Pearl Accessories That Are Infinitely Cooler Than Grandma’s Pearls

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There’s nothing more classic (or bridal) than a strand of pearls. And while these stylish accessories are definitely bridal, there’s nothing classic about them. From trendy ear jackets to chic chokers to embellished sandals, prepare to say “I do” to all the pearl pretties below.

Not Your Grandmother’s Pearl Jewelry

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Not Your Grandmother’s Pearl Jewelry

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More Beautiful Baubles

Unique Engagement Rings | Medal-Worthy Engagement Rings | Engagement Rings for Your Zodiac Sign

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Splurge + Save With These Wedding Registry Essentials

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In a perfect world, we’d register for everything under the sun and it would all be topnotch, the best of the best. But let’s get real here people, that’s not feasible or fair. So how to choose which kitchen appliances to go big with, and which ones to keep a bit more reasonable? We rounded up registry essentials, sharing both sides of the spectrum, so you can choose the one that best fits your future!

Registry Save vs. Splurge

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Registry Save vs. Splurge

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The Smart Bride + Groom’s Guide to Wedding Registries

SMP’s Wedding Registry ABCs | Unique Wedding Registry Ideas | 10 Must-Have Registry Items

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Engagement Sesh at Shake Shack? Total #RelationshipGoals

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Is it too much to call these two our heroes? Maybe. But any couple that includes a stop at Shake Shack in their engagement session is worthy of all the heart eye emojis in the world. Tommy and Amber planned an entire evening in Chicago with Shannon Duggan along to capture their city adventures, including sweeping skylines, romantic strolls, and delicious burgers – of course.

From Shannon Duggan PhotographyAmber and Tommy moved to Chicago immediately following college graduation. Wanting to make the life that most young couples dream of. They chose this gorgeous city after living in Chicago one summer during college, sharing a shoe box sized apartment, and falling even more in love with the city, and of course, each other.

The night of Tommy’s proposal Amber was completely clueless. These two are major foodies, so naturally Amber made a dinner reservation during Chicago’s restaurant week.

“We got all cute and took the train downtown and had the best jerk chicken of our lives. And after he suggested that we go for a walk on the river walk and look at all the ice and snow on the river (I love walking after a big meal) and as we walked he stopped me and said “I didn’t bring you here just for a walk and I didn’t bring them here for that either” and when I looked over I saw my family and his a few of our close friends (in person and on FaceTime!) and began crying uncontrollably as he said the most amazing things and asked me to be his wife.”

I wanted to capture the adventure these two have shared in this incredible city, and I truly feel this engagement session does exactly that. We ran around the city all evening, from Three Arts Cafe in the gorgeous Restoration Hardware, to Shake Shack, and of course the incredible North Avenue Beach. Chicago is truly a city I can’t get enough of, and I loved photographing the love and adventure these two have shared in it.

Photography: Shannon Duggan Photography | Location: Restoration Hardware | Location: Shake Shack

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#SMPWedding101 – Unique Wedding Heirlooms

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I’m a sentimental person and that affection extended into my own wedding. I strived to create unique keepsakes from my big day that I’ll continue to treasure for years to come and I love whenever SMP discovers new ideas – and we got a whole bunch of them for you ladies today! The Garter Girl is here to share her favorite ways to keep those memories alive; which ones do you plan on recreating?!

BOUQUET WRAP

You have your mother’s (or grandmother’s) wedding dress, but you don’t want to wear it for your wedding. There are many unique ways to use this family heirloom at your wedding, such as turning the sleeve into a cover for your bouquet stems. Try cutting off the sleeve of the dress and using it as a wrap for your bridal bouquet. Many vintage wedding dresses actually had sleeves that were decorative with lace, beads and other trims. As a bouquet wraps, you’ll be able to carry a beautiful family heirloom with you on your wedding.

RECREATING PHOTOS

There is no wedding heirloom sweeter than a family photo. But instead of the traditional family group picture of everyone all lined up, what about recreating a photograph from your parent’s or grandparent’s wedding album? Is there a iconic photo of your parents on their wedding day? Try using the same pose or the same expression on your wedding day. You can contribute to a family memory and create a new tradition by recreating a wedding photograph and then putting it in a frame along with the old family photograph.

GARTER

Once a scary thing that sent every unmarried wedding guest running for the bar or to hide in the restroom, the wedding garter is having a come back in a major way. But these bridal garters aren’t for tossing. Today’s wedding garters are pretty and elegant, designed to be modern heirlooms for saving as something special from a wedding day. Even better, the new wedding garter designs are meant to be passed onto future generations to come in your family.

GUEST BOOK

Guest books of the past were just that, books that wedding guests signed upon entering the wedding. But who wants a book full of signatures? Modern guest books are creative and thoughtful. Today’s wedding guest books have taken a turn for the practical, into something that brides and grooms would actually use and enjoy well after the wedding is over. Think thumbprints on a canvas, a signed piece of furniture (or a canoe!), a jar filled with well wishes, or marriage advice to be opened up on anniversaries.

FAMILY FIRST LOOKS

Sure, we’ve all heard of the first look where your photographer captures your expressions before you walk down the aisle to the ceremony. But what about a wedding day family first look! Your parents and siblings will be just as excited and full of emotion to see you on your wedding. After the first look with your fiance, ask your photographer about a first look for your family too. A family first look can create into those priceless wedding heirlooms you’ll cherish forever.

LIVE PAINTINGS

As your wedding ceremony unfolds or maybe during the cocktail hour of your wedding receptions, couples are opting for a live painter to come to their wedding to hand paint the event as it takes place. Not only is this an interactive and fun thing for your wedding guests, but the end result is a beautiful and very meaningful piece of artwork. This live painting is a unique wedding heirloom that you’ll be able to hang in your home forever.

VOW BOOKS

Writing your own wedding vows is coming back in wedding ceremony vogue. More and more couples are investing wedding planning attention into every little thought and detail of how their wedding ceremony will unfold right down to the music, the guest seating and taking the time to write their own wedding vows. A hand calligraphed hardcover wedding vow book is a beautiful way to preserve your vows so that you can and look back and reread your vows and so can your children.

Not Your Average Bridal Accessories

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Not Your Average Bridal Accessories

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ONGOING GIVEAWAYS + DISCOUNTS…  

Plum Pretty Sugar
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We’re excited to share that Shine invitations is currently offering FREE SHIPPING on orders over $500 (US orders only) as well as a free sample kit featuring the invitation of your choice, color charts, paper samples, and an example Save the Date! Don’t miss out!

THIS WEEK’S DISCOUNTS…

For our California Brides… Discounts from The Ranch at Laguna Beach and Weddings by Susan Dunne!

For our Destination Brides… Discount from Hitch’d Weddings & Events

For our Tri-state Brides… Discount from Femina Photo + Design and giveaway from OLLI STUDIO!

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Style Advice: The Garter Girl

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Why We Can’t Get Enough of This Bride’s Bouquet

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There’s nothing like kicking off the weekend with a bang, and these bright, coral peonies have certainly done the trick. But they’re only the beginning of a stunning waterside affair, with so many heirloom moments woven in along the way. Kristin La Voie captured every bit waiting for you in The Vault!

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From Kristin La Voie PhotographyOur sweet couple Kensington and Michael have known each other forever (since Kensington was 15!) and they shared a very intimate wedding with their closest family and friends (about 25 in attendance) at the Lodge at Pebble Beach, followed by an intimate dinner in a library room at the Inn at Spanish Bay. Tons of family heirlooms were incorporated into the wedding, including a 1913 pin passed down for generations that women in Kensington’s family wore on their wedding day (which can be seen pinned onto her dress), table runners made by her Great Great Grandmother, her Grandparent’s cake topper, her Great Great Grandmother’s ring pillow, and more, which start back in the 1800s!

The entire day was absolutely breathtaking from beginning to end. Their ceremony took place on the green at the Lodge overlooking the most beautiful blue water and the famous Pebble beach golf course. It was like a dream! Their cocktail hour continued over at the Inn at Spanish Bay with it’s picturesque rolling hills (with it’s own bagpiper!) and crashing waves. All of their guests sat at one long table for dinner, inside a library private room. The bride and her friends even surprised their guests (and groom!) with an ode to Beetlejuice with the “Day-o” song and dance!

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Photography: Kristin La Voie Photography | Floral Design: Fleurish Floral Designs | Wedding Dress: Allure Bridal | Invitations: Wedding Paper Divas | Ceremony Venue: Pebble Beach Resorts | Reception Venue: Pebble Beach Resorts | Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka

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When You Lock Eyes With The DJ, Sometimes It’s Fate

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Girl walks into a local bar. Girl locks eyes with boy, who happens to be the DJ. Boy has an instant feeling she’s something really special. And the rest, as they say, is history. Read on for the full love story plus beautiful engagement photos from the lens of Meredith Sledge.

From The Bride… Jasen and I met three and a half years ago. He was DJ’ing at a local bar and he said as soon as he saw me, he had a feeling. We ran into each other again two weeks later and he asked for my number. I didn’t think this popular Richmond DJ would ask for my number! We went out the following week and the rest, they say, is history.

To be completely honest, it hasn’t been an easy road (are relationships ever easy!?). Jasen was different than any guy I had ever dated, the biggest thing being the age difference of 13 years. Because of this, we had a rocky first year. I made the choice to fight for our relationship because I felt something in my heart that I never had before. Jasen accepted me for who I was. I rarely felt like I could be my true self in a relationship and, not only did he allow me to be open and honest, he brought out the best in me. He continued to do this through the hard times.

We laugh together. Every. Day. His energy lights up a room. We love to spend time with family and friends. Spring and fall weekends are filled with adventuring throughout Virginia. We lead a busy life (he’s a real estate agent/DJ on the weekends and I am a 5th grade teacher), but we always make time to check out the latest movie, blast music in our house and make a terrible attempt to sing like Adele, and be adventurous in our kitchen.

I am absolutely one of the girls that has been thinking about their wedding since they were 12. I am addicted to Pinterest and already have a “vision board” for my wedding! I want to describe my wedding as elegant, romantic, fun, and cozy and I can’t wait to get married this winter!

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Photography: Meredith Sledge | Location: Main Street Station

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Pastel Wedding Inspiration Complete with Foraged Blooms

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If this bouquet is any indication it just goes to show that nature always provides. Because this heavenly handful? It was (believe it or not) mostly foraged finds thanks to the madly talented Colonial House of Flowers. From there it’s a day layered with elegance and delicious details – like this pretty from Savannahs Hall of Cakes! All in all it’s a inspo captured by Jeremy Chou Photography that you’re sure to love and we’ve got it all in The Vault.

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From Colonial House of FlowersJust above Savannah, Georgia and below Charleston, Okatie sits in the most gorgeous coastal countryside you’ve ever seen. This region also boasts some of the most talented vendors in the South East. For this workshop, the lovely ladies of Design Studio South collaborated with the uber talented designer Tristan Needham and when they asked us to be a vendor, we knew we had to be involved.

By incorporating a floral recipe that included greenery foraged up to the last minute and even blooms clipped by my daughter and sister from my own garden, I helped welcome the group of photographers the most natural way I could, amid the Spanish moss and 600 year old oaks.

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Photography : Jeremy Chou Photography | Cinematography: Vitor Lindo | Event Coordination: Design Studio South | Event Design: Tristan Needham | Floral Design: Colonial House of Flowers, Est. 1968 | Cake: Savannahs Hall of Cakes | Stationery: Cake | Catering : Thrive | Hair + Makeup: Bride’s Side Beauty | Calligraphy: Every Little Letter | Vintage Car: AE Luxury Limo | Wedding Venue: Oldfield Plantation | Basket: Pottery Barn | Candles: 100Candles | Container: Urban Poppy | Event Rentals: Amazing Event Rentals | Gown Designer: Saint Isabel Bridal | Models: Brittani Dremann, Ryan Claus, Megan Johnson, Chandler Fritts | Ribbon: Frou Frou Chic

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Real Bride Diary: I’m Getting Married Today!

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Hi guys, Claire here! This is one of my very final Real Bride Diary posts, because…I’m getting married today!

It’s been a real treat for me to write these posts over the last year, and take time out to think about the decisions we’ve made for our wedding, to let off about some of our fears and frustrations, and to get a bit indulgent in telling you all the details of what we’ve been planning.

And if you’ve stuck with me throughout, thanks!

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Photo by Svetlana Photography via Bridal Musings

So today’s post (which I’ve prepped a few days in advance) was supposed to be something of a letter to myself for my wedding morning.

But really, I have no advice to give. Other than to say, take a deep breath, soak up every second, and no matter how much you’re fretting over your hair, your make-up or your dress, I bet you look gorge!

So, seeing as that letter to myself would make for a pretty short post, I thought I’d share a few thoughts, last minute musings if you will, of something I’ve come to the realisation of over the last few months.

Weddings are pretty magic.

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Photo by Kasey Ivan Photography via Bridal Musings

I always knew weddings were fun, and beautiful, and romantic (I write about them for a living after all), but they also have some sort of special power, that makes even the most cynical person excited, that gets someone to travel across the world just to see you say ‘I do’, and that can give you something to look forward to, during otherwise tough times.

Weddings get a lot of stick for being no more than a money spinner. An over-hyped concept couples buy into, that’s nothing more than an expense for them, their parents and their guests. And a cause of stress and drama.

And while it’s true that your wedding day tends to be one of the more expensive and indulgent days in your life, it’s so so much more than that.

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Photo by Terralogical Photography via Bridal Musings

As I type this, I’m sitting in my childhood bedroom surrounded by all the Pinterest-inspired DIY bits my dad has patiently helped us put together over the last few months. My sister, her husband and her baby are in the next room, they’ve flown all the way from Greece during their busiest month of the year in work. And I’m about to go to a party that all my aunties are throwing in my honour.

How cool is that?

And in a few days time, for the first time ever, almost every single person I love in the world, every friend, every relative, will be in the same room, sharing a meal.

That kind of blows my mind.

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Photo by Kasia Bacq via Bridal Musings

I’m excited to get married and be married, of course. But for Marko and I, we’re not expecting our relationship to change overnight. For us, this is about legitimising and celebrating our relationship, and becoming the family that we already feel we are.

So for us, our wedding has been more about celebrating our favourite things and celebrating with our favourite people. It’s about throwing a massive party and giving everyone a night to remember.

Because in my mind, when you look back over your life, it’s just a series of your most stand-out memories, and how special is it to have that picture of a party that was all about love, that everyone came to and danced at and had a great time.

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Photo by Chaz Cruz Photography via Bridal Musings

Maybe I’m over-thinking it, and maybe I’m buying into the complex, but for me, our wedding has been about nothing but joy since the moment we got engaged.

Marko proposed to me a few months after my mam passed away. It was an uplifting end to a horrendous year, and (along with the birth of my stunning niece) it gave a bit of light and promise for happier times to come.

And if that alone, was all we got from our wedding (and it won’t be!), it would make all the expense and effort so so worth it. To have a distraction, to have something to look forward to and think about on darker days was an absolute gift.

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Photo by Elaine Palladino Photography via Bridal Musings

And while I know my wedding day without my mam by my side will be a little less happy (and a lot more emotional), just to know how much she loved Marko and how delighted she was to know I’d found someone awesome, makes me smile no end.

There are enough awful things in this world, enough sad news, enough personal tragedies, and it’s not all that often you get to bring people together to celebrate something good.

So if all a wedding does is stop people checking their newsfeed for an afternoon, lifts them out of something heavy in their lives for a few hours, or makes them smile at the mere thought of it, well then I think weddings are worth the hype.

Photo by Ellie Gillard Photography via Bridal Musings

So by now, I should have my hair and make-up nearly complete. The tables will be set, the food will be prepped, and the flowers will have been delivered. I’ll be heading back to the hotel to have a drop of bubbly with Marko and listen to our pre-wedding playlist.

He’ll help me into my dress, and then we’ll go get hitched.

I’m sure we have wonderful things in store, both on the day, and in the months and years to come. But for now, I’m just basking in all the peace, excitement and elation of the lead-up. Because that’s plenty enough for me,

Read all my Real Bride Planning Diaries so far. 

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Beachy Bachelorette Party? You Need These Mermaid Gift Sets!

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Hello brides-to-be, Olivia from LivvyLand here and I’m sharing some fun news…I went to Costa Rica for my destination bachelorette trip! For our tropical beach getaway to celebrate I crafted my ‘maids a fun gift to welcome them to paradise and as soon as we touched down in Costa Rica my fabulous crew went from bridesmaids’ to mermaids for an entire week of beach festivities!

If you saw how I asked my bridal party to be a part of my big day, it’s no secret that I thoroughly enjoy coming up with themed gift sets and making them come to life! Between being a Pinterest fanatic and my career as a fashion blogger, let’s just say creating these precious little sets is a ‘happy place’ of mine – not to mention getting to see the look on everyone’s faces when they open them up is truly the absolute best! I thought up a batch of items that would coincide perfectly with the ‘mermaid’ theme of the shindig and be useful throughout the trip. Here’s what I included in my mermaid gift sets:

Ramblers | Since we’ll be roaming from the pool to the beach, I opted for cups that can keep drinks extra cold throughout the day. I worked with Rambler On to customize YETI Lo Ball cups for my bridal party – each one says “Let’s Be Mermaids” on one side and then has their monogram on the back. I think we’re all set for a “cheers” photo opp!

Nail Kit | When doing some extensive mermaid research, I spotted this idea on Pinterest and knew I had to add it to my gift set! I got super lucky and found the glittery scale nail files at CVS (honestly, I’m not sure the cashier has ever seen someone so excited about nail files, ha!) and then scooped up the polish colors by Essie. My color scheme was coral and a mix of light blues and mint greens, so I grabbed polish colors within that spectrum. Finally, I tied each one with a dash of twine and voila, cutest little nail polish sets!

Bracelets | A beach getaway just calls for beaded bracelets with bursts of color, and when I saw these pretties by Gold & Gray I was completely hooked! I got one per gal, but if you’re feeling ultra festive you could pass out a few per person so they can stack them up!

Matching Tees |  I love the idea of a matching bachelorette bridal party, and after scouring the internet for the perfect tee fit for a flock of fabulous mermaids, I decided this adorable coral Wildfox number was the one! For starers, it’s the color of Ariel’s hair (Little Mermaid reference), and two, I love the word ‘Mermaid’ written across the front – it’s got that effortless, playful look that I was hoping to find. Not to mention, everyone can use a breezy tee to throw on over a swimsuit after a day at the beach!

Shell Hair Pins | Such a fun and easy DIY activity! All you need is a hot glue gun, a pack of bobby pins, some small shells and pretty paper. I ventured to Michael’s for all of the items – they have a ton of itty bitty shell options in different colors to choose from.

Mermaid Inspired Cards |  A gift set is never complete without a super adorable card that just sums it all up! My sister is an artist and runs the Etsy store Kimberlee Artworks, so I knew she could make my vision come to life. She hand painted these watercolor prints with pastel scales in the background and handwritten text – beyond precious and so perfect to top off this mermaid gift package!

For all you beach bachelorette babes, I hope this gave you some fun planning inspiration! This is the time to treat your fellow mermaids like queens, so have an absolute blast with it! xx

Follow Olivia’s Journey down the aisle!


Bridesmaids’ Gifts | Save the Date | Reception Dress

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Photography: Olivia Watson | “Let’s Be Mermaids” Cards: Amazon | Beaded Tassel Bracelets: Gold & Gray | Blogger Bride: Olivia Watson | Mermaid Bikini Swimsuit: Amazon | Mermaid Tee Shirts: Amazon | Monogrammed cups: Rambler On | Nail Polish: Amazon | Starfish Veil : Amazon

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This Backyard Wedding Is Basically “Father of the Bride” IRL

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You’ve seen Father of the Bride, right? It’s pretty safe to say we’ve found the real life version that’s better than the movie any day. After becoming engaged, these two knew her childhood home was the perfect spot to tie the knot, and with the help of Intertwine Style they transformed her parent’s garden into a ceremony masterpiece. Almond Leaf Studios worked their usual magic behind the lens and there’s even more to pin this way.

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From the Bride… I met Alex through mutual friends about four years ago. We hit it off instantly and talked to each other for the majority of the night. His intellectual curiosity and sense of humor are what initially drew me in and I have been smitten ever since! He proposed to me in our apartment kitchen on a Friday night with my dream ring from Satomi Kawakita. The ring is extremely simple and not your typical engagement ring by any means, but it is exactly what I wanted. The beauty and meaning behind the simplicity of the ring is perfect. We had friends over for champagne and dreamed of things to come!

My parents have maintained a beautiful garden at my childhood home of about 22 years. Growing up, the garden was a place to hang out and nibble on berries, pick flowers, and just enjoy the outdoors. It is a place I hold dear and when Alex and I got engaged it was instantly my ideal venue for our ceremony. Aligning our reception venue with the lush, dreamy, and nostalgic vibe of my parents’ garden was key for me. Luckily, a generous family friend offered up her peony farm, Oscar-Morse Peonies, which was a dream come true. We visited the farm as the sun was setting and I knew it would be perfect. I let the venues essentially guide the rest of my decision-making.

For floral design, we were lucky enough to have peonies from both Oscar-Morse and my parents’ garden. Having watched my parents’ peonies bloom yearly as a child, it meant so much to see them in bouquets and arrangement on our big day. Beyond the sourcing of the flowers, Kelly Lenard was a genius with the design! I wanted lush, soft, muted colors along with some blush/pale yellow/ivories. My dress was a color called “Butter” so I wanted some yellows in my bouquet to complement that. I also wanted a bit of an edge to the all the softness, which is where we integrated smoke bush, Do-Tell peonies, and rex begonia leaves. She executed on the vision flawlessly.

I wanted my dress to be chic, not fussy, and I wanted it to be Houghton Bride. When I saw Alice in Ivory was holding a Houghton trunk show I instantly booked an appointment. I am entirely obsessed with what Houghton has been doing in the bridal industry, and while Katharine Polk’s designs can lean a bit more “City Bride,” I *loved* every dress I tried on and ultimately chose the Kate Dress. It was the perfect fit for me and the garden wedding. To make it a little more ethereal, I added the Jennifer Behr Coronet and a thin belt. For bridesmaids I wanted a more formal spin on the slip-dress and Joanna August’s Kimi dress was a perfect fit.

The day was absolutely perfect and I cannot thank our vendors enough for all that they did to make it run seamlessly! The day went by faster than I ever could imagine and Almond Leaf Studios did a great job at capturing the day and emotion. We’ll look back on these pictures for years to come and think of what a happy day it was!

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Photography: Almond Leaf Studios | Coordination: MerryMe Events | Styling: Kelly Lenard | Floral Design: Kelly Lenard | Wedding Dress: Houghton Bride | Cake: Adam’s Cake Shop | Invitations: Minted | Ceremony Venue: Childhood Home – Private Residence | Reception Venue: Oscar-Morse Peonies | Shoes: Stuart Weitzmen | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Joanna August | Catering: Matterhorn | Hair: Jennifer Lewallen | DJ: EA Pro Music | Groom’s Attire: J.Crew | Bridal Belt: xLittlebee | Bridal Boutique: Alice In Ivory | Bride’s Hair Piece: jennifer behr | Bride’s ring: Satomi Kawakita | Flower Girls: Zara | Rentals: Burns | Ring Bearer: Zara | Wildflower Seeds: Etsy

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