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Make Your House Guest-Ready In 10 Minutes Flat

We’ve all been there. You’re sitting on your couch, recognizing the fact that “declutter” has fallen lower and lower on your to-do list, when your phone vibrates. It might be your mom stopping by. Or, in my case, it’s a friend who wants to come up for a post-workout, socially distant glass of wine. You ask yourself, “who has time to keep her home guest ready?” The answer is you!

Here’s how to quick-clean your place in 10 minutes for an unexpected visitor:

Minute 1: Brew Something, Make a Water Aroma Bath or Put Apple Cider on the Stove.

Surprising fact: The scent of brewed coffee masks almost any smell. I turn my Keurig on before I do anything else. That way it’s had time to waft through my apartment before my friend arrives. Toss a dash of cinnamon in with the ground coffee to up the aroma and make it feel Fall cozy. If it’s too late for coffee, I always have apple cider in the fridge. Put it in a large pot and throw in a cinnamon stick, sliced oranges and a few cloves and you will not believe how quickly your home will smell like heaven.

Tip: If you don’t have coffee or cider…just boil some water with anything aromatic in it. Lemon slices, cinnamon sticks, oranges, a dash of vanilla. Works like a charm to make the house smell great and mask any unwanted odors!

Minutes 2-6: Stand in your doorway. Then adjust, stack, conceal. 

Seriously, get up and stand where your guests will enter your home. Look around. Whatever you see is what your guest will notice when she walks in. These “sightlines” are where you should concentrate your precious minutes. Dirty dishes in the sink? Unsightly piles on the coffee table? Crooked lampshades or crowded chairs? Take care of those things first.

The less clutter, the cleaner the room feels. First, clear the mess from the rooms your guest will enter. Sightlines first, then where you’ll sit, then the bathroom. Throw the items in a laundry basket and tuck it away in your closet. (You’ll sort it out later.) Straighten pillows, stack like minded objects (magazines, blankets, books), making sure your stacks are nice and neat. Even dishes that are stacked in the sink look more intentional than a pile of messy dishes. Discard any old food or trash that you see.

Tip: Shut doors leading off your common areas (like your bedroom door). It will focus your guest’s attention on the one room you “cleaned.”

Minutes 7-8: Wipe down surfaces.

Grab some counter spray and go to town on your kitchen counters, dining room table, and coffee table. Think about the largest surfaces in your entertaining space. Or any space where your guest will put her glass down. Because you wouldn’t host a guest without offering her something to drink, right? You’ll also want to spray down your bathroom counter if you use hair products or loose makeup.

Minutes 9-10: Turn off overhead lights.

Bright overhead lights can be a spotlight on dusty places! Be kind to your nooks and crannies by swapping harsh lighting for soft lamps. Plus, lamplight makes your space feel warmer and more inviting for guests.

Candles are also a great idea. I light a candle at the very end of the process. Mostly because I’d rather my friend walk in while I’m about to light a candle than when I’m about to wipe down my counter. Plus, candlelight is more forgiving on the space. A warm scent like Vanilla or Spiced Oranges will also add to that good smelling that is already happening in the kitchen.


Minute 10: Fluff the throw pillows.

If you have any time left, take 30 seconds to fluff the throw pillows on your couch and chairs. Well-arranged pillows give the room a pulled together feel without a lot of effort.

Okay, so maybe it’s cheating. But perception is reality, right?

Nobody has time to deep clean her home every day. But, in a pinch, you can at least give the impression. Let’s just hope your mom doesn’t open your closet door…

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

And Not A Detail Was Missed At This Carmel Valley Ranch Three Day Affair!

Every so often we get submissions that are overflowing with one stunning image after the next. It is safe to say, that this was one of those, a three day affair photographed by Carlie Statsky and planned to perfection by E Events Co. From the couples portraits to the details of the day, it was beyond difficult to not put every single one of them below! Seascape Flowers covered Carmel Valley Ranch in all of the greenery and beautiful blooms, created a stunning ceremony space and crafted the prettiest bouquets for the bride and her tribe! Check it all out below and be sure to take a peek at the full gallery to see the rest of the images from this couples wedding weekend!

From Carlie StatskyThe bride’s dad runs all of Carmel Valley Ranch, (and its sister resorts) so the whole place was looking its very best! I loved that they had a custom brand inspired by the oak trees at the ranch, that they had lots of fun activities for the guests over 3 days, that they gave their wedding party so many incredible customized gifts, that they flew in an amazing band and that they hosted an afterparty full of great food too! 

From the Bride…Since our engagement on Memorial Day weekend of 2018, we had always envisioned a three-day celebration with friends and family. We fell in love with Carmel when we first started dating, and wanted to get married in a vineyard setting. In terms of décor and overall vibe, we wanted an outdoor, sophisticated (but not stuffy), ethereal and romantic atmosphere.

The wedding weekend was a 3-day destination celebration which included a Friday night rehearsal dinner at Bernardus Lodge & Spa with a welcome party that followed, the “Krueger Klassic” golf tournament on Saturday morning before the vineyard ceremony, tented dinner reception and an after party on the deck of Carmel Valley Ranch Golf Lodge. The weekend concluded with a chic farewell brunch on Sunday for all guests. Both of our families and friends love a good party – we scheduled the wedding day to maximize the celebration!

A few highlights from the wedding weekend…Lauren’s brother-in-law officiated the wedding ceremony…which he nailed! The Groove Merchants, our wedding band, made their 3rd appearance at a Krueger family destination wedding. 

We chose to have our wedding in October because it is “Indian Summer”. We lucked out with a crystal clear blue-sky weekend – our friends and family were able to play golf and spend time at the pool during the day, and also enjoy a cozy fire in the evening when the temperature cooled.

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Photography : Carlie Statsky | Videography: 618 Studios | Event Planning & design: E Events Co. | Floral Design: Seascape Flowers | Lighting : Got Light | Band: The Groove Merchants | tent: Zephyr Tents | 3rd shooter: Michele Beckwith Photography | Ceremony & Reception: Carmel Valley Ranch | Linens : La Tavola Fine Linen Rental | Rehearsal Dinner Venue: Bernardus Lodge | Rentals : Revival Vintage Rentals | Rentals : Chic Event Rentals | Sunday brunch venue: Carmel Valley Ranch

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
For membership information, click here
First COVID, Then a Hurricane – How One Couple Pulled off the Wedding of Their Dreams on a 24 Hour Notice

In case you hadn’t heard, Style Me Pretty recently partnered with some very generous wedding vendors to give away a FULLY DESIGNED WEDDING in Sanibel Island, FL to one couple who has been greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Well, today we’re beyond excited to share the wedding of our amazing giveaway winners. The bride works as a front-line nurse and the groom has been front-line in the military flying supplies amid the pandemic, two people who truly couldn’t have been more deserving of this special gift!

As if COVID changing their wedding plans wasn’t enough, it was the week of their wedding and their day was threatened once again – this time, by two hurricanes brewing in the Gulf. Thanks to their planner, Carrie Darling Events, and the rest of their extraordinary vendor team, the entire wedding was moved up a day on a 24 hour notice to make the couple’s dream wedding a reality. Together, they truly pulled off a miracle! Keep on scrolling to read more about how it all came together and don’t miss out on the full gallery – captured flawlessly by Hunter Ryan Photo!

From Corinne, The Bride… Mike and I were amongst so many couples who had to change their 2020 wedding plans due to COVID-19. Everything began to unfold around the beginning of March and our wedding was completely booked- photographer, venue, cake, band, catering, florals, planner, hair & makeup and transportation. Design was complete, payments were in and we were just ironing out small details. We came across many financial, logistically and emotional challenges after making the decision to postpone. I’m a nurse and was being called to serve more than ever and Mike was pulling 12+ hour days coordinating COVID relief. When we found out we were finalists, I personally screamed my head off. Mike thought it was too good to be true. We were both jumping for joy as this was the first good thing to happen to us since the pandemic began!

This incredible team of vendors gave us a stunning fully designed wedding that made all of our wedding dreams come true. We were married with our parents, siblings and closest friends attending and it was the sweetest day. Mike and I exchanged personal vows in the sand under a gorgeous garden trellis. The sip and mingle feel to our reception was a special element that created an interactive guest experience and made our day feel monumental and unique. Our guests are still talking about it! Sanibel island was a stunning location and even more meaningful to celebrate our day. I grew up near the sandy beaches of Naples, FL, so Southwest Florida is a special place for our family. My parents and grandparents used to pack chilled wines and cheese boards and take us down to the beach to watch the sunset almost every weekend. It was a family tradition to have fabulous cocktail parties along the beach and sharing this experience with our closest friends was very special. Throughout the day, I was reminded of the past but also looking forward to our new love story! Thank you to the entire Covid-19 Wedding Giveaway team for giving us the wedding of our dreams! You brought us joy during one of the most challenging times and it’s hard to put into words how thankful we are. 

The story on how the giveaway came about:

The planner Carrie Darling, florist Isn’t She Lovely Florals, and photographer Hunter Ryan Photo were all talking in mid March (just as Covid hit hard) and the florist had said how they wanted to give away florals to someone and bless them. That this week had been such a hard and heavy week – and instead of dwelling on that and all of the business that had cancelled – turn it around and focus on something good and positive and helping someone else. Within minutes – a simple idea of giving away florals to a bride blossomed into and entire wedding giveway! In 24 hours – an entire team of wedding vendors was assembled and on board to shine some hope and light to one deserving couple.

Story of the wedding weekend:

Corinne & Mike’s big day had been postponed from Covid, she works as a front-line nurse and he has been front-line in the military flying supplies in the Pandemic. They had lost deposits, and didn’t have time to really think about replanning their big day while work took the front seat. Then – they won the giveaway! It was so amazing too – because Corinne is originally from the Southwest Florida area – and she was elated to have a beautiful intimate wedding on the beach. The whole vendor was so excited for them! Enter – the week of their wedding, and now their beautiful wedding is threatened once again – but not by Covid, this time it’s 2 hurricanes building in the Gulf. Hurricane Laura was what was really posing the biggest threat to their day -planned for Monday August 24th. If we were to miss a direct hit(which we did) – the rain bands would still be at tropical storm levels. Carrie Darling, the planner, who has seen more than her fair share of crazy weather as a Florida wedding planner was keeping a close eye on the weather reports. On a 24 hour notice – she contacted every single vendor, and was able to pull off a miracle. The ENTIRE wedding was moved up by a day to Sunday August 23rd. Once she knew the vendors/venue – everyone could be there Sunday – she checked with the couple (whose guests were all already in town for the weekend on Sanibel) – and everyone – bride, groom, guests – were all a go too! It was truly crazy and miraculous! 24 hours later – Corinne and Mike had their dream day. Which also happened to be almost record high temps and one of the hottest days ever – but… We all were happy to have sun instead of rain. And – the next day – their original day – it POURED!

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Photography: Hunter Ryan Photo | Cinematography: IheART Films | Event Planning: Carrie Darling Events | Floral Design: Isn't She Lovely Florals | Cake: Sweetified Bakery | Invitations: Script Me Pretty | Reception Venue: Casa Ybel Resort | Wedding Shoes: Bella Belle | Champagne Sponsor: Pernod Ricard | Champagne Sponsor: Perrier-Jouët | Hair/Makeup: Duality Artistry | Linen Rentals: Nuage Designs | Rentals: Trinity Special Events | Strings: Jade Strings

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
For membership information, click here
Elegant, Modern, Multicultural…A Beautiful Day For A Beautiful Couple!

For today’s nuptials held at the historic Maxwell House in Pasadena, it was a mix of modern elegance with the bride honoring her Korean heritage! For a couple who are both as beautiful on the inside as out, their day was full of family, florals and fun, planned by Eventive Moments! With multiple wardrobe changes, you just have to see the photos by Lily Tapia Photography! We’ll let you decide which dress is your favorite!

From Lily Tapia PhotographyKysha and Brandon’s Fall Wedding at The Maxwell House is one I still hold close to my heart.

They are one of the sweetest gentle souls we’ve ever met. They were always so considerate of others, always smiling and making people around them feel comfortable. Not only is the couple so lovable but it was difficult not to fall in love with both of their families.

Kysha and Brandon’s wedding was held at the historic Maxwell House in Pasadena. It’s warm historic charm and intimacy of the venue was perfect for our couple. Beautifully decorated with white, green, and pop of burgundy really portrayed their gentle souls with a pop of lively, passionate personalities.

These two were confident of who they are and had pride in their heritage. Kysha being half Korean, wanted to share the Korean traditions with other guests with help from their coordinators of Eventive Moments. They incorporated the traditional Korean ceremony which guests enjoyed the colorful, intimate, and lively ceremony.

The outdoor ceremony had a gorgeous wooden arch and had a burgundy draped with cloth giving the sophistication the couple was looking for. The floral arrangement by 800 Rose Big was absolutely breathtaking combined mixture of red roses, touches of greenery, and white roses to bring forward more of the romantic touches.

After the Korean ceremony, Kysha changed into her second dress an elegant gown by La Sposa for her sunset photos. It complimented the romantic location so well. We walked on over to the Pasadena Bridge, it was the perfect way to capture their love with the golden California sky!

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Photography: Lily Tapia Photography | Cinematography: Lenson Productions | Event Planning: Eventive Moments | Floral Design: 800RoseBig | Cake: Porto's Bakery | Catering: The Past Sisters | Groom's Attire: The Black Tux | Wedding Venue: Maxwell House | First Look and Portraits Location: Ambassador Mansions & Gardens | Reception Dress: St. Patrick-La Sposa | Reception Dress: St. Patrick-La Sposa | Wedding Dress One: Maggie Sottero

Stay Wild Moon Child Baby Shower

Editor’s Note: We swear showers and parties are getting more and MORE creative! This baby shower theme is not only chic but incredibly creative. From the invitations to the adorable cookies, there’s so much to be inspired by this whole event. 

Jessica had reached out to me to help her plan her little sister, Carsen’s baby shower for her soon-to-be baby boy, Luca! Jessica and I brainstormed ideas and themes and came up with “Stay Wild Moon Child” because Carsen has always been a lover of astrology.

Wiley Valentine designed the most fitting celestial invitations and included the Pantone color of the year… Blue! The invitation really set the tone for the day and we created a cohesive look for the rest of the details based on the invitation. As guests arrived, they were given mimosas with metallic moon & star drink stirrers! We had custom napkins with the Pisces sign on there since baby boy Luca’s sign is that.

A celestial backdrop designed by Luna De Miel was at the entrance for guests to take photos in front of. The backdrop included a “Stay Wild Moon Child” laser-etched sign designed by Creative Amme. Everyone sat at long family-style whitewashed farmhouse tables with whitewashed cross back chairs, La Tavola linens, clear vintage goblets, and antique silver flatware. Each place setting included a brunch menu that looked like the moon and a place card with their name and a bundle of sage as a favor, all designed by Wiley Valentine.

The tables were filled with the most beautiful floral designed by City Blossoms. The arrangements consisted of bleached foliage, pampas grass, white ranunculus, spray roses, and white lisianthus. Cut & Taste Catering put together the yummiest brunch menu which consisted of individual passion fruit parfaits, bourbon banana bread, blueberry cream cheese scones, mixed berry fruit parfaits, arugula salad, smashed avocado toast, grilled skirt steak, and salmon!

After brunch, everyone enjoyed vanilla cake by She She Sweets and custom cookies that fit the theme by Kim’s Confections LV. The desserts were displayed on Post Worthy Events white cart adorned with a balloon garland. Post Worthy Events also did cloud balloons over the tables.

Photography: Lianna Marie Photography | Floral Design: City Blossoms | Cake: She She Sweets | Stationery: Wiley Valentine | Catering: Cut & Taste Catering | Backdrop: Luna De Miel. Co | Backdrop Sign, Cake Topper, Drink Stirrers: Creative Amme | Balloons & Cart: Post Worthy Events | Cookies: Kim's Confections LV | Linen: La Tavola Fine Linen Rental | Peacock Chair & Gold Shelf: Modern Vintage Rentals | Planning & Design: I Do Details Weddings & Events | Private Residence: Private Residence | Rentals: Rsvp Party Rentals | Sage Bundles: Zena F Studio

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
For membership information, click here
Inside The House of House Seven Design

If you aren’t following House Seven Design on Instagram run, don’t walk, to your phone and hit that follow button! The couple, Anissa and Brian, officially launched House Seven Design two years ago in Indianapolis, IN. Anissa spends her time focusing on interior styling, while Brian handles residential remodeling projects. Their design style is aspirational, but doable. Everything looks fabulously styled while still feeling like the space is livable for a family (we are so here for that!). We sat down with Anissa to chat about her family’s own home, and their business! Prepare for serious design inspo below.

Take us through your home, what was your vision when designing the space?

This house is actually our eighth home! We loved this particular neighborhood and found this house on the market. The house was not great, it was a real bachelor pad and not a family home. So, going into it, we knew it was going to be a gut job. The started construction on the main areas of the home prior to moving it. Brian and I both knew this was going to be the home where we would raise our family, so it was exciting to create what we wanted. I always find new projects around the house which is fun, but it’s also daunting at the same time. As of now we have been in the house for 2 1/2 years and there is still work to be done!



What is your favorite room in the house and where do you spend the most time?

What, if any, were some of the challenges with bringing your vision to life?

There were so many challenges when it came to this house! As I mentioned, it was very much a bachelor pad – it was also an eighty-year-old house. The previous owners had a wet bar with neon lights, the kitchen wasn’t great, and my biggest pet peeve was there was no entry way. You walked into the house and were immediately in the living room. I think it’s important to gradually enter a space, especially when you have kids, you need a place to take off your shoes etc.! One of my first projects was creating a real entryway which we did by adding a wall and creating a vocal point. This switches up your focus by bringing attention to the stairway and console table. It was also important to get rid of the wet bar, which with three young daughters was the last thing we needed in the house. We turned this space into a fun hang out area for the girls.

This is your eighth home! What were you looking for when you purchased this house?

We were really looking for a long-term home in a great neighborhood. Even though we knew this house was going to be a huge project, we were able to really create a home that worked for us not only decor wise, but with renovations as well.

For someone looking to revamp their home one room at a time, where would you start?

Definitely start with the kitchen! A good kitchen in working order is so important. The kitchen is always a place where people hang out, whether you have kids, or you are entertaining, everyone always flocks to the kitchen.


Another important space – the bathroom! It doesn’t matter which bathroom it is, but make sure you have one great bathroom.

What are a few design staples people should invest in (i.e. a great coffee table, statement lighting etc.)?

A good sofa – one hundred percent! A good sofa makes such a huge difference. In my business I have the luxury of trying out so many different furniture options and I think it’s really important. After the kitchen, the living room is probably where you will spend most of your time, and that time will be spent curled up on the couch. I would suggest investing in a good sofa like one from Rove Concepts, and then using less expensive pieces from World Market, or Target, to decorate around it. Not only is comfort important but if you have a ratty looking sofa it will make the whole room look messy. Look for quality and comfort!


What has been more challenging, designing your own home, or creating spaces for your clients?

Working on my own home is so much harder – hands down! When working with clients, I am very decisive, I know what I want to do, and I can explain why. Because I am constantly looking and new products and finding new sources of inspiration it’s hard to narrow things down for myself – there is so much great stuff out there! Sometimes it’s challenging to not want to change things or add a little something new. For both myself and my clients I really try to design for longevity, which is one of the reasons I gravitate towards so many neutral pieces. 
Social media also makes it hard. We share so much of our home on Instagram and that puts pressure on making sure everything looks perfect. The constant challenge of Instagram vs. Reality!



Your current portfolio is stunning! Do you have big plans for expanding House Seven Design?

I would love to expand in the future! We are still such a young company so everything we are doing is still so fresh and exciting. It didn’t even feel like it was a business until my husband, Brian, came on and we began offering build out projects in addition to design services. Who knows what the future will bring, we have a great thing going right now!

It seems like you and Brian are a great team! Do you both work on everything together? Or do you focus on different aspects of the business?

Our business encompasses build services and design services, so although we are one business it is also very separate. Brian spends most of his time on job sites where he handles remodels and build projects. He is a general contractor, so he is responsible for pulling all those pieces together. For remodels, I work with the client to come up with a vision and then he makes that happen! I also work with clients solely on design projects that don’t involve Brian, so it depends on the client.


Do you work with clients all over the country, or do you stay local?

Right now, we are mostly local which keeps us super busy! We get a ton of inquiries from people on the West Coast but unfortunately, we don’t have the resources at this time. However, we do offer e-design projects which is fun and allows us to work with clients on design projects all over the country.

 

Do your daughters have interest in design and following in her parent’s footsteps?

Our girls are 13, 11, and 5, and they all have very different interests! Our oldest wants to be a vet, our 11-year-old is such a free spirit and has all kinds of interests, but our 5-year-old says she wants to be just like mom and dad! She will make comments about certain things in a home and how she would do things differently. But who knows!

Photography: House Seven Design | Interior Design: House Seven Design

A Contemporary Valentine’s Day Wedding in Calistoga With a Bold Color Palette

Brightly colored bud vases, hanging floral installations and a ceremony arbor that’s a pink lovers dream – this right here is a Valentine’s Day wedding done oh so right. All thanks to the planning genius of Callista & Company and floral magic from Gather Design Company. Trust us, you’re going to want to spend a little extra time on today’s full gallery to see every last detail – all captured to perfection by The Ganeys!

Our hearts are with all those affected by the devastating Glass Fire blazing through Northern California right now. The wildfires have claimed countless homes, shelters and venues in the Napa Valley region and it absolutely breaks our hearts to see. We love you all and have you in our thoughts and prayers. If you would like to find out ways you can help those impacted, click here.

From Callista of Callista & CompanyOur floral color palette and nod to Valentine’s Day was bold, so we kept the rest of the design elegantly minimalistic. We played with ivory, nude, and oatmeal in layered textures for tonal neutrality without feeling stark. Velvet chair cushions softened the sleek ghost chairs, and velvet linens felt appropriate for the February wedding date. Nude menus with white text read “Will you be our dinner date” with the guests’ names and their personalized menu selections. Each place setting featured ivory ceramic chargers, specialty silver flatware, and a crescent of stemmed crystal glassware. Hundreds of discrete clear acrylic hearts on individual strands of fishing line subtly accented the thousands of blooms hanging overhead.

The seating chart was one of my favorite designs with personalized wood lettering reading: “Will You Be Our Valentine?” Each guest opened their own acrylic box to find custom conversation hearts with their table number. To continue the theme, our bar menus read “Will You Be Our Drinking Buddy?” and our dinner menus read “Will You Be Our Dinner Date?” We led guests to their seats, where they found their names scripted on the front of the dinner menus, and the back of each menu was thoughtfully printed with each guest’s specific meal selections.

From Amy of Gather Design Company The reception centerpieces were composed of dozens of brightly colored bud vases, each with a single variety of flowers arranged in it. The bud vases were grouped down long tables to create a full tablescape, while leaving plenty of negative space. Taupe candles in three different sizes of pleated glass votive holders finished the design. Evelyn’s bouquet was a modern design composed only of flowers, without any foliage, in a soft oval shape with depth and movement. The bouquet contained garden roses, ranunculus tulips, butterfly ranunculus, muscari, and poppies. Each bridesmaid carried a posy bouquet composed of a different type of flower: coral ranunculus, coral tulips, soft blue muscari, deep blue muscari, blush garden roses, and coral garden roses.

From Evelyn, the Bride… One thing we personalized was to have a booklet for ceremony scripts, vows, and speech in Chinese, so that Evelyn’s parents can follow along. I think this reflects who we are — we want all our guests to have fun on that day. Since most of our guests speak English, we decided to have the translation booklet for Evelyn’s parents so we do not need to translate the ceremony one sentence by one sentence.

Three Special Memories from The Bride:

1. Cake cutting moment — First of all it was harder than we expected to cut the cake. Bryan even accidentally poured the champagne on our officiant Shin, who held the cake stand steady for us. After we successfully took out a slice, Bryan decided that he wanted to put some cream on Evelyn’s face. Evelyn, thinking how much effort spent to get that makeup, decided to fight back, so eventually Bryan was the one with cream on the face. 2. The speeches given by our parents were definitely the special memories. Evelyn’s mom gave the speech in Chinese and Chloe (maid of honor) translated it into English. A lot of our English-speaking guests told us afterwards that they could feel the sincerity even though they don’t understand Chinese. Bryan’s father sang “father and son” in his speech, which made Bryan cry out loud :p

3. Ceremony moment — I (Evelyn) normally cry at every wedding when the father gives the bride to the groom. When it’s my turn, I almost cried but used every ounce of my concentration to hold the tears.

Photography: The Ganeys | Event Planning and Design: Callista Company | Floral Design: Gather Design Company | Wedding Dress: Watters | Cake: Flour and Bloom Cakes | Invitations: Papel & Co. | Shoes: Badgley Mischka | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Azazie | Hair and Makeup: Blush Makeup Artistry | DJ: Boutique DJs | Favors: Sunny Hills Pineapple Cake | Wedding Venue: Solage Calistoga | Paper Goods / Stationery: Callista Company | Rentals: Theoni Collection | Rentals: La Tavola Fine Linen Rental

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
For membership information, click here
These 5 Tips Will Instantly Upgrade Your Next Charcuterie Board

If every meal included a perfectly executed charcuterie board, I would be the happiest of campers. But aside from throwing together random cheeses, salami and crackers, it can be an art form, one of which most of us don’t have the 411 on. So whether you just want to show off to your immediate family or you want to make personal miniature charcuterie for your next socially distant gathering, Boxwood AvenueButter And Salt and Gagewood are coming to the rescue with 5 simple tips that will instantly upgrade your next charcuterie spread.

As a true lover of entertaining, I find myself prepping cheese platters more often than not. It’s easy to toss a few blocks of cheese into my cart while grocery shopping, but I rarely put much thought into it, if I’m being honest, I most likely make my selections based on the fact that I was hungry, and really liked the free sample.

I usually keep cheese, crackers, and hard salami on hand for last minute guests, or nights that call for a dinner of cheese & wine; however, just like wine pairing, cheese & charcuterie pairing is an art. One that takes more thought than I am generally willing to give while roaming the aisles of the market. It’s so much easier to reach for a tried and true cheddar than it is to go out on a blue cheese whim. So when I met the fabulous duo behind the private chef & catering company Butter + Salt, I knew just what to ask them: What are your best tips for preparing a cheese & charcuterie board?

Tip 1: Start with the cheese.

Aubrey suggests going with a trio of cheeses, all with different milks to showcase a variety of flavors. Think a cow’s milk, a sheep’s milk, and a goat’s milk. Opting for one soft cheese, one hard cheese, and one blue cheese will cover all of the bases.

Tip 2: Choose a variety of meat.

When selecting meats, start with a spicy variety, a fennel sausage or something pepper crusted will do just the trick. Also, be sure to include something soft like a prosciutto, which is mild, and something fatty like a pâte or fatty sausage. Pâtés are often overlooked, but a high quality pâte is a must for a great charcuterie board, and adding Maldon’s Sea Salt on top is a total game changer!

Tip 3: High quality vehicles are necessary!

Club crackers are a waste of time and money; instead, buy a loaf of fresh baked bread from the bakery, or if you’d like to keep something on hand, artisan crackers are always great for adding extra crunch.

Tip 4: Finally, finish with something sweet & crunchy.

Including a variety of fresh fruit, honeycomb, and preserves add more dimension to your charcuterie board, and add more combinations of flavors. For this cheese board, we used freshly preserved cardamom fig jam, pickled plums, fresh figs, and local honeycomb. You’ll also want to add a bit of crunch, which is easy to do with nuts and crackers. Butter + Salt baked a batch of hazelnut flûtes which was the perfect touch.

Tip 5: Build your board around the key players.

If you splurged on a pâté, you might want to place it in the center of your board. Or, if you bought fresh baked bread, you can highlight it by placing it in a great basket. When you build your charcuterie, place the key players on the board first, then add the accent ingredients to highlight them.

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For more easy entertaining tips, visit Boxwood Avenue

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Photography: Gagewood | Styling: Chloe Mackintosh At Boxwood Avenue | Catering: Butter And Salt Gatherings | Tasting Room: Butter And Salt Gatherings

How to Make Your Home Feel Like Fall Using ALL 5 Senses

It is officially Fall in Boston. The leaves are starting to turn, the air is starting to cool and ALL the roadside farms are serving up hot apple cider and donuts which is basically the only reason I run errands every day. It also means that we’re looking for small ways to transform our home to embrace this gorgeous, gorgeous season. So! Even if you don’t have a complete arsenal of Fall decor at your finger tips, there are so many easy ways to give your home a great big Fall hug (cheeeeeesy) without spending a fortune or feeling like a giant pumpkin spice cliche! Read on!

SHOP: Magnolia Wreath

5 WAYS TO UP THE COZY FACTOR FOR FALL

TOUCH. Texture is everything. From the softness of the rugs underfoot to the smushy-ness of the pillows that you collapse into, having various textures that envelope you into their warmth should be the very foundation of your Fall decor. Fill baskets with throw blankets for easy access (you can get cute white ones at so many big box stores right now for great prices), add extra throw pillows on the sofa to sink into. A laughable amount, really.

Oh and speaking of baskets (well, two sentences ago if you’re still with me), adding baskets in a variety of sizes to the side of your sofa or next to your fireplace will add more texture and warmth without A. breaking the bank or B. changing the decor of your space too much. Bonus is that you can throw toys in them for that out of site, out of mind feeling we all crave. Ikea is killing it with their basket selection right now.

SHOP PILLOWS HERE: Plaid & Leather | Polka Dot | Autumn Calligraphy | Chambray Grateful | Give Thanks w Poms | Gold Gather | Sweater Knit

SIGHT. Honing in on, or rather simplifying, your color scheme is key. Whatever your jam, may it be wood tones, deep reds, rich greens, matte blacks or just a layering of whites…find the collection of hues that make you think of Fall and infuse them into your decor. It could be as simple as removing one color from your palette and adding another.

Or swapping out your every day throw pillows and blankets with fresh ones, replacing the art in your frames with printables that you find on the web, cutting some greenery and bringing it indoors, layering on a faux sheep skin rug to bring more white in, hanging some cute signs around the house.

There are so many simple ways to use color as a visual marker for a new season. You can actually buy a grid of frames with a removable artwork slot so you can mix and match cool prints that you find around the web with your kids’ art that they bring home! Edited of course because I have, on more than one occasion, received a blank piece of paper with my child’s name on it that the school called “art.”

SHOP SIGNS HERE: Playing in the Leaves Acrylic | Welcome Sign | Thankful Metal Sign | Thankful Gold Hoop

SMELL. Smell is everything. Probably more important than anything else here. It’s that first impression when someone walks in your home. That element that makes your kids or your partner smile. For better or worse, the smell of your home is what will leave the longest lasting impression on your guests and even the little monsters that reside within.

Easiest – and not at all surprising tip: candles. Yes, you can go buy a gorgeous Magnolia candle or splurge on a Jo Malone (try the Incense & Embers) but you have no idea how easy it is to make your own candles. It’s even easy to make your own essential oils for the candle. It sounds way too Martha, I realize, but it’s actually totally relaxing and fun.

Truth Serum: Right now, I have vanilla beans just hanging out in some Jojoba oil so that I can add them to the soy flakes that I bought in bulk last year. I realize this is a little odd, but if you can reconcile the small fortune you will spend on ingredients at the beginning (soy flakes, wicks, oils if you want), it will pay dividends (what’s a dividend?) in money saved on seasonal candles for years. This was definitely a side tangent that I can elaborate on another day.

Now, while you can obviously embrace the fall scents with a beautiful candle or oils, you can just as easily and less expensively do so by simmering a pot of water infused with cloves, cinnamon sticks, orange rinds or whatever Fall spices you have on hand. And don’t forget that something baking in the oven – preferable covered sugar and spice and everything nice – is always a game changer.

TASTE. Up the ante a little by including “taste.” We keep a few gallons of apple cider in the fridge, we often have frozen batches of cinnamon rolls (or the store bought) that we warm up for breakfast. We also have simple little Fall treats in bowls around the house…buttery caramels, roasted and candied nuts, things like that. My kids favorite? Apple pie ice cream sandies.

Taste is by far the easiest of the bunch because all it takes is embracing the food that is right at your fingertips. Buy seasonal produce, cook with seasonal spices, make something sinful once a week. You can add pumpkin pie spice to soups, to pie dough, to cookies, to just about anything and you instantly transform an old favorite into something totally Fall-ish. My aunt adds cinnamon to her coffee grounds starting in October of every year. It’s her signature move and we all crave it!

And even better, the more you build these moments into your daily repertoire, the scents themselves will layer upon one another as the week goes on. Oh and did you know there is also Fall inspired CLEANING supplies!? Yep, Mrs. Meyers makes a Pumpkin Spice cleaning collection because DUUUUH!

SHOP: Wooden Window Pane Tray | Window Pane Napkin | Window Pane Placemats

SOUND. Obvious? A great soundtrack. But, are there other ways to incorporate sound? Um, YES! Light candles with wooden wicks so that you hear the “crackle” that insta-reads cozy. Get the kids outside for a fire pit and toasted marshies. Brew a daily cup of autumnal tea so you hear that lovely whistle. Change your ringtone. Open the windows just a touch to let the crisp air in and hear the leaves falling from the trees. So many subtle ways to build a Fall inspired “soundtrack” to your home.

So there you have it. We are officially in a no excuses zone for Fall transformations. It’s like my dad used to tell me…if you get up every day, shower, make your bed, tidy your room and look your best, you will have a better day. And a better day will lead to a better week and there are only 52 weeks to a better year. I manage to do this about once a week. Maybe. But it was great advice. So anyway! Go ahead, tap into these 5 easy senses and build a home that feels like, well…a HOME!

Whimsical Wedding Inspiration at One of the Most Breathtaking Châteaus in Provence

For those of you who love a good color pop – this one’s for you! Designed by Florésie, the floral arrangements in today’s stunning editorial planned by Jennifer Fox Weddings are overflowing with shapes, textures, and sherbet hues. Think vibrant colors can’t be elegant? Think again. Château Martinay provided the most jaw-dropping background that will transport you to a warm Summers day in Provence. Dying to see how it all turned out? Head on over to the full gallery for major destination inspiration – all taken by Oliver Fly!

From Jennifer Fox WeddingsGorgeous, mature trees standing like soldiers flank either side of the pathway leading up to a private gateway. When the gate swings open, it reveals the grandeur that is Château Martinay. Leaving the regular world behind and being transported into a fairy tale is the only fitting way to describe the build up revealing such beauty – so it’s no wonder this particular château holds the bragging rights to hosting the nuptials of Sophie Turner and Joe Jonas. Now, having recently undergone a renovation, I was excited to team up with the incomparable photographer, Oliver Fly, and renowned videographer, MG Image, to celebrate Château Martinay’s fresh look with this fun, joyful soirée. 

Upon arrival, guests received a welcome basket containing a bottle of rosé, a Diptyque candle, a custom match box, a jar of honey, custom cookies by Kat Makes Cookies, and little donuts tucked inside a paper cone designed by Silent Word Studios which featured the same flowers that appeared on the cookies and would continue to be present in details throughout the day. A sugary, sweet start to the festivities! When we were planning the dinner, we stumbled upon the most gorgeous plates with an interesting shape which ended up inspiring so many significant moments throughout the day. From the bride’s round halo engagement ring and the custom cookies, to the note tucked into the welcome basket and the dinner menus, we brought in the interesting shape again and again. The Bride, Adilyn, emerged looking like a vision. A high chignon styled by Alejandra Nerizagal broke from tradition with flirty, face-framing waves which allowed beautiful, diamond earrings to take center stage as the Bride’s sole accessory. Makeup by Ylva Langenskiold drew inspiration from the peaches and pinks of the bouquet for a playful kiss of color on the Bride’s lips and cheeks, and complemented the look with a bold, smokey eye. 

The gown provided by Top Bridal Paris featured a deep v-neckline in front and back, plus dainty chiffon straps tied at the shoulder. Her polka-dot ivory pumps, again pulling in the shape of the day, from Bella Belle featured a whimsical, tulle bow in the back that reflected the cascading bows on her shoulders. Adilyn’s bouquet, designed by Florésie, was brimming with shapes, textures, and sherbet hues – made up of De Tuinen van Appeltern, Foxtail and Martagon Lilies, David Austin and Cappuccino Roses, as well as Wizard of Oz Dahlias. The fun, ice cream colored flowers laced throughout her bouquet mirrored the playful innocence of the Bride, and the entire arrangement was held together with an antique, blue ribbon. The Groom, Thomas, stood dapper in a black suit with slim cut pants and black bow tie offset by a crisp white shirt by Rives. Florésie created a playful boutonniere, which with the frayed edges of its ribbon, tied in the ribbon from the bouquet and deckle edged invitations. 

The Château itself provided the perfect backdrop for the ceremony – it’s beauty was complemented with floral arrangements in traditional, French anduze vases that resembled the exterior of the château itself! We tucked cozy cocktail seating provided by Velvet Rendez-vous on terraces and balconies. The golden, round side glistened against the blue velvet sofa. The set up was completed with stunning white armchairs and sherbert colored ottomans, inviting guests to converse comfortably while taking in the grandeur of the grounds. The reception furniture provided by Belounge served as a canvas to incorporate styling aspects previously woven throughout the day. The floral centerpieces, which were as whimsical as the Bride’s bouquet, stood proudly in the French anduze vases, and a fresh, fun alternative table runner was fashioned with blueberries, yellow tomatoes, fresh almonds, and dried pineapple collected that morning from the local market. The table was robed in a natural linen provided by Joli Bazaar, and topped with ornate, golden chargers and cutlery. 

The palace setting made way for the star of the show – the handmade plates that served as inspiration for so much of the day. We continued with the pops of antique blue in the linen napkins from Madame de la Maison and blue glass water goblets. Gold-trimmed champagne flutes with pink ribbon scrolls gave the table a playful elegance. The menu consisted of vibrant confections by Frédéric Bernard Traiteur, which held their own in their beauty and paired wonderfully with lavender-infused champagne – a classic nod to Provence. The decadent, tapas-style menu featured scallops, salmon, and shrimp, an egg parfait, veal, sea bass, and an array of locally sourced, in-season vegetables. Made in Cake finished the decadent evening with a cake featuring handmade wafer paper flowers and playful tiers consisting of varied heights and widths. All this deliciousness was served on handmade ceramic plates by Carron Paris. The couple drove away in a black 1960 MGA Roadster with the top down provided by Provence Classics – an elegant, carefree end to a joyous day, full of the hope and promise of a sunny tomorrow.

[iframe http://player.vimeo.com/video/439608761 600 338]

Photographer: Oliver Fly Photography | Videographer: MG Image | Wedding Planning & Design: Jennifer Fox Weddings | Floral Design: Floresie | Catering: Frederic Bernard | Hair Stylist: Alejandra Nerizagal | Men's Attire: RIVES | Vintage Car: Provence Classics | Wedding Venue: Chateau du Martinay | Bridal Boutique: Top Bridal Paris | Bridal Shoes: Bella Belle | Cake Designer: Made In Cake | Ceramic Tableware: Carron Paris | Furniture Rentals: Be Lounge | Furniture Rentals: Velvet Rendez Vous | Linen Napkins: Madame de la Maison | Lounge Rentals: Velvet Rendez Vous | Make Up Artist: Ylva Langenskiold | Ring box: Je Promis | Signature Cookies: Kat Makes Cookies | Stationery & Calligraphy: Silent Word Studio | Tabletop Rentals: Joli Bazaar | Tabletop Rentals: Carron Paris | Welcome Box: Jennifer Fox Weddings

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
For membership information, click here
50 Genius Costume Ideas for Everyone from Your Puppy to Your Squad

Whether your eyes are peeled for just the right idea to dress up your pup or you’re on the hunt for a group costume for your best girlfriends (hello snapchat filters) we’ve rounded up some of our favorites currently making the internet rounds. You’ll be all up in the top spot for Best Costume if you’re sporting one of these gems. And who doesn’t love little baby besties dressed up as grandmas? No one, that’s who.

Genius Costume Ideas for Everyone
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Genius Costume Ideas for Everyone
View Slideshow

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More Halloween Inspo this Way…

Best Ever DIY Costumes
Totally Doable Costumes for Couples
Fashion Finds that Double as Halloween Costumes

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A Seaside Celebration For Two Childhood Friends on Seabrook Island in South Carolina!

For these two childhood friends, their paths crossed throughout the years, but it wasn’t until after college that they became close friends which led to their spectacular wedding day at the Seabrook Island Club in Charleston! With every last detail planned by Engaging Events, the couple sat back and enjoyed their relaxed, beachy wedding day with their friends and family by their sides and the waves crashing in the background! Take a look below to see all of the perfectly planned details and the stunning sunset photos by Phillip Casey Photography!

From the couple…We both grew up in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. While we never attended the same elementary, middle, or high school, we were in the same larger friend group and remember hanging out a bit in middle school. Our paths crossed quite a bit in high school but it wasn’t until we reconnected in Washington, S.C. after graduating from college in May of 2014 that we became close friends. Jed attended Washington and Lee University and Haley went to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

We moved to Glover Park in D.C. with a big group of recent college grads. Our first year in D.C. was such a blast, meeting lots of new people and exploring such a fantastic city. We spent that year as close friends, playing lots of tennis, checking out new D.C. spots, and hitting many a concert. 

Unbeknownst to Haley, our first official “date” was Jed’s office Christmas Party in December of 2015. While Jed clearly knew what he was doing, Haley just thought he needed a buddy to take to the party!

After four wonderful years in D.C., we moved to Durham, North Carolina in July 2019 to start our next chapter. Haley graduated with her Master’s in history from Georgetown University and will be teaching 9th and 10th grade history at Durham Academy. Jed will be pursuing his MBA at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business after having worked in investment management the past four years.

Describe the wedding day…We woke up to a gorgeous, sunny, 70 degree Kiawah day. The absolute perfect weather. Getting ready began around 11am with Vanity Salon – they were fantastic and made all the girls look stunning. Then we boarded up in the shuttle to head to Seabrook for the first look! Flash forward to the ceremony. It was absolutely stunning to hold the ceremony at Seabrook’s Ocean Terrace. The view of the ocean is breath-taking and you could hear waves crashing in the background.

The cocktail hour on the terrace was definitely a highlight of the wedding day. We had specialty his and hers cocktails, delicious appetizers, and some fun guitar music! Another highlight came with Jed and my sunset photo shoot on the beach. The sun was setting perfectly and the photos turned out beautiful. Then came the real party! We entered, did our first dance to “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You,” heard fabulous toasts by my best friend, Jed’s brothers, and my dad, then boogied the night away. It was a dream come true.

What was your vision…We wanted an outdoorsy, relaxed, and beachy feel. The goal was to make our guests feel totally comfortable and relish in the natural beauty that Kiawah and Seabrook Islands have to offer. To fit the beachy theme, our colors were mainly ivories and beiges with a few touches of blush. Cindy’s team from Engaging Events donned the porches of the Seabrook Island Clubhouse with café lights and decorated the interior with palmetto trees, geometric vases overflowing with flowers, and an awesome driftwood bar. We also wanted the cuisine to reflect our favorite foods! We did a series of stations showcasing Jed’s love of southern BBQ, my obsession with shrimp tacos, and a delicious beef carving station to top it all off. For dessert, we had ice cream sandwiches and wedding cake courtesy of Sablee Bakery in Charleston! The cookies and cream layers were for Jed and the champagne and strawberry layers were for me!

Advice for Future Brides…Hire Cindy and her team. It was by far the best decision we made.

Photography: Philip Casey Photography | Wedding Planner: Engaging Events, LLC | Floral Design: Engaging Events, LLC | Wedding Dress: Made With Love Bridal | Wedding Cake: Sablee | Hair and Makeup: Vanity Salon | Band: Emerald Empire Band | Men's Attire: The Black Tux | Ceremony Music: Bob William Duo | Transportation: Charleston Style Limo | Wedding Venue: Seabrook Island Club | Dessert: Scoops Wheely Good Ice Cream | Rentals: Eventworks | Rentals: Total Table

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
For membership information, click here
Get The Look: Cozy Edition

This living room is the EPITOME of cozy. Every element works together to give you a holistic, seasonal vibe but in a way that’s natural and well worked out. We knew we had to break it down! It’s just too good.

The key to this room is texture and subtle, coordinating details.

  1. The coffee table sets the tone for all of the other accessories — the rustic wood with the metal detail provides a great base for everything else too coordinate flawlessly
  2. Instant cozy factor — a candle that not only smells good but looks good too.
  3. Textured trays contain smaller elements while also adding a bit of diversity to your set up
  4. Lanterns are a well-charactered way to tie in some of the metal elements
  5. A large vase is never the wrong answer. Pop in some colorful seasonal stems and you’re good to go!
  6. The pairing of a soft jewel-toned pillow with a supple leather pillow gives the whole couch a cozy facelift
  7. The beige curtains paired with black rods bring the whole look together while elevating the eye.
  8. Greenery always packs a punch, but when you’re dealing with something as fickle as an olive tree — not shame in going faux!

Adding just a few of these cozy elements to your own living room can help you make a beautiful transition into colder weather.

 

Hear Why Small, More Intimate Weddings May Just Be The Way To Go!

Small, intimate weddings have secretly been one of our favorites, here at SMP (even before COVID-19!) They allow you to splurge just a bit, whether it be your dream destination, dream dress, or adding in a few more meaningful details you might not have been able to do, with those closest to you in attendance! It allows you to enjoy each of your guests company all while having your picture perfect wedding day and Clary Pfeiffer Photography, reminds us all how special these smaller weddings can be with her stunning photography!

From Clary Pfeiffer PhotographySmaller weddings in intimate settings create the space to have your dream wedding complete. 

After planning a small, intimate destination wedding, my advice would be: DO IT! You will have the opportunity to enjoy time with each guest; You will only be surrounded by those closest to both of you. There will be room in your budget to splurge on things most important to both of you (e.g., decadent wedding meal or beautiful flowers); Stress, anxiety, and pressure caused by an ever-expanding guest list and an overblown budget are greatly reduced; and This day is about you and your fiancé – it should be enjoyable, relaxing, and deeply personal. -Natalie and Kevon

There is time to enjoy each guest and make them feel special.

In keeping with our vision for a relaxed and intimate atmosphere, we had all our guests seated at a single candlelit table for the reception. This allowed everyone to engage closely with one another. Being surrounded by the most important people in our lives, celebrating, laughing and crying tears of joy with them is something we will never forget. 

You’ll have room in your budget to splurge on things important to both you.

We highly recommend investing in photographers and videographers who share the bride and groom’s vision for their wedding day. It was the best investment we made and we will cherish the memories that were captured so beautifully for us that day for years to come. 

We were able to arrange for a tour of Paris in a luxury vehicle with an English-speaking tour guide and champagne while my groom and I took wedding photographs around Paris. This type of meaningful experience is much easier to accomplish with a smaller celebration.  

An intimate wedding atmosphere makes the day enjoyable, relaxing, and deeply personal with details, food, and moments for the two of you.

We chose to focus on adding meaningful details throughout our big day and therefore relied on talented vendors to organize the big elements of the celebration. The gorgeous flower arrangements, the breathtaking venue and the incredible menu were all wonderful but at the end of the day, what was truly memorable to us were all the little but special details that we personally incorporated into the wedding. For example, we designed our wedding stationery and monogram, and to honor our loved ones, we displayed their wedding photos at our reception. The latter not only served as a great conversation starter for our guests, but was also a great reminder that our wedding was only possible thanks to their love and support. – Jenny and Bevon

Location – You’re able to have your celebration where you first met, your favorite vacation spot, by the ocean.

As people who love spacial design we wanted awe-inspiring venues for the wedding, San Fransisco City Hall and Big Sur, did not disappoint. City Hall has such a wonderful combination of intricate details while still maintaining clean lines. The historic architecture and sense of permanence seemed perfect for our ceremony. Big Sur holds such a special place in our hearts so we couldn’t think of a better spot to escape for the reception. – there were whales, dolphins and sea lions off the coast. Toasts were accentuated by the magical glow of sunset and gorgeous Northern California foliage. Even the 3 hour drive from City Hall to Big Sur was an important part of our day – taking a few hours to ourselves to enjoy the scenery change, and reflect on our day together was a lot of fun. – Sarah and Dan

Intimate Destination Wedding in Paris:
Reception Venue: Four Seasons Paris George V | Hair: James by JMS | Rings: Eli Jewels | Violinist: Rodolfo Benitez | Invitations: Smitten on Paper | Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Car Rental: AAA Luxury Rentals | Bride’s Skirt: Green and Blue Studio Couture | Groom’s Tux: Saint Laurent Tuxedo | Ceremony Venue: Chapelle Expiatoire | Makeup: Clotilde Sourisseau | Florist: Amaryllis Fleurs | Bride’s Bodice: Monique Llhuillier
Destination Wedding in Paris:
Reception Venue: Hotel le Meurice | Bridal Car: Anciennes de Prestige | Reception Floral Design: Les Fees d’Herbe | Dress: Vera Wang | Cinematography: Studio Artifice | Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Bride’s Bolero: Angelika Liv | Bouquet Floral Design: Sol y Flor | Ceremony Venue: The American Church in Paris | Hair and Makeup: Lexi Derock | Tux: Ermenegildo Zegna | Printing: Thermowest
Small, Intimate Wedding in California:
Photography: Clary Pfeiffer | Reception Venue: Wind & Sea Estate | Dress: Amsale | Shoes: Badgley Mischka | Earrings: Katie Waltman | Groom’s Suit: Hugo Boss | Caterer: Cheri Gladstone | Floral / Styling: Celeste Green | Hair & Make-Up: Mimi & Taylor | Flatware: Frances Lane | Rentals: Alexis Party Rental | Cake: Parker-Lusseau Pastries & Cafe

Photography: Clary Pfeiffer Photography

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

I sound like a total broken record, but our in house DIY’er is a TOTAL rockstar. She never fails to surpass even my highest expectations. And these DIY wishbone placecard holders are seriously no exception. As far as I’m concerned they make our whole party, and I’d be happy to have these babies laying around my home year round.

MaterialsAir dry clay
Gold leaf
Adhesive size
(2) medium paintbrushes
Cardstock paper in color of your choice
Scissors
Gold paint pen
Wax paper

instructions

step-1Place a sheet of wax paper on a baking tray to create your work surface. Take a small chunk of clay (about the size of a small scoop of cookie dough) and roll it into a ball in your palms.

step-2Separate the clay into two halves, and roll each into a thin snake.

step-3Pinch one end of each snake with your thumbs and press the ends together to form the bridge of the wishbone. Try smooth the insides of the “v” shape to help secure the connection.

step-4Cut off the ends of the wishbone after about 5”. Fold the last little bit of the end back on itself and pinch with your thumbs to create the rounded ends.

step-5Arrange the wishbone so the ends bow slightly in a nice “V” shape. Use a knife to cut a small slot in the top of the wishbone, about ¼” deep. Make the slot as perpendicular to the table as possible, and not too wide so that the paper fits snugly. Smooth edges and fuss with ends until you like the shape, then let the wishbone dry overnight.

step-6Paint a thin coat of adhesive size on the top side of the wishbone. Let dry until tacky, about 5-10 minutes.

step-7Gently press sheets of gold leaf on the wishbone until all the tacky areas are covered. Use the second paintbrush to press the leaf to the wishbone and remove any excess.

step-8Flip the wishbone over and repeat steps 6 & 7 on the bottom side of the wishbone. You can also spray with a light coat of clear acrylic sealant to further protect the gold leaf.

step-9Cut a 2” x3” piece of cardstock and write the name of your guest in gold pen. Insert in the slot at the top of the wishbone and place at each seat.

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Photography: White Loft Studio

Jacquelyn Clark

Creating a Submission Strategy and Making the Most out of a Feature

Getting published for the first time is one of those milestone moments for a wedding pro. It’s exciting, makes you feel like you have made it, and helps put your brand in front of lots of new eyes. And, while one might assume that the press translates into a flood of inquiries, that isn’t always the case. Because, even though getting published can do wonders for your brand, it won’t if you aren’t getting published in the right place and then doing the work to make the most out of the feature. Today, then, I wanted to help you get more than just bragging rights out of your submissions. Read on for advice on how to develop a submission strategy for yourself as well as how to capitalize on the buzz.

How to Develop a Submission Strategy

Any press is good press but it won’t convert if you don’t have a plan. So, before you ever hit submit, you need to put a plan in place. And, creating a submission strategy isn’t time consuming or complicated—you just need to document a process and ask yourself a few questions.

“What is my goal?”
Sure, you want to get published but is your goal to build your brand or book clients? If you are looking to build your brand, you can cast a wider net in terms of where you would consider submitting your gallery since you are really just after the press. However, if you are submitting your work because you hope to end up with leads in your inbox, then you need to be very intentional about where you send things. Do your potential clients:

  • Go to national wedding blogs for more than just inspiration?
  • Buy hard copies of wedding magazines?
  • Attend local wedding shows?
  • Pick up local wedding magazines or read local blogs?

Depending on who your ideal couple is, where they do their vendor research should be the number one thing to consider when matching a publication to your goal. Create a list of publications you feel confident are going to put you in front of couples who have the right budget, aesthetic, etc. You might even consider organizing that list by your services or package to really tailor your strategy.

“Is the design and timing the right fit?”
Most publications work like fashion houses, meaning they work well ahead of the season because of print deadlines. So, in addition to making sure that the overall aesthetic of your submission fits the publication’s aesthetic, you also want to make sure you are timing your submission correctly. Are you:

  • Submitting ahead of the season the gallery is a fit for?
  • Doing your homework to make sure they haven’t recently published something similar?

Pro-tip: Work submissions into your internal workflow or have a monthly standing appointment on your calendar. That way, you can ensure that you are regularly submitting and are able to stay ahead of the seasons.

Create your Submission Process

Just like other parts of your business, having a documented process for submitting your work makes it easier to do (even when you are in the middle of wedding season). So, document your submission process somewhere convenient and create a checklist or form that overviews:

  • Who is actually going to submit the gallery. If someone on the vendor team advertises with the publication you want to submit to or has previously been published there, you want to consider tapping them as the lead. Identifying and communicating a submission lead to the team will also ensure that the gallery isn’t submitted elsewhere (creating a conflict)
  • The information you need to collect from each vendor. This is at minimum their website urls and Instagram handles and it is good practice to get contact emails as well
  • How the photographer will get the gallery to the submitter as well as who is selecting the images for submission
    Who will do the write up or a process to get important details from certain vendors

Pro-tip: LBB members get to quick submit their galleries without needing to prep a full submission—a huge time saver!

How to Build Buzz When You Get Featured

First off—woot woot! Getting featured is really exciting and definitely something to celebrate! And, when you get one of those “Congratulations, we’d love to feature your submission,” emails, it’s time to rally the team and build buzz. Just like you’ll have a submission strategy moving forward, you’ll want to have a PR strategy as well (one that is documented so you can use it time and time again).

A PR strategy for you might put together for your features is very similar to a content distribution strategy you might develop for your blog. And, it might go a little something like this:

Pro-tip: If you know the date the feature will go live, send this plan to the vendor team so everyone has time to prepare. You can even send them a calendar invite so they get a reminder the day of.

  • Like and comment on the post on the publication’s Instagram feed
  • Share your own post on Instagram and put the vendor team in the comments and tag them in the post (you can tag the couple too!); put the link in your profile or using something like Linkin. Bio or Linktree
  • Share a story on Instagram and tag the vendor team so they can quickly reshare the story if they are not creating their own
  • If the publication shares pins from the gallery on their Pinterest account, repin them onto one of your relevant boards; if they did not but you can pin images directly from the feature on their website, do that
    If neither of those are available to you, create 5-10 pins to pin on relevant boards you have on your Pinterest account and link them to the feature (use the publication’s name and a keyword in the image file name, pin title, and pin description)
  • If the publication shared the feature on their Facebook page, share that post (it helps to boost how many people see it); if not, share the link to the feature on your Facebook page
    Share the link on your Linkedin profile (if the content is relevant to that audience)

Photography: Kayla Barker Fine Art Photography | Event Design: Joy Proctor Design | Floral Design: Bows And Arrows | Dress: Yolan Cris | Ceremony Venue: Chateau de carsix | Linens: La Tavola Fine Linen Rental

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Tayler Cusick-Hollman

Contributing Editor
DIY Fall Flower Arrangement

There’s evidence out there that states waking up next to fresh flowers on your bedside table is a way to improve your energy throughout an entire day. When I saw that, I knew we had to save September’s foraged arrangement for my bedside table. September’s flower harvest is by farm my favorite! It’s full of all sorts of goodies (and we’re breaking them down below!) XO The girls at Petal Floral

MaterialsDahlias
Lace Hydrangea
Coleus
Amaranthus
Queen Anne’s Lace
Straw Flower
Autumn Blooming Clematis
Pokeberry

This month’s tip | go ahead and ask a local farm if you can clip from their fields. It makes for such a gorgeous array of colors and smells to fill your rooms!

Photography: Hello Love Photography

A Mauve Lakeside Wedding With the Most Creative Escort Display

The picturesque Lake Tahoe setting, the delicate mauve and dusty purple palette, the bride’s effortlessly gorgeous lace gown… there’s just so much to ooh and ahh over in today’s lakeside wedding from Audere Events. Our favorite part? The hand calligraphed pink Himalayan salt shot glass ESCORT CARDS. I meannnn, how creative is that? We’re obsessed. To watch all the magic unfold and get seriously inspired for your big day, don’t forget to check out the full gallery – taken by Janine Licare Photography!

From Janine Licare PhotographyAly and CJ’s summer Lake Tahoe wedding was filled with pretty mauve and dusty purple tones, stunning and lush florals, and a sailcloth tent with hanging lanterns, pitched under a redwood tree grove. When looking for a waterfront venue in Lake Tahoe, Gatekeeper’s Museum was the perfect spot. 

Aly’s lush bouquet had mauve roses, small white garden roses, delicate white poppies, a variety of greenery, and several textured elements in the same mauve tones. Her dress was a fit and flare with a sheer crochet lace overlay. Their ceremony took place on the lakeshore underneath redwood trees. The decor included large concrete planters in a variety of shapes and sizes filled with florals.

At the cocktail hour, in lieu of escort cards, the guests’ names were hand calligraphed onto pink Himalayan salt shot glasses. As each guest found their shot glass, they were poured a shot of tequila! One of the couple’s favorite activities when hosting friends and family at home, is to take a shot of tequila together to kick off the evening. After their “I Do’s”, they wanted to include their at-home tradition into their reception. 

The reception took place under a sailcloth tent and was arranged with a mix of long and round tables. Above the dancefloor were several large lanterns, some of which were made from nest-like branches and shaped into wooden hives. The lanterns were draped with greenery which tied the space into the forest around it. Reception tables held bright and bold floral arrangements, accented with lilac votives, and place settings included additional pops of dusty purples, blush and rose gold.

Photography: Janine Licare Photography | Event Planning and Design: Audere Events | Floral Design: Stems by Diana | Wedding Dress: Made With Love Bridal | Catering: Blend Catering | Hair and Makeup: Status Salon | Venue: Gatekeeper's Museum | Additional Rentals: Theoni Collection | Dress Salon: Lovely Bridal Shop | Lanterns: Theoni Collection | Linens: La Tavola Fine Linen Rental | Music: Sounds Elevated | Rentals: Celebrations Party Rentals | Stationery and Calligraphy: Sugar Pine Calligraphy

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How to Incorporate Fairytale Elements Into Your Wedding Decor Without Compromising Elegance

Disney fans – this one’s for you! If you’d love to incorporate subtle elements of that enchanting fairytale feel to your wedding day, but have no idea how to keep your decor looking timeless? Don’t worry, Heather Benge Events has got you covered. From an elegant tiara to a Cinderella-inspired color scheme, today’s shoot at The Olana is the your perfect blueprint for a fairytale wedding that will never go out of style. Head on over to the full gallery to see all the details, captured by Branson Maxwell!

From Branson MaxwellThis styled wedding is the perfect inspiration for brides wanting to incorporate fairytale aspects into their wedding without compromising elegance and class. 

As the couple twirls through the ballroom amongst all of the stunning details, you can’t help but think of Cinderella and her prince. 

The light blue and light pink pair perfectly with the gold accents and are the exact colors from the famous Cinderella fairytale. The bride’s ballgown and tiara are just what a princess would wear, and what bride doesn’t want to feel like a princess on their wedding day?

Photographer: Branson Maxwell | Styling: elevee and co | Florist: Flower Shack Blooms | Dress: Weddings By Debbie | Cake: XO Cakery | Stationary: Invitobella | Shoes: Bella Belle | Tux: Generation Tux | Venue: The Olana | Accessories: Etoile | Concept & Planning: Heather Benge Events | Decor: Gold Dust Event Co | Hair & Make Up: Sunkissed And Made Up | Host: Styled Shoots Across America | Linens: Nuage Designs | Rentals: Marquee Event Rentals | Ribbons: Flower Shack Blooms

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DIY Easy Autumn Garland for the Picture-Perfect Thanksgiving Table

Thanksgiving is quickly approaching, and though the food preparation can wait until next week, it’s definitely not too early to start planning your beautiful table! And Jess has the perfect DIY to ensure your table is as much of a hit as the turkey. The best part of this autumn garland is that your materials are mostly greens, which are heartier than flowers—you can make it a few days out from your event without worry, and afterwards it will dry out nicely. Get the DIY below!

Materials

instructions

step-1

Separate out your olive branches. Ones that have a pretty natural shape can be used as is, and ones where the stems and branches get haywire can be clipped into smaller, more elegant pieces.

step-2

Start by overlapping two olive branches. Wrap the stems together with a bit of floral wire where they overlap. Don’t worry if you can see the wire for now- we’ll cover it up later! Add another branch in this manner, and keep going until you’ve done a length about half the table.

step-3

Go back to the first olive branch, and wire on another branch- only this time facing the opposite direction. Continue adding branches in this direction until this side is equal with the first. This way we’ll make our garland look as though it starts in the center, spreading out both directions.

step-4

Now we can start adding some color into this garland by wiring on small clusters of various autumn greens. I started with the grass and the broomcorn because the were the most subtle, and just tucked small clusters every so often in between some olive branches and use floral wire to secure in place.

step-5

Next I added the more high contrast greens, the bronze and red amaranthus. I started with the bronze on the outer edges of the garland, then added more and more red towards the center, to give a slightly ombré effect.

step-6

Check over your garland- if there are spots that obviously show wire, tuck something on top so the wire is hidden. If there are spots with too many colored greens, pop in a stray olive branch to break it up. The nice thing about a table garland is that it really isn’t going anywhere- so don’t go nuts trying to make everything secure! These last little adjustments I usually just place unwired.

step-7

Finally, add the finishing touch with some rich, harvest-toned fruit. I just placed a few here and there along the garland, keeping red tones towards the center and bronze towards the edges. If you are adding candles to your centerpiece, you can tuck them in and out of the nooks of the garland to give a more organic look.

Photography: Ruth Eileen Photography | Design & Styling: SMP Living | Event Planning: Amazon | Invitations: Michaels | Greenery: Fifty Flowers