Mother's Day Gift Guide: For All The Moms In Your Life

There's no doubt that Mom's are the glue that hold our lives together. Your Mom always knows how to make you feel better, how to solve your problems, and how to make you feel extra special. Celebrate all the Moms in your life on May 14th - and maybe even cement your place as the favorite! - with this Mother's Day gift guide!

For the Mom who, is a new Mom
New moms are very sentimental. (Maybe it's all the hormones?!) Gift something full of meaning, like a necklace with baby’s initials, birthdate, or thumb print, like this one!

via Loveprint, Style #115SE

via Loveprint, Style #115SE

For the Mom who, is a new Grandmother
Fact: Moms love photos - especially photos of their Grand-babies! You can create these photo books through ChatBooks, which pulls photos from your cellphone, Instagram, Facebook, or through good ol' fashion uploading. There is no formatting required. Not only are the books easy to make, but they're affordable. In fact, your first book is free!

For the mom who, lives far away
Map it out! There may be distance between you and your Mom, but with something like this map artwork, it'll seem like she's right next door.

via Etsy

via Etsy

For the Mom who, just seems to do it all
Pampering is always appreciated by Moms. Consider gifting your Mom a mani/pedi, or a relaxing day at the spa!

For the Mom who, loves to be active
The gift of fitness goes a long way! For Moms who love to be active, gift them a subscription to ClassPass - a service that allows you to try different types of fitness classes, at various studios, in their city. She can go to a spin class one day, then to aerial yoga the next!

For the Mom who, is on the go
A fancy water bottle makes drinking water all day long so much better, am I right?! If your Mom is a busy bee, this gift will be a welcomed companion.

For the Mom who, is super organized
This daily planner will help Mom put herself back on the list. It serves as a planner - which will be helpful for those task-oriented Mommas - but it also incorporates both daily and weekly exercises, aimed to help you reflect on what brings you joy, and focus on making it a habit. 

For the Mom who, is a total techie
Dig up old video clips and/or photos, and create something to show Mom just how much you care about her. She'll cherish the memories and walk down memory lane!

For the Mom who, is a foodie
Technically, I think the "rule" of Mother's Day is that Mom doesn't have to cook. But, you might want to ignore that, and gift her a culinary experience for just the two of you, or maybe the whole family. Take a cooking class together and learn something new, while making memories. (If you're local to Charlotte, you have to try Chef Alyssa's Kitchen!)

For the Mom who, is impossible to buy for
Nothing makes a Mom happier than photos of her children (and Grandchildren!). Consider gifting your mom a photo session with a professional photographer. Come on, when was the last time you took a photo with a real camera and not your iPhone?! Get the family together and capture some memories - your Mom will love this gift!

For the Mom who, is a wine lover
Moms sure do love their wine, don't they? Well, there's a reason for that. Make happy hours a bit fancier. This ice mold from Crate & Barrel can freeze as is, or incorporate berries, citrus slices or fresh flowers before being frozen.

For the Mom who, likes everything to be in it's place
Help mom organize all those macaroni necklaces she's still holding on to with a bright and beautiful lacquer box, like this one from Lilly Pulitzer

via Lilly Pulitzer

via Lilly Pulitzer

Buying Guide Links
Expanding upon each post above, here are links to more products for some of the different mom "types"!
New Mom: ONE | TWO | THREE  // New Grandmother: ONE | TWO  // Lives Far Away: ONE | TWO  // Active: ONE // 
On The Go: ONE | TWO | THREE // Organized: ONE | TWO | THREE // Foodie: ONE | TWO // Wine Lover: ONE | TWO | THREE //
Likes Everything In It's Place: ONE | TWO | THREE


How To Create A Centerpiece Using Grocery Store Flowers

Everyone has asked themselves the question: "What would I do if I had endless amounts of money??" You probably thought about little luxuries to splurge on like a personal chef to cook all your meals, or a housekeeper that cleans every day. While I wouldn't say no to either of those things, I love the idea of having fresh flowers in my house all the time. It just makes a home feel like a home - and a bit fancy! But, we don't need to wait to win the lottery in order to have beautiful flower arrangements in our home on a regular basis. Anyone can create a flower arrangement for under $30 - even with grocery store flowers from Trader Joe's! I'll show you how.

how to create a centerpiece using grocery store flowers from trader joe's

Trader Joe's always has the best flowers, so it's my go-to for fresh blooms. But the farmer's market is also an amazing place to find gorgeous flower from local growers. So, hunt for the best place in town. Know what vase you're planning to use before you purchase flowers. That way you know you will have enough to work with - or on the flip side, not have a whole bunch of left overs. My floral style tends to be more organic and textured. I was looking for flowers with natural lines, and tulips are perfect for that! Hyacinth was my go to for a little color contrast and texture.

flower arrangement using grocery store flowers from Trader Joe's
creating flower arrangements using grocery store flowers from Trader Joe's

Once you purchase your flowers, you'll need to process them them. This basically means that you will want to prep the flowers for being arranged. Be sure to stick the flowers in water after you get home - especially if you don't plan on arranging them right away. You'll want to cut each stem on an angle. This helps the extend the life of the flower because it can drink water better. You'll also want to remove any leaves and stems that might go into the water. Not only will this also help extend the life of your arrangement, but it'll create more space in the vase for your stems - which you will need! Put some water in the vase before you begin, and don't forget the flower food. I like to start with some greenery and the larger blooms first, adding in just a few pieces at a time to create a base.

Next, you will layer in the other blooms and start to create your shape. You can take stems out after you put them in! This is your arrangement, so edit as you go until you're happy with the look.

Depending on where you plan to display your masterpiece, you can either make a one-sided bouquet or one that can be viewed from all sides. Mine is going on my kitchen table, so I made an arrangement that can be viewed from any angle. And as you can see I did this on my kitchen counter, so you don't need a fancy work space or tools. Just a good pair of scissors! All in all this arrangement took me roughly 30 to 40 minutes to create, from the start of processing the flowers to filling up the vase with water after my last edit. It was the perfect creative project to do during naptime! 

And here is my final arrangement!

how to create a centerpiece using grocery store flowers from trader joe's
how to create a centerpiece using grocery store flowers from trader joe's
how to create a centerpiece using grocery store flowers from trader joe's
how to create a centerpiece using grocery store flowers from trader joe's
how to create a centerpiece using grocery store flowers from trader joe's

Oh, and in case you were wondering, this floral arrangement is cat approved!



How to Create a Wedding Website

There is no doubt we live in a digital age. And while that little fact can bring on it's own issues, it's also proven to be helpful in the wedding world. Don't get me wrong - paper invitations and RSVPs are considered proper etiquette for weddings. But wedding websites are rising in popularity - and necessity! With most weddings being a destination for guests, a website is an important piece of the puzzle to ensure wedding information is properly communicated and in some cases expanded upon. Save the dates and wedding invitations are for informing your guests about the time and place of your celebration. You should include additional cards with your invitation suite for other information, such as an accommodation card or direction card. Or you could just simplify it and include an additional card with your wedding website, and let the website guide your guests to all the additional information not communicated with your invitation that they'll need about your wedding weekend, such as dress code, transportation, and registry information.

Invitation Suite by Elisabeth Rose | Photography by Lauren Rosenau Photography

Invitation Suite by Elisabeth Rose | Photography by Lauren Rosenau Photography

Wedding websites should be something each couple creates for their wedding weekend. But how do you do it?! We create a complimentary custom wedding website for each of our couples, with a custom URL to go with it. (See the photo above from Angela + Charlie's wedding.) Here are some tips on how to create your wedding website and what all you should include.

1. Do purchase your own domain. It's inexpensive and convenient! Make it something easy your guests can remember, like your names. But don't include this on your actual invitation. It should be printed on an accompanying card, such as an accommodation card.

2. Don't be intimidated about building your own website. There are plenty of websites that offer wedding website templates - Squarespace, Weebly, etc. They're easy to figure out and easy to customize. Minted actually offers wedding websites that match your wedding invitation suite.

3. Do let your guests know about the area attractions. Your out of town guests are going to want to experience the city where you're getting married through your eyes. So, create a tab where you share all your favorite restaurants, bars, and sights. Don't forget to include the contact information, like the website, physical address and phone number. 

4. Do share your registry information through your website. You should never include registry information in any of your invitations. So add a tab for your wedding registry on your website and link out to your wedding registry lists.

5. Don't feel like you need to share everything on your website. Keep it simple. The most important details to include is the when and where of the wedding, accommodations in the area, transportation, travel information, and registry locations. If you want to include a story about how you met and/or how you got engaged, then feel free... After all it is your wedding website! But don't feel like you need to include every little detail about your relationship and your bridal party on your website. Think of the wedding website as an extension of your invitation where you provide a bit more detail about the wedding weekend. Keep the wedding website focused on the events of the wedding weekend so that you can ensure that guests won't miss any details.

6. Do be mindful of what information you include on your wedding website. Yes there will be a rehearsal dinner, but if all your guests are not invited then it shouldn't go on your wedding website. Consider the website a place where you communicate information to everyone; not just family and vip guests. So if one of your room blocks is earmarked for family and bridal party only because there is limited availability, don't include it on the website or in your invitation suite. Share that information privately through email or word of mouth. You should include things like a welcome party or farewell brunch, where all your guests are invited to attend. And you can use the website to allow guests to RSVP to these additional events.

7. Don't skip the paper RSVPs. Your website might have an RSVP function available, but please do not go all digital for your wedding RSVPs. I know, I know you don't want to pay for the RSVP card, envelope and postage, and this feels like a great area to save money. Remember, not all your guests will be Internet-savvy. And guests aren't very pro-active - they like things to be easy! So asking them to write their name, check a box, and put a pre-stamped envelope in the mail (which is already in their hand upon opening the invitation) is less steps than telling them to get online, type in a website, and RSVP. So, if you do plan to offer a digital RSVP option through your wedding website, you should still include an RSVP card with your invitation suite and just simply add a sentence at the bottom saying, "You may also reply by way of our wedding website:" 

We are quoted on InStyle Weddings today giving some wedding website tips alongside other wedding pros. Check it out for even more tips and how-to advice!

What do you think of wedding websites? Are you planning to create your own wedding website? We want to know! :)


Real Wedding: Organic and Elegant North Carolina Mountain Wedding

This gorgeous fall wedding at Hawkesdene House in Andrews, North Carolina was the perfect way to close out 2016! At the peek of the fall season, surrounded by beautiful colors of nature, Jessica + Ryan celebrated amongst family and friends. Jessica's inspiration behind her wedding was the natural scenery of the North Carolina Mountains. We incorporated different types of lush greenery among the centerpieces. With rich, vibrant reds and lots of organic textures, we created an elegant evening with an organic inspiration in the mountains.

Jessica + Ryan met thanks to their moms, who were already good friends, and had arranged for Ryan to show Jessica around California, since it was her first time visiting. It was crazy how well their plan worked! The pair had so much in common, and flash forward 8 years later - they finally got married! Since both their families live all over the country, the couple choose the lovely Hawkesdene House, about 2 hours west of Asheville, for their destination wedding.  Our bride said that whenever the couple would visit the mountains, they always leave with such a sense of peace and happiness after getting away from the hustle and bustle of life. So, they wanted their guests to have a similar experience and feel leaving refreshed after a fun weekend away!

I think their plan worked because it was one heck of a wedding weekend. I am so excited to share photos from Jessica + Ryan's amazing wedding day! But first, a huge thank you to our fabulous team of talented vendors who helped create a magical day for our bride + groom.

Planning + Design: The Graceful Host
Photography: Josh Jones Photography
Flowers: New Creations Flower Company
Venue + Catering: Hawkesdene House
Cake: Sugar Cloud Baking Company
Linens: Nuage Designs + Party Reflections
Tent, Draping, Lighting: Classic Event Rentals
Photo Booth: Shutterbooth Charlotte
Live Artist: Wed On Canvas
Paper Goods: Elisabeth Rose
Hair and Makeup: Makeup by Jenny Le
Band: OnLive via Sam Hill Entertainment
Officiant: HeartLight Wedding Ministers
Videography: Five 18 Productions
Dress Designer: Amy Kuschel
Dress Boutique: Bellissima
Mens Attire: Mens Warehouse

I truly believe that wedding videography is such a worthwhile investment. While your photographer will capture your wedding day memories, a videographer will capture it in a way that photography just can't. So many nuances can be captured on video, not to mention your loved ones voices and mannerisms... and maybe some sweet dance moves? These are fleeting moments, never able to be repeated, are now frozen in time. It's a great way to relive your wedding day over and over again long after the wedding high has passed.

Jessica + Ryan, thank you so much for allowing The Graceful Host to be a part of your destination wedding celebration! You two were such a dream and a joy to work with, and the love you have for each other is captivating. I wish you a lifetime of happiness together and memories, just as sweet as your wedding day.


Real Wedding: A Cherry Blossom Inspired Spring Wedding at Foundation For The Carolinas

This couple couldn't be any sweeter. And there is no doubt that they are perfectly matched for each other!  Which makes the story of how they met all the better. Angela + Charlie met during their first year of law school at UNC Chapel Hill. But they didn't exactly hit it off, Angela notes. Angela didn't care for Charlie after their first meeting, when a mutual friend introduced them. Fast forward a year later, after a few study sessions, Charlie finally got the courage to ask Angela out. And Angela accepted after getting to know Charlie a bit better. After their first date, they both felt the spark ...and the rest was history, as they say!

Their April wedding was the epitome of a spring wedding. Angela's inspiration was everything floral, especially cherry blossoms. Beautiful blooming flowers in blush and ivory, with delicate details, made this stunning wedding absolutely eye-catching! Following a church ceremony at St. Peter's Episcopal Church, guests headed to Foundation For The Carolinas where the celebration continued into the night.  We loved working with this sweet couple and helping them create such a dreamy wedding celebration! 

A very special thank you to our vendor team who helped make Angela + Charlie's wedding day perfect!
Planning + Design: The Graceful Host
Photography: Lauren Rosenau Photography
Floral Design: New Creations Flower Company
Invitations, Paper Goods: Elisabeth Rose
Hair: Mirror Bomb Studios
Makeup: Erin Ashley Makeup
Catering: Something Classic
Cake: Wow Factor Cakes
Band: The Business 
Ceremony Venue: St. Peter's Episcopal Church
Reception Venue: Foundation For The Carolinas
Musicians: Charlotte Strings For Events
Linens: Party Reflections and Nuage Designs
Welcome Box: The Graceful Host
Wedding Dress: Enzoani from J.Majors Bridal Boutique
Bridesmaid Dresses: Jim Hjelm from J.Majors Bridal Boutique
Groom and Groomsmen: Jos A Bank

Angela + Charlie, it was such a pleasure working with you both and your families! Thank you for allowing us to be a part of your big day.