Charlotte Wedding

Wedding Inspiration: The Colors of Sunset

I'm so excited to share a little inspiration for Lindsay & Ben's October wedding at Vesuvius Vineyards with y'all today! This adorable couple fell in love with the natural Southern charm of Vesuvius Vineyards and knew immediately that this was the place where they'd exchange I Do's. We are putting the final touches on some really amazing plans for this sweet couple's wedding - I can't wait to see everything come together! When we first sat down to talk about design, Lindsay mentioned being inspired by the colors of sunset. What could be better inspiration?! Drawing from the colors of a gorgeous cotton candy sky, we've created a vibrant organic inspired wedding incorporating elements like birch wood, natural wood, full color textured floral arrangements, pumpkins, and kale. Take a peek!

Design Inspiration - Bachner Lehman Wedding

It's going to be a gorgeous fall wedding, that is for sure! I can't wait to celebrate this sweet couple!

XO,
A.

Bridal Portraits: Taylor

I can't say enough about this sweet bride! Working with Taylor and Kyle for their May wedding at Byron's South End was an absolute blast. Taylor is about as easy going as they come and Kyle is such a gentleman! I loved getting to know this gal - she is so lovely and her heart is so big! I'm excited to share her gorgeous bridal portraits taken at Separk Mansion. Just take a look at her stunning smile - It's so infectious! I am pretty much in love with these photos from Lauren Rosenau Photography and I'm absolutely obsessed with her colorful bridal bouquet by the talented New Creations Flower Company. Take a peek at a few of my favorite portraits!

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TGH - Bridal Portrait 1 - Taylor Fenig
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TGH - Bridal Portrait 3 - Taylor Fenig
TGH - Bridal Portrait 2 - Taylor Fenig

Cheers to you, Mrs. Shirkey!

XO,
A.

It's All in the Little Details

I'll admit that I have a special appreciation and love of the little details.  After all, it's the little details that make life special, and the special moments in life personal.  With each new wedding design, my goal (always) is to make those little details, that are so important to brides and grooms, come to life! I've had the opportunity to create a lot of things over the years for brides and grooms. And, after finishing some watercolor creations for a wedding at Daniel Stowe, a Chuppah for two spring weddings, and lots and lots of escort cards, programs, and favor tags, I thought "I really need to gather up all these little projects and share them!" So, without further adieu - here are some of the things I've created for weddings so far in 2014 that I wanted to share! A few have been complete surprises, and revealing those surprises to my sweet clients brings me so much joy!  Just a warning: the photo quality is not that great - actually it's down right awful! - and is courtesy of my trusty iPhone. (Thank God for real photographers!) So, please excuse my photos... I'll just stick with wedding planning and leave the photography to the pro's! 

Custom table runners for Katie & Eric's Mint Museum Uptown wedding

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Prop pillows and ring bearer pillows for Katie & Eric's Mint Museum Uptown wedding

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Sashes for the draping to match the runners and pillows for Katie & Eric's Mint Museum Uptown wedding

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Floating frame display for Katie & Eric's Mint Museum Uptown wedding

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Watercolor table numbers for Mia & Alex's Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden wedding

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Watercolor seating chart for Mia & Alex's Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden wedding

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Chuppah and organza draping for Mindy & Brett's Biltmore wedding (Okay, confession: I can't take all the credit for this one. My amazing husband actually built this chuppah for two weddings this year, and has come to both weddings to help me assemble it on-site. So grateful to have such a supportive and super crafty husband!!) 

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Ceremony programs for Mindy & Brett's Biltmore wedding

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Calligraphy favor tags for Mindy & Brett's Biltmore wedding

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Acrylic table numbers for Whitley & Darian's Brakefield at Riverwalk wedding

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"Here Comes The Bride" sign for Veronica & Chip's Mint Museum Uptown wedding

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Travel-themed escort card display for Veronica & Chip's Mint Museum Uptown wedding

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Travel-themed table numbers for Veronica & Chip's Mint Museum Uptown wedding

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Citrus-themed escort cards for Taylor & Kyle's Byron's South End wedding

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I hate to even share all of these terrible iPhone quality photos, but I'm really proud of the little details that leave my office each weekend to make their way to the amazing brides and grooms wedding days. I'm honored to have the opportunity to be creative and give priority to the special touches of a wedding day!  And believe me when I say that each has been an absolute labor of love.  But it makes me so happy to see my brides and grooms smile with excitement over these details they never expected!

XO,
A.

Just Married: Whitley + Darian

I hope y'all are ready to see a stunning bride and handsome groom! Whitley and Darian were married this past March at Brakefield at Riverwalk on a gorgeous spring day that wedding planners only dream of.  In a beautiful setting with the Catawba River rushing by in the background, this lovely couple said "I Do" among family and friends.  Our sweet bride originally didn't want to look at outdoor venues because the weather in March in the Carolinas can be so unpredictable, but then she saw Brakefield .... and that view changed her mind completely! Since Whitley lived in Missouri at the time,  we worked extra closely together to design each detail with one word in mind: Glam!  I love a girl who knows what she wants - and Whitley, was that girl. We clicked instantly and working with this bride was such a dream come true. She's just as sweet and lovely as she is beautiful! With a soft, monochromatic color palette of ivory and greys (and with some pops of pink!), we designed her dream wedding. I absolutely love the way everything came together, and how Whitley's vision of elegant glamour came to life with the help of an AMAZING vendor team:

Event Design and Wedding Planning: The Graceful Host | Photography: Lauren Rosenau Photography | Floral Design: New Creations Flower Company | Videography: Brian Bunn Films | Venue: Brakefield at Riverwalk | Catering: Something Classic Cafe & Catering | Cake: Wow Factor Cakes | Ceremony Musicians: Charlotte Strings For Events | DJ: Split Second Sound | Paper Goods: Olive Paper | Linens: Party Tables | Draping and uplighting: Sterling Events Group | Transportation: The Royal Rides | Wedding Dress: Nitsa's Apparel of Charlotte

See the full feature on Style Me Pretty here!

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This wedding was so much fun - like, on every single level! The bride and groom danced all night along with friends and family. Y'all, this dance floor was jam packed... and I loved every single second of it! That to me is a sign of a great night. (Thanks, Split Second Sound!) Whitley and Darian, thank you for trusting me to design and produce your dream wedding! You two are absolutely amazing! Big hugs to you! XOXO

XO,
A.

Featured: Fiesta Wedding Inspiration

I absolutely LOVED this shoot, and I was so honored to see it featured on Inspired by This on Cinco de Mayo!! Last summer, Charlotte Wedding magazine asked me to design a fiesta-inspired wedding for the summer issue. (And, brides even voted the design to win a 2013 BOW Award!) To now have one of my all-time favorite blogs feature it, is so exciting! Be sure to check out the full feature here, and scroll through some of my favorite photos - all captured  perfectly by one of my favorite photographers in Charlotte, Smitten and Hooked. These two are amazing! smitten & hooked | charlotte wedding magazine | details-70TheGracefulHost_Blog_FiestaInspirationShoot1smitten & hooked | charlotte wedding magazine | details-41smitten & hooked | charlotte wedding magazine | details-10smitten & hooked | charlotte wedding magazine | details-64smitten & hooked | charlotte wedding magazine | details-152smitten & hooked | charlotte wedding magazine | details-168smitten & hooked | charlotte wedding magazine | details-180smitten & hooked | charlotte wedding magazine | details-184smitten & hooked | charlotte wedding magazine | details-166smitten & hooked | charlotte wedding magazine | details-163smitten & hooked | charlotte wedding magazine | details-157smitten & hooked | charlotte wedding magazine | look2-3smitten & hooked | charlotte wedding magazine | look2-46smitten & hooked | charlotte wedding magazine | look2-19smitten & hooked | charlotte wedding magazine | look1-4smitten & hooked | charlotte wedding magazine | look1-27smitten & hooked | charlotte wedding magazine | look1-43smitten & hooked | charlotte wedding magazine | look3-52smitten & hooked | charlotte wedding magazine | look3-62smitten & hooked | charlotte wedding magazine | details-195smitten & hooked | charlotte wedding magazine | look5-37smitten & hooked | charlotte wedding magazine | look5-4smitten & hooked | charlotte wedding magazine | details-85smitten & hooked | charlotte wedding magazine | details-114smitten & hooked | charlotte wedding magazine | details-138smitten & hooked | charlotte wedding magazine | details-100smitten & hooked | charlotte wedding magazine | details-105

 

This whole shoot makes me want to throw a BIG party! Absolutely love how everything turned out… I couldn't have asked for more.  All the amazing vendors and talented wedding pros that participated in this shoot are nothing short of incredible! I'm so grateful to have had the opportunity to work with so many amazing vendors to produce this shoot for Charlotte Wedding magazine. They helped me bring this vision to life!

Photography by Smitten and Hooked | Wedding design and styling by Ashley Culicchia Cash, The Graceful Host | Fashion styling by Laurel Bendum of Charlotte Wedding magazine | Produced by Aleigh Acerni and Kellie Duff of Charlotte Wedding magazine | Shot on location at Brakefield at Riverwalk | Floral design by Lily Greenthumb’s | Catering and cocktails by Something Classic Catering & Cafés | Cakes by Wow Factor Cakes | Mexican cookies by Suarez Bakery | Rentals and linens from Party Reflections of Charlotte | Paper goods by Three Little Birds | Makeup by Casey Lombardi, Dollface Skin & Makeup Lounge | Hair by Lindsay Pizzuti, Mirror Bomb Studios | Gowns worn by the bride: Marisa - style 898 from Hayden Olivia Bridal, Intuzuri Augustine from Poffie Girls, Watters Blanca gown from J Major’s Bridal Boutique, Modern Trousseau Marena gown from Hayden Olivia Bridal, & Tadashi Shoji dress from Neiman Marcus.

XO, A.

Featured: Southern Simplicity Wedding Ideas

Oh my goodness! I am SO excited and honored to see my "beauty in simplicity" wedding inspired design was featured on the amazing Ruffled Blog! Y'all, I had way too much fun designing this wedding inspiration. And, the incredible photographer capturing all the details was the oh so talented Crystal Stokes of Crystal Stokes Photography  - what an eye this gal has!  For a long time now, I wanted to plan a shoot that celebrated simplicity because I am a firm believer that less is more.  It's easy to get caught up in the tiny details when planning for a wedding, and often times brides get lost along the way, loosing the bigger picture and feeling like they need to keep adding and piling on detail. But, there is so much beauty in simplicity, and I think this is an idea that is often forgotten and overlooked. So, we wanted to take a chance to really celebrate simplicity and show brides how beautiful, sophisticated and elegant simplicity can be. Ruffled Blog - Simplicity - Screen Shot

 

I am so excited to share with you some of my favorite detail shots. But, hop on over to Ruffled Blog to see more of the feature!

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Absolutely LOVE colored glassware! And how perfect are these ruffled plates?! I want to steal them so badly! View More: http://crystalstokes.pass.us/beautyView More: http://crystalstokes.pass.us/beautyView More: http://crystalstokes.pass.us/beautyView More: http://crystalstokes.pass.us/beautyView More: http://crystalstokes.pass.us/beautyView More: http://crystalstokes.pass.us/beautyView More: http://crystalstokes.pass.us/beautyView More: http://crystalstokes.pass.us/beautyView More: http://crystalstokes.pass.us/beautyView More: http://crystalstokes.pass.us/beautyView More: http://crystalstokes.pass.us/beautyView More: http://crystalstokes.pass.us/beautyView More: http://crystalstokes.pass.us/beauty

 

Have you ever seen a more perfect cake?! I am in love with naked cakes, y'all. This is so stunning! And, how adorable are the little tarts? Sweets tables are my favorite.

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The bridal bouquet was out of this world gorgeous! I love the "wild flower" look and the gorgeous jewel tone colors that popped perfectly against the natural decor and landscape.  Such a beauty - I absolutely LOVE this look! View More: http://crystalstokes.pass.us/beautyView More: http://crystalstokes.pass.us/beautyView More: http://crystalstokes.pass.us/beauty

 

You guys - this is an actual a real couple!  Our models were such troopers… and, talk about good lookin'!! Ow! Ow! Gorgeous hair and makeup by Erin Ashley Makeup and Mirror Bomb Studios - perfectly captures the look and feel of the design.

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The paper goods were out of this world beautiful! I love the addition of lavender - such a treat for the senses and it works perfectly for our natural and simplistic design. Even the response card envelope was made of seeds and could potentially be replanted! How cool is that?!

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This ceremony arch made of garland and driftwood is one of my favorite details! SpringVine Design did an incredible job crafting this on-site for the photo shoot. I wish I could have one of these at every wedding! It's really stunning!

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One of my favorite photos from the day. Oh … be still my heart! So gorgeous!

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Oh man, I could go on and on and on! I'm a total sucker for these details, y'all. And, our entire vendor team was absolutely incredible - I'm so honored to have had the opportunity to work with each of these talented wedding pros: Crystal Stokes Photography, SpringVine Design, Elisabeth Rose, Sky's The Limit Custom Cakes and More, Erin Ashley Makeup, Mirror Bomb Studio, Party Reflections, J Majors Bridal Boutique, & The Laboratory Mill. A big, big thank you for donating your time and talent to this shoot! And a huge thanks to RuffledBlog for featuring my design!

 

XO, A.

 

Engaged: Keely + Hill

No words could describe the beauty that is this engagement session from the amazing Lauren Friday Photography.  I mean, seriously, how stunning is this bride and how handsome is her groom?!  I absolutely adore these two.  Keely is such a sweetheart and every time we get together, it feels like meeting with a long-lost friend rather than a client meeting.  This engagement session is perfectly them - genuine, romantic, sweet, and full of L.O.V.E.!  Take a peek at a few of my favorites. 2014-04-11_00012014-04-11_00022014-04-11_00042014-04-11_00032014-04-11_00102014-04-11_00152014-04-11_00092014-04-11_00082014-04-11_00122014-04-11_00112014-04-11_00062014-04-11_00052014-04-11_00072014-04-11_0014 I'm pretty much obsessed with every single photo. Lauren you outdid yourself… These images are simply stunning! A big, big, big thanks to the talented Lindsey Regan Thorne of Be Pretty for Keely's hair and makeup. I can't wait for Keely and Hill's May 31 wedding at the gorgeous Boxwood Estate in Mocksville, NC! XO, A.

Wedding Inspiration: City Chic

Foundation For the Carolinas Wedding, Wedding, Pink and Grey wedding, Fuchsia Wedding, Uptown Charlotte Wedding, Charlotte Wedding, Wedding Inspiration
Foundation For the Carolinas Wedding, Wedding, Pink and Grey wedding, Fuchsia Wedding, Uptown Charlotte Wedding, Charlotte Wedding, Wedding Inspiration

I just love a good uptown Charlotte wedding! So, when Jacquelyn and Daniel approached me about a chic wedding design at an uptown Charlotte venue - my mind immediately went to Foundation For The Carolinas. Oh this place is beyond stunning!  We have wrapped up our design plans for their Labor Day weekend wedding, and y'all… I cannot wait to share this one with you!  Big, bold, fun pops of fuchsia mixed with sleek gun metal grey.  I love the playful mix of feminine and masculine details.  Beyond the design, we've infused creativity with each turn to keep guests entertained and guessing all night long.  But, I won't give it all away - I have to save some surprises for the big day, right!?  Take a peek at our inspiration.

August 30 can't come soon enough!

XO, A.

Everything You've Ever Wondered About a First Look

Oh the first look. Arguably one of the biggest debates among weddings today is this question of: to do a first look? Or, to not do a first look?  And, you can probably make a sound argument for either side.  As a wedding planner (and former bride!), I have a strong stance on this topic.  But, I wanted to bring in a pro to also weigh in with her professional opinion and view points.  I've asked Charlotte wedding photographer, Crystal Stokes of Crystal Stokes Photography to help me answer common questions and clear up some misconceptions about the first look.

1. Let's start with the basics.  What is a first look? It is a private moment between the bride and groom prior to the wedding ceremony.  The photographer and videographer are the only other individuals around to capture this intimate meeting when you get to see your soon-to-be spouse for the very first time.  It's usually a bit staged so that the photographer and videographers can have the chance to capture your reactions as you see each other.  Basically, my clients will trust me to seek out a beautiful location for this moment to happen, and I do my absolute best to get them away from the crowd so they can be alone in this moment together.  Typically, I will place the groom somewhere with his back to the bride, and she will approach him and either tap him on the shoulder, or ask him to turn around to see her.

 2. Why do a first look? What are the pros?  A first look is advantageous for brides and grooms who want to get formal photos taken care of quickly.  The first look is helpful in a couple of ways.  Not only does it give the couple the opportunity to join the cocktail hour or reception more quickly, in order to enjoy the reception longer and to spend time with their guests who all travelled in to celebrate with them.  But, most importantly, it can also ensure that a couple doesn't run out of day light so that they can take all the photos they want out of their day.  A first look also will typically give a photographer more time to do what I like to call the "romantic shots".  You know, the ones that when you finally get your wedding photos back you immediately search for while skipping the others because at the end of the day, your wedding is about your marriage and the person you are committing to spend forever with - and having extra time to create those beautiful photos is really incredible and valuable! Another big pro is that the first look helps couples remain calm on the wedding day.  Nerves can often get the best of people on their wedding day, and I've seen those nerves settle on multiple occasions when the bride and groom were able to hold each other before one of the biggest moments of their life.  It really is a beautiful thing!

First Look - Crystal Stokes Photography
First Look - Crystal Stokes Photography

3. But, won't doing a first look ruin the big reveal? It won't feel as special when the ceremony time comes because we've already spoiled the surprise. I do not think that the first look ruins the big reveal.  There is something so beautiful and fresh and life altering that happens the moment a groom sees his bride walking down the aisle during the ceremony, among loved ones, for the first time. Perhaps he just saw her moments before the wedding, but that doesn't change the magical moment that happens when their eyes met moments before becoming man and wife.

 4. Any other advice you have to share with brides on the topic of a first look? Or anything you want to share with brides to help demystify the first look debate? A first look is a wonderful thing, and I believe that it really depends on what you want from your wedding day and the timeline you want to keep.  I know some couples want to remain very traditional - and I've noticed that the groom more often than the bride wants to wait until the walk down the aisle!  And, if tradition is a top priority, then I never push to change that. However, if a bride is on the fence about which direction to go, I absolutely let them know the benefits of a first look.

I wanted to add a little something, too!  Brides, I echo and want to further explain my personal and professional preference for the first look.  I have never met a photographer that did not prefer a couple to do first look. That is a fact!  I can tell you from experience being a bride that it does not in any way ruin that special moment at the church when you're walking towards your groom.  For me, I got to experience those butterflies and have a whole new rush of emotion all over again once the church doors opened!  I've seen brides visibly become calmer and more natural once they got to see and touch their groom.  The first look is meant to be an intimate time where you can take a deep breath together, and really take a moment to pause for just one little minute on one of the biggest days of your life to take the chance to soak it all in with your guy by your side.  Oh, it's such a special time - I really can't sing it's praises enough!  Brides always want to see their grooms reaction when they finally see them in their beautiful gown for the first time.  A lot of times you get a more genuine and natural reaction from grooms during the first look vs. waiting until the ceremony because they can let their guard down within that private moment and not feel like their whole family (and yours!) are staring at him waiting for him to react to his beautiful bride. Talk about pressure!  First look photos continue to be some of my favorite from the wedding day.  As a planner, I advocate for a first look because it helps with the timeline SO much! Like Crystal said, the photos you want to frame and hang on your wall, to send out as Christmas cards, to show your children one day, etc. are the photos of you and your groom! So, why not make that a priority by getting those coveted photos taken first so that you can be sure that you do not lose any time.  Things happen on a wedding day, and although we do our best as planners to control the schedule, I can't control family members that walk away before photos are complete, or unforeseen distractions that push the timeline back.  All of that being said, it's your day and no one will (or should!) ever force you to do something. However, your vendors are professionals that have done this a time or two, so they are giving you advice based on experience.

Thanks so much for bringing your viewpoint as a photographer to this fun debate, Crystal!  For more information about a first look, check out this helpful video explanation from Every Last Detail, this rather humorous explanation from The Knotty Bride, and this article about wedding day photography from The Knot - check out number 9, y'all.

But, I really want to hear from you! Brides - are you considering a first look? What's your hesitation and/or concerns? And, former brides - let's hear your experience! Did you do it? Did you skip it?

XO,
A.

Inspiration: A Touch of Modern + Vintage Glamour

With so many gorgeous weddings to look forward to in 2014, we've been busy, busy, busy creating a lot of beauty.  And, this wedding design is definitely one of my favorites! I met Whitley over the summer, and although she lives in St. Louis with her fiancé, we managed to nail down all her wedding details  and vendors within 4 months! This bride was determined to be done with wedding planning by the holidays. Well, mission accomplished!  I've had so much fun working with Whitley - I can't believe the big day will be here in 3 short months!

For her March wedding at Brakefield at Riverwalk, we're mixing elements of modern and vintage glamour.  Crystal adorned centerpieces, lush ivory floral, bold silver and charcoal textures will give our bride and groom the luxe and romantic wedding they've been dreaming of.  Oh, and her wedding dress - holy moly!!  I cannot wait to see this gorgeous wedding unfold!  Until then, I want to share some of our inspiration photos. Enjoy all the pretty!

Glamorous Silver, Grey and Ivory Wedding Inspiration
Glamorous Silver, Grey and Ivory Wedding Inspiration

XO, A.

Inspiration: Navy, White + Green

You may remember this wonderful couple from their engagement session over the summer with Lauren Rosenau Photography. Katie & Eric are set to wed next April at the Mint Museum Uptown - and, I seriously cannot wait to see these two get married!  Our first consult was actually one year from today. (I swear I'm not a creepy stalker ... I'm just a good note taker! And I was reading some pervious notes last week, when I realized our "one year anniversary" is today!)  From that very first meeting, we just clicked.  This post is starting to sound like I'm in love with these two - and, you'd be totally right to make that assumption. This girl is just so amazing, and we've had an absolutely blast planning for her wedding.  I thought today would be just perfect for sharing their wedding design inspiration. Katie can only be described as a Kate Spade bride. She loves clean lines, effortless style and chic patterns in all the right places.  With a color palette of navy blue, ivory and kelly green, I think even Kate herself would love what we've come up with.  I love the use of elements like geometric patterns and architecturally-inspired flowers mixed with clean and simple lines.  Brides often ask about mixing themes - and I say why not?!  I encourage taking elements or inspiration from a theme and, in some cases, altering it a bit to fit into a design plan in a cohesive way.  For this wedding design, we've taken a pretty traditional color palette and classic ideas but we infused a little modern flare in the execution through pops of graphic patterns and fun textures.  I always appreciate brides that are willing to take a few steps outside the box, and stretch their design comfort level to reach a whole new level of "wow".  I cannot wait to see this wedding unfold!  Take a peek at our inspiration, and let me know you what you think.

NavyWhiteGreenWeddingInspiration_K&E
NavyWhiteGreenWeddingInspiration_K&E

XO, A.