Hey Gorgeous, The Blog

Events

Nov 22

5 Ways to Make Your Wedding Stand Out

One of the compliments we most receive from our clients is how we manage to make every wedding look uniquely different and clearly catered to the personalities and interests of the couple, but still consistently in line with our brand values – which is creating timeless, innovative and beautiful weddings. This always brings me a tremendous amount of joy because our unique creative process allows us to do just that; design and create a wedding for every couple that doesn’t look like the dozens of others they have been to or seen.

Honing in on those details and bringing them to life when inspiration is to be found everywhere can be tricky. It can be even harder when you consider inevitable wedding planning hurdles like sticking to a budget, managing other’s opinions and the all too familiar feeling of being drawn to lots of beautiful things at once. But rest assured, it is possible to plan a beautiful event that will stand out and be remembered for years to come.

Below are five tangible tips on how you can make your wedding stand out.

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{ONE}

Remember the wedding is about you and your fiance; not the millions of things you see everywhere else.

Just because your sorority sister’s cousin had a photobooth at their wedding doesn’t mean you need one too. If your best friend had a big tented wedding in the middle of summer but a small New Year’s Eve dinner downtown suits you better, that’s great too. Time and time again I find couples feel most torn over feeling like they have to plan their wedding a certain way because so and so did. When it comes time to make any decision in relation to your wedding ask yourself if it’s a decision that will stay true to you and your fiance. Because it’s a celebration about just that, you and your partner. Let that be a foundation of every planning decision you make!

{TWO}

Work with what you’ve got instead of fighting against what you don’t.

I often tell my couples that their venue will really help determine which direction their wedding aesthetic goes in. And when it comes to nailing down the perfect venue, most couples have to compromise on some details like not so appealing carpet in that downtown loft venue that can hold your outrageously big guest list or a less than ideal wedding end time in that dream barn out in the country. Instead of getting down about these things work with them to your advantage. Looking at things from a new perspective can sometimes bring light to a detail you would have otherwise overlooked like a unique color palette to tie in with that seemingly off carpet or a chance to have an after party in a new location when the barn wedding ends on a high note (hotel party, anyone?).

{THREE}

Consider your guest’s experience and cater to all their senses.

Sometimes aesthetics trump practicality but most of the time when you’re considering the people who will actually be enjoying your wedding with you, being sensible makes the most sense. Walk through your wedding day in the shoes of your guests and consider how their senses will be catered to. Will an un-airconditioned barn in the middle of July at 5:00 pm be miserable for your male guests in suits? Will a standing cocktail reception leave people feeling hungry by the time dancing starts? Will the placement of your band’s speakers next to the dance floor be too loud for some dancing guests? Guests will really remember the elements that cater to their senses more than details like the metallic tone of your flatware or shade of blush roses in your bouquet; although I DO agree those things are important in their own regard.

{FOUR}

Never underestimate the appeal of simplicity. 

Simplicity is hard to master. It’s easy to overcomplicate things and add more of: insert-any-item-here in an effort to stand out. When in doubt try to think of the most simple version of something and if that will allow your wedding to be different. This can be applied to anything from your ceremony program and bridal party, to your venue layout and dinner menu, and to your tablescapes and the toasts you scatter throughout the night. Keeping things simple ties in with my point above about catering to guest’s senses but can also allow you to have a one of a kind celebration. Think traditional vows paired together with your favorite musical choices in lieu of Here Comes the Bride, or mini tiramisu desserts to play off where your beau proposed in lieu of a big wedding cake that doesn’t carry much meaning for you both. The possibilities are endless!

{FIVE}

Invest in vendors who can help curate a wedding experience that exceeds your expectations.

When all else fails, if managing hundreds of details and trying to stay ahead of the curve feels like too much, that’s normal. And there are many professionals available to help you make sense of it all. Here at Hey Gorgeous we do our best to help ease planning stress but also ensure we’re combining our couple’s unique personalities and interests into a wedding celebration that’s one of a kind. With the right team of professionals who work hard, think creatively, and work well together, you can be assured your wedding will stand out and then some!

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Photography: Samantha James Photography / Concept, florals, and styling: Hey Gorgeous Events / Skirt and top combination: Carol Hannah / Hair and make up: Hanna Wagner Design / Rentals: The Rental Co / Linen: La Tavola / Stationery elements: A Fine Press /  Editorial production created for Style Me Pretty

Nov 7

A Lavender and Blush Bridal Shower

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About seven years ago (my how time flies!) I met a new friend through this very blog you’re reading right now.

This friend was from California and quite a few years younger than me but we managed to find shared connections through our love of writing and appreciating life’s beautiful things. Said friend and I kept in touch weekly and sometimes daily through our blogs and many personal events like my own wedding and her graduation, and as a result forged a long distance friendship complete with a chance encounter at the San Fran airport in 2012. Fast forward to today and Michaela is a newly married gal living only 20 minutes away from me here in Michigan with a thriving interior design business. Looking back on a unique friendship created over distance and time is such a sweet feeling and such is the case with Michaela and me.

Since I was unable to be a part of Michaela and her husband McCann’s wedding this past September in California, I had the pleasure of helping design her beautiful bridal shower instead. Together with Michaela’s maid of honor and the talented Ashley Slater Photography, and a bridesmaid from M’s church we threw a beautiful summer bridal shower at Aquinas College. It was over 90 degrees that day but the heat didn’t stop anyone from celebrating our beautiful guest of honor. I loved seeing my beaming friend so full of joy and celebrated so fully by many different people in her life.

Michaela, I treasure you! Seeing all of the blessings in your life is so, so good my friend.

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Our mutual friend Jenny of Graceline Art helped created signage for the event. The signs at each table included fun details about Michaela and McCann’s relationship like where they met, the place McCann proposed and some of their favorite things. The signs were placed in various gold framed signs and worked perfectly against the matte lavender linens, vintage china from Gigi and LaClede and those purple hobnail goblets.

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You can catch more over here on Style Me Pretty!

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Photography: Ashley Slater / Floral Design: Hey Gorgeous Events / Invitations: Minted / Venue: Aquinas Holmedene Gardens /Cookies: Mahdris Cookie Kitchen / Dishes, Flatware + Goblets: Gigi and LaClede / Linen Rentals: Special Occasions / Michaela’s Dress: Rent The Runway / Ribbon + Runners: Adorn Company / Signage: Graceline Art

Sep 28

Why I Need White Space In My Life; And You Might Too

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It’s no secret I became a mama a little over eight months ago. But what I haven’t shared much of is the instant and internal change that happened the minute my sweet baby was handed to me. It’s been monumental and admittedly a bit frightening to have such a shift in who I thought I was/am but now that we are getting more than a few hours of sleep a night, hindsight sure is 20/20. Life these days is a delicate dance between holding on to old parts of my life I loved and treasuring the new parts that fit just right.

So I’ll share this with you. Before having Lachlan and even becoming pregnant, I thought I would one day be the modern day picture of power and success. I would be profitable, influential, and innovative. That’s a pretty impressive bill to fit, right? These are all things I craved for and wanted. Pre-motherhood it actually felt like I may have been on my way to fulfilling most of those traits because I worked really hard to make it happen and felt like those attributes were well within my reach. And truthfully they are things I still strive for. But. And it’s a big but right now, those things have shifted down a little on my list. And so it goes that my priorities are in a different place not because they have to be but because that’s where I want them.

I was recently selected as a Grand Rapids Business Journal Forty Under 40 winner. I’m still unsure of who nominated me but humbled to be worthy of such accolades. To join the ranks of such distinguished and prestigious people in a community I didn’t want to move to six years ago is a cool accomplishment. Last week when I had my headshot taken I was asked to answer one question on camera. The question was, ‘What are your responsibilities as a business leader in Grand Rapids?’ At first it felt like a heavy question and one I wasn’t prepared to answer but as quickly as my world changed when Lachlan was put in it, the answer came to me.

As a business leader in Grand Rapids I have a responsibility, especially to younger women, to show that it is possible to have a profitable company, pursue your passions wholeheartedly, and build a legacy with and for your family. I want to be a part of the generation that supports and encourages women who want it all. Whatever your ‘all’ is I want to stand for having it. I said this to the camera in a voice that was far from reporter-worthy (my college professors would have cringed) and with Lachlan sitting on the carpeted floor a few feet away from me (I prayed a little that the carpet wasn’t too filthy) but I said it and meant every word.

My ‘all’ includes lots of white space. Not because I’m lazy. Not to have more work-free weekends. Not because I’m entitled. But because the white space makes me better. I have more in my well for those who matter most to draw from. I have more creative ideas, more laser focus on my commitments, more motivation to live life fully, more care for my clients and work, more intention, more self care and more LOVE to give with white space in my life. White space doesn’t mean frequent vacations or sleeping in. White space doesn’t translate to frivolous spending or a perfect existence. It means breathing space to have my all as best I can. To make hard decisions with clarity, to use my gifts to serve others and bring joy to the world in a small way, to create beautiful things often, and to love fiercely on the little person I call my son and the big person I call my husband. My all is BIG when listed out like that but I have the perfect amount of white space to fit it in nicely.

Whatever your ‘all’ is, you deserve to fight for it. You deserve support and resources and whatever it is – coffee, therapy, a nap, a mentor, prayer, new shoes, a babysitter, an all nighter – to get there. It doesn’t mean the pursuit of all is easy or direct but it means it’s worth it. I’m rooting you on every step of the way, warrior.

Xoxo

Photo by my dear friend, Sam.

Sep 7

Jas + Tyler {HGE Wedding with Vienna Glenn Photography}

It’s been a long 15 months waiting to share this special celebration.

See, Jasmine and Tyler were married in June of 2015 and it feels like a lifetime ago. This really beautiful, intimate backyard soiree was filled with some of my favorite details ever of all the weddings I’ve orchestrated in my almost 7 years of business; I think you’ll see why after you soak up all the photos here in this post. With Jas and Tyler’s sweet six month old daughter Eliana and their family and friends by their side all day, the two became husband and wife in the groom’s childhood home backyard. It was supposed to rain buckets all day long but instead we were blessed with a beautiful Michigan summer day and ended with a surprise fireworks show courtesy of the groom and his friends. Things always have a funny way of working themselves out right?

Jas and Ty, thank you for allowing us to be a part of your celebration and trusting us in the planning process. Jasmine you are gracious, sweet and lovely and these photos certainly help tell that story. I would also like to thank BRIDES magazine for featuring this wedding in their national fall 2016 issue. There is an incredible group of vendors that helped make this wedding possible and they’re credited at the bottom of this post.

And Lea from Vienna Glenn! Your photography is one of a kind. I loved working with you that weekend and look forward to our next endeavor together. Teamwork makes the dream work and you’re the kind of team I love being a part of. Enjoy some of my favorite images from one magical Saturday in June in Lowell, Michigan.

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The entire wedding took place in the groom’s mom’s backyard. We called it the secret garden throughout the planning process because the groom’s mom has a really beautiful garden area uniquely shaped like a giant figure 8. We based the entire ceremony and reception floorplan around this unique footprint with the perimeter of the gardens enclosing the celebration. The yellow dollhouse was the backdrop for the ceremony while that area later became a space for Adrian to play music from during the dancing portion of the evening. Keeping things personal to the couple was so important and having this space helped bring that to life.

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Also, this photo! It will remain as one of my favorites ever. Lea, this is everything!

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Jasmine’s bouquet was one of my favorites I’ve ever made. The texture and colors were so delicious! I used foraged peonies from the secret garden, a few from my own garden, garden roses, sweetheart roses, sweet peas, foraged fern, and of course jasmine vine as a nod to the bride’s name. The couple’s daughter’s middle name is ‘Rose’ so we made sure to incorporate as many roses and rose petals as possible. A handkerchief belonging to the bride’s grandmother finished off the handle of the bouquet along with long streamers of silk and velvet.

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The two tall vintage hutches we used to display the desserts on were old pieces stored in the property’s barn. When Tyler’s mom showed them to me a year prior to the wedding and I asked her if she would paint the formerly bright turquoise insides into a soft blush pink for the wedding, she happily obliged! These hutches were one of my favorite details as they not only looked beautiful but included sentimental value to the couple and of course, the groom’s kind mom. The desserts included delicious cakes and pops from The Cakabakery.

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It looks pretty magical right? It truly was.

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Congratulations again Jas and Tyler. We love you!

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Planning, design and floral: Hey Gorgeous Events / Photography: Vienna Glenn Photography / Rentals and linens: The Rental Company / Catering: The Farmhouse Deli / Make up: Alexandra Nicole Make Up / Entertainment: Adrian Butler / Ceremony gown: Hayley Paige / Reception gown: Katie May via The Gown Shop Ann Arbor / Bride’s shoes: Badgley Mischka / Bride’s accessories: Samantha Wills / Stationery: Smitten on Paper / Cake and desserts: The Cakabakery / Location: Private residence

Aug 8

How to Maximize Floral Prep in 5 Easy Steps

I remember just four years ago deciding to officially add floral design as a service to my existing planning offerings. I was a few years into my business at the time and felt like I was ready to expand and better serve my clients on a design scale. The aesthetics of a wedding is where I felt like I could best utilize my talents and be the most fulfilled so I worked really hard for about a year learning everything I could about floral prep, the cost of being a florist, proper care, finding my style, and more. I wanted to feel confident and have proof of my work before I offered those services to a client. I’m happy to report those 12 plus months of hard work did just that.

The time and financial investment to learn the ins and outs of everything was for me, very much a turning point with Hey Gorgeous Events and one of the business decisions I feel has been my best yet.

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In a little over four years I’ve learned so much about flowers, floral design, and all the ins and outs of the industry. On Tuesday last week after I posted a behind the scenes image of a centerpiece on instagram, someone asked if I always tackled centerpieces that far in advance (for a Saturday wedding). I thought that was a great question and it inspired this post on how to further maximize your floral preparations as a floral designer. The week leading up to a wedding is a race against the clock and usually a pretty exhausting one so here are some things we do to ensure we can stay the course at a consistent pace!

ONE

{Have Foolproof Timing & Scheduling}

Timing and scheduling is paramount when working with fresh flowers because they are obviously perishable. We typically start processing flowers on Tuesdays. Because we have access to a cooler we know our florals will be fresh until game day on Saturday. This in turn gives us the time we need to design everything Tuesday through Thursday, with time to tie up other wedding planning loose ends on Friday. If we run into any snags during the week or get behind for whatever reason, we like to leave Friday as a buffer day if we need it. Tuesdays are when we process everything and start greening out centerpieces. We also pull all the personal flowers to make sure those gets the most pristine blooms. Wednesday is when we tackle centerpieces and bigger statement pieces. Thursday is when I design personal florals and the girls take on smaller items. And you get the idea!

Basically we have a schedule during the week leading up to each wedding and it’s pretty consistent from event to event. This schedule allows us to maximize the small window of time we have between the flowers coming into the wholesaler and the early morning day of when we load up to get everything to the final destination. It also allows us to work from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm on those floral days (for the most part) which in turn gives us a good part of our afternoons and evenings free to do other prep as needed.

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TWO

{Depend on Teamwork & Invest in Helping Hands}

I could not take on the scale of weddings we do at HGE without the help of my team. It would be impossible. The first two events I did flowers for were really big learning lessons in this department. And they were really humbling experiences for me. As soon as I admitted to myself that I wouldn’t be able to confidently offer floral services to clients without a team, I made it a priority to find really great people to work alongside.

As soon as I found Betsi and Jess and they came on board with HGE I was able to really flourish as a designer because I was able to relax and trust that we would be getting things done according to schedule versus a 3:00 am mad dash to finish up arrangements the night before a wedding. I have to also add that learning to staff weddings appropriately (based on the size of the event, timeline, location etc) is a serious asset and something to really consider. For example, a wedding with more day of installations and a shorter window of time for set up allowed by the venue is obviously a case where MORE helping hands will ensure we stay on track. And helping hands can be anyone who is reliable, trustworthy, and hardworking like a friend or family member.

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THREE

{Create Processes & Play to Everyone’s Strengths}

Processes are everything at HGE. We have a set way of working as a team and for the most part it stays that way from event to event. While I outlined above the typical things we do the week leading up to a wedding, there are also specific jobs assigned to each of us throughout those days. These jobs play on our individual strengths and help keep our productivity as a group as consistent as possible.

For example, I always design the bridal bouquet, bridesmaids bouquets, and the first arrangement for anything that needs to be duplicated like centerpieces. Betsi is a master corsage and boutonniere designer. She’s also really wonderful at making darling flower crowns and shaving floral foam like a boss. While I tend to bounce around from project to project, she is the steady force. Jess is killer at greening out anything from centerpieces to installations. She’s also our go-to for efficient packing, loading, and transportation. We could not pack a delivery van better than Jess and she has alleviated my load in anxiety almost entirely! When we have freelancers join us for larger events, they fill in the holes where we need them and it always works out perfectly. Processes that work for YOU and your business will help streamline your efforts while maximizing your preparations.

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FOUR

{Use Mock Ups to Help Maximize Time} 

I wrote this post HERE on mock ups and why I believe in (and depend on) them. I can’t tell you how helpful mock ups are to help us stay on track during those time crunched days leading up to a wedding. There is less guesswork, less wondering how big arrangements should be, less worry if we’ll have enough product, and overall less stress surrounding our prep because the groundwork has been done to ensure we’re set up for success. I know mock ups aren’t the right process or decision for many designers, but as a full service planning, design, and floral company, it absolutely it is for us, and it’s helped our week of preparations tremendously.

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FIVE

{Tackle Non Perishable Tasks in Advance}

The actual flower design process is such a small fraction of the big picture. The big picture is far less glamorous and includes many things that have to be done like pulling inventory and supplies, ensuring my order is confirmed with my wholesaler, finding substitutes for things if they don’t arrive as expected, prepping the team on what is being done for each event with meetings and hand outs, prepping containers and labelling them, setting up our workspace for efficiency, gridding out or adding foam to containers, filing buckets, processing flowers, and the list goes on. To make sure we can maximize our design time in those crucial days leading up to the wedding, we try to make sure all of the non perishable tasks are done well in advance of our design days. As a result design days are usually fun because we have time to actually design and work at a steady and not a frantic pace. I believe that my efforts to always be over prepared ensure we are right on track.

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As always, the gorgeous photos in this post are from Samantha James Photography and the graphic was created by Becky of Salty Anchor Designs. I’d love to hear your tips and tricks for staying productive with your work flow so leave your comments below. Happy Monday, friends! Xo