Inspiration

Valentines Day Inspiration: Blush and Bashful

Valentines day is drawing near - if you didn't already know by the absurd amount of chocolates every where you go! I'll admit, I used to fight my love of the color pink for a long, long time. But I've accepted that I'm a girl who loves the color pink - and it feels great! All jokes aside, pink is a really beautiful color to add into your wedding color palette. In fact, it's one of the two Pantone colors of the year! Lets face it, nothing says fairytale love full of floating hearts and romance like a little infusion of pink into your wedding day. It's a versatile color that can easily take center stage in a design, or serve in more of a supporting role letting other colors shine. Here are a few examples of how our sweet brides have embraced the color pink and incorporated it into their wedding day!

Sophisticated Luxury at Ritz Carlton Urban Garden

Kendra and Randy, April 2015
Lauren Rosenau Photography
New Creations Flower Company

English Garden Party at Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden

Danielle + Sam, June 2013
Rachel Fesko Photography
New Creations Flower Company

Secret Garden at Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden

Adrianna + Terrell, August 2014
Richard Israel Photography
Chelish Moore Flowers

Elegance in Nature at Morning Glory Farm

Megan and Tyler, August 2015
Alicia White Photography
New Creations Flower Company

Chic and Modern at Foundation For The Carolinas

Jackie + Daniel, August 2014
Smitten and Hooked Photography
New Creations Flower Company

Sweet Southern Love at Boxwood Estate

Keely + Hill, May 2014
Lauren Friday Photography
New Creations Flower Company

Playful Vintage Elegance at Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden

Mia + Alex, April 2014
Lauren Rosenau Photography
New Creations Flower Company

Sweet and Glamorous at Mint Museum Uptown

Rachel and Mike, October 2014
Lauren Rosenau Photography
New Creations Flower Company

Lush Garden Romance at Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden

Christina and Zach, June 2015
Lauren Friday Photography
New Creations Flower Company

Let us know what you think! How will you incorporate pink tones into your color palette?

xo,
A.

Wedding Inspiration: Purple + Pink

I've been in love with this design since the moment this sweet bride approached me with these gorgeous colors - hello Pantone color of the year, radiant orchid! The design that we've created for Rachel + Mike's October wedding at the Mint Museum Uptown is without a doubt full of romance and chic style. I love every single detail we have planned, from the vibrant color palette of pinks and purples to the mixing of metallics to the floor plan! This couple is so great and we're having a blast planning for their big day, which will be here so soon and I cannot wait! Here is a little peek at our inspiration!

Rachel + Mike - Wedding Inspiration Board

XO,
A.

Pursuing Your Passion

Back in April of this year, I had the chance to attended an incredible workshop called Pursue: The Workshop in gorgeous Dallas, Texas. I had stumbled upon this wonderful two-day conference in gorgeous Dallas, Texas through the power to social media. (Thanks, Instagram! Y'all should really check out @PursueWorkshop!) After learning more about the amazing speakers and the philosophy behind the workshop, I jumped at the opportunity to be a part of it! It was everything that I was looking for and each session spoke to me. And what an experience it was! The oh-so talented Lindsey with Lindsey Lenae Photography created this adorable video from our short little slice of heaven - and what a joy it is to relive this experience and be reminded of all the talented ladies that attended! Thanks for sharing, Lindsey, and for lending us your talents!


Attending workshops and retreats like Pursue and Bliss & Bespoke are important to me on many levels. I place a great deal of emphasis on education. I believe that we never stop learning and growing throughout our lives, regardless of our careers & aspirations.  As a classical singer by trade, I know first hand that it takes practice and patience to perfect your craft... and even after all that hard work, you're still never finished learning. For me, with my performance background, I am always striving to perfect my passion for design and styling.  I want to continue to learn new tricks, stay ahead of trends, and to develop best practices for my little business! When you have the chance to learn from & network with the best in the business, the educational investment is well-worth it.

Such cute reminders from all the incredible speakers and vendors who helped make Pursue come to life for all the attendees. I LOVE walking into my office each day to look at these!

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TGH - Quotes

This sweet print was given to me by a dear friend that I met at Bliss and Bespoke. I'm telling y'all.... as a small business owner, it means the world to me to have a network of friends that know exactly what I'm going through and who know my passions - because we share the same dreams! I absolutely love this beautiful reminder. (And, it was so perfect for this blog post!)

I'm also grateful to have the opportunity to have had these head shots taken by the lovely and talented film photographer Amanda Watson - thank you so, so much!! Your work is so breathtaking, Amanda. I'm glad I could be a tiny part of your gorgeous portfolio.

The Graceful Host - Headshots By Amanda Watson - April 2014

Always keep reaching, y'all! Whatever you dreams may be - you can make it happen!

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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View More: http://laurenrosenauphoto.pass.us/katieanderic

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.

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!

View More: http://crystalstokes.pass.us/beautyView More: http://crystalstokes.pass.us/beautyView More: http://crystalstokes.pass.us/beauty

 

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.

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/beauty

 

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.

View More: http://crystalstokes.pass.us/beautyView More: http://crystalstokes.pass.us/beautyView More: http://crystalstokes.pass.us/beautyView More: http://crystalstokes.pass.us/beauty

 

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?!

View More: http://crystalstokes.pass.us/beautyView More: http://crystalstokes.pass.us/beautyView More: http://crystalstokes.pass.us/beauty

 

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!

View More: http://crystalstokes.pass.us/beautyView More: http://crystalstokes.pass.us/beautyView More: http://crystalstokes.pass.us/beautyView More: http://crystalstokes.pass.us/beauty

 

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

View More: http://crystalstokes.pass.us/beauty

 

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.

 

Inspiration: Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day Inspiration
Valentine's Day Inspiration

Valentine's Day is one of my favorite days of the year! A day full of love and happiness? Yes, please - sign me up! I just can't get enough.  There are so many different kinds of love that we'll experience throughout our lives, and I feel so honored to have been a part of so many love stories over the years.  In honor of this special day, I've pulled together some Valentine's Day inspiration to share.

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I hope you get to hug someone you love and that your day is full of joy!  I am so grateful for all of the special people in my life - especially my sweet husband that is way too good for words and puts up with all my craziness. I'm a lucky lady!  And, I do hope y'all know how much each of you mean to me. Know that you are loved! And, I have to share this beautiful print from one of my favorite calligraphers, Laura Hooper, that is perfect for this love-filled day.

LH_Calligraphy
LH_Calligraphy

Happy Valentine's Day!

XO, A.

2014 Wedding Trend Predictions By The Graceful Host

It's hard to believe, but the 2014 wedding season is just around the corner. Each year trends emerge in fashion, which usually spills over into other areas such as home decor and weddings. After Bridal Market in NYC in October, we saw tons and tons of trends emerging through so many talented ateliers! In addition, Pantone has published their fashion color report for 2014. This report usually dictates color palette trends in the wedding industry, as well. I cannot tell you how much I love good design. Each fall I pay attention to each of these event and read up on industry predictions for 2014. Oh what a dream it would be to actually attend bridal market! I wish. But, for now, this wedding planner and designer is going to layout my favorite trends and predictions for 2014.

Wedding Dress Details

Laser Cut Detail

Probably one of my favorite trends for 2014 is the laser cut detailing. I think it's a very sexy and feminine detail. It's been all over fashion lately, and we've seen this amazing detail make its way over to weddings through paper goods, bridesmaids dresses, wedding dresses, and linens.

2014 Wedding Trends - Laser Cut Details

Pure Romance

I'm sure you could assume that weddings are a romantic affair by nature ... and it's true, they are. But, the colors trending for 2014 just scream romance! We can expect pastels to take the forefront in spring weddings for 2014. Although pink is a very common pastel (and wedding color), I think we'll see more dusty blue, lavender and pale green emerge over the traditional pink romance. The more vibrant colors brought to us by Pantone, such as dazzling blue, cayenne, and freesia, are gorgeous color staples that will complement their pastel counterparts perfectly. At the 2014 Fall Bridal Market we also saw shades of pastel all over from designers like Vera Wang, Romona Keveza and Watters.

2014 Wedding Trends - Pure Romance

The Wedding Dress - details, details, details

Speaking of wedding dresses - the wedding fashion from 2014 Bridal Market was nothing short of stunning! This is my absolute favorite topic to talk about - I love, love, love bridal fashion! This fall, we saw a huge increase in the use of beading and ornate details, along with gorgeous back detailing. I couldn't get over all of the incredible detailing from these designers! I love the use of illusion necklines and back openings with incredibly ornate details. Brides are also going for statement head pieces to create a truly romantic bridal look. Designers also showcased more halter silhouettes than years before. And, of course, we also saw some laser cut/lace detailing from many designers.

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2014 Wedding Trends - Head Pieces

Personalization

Weddings should be an expression of the bride and groom. There are tons of themes brides can choose from when beginning their wedding design plans - vintage, couture, classic, clean ... the list can go on forever! We'll see a continuation and emphasis on personal details like custom monograms, creative uses and displays of photos, personalized decor, and one of a kind invitations. I love finding out what makes a couple tick and what experiences we can use to infuse into design elements.

Personalized Wedding Details

Lush Floral Design

I believe that flowers are essential to wedding design. It is the main source of visual interest, provides color and texture for a space. Due to economic conditions, we've seen many brides scale back their floral design, opting to keep designs more simple, and/or go in the direction of DIY. In 2014, I think that we'll see an increase in more elaborate floral designs. Lush and full centerpieces, both high and low, along with uplighting and draping are making a huge comeback with brides who are looking for a "WOW" look. I think we'll see bouquets and centerpieces with a variety of textures, shapes and dimensions trending. Think of lush greens, full flowers and textured, unique blooms.

2014 Wedding Trends - Floral Design

Styled Grooms

Think this post is just about the brides and decor trends? No worries, grooms - TGH has you covered! Based on all that is trending with fashion, I think we'll see a big surge in styled grooms. Don't get me wrong. The bride will always be the main focus of a wedding and will always steal the spotlight. But, we're seeing more and more grooms wanting their time to shine on their big day. We'll see more of an emphasis on the groom's attire than in years past.

2014 Wedding Trends - Styled Grooms

If this is any indication of next year, then it is going to be beyond beautiful! I just can't wait! But, tell us what you think. What are some of your trend predictions and/or favorite trends for 2014?

XO,
A.