Hipster Garden Party

In life I usually like one of two things when it comes to design: gaudy excess or mixed materials. When we were searching for inspiration for The Crystal Clear Vision Event at Mayapalooza, mixed materials won out mainly because I didn't want to scare people. 

Our design wasn't unfamiliar at all - our number one pin on Pinterest is a growler with flowers we used for a stylized shoot back in early 2013, so we started there. After doing some digging I became obsessed with the idea of a wooden table runner, and tin cans added a fun industrial twist. 

What colors should we go with? What can we do to make this cohesive? When in doubt, I default to our branding colors. The gals at Waterford Event Rentals found the perfect textured grey linen and I loved the light coral napkin for a pop of color. Usually I would stop there, but this is a design competition after all, so the gold chargers were added for extra dimension. 

Photo cred: Kirstyn Marie Photography

Photo cred: Kirstyn Marie Photography

By this point I had dubbed our hodgepodge mess of a table as a "Hipster Garden Party" so the rest of the ideas came rather naturally. PaperDolls Design was totally on board with our super simple typewriter font, and she created "Hipster Bingo" instead of a menu card for the napkins. Blue Steel Design incorporated their cafe lights for our design last year, and considering how obsessed I am with them all the time, the lights were a must. 

Now what about the details? Originally I asked Blue Steel to hang an extra wire so I could clip polaroid pictures to it, but that became too troublesome. I had Cherry Blossom's head shots printed in cute 2x2 squares by Persnickety Prints to use as "place cards" and bought these cute little bikes to prop them up on. What's more hipster than polaroids and bikes?! Pedro (the gold dinosaur) got most of the attention overall, and we were totally ok with that. I borrowed hammered flatware, found a complete set of various beer glasses for a table of six, and then called it a day. 

Since the whole idea behind the event was to inspire brides + grooms for their own wedding, we needed to add a little something wedding-ish. We've always been a big fan of Palette of Petals and thankfully they were into our idea of transforming tin cans + growlers into centerpieces. Trust me - some people would roll their eyes at the idea! We threw in some altoid tins at the last minute and they totally embraced it. Mary even sourced this reclaimed wood to bring the idea of a wooden table runner to life. 

Photo Cred: Kirstyn Marie Photography

Photo Cred: Kirstyn Marie Photography

Aren't these photos by Kirstyn Marie fantastic? Knowing she was photographing our table is making us super anxious to see how she captured all the quirky details. Speaking of details, the other designers really knocked it out of the park. It was so wonderful to be inspired by event and wedding planners in our area (a grafitti banner by As You WishEmily Weddings' under the tree theme! Events by Jacklyn had such a beautifully designed table with the best color combos ever!), and we had the opportunity to meet some folks we only previously knew on IG.

Next year I'm thinking about going old school cartoon-ish/ full tacky on everyone, but we'll just have to wait and see. Bravo and air kisses for everyone involved - the event was a huge success!

Photo cred: Kirstyn Marie Photography

Photo cred: Kirstyn Marie Photography

No Dogs Allowed

To say I love our dog is an understatement. She's so much fun, matches my energy most of the time, and is my very own personal space heater. Every day when she wakes up it's the best day of her life as evident by her hyperness and relentless tail wagging. As much as I love her and as hard as it is not to fall into the Pinterest trap, I do not want her at the wedding. Here's why:

1. I often joke that Roxy is a perpetual two-year-old. She needs constant supervision and will accidentally destroy something out of boredom if left unattended. Toddlers do the same thing, right? 

2. She doesn't hang out with 100 of our closest friends and fam all at the same time on a regular basis, so trying it out at the wedding for the first time isn't the safest bet. Same goes for being in a new environment - I don't want to risk scaring the poor thing.

3. Back to the toddler reference: she needs to come with her own carry-on. Obviously she needs water, food, treats, doggy bags, her leash, and maybe even a blanket from home. Who is going to carry all of this? Where is her food and water going to be set up? Who's going to mop up the trail of water she politely leaves all over the place? 

Obviously she needs to be represented throughout our wedding somehow, but what's a dog mom to do? Our plan is to have her be a part of our engagement shoot and to weave little touches of her cute face throughout the reception. Our favors will be from her (more on that later) and hopefully our cake topper will be a little mini chocolate lab. Our dog is a huge part of our life but the idea of her tail knocking over the pipe and drape is reason enough to leave her comfortably at the puppy spa for the day.

 

Photo Cred: Dragon Studio

Photo Cred: Dragon Studio

How To Tackle A Monster To-Do List

My life is ran by checklists, due dates, and calendar reminders, and I'm damn proud of it. I've had almost 4 years of perfecting how to keep track of what's due and when, and believe you me when I tell you there are still nights I panic. When I feel overwhelmed, I go into hyperdrive and lock myself into my office until I feel back to normal. Here's what I tackle first and why:

1. Turn off email notifications and turn high energy music on. I like to set the stage and not have any distractions in my way, so emails are put on hold for a couple of hours. And nothing gets me jazzed about being locked in a room like some Beyonce or Skrillex thumping in the background. 

2. Deadlines rule. If something on my to-do list has a hard deadline, I start with those action items first. End of story.

3. Get to the root of the problem. After I knock out the time sensitive stuff, it's time to move onto what's stressing me out. Why am I feeling anxious in the first place? Do I need to revisit a certain timeline? Maybe I need to repack the emergency kit? Whatever it might be, I dedicate a chunk of time to it so I can sleep better at night.

4. Edit, update, repeat. At this point I've probably knocked out a signification portion of my to-do list, yay! What's more gratifying that checking stuff of the list? NOTHING, absolutely NOTHING. But I can't stand a sloppy list so now I have a good reason to run through it again and start from the top.

 

Weddings With Pride

Wedding shows are a lot of fun. There's champagne, fun couples excited about their wedding, fun vendors who are excited about everyone else's wedding, and drag queens in couture. Oh wait, that's not every wedding show, that was the first ever Weddings With Pride showcase that happened last weekend.

The day started bright and early with two different venue tour options. Both limos were stocked with champagne and a Wedding Ninja, so whether you opted for the Virginia Beach loop or the Norfolk loop, it was a win-win. We went from venue to venue learning about the different options asking questions like tourists, and we were fed mimosas. It was a tough job that started at 9:00 AM, but we were happy to be a part of it.

Virginia Beach Tour Group! 

Virginia Beach Tour Group! 

When the tours wrapped up, it was time for the expo portion of the afternoon. A wedding expo is almost like a mall filled with wedding vendors. If you're engaged, it's a super efficient way to learn as much as you can in a super short amount of time. This expo was a little different because everyone there was a proud supporter of the LGBT community. Each business was either gay owned or gay friendly, and genuinely wanted to help every couple pull their wedding dreams together. 

Part three of the showcase was at Work | Release in downtown Norfolk. Not only did you get a drink ticket for a free cocktail, there were drag queens in gorgeous gowns from House of Maya. Think about that for a minute: drag queens in bridal gowns. So many of the couples from the first part of the day were still going strong. It was so wonderful to see vendors and couples alike just having a great time and letting their hair down. Given how awesome this year was, it will be amazing to see what 2017 holds! 

Norfolk Tour Group! 

Norfolk Tour Group! 


The Anti-Bride Goes Dress Shopping

I never really thought of myself as an anti-bride, but I'm starting to think that title might be appropriate. My first wave of panic happened recently when I was supposed to go dress shopping with a bunch of girlfriends. It was all set up: we were going to drive up to DC for the day, run around the city trying on dresses, and then head back home. It sounds fun on paper, but then I ran through all the "what ifs" (I'm a planner, I can't help it). What if traffic was terrible? What is all the sample sizes were too small and immediately made me angry? What if my lunch lady arms made every dress impossible to work with? 

And just like that I cancelled the trip. To be honest, I'm a bit of a lone ranger. So much of my life is spent orchestrating large events so I tend to keep my personal circle pretty small (mainly my fiance and dog). Without telling anyone I made an appointment to try on dresses at Milk & Honey Bride in Virginia Beach. It felt right. No entourage, no traffic, and I know the samples they carry in stock will easily slide over my curves vs. making me want to starve myself. Plus, Karen and Brooke just seem like fun people to hang out with. It was a no brainer! 

I show up on Thursday at 10:00 AM and we hit the ground running. We animatedly chatted about the details my fiance and I have been dreaming up over champagne and next thing you know I was in my first dress.

No, this isn't my dress but it sure is beautiful! 

No, this isn't my dress but it sure is beautiful! 

 

It's important to mention here that I've never tried on a bridal gown before. Not even for fun. My work is shaped around weddings and brides and dresses, but I've never been a model or had a wedding before. Karen and Brooke knew I liked tutus in my everyday life and pulled dresses within my budget before I even got there. This made the whole experience so easy!

Four dresses were on the rack but I was done after number three. It was perfect. Classic, simple, felt like me and fit like a glove. It might have been the champagne or maybe the fact I just didn't want to take it off, but I knew it was the one. To humor myself I tried on the other dress, but I was just playing around at that point.

So much of the experience is really thanks to Karen and Brooke. The whole concept of their "curvy couture" business is genius and they genuinely love what they do. Their store is so light and bright, and you instantly feel at home there (it's gorgeous, you'll want to move in). Between their years of experience and high emotional IQ's, I highly encourage all brides, curvy or not, to make an appointment at Milk & Honey. If your experience is anything like mine, you'll be tempted to stop telling people you're an anti-bride.  

Brooke, Crystal, and Karen post dress shopping

Brooke, Crystal, and Karen post dress shopping