August 2011 Archive

Natalie + Ben {HGE Wedding by Essence Photography}

Where do I even start with Natalie and Ben? It might be best if I first explain that these two were married way back in March, meaning this post has been a long time coming (Nat I am entirely grateful for your unwavering patience with me). The newlyweds had a modern ballroom celebration at the Victoria Beau Jolie overlooking O’Hare airport in Chicago. Natalie contacted me just a couple months before the big day looking for some last minute help on tying in some personal and fun touches and managing some logistical details. Together we had a blast not only connecting over all things weddings but realizing we have so many similar values and outlooks on our relationships with others and the way we live our lives.

I’ve been so blessed to have Natalie become a friend in my life. She’s the girl I can count on to send me Starbucks giftcards in the mail with little post it notes. She’s the girl I can write novels to back and forth via email talking about things that we both understand all too well. And she’s one of those girls that instantly fills you up with a sense of comfort, happiness and love. Nat, it was such an honour to be a part of your big day and to see you, Ben and Brandon finally become an official family. Ben, you’re such a gentlemen and your love and admiration for your wife is incredibly sweet to witness. And Brandon, you will forever be my little boyfriend; that is if you’re still into older chicks like me :) Enjoy the photos from Eric Lipe of Essence Photography, who was so much fun to work with and leave the Ruzicka’s some love below xo

Natalie hand painted the monogram at the end of the aisle runner. She did quite the incredible job huh?

Nat’s Maid of Honor and sister, Camille, prearranged a little surprise for Natalie to happen during her toast. She asked a group of girls that I believe Natalie used to teach dance to, to run in on cue and perform a bunch of dances that Natalie herself used to do. The girls were obviously so thrilled to be performing for the gorgeous bride, but Natalie’s reaction was completely priceless and most definitely what Camille was hoping for. Even better, Camille joined in on the dancing herself. Loved this.

{Natalie & Ben’s Love Story} Ben & I met at a mutual friend’s birthday party in May 2008.  I noticed that handsome man the moment he walked through the door.  I was thrilled when he took the initiative to introduce himself.  We immediately hit it off!  We spent the remainder of the evening flirting, laughing and exchanging random facts about each other.  I was delighted to learn that we had so much in common.  Unfortunately, I left the party that evening without saying goodbye to him.  So, the next day I contacted our mutual friend and asked for his phone number.  I was a little nervous to actually pick up the phone and call him, so I opted to send a text message instead.  That text message opened up the lines of communication for us.  We maintained somewhat of an electronic relationship in the beginning.  We conversed mostly via text and email.  Three months later, we had our first official date.  He asked me to attend his friend’s wedding with him.  After that, we were basically inseparable!  On May 14th, 2010, Ben got down on one knee and asked me to spend the rest of my life with him.  I will never forget that moment!

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Event coordination and dessert bar design: Hey Gorgeous Events / Cupcakes and cake pops: Couture Cupcake Cafe / Florals: Lansing Floral Shop / Bouquet brooch: Fine and Fleurie / Shoes: Nina / Ceremony, venue and catering: The Victoria Beau Jolie / Trolley service: Flying Lady Livery / Menswear:  Photographer: Eric Lipe of Essence Photography / Cootie catcher programs: Etsy / Chair covers and ties: Satin Chair Covers Rental / Brides, Flower girl & Junior bridesmaid dresses: Richelle Vander Zee of Making Memories / Stationary Design:  Alexis Bogdan of Whimsical Wedding Invitations / Thank You Signs: Etsy / Table Numbers: Illumenarie / Cake topper: Lollipopworkshop

Pep-Talk Tuesday {How To Treat Your Vendors}

Happy Tuesday, beauties! You know, it’s one thing to make sure your wedding guests are taken care of at your wedding, but that group of people behind the scenes who help make your big day possible are equally as important. Below are some of the tips I’ve compiled from my experiences at weddings and through listening to other established wedding professionals, that are sure to leave your wedding vendors feeling all warm and fuzzy inside throughout and long after your wedding day. Read on!

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{Save a Meal} There’s nothing worse than having a vendor approach you on your wedding day only to ask you where they should sit; or even worse, if there will be a meal for them. Not sure who you should be feeding? The general rule of thumb is to provide meals for your photographers, videographers, wedding planner/coordinator, minister/officiant and musicians/DJ (basically anyone who would otherwise be standing around during dinner). If your venue does not ask how many vendors need to be fed then it’s a good idea to bring this up yourself ahead of time, typically during your final catering consult. Most venues will place an extra table in the room for vendors to eat at but if your minister is staying for dinner it’s a sign if respect to sit him in with the rest of the guests rather than with the other vendors (don’t forget to add him or her to the seating chart too!)

{Share the Details} Imagine as a bride planning a last minute surprise fireworks show for all your guests at the end of the night but failing to let your coordinator (or even your photographer) know. When it comes time to start the show, the logistical craziness that would ensue is enough to make any wedding planner break out into hives. Planners are hired to plan (duh), organize and keep the flow of your day. Photographers are hired to capture everything, to preserve memories, to work closely with the coordinator to make sure nothing is missed. Keeping these two vendors informed of small details, last minute changes and your wants and expectations is a sure fire way to make sure your event runs as smoothly and seamlessly as possible. And your guaranteed your photog will capture your guests’ priceless expressions as that first firework bursts into the evening sky.

{Spread the Love} I always forward my clients, about a month before their wedding, a brief outline on what the etiquette is for giving your vendors tips. While the bride and groom most definitely steal the show at a wedding, it’s the hard working vendors behind the scenes that help keep all the different parts together; rewarding them with a small note of thanks and a tip for their services is certainly not mandatory but most definately appreciated. I tell my clients to decide how much they think each vendor deserves, to address an envelope to each said vendor and enclose the payment in the sealed envelope. I then get the envelopes from my clients during the rehearsal dinner or on the morning of the big day and make sure to deliver to each applicable vendor. Here’s my fave tipping cheat sheet from The Knot that outlines standard protocol for giving thanks to your vendors.

Wedding pros, what am I forgetting? Brides to be or former brides, anything to add? Photo via Julie Harmsen Photography.

Kelli + Brandon {Wedding Teaser by Jen Lynne Photography}

Happy Monday my blogettes! I am happy to announce I am back to the blogging circuit this week after a much needed week away. For a second there I felt so lost out to sea unable to see the shore and now, it feels so good to be back on solid ground with a new sense of renewed focus. Last week and over the weekend we got a ton of fun new things for the house and this week they are going to start framing the upstairs. But I’ll share all that good stuff with you throughout the week. For now you get a little teaser from Kelli and Brandon’s August 13th wedding (you know, the one where the teacher married the bean farmer) and is the above photo not absolutely stunning? Jen Lynne is such a dream and I can only imagine how fabulous the rest of the images are. We are hoping to get them published in print (eek!) so cross your little fingers for us chicks. And spill below; what did you do all weekend? Big hugs and so much love to you all. Catch you all tomorrow for a new Pep-Talk xoxo

Our First Home {Part 1}

Blogettes, it’s official. Andrew and I will be living in our own brand new and first home by November :)

And as much as I hate showing non-pretty photos over here, I know some of you have been asking to follow along on this journey with us. And I have to admit this has been incredibly exciting for Apb and I so hopefully you’ll find a little excitement in it all too. First up are some blue prints that show the front of our house, the main floor, the second floor and then the aerial view of our lot which shows dimensions. Some of the things in the drawings have since changed, like our kitchen island and a few other aesthetic preferences inside but for the most part this is what every square inch of our new home will look like!

There she is! And she is a beauty :) The exterior will be a Storm gray hue (meaning all the vertical and horizontal “siding”) and the shingled portions within the two peaks will be a darker gray. All of the trim will be a crisp white and we opted to go without the shutters. The front porch will not have the railing on it so we can show off some cute chairs out there and see that front door? That baby is going to be the prettiest shade of yellow. That gray-yellow combo just makes my little heart so happy.

Our main floor is incredibly spacious and very much an open concept living space. That was one of the things about this home that really sold us on it. Once you walk in through the front door you can see into the flex room (a “front” room as we call it in Canada), the living room and then the dining room which sits directly in front of the slider that leads out to the covered deck. There are three large windows in the living room that let in an amazing amount of natural light and along the right side of the house in the living room, will be a fireplace. I love the powder room off of the garage and especially love the half stall Andrew had added to the garage because this means he gets a little space of his own for all his man stuff. We also have a little built in bench off the foyer which I just adore. The bench doubles as storage which is totally awesome for holding winter things.


The second floor is well, slightly intense. I know what you’re all thinking; “Holy *&$%, Rhi, what will you ever do with all that real estate?!” And well lemme break it down for you. Not only did we decide that 4 bedrooms would be beneficial for resale value in the future but the cost of a 4th bedroom versus a third was very little. And we will actually have a use for almost every single room. Bedroom 2 will be my Girl Cave, Bedroom 4 will be the guest room for family and friends that visit or want to stay the night and Bedroom 3 will be a nursery should a little Bosse Babe ever join us in the future. One of the things (OK there were a few) that I asked to have added was the cathedral ceiling in the hallway, the pitched ceiling in the master, the extra large master walk in and the flipped around master bath plan to fit my very much desired claw foot tub in there. Eeeek! We are so incredibly blessed.

And here is our lot. I wish I had exciting things to tell you about this except I don’t. All I know is we will be planting some trees near the side and the front of the house, once they go on sale this fall before the cold weather and snow hits the midwest. We will also be planting (thank you Apb for giving me the go ahead here, seriously thank you) pink peony bushes in front along the porch and near the side of the garage so I can finally fulfill my dreams of being able to cut my own fresh peonies come next spring. To the left of our property is am empty lot and to the right are super sweet nieghbors we’ve already had the pleasure of meeting. Behind us is a wooded area and then a backroad. And I guess I should mention that our neighbors across the street are our close friends Tara and Joey who just built their first home too. It’ll be so lovely to have friends as neighbors!

And with that I will leave you will this; what our lot looked like right before they broke ground! Part two coming soon :) xoxo

Keeping Wedding Guests Comfy

Hi y’all! It’s Lisa, here for another Thursday on Hey Gorgeous. :)

We’ve all been there (or we’ve seen someone on TLC’s Four Weddings who has been there :P)—a wedding where you just can’t seem to get comfortable. From a sweltering outdoor wedding to a winter wedding where you can’t even show off your cute cocktail dress under your coat, it’s not all that unusual for a couple to be so busy planning the big day that they forget to make sure their guests are as comfortable in all the elements. Despite some pretty tricky situations a couple may have to navigate in ensuring comfy guests, there are lots of simple and fun solutions. Here are a few common “wedding guest discomforts” and what you can do to deal with them.

Heat: Lots of people dream of summer weddings, but if you live in a super hot place, ideas of outdoor parties can disappear right around the third week in a row of three-digit temperatures.  In these situations, it’s so important to keep guests cool and hydrated. Make sure water is available at all times, including before the ceremony—you don’t want anyone fainting as you say I do! If there isn’t any shade in your location, consider giving our pretty parasols, especially for your older guests. And the easiest way to cool things down? Turn your programs into whimsical fans.

Cold: Whether you’re getting married in the fall where the weather can go either way, or in the middle of January, there are some adorable ways to make sure no one will be left shivering. If you’re having an outdoor event, pass out soft shawls as favors—these also make such cute décor all wrapped up and placed in a basket! Once inside, if your venue has a fireplace, ask to get a fire crackling. And then there’s my personal favorite: a hot chocolate bar, stocked with spices, marshmallows, and chopped up candy bars. Yum!

Bugs: Nothing would be more annoying than swatting away mosquitoes at a wedding. The easiest way to avoid this problem is to schedule your outdoor events at low-insect times (early afternoon in most places). Even then, it would still be nice to have bug spray available, and to light citronella candles all around the space—yes, there are cute ways to do both!

Distance: One of the biggest wedding complaints I’ve heard is lots of time or distance between the ceremony and the reception. Make this easier on your guests by recommending a hotel closer to the reception than the ceremony so they won’t have to drive too far when they’re tired. If you’re having guests take their own cars, give out pretty maps with detailed directions in your invitations or welcome bags (be sure to test the route first!). To really go the extra mile, rent a trolley or bus to take guests between locations, and make a fun playlist to keep their energy up!

Hope everyone is having a wonderful week!



Photo credits: water, parasols, fan program, shawls, fireplace, hot chocolate, outdoors, bug spray, luminaries, map, trolley, CD