Bold, bright and colorful reception

As much as I love soft, beautiful and romantic vibes of receptions, this styled shoot was bold, bright and super fun! I was so grateful to be a mentor to Margaret Oberkrom form the Millbottom on this shoot (especially since I hadn’t been there since our own wedding reception) and to work with the talented Kelsi Kliethermes Photography again.

For all your brides out there planning summer weddings next year, you might want to take a look at some of these fun ideas.

I loved how The Ink Cafe incorporated a sketch of The Millbottom on the back of the invitation suite! It was the perfect combination of historical and modern elements.

Make sure to keep an eye out throughout the photos to see all the ways The Ink Cafe uses laser cut lettering to make personalizations. So cute!

This beauty is a combo of Chez Monet and Busch’s Florist…perfection!

Using the Millbottom’s vast space, we were able to use a fun diamond-shape layout for guest tables.

Loving the pops of florals paired with fun fruit place cards! 

The groom’s look was created by bold pieces provided by Samuel’s Tuxedos in Jefferson City, Missouri, and florals by Busch’s. Who says only the birde can have fun with her look?

The bride’s  ensamble was put together by the power team of Ana Marie’s Bridal and Inspired Salon and Spa and paired with a luscious ribbon bouquet by Busch

The combo of these whimsical paper flowers with the industrial vibe of the garage door was one of my favorite elements of the shoot. Thanks to PK Paper Art for the gorgeous designs!

And you really can’t have a reception in Jefferson City without a little cameo from the capitol!

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An neutral, organic styled shoot highlighting the senses

As Kelsi Kliethermes and I sat down for coffee what is now months ago, she described in vivid detail, a vision she had. The description that stuck out the most to me was, “I want to design a shoot that really embodies the senses.”

That line really resonated with me because events are far more than pretty floral arrangements and a good time. They are the foundation of beautiful memories and those experiences are remembered through the senses. Plus, I thought it was so refreshing to hear a photographer say that since photography uses one sense to evoke emotion.

After seeing these gorgeous images, I was immediately overcome by a few things. First, I was ecstatic about how one vision could so seamlessly come together with the right team. Second, I was blown away by how much raw emotion was created with a staged wedding and how much I could feel the experience of the day through the sensual elements.

As the shoot coordinator, my main goal was to make Kelsi’s vision come to life, and I must say I think we nailed it! The images she wanted were supposed to be soft, white and neutral, organic, natural and have a Tuscan flair. Oh, and did I mention that Kelsi shoots with film? Yes, real, old school film photography! Take a look…

The styled shoot took place at a beautiful new venue about an hour north of Columbia called Emerson Fields. The couple who owns it, Steve and Amelia Holder, are some of the most genuine people I’ve ever met. And from all the behind the scenes Amelia posts on Instagram as well as seeing the venue in person, it’s obvious their whole family has poured their hearts into the final product.

And when our rock star team of vendors brought all their masterpieces into this dreamy venue, the end result was nothing short of perfection. Everything stayed within the neutral and organic theme that Kelsi had envisioned yet each element stood out — whether it was the dainty ranunculus nestled into the centerpieces created by Tiger Garden, the beautiful Victorian feeling chairs from A-1 Party and Event Rental or the light reflecting charger mirrors that were adorned with calligraphy by The ink Cafe. And all of the food and beverage elements were tied together using very natural and herb-inspired details. The Good Food Co., a bakery that creates made-from-scratch, locally sourced products, created an elegant, textured cake. Columbia favorite Peggy Jean’s Pies added to the multi-dimensional array of sweets offering guests fruit tarts, traditional peach pie, jar pies and more. bleu Events pulled out all the stops for a delicious surf and turf main course and amped up cocktail hour with herb-infused cocktails. To round out the food, miniature olive oils and vinegars were provided by Boone County Olive Oil that really emphasized the Tuscan inspiration.

The styling for the bride, groom and bridesmaid, while still natural, was a bit more glamorous, which was a nice contrast to the neutrality everywhere else. The bride’s elegantly beaded dress by Maggie Sottero paired well with a traditional cut suit for the groom from Bingham’s Clothing. Both the bride and bridesmaid’s look, styled by Jessica Jane at Once Upon a Bride, was soft and swept back, and the bridesmaid’s monogram necklace from The Southern Rose  was a sweet detail.

But my favorite part of the whole day had to be the way the couple looked at each other. No, it wasn’t actually their wedding day and yes, they had been together for seven years already, but they looked at each other with such love and admiration. The bride shared with me that at their wedding, their photographer was also a bridesmaid that stood up in the ceremony with them, so it was fun to be able for them to have a day recreated with Kelsi’s photographic eye and full attention. Plus, I love how Amelia and Steve stepped in as the bride’s parents and although they are not in anyway related, these photos make them look like they are!

I wanted to give a huge thank you to everyone who made this shoot possible. It truly was a team effort! A full list of vendors is below. For more photos, visit the journal on Kelsi Kliethermes Photography’s website.

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Photographer: Kelsi Kliethermes Photography LLC | Film Lab: The FIND Lab | Venue: Emerson Fields | Coordination and Design: Kristi Ruprecht| Floral Design: Tiger Garden | HAMU: Jessica Jane at Once Upon A Bride | Rentals and Tableware: A1 Party & Event Rental | Gourmet Catering and Signature Drinks: Bleu Events | Calligraphy, Invitation Suite, Menus, Bar Signage, and Laser Cut Design: The Ink Cafe LLC | Laser Cut Printer: Fab Station | Bridal Gown: Cleo Bridal | Gown Designer: Maggie Sottero Designs | Headpiece: J-Picone | Bridal Shoes: Bella Belle Shoes | Bridal Ring Set: Kas A Designs | Bridesmaid Gown: Morning Lavender | Bridesmaid Necklace: The Southern Rose | Groom’s Suit: Binghams Clothing: Columbia, MO Men’s Store | Signature Pies: Peggy Jean’s Pies | All Natural Wedding Cake: Good Food Co. | Olive Oil and Gourmet Vinegar Favors: Boone Olive Oil Co. | Table Runner: Silk & Willow | Styling Ribbons: @waltandlo | Ring Box: The Mrs. Box | Organic Seed Paper Confetti: Swoon Party Shop | Models: Dustin and Alycia Hale Maasen and MacKenzie Knierim

Careful Consideration

Photo compliments of Love Tree Studios

It’s been a while since I talked about an event-specific topic and since I’ve stumbled upon this a few times with clients lately, I thought I would put together a post. When you’re planning an event, you want the day to be about you: your wedding day, your milestone birthday, your retirement, etc. But in order to properly do so, you want to take into consideration outside factors. Let me explain.

In Columbia, it’s not uncommon for brides and grooms to wait to book their fall wedding until after the Mizzou football schedule comes out. To some people who aren’t from Columbia, this sounds crazy. But Columbia is the kind of town that completely revolves around the game on football Saturdays. Plus now that we have joined the SEC, you also have to think about hotel room availability, especially if you have a lot of out of town guests.

Or how about traffic and road closures. The country club I work at happens to be very close to the location where Roots ‘N Blues ‘N BBQ takes place. And each year, the roads are re-routed to improve the flow of traffic to the festival. But that means the normal route to the country club is closed off and routed a different way. You need to think about that in order to give your guests the best set of directions or at least a heads up, so they aren’t late to your celebration. Other examples of events that might re-route or cause traffic issues are races, concerts and parades.

Photo compliments of Silverbox Photography.

Parades tend to coincide with holidays, which is something else you want to take into consideration when choosing a date. Some people think it’s best to host an event on a holiday weekend because that usually means there’s an additional day off from work and gives people time to travel. Although this is true, in my experience, attendance is always down on holiday weekends. There’s usually multiple commitments on these weekends, family activities are a high priority and travel is more expensive.

Speaking of money, you also want to consider prices on holiday weekends. A lot of venues will have higher rental prices on holidays, or you might have to pay extra for additional staffing. Or how about floral prices that skyrocket around Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, etc? There might be some additional costs that will really break the bank when it comes to adhering to your budget.

These are just some simple reminders of things you might want to consider when picking a date. It’s easy to put blinders on and only focus on specific details when you really want the whole experience for your guests from travel to event to home to be positive!

 

This or That: Online RSVP or Snail Mail RSVP

I get this question all the time! Is it acceptable to choose to do online RSVPS? On this one, I am going to get straight to the point.

Non-Wedding Celebrations:
Go for the digital option or the old-fashioned telephone. Unless it’s a crazy large party, these RSVPs are easy to control. Some people are even open to text reservations depending on how small or intimate the event might be.

Wedding Ceremonies & Receptions:

Photo compliments of Catherine Rhodes Photography.

I’m old school on this one, which is rare since I am completely OK with brides and grooms not following tradition. I feel that these days, it’s completely up to you which traditions you would like to include and which ones you don’t. But on RSVPs, my vote is to go the traditional route.

I know it’s increases the price of your invitation suite and increases the amount of postage you need an ultimately increases the total cost, but for a formal even that only (hopefully) takes place once in your life, I think a handheld, paper RSVP is necessary. If you spend all this money on a beautiful handmade, calligraphy inscribed invitation, spending the extra money on the mail-in paper RSVP is necessary. There are other areas you can cut costs or be more financially cautious, but in my opinion this is not the place.

This or That: Cocktail Reception or Seated Dinner?

Welcome to the first official This or That post! This mini blog series will feature two different options or controversial topics that I will share my thoughts on and weigh in on the pros and cons. If there’s a topic you ever want me to cover, let me know!

Since it’s almost Valentine’s Day and we will be wrapping up engagement season soon, I know a lot of couples are plugging away at reception details. So, today’s This or That topic is hors d’evours reception versus seated dinner.

Usually, there are two determining factors behind deciding on the food service style: price and atmosphere.

Price:
If you’re basing your decision solely on your budget, I recommend going with a seated dinner. Most people opt for a hors d’evours reception because they think it’s going to save some money. In actuality, that’s not always the case. If you’re serving food over a traditional mealtime, guests are still going to consume the same amount of food because it’s replacing a meal. Guests could consume even more if they are served buffet style because it encourages grazing versus food being served directly to them.

If price is your determining factor, I would recommend opting for  seated meal and weighing the pros and cons between buffet and plated service instead. This way, your guests are guaranteed to eat a delicious meal, and the caterer should ensure you don’t run out of food. Plus, it keeps the vibe of a traditional wedding reception and creates a more captive audience during dances and speeches.

Photo courtesy of Scott Patrick Myers Photography.

Atmosphere:
If you’re selecting a service style based on atmosphere, then I would definitely recommend an hor d’evours reception. More and more often I see traditional sit down meals replaced with passed appetizers and food stations. This organically cultivates a mingling atmosphere and encourages guests to move about the space.

Action stations are ideal when you want your event to feel upbeat and interactive. They offer cook-to-order or customizable food options that are prepared in front of you by a chef. Build-your-own taco stations, pasta stations or even sushi stations can be unique adds to your events that will have guests talking about them long after the evening is over. Maybe even think about incorporating brunch options into an evening event with a DIY crepe station. The possibilities are truly endless!

Repurpose & Reuse

If you know me well, you know I love a good bargain! Marshall’s is my jam, and so is the Dollar Stop at Target. I also love “redecorating” my house by taking all my knick knacks and decor off the shelves in my house, bringing them to a central location and then redistributing everything among the house to make it feel like I purchased new decorations.

So, it should come at no surprise that I love dual purposing party decor. Everyone always complains that parties become so expensive. Instead of purchasing disposable decor or things you will never again use, why not purchase things you can reuse not just at future parties but in your everyday.

My first example has to be one of my favorites (maybe because it is yet again baby related and I am in total baby mode), but it came from a shower I attended for my friend Mariette. The hostesses created a clothesline of onesies that adorably matched the shower’s color scheme, but they also were coordinated and numbered up to 12. The mama-to-be could use them in her baby’s month photos. Instead of the generic stickers, she is now equipped with 12 onesies to dress Conrad in (happy one month, little man)!

Eclectic dishware has been a trend at weddings and parties that have a romantic, antique feel. And styling a table full of mismatched dishes is not only easy to do, but it requires very little purchasing. If this is the vibe you’re going for, raid the cabinets of your mom, grandma and even an antique shop or two, and you can collect all sorts of ornate China, colorful glassware and pieces with character for a very small price.

Photo courtesy of Codi Shandel Photography.

And when you do have to purchase party-specific items, try and purchase things that can be reused from celebration to celebration. I am someone who LOVES color, but most of my serving dishes are plain white with maybe a small monochromatic detail. This way, you can work them into any color scheme or decor theme. Below are a few links to items that I find myself consistently using every time I host friends and family:

Bash Beverage Tub from Crate & Barrel ($89.95)
I have this one, which is the larger version and works well if you host a lot of parties or bigger gatherings. If you tend to have more intimate events, they also have a small version  ($69.95). I chose the silver one, but now that I have collected more servingware, I almost wish I would have purchased the gold one. There’s lots of fun, neutral colors available, including graphite, silver, gold and copper.

Place Card Holder Set from Pier 1 ($28.95)

Technically, these are called place cards, but I prefer to use them as buffet labels. They’re dry erase, which makes them easy to reuse and a nice, neutral color to match my servingware.

Double Sided Chalkboard from Target ($59.99)
The one I own is actually from Hobby Lobby, but here’s another great option from Target. These work great for welcome signs on your front porch, menu boards, photo opps, etc.

A Few Of My Favorite Things: 2017 Wedding Edition

At the end of each year, I pull together a post that dives into my favorite event ideas from the year. And although I know 2017 isn’t over yet, I just wrapped up my wedding season at work and wanted to do a special wedding edition of My Favorite Things.

These are ideas, tricks and overall good-for-the-soul tidbits from weddings I’ve coordinated, attended or I know people who have attended, so take a look if you plan on throwing a wedding bash next year because you might want to incorporate a few of these!

If The Shoe Fits
This gorgeous wedding shot by the talented ladies at Love Tree Studios was completely centered around none other than a pair of shoes. And if you know me, I am totally a shoe girl, so I love that Jaime and Todd used these shoes (which they also found a matching tie for) as their color and design inspiration for their big day. And a special shout out to Kent’s Floral Gallery for making the floral pattern come to life!

The Veteran Flower Girls
Yes, little girls in fluffy, tutu-like dresses are adorable. But how much cuter is it to incorporate your grandma’s as flower girls instead of putting them in the traditional prelude? Those smiles on their faces just tell it all!

Frost Yourself (Or Your Invitation)
“How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days,” anybody? I was drooling over these gorgeous vellum envelopes when my invitation to a friend’s wedding came in the mail. You spend lots of time and money on gorgeous invitations that people hang up in their house as the countdown to your big day approaches, so why not package them in a pretty frosted envelope?

Bring Your Wedding Day to Life
I think Cindy is on my list every year, but I just love having a live painter at events! Not only does it create an amazing keepsake for your special day, but it’s also a great way to incorporate an interactive element for your guests. Plus, it’s fun to compare the real photography to TooRooster Artistry’s painted version.

Dripping with Deliciousness
I’m all about a naked cake because A) I think they’re gorgeous, and B) I am not a frosting fan, so a naked cake is the perfect solution to a dessert that I enjoy without the top layer. However, this naked cake produced by All About Cakes definitely takes the cake–yes, pun intended. It was my favorite cake of the year! Thanks to Scott Patrick Myers for the photo!

Setting the Scene
I watch tons of wedding videos, but the opener to this video produced by Byler Media was one of my favorites. It not only kept religion in the wedding day, but it also incorporated the bride and groom’s wedding party. Clearly, there was a little forethought in this one 😉

Coordinated Chaos
As someone who had her bridesmaids wear mismatched dresses in her own wedding, I continue to be a fan of non-matching dresses. But what I really love and hope continues into 2018 wedding trends is not only mismatched colors but a mixture of colors, textures and patterns. I love the depth that various patterns and textures can bring in whether it’s through bridal bouquets or in this instance, through bridesmaid dresses.

Photo compliments of Erin Evangeline Photography. 

Extending the Wedding Day
We all know about the traditional act of giving roses to the mothers during the ceremony. Well, Sally and David decided to switch it up a little bit. Their mothers were part of a special moment during the ceremony where they each brought a rose to the alter where David and Sally were standing. Sally and David then exchanged roses as their first gift as husband and wife. They put them in a vase that stayed at the front for the remainder of the ceremony. While that was cute, the message that the officiant continued to explain is what really struck a cord with me. The vase they selected for these flowers was going to be displayed empty in their home. Whenever Sally and David have a fight, are at a loss for words, etc. one of them will place a single rose in that vase to let the other know exactly what they are thinking. No words are needed, no special cards, just a single rose that will transport the two of them back to their wedding day and to those promises each of them made. How sweet is that?