charlotte NC wedding

A Colorful and Whimsical Wedding at the Mint Museum Uptown in Charlotte

Jessie + Austin met in high school, but never dated. It took a few years of persistence from Austin, with Jessie "brutally shutting him down" as she says, for her to agree to a date with Austin. It was after that first date the summer of their freshman year of college that Jessie fell head over heels for Austin! And after several months of flirting and long distance (don't worry - Austin made her sweat a bit. Unknowingly, of course!), they made their relationship official.

You'll never meet a couple more madly in love or incredibly down to Earth as Jessie + Austin. They are the life of the party and love to have fun in every situation. Their connection is unmistakeable! Just wait until you see their gorgeous images from Anchor & Veil Photography. They never shy away from adventure and new experiences. Trying new restaurants and recipes and exploring new places is one of their favorite things to do together. But as much fun as going out can be, they also love lay low by make a pallet on the floor and watch moves with some wine in tow.

Jessie came to me wanting to create a unique experience for her loved ones. She said she wanted it to feel like one big party, with an amazing atmosphere, great food and lots of dancing - not stuffy or stiff, or too formal. Our sweet bride had a vision, and she was drawing inspiration from many different color palettes and styles - from whimsical and classic to sweet and modern. She didn't quite know where to begin and how to sort through everything. As we when through my design process, we were able to get to the heart of her vision and create a cohesive design that captured our bride's gorgeous style. The end result felt fun, eclectic and most importantly, different - and that is exactly what Jessie wanted! We infused a vibrant color palette into our design, using a range of purples, burgundy, pinks, creams, and pale yellow with abundant amounts of greenery for an ultra-romantic touch. It is traditional with a twist, as we mixed aesthetics to create a detailed and color-filled day for this sweet-as-can-be couple!

Huge thanks to our talented team of vendors who made this day so perfect for Jessie + Austin!
Planning + Design: The Graceful Host
Photography: Anchor & Veil Photography
Flowers: New Creations Flower Company
Paper Goods: Elisabeth Rose Social Stationery
Videography: Brian Bunn Films
Cake: The Wow Factor Cakes
Rentals: Party Reflections
Catering: Something Classic Catering
Venue: The Mint Museum Uptown
Officiant: Rev Rebecca Nagy
Hair: Mirror Bomb Studios
Makeup: Erin Ashley Makeup
Dress: Romona Keveža
Dress Boutique: Ladies Of Lineage
Bridesmaid Dresses: Brideside
Groomsmen Attire: The Black Tux
Entertainment: Split Second Sound

Jessie + Austin, you two are such a joy to know! I loved every second of our time planning together and your perfect wedding day. Thank you for trusting myself and my team to execute your vision! Love you both!

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.

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.

Anniversary: Stephanie + Bryce

I'll never forget the first time I met Steph and Bryce - I loved them from the moment we met. What an amazing couple these two are! Planning for their June 2013 wedding at St. Peter's Catholic Church and the Mint Museum Uptown was so much fun! The cherry on top was that half way through planning, as we're getting to know each other, Steph and I find out that we were both part of the same sorority. It is such a small world! I'm honored to have helped these two sweethearts plan a simply gorgeous wedding! Happy Anniversary you two! Time flies when you're having fun, right?!

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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: 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.

 

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.

Anniversary: Heather + Sean

It's no secret that I absolutely LOVE celebrations and I will find a reason to celebrate pretty much anything.  And, one year wedding anniversaries are so incredibly special and a major reason to celebrate!!  I want to wish a very, very happy one year anniversary to Heather & Sean!  Your wedding will always hold a special place in my heart.  I absolutely loved being a part of such a memorable day for your family and witness such genuine love.  I hope you two had an amazing first year of wedded bliss and enjoy many, many more to come! Lots of love to you and your adorable family! And, I love every single photo from Lauren Rosenau Photography!

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