real weddings Archive

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

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

Nicole + Chris {HGE Wedding by Beth and Ty In Love}

Oh my goodness. Nicole and Chris. And Nacho. That adorable little pug you’ll see below. Nicole, Chris and Nacho stole my heart the minute I began helping them plan their October 2012 wedding. Nicole works for Xbox (I mean come onnn with that level of radness) and when she told me she bought her BHLDN gown on a whim long before she even had a wedding date, I knew this event would come together perfectly. With a design goal of whimsical, woodsy, and ethereal, and a small list of must haves and a long list of ‘not important’, we set to planning this wedding. I have to say small is the new big. Actually I think it has been all along. Nicole and Chris you two have such a special place in my heart.

Also, as if this entire experience with these two and our entirely small but very talented team of vendors could get any sweeter, we were honored with a front page feature on Martha Stewart Weddings destination last week. Martha STEWART. Seriously? Since the day Hey Gorgeous was a tiny sliver of opportunity, a feature on MSW was a bucket list item. We were all so thrilled to be considered and accepted for the feature, which you can see more of over here. All of the stunning images from this event are by my gal pal, the amazingly talented Elizabeth Kaye of Beth and Ty In Love.

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Nicole’s bouquet was made up of ivory David Austin garden roses, blush roses, black centered anemone, white veronica, white lisianthus, white ranunculus, seeded eucalyptus and a few other goodies I scooped up at the wholesaler. I wrapped the handle in a suede wrap and finished it off with a piece of gold braided trim. Her maid of honor (her sister) and the best woman (Chris’ sister) carried similar versions of her bouquet but smaller in scale and with a hint of silver brunia in theirs. The bouquets worked so perfectly with each girl’s gown and balanced that whimsical-simple aesthetic.

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THIS is why first looks are the epitome of amazing….

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Nicole and Chris wanted to keep their wedding and their budget simple. We really focused on running with decor in the areas that mattered most, and tried to infuse whimsical and out of the box ideas into their wedding in ways that wouldn’t break the bank. The giant paper flowers on the ceremony arch were made to resemble the anemones in Nicoles bouquet and some gold blooms were thrown in as a nod to the gold on her BHLDN gown. Combined together with the architecture of the beautiful Cambridge Mill it was the perfect backdrop for their sweet ceremony.

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Nicole and Chris, thank you both for allowing me to be a part of your big day. It was an honor being involved and I’m so happy for you both! Give Nacho some love from Zoe and me! And now for the small but mightly list of vendors who were involved in making this wedding a reality. Proof in my opinion, that a sweet soiree can be done with just a few people involved! Feel free to check out the feature both here and here over on Martha Stewart. Have a great day, friends :)

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Photography: Elizabeth Kaye, Beth and Ty In Love / Planning, design and florals: Hey Gorgeous Events / Venue and caterer: The Cambridge Mill / Officiant: Randy Harris / Wedding invitations: Minted / All other paper: Events by I Candy / Hair: Emily Giles /  Make Up: Sarah Smith / Bride’s gown: BHLDN / Bride and groom’s shoes: Aldo / Bride’s blusher veil: Twigs and Honey / Groom’s suit jacket: Zara / Groom’s pants: J. Crew / Bride’s earrings: Gather Jewelry / MOH and BW gowns: Lulus / Music: Thunder DJ

Janet + Jon {HGE Wedding by Kelly Braman}

Fasten your seat belt. This is going to be a long one, bloggettes! But first off, I needed to start this post with a chunk of text Janet emailed to me at one point during our planning process. This alone brings so much clarity to what I’m sure it all looked like from the outside looking in and is important to keep in the back of your head as you soak up the photos.

‘In a Chinese society, one of the few traditional rights that a Chinese girl is given and entitled to, is to dream in fantasy to the fullest; because a Chinese woman’s life can be so difficult, especially later when the/a girl is married. You can see this right manifested in the ‘cute phenomenon’ of Asian girls’ deep fascination to the likes of Hello Kitty, cute and small cartoon characters, or fuzzy plush dolls anything. Contemporary wise, more and more financially independent Chinese women refuse to be married (due to all the hardship associated with marriage.) And on the contrary, many married Chinese women today still utilize our ancient and traditional right to dream/fantasize as an outlet to evade the hefty daily familial tasks and mental pressures. Jon’s and my aesthetic and personal preferences influenced by pop/alternative culture aside, this fantastical element through out our wedding is extremely important and ritualistic to me. Because my marriage is not the end of my womanhood, but only the beginning. That is why I needed my engagement shoot and wedding to be dreamy and fantastical but somehow demonstrate still the realistic and darker air, signifying what many of my fellow Chinese women experience in marriage (and what I would have had to go through, if not for Jon.) The fantasy in my wedding is a celebration, reflection, reminder, and documentation of my understanding in MY married womanhood. It’s really, my rite.’

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Janet and Jon came into my professional life while I was smack dab in the middle of a massive business rebrand. You can read more about how our client relationship unfolded over here. Basically there was a lot of glitter, rainbow color and shabby chic goodness infused into our relationship. And a lot of unicorns. Lots. It’s funny because as much as Janet and Jon needed me to help plan their big day I needed them to teach me things I never thought I needed to know. I’ll let the fabulous photos from Kelly Braman Photography do the rest of the talking from here because I get a little teary eyed thinking of how special my time was with these two. I also need to give a huge shout out to my incredible assistant Kaci and my incredible Mother in Law Pat for their hard hard work on making this wedding possible. For the first event under the new HGE brand, I think we did good. Really good. Team work does makes the dream work. Truly.

Let’s do this!

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Janet had two pairs of almost everything for two different looks. Two pairs of earrings, two gowns, two pairs of shoes, two hair styles, two hair pieces, and two make up looks. Her first look was more of a cross between a rainbow princess and couture bride (that veil!) and her second look was a nod to her Taiwanese roots with a custom ombre hand died silk gown. Janet is seriously so stinkin’ gorgeous as I’m sure you can tell. Her skin is like a beautiful creamy porcelain.

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How fun that Goldberry Woods had a little sign with a unicorn on it! If that’s not fate, what is huh?

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Janet’s bouquet was so much fun to make. I combined lots of color and texture to create the perfect accent piece for her to carry. There’s coral charm peony, pink peony, peach garden roses, purple and red anemone, orange and yellow ranunculus, blue thistle, pink astilbe and veronica among a few thrown in there. I wrapped the stems with a gold textured ribbon and finished off the look with a vintage gold unicorn brooch I found online. The shape of the bouquet was so fun and really set the tone for the floral design and style that I’m becoming to come into as my own.

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So fierce right? I love these two.

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After a few more portraits around the property of the bed and breakfast it was off to the ceremony.

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A tub of drinks awaited guests at the Blue Dress Barn. Too bad we had uncharacteristically freezing weather for June.

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The cat’s couple, Dobby was also included in the ceremony. Hilarious!

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Janet will correct me if I get this wrong but in Asian culture, a woman’s spirit exits through the top of her head so before she is to walk down the aisle to be married, her head must be covered to protect the spirit. Her Aunt had this honor of protecting her prior to getting to the aisle where she was then free to walk down the aisle with her Father.

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On to cocktail hour!

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Hiw adorable are those metallic unicorn flags from Rebecca at The Pink Orange? J’adore!

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I surprised the couple with metallic air horns used during the ceremony (shown above). Such a hit!

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So. Much. Spray. Paint. And. Glitter. Remember those unicorns for the escort cards? They were perfect.

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Tying together the rainbow detail was the couple’s wedding cake; the bride actually shrieked when she cut into it!

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And now for  a little dancing. I love these photos because they show the cone garlands in action over the dance floor.

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Janet and Jon, being a part of your wedding celebration was beyond a pleasure and honor. Let’s do it all again soon ok? Thank you for trusting my ideas, being so kind, and most of all, yourselves. Come back to Grand Rapids soon so we can grab some sushi together and next time I’m in the Windy City I’ll be sure to give you a ring. To see the couple’s engagement session check it out over here and be sure to go see the two part feature here and here over on the always amazing Green Wedding Shoes! What an awesome feeling to have this incredible event shown off. Thanks, Jen :)

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Design, planning, florals and coordination: Hey Gorgeous Events / Photography: Kelly Braman Photography / Getting ready venue: Goldberry Woods / Ceremony and wedding location: The Blue Dress Barn / Videography: Future Focus Media / Hair styling: Jennifer Grace / Make up services: Rebecca Gohl / Bridal gown: Renee Austin Wedding (with custom alterations) / Bride’s pumps: Kate Spade / Bride’s sparkle heels: BHLDN /Bride’s Veil: FascinatingCreations via Etsy / Bride’s earrings: DanniJo / Sequin linens: La Tavola / Bakery: Mirabella Confections / Catering: Christine Ferris Catering / Bar Services: Events with a Twist / Rentals: The Rental Co / Chiavari chairs: Events by I Candy / Invtations: Smitten on Paper / Custom coasters, post card guest book and drink flags: The Pink Orange / Table numbers and banners: ReadyGo via Etsy / Bridesmaid’s shoes: Nina / Bridesmaid’s gowns: Wtoo (various styles) / Bride’s tiara: Gilded Shadows / Custom ring bearer pillow: Oatmeal Lace Design / Vintage rentals: Fancy Fray / Custom Taiwanese gown: Yi Zi Chi Pao Studio / Second set of earrings: Charm and Chain / Bride’s lace gloves: borrowed from HGE / Bride’s second set of gloves: Jollejye via Etsy / ‘Unicorn Farts’ lip balm favors: Long Winter Farm

Camping Themed Couples Shower by HGE

Oh hello blogettes! It’s been a long time since I’ve seen your faces :)

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Life’s been moving 100 miles a second lately but I did need to pop in and share this sweet little event with you. In late April I received a sweet email from a client’s Mom. She was trying to plan her daughter and future son in law’s couples wedding shower but didn’t have the time or the know how to get started. And let me just say that there’s really nothing better than clients who trust your vision and trust you to create an event that friends and family will love and treasure. With just a little over six weeks to brainstorm a fun concept for a couple’s shower with more than 100 guests, I came up with the idea of a casual-camping theme. A little red gingham, lots of birch, a barbecue dinner and of course s’mores favors followed by an impressive backyard bonfire. Nothing fancy but enough to make the event memorable.

I also have to give an enormous shout out to Sarah a former bride of mine from 2012 who recently launched her beautiful photography brand. You can view her website here. Sarah was such a stylish and design savvy client that it’s no surprise her photography style is fresh, beautiful and downright lovely. Sarah, it was such a treat working alongside you in a whole new capacity. Let’s make it happen again soon ok? On to the details! What day is it? Hump day :)

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I found this old wood plank in our backyard (random right?) but knew it was perfect for the shower. Welcome to camp!

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I used a lot of natural elements and outdoor inspired touches throughout the florals and decor like cotton, sola flowers, wood, birch vases, ferns and succulents paired together with feminine flowers and colors that will be present again at the couple’s August wedding. Paired together with that red gingham print used in small doses that reminded me so much of old school camping nostalgia, the shower was decorated to appeal to both men and women; I think there were actually more men at the shower that made comments about the rad theme than women :) high fives all you guys!

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The dessert table was by far the sweetest detail. Sweet Heather Anne in Ann Arbor is one of my favorite bakeries in all of Michigan and there’s more than one reason why. Besides having the most adorable treats, they are hands down the most delicious. I worked together with Heather to come up with treats that would tie in with the theme and compliment the catered meal of onsite barbecue. We went with mini chocolate cupcakes, topped with marshmallow toasted meringue and a piece of graham cracker, caramel praline cake truffles on wood sticks that I stuck into mini red gingham cupcake wrappers and then the cutest little cake in a jar treats with the couple’s monogram stuck on top and little bamboo spoons fastened to the sides. The cake in a jar, pastel de elote cake flavor was suggested by Heather to pair together with the BBQ; fresh corn cake layered with salted caramel buttercream. Everyone just loved them.

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‘Fresh Lake Water’ sign for the water tubs, mini pine trees for the bar and birch straws for drinks.

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A little lounge area was set up around the bonfire for later on in the evening when guests could make s’mores and mingle. A few toss pillows from my inventory, paired together with rented khaki benches and wood end tables worked wonders with the event theme. A tin vase and hobnail jar with poppy pods and green thistle in them on the end tables sealed the deal. I was nervous no one would utilize the benches but was proved wrong when I saw groups of people huddled around the fire, conversing and laughing together on the benches as the night wore on.

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The keg was dubbed ‘Dude Fuel’ sign and the wine and pop cooler was dubbed ‘Camping Cokes and Cocktails’. We had a bartender on hand for mixed drinks but most guests helped themselves to beverages throughout the evening. Oh and I wasn’t sure if I really liked that heart I made out of twigs found around my backyard in the weeks leading up to the shower but I have to say it looked pretty cute and festive hanging in a pine tree set out by the event tent.

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Oh and how adorable is Kris and Chris? Yeah the couple with the same name together, stay together. Love you guys.

P.S. I cannot wait for this amazing August wedding to get here finally.

P.S.S. I have an amazing new assistant. I can’t wait to introduce you to her.

P.S.S.S. I hate apologizing for my lack of blogging these days because the lack of blogging means things are happening here and when things are happening things are good but I miss you guys! At the end of July things will die down for a week or so and I’m hoping I’ll be able to check back in with lots of exciting news, some new events, and other fun things you’ll wanna high five a stranger for. Really though. Love you guys. I hope you’re rocking out your summer so far!

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Event planning, design and florals: Hey Gorgeous Events / Photography: Elizabeth Dunn Photography / Venue: private residence / Tent and rentals: Special Events Rental / Desserts: Sweet Heather Anne / Invitations and dessert tags: Smitten on Paper / Gingham napkins: La Tavola Linen