wedding style

Featured: Glamour Magazine Weddings

I am simply over the moon to see this image from Whitley and Darian's gorgeous wedding featured on Glamour Magazine's "Old Hollywood" wedding inspiration for style icon Scarlett Johansson!! This wedding will always be one of my favorites - mainly because this couple is so absolutely amazing - but I'm honored to see this design featured for Glamour readers to enjoy! Many thanks to New Creations Flower Company for this gorgeous centerpiece and Lauren Rosenau Photography for being so amazing at capturing all the beauty. Be sure to check out the full feature, here.

The Graceful Host - Glamour Weddings - Feature

Happy Friday, y'all! Cheers to the weekend!

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.

 

All Eyes on the Bride: Wedding Day Hair + Makeup

This post is part of a series of real questions, from real brides.  Do you have a question about wedding planning, or any part of the process? Ask me! I want to answer YOUR questions. To submit your questions, email me at ashley@gracefulhost.com.

Question: What do I need to know about wedding day hair and makeup? Is there something special that I need to do to prepare for the big day?

There is a whole lot of planning that goes into a wedding day.  And as a bride, I'm sure you're very much aware of your ever growing to-do list.  But, as you're carefully planning every last detail for your big day, it's important not to overlook a big part of your wedding - hair and makeup!  On the biggest day of your life, you want to look your best.  So, leave the beauty prep to a professional!  I've asked the oh-so-talented Kymm McLean from Who's The Fairest? to weigh in on some frequently asked bridal beauty questions.

Wedding Day Hair and Makeup

1. What's your biggest advice to brides regarding a wedding beauty regimen? Keep it simple and don't stray from your regular routine. Definitely don't try anything new the week of your wedding! Unless you've tried it before and had good results, don't try it the week of your wedding - especially the day before your wedding. This includes waxing, facials, microdermabrasion, new cosmetic brands, new hair stylist, tanning, and many more. Anything that could potentially end in error, should be avoided.

2. The bride wakes up on her wedding day with a huge zit! Yikes! What's your recommendation to girls that have breakouts as the wedding day approaches and/or on the big day? A pimple is usually the result of excess oil getting trapped in the pore; however it can also be caused by hormonal imbalances caused by stress.  Since a pimple is just one little small area, there is no need to treat your entire face with strong products or medication. The best treatment is a spot treatment product for that one area: Boo Boo Zap!, Yes To TomatoesAcne Free are some great options.  You can also go by a medi-spa and get it "zapped" with a high frequency implement - don't worry, it's painless and takes only seconds - which will help speed up the drying/healing process.

3. What beauty service(s) should every bride absolutely, without exception, have on her wedding day? Certainly, makeup and hair.  Unless the brides hair is very short or naturally very curly and she is wearing it naturally.

4. What do you recommend all brides should do the morning of their wedding? The bride wakes up and then what are the first few things she should do before starting to get ready? Stick to your normal routine.  There is peace in familiarity, and feeling normal on your wedding day is important to keep the stress level at a minimum.  And, if bride had a little too much fun the night before, then hydrating is key.  Don't forget to eat breakfast and lunch - eating as well is important.  I see a lot of brides with nervous stomachs so keeping an antacid handy is also a great idea.

5. What is airbrush makeup? Do recommend this for bridal makeup? Airbrushing makeup is formulated to spray through a gun that sprays in tiny micronized droplets.  It "lays" on the skin, so it accentuates fine hairs, texture and pores.  And when your skin moves, it tends to "crackle" since the formulations tend to have a shellac finish to them. The product itself is very expensive with a very short shelf life, so once they expire, it separates and smells rotten. The airbrush machines are loud, bulky and difficult to transport, too.  They often clog which is a disaster because it takes a lot of time to disassemble them to clean and put back together.  (Precious time not available during a wedding beauty session.)  Also, the foundation may be self setting but you still need to set with a finishing powder to get a matte finish for photos - so what's the point of airbrushing?  You can't spray the eyes or lips so you still have to transport and apply traditional makeup, so again, what's the point?  I find it much more effective to apply a foundation with a brush and buff it into the skin so it looks like a part of the natural finish, and then setting with powder for a beautiful velvet finish.

6. What's something you wish all brides knew about wedding/bridal hair and/or makeup? Brides should book hair and makeup with a professional that schedules a practice session, so on the actual day, there are no surprises.  Aside from this, it's important that the bride work with someone that listens to her and finds out her daily makeup routine, her lifestyle and her exceptions on wedding day.  And, that professional should be able to incorporate those aspects while also achieving a style that photographs beautifully, lasts all day and night, and most importantly - makes the bride feel like she looks like herself, but just a bit more glamorous!

Thank you so much, Amanda, for the great question! Do you have a question about wedding planning that you’d like answered?  Email your question to ashley@gracefulhost.com.

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.

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XO, A.