December 2011 Archive

Featured {The Wedding Chicks}

Today is a wonderful and oh so sparkly day! Once again Amy and Jocey over at the Wedding Chicks have out done themselves with the sweetest feature ever. I have so much to say about this shoot that my heart could nearly burst but I will save all of that for next week. For now head over to the Wedding Chicks blog to see all of the fabulously festive photos. My incredible team, including Jenna McKenzie Photography, Renee Austin Weddings, A Piece o Cake, Fine and Fleurie, Julie Strating and Lemon and Lavender, all went above and beyond in making this shoot my fave work yet. And I’m thinking I must be the luckiest girl alive. Enjoy your Friday friends. And have a magical start to 2012! xo

Au Revoir 2011

2011. You were so lovely.

In January, Apb and I finally ended up being together. Physically. After two very long years of living 13 hours apart. I packed up my little Jetta, loaded up my entire life, and Chenks and I drove from Toronto to Chicago. I’ll never forget the feeling of walking into our little apartment for good (at last!) and being enveloped into my sweet husband’s arms. I was finally home.

In February, I had a feature over here. My first one ever. Beth, thank you. And that same week, this feature went up here. After only a few months of officially launching, Hey Gorgeous really took off. With that I knew there would be no looking back. I bought my first desk and a bunch of fresh yellow tulips to sit next to my laptop, long before I even had a desk chair. I set some goals. For once in my life I finally felt like my professional life had a purpose and some really great big things in store.

Moving into March, this sweet mama to be got married. Nat and Ben, I am so thankful for your trust and faith in me and my work. I can’t wait to meet your new little babe in 2012. Then in April, Andrew and I moved into a much bigger little apartment in Grand Rapids right before Easter. I created a safe haven for my work (I miss you old Girl Cave), I tossed pretty hued confetti into the air, I got used to a new city and Apb and I swam neck-deep in a sea of immigration papers and trips to the lawyer’s office to get my Greencard sorted out. Apb turned another year old, and another year wiser and more handsome.

And in May I turned 25. Sweet sweet 25. I can hardly believe that I’m already 25. I feel so old. But so young all at once. I had a nice dinner with Apb and some friends. I was gifted with cake and a white West Elm rhino head. And I crawled into bed on my 25th birthday at 10:00 pm because of an important wedding the next day. Julie and Ryan, you’re wedding was so special. I am blessed to have you as a girlfriend now, Linds. And Julie, get back from Hawaii already please. I miss you so much!

Then in June, this happened. And I will be forever grateful for Tonya who graciously paid to travel to Michigan from Utah, to photograph my work. You are such a dear friend Tonya, and your heart and soul as a photographer and a woman leave me feeling humbled and grateful. Michele, Kelly, Liz, Jen and Nick, Michelle, Maggie, you all selflessly gave and contributed to an endeavor that would have never been possible without you. Paul and Vanessa, your kindness has left me speechless.


In July, we thought about this. And amongst all of the excitement that comes along with digging a huge hole in the ground, this amazing woman entered my life. Together we did this, this and this. Jenna, I can’t even find the words to tell you how big of a blessing you’ve been in my life. You’ve graciously given your time, expertise and friendship to me and I’ve been honoured to work alongside you as we make big and pretty things happen together. I couldn’t even imagine heading into 2012 without you.


In August, I was honoured to be a part of this beautiful wedding here. Which led me to meet this phenomenal photographer who I can now call a friend. I also went back to Canada for the first time in nine months. I slept in my old bedroom, I visited old friends, I snuggled with my Mom. We got pedicures together. And then I got to be a part of this gorgeous Indian-Canadian wedding celebration. I haven’t shown all the photos yet from Shal and Arjun’s big day but these two touched my heart in more ways than I could ever imagine. Their wedding day was so long but oh so fulfilling for me. Thanks for the photo, Peter.

In September, we celebrated this day here. We had the most perfect time celebrating 12 months of happily ever after. Beth I’m not sure I can accurately describe my feelings for you, but I am thanking the heavens we crossed paths. You captured Apb and I in a way that has left a piece of my soul completely and utterly on cloud 9. To feel the same way I did on our anniversary as I did on our wedding day was pretty incredible. And you were a monumental part of making that happen. I love you so much. Also, how could I possibly forget this incredible party? Shawna and Mick, I hope we stay friends for years to come.

In October, we celebrated getting my Greencard (which was actually approved in September). We flew to California with my parents and drove along the coast, soaking in the ocean, the salty air and the sunsets that can only be described as heavenly. Mom and Dad, I love you so much. You are such loving and generous parents and I feel so lucky to have you as mine. Your support and encouragement is a blessing. I also had the opportunity to meet some blogging friends in San Francisco. We sipped on Moscato together. I spent too much money at Paper Source. I started dreaming up ideas for new editorials, new business plans, new and much bigger and better goals for Hey Gorgeous, for me and for my life. And Tonya again braved the long flight from Utah to Michigan and together with some other fantastic vendors we did this, despite the crazy cold weather.


In November, we closed on our first home. I don’t care what anyone says about material things not meaning much. Our home is one the things I am most proud about in our life. This is ours. Uniquely ours. Perfectly us. Warm, cozy, safe, beautiful and big. Did I mention ours? I wake up every day and feel nothing but gratitude for the home we have been blessed with.


In December, we moved into our new home. We turned off our laptops and cell phones. We learned to go to bed a bit earlier. To take better care of our surroundings. To send more notes to friends. To make a better effort to eat healthier, to spend less, to love more. To enjoy all the little things that mean so much in the bigger picture. Our new home means so much more than new cabinets and fancy chandeliers. And in a funny way, Andrew and I have both been preparing for a new year, for months.

In 2012 I want to work smarter, not harder. I want to compete less with others and more with myself. I want HGE to soar to new heights. I want to love my husband more (if that’s even possible), I want to spend more time with my family. I want to feel more and be more. As I mentioned yesterday, I want my balloon of potential to explode mid air so that all of the confetti of fabulousness can absolutely scatter everywhere. So to you my readers, whoever you may be, may your 2012 be confetti-covered in awesomeness too. I can’t wait to share more from this final project of 2011. Some of my most treasured work yet:

Love lots, from my heart to yours, Rhiannon xoxo

Grace + Ryan {HGE Love Story with Jenna McKenzie Photography}


The minute I met Grace and Ryan, instantly I felt my heart fill with happiness. I have to first point out that these two cuties are in fact Jenna’s clients and not directly mine, but since Jenna and I work exclusively together on styled engagements, I was fortunate enough to work with the soon to be newlyweds. Grace is one of those girls who has absolutely everything going for her. And she has the most infectious laugh and personality about her. A genuineness that is hard to miss. And Ryan is such a gentlemen, with a sweetness about him that I’m sure first caught Grace’s eye. He was a good sport throughout the entire session listening to my antics and trusting Jenna and I’s visions for the shoot. Have I mentioned how much I love my job? :)


Grace’s beautiful ring for those of you who have been emailing me dying to find out more, is from The Diamond Factory in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She says they do incredible custom work for anyone who is interested! Nice work, Ryan :)


I was so happy with how Grace’s bouquet turned out for the shoot especially since I made it myself (thanks J for all the helpful tips :) If anyone is wondering what goodies I threw in there, there’s purple celosia, pink and red alstromeria, green hypericum berries, pink lumonium, pink spray roses, lavender roses, and some thistle. I trited to blend together a classic look with a little bit of a wildflower feel for Grace. She loved it and the colours went perfectly with the outfit she picked out.


Making sure not to miss the dreamy light that completely saturates the Sleeping Bear Dunes right before sunset (considered the most beautiful place in America on Good Morning America!) we headed down to the beach to play a little of frisbee, one of Ryan’s favorite games. And of course the shoot wasn’t complete without a few airplane rides for Grace; one of the things she loves most about being silly with her fiance. I’m telling you these two are the sweetest! Oh and look at this light….


Totally yummy sunsets my friends! Isn’t the Mitten so simply gorg?


Don’t miss this session, which was featured on Style Me Pretty last week, along with the step by step instructions to make the Save the Date banner that Grace and Ryan are holding in a few of the photos! All of the above photos belong to Jenna McKenzie Photography so please give her some love if you decide to share her beautiful work. Enjoy your day blogettes xoxo

DIY Save the Date Banner


Happy Friday, guys! Today I’m skipping my usual Friday Wrap Up because Style Me Pretty (thank you, ladies!) featured this sweet engagement session I had the pleasure of working on with Jenna in September. One of the things our bride to be, Grace wanted to incorporate into the shoot was some sort of banner with their wedding date. Since they’ll be using the photos for their Save the Dates it made sense to include the wedding date into the photos, and this easy-to-make wood banner was just perfect. It’s a fairly simple craft that requires a ton of hot glue but here’s the step by step photos and instructions just in case!


{Step 1} Decide what you want to spell out and find all of your characters. I was pretty picky about the wood letters I wanted to use. I checked out Michaels, Hobby Lobby and then Joanne’s Fabrics before I found the font style I liked best. I think the letters and numbers individually were $2.99 each. Oh and if you’re looking for the number zero and can’t find it, trying grabbing a letter “O”. I’m pretty sure I searched the entire unfinished wood section for about 10 minutes looking for the zeros before an employee suggested using a letter “O”. Oops. Silly me! Spread out all of your characters on a covered surface.


{Step 2} Remove all of the price tags and stickers on the wood pieces and paint away! I used a soft gray acrylic paint and the same old paint brush I used over here for this project. I used two little bottles of the paint for all of the letters and numbers and that seemed to be more than enough paint to get me through the project. I only painted the sides and fronts of the characters and once the pieces dried, I went back and added a second coat to areas where the wood seemed to peak through.


{Step 3} Flip over and lay down all of your dried characters in the order that they will sit/hang on your banner (be careful that your numbers aren’t backwards!) Find the middle character (ours was the ’9′) and measure out your ribbon or lace or whatever you will be using to hang the banner from that point out. We started with just one skinny piece of ribbon fastened to the ’9′ but quickly found that because of the weight of the wood characters we would need a little more of something for the sign to hang in a photographic way. So we quadrupeled up on ribbon strands because we’re serious like that.


{Step 4} I found it easiest to put a ton of hot glue on the top back of each letter then to place the ribbon over top. Then I repeated this process over and over with each piece of precut ribbon, making sure to go back and put little dabs of hot glue in between where the ribbon may have not been adhered to the wood. It really looks like we used a ton of ribbon but you’d be surprised how heavy all of those letters were! We used two spare pieces of ribbon to anchor down the ribbon on the back of the ’9′ too. This was helpful!


{Step 5} For the ends of all of the pieces of ribbon, I clamped them together with a clothespeg and then tied, knotted and made a bow around all of the pieces to fasten them together. I wanted to make sure Grace and Ryan had a place on the banner to hold the sign by and the little bows seemed like a good marker. However, and this is important, do not tie your ends together until you have glued all of your characters to your ribbon and lace! I did this and ended up having to untie the ends because the ribbon had big bunches in it and wasn’t sitting properly on the characters. Tying your ends together should be the last step you make before cutting off the edges to make both ends equal!


Et voila! A pretty little DIY Save the Date Banner!


And here she is in action during Grace and Ryan’s Love Story shoot! To see more from the session head over to Style Me Pretty today and leave Jenna and I some love. I’ll be sharing more with you all on Monday too. Enjoy your day, bloggies xoxo

Pep Talk Tuesday {Wedding Videography}

Just two short weeks prior to Andrew and I’s big day, an acquaintance contacted me to see if I had secured someone to film our wedding. I explained to him how we hadn’t even budgeted for a videographer so unfortunately we wouldn’t be able to afford any type of fancy theatrical production. Lucky for us said acquaintance had just started his venture into the world of wedding videography and offered to do the honours of capturing our big day for a price that I (as a stressed out and broke ass bride to be) thought was too good to pass up. I sent over examples of videos I liked and on the day of our wedding had absolutely all the confidence that our, or perhaps only my, expectations would be met.

Videography is a tricky thing. Before I started my own business designing and planning weddings, I was on track to becoming a multimedia journalist, someone who is responsible for putting together and telling those little stories you see on the news every night. I know a thing or two about working a video camera, about making sure your audio levels are set properly on two different channels to record sound and background noise. I understand how to both focus and set up a shot in a way that’s aesthetically creative and pleasing to the eye. But most of all I know how to tell a story using bits and pieces of footage, all edited together in a clever way. I get how a story can have a beginning, a middle and an end, with special little moments plugged in along the way to keep a viewer engaged. But unfortunately for us, we had way too high of expectations for how our wedding day story was to be told. Because simply put, we learned the hard way that you often get what you paid for.

I want to point out that I am not angry at our videographer nor do I think he filmed and edited our wedding footage and video with malicious intent. We are entirely blessed to have a few great shots of film from our wedding day and even better, feel lucky to have any footage at all. But for us, I think what stung the the most is that we sort of got a taste for what we were missing had we of researched our videography options, compared prices and most importantly watched samples of vendor’s work. I often see my client’s videos and think “That could have been Apb and I!” or I sit at my computer researching vendors for my clients when I didn’t have the time or know how to do it for myself and I feel regret and a bit of sadness. But luckily these are just small things in the overall picture. And well, you’ll see what I mean if you keep reading here.

About a week before our one year anniversary this past September, Andrew and I spent an afternoon in Traverse City with Paul and Vanessa Filan of Future Focus Media. This husband and wife duo are an extremely talented, passionate and kind team who specialize in wedding videography. The goal of our video was to capture Andrew and I in a way that show who we really are. And what our love is all about. A couple weeks ago I got an email from Paul with our edited reel and I sat the whole time at my computer with a huge smile on my face as I watched our simple yet magnificently filmed and edited video play before my eyes. I can’t show you the entire video right now but I did want to show you this little clip right here. Wedding videography isn’t for everyone and I can absolutely understand and respect that. Maybe a live band, a film photographer or a couture dress are your wedding must haves. But if you’re considering your options for videography, watch this here.

I love how we start off trying to say the exact same sentence. We are such a riot sometimes huh? P.S. Hi, cute husband :)

Importance of wedding video from Paul Filan on Vimeo.

Did anyone out there have a negative experience with their wedding videographer? For those of you that decided not to have a wedding video, I’d love to hear all about your experiences and decision below! Also be sure to check out this post here, from Paul’s blog that talks all about his opinion of why wedding videography is important xoxo