Thoughtful Thursday | A Lovely Family Photo Session

On last week, a high school friend of mine posted images of her family's holiday shoot to her Facebook profile.  I was so in love with them that I strolled over to the photographer's website for more! The entire shoot was absolutely stunning and the thoughtful post written was so heartfelt.  See for your self.

The photographer wrote:

I had the wonderful opportunity to photograph a very special family. The Rachals were once two different families, but in the end they shared one common value: love. It was apparent right from the beginning that it was going to be a fun and memorable shoot. The kids were really comfortable and friendly, which made it all the more enjoyable. While the parents, Latrail and Angel were so easy on the eyes, it would make for a really fantastic outing. What I enjoyed so much about this session was the fact that no matter what different walks of life we come from or the differences we may have endured in the past, we all have a single trait that ties us together and that is happiness and love.

To see more images from this great shoot visit Theary Mark's Blog.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Fashion Friday | The Chunky Necklace

I just LOVE chunky jewelry.  Especially the kind with ornate details as in this pearl necklace with brooch accents.  Why not add a breathtaking piece to your wedding day ensemble?

Stella and Dot has the perfect pieces to accent any wedding day wardrobe, and even your everyday fits for that matter!  Here are a few of my favorites...

Charlotte Statement Necklace

Sofia Pearl Bib Necklace

Stella Vintage Link Necklace

These lovelies will be on display at the Peonies and Pearls event happening December 5 from 3p - 5p at Entebello Apothecary & Spa, be sure to RSVP at http://peoniesandpearls.eventbrite.com


Thoughtful Thursday | Simulating Thanksgiving

By this time next week most of us will be rounding seconds {or third!} to the family’s Thanksgiving spread. Are you beginning to have chills about approaching the first, or third, Thanksgiving together after he’s popped the big question? Do you want to ease his fears of not having that nice home cooked Thanksgiving dinner he’s been use all these years? Never fear. Below you will find my sure fire way to create a memorable Thanksgiving. Now, I will not give you recipes for the traditional Thanksgiving favorites because those can be easily found on sites, such as Epicurious if you want to get fancy! What I will give you is the Cliff Notes version to a fabulous Turkey Day. Your MIL will sing your praises. That’s what it’s all about right?!

The Bird

Kroger has the best {the best} Rotisserie Chicken for about $4.99. I personally like the BBQ flavored variety. Scoop one (or two) of those up.

A side note: I am not a huge fan of turkey, hence the non-recommendation. As a child, we would have SO much turkey left over after Thanksgiving we would be eating it for at least a week after Thanksgiving. In every form,turkey sandwiches, turkey chili, turkey soup, turkey Tetrazini, turkey pot pie, turkey, turkey, and more turkey. So I cook chicken or hen for Thanksgiving. But I digress…

The Trimmings

We all know about that good ole’ Stove Top Stuffing, right? I use to hate this growing up, but have you ever tried to make cornbread dressing from scratch? I love it, but it's not for the faint at heart.  It takes forever. The turkey flavored stuffing works just fine.

Grab a can of jellied cranberry sauce. And now for the God sends…

The Holiday Collection from Stouffers. I mean, seriously, can it get any easier. I suggest getting Apples and Cranberries, Broccoli & Cheese Gratin, and Macaroni and Cheese. While in the freezer case, grab an apple pie from Mrs. Smith’s.

Don't forget to grab a bag of King Hawaiian's Sweet Rolls.  And while you’re in the bakery, find your darling’s favorite cake variety and throw that in the basket too. My husband’s favorite just happens to be Carrot Cake, which is perfect for Thanksgiving. Publix has a killer kind!

The Bait and Switch

Now that you have all the main dishes, it's all about presentation. Do not, I repeat, do not serve your family Thanksgiving dinner from the cartons that the frozen meals are packaged in. You will cancel out your hard earned props for this fabulous dinner if you do. Whip out the good stuff. Once you've cooked the dish in its container, transfer the side into those nice casserole dishes that you got as a house warming gift that you’ve never used. You know, those dishes.

The Staging

What’s Thanksgiving without a fabulous table setting?

Scout your local crafts stores for great fall accents to add to your table.  Target has great dinnerware if you want to spruce things up, without the hefty price tag.

My all-time favorite site for clever entertaining ideas is Martha Stewart.  You can't get any better, nor easier, then her.

Alas, be at ease!  A great Thanksgiving has nothing to do with you being able to cook collard greens like Paula Deen.  It’s about creating the familiarity that goes along with Thanksgiving. Once you’re married, you will begin to create new traditions of your own and then those will become the norm. If you can simulate the grand Thanksgiving dinner that he (or even you, for that matter) has been use to, he will really appreciate the effort. Besides…he’ll be watching football all day anyway.

Haute Event | Peonies & Pearls

Ciao Bella Weddings along with Lucky + Lovely, OMGbooth, and Entebello Spa and Apothecary are throwing a deliciously wonderful event that will excite all your senses.  See...the floral stylings of Ciao Bella Weddings.  Feed...your passion for fashion with jewelry finds from Stella and Dot. Channel...your inner rockstar with OMGbooth. Soothe...your spirit with relaxing spa treatments from Entebello.  Be sure to RSVP for this fabulous event, here!

We look forward to seeing you there!


So Random | Do you know...

...the difference between escort cards and place cards?  If yes, great.  If no, that's okay hopefully this post will make it crystal clear.

Seating of guests for your wedding reception can definitely be a taxing fete'.  By making seating arrangements prior to your wedding day, you can take the guess work and headache out of what could be a potential disaster on your hands.  Just think... what if a slew of guests who did not confirm their attendance showed up and booted those guests who were kind enough to reply out of their seats?  Not a good look, huh?! Nope, not. at. all.

Escort cards display the guest's name and table number and are traditionally placed in the lobby or pre-function area of the venue before the guests enter.

Place cards display the guest's name and is placed at the setting on the table.

Think of it this way...escort cards "escort" the guest's to their table, while place cards "place" them at a seat.

Make sense now...great!


Have A Seat, Here

What better way to tell your guest to have a seat than this pretty little butterly place card from Elsje Designs.


Boy Marries Girl | Marathon Marriage

Today is my anniversary and I'm elated.  Not just because it's an anniversary, but because of the journey.  There is a sense of accomplishment that a marathon runner feels when they have crossed the finish line.  It's that feeling that brings them back next year to do it all over again.  It's knowing that all of the sacrifice and hard work that they have put into preparing themselves for this race had meaning. An end. A glorious win.  It's hard not to go through life in sprint mode, because everything is needed like yesterday. We prepare, then conquer. But some things just don't fall very nicely into the "sprinting" category and marriage is one of them.  As you are preparing for your glorious sprint down the aisle, don't forget to prepare for the marathon which is your marriage.

As a fun note....I was a model in my past life (the one in my dreams!)


Haute Event | Something Old, Something New

Want a wedding that rivals Carrie Underwood's? You can at least have the venue right? Go take a look see. There is an awesome event coming up this weekend presented by StudioWed Atlanta at the Ritz-Carlton Reynolds Plantation on Sunday, November 7th. This beautiful property is nestled in Greensboro, GA, which just so happens to meet my mileage qualification from Atlanta to be categorized as an Atlanta Stay-cation Destination. The lovely Michelle Gainey of Lemiga Events and owner of StudioWed Atlanta, has crafted a luxurious weekend itinerary that both you and the Mr. can enjoy.
On Saturday:

•Welcome Bridal Tea
•Gentleman's Lounge - featuring televised sport events
•Style Suite - trunk shows for brides, moms, and bridesmaids
•Beauty Lounge – hair, makeup, veils, accessories trials
•Wedding Planning Seminar
•Wedding Design Seminar
•Dessert Decadence Reception
•VIP Preview Gifting Suite – fill your own swag bag
•Campfire concert with smores and cocktails
•Spa discounts

On Sunday:

•Lakeside Yoga
•Sunday Breakfast
•VIP Preview of Design Showcase
•All Sunday Bridal Events

If the pitch isn’t strong enough to convince they guy…take your best gal pal along for the weekend. Then you can come back and double team as to why the Ritz-Carlton Plantation should be your wedding venue. (that line along will get him packing!) For more information and to register, click here.

Thoughtful Thursday | The Elephant in the Room

During wedding planning, you will interview a slew of wedding professionals that are eager to work with you and make your wildest wedding wishes come true. At some point during your vendor interview (usually inserted after you have vividly described your grand entrance to a ceremony illuminated with a thousand candles), they will ask, “What’s your budget?” And it as if there has been a shift in the universe…the energy of the conversation immediately drains. Why? Money is always a touchy subject, especially when it comes to your wedding. But why should it be? Unfortunately nothing surrounding your wedding, except for love, will come utterly and willingly free! Vendors are not asking this question to be “in your business” or disqualify you as a client. It is a realistic question that needs to be asked and answered truthfully. Reason being…they cannot offer you a service that you have no idea of how you are going to pay for it. It doesn’t matter how large or small your budget is, if you have not given serious thought and consideration to a dollar amount that you are willing to spend for this particular service its hard for that vendor to be realistic with you about how much it is going to cost you. It wastes both time and energy.

For example, I put a lot of thought into my proposals and it is hard to give you a realistic vision of what services I can provide for your wedding if I don’t know what your budget is. If I present a proposal full of carnations and you’re a peony type of bride, will you consider me a viable option as a wedding florist? Probably not, because I did not offer you the look you were going for. However, if I in turn ladle a proposal with peonies from floor to ceiling and you know there is no way on earth you can afford that, I’m still not giving you what you need. This is utterly impossible without knowing how much you are willing to spend.

Even if you don’t know the going rate for a particular service, you should have an overall budget, right? Right! Have an idea of your guest count, right? Right! These two elements are oh. so. key, since your reception will utilize majority of this budget. There are a slew of websites that have tools that can help you “guess-timate” how much you can spend in each category. However, none of these tools are dead on. Depending on the type of wedding you wish to have some budgeted areas will be increased, while others may be decreased. This is probably the best place to start if you have no clue! Still clueless? Enlist the help of a human wedding calculator, also known as a wedding planner, to offer expert advice in this area.

Online Wedding Budget Tools

The Knot

The Perfect Wedding Guide


Martha Stewart Weddings

So the next time a vendor asks you “What’s your budget”. You can say it with confidence and then in turn ask them “ What services can you provide within my budget?


Boy Marries Girl |Happy 30th Anniversary

My dad always looks so serious. My mom always looks like a model!

My parent's have been married for thirty years today. That is a long time..even the (-th) sound takes a while to roll off the tongue. I couldn't be more blessed to have such great parents. My mom is the creative one. She and a friend actually planned her own wedding. She always brags about how she bought her dress for twenty bucks (imagine how she gasped at the cost of mine. ha!) Still can't operate a VCR to this day, but as a complete vegan can make "cheese" out of cashews and it actually tastes good! She can flawlessly execute a dinner party with all the bells and whistles at the drop of a dime. My dad is the analytical one. Got a problem...spend two minutes with him and he will break it down to the nucleus. I've never met a better listener (and talker!) He is so GQ, I mean just look at the fit in the picture. With those qualities combined how could I not have been wonderfully made!

Happy Anniversary. Love you guys!


Featured | The Perfect Wedding Guide

The fall/winter edition of the Atlanta Perfect Wedding Guide has just been released. This guide has been a wedding planning resource in the Atlanta area for some time now and has taken on a new look. More modern and appealing to you, the savvy bride. I am beyond ecstatic to share with you the new guide along with my features in "Ask The Experts" and "Attention to Details"!

View the entire guide here:

Masculine Monday | Cute Cuffs

So I am violating two things today...my original post for today was axed because of the cutest pic that I just came across. Secondly, I have used the word "cute", now three times in my masculine post, creating the biggest oxymoron ever. I'm such a rebel.

image courtesy of Geoff White Photography

Talk about some handsome cuff links! What a great wedding detail!


Haute Event | The One Night Stand

Calling all my budget savvy brides hurry over to The One Night Stand Event to register for this awesome bridal auction for the designer dress of your dreams. You know we are all about looking fabulous on our strut down the runway...I mean aisle!
When: Tomorrow
Sunday, 10.24.2010
4pm - 7:30pm
The W Midtown (check out this awesome venue!!)


Fabuless Friday | A Vase from IKEA

I must say that I was an IKEA stalker waaaaay before they opened in Atlanta. The amount of stuff they can cram into 250 sq. ft. is amazing! They have the most quirky looking accent pieces that are great additions to any wedding design. Take these bud vases for example, a mere $2.99. Add a vibrant bloom in a group of three…and voila, you have a beautiful cocktail centerpiece.
Be inspired by the sleek wedding stylings of JL Designs

This lovely cocktail table can be scooped up at Target!


Thoughtful Thursday | Planning A Fall 2011 Wedding?

Start scouting your local home décor and crafts stores for deals on their fall décor now. You will be amazed at the deals you find as they try to make room for the Christmas décor. My personal favorites are Pier1, HomeGoods, Michael’s and Hobby Lobby.

My only caveat, develop your design plan first.

Not everything you think is cute will compliment your OVERALL wedding design. Buying without purpose will not save you money, it will cost you major bucks and take up lots of space in your home for an entire year! If you think it’s too early to think of your entire design plan, only pick up small accent pieces for the cocktail hour or a great stand alone piece for an escort card or sign in table.

Check out these swoon-worthy images of fall decor inspiration from the talented photographer Geoff White.

Artificial pumpkins will be super easy to find this time of year!

Simple fall foliage added to a napkin, can be a great accent to any place setting!

Floral filled metal pails make great pew marker for an outdoor fall wedding!

Try filling them with acorns with a brightly colored ribbon attached!

Absolutely love the rich hues in this stunning centerpiece!

Ever considered a tall, robust wooden candlestick as a floral container?

Fall accent pieces look great on cake, sign in, and escort card tables.

Try finding a fall themed stamp to make place cards and table numbers.