Hey Gorgeous, The Blog

Events

Jun 23

Life with Lachlan

I’d risk the fall just to know how it feels to fly. Alicia Keys, How It Feels to Fly

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Lachlan turned five months over Father’s Day weekend and all sorts of emotions hit me like a freight train.

Before I became a mama I braced myself for what I thought would be a really hard transition into motherhood. I expected sleepless nights, a loss of self, a fizzled out passion for my work, a loveless marriage, and zero time for anything other than my child’s needs. That sounds totally bleak right? But I knew and promised myself even if all of those things came true it would be worth it for the chance to finally be a mom and hold my baby in my arms. I would risk it all for that. I’d walk through total darkness to be able to have a small slice of mama bliss.

Now that I’m on the other side of those fears and L is such a big part of our world, life has surely changed. The reality of our lives now is a sweet testament to my expectations being way wrong. Thank goodness for that! Alicia Keys’ How It Feels to Fly always hits home for me (listen to the song here if you’d like). Being L’s mom is what I would imagine flying feels like. Indescribable. Eloquently writing about the way this role has changed my life personally is hard to do but in simple terms life with Lachlan is really good and joyful.

And funny enough all of those things I feared falling apart when we became parents happened but in reverse ways. I certainly changed but in a way that feels natural not in a way that needs to be mourned. Finding ways to strengthen our marriage takes a bit more creative thinking now but ‘loveless’ is the last word I would use to describe how I feel now for my husband as he fathers our son so sweetly. My work? Serving my clients and intentionally using every single minute I’ve allocated to work is the name of the game these days. I look at my client’s weddings a bit differently now as I don’t just see beautiful details but also a couple who will go through one of life’s biggest adventures together in marriage. And well the sleepless nights? They aren’t completely sleepless but I assume one day we’ll sleep through the whole night. In the meantime I can exist on naps alone :)

Lachlan, you’re the best best best. We love you tremendously and completely.

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On that note, after Trouvaille 4.0 wrapped up I had the pleasure of having some motherhood photos taken by the talented Lauren Jolly. Most of the photos are personal but the one above is one of my favorite. Seeing Lachlan change almost daily and watching his little (or rather his BIG) personality come out now is so much fun! Thank you, Lauren for helping me to capture and bottle up all of the milestones during this season. Xoxo

Jun 7

Pretty Picnic Ideas

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Maybe it’s because I’m a new mama or maybe it’s because I’m officially in my thirties now (I swear something changed!) but I’m finding a lot of joy in the simple things these days. Can you believe I have never gone on a picnic? I was talking with my wonderful friend and also new mom, Sam about this and together thought we ought to change that! So while the photos in this post were taken for this exact purpose and are styled visuals, I hope they inspire you too, to make time for a picnic this summer. To me there isn’t anything more simple or joyful than eating a meal with your friends or family in the sweet summer sun!

All of the lovely images are from Sam of Bradley James Photography. We may or may not have sampled (read: consumed) all of the items pictured here. Proof that a picnic is a delicious idea for your summer schedule!

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Caprese Pasta Salad

• 1/2 box of uncooked pasta (pick your fave shape)
• 1 pack of heirloom cherry tomatoes
• a handful of fresh basil
• a dash of flavored balsamic (we used fig!)
• a dash of fresh extra virgin olive oil
• salt and pepper to taste

To make the salad cook your pasta as you would normally, rinse with fresh cool water and set to the side. Cut all of your tomatoes in halves and quarters. Toss together the fresh basil with the tomatoes and cooked noodles in a large bowl. Add in the vinegar, EVOO, and salt and pepper, tasting as you go until you have a desired flavor. It’s that easy! And here’s a fun tip; World Market has the most delicious balsamic vinegars in the tiniest little bottles. For best results, you can let the salad sit covered overnight in the fridge to let the flavors marinate.

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To make the heart accents in the gelato we used a sharp knife and these delicious cookies! You could also use a cookie cutter if you wanted to get creative with shapes. The glass cups are from Crate and Barrel but you could pre-scoop your gelato, store it in sealed mason jars, and keep in a cooler with ice until ready to serve.

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Five Tips for a Successful Picnic 

1. Consider an invitation regardless of where the picnic is or for how many guests. This allows your guests to prepare what they are going to wear and also gives them time to schedule accordingly. Your invite can be a text, email, or snail mail version but will certainly set the tone for the event. These beautiful yet simple invites from Smitten On Paper would be perfect for a bridal shower picnic or a just because picnic with your girlfriends right? Sam and I felt like guests at our own project shoot!

2. Plan out an easy menu. And select items that can be transported and served at room temperature – especially if you’ll be venturing far out for your gathering. We picked three ‘courses’ for our picnic: a charcuterie plate with goodies from World Market (easy to cut up ahead of time!), a caprese pasta salad which can be transported in mason jars and served at room temperature, and raspberry, chocolate chip gelato, which could easily be brought in a cooler packed with ice. Then of course some bottled tonic and ginger waters also from World Market. But you could bring any drink you’d like! If you like wine, try these.

3. Pick a spot for the picnic and prepare accordingly. Finding some shade under a tree on the grass is my cup of tea but perhaps you love the full sun or the beach! Instead of a small throw blanket consider using a bedspread to cover more ground and bring some pillows to rest your head or side on during the picnic. Not everyone enjoys eating while sitting on the floor so think ahead about your guest’s comfort and how you can make everyone enjoy themselves best.

4. Invest in a few sweet touches. Some people would argue that decorative touches (like a cute picnic basket, a vase with flowers, or fancy napkins) aren’t practical for a picnic but I like to think they MAKE the picnic! All of these thoughtful touches make an experience feel really special and I think that’s part of the magic of a picnic to begin with! So splurge on a bunch of peonies or a lovely blanket to use, or buy that over the top dessert or beach umbrella and rock it proudly at your picnic party!

5. Make your own rules! Because they’re really aren’t any! And bring a portable speaker to play your fave summer tunes. I’m obsessed with this summer jam! The HGE team will surely be playing this all summer long.

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Happy picnic season, friends! Xoxo

HowToHostAPicnic
May 19

40 Before 40

Hi! My name is Rhi and I turn 30 today. Wait what?

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I’ve always wanted to do a 30 before 30 post but as I inched closer and closer to this milestone today it never happened. So instead I created a 40 before 40 post and I’m pretty excited about it! My 20s were really amazing and full of ups and downs, so it feels like the sky is the limit, my friends! Here’s to the next ten years of my life and making them count in a special way.

RHIANNON’S 40 BEFORE 40

1. Celebrate Lachlan’s first birthday in a special way.

2. Take a tropical family vacation somewhere in the US (Florida!)

3. Build our forever home.

4. Learn one new way to style my hair! Nancy Ray I need your help!

5. Be baptized at the same time as my son. (March 2015)

6. Run a fun 5k like the Color Run!

7. Learn how to make one amazing from-scratch recipe.

8. Celebrate our ten year anniversary with a vow renewal!

9. Read the entire bible.

10. Take a summer picnic with my boys and Zoe.

11. Surprise a friend by arriving at their home for a visit (preplan this with a spouse/friend!)

12. Visit Charleston.

13. Start five new Christmas traditions with our son.

14. Create an email address for Lachlan so I can send him letters until he’s old enough to login and read. (December 2015)

15. Gift a Trouvaille scholarship to someone the Lord puts on my heart. (November 2015)

16. Go see a holiday play or ballet.

17. Fit back into my clothes from before Lachlan was born.

18. Create an intentional morning routine that I cherish and love.

19. Leave a birthday gift in the mailbox for the mail lady (we share a birthday so this should be easy!)

20. Finish Lachlan’s baby book!

21. Host a cheese and wine party with some of our closest friends.

22. Give a $30.00 Meijer gift card to a homeless person.

23. Cash in all of the coins in our closet and put the money into our savings account.

24. Book a wedding in North Carolina or another favorite southern city.

25. Reread Entreleadership by Dave Ramsey.

26. Try oysters with Andrew!

27. Find a grown up cocktail I can learn to love!

28. Treat my Dad to a fancy dinner and bottle of wine at The Reserve.

29. Send a care package to a new mom.

30. Be able to do a press handstand again post baby.

31. Learn how to perfectly marinate and cook steak.

32. Have a wedding featured on or in Martha Stewart Weddings.

33. Take a spontaneous weekend trip to Chicago.

34. Become more confident with my speaking skills.

35. Practice my calligraphy so I can address a letter in lovely writing.

36. Pack a lunch for Andrew and put a love note in the bag.

37. Create an outdoor patio or porch space to host dinner parties with friends.

38. Decorate the exterior of our home beautifully for the holidays (start in October!)

39. Teach a DIY floral class at church.

40. Learn how to successfully grow and keep my rose bushes alive.

Photo of the dude and me taken by my dear friend, Sam. I can’t believe he’ll be ten when I turn 40 :)

May 16

The Magic of Mock Ups

One of the biggest parts of my creative process includes orchestrating a floral and design mock up for clients.

A mock up is essentially an opportunity to set up a complete tablescape for my clients so they can see their flowers, stationery, rentals, linens, candles, and other miscellaneous details all together in advance of the wedding. I used to only offer mock ups to clients that requested them but over the past year have included them in the cost of my services so they are available to everyone. These personalized mock ups are such a tremendous asset to the way I serve my clients and below is a little more on why.

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Mock ups help me quote my clients more efficiently.

While some florists and designers are pretty great at knowing what to order based on each event’s needs, I find mock ups help to maximize profit and ensure I’m not over or under purchasing product. Creating a centerpiece to illustrate a design for a client allows me to better determine my recipe and ensure I purchase just what I need for the wedding plus a little extra for padding (something I do regardless). This helps me structure pricing in a way that is calculated and fair versus a way that feels like a guessing game that could potentially miss the mark.

Mock ups help ensure I am meeting a client’s expectations.

Because my team and I are so involved in the design of an entire wedding there are hundreds of details being proposed from our end to the client’s for consideration. While many can come across as straight forward (e.g. ‘an 8 foot table’ which is easy to picture), some require a bit more of a description and even, seeing in person to make sure every one involved is on the same page (e.g. ‘a garden compote created with blush floral varieties in a gold compote vessel’; What shade of blush? What size of container? Are we talking a brassy or a mercury glass gold?) I liken this to why gown shops offer alterations, caterers and bakers hold tastings, and stationers send virtual proofs. Our goal as designers and providers is to ensure we are delivering what our client will love in order to meet their expectations. And I’m going to do everything I can to set myself up for success!

Mock ups allow ample time for my clients and me to troubleshoot details ahead of the big day.

This reason is probably the biggest of all in favor of a mock up! Mock ups help me to work collaboratively with my clients and their team of vendors to troubleshoot potential problems before they can unfold on the day of. A few examples of some things that could come up at a mock up helping you to avoid disasters on the big day? A new vase you’re hoping to use for a wedding requires a liner because the material seeps water. Or a linen you’re dying to incorporate which looks beautiful online needs an underlay in real life so the table underneath doesn’t show. Or perhaps the centerpieces you’re creating are actually too big for your tables given that your client is having a family style dinner. A mock up in this circumstance would allow you to see if there is adequate room for platters of food on the tables or if you’ll need to consider a different table size or arrangement altogether.

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As my pricing has changed over the past years, I’ve learned to incorporate the average cost of a mock up into the investment for my services. One reason I’ve done this is to avoid clients feeling like they’re being nickel and dimed. The other is to further establish HGE as a high end, all inclusive boutique business. I WANT my clients to have the luxury of a mock up experience and the peace of mind knowing what they can expect on the big day.

Since the cost of a mock up can obviously add up very quickly when you consider the price of flowers, linens and napkins, rentals, candles and stationery, plus the time and effort you’ll give, below are a few tips and tricks to help you maximize your efforts IF and WHEN you too decide to offer this as an inclusion to your clients!

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ONE: Schedule a mock up around another milestone where you could utilize your florals or rentals a second time. Having a dinner party for a friend? Use the linens and napkins from the mock up! Did new neighbors just move into your neighborhood? Repurpose your mock up centerpieces into a welcome arrangement! In the past I’ve had mock ups where I’ve had to order more florals than needed for the tablescape so I’ve used the leftover blooms to make a bouquet for my bride or an arrangement she can bring home with her as a surprise. Or I’ve scheduled mock ups around a holiday and offered pop up shop arrangements using the flowers I would otherwise toss. If you think creatively about your mock ups you can make them worthwhile!

TWO: Communicate the benefits of a mock up to the other visual vendors playing a part in the wedding. Chances are they would be willing to cover the costs of their contributions in order to make sure the client is happy and the wedding will look as beautiful as possible. When I don’t host a mock up in the HGE studio, I instead bring everything to the rental company hired for the event, where I am graciously offered space in their showroom and complimentary access to the rentals for the mock up. This gives me a chance to show my clients everything to scale but also allows them a chance to see different rental options should they feel indecisive about their choices. Many times I myself have used the time at a mock up to play around with charger patterns, linens, or chairs and the final outcome has changed drastically from where my clients and I started design-wise!

THREE: Consider having your mock ups photographed (like I did here for Christine and Nick’s Chicago wedding in July!) Professional photographs allow you and your client to see how your designs will look from the eyes of your photographer who often captures things differently than you can on your iPhone. It also allows the photographer to get a feel for the wedding ahead of time. Finally, the professional pics from your mock up are an awesome way to share your work on social media, share the love with vendors, and add to your portfolio.

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If you’re a wedding vendor, I’d love to hear more about your thoughts on mock ups!

Also, a huge thank you to Sam of Bradley James Photography for coming to the studio to snap these photos for me! While Sam isn’t the one photographing the real wedding in July, having these photos was very helpful for me and my bride to see and make final decisions on things like the chargers, linens, napkin color, and centerpiece quantity per table! Plus, the photos (and that color palette!) are so pretty right?

Happy Monday, friends! Xoxo

May 9

Kristina + Josh {HGE Wedding with Marissa Maharaj}

Childhood sweethearts. Devoted Believers. Souls made of grace and gratitude. Kristina and Josh.

If you know these two well you’ll know they are a rare pair and a true gift to know and love. When I was first contacted to play a part in their late winter Seattle wedding celebration, I was very excited. Travelling to execute a wedding in a new place is a passion of mine, and the more places I get to serve my clients in the better. As Kristina told me about her fiance, Josh, their romance (which goes back all the way to grade school), their adorable bulldog, Henry, their loving families, and their faith in the Lord, I knew I would be incredibly grateful to be alongside these two every step of the way. And I was absolutely right.

What was supposed to be a January winter wedding, ended up becoming an early March wedding for these two, which allowed for a darker color palette infused with the hopefulness and newness of spring. Using mustard, cranberry, and navy tones paired together with ivory, blush, and lavender, we brought in so many beautiful colors, textures, and florals to play off the rustic and industrial space of Sodo Park. The venue felt like a fairytale from the minute people walked into the pre-ceremony until guests sent off the couple through a sparkler tunnel to their awaiting vintage car. The stars certainly aligned that night.

Kristina and Josh, and the Coates family especially; we love you! Thank you for your graciousness. Seattle will always hold a special place in my heart thanks to you. And to the vendors that all made this wedding happen, thank you too. There was an absolute dream team behind this event and I feel lucky to have been in great company working this event. More on everyone at the bottom of this post. And finally, Marissa Maharaj is responsible for the gorgeous imagery seen throughout both this post and the beautiful feature on BRIDES.

Enjoy some of my favorites from this special soiree!

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The ceremony space was one of my favorites from last year. We decorated a 5 by 5 foot circular hanging Edison bulb chandelier with greens and blooms to hang over where the couple would stand and say their vows. This then become the hanging focal point for over their cake and dessert table at the reception. I spent most of the set up that day up on a ladder but it was well worth it and really made quite the statement!

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Those flower girls! The sweetest.

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Jenny from Graceline Art created the stunning invitation suite which I designed and assembled into dove gray box mailers. We used laser cut wood medallions to adorn the ribbon wrapping everything together and of course, vintage stamps on the outside of the boxes. The paper was triple weight and included water color florals hand painted by Jenny plus gold foil and letterpress detailing. They were truly works of art!

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And the bouquets! So many delicious textures and colors.

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Like a real life fairytale, right?

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I also have to thank Steve and Jamie of Sinclair and Moore for letting Betsi, the team and me use their gorgeous studio space for the week. Without it, I’m not sure this would have been doable! And to the gals who freelanced that week (like Trouvaille alum Jen!) I had such fun working alongside you. Let’s do it all again soon shall we?

See you this summer, Kris and Josh! Xoxo

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Ceremony & Reception Venue: Sodo Park /Photography: Marissa Maharaj / Planning, design, floral, coordination: Hey Gorgeous Events / Bride’s Wedding Dress: Sarah Seven / Hair & Makeup: Erin Skipley / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Zara / Groom’s Attire:Ralph Lauren / Groomsmen’s Attire: Jos. A. Bank / Flower Girl Attire: Tutus Chic / Invitations: Graceline Art / Music: Puget Sound Strings; Austin Beaver / Catering: Herban Feast / Cake: Honey Crumb Cake Studio / Rentals: ABC Rentals / Videographer: Good Times Productions / Floral tags: Layers of Loveliness / Linens: La Tavola Linens