then You NEED to See These One-Of-A-Kind Wedding Shoes

The talented team at Anne Laure Weddings is here to provide your daily dose of romantic wedding inspiration from the south of France! This dreamy shoot set at a stunning villa in Provence features a gorgeous beaded gown, pale pinks blooms by Flower and Twig and the most unique pair of wedding shoes we’ve ever seen – strappy pink sandals with an oversized peony at the ankle (yup, they’re just as amazing as they sound) Don’t miss out on all the beautiful details captured by Jenny Quicksall Photography at the full gallery!

From the planner, Anne Laure WeddingsI always wanted to organize an editorial in Provence as the light and atmosphere there are one of a kind. When Jenny Quicksall contacted me, we clicked right away and agreed on the venue and the mood in a heartbeat. We chose natural, soft and romantic colors to reflect the serenity and peacefulness of the venue, Villa Baulieu.

The wedding we imagined merged perfectly into the carefully curated French gardens, the historical castle and its magnificent water fountains. We imagined a first look in the rose garden followed by a couple session in the French maze.

The bride wore a natural make-up by Manon Declercq, a sumptuous Bo and Luca wedding gown with hand sewn beads from Sixtine Nice and amazing Giuseppe Zanotti shoes adorned with oversize peonies at the ankles. On her finger, she wore a charming rosé gold ring by Olive Avenue Jewelry. For our groom, we chose a classic yet efficient look featuring a black tuxedo, a black bow tie and black cufflinks. The intimate ceremony took place in the courtyard in front of the main house, surrounded by natural roses and framed by a unique arch made by Charlotte of Flower and Twig. As for the dinner table, we set it up by a huge water fountain across an alley of meticulously cut trees.

The vintage rentals were provided by Jolibazaar and the unique hand made stationery by Graphikkart. We deliberately decided not to have a centerpiece on the table but cut flowers in the shape of a garland to fit into the natural feeling of the editorial. The white and pale pink flowers provided a soft accent on the sand colored linens from Madame de la Maison and the matching rattan chargers of Jolibazaar. A simple, yet beautiful cake decorated with delicate sugar flowers and created by Made in Cake completed our editorial.

Photography: Jenny Quicksall Photography | Flowers: Charlotte Flower and twig | Gown: Bo & Luca | Cake: Made In Cake | Shoes: Giuseppe Zanotti | Ring: Olive Ave Jewelry | Beauty: Manon Declercq | Bridal Boutique: Sixtine Nice | French Chateau : Villa Baulieu | Invitation Suite: Graphikkart | Linens: Madame de la Maison | Planning and Design: Anne Laure Weddings | Ring Box: Amonie | Styling Board: Locust Collection | Tabletop: Joli Bazaar | Vow Books: Michaela McBride Calligraphy

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Read Why This Tennessee Wedding Ceremony was Filled with Tears

There was not a dry eye in the house when this duo said I do. Stricken with illness, there was an uncertainty if the Bride’s sweet mother would make it to the Big Day. But you’ll see her below, beaming with the most glorious and beautiful smile, filled with joy to watch her daughter walk down the aisle. Friends, these are the moments we do this for. Thanks to Elle Cardel Events, Ashley Spangler Photography, Precision Videos and the entire vendor team, we get to witness this heartfelt story of love and family.

From Ashley Spangler PhotographyMat and Jennifer are lovers of all things travel. Jennifer had imagined up a way to incorporate their love for exploring and her idea of a black tie affair. The day started off with a pre-ceremony cocktail hour. Guest gathered around with drinks and enjoyed the beautiful scenery of Ravenswood Mansion.

Once the ceremony started everyone was in tears. Jennifer’s mother has been very ill and we weren’t sure if she would make it to the wedding date. Mat surprised Jennifer with a sweet gift of a butterfly pin. This is her mother’s favorite and they all wore them to share the happiness of having her attend the big day. Jennifer was delivered to the aisle in a red corvette where doors opened wide and a trio played as she stepped through. Jennifer wore a classy lace sleeved dress to walk down the aisle where her soon to be husband saw her for the first time.

Following the ceremony another cocktail hour was held while Jennifer slipped into something a little more sleek. She wanted to have a reception dress to surprise Mat and dance the night away. A live band played as they made their grand entrance. Jennifer’s aunt sang their first dance song and the dinner was served!

The color scheme included light pinks with champagne and nude undertones. The reception area was filled with florals and each table was named after a travel destination. The reception didn’t last long after a horrible storm rolled through right after the couple shared their first dance. Unfortunately, the storm ruined the reception and the couple had to wrap up the night early. Guest blew bubbles as the couple excited. The day was filled with happy tears and plenty of intimate moments. Party favors included a compass and small box of treats.

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From the Bride… Mat and I wrote our love story while traveling around the world and it was important that we incorporated these experiences in an elegant travel themed wedding.

We wanted our wedding day to be filled with love, charm and classic elegance. I stayed true to my wedding inspiration by incorporating cream, gold and hues of champagne. Picking my dress was twice as fun, when I found two perfect wedding dresses for my day. I picked a classic, vintage champagne dress with ivory lace overlay for the traditional ceremony. And for the chic reception, I chose a sultry over the shoulder gown with a showstopping train.

During planning we chose to use all the destinations we traveled for the guests’ tables, inspiration for the menu and decorated with antique luggage. The travel theme flowed to the pre-cocktail hour where guests wrote us well wishes on postcards and signed a globe for a guest book. The pre-cocktail hour was set with an elegant lounge for guests to relax and take photos with a whimsical arbor draped in ivory and florals.

Before the wedding began, we enjoyed special moments in the mansion’s bridal suites. Having my mother present on my wedding day, after fighting a terminal illness for three years, was the greatest gift and I was blessed to have those intimate moments captured. My husband gave me a gold butterfly pin before the wedding, which represents my mother’s presence that day and forever in our lives. He and my mother both joined me and wearing identical pins during the wedding. After all the tears were dried momentarily, the ceremony commenced as a string trio played the prologue.
My father and I drove to the aisle in a red corvette convertible and took our place behind a set of white double doors, finally we walked down the aisle and my husband I shared our first look in front of Ravenswood Mansion. My father performed the ceremony, which was filled with tears and a few laughs. After our vows were exchanged and we took our first steps together as husband and wife, I surprised my husband with my reception dress.

We then made our grand entrance and shared our first dance underneath string lights and the setting sun, as our band played, and my cousin sang. The weather turned for the worst, very quickly, and we were forced to move the reception inside the mansion. After eating delicious wedding cake and cocktails inspired by international flavors, the guest sent us off with bubbles and cheers. It is every bride’s worst fear to have their wedding rained out, but I can testify that a wedding filled with love and surrounded by friends will outshine any rain…and you will still have the greatest day of your lives.

Photography: Ashley Spangler Photography | Videographer: Precision Videos | Event Planning: Elle Cardel Events | Florist: Luminary Event Co | Cake: Nashville Sweets | Ceremony Venue: Ravenswood Mansion | Reception Venue: Ravenswood Mansion | Bridesmaids' Dresses: David's Bridal | Catering: Mack & Kate's Catering | Hair: Cali Jeffries Lightcap, Hunter Paige | Band: Rick Wilkerson Music | Groomsmen's Attire: Jos A Bank | Tent: Liberty Party Rental | Bridal Shop: Bridal Warehouse | Ceremony Trio: The Corwin Trio | Draping: Exquisite Appeal | Dress Designer: David Tutera | Film Lab: PhotoVision Prints | MUA: Jordan Alexander | Rentals: Brier Ridge Events | Rentals: Brier Ridge Events

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Making Halloween Look SO Chic.

I don’t think that I really fell in love with Halloween until I started entertaining. While costumes and candy are always fun (I mean, duh), I never realized what a cool design statement an otherwise kind of silly holiday could invoke. Chic black and whites. Clean modern lines. It’s kind of a design junkie’s dream come true. Which is exactly why I fell so hard for this little celebration crafted to perfection by Just Bespoke and photographed in all of it’s spooky-chic glory by Roberta Facchini. Read on to see how they pulled of such a sophisticated, all out glam affair (with details I am SO stealing).

Here at Just Bespoke, we love nothing more than a fun celebration and with Halloween fast approaching, we thought it would be exciting to bring to life some inspiration for a simple but chic All Hallows Eve soiree. We started with a chic invitation byNats Paper Studio that followed the minimalist monochrome vibe we were hoping to create.  

As guests arrived at the soiree, they were greeted at the front door with a large and abundant pumpkin and twig display. The impressive front door was flanked by an asymmetric bat backdrop comprising over 1000 hand cut black bats to frame the entry! 

Once inside, our inspiration started with a modern table set for a decadent dinner. The focus of the meal was most definitely the food, inspired by the seven deadly sins, and so the place settings were kept simple comprising clear black rimmed chargers, black milk glass goblets and black and gold cutlery all provided by Duchess and Butler, as well as black linen napkins.

The centrepieces comprised a variety of candles in black, white and gold, to provide height and atmosphere, and these were then interspersed with miniature pumpkins and small bud vases of fresh white florals. The venue had two focal areas that we wanted to accentuate – the feature spiral staircase in the main hallway and the large open fireplace in the living room.

The fireplace was adorned with a falling balloon installation created by the Decor Dolls which saw hundreds of balloons in varying tones of black, gold and white – with some spooky eyes thrown in for good measure – spilling out of the fireplace. This is not only fun but also a cute way to create some alternative decor for a halloween party.

No party is complete without a dessert table and so we worked with Vikki’s Cakes to create some cute Halloween inspired cookies – great for snacking on throughout the soiree…

…, or providing to guests in little goody bags (like our cute Trick or Treat ones) as party favours. The cookies were joined by trays of skull chocolates and a variety of drinks and cocktails.

We featured a variety of black and white cocktails complete with black sugar rims to create a visual impact that supported our color theme. 

For the staircase, Bloomologie created a flowing pumpkin display, interlaced with various leaves and foliage. This was then given a sophisticated twist for the evening celebrations by incorporating some black and gold pumpkins as well as some tall taper candles which created a lovely moody ambience.

We wanted to create an event which felt sophisticated and stylish and embraced the fun of halloween, whilst also demonstrating how some or all of these ideas can be replicated in the family home to help celebrate All Hallows Eve.

Photographer: Roberta Facchini Photography | Event Planning and Design: Just Bespoke | Florist: Bloomologie | Stationery: Nats Paper Studio | Balloons: Decor Doll Balloons | Biscuits: Vikki's Cakes | Crockery, Cutlery and Glassware: Duchess and Butler | Private Residence: Private Residence

12 Routine Tasks Around the House You Might Be Slacking On

We’re all guilty—going weeks (or dare I say months) without washing your makeup brushes, forgetting to rotate the mattress, neglecting to wash the windows… these little tasks aren’t necessarily fun ones, but they are necessary. Take a peek below, which ones are you due for?

Rotate Mattress

How Often You Should: Rotate every few months. Beginning or end of each season is always a great reminder!

Wash Bed Sheets

How Often You Should: Every 7-10 days.

Wash Windows

How Often You Should: Every 2-3 months or seasonally.

Toss Kitchen Sponges

How Often You Should: Replace every couple of weeks and make sure to never let your sponges sit in dirty water!

Replace Water Filters

How Often You Should: First and foremost, go by what the manufacturer packaging states. Usually this is every 3-6 months!

Clean Oven

How Often You Should: Clean the interior monthly and wipe down the door weekly.

Wash or Dry Clean Seasonal Gear + Linens

How Often You Should: Frequently worn jackets should be dry cleaned or washed every season or more if you’re wearing the same outerwear daily. Items like seasonal blankets and throws or pillows should be dry cleaned every 6 months or less.

Refresh Towels

How Often You Should: Wash every 3-4 uses. Depending on how many sets you’re rotating, towels usually need replacing between 2-5 years for ultimate fluffiness.

Clean Makeup Brushes

How Often You Should: Ideally, daily! A spray cleaner and old towel are perfect for daily cleanings. Then, once a week, those babies deserve a good washing.

Replace Your Toothbrush

How Often You Should: The American Dental Association recommends replacing your toothbrush every 3-4 months, or sooner if the bristles are frayed.

Replace Hair Brush

How Often You Should: A dirty hair brush could actually be the cause of one too many bad hair days. Build up like product residue, dust and even yeast are the culprit. Aim to wash every month, replace every 6-12 months or sooner if the bristles are bent or missing the rounded plastic capping.

Replace Razors

How Often You Should: This will vary depending on how often you shave, how thick your hair is and how much of your body that you shave! Think about it like this—every use creates more bacteria build up on your blades, which can lead to irritated skin or red itchy bumps. That kind of defeats the purpose of shaving for silky, smooth skin right? So, aim to replace every 2ish weeks for heavy use, 4-6 for moderate use, every two months for light use, or at the first sign of dullness or rusting.