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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

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
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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

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
For membership information, click here
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

These Featured Designers are members of our Look Book.
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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.

This Kitchen Color is Having a Major Moment…and It’s Not Navy

Move over navy, there’s a new kitchen cabinet color in town and it is the prettiest shade of dark green. Remember hunter green of 80’s and 90’s fame? It’s back and having a MAJOR MOMENT. We have seen this rich hue popping up all over the internet and it pairs perfectly with warm metals and vintage rugs. So get those pinning fingers ready and pore over 5 kitchens in breathtaking shades of dark green.

Photography: Tessa Neustadt | Interior Design: Amber Interiors 

Interior Design: Studio McGee | Paint Color: Benjamin Moore Forest Green

Photography: Dustin Aksland | Interior Design: Elizabeth Roberts | Paint Color: Color matched to Waterworks Wellie

Kitchen Design: deVol Kitchens

Photography: Billye Donya | Interior Design: Royale Zieglar of But First, Party | Paint Color: Benjamin Moore Templeton Grey

Lawn Games, a Gelato Truck, and All of the Summer Camp Vibes Make This Wedding the Coolest of the Summer!

As Summer comes to an end, we are packing in all of the Summer Weddings we can, and this one just so happens to fit the bill with a couple who met as camp counselors and had the coolest color palette! Kaella Lynn Events planned quite the wedding day full of lawn games, a gelato truck by Cafe Apae and picture-perfect floral centerpieces by Laura’s Floras! From waltzing through the wildflowers to singing songs from their camp days, Scott Clark Photo captured one great shot after the next at the captivating Beltane Ranch. Scroll away and soak in these last few days of Summer with us…

From Kaella Lynn EventsMikayla and Jamie bring such joy and positivity to each experience and those that surround them. Down to earth, with a natural zest for life, Beltane Ranch was an easy decision for their wedding venue. They came to me to help produce a wedding that maintained a casual and warm ambiance, while still feeling elegant and artfully curated with thoughtful details. 

Wanting to capture their vibrancy and story, I designed a colorful palette with lots of whimsical and fun twists including mismatching bridesmaid dresses, floral groomsmen ties, two different table designs, and a whimsical mauve linen seating chart installation. The ranch setting, Gelato cones, lawn games and the sounds of Mikayla, Jamie and their Wedding Party singing songs from their counselor days, created a Summer camp vibe, while the food, decor, and florals maintained a very elegant fête.

From the Groom…Mikayla and I met in college at USC through a student-run volunteer organization called Troy Camp, which tutors and mentors students in South Central Los Angeles. Troy Camp counselors are each given nicknames based on a funny story or experience; I became “Lumberjack” (I rocked a lot of plaid flannel back then) and she became “Chumbawamba” (the one-hit-wonder band behind “I get knocked down, but I get up again…”). We fell into the same tight group of friends and became close, Skyping each other regularly when Mikayla went abroad to Spain for a semester and after I graduated and moved to Boston for a job. We lost touch for a few years while dating other people and finally reconnected when I invited Mikayla to Boston for a long weekend. I pulled out all the stops–sunset boat cruise, fancy dinner (a splurge on my then-$39k/year non-profit salary), picnic along the Charles River–and finally (terrifyingly) declared my feelings for her. When we told our friends we were dating, the reaction was the same: “Finally!” Fast forward 5+ years later and we’re married, living together in San Francisco, and couldn’t be happier.

My favorite part of our wedding day was this moment on the dance floor when I remember looking around me and soaking up the fact that all of our favorite people in the world had come from near and far to celebrate us.

When else in your life does everyone you love take the time and expense to be somewhere just for you? It was humbling and honestly, totally surreal. That’s what I remember most from that day. Oh, and the dance floor was out of control!

Photographer: Scott Clark Photography | Florist: Laura's Floras | Dress: Sarah Seven | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Show Me Your Mumu | Caterer: Ramekins Sonoma | Hair + Makeup: Katie Taylor | Groom's Suit : Bonobos | Ceremony and Reception: Beltane Ranch | Gelato: Cafe Apae | Linens: La Tavola Fine Linen Rental | Music: Entire Productions | Paper Goods: Aerialist Press | Planner + Designer: Kaella Lynn Events | Rentals: Encore Events Rentals

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
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Have You Ever Considered Virginia for Your Big Day? This Fete Might Peak Your Interest.

You might not think of Virginia as a spot to add to your wedding wishlist, but darlings, it’s a underrated gem. One look at this tented fete—graced with a glowing sunset—and you’ll be looking into this state a little more. With planning by Just A Little Ditty and photography by Michael and Carina, you’ll soon realize that the local vendors are incredible to boot. Scroll below to see the day unfold and prepare yourself to fall in love with the mountains of Virginia!

From the Bride… Our wedding took place at Big Spring Farm in Lexington, Virginia – a place and a city very close to our hearts. Cole and I met at Big Spring when we were both undergraduates at Washington & Lee University. We would go on to get engaged there and, a year later, married under the weeping willow tree out on the peninsula at Big Spring.

One of our favorite parts about our time in Lexington was the beautiful outdoors, especially the Blue Ridge Mountains. This being said, what was most important to us was to bring our family and friends to this place and setting so close to our hearts. We wanted our wedding to be fun, joyful, and effortless, especially since so many of our guest travelled long distances to come to our out-of-town wedding.

Our vision was to let the Virginia mountains speak for themselves, which is why we chose a neutral color scheme and natural greenery for most of our flowers. We felt as though Michael and Carina’s film photography let that vision come to life in a way that was authentic and timeless. We hoped that all of our details and invitations echoed this theme as well. We wish we had known that all the little details will work out! It is so easy to get swept up in the planning and easily become overwhelmed. We would tell other couples to plan in advance, but most of all to take a deep breath, enjoy the process, have fun, and always keep the ultimate goal – your marriage – in perspective.

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Photography: Michael and Carina Photography | Floral Design: Southern Blooms by Pat's Floral Designs | Dress: Monique Lhuillier | Cake: Favorite Cakes | Catering: The Catering Outfit | Lighting: Blue Ridge AV & Lighting | Entertainment: Sam Hill Entertainment | Beauty: Avenue 42 | Cinema: The Herringtons | Event Venue: Big Spring Farm | Film Lab: Richard Photo Lab | Planning and Styling: Just A Little Ditty | Rentals: CE Rentals | Rentals: CE Rentals

These Featured Designers are members of our Look Book.
For membership information, click here
Here’s What a “Wild Garden Oasis” Wedding in Lake Como Looks Like!

This gorgeous couple said yes to forever under a blooming “unfinished” arbor by Chiara Sperti with views of the breathtaking mountains and crystal waters of Lake Como – I mean, it just doesn’t get much dreamier than this. The entire destination wedding weekend was planned to perfection thanks to Eventoile – from the post-ceremony boat ride to the al fresco reception under a canopy of romantic café lights, the team truly brought every detail of the bride and groom’s vision to life and so much more. Don’t miss the full gallery of images taken by Katie Grant Photography to immerse yourself in everything this gorgeous day has to offer.

From Katie Grant PhotographyOn a beautiful June day in Lake Como, Italy, Alison and James were married in a lovely ceremony surrounded by their nearest and dearest. Alison and James traveled all the way from San Francisco to have their wedding in the unparalleled location of Lake Como. The mountains, the sparkling emerald water, and the gorgeous food drew them in and led them to plan the most divine day for friends and family. Eventoile and Chiara Sperti created a beautiful and wild garden oasis where the couple exchanged vows and where the guests dined under the open skies of Italy.

From the Bride… Two years into dating, James and I dropped everything and moved across the world from New York to Shanghai together. Ever since, we’ve loved going on adventures and traveling the world. Italy is a special place for us given our love of food. Pasta is my favorite, while pizza and gelato are James’. Of the places we’ve visited together, Lake Como was one of the most beautiful. The sparkling turquoise waters, surrounded by the lush green mountains, and the picturesque cobblestone streets at every turn were captivating. We knew our guests would also fall in love with the magic of the lake. So when we were deciding on destinations for our wedding, Lake Como rose to the top of our list.

Our 100 guests flew in from all over the world to meet us in Lake Como, from California, Chicago, New York, Taiwan, Singapore, and beyond. Because everyone came from afar, we wanted to plan what felt like a vacation for our guests. Our wedding venue accommodated all our guests and we loved that everyone stayed in one place – it felt like one giant slumber party! We planned three days of activities. First, we hosted a welcome party on a private cruise around the lake for everyone to catch the sunset from the water. The next day was the wedding. Our ceremony was on the terrace with the backdrop of the lake, cocktail hour was at another beautiful vantage point of the lake with a live jazz band, and we dined al fresco in the warm Italian evening. On the last day we hosted a brunch and beach day at a beach club in Bellagio, a short ferry ride away. We wanted our guests to get a chance to visit multiple towns around the lake, so they could experience what Lake Como has to offer. 

Our goal was for our wedding to feel warm, intimate, and lighthearted. We don’t take ourselves too seriously, and we wanted the wedding to feel like us. We planned fun surprises for each other and our guests. We chose secret readings for each other to be revealed at the ceremony. It turns out both were themed around dogs and love, as we are obsessed with our husky dog Jax. Our officiant was my cousin, who included references to my favorite movie The Little Mermaid in her speech. I also surprised James with a gelato cart for dessert – he and our guests loved it! For late night snacks, we had pizza and ramen. What better way to end a night of dancing under the stars than with all our favorite carbs?

Photography: Katie Grant Photography | Florals: Chiara Sperti | Wedding Dress: Ines Di Santo | Invitations: Momental Designs | Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Hair & Makeup: Samantha Pretto | Calligraphy: Emily Yan | Wedding Venue: Hotel Villa Cipressi | Cologne: Jo Malone | Groom's Shoes: Salvatore Ferragamo | Planning: Eventoile Destination Weddings | Robes: Plum Pretty Sugar | Video: Studio 80

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
For membership information, click here
Copy This Fall Party Blueprint for a Perfectly Festive Fete

It’s that time of year when the calendar starts filling up with cocktail parties, Friendsgiving meals and holidays with family. And chances are you’re hosting at least one of the above. Get inspired to fully deck out your Fall shindig with a few details that will take it to the next level. Leather, copper, lush florals and a cider bar are all tucked inside this masterpiece crafted by Kari Rider Events +Elizabeth Fogarty.

A change in season signifies one thing at Kari Rider Events: new studio décor! And this autumn, we’re absolutely smitten with our “speckled fall” tablescape design, complete with the most fitting marbled enamel plates, gorgeous hand-lettered leather place cards, and free-flowing florals in soft sunset tones.

We contrasted warm fall shades of amber and copper with our signature white and grey hues to create a fresh take on fall that perfectly fits our clean and crisp style.

Little vignettes around the studio help complete the look, including the most adorable Cider Bar station, a stunning escort card board flanked by a jaw-dropping floral urn, and a seasonally styled bar cart featuring a muted gold sequin cake and lots of fall cocktail essentials! We may not leave the studio for the rest of the season!

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Photography: Elizabeth Fogarty | Design & Styling: Kari Rider Events | Floral Design: Crimson and Clover Floral Design, Inc. | Calligraphy: Surcee Calligraphy | Cake & Dessert: Steve Konopelski Patissier | Cider & Spirits: Hair O' The Dog | Escort Board Calligraphy: Just Write Studios | Farm Table: Eastern Shore Tents And Events | Plates: Party Rental LTD | Rentals: White Glove Rentals | Runner: La Tavola Fine Linen Rental

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
For membership information, click here
The Cutest Meaning Behind Butterflies at Your Wedding!

When it comes to wedding day decor, butterflies typically don’t make the top of the list! But, today’s inspiration shoot, captured by Marcela Plosker Photography incorporated them beautifully with subtle fluttering details here and there AND the most touching meaning behind it all. Held at The Commons 1854, just north of Boston, a whimsical shoot came to life, with a colorful bouquet, towering white centerpieces by Fleur and Stitch and the most gorgeous applique bridal gown by Lyra Vega Bridal. Take a peek and read on to see how the transformation of butterflies signifies the change from engagement season to wedding season.

From Lyra Vega BridalThis butterflies inspired shoot was created to capture the metamorphosis of life. Much like the transformation from caterpillar to butterfly, wedding days mark the end of the engagement season with the celebratory start to a beautiful marriage.

When they are witnessed in their natural environment, the colors and patterns of butterflies have a beautiful, natural way of drawing in the eye. So, we wanted to create the same effect while designing our shoot. Rather than opting for a venue with bright, bold patterns, we chose instead to highlight The Commons 1854. It has stunning high ceilings, plenty of natural light, and neutral colors, which offered the perfect opportunity to layer in more texture. Our tablescape features a tall white and ivory centerpiece by Fleur & Stitch that looks ethereal set amongst the pops of black seen through the taper candles, goblets, and butterfly table number. The cake is nearly all-white save for the butterflies added by Sweet Cheeks by Renee, and the stationery with its soft calligraphy by Callidora Designs has its own organic feel.

Except for the butterflies and pops of green in the stationery, the details are nearly void of all color. That’s because we wanted our couple – the highlight of their own butterfly-like transformation – to stand out the most. We were reminded of a butterfly flying when we saw the bride’s applique Lyra Vega Bridal dress, and we loved the vividness of her bouquet. Our groom looked dapper in his suit from Hive & Colony, and his extending boutonniere with its bright blooms was one of our favorite unique details from the day. Our eye is drawn to them, just as it should be.

To us, this shoot is hopeful, ethereal, and whimsical – the feelings evoked by butterflies and the same feelings we want a couple to experience at the beginning of their new marriage journey together.

About Lyra Vega Bridal

Lyra Vega Bridal is an online wedding gown boutique founded on the belief that brides can look beautiful on their wedding day without breaking the bank. We’re dedicated to providing a seamless and stress-free experience for modern, practical brides, and we offer beautiful, custom-measured gowns – delivered to your door for under $1000.

Lyra Vega Bridal works directly with expert dressmakers to create beautiful gowns with quality materials – with an emphasis on not breaking the bank. As an e-boutique, there’s no additional overhead passed on to our clients as a result of working with middlemen or having a brick and mortar store. This allows us to offer wedding gowns at prices impossible for other boutiques, and we don’t have to sacrifice quality or service to do it. Instead of emphasizing the designer label, our focus at Lyra Vega is on the dress itself, and we’ve made it our goal to provide our brides with a stress-free purchasing experience.

Lyra Vega Bridal was founded to help brides who have become discouraged by the traditional method of brick and mortar wedding gown shopping, where gowns fail to live up to expectations and prices run high. Today, LVB seeks to empower modern brides to follow their own bridal path instead of blindly following tradition. We recognize that our brides are people of values and are proud that we can align with them on things that matter.

Lyra Vega Bridal values sustainability from two angels: 1) Our affordable prices means brides can make financially sustainable choices when it comes to their wedding, as they build the foundation of their lives with their beloved; and 2) by making custom-measured gowns, we eliminate unnecessary waste by skipping on mass production, carrying excess inventory, and using unneeded fabrics — a win for your budget, conscience AND for the environment.

At Lyra Vega Bridal, there is no one size fits all. We embrace all body types, shapes, and sizes. When you purchase one of our gowns, we craft each gown using your specific measurements to make sure your gown fits like it’s truly yours.

Lyra Vega Bridal is here to bring options to modern, informed brides who know better than to blindly pay the “bride tax”. We price our gowns based on our mission to bring you beautiful gowns without breaking your bank. We are always looking for ways to cut costs (not corners) to bring you the best quality at the best price point. All of our gowns are priced at under $1,000, and shipping is free — always!

As modern women, there are not enough hours in the day for all that is before us. With Lyra Vega Bridal, you can shop from the comfort of your own home and have your gown delivered straight to your door, so you can ditch the pushy salesperson and awkward try-on sessions, saving you hours of time and energy. As an online boutique, we skip the brick-and-mortar up-charges and provide you with the best possible price with the highest level of transparency, so you know exactly what you’re paying right off the bat — no hidden costs or fees, and free returns if you’re not in love!

Online shopping isn’t an unfamiliar idea for the modern woman, as women living in the 21st century, we are used to the convenience of choosing an item, putting in our credit card information, and receiving the purchase in the mail. Buying a wedding gown online isn’t that much different, but it does require it a bit more preparation. You want to make sure that you do your research prior to buying a gown, checking reviews on the gown, making sure you’re buying from a trustworthy company, and knowing their policies on returns and shipping fees. You also want to go in knowing the style, silhouette, and fabric details you desire for your big day so you can confidently make a purchase once you find the perfect gown.

LVB brides go through a measuring guide on our website to help us collect all the measurements needed for the gown. It is a step-by-step form with pictures and measuring tips. With the help of a friend, you can get all the measurements needed for the gown in about 10 minutes! For those who might not be confident in “DIYing” this step, a local tailor will usually charge a small fee ($20-$40 based on location) to take your measurements. Simply go through our measurement guide with them!

Photography: Marcela Plosker Photography | Floral Design: Fleur and Stitch | Wedding Dress: Lyra Vega Bridal | Cake: Sweet Cheeks by Renee | Stationery: Callidora Letterpress & Design | Make Up: Lyndsay Simon Beauty | Hair: Melissa Scott Hair | Groom's Attire: Hive and Colony | Wedding Venue: The Topsfield Commons 1854 | Model: Anthony | Model: Maritza | Rentals : Party Rental LTD

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
For membership information, click here
Entertaining with Abby: Cake Decorating Party

Here’s the thing with entertaining—it’s often WAY easier to pull together a successful gathering if you have a bit of a “theme.” Whether it’s as simple as “black and white” to help make decor buying a cinch OR something like this Cake Decorating Party where the activity takes center stage, a theme just makes things easier. Now don’t be fooled by bloggers who tell you that entertaining is easy (we’ve done it). It takes some time and a good bit of work. BUT, I think the payoff in the end is so #worthit and we’ve laid out everything you need to host this fabulous cake decorating party with a film from Elysium Creative Studios and pretty pictures from Victor Sizemore.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED
(for a party of 8)

Recipe for Chocolate Fudge Cake (we just bought boxed cake mix)
Recipe for Chocolate Frosting (the one in the tub works too)
Recipe for Chocolate Ganache
Recipe for Yellow or White Cake (you’ll need 2 batches)
Recipe for Vanilla Buttercream (or tubs)
Fresh Flowers + Flower Tape
8″ Cake Rounds
Pastry Bags + Tips (tips are optional—you can just snip a hole at the end of the bag)
Twine
Small bud vases
5-8 cake stands, cupcake stands or tall glass candle holders
5-8 pretty bowls to hold toppings
8 Offset Spatula’s
8 Bakery Boxes
1 roll of parchment paper
Toppings: Crystalized Ginger, Dark Chocolate Shavings, Blackberries, Raspberries, or anything else you can imagine!
Really good playlist
Something yummy to drink…champagne usually does the trick! Don’t forget glasses!

**ps…we totally cheated and bought boxed cake mixes!

1-2 WEEKS AHEAD

1. Order any supplies you don’t have already like baking boxes, twine, parchment paper, etc.
2. Invite your girlfriends (ideally two weeks ahead and since this is a casual get together, an e-invite, a phone call or a text is totally appropriate)

TWO DAYS AHEAD

1. Make your playlist!
2. Hit up the grocery and the craft store for the rest of your supplies and ingredients. Make sure to check your pantry first as you probably have quite a few of the must haves like eggs, butter, etc. And don’t forget to look around the house for other ways to achieve a similar look. You can even put dinner plates on top of candlestick holders to get the look of a cake stand without having to buy. Main thing? Create levels.

ONE DAY AHEAD

1. Make the chocolate cakeletts. We used a mini cake pan, cutting each 3″ cake in half and filling the center with chocolate frosting, then topping each with a spoonful or two of chocolate ganache (optional). These will keep overnight in the fridge. Just pull out about one hour before your party. And you can also use a cupcake pan!
2. Make your 6″ cakes + buttercream. Let cool completely. Then cut each cake in half with a serrated knife.
3. Assemble your cakes by stacking one 6″ layer on your cake round, followed by a layer of buttercream, followed by the top cake placed upside down on the frosting (so that the flat part of the cake is on top). These can be refrigerated if you have room or covered in saran wrap at room temp.
4. Assemble your bakery boxes and cut your pieces of twine so that they are ready to hold the cakes that your guests create!

DAY OF PARTY

1. Pick up fresh flowers and store in water. Depending on how large your table is, you’ll likely need two bouquets.
2. Set four large pieces of parchment paper width wise across the table at each placesetting.
3. Cut your flowers to the height of your cakeletts, wrap them with floral tape and insert one or two blooms into each cake.
4. Fill your pastry bags with frosting.
5. Place your toppings into pretty bowls.
6. Place any extra flowers into bud vases.

1-2 HOURS BEFORE GUESTS ARRIVE

1. Chill your cocktails.
2. Set your table. Start with the parchment paper set horizontally across the table. Then your glass cake stands. Place your cakeletts out on the glass stands and fill in with your bud vases filled with flowers. You can add candles if you want!
3. Set the individual placesettings: one cake, one offset spatula and one pastry bag filled with frosting
4. Sprinkle in the bowls of toppings around the table. Guests can share and pass the bowls…that’s part of the fun!

30 MINUTES BEFORE GUESTS ARRIVE

1. Wipe down bathroom counters, add a fresh hand towel and light some candles.
2. Turn your music on.
3. Take a deep breath and get ready to have some fun!

CHEATS + SHORTCUTS

• Skip the homemade cakes! Go with a boxed mix and you’ll save yourself time in the kitchen. Make the buttercream though because homemade buttercream is SO worth it.

• Cakes can all be made and frozen a week ahead of time. Just wrap in a double saran wrap layer and remember to defrost in the fridge the night before.

• Tag team the party with a friend—and cut your baking time in half!

• Don’t forget to have an easy trash solution for guests, a clean hand-washing station and plenty of cocktails and you’ll have a FAIL FREE party on your hands!

Photography: Victor Sizemore Photography | Videography: Elysium Productions | Event Planning: Pottery Barn | Event Planning: Amazon | Decor: Save On Crafts | Vendor: BRP Box Shop

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
For membership information, click here
A Groom in Uniform, a Knockout Dress and Classic Wedding Style = an Instant SMP Favorite!

One quick look at this stunning wedding captured by Jenny Quicksall Photography and we guarantee you’ll fall instantly in love with it’s timeless charm, lush green and white blooms by Rebelle Fleurs and the most adorable couple ever. Sterling Engagements brought the bride’s vision of “classy & traditional, outdoor black-tie, and just a hint of rustic” to life! From the wooden monogrammed bar to the perfectly curated table arrangements to the bride’s dress (I mean… that trainnn) – every detail is a total must see!

From Alexandra Rembac of Sterling EngagementsKatherine and Cray are truly two of the nicest, most wholesome people you could ever be introduced to! We were so kindly connected, thanks to the awesome team at Cielo Farms and from the moment we first emailed I knew they were a special couple. Katherine was well composed, communicated with precision and just so much grace right from the get-go. She described her vision to be “classy & traditional, outdoor black-tie, and just a hint of rustic”.

We hopped on a call immediately and within moments we were dialoging like we had known each other… I have a special place in my heart for people in service and instantly knew I so passionately wanted to help them! Cray is a Pilot in the Navy and I was elated to partner together and curate something so special for someone who spent their time giving back to our country. Developing their look for the wedding day was such a fun fete, Katherine had a distinct vision in mind and we had the pleasure of refining it. I assembled a board that was clean, sophisticated and oh so chic, in a muted palette of neutrals yet integrating pops of navy as well as eucalyptus.

We then enhanced the look with touches of metallic champagne and matte gold. I was elated to partner with Leslie of Rebelle Fleur who took her vision and ran with it in the very best way possible. From both garden and other varietals of roses to ranunculus to an extreme amount of greenery and foliage, Leslie went above and beyond. When Katherine first walked into the reception area, I thought she might tear she was so happy with the ambiance. It was truly stunning and wowing her was such an epic moment. But truthfully, the evening was filled with them. From champagne upon arrival, to an amazing band thanks to MJ Entertainment to late night tacos and micheladas thanks to Contemporary and Cocktail Concierge the evening had so many facets, it was simply the best! All in all, the wedding day was nothing short of a dream and as beautiful as it was, it doesn’t even begin to bridge the surface to how beautiful these two are as people and as a couple. They truly set the mold and inspire with their love and their hearts. As their officiant spoke of during their ceremony, “so when people stop and look and see them, they’re going to see the way to go!”

How did you two meet?

From the Bride… We met at a bar in San Diego called Moonshine Flats. Cray had just moved to San Diego and we started dating officially 3 months later.

Tell us about the proposal!

Cray proposed in La Jolla cove after we had dinner at George’s on the Cove in July of 2017. Katherine had NO IDEA it was coming and was completely surprised/shocked but very happy to say the least. This is important to note because Katherine likes to be in control, is rather type A and does not like surprises. Cray really pulled a great surprise off! He was even able to ask Katherine’s parents in person!

What do you two like to do as a couple during the weekends?

Travel, run, hike, yoga, drink, eat, etc!

What are your occupations?

Cray is a helicopter pilot in the Navy. Katherine specializes in retained executive search for private equity software companies.

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Photography: Jenny Quicksall Photography | Videography: Weston Reel | Floral Design: Rebelle Fleurs | Cake: Fantasy Frostings | Stationery: Emily Devitt Designs | Catering: Contemporary Catering and Event Production | Entertainment: MJ Entertainment | Bar: Cocktail Concierge | Beauty: Cheek to Cheek Artistry | Event Design + Production: Sterling Engagements | Event Design and Production | Linen: Luxe Linen | Rentals: Premier Party Rentals | Vineyard: Cielo Farms

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
For membership information, click here
We’re Dubbing This Genius Take on Ice cream Sandwiches The “Cutie Pie”

We consider ourselves ice cream sandwich connoisseurs (proof here, here and here) But this mini pie version might be the best to date. It’s a marrying of summer pie and ice cream treats and the result is the kind of thing that will blow all other desserts out of the water. Grab the easiest recipe with the tastiest results below and never settle for a regular ice cream sandwich again.

The best part about this recipe is you can totally take cheat cuts. We opted for store-bought pie crust, thus cutting out a huge amount of time. And you can try different variations of filling and ice cream flavors for a fun twist.

Strawberry Pie Ice Cream Sandwiches
prep time
2 Hour/s 30 Minute/s
cook time
18 Minute/s
total time
2 Hour/s 48 Minute/s
Serves 0Ingredients
  • Store bought Pie Crust
  • 2 cups of strawberries
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • pinch of lemon zest
  • 1 tsp corn starch
  • 1 egg
  • vanilla ice cream
Instructions
  1. Toss strawberries in lemon juice, zest and corn starch and set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 350° F and line the bottom of a baking sheet with parchment paper
  3. Dust a surface with flour and roll out one of the dough until it’s very thin but not too fragile
  4. Use a round cutter (I used a 2.5″ biscuit cutter) and cut out 20 rounds
  5. Place 10 on the baking sheet and spoon strawberries onto each round
  6. Cover the strawberries with the other 10 pie crust rounds and press down the edges with a fork. Use a butter knife, cute 4 small slits in the top of your dough. If the two crusts don’t stick, you can seal them with an egg wash.
  7. Once all the pie cookies are sealed, brush with an egg wash.
  8. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until the pies are a nice golden brown
  9. Cool on a wire rack for a few hours.
  10. Place a small scoop of vanilla ice cream between two pie cookies.
  11. Serve immediately or keep covered in the freezer until ready to serve.

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Plus More Delicious Recipes to try…

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Ice Cream Sandwiches
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Ice Cream Sandwiches
View Slideshow

Photography: Ruth Eileen Photography | Styling : SMP Living | Recipe Adapted from: Honestly Yum

DIY Your Way to the Most Festive Fall Wreath

Thistle and Honey is about to make your wreath lovin dreams come true. She recently hosted a workshop filled with cider, delicious nibbles and all the pieces needed to make a stunning Fall wreath. Have a look at the crafting festivities captured by Juliana Aragon and then snag instructions for making your very own straight from the master herself!

Fall is without a doubt my favorite time of year. Besides cooler temperatures, sweaters, and crunch leaves, one of the things I look forward to most is wreaths! Teaching wreath workshops has become one of my most favorite things in the fall and winter months, I absolutely love to see the attendees create their own work of art.

Earlier this month, attendees gathered at Masullo in the Land Park area of Sacramento. They dined on a family style lunch made especially for the workshop, complete with locally brewed ‘perry’ cider from Hemly Cider.

As a teacher, one of the most inspiring things to me is how the participants have all of the same ingredients at their finger tips, yet are gravitated towards things that catch their eye. Each person ends up with a beautiful wreath that looks nothing like their neighbor. It’s a true reminder to find inspiration within yourself, which as a wedding vendor can often become lost in the throws of wedding season.

Attendees were encouraged to stand up and introduce themselves, as well as state something they are grateful for. We may be a few weeks out from Thanksgiving, but an attitude of gratitude should be practiced year around. Speaking of which, I am endlessly grateful for this group of ladies who not only invested in my small business by attending the workshop, but invested in themselves with this time of creativity and self exploration.

Feeling inspired to try this yourselves? I always tell my attendees that there is no wrong way to make a wreath – as long as you love it, that is all that matters. I empower them with the tools and materials they need and provide instruction where needed.

The first thing tell attendees is to think about where you want the wreath to go. Will it be on your front door? Over the hearth of your fireplace? On an accent wall? Consider the scale and size, as well as a color palette that will work well with your chosen space.

Here’s what you will need

a grapevine wreath – we used 12” (available at craft stores and online)
floral sheers
ribbon of your choice
festive autumnal drink (optional!)
dried and/or preserved materials

This is a list of most of the materials you will see throughout the photos

oak leaf
bittersweet vine
golden fern
bleached italian ruscus
preserved eucalyptus
pink peppercorns
dried sage seed pods
scabiosa pods
olive
hops
rosehips
okra pods
dried yarrow
dried oak leaf hydrangea
acorn
eucalyptus pods
preserved golden banskia
mossy branches
preserved mushrooms
elaeagnus

I supply materials that are already dried/preserved so that the wreath will look exactly the way that you made it for weeks and weeks to come (but please, keep it out of the rain!). There are many ways to source these materials such as – your local floral wholesaler, online, dried yourself, and foraged from your yard and surroundings.

To make the wreath

  Start by creating shape with your fuller leaves such as oak. It is important to use larger, thick, woody stems first as they will provide a base for other elements. All you have to do is stick the stem into the grapevine wreath, between the existing branches until it’s firmly in place. Very simple!

  Once you have your shape and leafy elements in place, add more decorative, structural elements such as bittersweet vine and branches.

  Next, you can add your focal pieces like dried banksia, preserved mushrooms, and pepper berry. It is most impactful to cluster these things in one area of the wreath, as it will draw your eye here. Remember things look best in odd numbers!

  Lastly you want to add your pieces with the most delicate of stems. Since these items are dried, they tend to be fragile and will get crushed if you try to place them first. It’s a good time for the golden ferns, dried hops, and bleached italian ruscus. Don’t forget to stand back and look at your wreath from time to time. I often instruct my students to hang the wreath up on a wall and stand back to observe and adjust. You can add a ribbon accent once you are complete and know exactly how you want the wreath to hang. Use the grapevines at the back of the wreath as a place to tie the ribbon. Viola!

Now enjoy sit back with an autumnal beverage and perhaps a pumpkin flavored goodie and bask in your beautiful creation. Special thanks to the amazing Juliana Aragon for being on deck to capture this lovely afternoon!

Photographer: Juliana Aragon Photography | Cider: Hemly Cider | Floral Design/Workshop Host: Thistle And Honey

Now This is How You Do a Fourth of July Wedding Weekend

A gorgeous sail cloth tent, deer peeking in on the ceremony and a chandy graced in greenery… these are just a few moments you can expect from today’s fete planned by Habitat Events. Set on Fourth of July weekend in Whitefish, it fully represents the great outdoor scenery of Montana, and oh, did Simply Sarah capture it all so beautifully. Take a peek below!

From the bride, Caroline… Evan and I met when in Dallas I was home for Thanksgiving in 2016. At the time, I was living in New York and had just accepted a job transfer to London. Evan happened to be coming up to New York the weekend after we met, and we hung out every day together. Soon we started dating from New York to Dallas, and I moved to across the world. We fell in love over countless FaceTimes and many trips between London and Dallas to see each other. After a year in London (despite being on a three year visa…), I moved back to Dallas in March 2018. Evan proposed in October 2018 with a grand scheming that included a dinner with his parents. The day of, his mom called me and canceled, so Evan suggested I come over to his house that night instead for dinner. I walked into his house to find candles leading up the stairs to a room full of flowers, anecdotes from our long distance relationship and Evan standing in the center. He so sweetly proposed then then Evan surprised me by having my family and friends there to celebrate with us.

Guests arrived on Thursday, July 4th and we spent the day at The Lodge pool and going out on the lake. That night, friends and family hosted a July 4th Welcome Party at Casey’s Rooftop Bar. We ate delicious food and watched the fireworks from the roof, then headed to the Great Northern for dancing. On Friday July 5th, we left the day open for guests to explore Whitefish and go into Glacier National Park. The rehearsal dinner was attended by our wedding party and family at The Lodge at Whitefish Lake. Following the dinner, all wedding guests were invited to a Post-Toast on The Lodge lawn which included wine and a smores station. On Saturday July 6th, the bridesmaids started the day with yoga and a bridal brunch and the groomsmen went fly fishing. Guests continued to explore Montana until the wedding started that evening!

The wedding was hosted at Everett Ranch, a private ranch owned by family friends. We had a beautiful sailcloth tent for the ceremony and reception. My bridesmaids and I came in on a white trolley, which I loved. Following the ceremony, we had a cocktail hour then a seated dinner. The dinner tables were long wooden tables that were perfect touch for our elegant family style meal. Following first dances and cake cutting, we hit the dance floor and stayed there all night! Our vision was an intimate party of our closest friends and family having an amazing time in a beautiful place. The aesthetic of our wedding was romantic and modern yet still allowed the beauty of Montana and the great outdoors to show off for our guests.

I would absolutely recommend Sarah to other brides. People tell you that you spend a lot of time with your photographer but I quickly realized this is so true. From noon to midnight I was with Sarah and Will and they were professional, energetic, timely, adaptable, friendly, and thoughtful. Sarah checked on me throughout the day so make sure I was doing okay and happy. After the ceremony, Evan and I had so much fun taking photos and taking with Sarah and Will. Sarah and Will are so easy-going which made posing and certain photos not awkward at all. We were all having fun together and during the process. Their easy-going nature made us feel very comfortable in front of the camera.I am so glad we worked with Simply Sarah for our wedding!

Photography: Simply Sarah Photography | Videography : Bonafide Films | Event Planning and Design: Habitat Events | Floral Design: Habitat Floral Studio | Wedding Dress: Vera Wang | Cake: Cakes in the Zoo | Transportation: Montana Trolley | Beauty: Jessica Sweeney | Ceremony & Reception Venue: Private Ranch Wedding | Ceremony Musicians: The Receptionists | Getting Ready: The Lodge at Whitefish Lake | Napkins: The Essential Market | Paper: The Write Choice | Rentals: The Party Store | Restrooms: Quartermoon

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
For membership information, click here
This Boozy Pumpkin Spice Latte is Far from Basic

Pumpkin Spiked Latte anyone? This is not your run of the mill Starbucks version. Because last time I checked, that traditional PSL doesn’t have a lick of bourbon. And what fun is that? Take your favorite Fall drink to delicious sipping status with this homemade and booze infused version from The Whisking Kitchen. Psst… find more perfect for Fall cocktails this way.

While I still love a pumpkin spice latte and all the memories associated with them, I thought for the blog I would need something a bit more sophisticated. After all this is The Whisking Kitchen and around here we love bringing our A game to the party. Don’t get me wrong I love the standard pumpkin spice drink (with soymilk!) and I have probably ordered two in the last week buuuuut this particulary recipe steps up the flavor game just a tad.

In my opinion everything made at home is usually waaaaay better than in a retail store. And while I can order an extra shot of espresso at Starbucks, I don’t think they will ever let me add an extra shot of bourbon. That will be the day won’t it ?!

Boozy Pumpkin Spice Latte
prep time
5 Minute/s
cook time
30 Minute/s
total time
35 Minute/s
Serves 0Ingredients
  • 1 Cup of vanilla soymilk
  • 3 Teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 Tablespoon of vanilla extract
  • 3 Tablespoons of brown sugar
  • 1 Ounce of bourbon
  • 2 Cups of whip cream
  • 4 Cups of freshly brewed coffee, French pressed is my preference
  • *Extra pumpkin pie spice for topping whip cream
Instructions
  1. In a small sauce pan heat soymilk, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla extract, and brown sugar.
  2. Heat for 20-30 minutes whisking periodically to ensure smoothness.
  3. Pour quarter of pumpkin mixture and bourbon into a mug and top with 1 Cup of hot coffee.
  4. Top with plenty of whip cream and extra pumpkin pie spice!

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Apple Cider Cocktails
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Apple Cider Cocktails
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Recipe and Styling: Elizabeth Van Lierde

Forget About A Getaway Car, This Couple Had A Getaway Boat!

It is no secret that Lake Como is one of the most beautiful places to tie the knot, but this bride and groom took it to the next level taking their stunning portraits on a classic wooden getaway boat by Como Classic Boats as they sailed through the lake. Planned in less than three months, Happy Moments Collector brought to life all of the bride’s ideas from a soft color palette to a custom dance floor for guests to dance the night away! Nastia Vesna and Maksim Gladky photographed all of the romance, dancing, and the bride’s second dress. Take a look below and read how together, with the chef, the happy new couple made their own wedding cake!

From Happy Moments CollectorThis intimate wedding on the shores of Lake Como was quite special, not only because it was planned in 2-3 months, but mostly because of the lovely couple showing their tender love between each other and the guests. This day was both filled with romance and energy. Lena and Andrey were brought up in Los Angeles, California but had close family and friends from all over the world. Being Armenians they added some gentle cultural vibes making the day even more memorable and happy.

The bride knew from the very beginning what color theme she liked. It was mostly white, green and blush with just a little hint of light blue that matched exactly the windows of the villa. Blue and blush were also used in the stationery. Being very sophisticated and beautiful by nature, Lena chose an elegant dress that was just perfect on her. The second dress was very stylish and trendy as well made in silk, mid-length and with the wrap over detail. Everything started with the symbolic ceremony and the exchange of the vows that left everyone in tears. The ceremony was followed by a rich Italian aperitif accompanied by the jazz trio.

The couple was very precise with the type of music they wanted and chose beforehand all of the songs to be played for each special moment. For dinner time, we had the grand piano in addition to the live band. The couple wanted to dance. And dance a lot. As Italian villas usually have natural settings of grass and gravel everywhere in the garden, we had decided to make a special dance floor for the guests to feel more comfortable. The first appearance for the couple to their reception started with loud traditional dancing music and none of the guests were able to resist the beat and everyone started dancing. It was the first time that a reception started with a REAL party :)

The wedding cake area was surrounded by lots of candles that added magic to the moment. The couple chose a traditional Italian millefoglie cake with chantilly cream and berries that they prepared in front of the surprised guests, together with the Chef as a symbol of the first thing made together as a married couple. The cake was so tasty that it literally vanished. Dinner was followed by the party inside the villa with the DJ and a saxophone player, mixing famous songs together with some traditional ones.

Photography: Nastia Vesna&Maksim Gladky | Videographer: Marco Abbatangelo | Stationery: Letter B | Catering: Sunlake Catering | Wedding Venue: Villa Regina Teodolinda | Boat: Como Classic Boat | Make-up and Hair: Lidija Malinovskaya | Music: Blunotte Events | Wedding Planner and Concept: Happy Moments Collector

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
For membership information, click here
A Family Farm as a Venue and a Guest List That Even Includes….Goats!

When it comes to wedding guests, you typically have your closest family and friends, maybe some distant aunts and uncles and of course, your parents’ friends….but what about goats?! For Ali and Pavel, this was the case, tying the knot at the brides family farm! With goats (in bowties of course,) and beautifully hung flower walls by Little House of Flowers, Natalie Jayne Photography had no shortage of photo opps. Add in rich, navy details with beautiful pops of color and Nouvelle Weddings had quite the fun fete to plan, bringing the brides classic vision with a modern and edgy twist to life! Take a look below and consider adding a pop of poppy to your wedding day details like those gorgeous bridesmaid dresses!

From Nouvelle WeddingsAli and Pavel met by chance in a bar in Philadelphia. While Ali planned to take things slowly, Pavel viewed things differently and assumed they were dating from that moment. Their relationship did continue long distance for several months until Pavel was able to get a new job closer to Ali in Baltimore. After a few months there, Ali was relocated to New Jersey, so the relationship went long distance again. Then after another relocation of Ali’s job back to Maryland and Pavel switching positions another time, they were back together again, for good this time. 

Pavel planned a very romantic surprise proposal for Ali along the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia. On their way to what Ali thought was a work-related event, they stopped for a walk along the river. With a photographer secretly shooting, a violinist playing in the background, and all of their closest friends and family hiding nearby, Pavel stopped and said: “There’s one thing you’re missing for tonight…”. He got down on one knee and pulled out a ring. From that point on, Ali’s memory is a black hole, but we have to assume there was lots of excitement, maybe some tears, and obviously a big YES!

Ali and Pavel share a genuine kindness and caring for others. They love to entertain and wanted their wedding to capture all of the fun and intimate moments that they share with friends and family. When looking for reception spaces, they didn’t have to go far. Keeping everything super personal and intimate, Ali’s parents’ farm was the perfect venue. Ali wanted a beautiful wedding, but also wanted it to be fun and reflect her upbeat, happy personality, so color was a must. The tent was decorated in navy with flowers of red, orange, peach, and pink. Geode table numbers and crystals accented the centerpieces to provide that little hint of untraditional that Ali craved. As an extra fun touch, even the family’s goats were dressed for the occasion in bow ties. Watching Pavel and the groomsmen attempt to get the bow ties on the goats was a highlight of the afternoon for many family members. With a floral wall behind the sweetheart table and gold spheres hanging from the ceiling, Ali’s dream combination of classic, romantic and edgy came to life.

About Nouvelle WeddingsNouvelle Weddings is a boutique wedding planning company in Baltimore, serving Maryland and the surrounding areas. Specializing in classic romance, they are well known in the area for beautifully crafted designs and incredible guest experiences. Couples love their varied portfolio and ability to handcraft designs that showcase each couple’s unique styles and personalities. Their dual focus on creating gorgeous designs and planning meticulous logistics allows clients to relax knowing that every detail has been thought through and carefully organized. The result is continued excitement throughout the planning process culminating into perfect wedding day memories for everyone involved.

Photography: Natalie Jayne Photography | Wedding Planner: Nouvelle Weddings | Floral Design: Little House of Flowers | Stationery: Jenifer Sirkis Designs | Ceremony Venue: St Marks United Methodist Church | Reception Venue: Bride's Parents' Home | Catering: Main & Market | Hair & Makeup: Up Dos For I Dos | DJ: DJ Ricky - Crow Entertainment | Transportation: Bayside Limo | Rentals: Eastern Shore Tents and Events

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Tips for Planning The Ultimate Destination Wedding Weekend

Most of the time I see newly engaged brides talking about a destination wedding, it’s usually a discussion of where they should even begin. Planning a wedding from afar seems incredibly daunting and most couples don’t know where to start. To help you through the process, here are top tips for planning your destination wedding weekend from expert planners and yours truly.

Hire a Planner

Although this is almost always my best advice for any couple getting married, it’s especially vital for a destination wedding weekend. Hiring a planner who either is local to your wedding city or is simply well versed in destination planning will be a lifesaver.

Helena of Rock Paper Scissors adds, “To make the best of your destination wedding weekend, trust a professional wedding planner to arrange all the details. Also, having an accurate guest list from the very beginning would be fundamental to have a stress free wedding. Picking the desired wedding theme and craft a schedule with the help of your wedding planner, will let you have the energy to enjoy your wedding day.”

Planners will be able to offer valuable insight into the logistics of your planning. For example, Mylene of White Eden Events notes, “we notice that 15%-20% of the guest list usually can’t make it to destination weddings.” Knowing insider info like that will tremendously help your planning!

Securing Your Date and Guest Accommodations

Masi Events suggests that couples, “take a look at the dates you are considering and see if there is any city event happening over that weekend. Sometimes, if there are large events they could potentially cause plane tickets or hotel rates to be higher. It could also have an effect on the overall experience for your guests.”

On the matter of accommodations, they also noted, “If your wedding reception is not at a hotel, consider contracting a rooming block with a hotel located in a fun part of town and within close proximity to your venue.  Hotels will typically offer groups reserving 10 or more rooms a discounted rooming rate 10% to 20% less than advertised rates, provided your group books at least 90% of the reserved rooms.  To confirm the right number of rooms we typically divide the estimated guest count in half, then request rooms based on 40% of that number to ensure that your financial commitment is met.  For example for 200 estimate guests, we would request about 40 rooms.  Communicate the rooming block to your guests on the wedding website, save the date and a reminder card in your invitation suite, to ensure your family books their reservations as soon as you confirm the block.”

Showcase the Destination’s Offerings

Jacqueling Hallgarth says, “Whether your destination wedding is in a villa in Tuscany, metropolitan loft in NYC, or beachside in Croatia, it’s important to immerse yourself in the culture and provide a memorable guest experience. Your guests will be traveling far and wide to be with you, so you want to showcase the foreign city through intricate details like the local food, wine, and music. Also since traveling can add on another level of stress and time, you want to make sure to keep things informative and convenient for your guests. A detailed wedding website listing out which airport to fly into, links to train or rental cars, things to do in the area, and weekend events, can be very helpful!”

Don’t Skimp on Guest Care

Guests will be out of their element for your destination city, so be sure to give them all of the information they need to know in order to get to the wedding on time and also to enjoy the city and it’s offerings.

Jennifer Fox adds, “One thing I cannot stress enough when planning a destination wedding weekend is to have a guest itinerary with multiple guest activity options. Be sure to include pertinent information such as venue addresses, directions and phone numbers while also providing a list of activities available to your guests. Everything from lawn games and local hiking trails to spa services and wine tasting excursions. Anything to make your guests feel well looked after, no matter your budget!”

Mylene of White Eden Events reinforces this message by saying, “Make your guests feel special and welcome ahead of the wedding. Provide them practical information on your wedding website about the area to ease their trip, tips and ideas of things to do. Most of your guests will make a vacation out of their trip and won’t only stay for the length of your wedding. Ask your local wedding planner for local information, ideas and tips. Treat your guests upon arrival with a welcome basket in their hotel room, they will feel awaited and special.”

Cavin Elizabeth is a wedding film photographer based in San Diego, California. Her wedding work has taken her all over the United States and abroad. In addition to being a photographer, Cavin is an educator and an avid blogger of wedding planning tips for brides and grooms. She authored the book A Bride’s Guide to a Picture Perfect Wedding, which teaches couples how to make wedding plans that are best for photography. 

Photography: Cavin Elizabeth Photography

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