A Bold Color Palette That Will Blow You Away in Charlotte, NC

It’s not very often we meet a couple who really wants to step out of the box. But this couple was all about unique and bold details that were a reflection of their personal style.

This wedding was definitely one for the books, in more ways than one. First, we started working with Jennifer + John just 4 months prior to their wedding date. And second, their wedding was almost derailed by Hurricane Florence, who tried really hard to crash the party! The whole executing a wedding during a hurricane thing was quite a challenge. Oh, and did I mention that I was 37 weeks pregnant at the time?! Like I said, a challenge that was one for the books. But I LOVE a challenge, y’all!

Ok, so back to the details! The color palette just blows me away - I’m in love with these moody tones! Jennifer’s vision was very clear. She wanted to create a lounge-inspired setting for her guests, where conversation and good food can be enjoyed. Our floor plan was very lounge dominant, which I just loved! Working with color isn’t something I always get to do, so it was really fun designing this wedding with Jennifer + John.

Our vendor team was really amazing for this wedding. Everyone came together to make sure that Jennifer + John had the best day, despite the forecast putting us all to the test!
Planning + design: The Graceful Host
Photography: Morning Wild Photography
Flowers: New Creations Flower Company
Venue: Mint Museum Uptown
Paper Goods: Elisabeth Rose
Catering: Something Classic
Dress: Theia Couture
Dress Boutique: Ladies Of Lineage
Hair and Makeup: Makeup by Jenny Le
Cake: The Wow Factor Cakes
Furniture + Lounge Rentals: Crush Event Rentals
Chair Rentals + Draping: Carolinas Luxury Event Rentals
Lighting: Wink Lighting
Linens: Nuage Designs
Linens: Party Reflections

Enjoy some of my favorite photos from Jennifer + John’s wedding!

Turns out that a wedding during a hurricane can be pretty magical. I’m super grateful to the team of professionals that executed everything so beautifully for our couple. And a huge thanks to Jennifer + John for allowing The Graceful Host to be a part of your special day!


Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler

It’s with bittersweet emotion that I announce a big change for The Graceful Host …


We’re MOVING to ….. Louisiana!

It’s hard to even type those words. How do I leave North Carolina? The city I call home. Where my husband and I have built a life. Where we created two beautiful boys. The place where I built a business. Where I’ve fostered sweet friendships. Where I’ve grown up. The home of countless memories and experiences. Just, how??

I’ve had some time to sit on this news. I joke that I never like to do anything fast. It’s just not my personality - I’m a very analytic person who likes to think things through. So I’ve had time to process my feelings before announcing it publicly. And that’s good for me - That means I can type this without being in a gigantic puddle of tears. There’s just a tiny puddle.

So, you might be asking … why are you moving?! Short answer: My husbands job is the reason for the move. He’s being transferred. It’s a gift that we’re able to move to the New Orleans area, really, because that’s where my entire family lives. I haven’t lived in Louisiana since I moved away for college 13 years ago. And truthfully, I never thought I’d be back. I came to North Carolina and attended Elon University, and just fell in love! At the time of my college graduation, my now husband and I were engaged, and even though I didn’t have a job (hello vocal performance major! haha!), I knew I wanted to be on my own. Since my husband, Todd, got a job in Charlotte right out of college, I decided to move to Charlotte so we could officially begin our lives together.

Not going to lie. When I first moved to Charlotte, I hated it. I mean, HATED it. But it was such a different place 9 years ago. And I felt very much alone, since Todd was traveling non-stop - I was basically living alone with no friends around and no job. Since I first moved to Charlotte as a young college grad, I’ve found my place and have created a business - and life! - that I just cannot imagine leaving behind. I opened my mind to what Charlotte had to offer, and she’s never stopped impressing me. I really thought we’d never leave this sweet Queen City. It truly feels like home to both of us.


It’s crazy to think about relocating, honestly. My anxiety is in overdrive, y’all! But as difficult as I’m sure this transition will be, I’m also looking forward to the change. It’s that feeling of living with paradoxical emotion, where I’m scared out of my mind about the unknown and yet, at the same time, eagerly excited for what’s to come. I will miss my friendships and vendor friends here in Charlotte deeply. I’ve had the chance to serve over 60 couples and dozens of families over the last 7 years! Not to mention work with so many talented vendors. And truly I cherish my team, who is just the best out there - Jenny, Brianna, Abby, Kasie, Chandler … I love y’all! I’m just so grateful for the opportunities I’ve experienced over the last several years being here in the Queen City.

But, there’s something to be said for starting fresh. For having the challenge of restarting in a new place, with so much experience under my belt. I do feel lucky to have a handful of vendor friends in the New Orleans area from past events. And of course, this does feel like a homecoming (for lack of a better term!) for me … because New Orleans was my first home. I truly can’t wait to reconnect with so many friends! Plus, we’ve never lived anywhere near family. So it’ll be a nice change to have family up the street, rather than a plane ride away. (Maybe Todd and I can squeeze a date night in more than just once a year! haha!)

So what’s going to happen to The Graceful Host, you might ask? I will absolutely be establishing both The Graceful Host weddings + events AND the Party Shop in New Orleans. And I cannot wait to serve brides + grooms and families in the Big Easy! If anything has come from this, it’s sparked a new fire in me. I’ve had some time to really map out future goals and make sure that I’m realigning my business with those goals. I have some big plans, y’all… I mean, HUGE! The news of the move may have rocked me in the beginning, but now … now, I’m taking this opportunity to dream bigger than ever! It’s been a difficult past few months having to turn away future business because we’re relocating, but I know in my heart that everything will work out and TGH will be better than ever in no time.

Make no mistake … this self proclaimed Carolina girl is terrified of starting over. Just terrified. But I love a challenge. And I cannot wait to have the chance to design and create in the city that gives me so much inspiration. The city taught me how to party - let’s be real. The city that molded me. And I’m very much looking forward to showing my family all that New Orleans has to offer, and to create a new home together.

So friends, my one wish is that you think of me and my family over the next few months as we make this huge life change and move hundreds of miles away from our beloved home of Charlotte.

And if you’re a bride in the New Orleans area …. I’m happily booking for 2020, and I cannot wait to get to know you better! Please give me a call!


And to Charlotte, the place I call home … Thank you for all the memories! I resisted you for so long. You were patient, though. And you welcomed me with open arms when I was ready to let you in. I’ll always think of you as my home. Leaving in the Fall will be difficult, and who knows - maybe we’ll be back?! And if we do have the chance to come back to the Queen City, I have no doubt you’ll welcome me back with open arms once again. Thank you, Charlotte … for everything!!!!


PS. I am still booking events through October 2019 in Charlotte! Our move will be in November, following my last wedding at the end of October. And I’d just love to help you with your event!!

A Super Celebration For The Watson Siblings

A Super Celebration For The Watson Siblings

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s …. a superhero! It was a joint birthday party for the Watson siblings - Bly who was turning 3 and Merci who was turning 1. Big brother Bly loves superheroes, so that was the chosen theme. But we added pops of pink and purple for a girly touch. I love the superhero theme because it's perfect for boys and girls! We had a “superhero training center” set-up with a bounce house and waterslide. It was a hot afternoon at the park, so the waterslide was a big hit! There was a face painter, as well as a cape bar so that the kids could suit up and look like a real superhero!

This Couples Blush And Ivory Wedding at the Ritz Carlton Urban Garden Will Make You Swoon

We kicked off 2019 with Molly + Adam’s beautiful wedding at the Ritz Carlton Urban Garden in Uptown Charlotte. I adore this couple so much! They are just as sweet as pie, and planning with them was such a joy.

We booked the Urban Garden at the Ritz Carlton for their reception because this unique space was a perfect fit for this outdoors loving couple’s February celebration. One reason I love the Urban Garden is because of all the beautiful light the comes pouring in from the windows, and the neutral look of the venue. It’s so easy to put your own personality on a space like this because there isn’t any competing decor. The color palette Molly chose was soft and romantic, with a delicate feminine touch, incorporating blush, ivory and champagne tones. Molly + Adam hosted just over 200 guests with a delicious plated meal for their reception style. Having a really fun party for all their loved ones was a priority for our bride + groom. So we booked a top-notch band for the reception entertainment, and included fun lounge furniture near the dance floor for a more intimate feel to the space. Our couple and their guests danced the night away!

I’m so excited that Molly + Adam’s wedding has been published in the Summer/Fall 2019 issue of The Carolinas Magazine!

Huge thanks to our talented team of vendors who helped make Molly + Adam’s day so perfect!
Photography: Cheyenne Schultz Photography
Planning + Design: The Graceful Host
Flowers: New Creations Flower Company
Paper Goods: Elisabeth Rose
Videography: Crown Alley Films
Church: Myers Park United Methodist Church
Venue: Ritz Carlton Urban Garden
Entertainment: Atlanta Groove Factory
Lounge Furniture: Old South Vintage Rentals
Hair + Makeup: Charisse with Be Pretty Charlotte
Brides Dress: Rivini Bridal from Hayden Olivia
Linens: Nuage Designs
Lighting: Wink Lighting
Draping + Rentals: Party Reflections
Ceremony Musicians: Queen City Ensemble

Molly + Adam, thank you so much for letting us be a part of your special day! We love y’all!


Enchanted Sleepover Birthday Party

This pink + purple enchanted birthday, full of butterflies, fairy lights and woodland details, made for the perfect 7th birthday celebration for Hollins! It was so much fun bringing our birthday girls ideas to life. I mean, what girl wouldn’t want a fun sleepover party?! This birthday party was a custom party kit order. In addition to providing a design plan, we also created a fun balloon garland that was draped over the sleepover tents, for an extra whimsical touch.

Huge thanks to all the vendors who helped bring Hollins’ dream birthday party to life!
Photography: The Graceful Host
Party supplies, design, + styling: The Graceful Host
Cake + desserts: Baked Well
Sleepover tents: Sleepover Dreams
Cake topper: Etsy

And it is such a thrill to see our Enchanted Sleepover Party featured on one of our favorite websites - 100 Layer Cakelet! See the full feature here.

An Elegant Ballroom Wedding At The Ballantyne Hotel

I hate when I get behind on blogging - because keeping these gorgeous images to myself is so hard! But I’m back, and playing a bit of catch-up with some of our beautiful weddings!

Katie + Jack are two of the nicest, and most fun people I know. I absolutely LOVED being a part of their wedding planning! There was always an abundance of laughter at our meetings. An even though it’s been almost a year since we celebrated Katie + Jack, their wedding is still so fresh in my mind. It was an epic party, y’all!! I’m so excited to share some of my favorite photos from their gorgeous, perfect wedding day.

Our bride, Katie, choose the Ballantyne Ballroom at the Ballantyne Hotel for the reception. It was a classic ballroom, which is what she was looking for in a reception space. Katie’s style is elegant, feminine, and fun. With a color palette of blush, rose gold, ivory, and champagne, we transformed the Ballantyne Ballroom. I mean, just wait until you see the draping! (Thanks, Bob!) When we first started out planning, Katie mentioned that she wanted to host a great party. So we aimed to create an environment that would give our couple the epic party they wanted - that meant incredible food, a top notch bar, and hiring the best entertainment. Katie was all about the details, which is something I can very much appreciate. From custom welcome boxes to the delicious late night snack, every single detail guests experienced was a perfect reflection of Katie + Jack! And when the bride cries tears of joy saying “I’m just so happy” …. you know you did your job!

It was just the best day ever! I’m so grateful to have gotten the opportunity to be a part of Katie + Jack’s beautiful wedding day. And a huge thanks to our talented team of vendors who helped make this day so special and flawless!

Planning + Design: The Graceful Host
Photography: Caroline Lima Photography
Flowers: New Creations Flower Company
Reception Venue: Ballantyne Hotel
Ceremony Venue: St. Gabriel’s Catholic Church
Cake: Wow Factor Cakes
Rentals: Party Reflections
Draping: Carolinas Luxury Event Rentals
Paper Goods: Girl Tribe Creative
Hair + Makeup: Makeup by Jenny Le
Dress: Romona Keveza
Dress Boutique: Ladies Of Lineage Bridal
Ceremony Musicians: Queen City Ensemble

New Party Kits Are Here!

I’m so over the moon to announce that the Spring 2019 party kits are now LIVE! The Party Shop is growing, and I couldn’t be more excited to add FOUR new party kits to the shop. So, without further adieu - Let me introduce you to the newest additions!

The Graceful Host Party Kits

Construction Crew Party Kit
For the lover of big trucks that “do work”, as my 3 year old says … this party kit is the one for you! A modern take on a popular birthday party theme.

Happy Birthday Mini Party Kit
Our new line of kits called the mini party kit (which serves up to 14 to 16 guests) launches with this Happy Birthday party theme. Perfect for ANY birthday celebration, whether there’s 1 candle or 100 candles on your cake!

Tutti Fruitti Party Kit
A fun and colorful addition to the shop that is just too darn cute! I bet you can’t hold back a smile when you see these adorable pieces!

Blushing Bride Party Kit
Another new line making it’s debut during our spring launch is the new selection of wedding themed party kits! This bridal party kit is perfect for an engagement party or bachelorette celebration.

A percentage of Party Shop purchases made between April 30, 2019 and May 31, 2019 will go to support a cause and mission that I adore - The Birthday Party Project.

Who needs a party kit?
We all want to create unique celebrations that foster unforgettable family memories. But sadly, sometimes life gets in the way of our planning and procrastination gets the best of us.

(Am I right?!)

Enter the Party Kits! Your new handy tool to creating a fabulous party, minus the hassle and stress! Each kit comes complete with paper supplies, decor and a style guide, for extra party planning guidance and inspiration, as well as DIY project ideas that relate to your chosen party theme.

My goal in creating this product was to make it easier for you to celebrate all the fun moments and milestones of life! The Party Kits are a solution to the busyness we all experience. I've carefully sourced and designed each Party Kit so that you can create your own a well-styled, creative celebration! 

Perfect for the person who ...
... doesn't have any time to shop around.
... loves to throw parties.
... wants their event to look beautiful and Pinterest-worthy.
... likes to be hands-on, but maybe isn't super crafty.
... doesn't know where to find the best party supplies and decor.
... needs help party planning, but doesn't want to hire a planner.

And Party Kits can be repurposed for all sorts of occasions and theme parties - not just kids parties!

So how does this all work?
Check out our selection of TEN party kits now available in the shop, and make your selection. Each Party Kit was designed to take the stress out of party planning - so they are inclusive of everything you need to! Party Kits come complete with:

  • Party supplies, including the plates, napkins, cups, & cutlery (serving approximately 32 guests for the party kits, and 16 guests for the mini kits)

  • Stylish decor, like balloons, banners, etc., that relate to the box's theme

  • Access to a style guide with helpful party planning tips and advice, as well as tutorials for DIY project ideas that relate to your party kit theme

Party Kits are shipped directly to you in 1 to 3 business days from Charlotte, North Carolina.

Head to the shop now to learn more about the Party Kits!


PS. You can check out Ashley's interview from August 2018 during the initial launch of the Party Kits on Charlotte Today by following this link!


Featured: A Beautiful Pastel Colored Wedding at Foundation For The Carolinas

It’s always so exciting to see our couples featured on blogs and in magazines. I’m so thrilled to see Sarah + Andrew’s gorgeous spring wedding at Foundations For The Carolinas featured on Grey Likes Weddings today!

Working with Sarah and her mom was so much fun. Sarah is a bride who knew what she wanted, and I was so excited to bring her vision to life! Our beautiful bride chose a spring-inspired color palette of dusty blue, peach, blush, and ivory, with accents of rose gold. The colors reflect the bride and grooms personalities and style - elegant and classic, yet still modern and fun! She and Andrew chose the Foundation For The Carolinas as their venue because of the gorgeous views of Uptown Charlotte.

Family is important to Sarah and Andrew. And while there were many thoughtful details throughout their wedding, one of Sarah's favorite personal details involved her wedding day jewelry - a sapphire and diamond ring that belonged to my grandmother, borrowed from her mom, as her something borrowed, something blue and something old. As her something new, she wore a rose gold bracelet given to her by her best friend and Maid of Honor.

After the wedding, I asked Sarah what was her favorite moment of the day was - and she said, the first look. "We debated even doing a first look because we weren't sure if it would take some of the magic away from seeing each other when I walked down the aisle," she said. "But I am so, so glad we did this! Having the first look really calmed my nerves and grounded me for the day." Sarah goes on to say that not rushing through portraits or family photos, especially with her sister, was important." And one of my favorite memories was the room reveal with Sarah. We had been working together for about 14 months to plan and design her wedding. It’s always exciting to do a room reveal with my couples - but especially when we’ve been dreaming of this day for so long! To see Sarah and Andrew’s vision come to life was just the best feeling!

I love this, too, and just had to share …. I had asked Sarah to reflect on her wedding day, and she says, "I actually debated on having a smaller wedding or having a bigger wedding because it is honestly a lot of money to spend on one day. However, after having the wedding I would never have a smaller wedding. There is truly something to be said about having all of your family and best friends in one room to celebrate you. The day did go by fast, but the memories we made we will have forever. Both of us look back and remember how much fun we had, and every time we run into someone that was there they always bring up how amazing our wedding was and it makes us so happy!"

Sarah and Andrew (and Lois!), working with you two was a dream! I’m so honored to have been a part of your wedding, and I’m over the moon to finally share the beautiful photos from your perfect day!

Thanks to our vendor team for all their talent and hard work!
Wedding Planner + Designer: The Graceful Host
Photography: Josh Deaton Photography
Floral Design: New Creations Flower Company
Paper Goods: Elisabeth Rose Social Stationery
Hair & Make-up: Be Pretty (Lindsey Regan Thorne)
Ceremony + Reception Venue: Foundation For The Carolinas
Catering: Best Impressions Catering
Reception Entertainment: The Dickens
Cake: Wow Factor Cakes
Rentals: Party Reflections
Linens: La Tavola
Table Top Rentals: Emerson James
Furniture Rentals: Old South Vintage Rentals
Uplighting: Wink Lighting
Wedding Dress Designer: Modern Trousseau
Wedding Dress Boutique: Hayden Olivia
Bridesmaid Dresses: Jenny Yoo from Brideside
Grooms Attire: The Black Tux

Why Do I Need A Party Theme

Let's talk about party themes. It's a frequent topic of conversation in most online mom groups, when discussing party planning ideas for kids. And have you hopped on Pinterest lately? Because it's covered with party planning themes for everything from baby showers to milestone birthdays, holiday parties to fake national holidays (I'm looking at you national chocolate chip cookie day!).

Some people really like a theme. Some people really don't like a theme. But the truth is, every party has a theme of some kind - obvious or not. Even the theme-less parties share a common thread, whether it's the color scheme or the overall style of the party. 

The truth is a theme helps you tell a story. A theme helps you make decisions. A theme helps you keep on track. A theme keeps your party looking cohesive and together.

See? A theme is a good idea after all!

So where do you begin - How do you chose a theme (or concept) for your gathering? 

My number one piece of advice is don't overthink it. This shouldn't be stressful or difficult - it should be fun. See an idea that catches your eye? Run with it! It can even be as simple as choosing one the birthday boy or girl's favorite things - favorite color, favorite food, favorite activity, favorite toy, favorite character. For my son Ryan's  second birthday party, we went with Party Animals. It wasn't really something I had seen before, but I decided to go with it because he loves animals - especially tigers! So it has a bit of a circus vibe with the vibrant colors and stripes, but highlights his favorite thing, which is animals.

Chrissy Winchester Photography_GracefulHost-39.jpg

And hey, if you're still having a hard time figuring out a party theme, head to the almighty Pinterest or Google and search for "birthday party themes". Also, in our Party Kit shop you'll see a bunch of great themes to choose from!

See more from Ryan's 1st Birthday || See more from Ryan's 2nd Birthday

Have any questions about birthday party themes or about our Party Kits? Let me know!


Defining Roles Within The Wedding Industry

defining roles within the wedding industry

There is a lot of terminology out there in the wedding industry for the various roles and services couples can choose from. It can be really difficult for Brides and Grooms (and their families) to understand who does what, and to know what the best option for them might be. In this blog post, I'm looking at wedding planning ... or coordination, or whatever term you use for this role/position/job.

Let's look at the list ... we have:

Wedding Planner
Wedding Designer
Wedding Coordinator
Event Planner
Day-of Coordinator, or Day-of Planner
Event Management
Creative Director
Venue Coordinator
Wedding Stylist

How do we define these roles?

Here at The Graceful Host, I really consider myself to be a Creative Director. However, since this isn't a very common term in this particular industry (at least not yet), using it exclusively might confuse couples - and I honestly only want to make things easier for others to understand what it is that I do. So, I refer myself a "Wedding Planner + Designer" for ease.

A wedding planner is a person who focus' on the planning and logistics. They are responsible for managing all vendors, communication is streamlined. provide structure to wedding planning, and ensure all logistics are executed to perfection.

A wedding designer is a person who creates the overall design and vision. They conceptualize the design and communicate that with all the vendors. The designer relies on the vendors to execute the look, given his or her direction.

A creative director shares a very similar role with a wedding designer, but takes it one step further. Not only will the creative director conceptualize the design of the event and communicate those plans to the vendors, but they'll also direct the vendors through the creation of the design. This means working very closely with the vendor team to make sure all pieces of the puzzle are carefully planned and coordinated so that the event design is executed as it was conceptualized.

What about the other roles? 

There is so much overlap and many similarities between all of the roles listed above. In many cases one title will encompass another - for example, a wedding planner will also serve as a "day-of coordinator". Let's take a closer look at defining these roles, as well:

Let me start out by saying that this one drives me nuts because there are way too many terms for this role. A wedding coordinator is the same thing as a day-of coordinator, or a day-of planner, or event management, or month-of coordination, or month-of planning. This person is focused on the coordination of the wedding or event planned. They typically step in around the 3-month mark to begin the transition and take over from there. This is why the term "event management" has come about in recent years. There is no such thing as a planner who can successfully handle just the "day-of" or the "month-of". And if someone does promote services that begin with just under a month before the wedding day ... run. They don't know what they're doing! The bride would have been responsible for all planning and booking of vendors up until the event manager steps in. This person will spend a lot of hours combing through your notes, communicating with your vendor team, and making sure your event day is set-up for success. As you can see, their jobs begin well before the wedding day.

It might be confusing to couples why some people call themselves an event planner vs a wedding planner. But it's really an easy explanation - events implies that the person handles more than just weddings. Events include things like birthday parties, showers, rehearsal dinners ... gatherings of any kind. While most wedding planners offer additional services like rehearsal dinner planning, welcome party gatherings, bridal showers, etc., they might only offer them to their existing wedding clientele vs. it being a standalone service, like an event planner would.

This one also deserves some in-depth explanation because it can cause confusion for couples when they are considering hiring vendors. A venue coordinator (or any individual that works for a venue and serves as your point of contact for the venue) is not the same as any of the roles above. They do not preform the same duties as a wedding planner, or a wedding designer, or a wedding coordinator. This person is simply the events manager at the venue you've chosen to host your wedding or event. Their responsibility pertains to all things related to your venue - not the entire wedding. Which means, your venue coordinator will not help you find your photographer (they might have a vendor referral list, but that list is not curated to reflect your style needs, budget, event goals, etc. That list is a recommendation of wedding professionals that the venue enjoys working with). They will not help you create a wedding day timeline, or deal with the logistics of your wedding day. They will not communicate with your vendor team on your behalf. They will not help you book vendors, or read through contracts making sure everything you need/are expecting is accounted for. They will not go with you to your floral meeting. They will not help you with the design of your wedding. Now, they might help you plan a menu - if the caterer is considered in-house for that venue. An example of this is with hotels and country club venues that do not permit outside catering. The reason you receive assistance is because catering is part of the venue. Another example: a venue coordinator might offer linen samples to choose from and/or chair choices that come with your rental package. This is not the same as what a wedding designer does or assisting with creating a wedding design plan. They are simply showing you what is available through their rental partner(s) because certain amenities (might) come with your rental package. Wedding planners are responsible for every facet of your planning process, with special attention to logistics. Planners are focused on the wholistic view of the planning process and the actual wedding day. Wedding designers are responsible for bringing your vision to life, and like planners, look at the bigger picture rather than one piece of the puzzle.

A wedding stylist focuses on the styling of your event. They likely are not involved in the planning and concept creation of your event. But on the day-of your wedding or event they are there to make sure each detail planned looks as it should - from fashion to tablescapes to paper details. The role of a stylist overlaps with many other roles listed here, such as wedding designer and creative director, who also (usually) take on the role of stylist, ensuring their concept is executed to perfection.

Where should a couple begin?

You might be wondering how to know what the best choice is for you when it comes to hiring a planner (or designer, or coordinator!). A lot of couples begin the wedding planning process unsure of how much support and guidance they'll need. It's normal! So if you can relate to that - don't worry. It's not like planning for a complex event, like a wedding, is something you do every day. Some start out thinking Event Management will be sufficient, but they find out that they really need more help ensuring everything is crossed of their list - so a wedding planner would be a much better fit for their needs. Others might find out that they need more assistance creating a design plan and someone to help them better execute their vision because it's become too overwhelming of a task for them to do it alone - so hiring someone who is also a wedding designer is important in this case.

In many cases wedding planners offer design services to their clients. But you'll find that some are more focused on design than others. For example, The Graceful Host is focused on wedding design. The planning and logistics side is to things are still very, very important - but my brides seek out my services because of the design expertise that I offer. If design isn't that important to you, then you might not be a good fit for The Graceful Host. And that's okay! It just means that you'd be a perfect fit for another planner who's focus is more on the logistics side.

Before you dive into wedding planning of any kind, take some time to figure out what you truly need and why you might want to hire someone to help you, in whatever capacity. And be honest with yourself. Planning a wedding, even a small wedding (50-75 guests), can take a lot of time and energy! Then search for the right fit making sure you are working with someone who can provide a solution for your needs and problems, who will be a good personality fit for you to work with, and someone who you can trust. (That last one is a biggie!) You'll find that experience levels will differ, and services will differ from company to company - pay attention to that and to the language they use when describing their services. A company that has been in business for 6 years cannot easily be compared to a company who's been in business for 2 years. You'll see that difference in experience reflected in their service offerings and fees, as well as in how they operate.

A message to my fellow vendors ...

At the end of the day, planning a wedding takes a village. It's team work, y'all! A whole lot of coordinated team work. Each vendor needs to work closely together in order for the magic to happen. And our clients might not see everything we're doing behind the scenes - why should they, though? We need to listen to each other, respect each others needs and set each other up for success. We have to keep our clients wishes in mind and do what is in their best interest, as well as guide them in our area of expertise as the professional. Each and every vendor serves a purpose and fills a piece of the puzzle when it comes to a wedding or event. We all rely on each other when it comes to serving our clients well and providing an amazing final product. So, let's give credit where it's due (I'm looking at you social media and blogging!) and support each others craft.

Have anything to add to this conversation? I'd love to hear from you! Let me know your thoughts.





A Classic Garden Wedding in Covington, Louisiana

I always love getting the chance to share images and videos from our clients weddings! It's so much fun to go back and relive the day and savor all the memories.

Check out Cali + Arrington's wedding featured on Style Me Pretty!


Cali + Arrington's wedding day was pure magic. There really is no other way to describe it! There was a threat of rain all weekend. And when you're planning a complex outdoor event that includes constructing an on-site kitchen .... well, that just makes things a bit more challenging. But my team was up for the challenge! We began our installation 2 days before the wedding. We had a multi-tent set-up to accommodate the large size of the wedding - a large center tent with 2 bar tents on either side. The day before the wedding mother nature did not want to cooperate. We did our best to protect the grounds of the venue and keep high traffic areas looking pristine. But even a little rain in Louisiana can cause a problem. Luckily things started to dry up by the afternoon. We were left with high humidity, but I'll take that over rain any day! On the day of the wedding, we still had the threat of rain. Which doesn't sound like a big deal, but when you're planning a wedding with key outdoor spaces in the plans, it's a big deal. I kept a very close eye on the weather all day as our teams worked really hard to finish installation and set-up. Someone was looking out for us - or maybe it was the bourbon we buried at the venue?! - because while there was just one or two small showers, everything cleared up just before guests arrived and sunshine began to peek through the clouds, creating a beautiful glow at the North House. 


I absolutely adore this bride + groom - two of the sweetest people you'll ever meet! And it was a fun change of pace to hop down to my home state to plan, design and produce a wedding. With the wedding being on St. Patrick's day, Cali wanted to bring a little luck of the Irish to her wedding day. She chose a neutral color palette with lots and lots of lush and textured greenery. (We even incorporated little four leaf clovers into the bar accessories!) Our brides personal style is classic and timeless, with a love of clean lines and no fuss. And while Cali loved the idea of an organic garden party, with sprawling greenery and loose lines, we made some slight adjustments to the traditional garden party aesthetic so that our bride could have the look she loved within a style that felt most like her.


In true Louisiana fashion, there was a large emphasis on the party! Good food and entertainment took centerstage. Our menu was full of Louisiana favorites like a raw oyster bar, jambalaya, fried catfish, and BBQ shrimp. And the band Crescent City Soul kept the dance floor packed all night long - Y'all, this was one killer party ... just wait until you see the video! The signature drinks on the bar was another fun detail for our bride + groom and a chance for them to incorporate their beloved pets into their wedding day - each drink was named after their dogs.


Cali + Arrington are both very family focused. And they both come from very large families! It was important to them that they get married in a church ceremony surrounded by their family and close friends. The chose Our Lady of Perpetual Help, which is the chapel at the high school Cali attended. It was a beautiful ceremony, centered around Christ and the journey of marriage Cali + Arrington were beginning together. Paying respect to and keeping family close was top of mind. The bride wore jewelry from several women in her life that have been important role models. "I wore gold and Sapphire jewelry, as my birthday is in September. It was also my grandmother’s favorite stone and she passed away a few weeks before we were engaged. My bracelet I wore was passed down to me from her. My earrings are my “aunt” Stephanie’s who has been like another mother figure to me. My ring is my other grandmother’s wedding ring. She could not be present for the wedding as she has been battling Alzheimer’s for many years. They were there in spirit and it was so special to have a part of them there with me," explained Cali. I love all the special touches she incorporated!