Alexandra + Josh {HGE Wedding with Mango Studios}

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There’s not much I can say to really give this wedding the justice it deserves. I get goosebumps just looking over these gorgeous photos from Mango Studios, reliving this day, all these moments, over and over again. Alex and Josh exemplify true love, that selfless, knock you off your feet, I-want-that kinda love. I shared a bit more about these two and the process I went through getting to know them over on Ruffled where the entire wedding is featured. And I encourage you to go read what I shared so you too can catch a glimpse into the world of Alex and Josh. It’s a beautiful, musically inspired, incredibly raw, imperfectly perfect world that I was utterly and absolutely honored to have been a part of.

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When a bride asks for a crown of bay leaves to pair with her Jenny Packham gown, you don’t argue.

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Alex and Josh prepared for their wedding in their respective childhood homes, with their families and bridal party members surrounding them and helping them calm their nerves. The couple decided to see each other for the first time when they met at the alter. There’s magic in this folks. Magic I tell ya. The couple’s faith and belief in the Lord combined with their deep admiration and respect for their family’s culture was very inspiring to me.

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Boxwood greens, white wax flower, bay leaves and brunia berries made up the boutonnieres.

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The church was breathtaking. What a perfect place to start your married life in right?

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In the next photo you’ll see Josh in the church, and beside him his father who also served as his best man. This photo was taken the second the church doors opened, revealing Alex and her Dad beginning the bride’s processional. Oh, and beside Josh’s dad is the bride’s brother. Don’t get me wrong, I love a gorgeous detail photo as much as the next person out there, but THIS is what weddings are about. The longer I’ve worked in this industry the more I find I’ve grown to focus on and appreciate what’s really important here like the emotion that’s undeniable in this photo.

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Best ‘Just Married’ photo I’ve ever seen!

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Between the ceremony send off and the traditional Italian cocktail hour starting back at the venue, the bridal party hiked out to the woods for some amazing photos and video footage. The natural surroundings and Canadian autumn weather were the perfect compliment to the wedding aesthetic and couple’s personal style, am I right?

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Each girl’s bouquet was made up with a variety of different blooms including chocolate cosmos, white anemones, David Austin garden roses, pink astilbe, white veronica, privet berries, jasmine vine, bay leaves and two varieties of ferns. The bouquets were understated but romantic to compliment each bridesmaid’s style of dress. Aren’t these girls so stunning? They were  so sweet throughout the day, making me feel welcome while making sure Alex felt like a million bucks.

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This.

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Josh is in an amazingly rad band and music is a huge part of the couple’s lives. Naturally this happened.

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It’s customary at Italian weddings for each guest to take a shot once they make their way through the receiving line. Not a bad tradition to follow through with right? Even better, after your choice of shot, you make your way to the dance floor, where an impressive display of Italian antipasti selections await. Towers of breads, meats, cheeses and seafood, chefs stations and platters of appetizers, followed by a four course meal, late night food display and dessert table all ensured each and every one of the 220 guests were satisfied and well taken care of.

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It’s always such a pleasure to work with Jocelyn of Sugarbelle Cakes. She’s a true artist and joy to work with whenever I have the pleasure of working back home in Canada. Her trio of delectable cakes were surrounded by cake stands with authentic Italian cannolis made at a little bakery that Alex’s family frequently visits and homemade custard tarts.

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Then after the couple cut their cake, we ushered everyone out to the lake front for a sparkler send off under the guise of it being a fun photo opportunity. Which it was. However, just as the couple exited out of the tunnel of guests the first firework shot off into the sky from the nearest lake pier off the property. Guests quickly gathered around the couple and took in the 12 minute surprise show, clapping and cheering with every firework that lit up the October sky.

I hate to be redundant here but this was magic. Absolute magic.

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Oh and please watch this video. Like right now. It’s the most remarkable wedding production I’ve ever seen. Outside In Studio just gets it. Between being an absolute pleasure to work with (Ric and Vic I adore you guys), being true artists with their craft and giving people like Alex and Josh these hand crafted memories to treasure forever? Fine fine fine, I’ll shut up now. You probably get it. Watch the video. Love on this couple. You’re welcome :)

Alexandra & Joshua – Mountains are made molehills. from Outside In Studio on Vimeo.

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Photography: Mango Studios / Partial planning, design, florals and coordination: Hey Gorgeous Events / Videographer: Outside In Studio / Venue: Liuna Gardens / Wedding dress: Jenny Packham / Groom’s suit: Harry Rosen / Wedding cake: Sugarbelle Cakes / Fireworks: Firemasters Productions / Vintage rentals: Fancy Fray / Linens: La Tavola and Luxe Event Linen / Stationery: done by the bride

Pep Talk Tuesday {Ignore the Rest}

So a friend sent me this article the other day. After a frazzled phone call from yours truly of course.

Mind blown. Life changed.

I’m not sure about you, but I often place too much value on other’s opinions concerning my decisions and actions. I feel validated when a friend tells me something is a good idea, or something looks good, because, hey! That must mean I’m doing something good. Which directly correlates with feeling validated because we all want to be seen as successful, talented people full of goodness. Our peers are so often huge players in our mindset of how we do things in this life, how we view the world and one another, and ultimately, the biggie here, how we feel about ourselves (oh and I’m sure this is a given to most of you who have been reading here for a while but I’m not a psychologist in any capacity).

Well, for me it’s gotta stop like yesterday. The above linked article really illustrated that for me. I’ve blogged about following your gut and listening to your intuition. As human beings with an infinite amount of feelings and thoughts, and the obvious fact that we are technically with ourselves every second of my existence, we know ourselves the BEST. We know what we want most days, we know what we like, we know what makes us comfortable, uncomfortable, happy, angry, we know when we don’t feel good or when something feels off, and we know when we’re due for a change, small or big. Advice from friends is one thing but weighing too heavily on their opinions is another.

So why do we question taking action? Why do we have the mindset that a friend or acquaintance’s opinion is the best for us when we usually already know it is? And maybe this is just how I feel sometimes, but how come we feel disappointment when we ask a friend for their opinion, with the understanding that we ourselves already like the prospect of whatever item we’re requesting feedback on, and they fire back with unfavourable responses? Maybe we’ve lost of sense of trusting our guts. Maybe we think our friends are smarter or more experienced. Maybe we need an article like the one above to knock some serious sense into ourselves.

Or maybe we just need to act and ignore the rest.

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Ignore the rest today. Do something remarkable. And know you’ve got this.

Photo by the incredible Rylee Hitcher of a HGE floral creation. Xoxo

Kristen + Chris {HGE Wedding with Abby Rose}

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Hearts. Hearts for days. Two hearts in love. Two hearts becoming one. Hearts on the ceremony alter, hearts on the invitations, hearts on the dance floor. Yup big lovely heart decals on the dance floor. That actually happened. Kristen and Chris, I really adore you two. From the minute we met over a year and a half before your big day, to the second I hugged you both into a big sweaty good bye hug at 1:00 am (after we begged the DJ to keep the dance floor packed for one more hour), I’ve saved a big piece of my heart just for you guys. Watching you create this incredible marriage together so full of what matters most has been such an amazing blessing for me. And a lesson in understanding the best stuff always comes from the same place. You guessed it; the heart. Where all good things come from.

A big thank you to the amazing Abby Rose for these gorgeous images. Below are a few of my favorites.

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There’s nothing lovelier than a long veil caught in the wind. Am I right?

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A little bit about those pins above: for the event’s escort cards we had large pins made, one per guest. Each pin had something written on it that was meaningful to the couple, whether it be the place they met, where they were engaged, where they love to hangout, what their pup’s name is, and the list goes on. With 300 guests and 29 tables to represent, there was an impressive list of meaningful places, names and items printed on all the pins. Once people went into the reception tent after cocktail hour, they found their pin name assigned to a specific table and then a description into what the pin name was all about. Big props to my girl Ashli for creating all of those gorgeous pins and making sure they all matched up to each name properly. I loved getting to know so much more about my couple by reading all of these sentiments. Speaking of receptions. Here’s a little peek into this one. I’m telling you, lounges are IT.

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Since Kris and Chris were married on a very hot day in the middle of August, we decided to carry over that same summer warmth and brightness into the florals. Liz and her team at the Parsonage did such a beautiful job with the florals using a ton of Michigan grown dahlias, garden roses and hydrangeas in the mix. We also incorporated Romeo, Michigan peaches into the tablescapes as a nod to both the peach and butter wedding color palette and the place where the couple first met. At the end of the night, we put all those juicy peaches in baskets for guests to take home.

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Heather and her team over at Sweet Heather Anne helped take the heart theme and color scheme with this wedding to a whole new level on the dessert table. I can’t wait to reveal the entire spread. It was such a labor of love and a huge hit for the guests. Oh, and one of the most delicious I’ve ever enjoyed at a wedding (it was just like the spread we served at the couple’s coed camping themed couple’s shower which you can view more of over here).

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The backdrop behind the couple’s sweetheart table was covered in peach, yellow, gray and white cut out hearts as a nod to the overarching heart theme. A single ornate white IKEA frame hung a sign that read, “Today is the best day ever!” which was also carried over from an oversized framed signed that was placed at the entrance to the stunning Meadowbrook Hall. The same phrase was used on the menus, programs and other printed goods from Printech Group.

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Look out for more from this wedding on Style Me Pretty soon! There’s so much goodness from this event and this is just a little sampling. Kristen and Chris, thank you for allowing me to be a part of this milestone in your lives. You and your family so graciously welcomed me with open arms into your families and treating me with so much respect and kindness. Sending you love always! Also, a big high five to the incredible team below who helped make this event possible. There’s nothing more wonderful that my east Michigan crew of vendors!

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Planning, design and styling: Hey Gorgeous Events / Photography: Abby Rose Photo / Florals: The Parsonage / Venue, catering: Meadowbrook Hall / Cake and desserts: Sweet Heather Anne / DJ: Mike Staff Productions / Rentals: Special Events Rental / Linens: La Tavola / Brides gown and accessories: The Gown Shop Ann Arbor / Bridesmaids: J. Crew / Candlebras and signage: Events by I Candy / Escort pins: Big Yellow Dog Designs / Heart straws and coasters: The Pink Orange

Instalove Friday

Happy Valentines Day, blogettes!

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I hope that whatever you choose to fill your heart with today is made of the good stuff. Andrew and I are celebrating tonight with a little take out, a surprise dessert from yours truly and a quick clean up of the house before we prep for our trip tomorrow. Since we have house sitters watching our place and our pets while we’re gone we decided a clean home would be a nice gesture, not to mention coming back home will be that much easier! Andrew spent most of last week sick, and naturally I caught his cold and spent this week feeling rotten, so decorations and all things fancy have been put on the back burner this year; with the exception of this adorable Lulu and Georgia doormat. The cutest right? You can snag your own here and use the code HEARTDAY20 to save 20% your purchase (valid until Sunday!)

Have a lovely day celebrating what matters. Catch you all at the end of the month xoxo

Katie + Bryan {E-Session by Jen and Jonah}

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Oh, Katie and Bryan. Bryan and Katie. Two souls truly made for one another. Katie, a sweet, quiet but incredibly loving (and downright stunning) gal. Seriously how lovely is she? And Bryan, a gentlemen and all around happy guy with eyes only for Katie. These two are like most of my couples in the sense that I often feel overwhelmingly appreciative of even just being a witness to their love. To see two people so completely head over heels in love with one another makes me realize how sacred and wonderful a marriage really is. And to be given the gift of helping these couples celebrate their love in such a special, involved and curated fashion is absolutely a blessing I don’t ever dare take for granted.

Katie and Bryan are married already. You may remember some of their wedding photos from my Instagram feed over the holidays. They became husband and wife on New Year’s Eve and rang in 2014 the best way possible. Together with their amazing photographers Jen and Jonah Otchy, we also had the pleasure of seeing their engagement session featured on Style Me Pretty; in the most serendipitous of ways the feature went up just as Katie was preparing the walk down the aisle that day. And since the film scans came back earlier this week from the wedding itself (oh my gosh!) I figured today was as wonderful as a day to share the photos and memories that marked the start of their happily ever after.

Katie and I worked together to style the session with minimal props and outfits that would compliment the feel she was after. The rest is thanks to the talent behind the lens, Jen and Jonah. What a treasure to work with such talent.

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The balloon photo was used on their dinner menus as a nod to the new year!

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That lovely mint color of Katie’s dress was used throughout the wedding too. Can’t wait to share more!

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Perfection.

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And this was the photo we used on the couple’s Save the Dates last spring.

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Happy Wednesday, friends. Make it a beautiful one xoxo