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

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

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

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

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

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

XO,
A.

Enchanted Sleepover Birthday Party

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ethereal Blush and Mustard Wedding Inspiration

I always jump at the opportunity to collaborate with fellow creatives to create things that aren't always seen in the world of wedding design! Like new design concepts, or interpretations of different aesthetics, or color palettes that aren't commonly done.

We all know that blush is a favorite among brides. And I can't really fault anyone for that! But, I love to pair this sweet color with other shades - like peach or mauve - that give this common tone a bit more depth and dimension. I seriously love this color combination of blush pink and mustard! I hope mustard take centerstage one of these days - it's the most beautiful and underrated color! It can really pack a punch when added into a color palette. The tablecape was designed with the idea of spring on it’s way. Springvine Design created arrangements combining soft and bold florals colors and textures to bring our vision together so beautifully!

I wanted to keep our brides style approachable. After all, editorials are all about inspiration, so if someone can't recreate it then what good did it serve?! This lace Claire Pettibone dress was absolutely incredible! The cape was just so elegant and ultra romantic - it was the perfect "something extra", to take this would be bohemian look to the next level. 

It's such a thrill to see this editorial shoot featured on Inspired By This! To see the full feature, click here.  Below are some of my favorite images by the very talented Allison Kuhn Photography.

 

Huge thanks to our very talented vendor team! None of this could be possible with the collaboration for these talented creatives!

 

A Greenery-Filled Tented Wedding at Champagne Manor

It's a happy day today because Alyson + Matthew's Champagne Manor wedding is featured on Style Me Pretty today! I don't know about you, but reliving this gorgeous summer wedding has me so eager for warmer weather!

Alyson + Matthew were married in a family-centered ceremony, with their children by their side and surrounded by close family and friends, on August 12th at Champagne Manor in Monroe, North Carolina.  They have built a beautiful life together with their blended family, and they wanted to create a celebration of their love for one another and their new beginning at husband + wife. Getting to know this sweet family was such a joy!

What you might not know by looking at the photos is that the entire wedding was planned in less than 4 months. That's right - all this came together in just 4 months! Our gorgeous bride, Alyson, has amazing style and incredible taste, so there was no detail was spared. Our design was inspired by Earth tones and organic textures, with a feminine undertone, and it was achieved using a somewhat neutral palette of mauve, peach, ivory, dove grey, and greenery. The atmosphere was chic, yet relaxed, incorporating upholstered lounge areas into their open seating floor plan. One of my favorite details was the 8'x8' hanging installation of greenery and glass orbs with tea lights that highlighted the dance floor and was the central feature in our tent.

Holding on to beautiful weddings like this one is not easy! I've been bursting at the seams to share every little detail with you ... so at long last, here are some of my favorites from Alyson + Matthew's big day!

How absolutely adorable is their daughter?! She is the cutest little thing and my heart just melts looking at these sweet photos of her with her beautiful mama!

Thank you Alyson + Matthew for allowing myself and my team to be a part of this celebration and special time in your lives! And to our wonderful team of talented vendors - thank you for all your hard work to make this day so beautiful and memorable for this sweet couple!
Photography: Perry Vaile Photography
Flowers: New Creations Flower Company
Venue: Champagne Manor
Paper Goods: Pink Toast Ink
Beauty: Lindsey Regan Thorne of Be Pretty
Cake: Wow Factor Cakes
Rentals: Old South Vintage Rentals
Rentals, Lighting, Draping: Crush Event Rentals
Rentals: Party Reflections
Rentals: La Tavola
Catering + Bar: Best Impressions Caterers
Brides Dress: J. Majors Bridal
Bridesmaid Dress: Show Me Your MuMu

XO,
A.

2017 Year In Review

What a whirlwind year. Hard to believe we're saying goodbye to another year. 2017 was a good one. Lots of beautiful weddings, great memories & experiences, and valuable lessons.

A peek at our Top Nine that I shared on  Instagram !

A peek at our Top Nine that I shared on Instagram!

I had the honor of working with some amazing couples and their families, as well as some insanely talented vendors. I produced an event with Crate & Barrel for engaged couples, re-launched The Graceful Host calligraphy shop on Etsy, designed a beautiful styled shoot that was featured on Style Me Pretty, had 12 press features with Martha Stewart weddings, Style Me Pretty, Carats & Cake, InStyle Weddings, Inspired By This, Borrowed & Blue, Loverly, and Brit & Co, and even had my sweet baby's nursery featured on Inspired By This. It was one hell of a year, y'all!

As I reflect back on our year, I can't help but feel overflowing gratitude for the couples who chose us to be a part of such a special time in their lives. That trust to produce their dream wedding means the world to me! Here is a peek at some of our 2017 highlights:

Ellyn + William at Trump National Golf Club// photography by Old South Studios
As seen on Carats & Cake

Alyson + Matt at Champagne Manor// photography by Perry Vaile Photography
Coming soon to Style Me Pretty

Maggie + JR at the Ritz Carlton ballroom// photography by Cheyenne Schultz Photography
As seen on Carats & Cake

Lauren + Mark at Duke Mansion // photography by Almond Leaf Studios
Just a sneak peek ... full gallery reveal coming soon!

Emily + Billy at the Mint Museum Uptown // photography by Crystal Stokes Photography
Just a sneak peek ... full gallery reveal coming soon!

Phew - what an incredible year! :) Thank you from the very bottom of my heart for following this journey, and for your support and encouragement along the way.

I am eagerly awaiting all that 2018 has to offer, and the amazing celebrations we are busy planning for our couples! I have no doubt that 2018 will be oh so sweet!

I wish each of you a happy and healthy 2018! I hope the promise of a new year and new beginnings brings you peace and hope. And that your new year is full of celebration! 

XO,
A.

A few of our other 2017 press features:
Martha Stewart Weddings - 12 Tips for Planning a Monochromatic Wedding That Isn't Just White
InStyle - Don’t Start Your Wedding Website Before Reading These 9 Tips
InStyle - How to Create Unique and Beautiful Boutonnieres
Brit & Co - 14 Wedding Trends That Are Going to be BIG in 2017
Inspired By This - 20 Bohemian Brides Who Nailed Free-Spirited Fashion
Inspired By This - Monogramed Wedding Details That Aren't Preppy
 

Modern and Bold Wedding Inspiration

Incorporating color into a wedding design can be a challenge. Incorporating bold colors into a wedding design can feel impossible. But it IS possible!

It's no secret - I love using color. You might wonder why I prefer color over neutrals. And it's not that I don't love neutral colors, or a good monochromatic palette ... I because do! There is so much beauty within a neutral palette. But designing with color keeps me on my toes. It's different! And it's not often seen in weddings, where blush and ivory and gold/champagne tend to dominate. 

In September, I had the chance to collaborate with photographer Allison Kuhn to design + produce a styled shoot that was all about BOLD. When designing this shoot, I wanted to create something that I don't often see - it was about pushing the envelope in a way that was achievable for the modern bride. Ideas like "modern meets old world charm" and "classic style meets high end fashion" were phrases that came to mind. I was inspired by this teal blue, and from there I wanted to layer color and textures to create something that was a bit more daring and adventurous. And I absolutely love how the other colors pop against this bold blue!

I'm so honored to see this shoot featured on Style Me Pretty today! Huge thanks to our creative team! So grateful to work with such a talented bunch of creatives for this shoot!
Planning + Design | The Graceful Host
Photography | Allison Kuhn Photography
Beauty | Lindsey Regan Thorne (Be Pretty)
Floral Design | Amy Lynne Originals
Paper Goods | Elisabeth Rose Stationery
Cake | Wow Factor Cakes
Rentals | Nuage Designs, Carolinas Luxury Rentals, Party Reflections, Evermoore Event Rentals
Venue | Barn At Reynolda Village
Designer | Hayley Paige
Wedding Dress Boutique | Hayden Olivia Bridal
Shoes | Jimmy Choo

Featured: A Jewel Tone Wedding At The Ritz Carlton Ballroom in Uptown Charlotte

I'm incredibly lucky that my job leads me to meet such wonderful human beings. Maggie + JR are two of the most kind (and most hilarious!) people I've ever met! Their love for each other is so genuine and sweet - and you can clearly see that in every single image by Cheyenne Schultz Photography. Working with Maggie was such a dream! She trusted me and my team to execute her vision from day one. In fact, we actually didn't meet in person until a site tour to the Ritz Carlton in uptown Charlotte!

The Graceful Host - Ritz Carlton Charlotte Wedding - Carats and Cake Feature.png

Well, you can find me doing a little happy dance today because Maggie + JR are featured on Carats + Cake today! I absolutely love reliving wedding days through blog posts, so I hope you'll take a little walk down memory lane with me as I share some of my favorite photos from Maggie + JR's gorgeous fall wedding.

A big thank you to all the vendors who made Maggie + JR's wedding so magical:

Planning + Design | The Graceful Host
Photography |  Cheyenne Schultz Photography
Floral Design | New Creations Flower Company
Videography | Shamus Coneys films
Ceremony + Reception Venue, Catering + Cake | Ritz Carlton Charlotte
Reception Entertainment | Split Second Sound
Rentals | Party Reflections
Paper Goods | Pink Toast Ink
Hair + Makeup | Charisse Holliday with Be Pretty
Dress Boutique | Hayden Olivia Bridal
Dress Designer | Hayley Paige
Officiant | Reverend Rebecca Nagy

Congratulations, Maggie + JR! I am so thrilled to have been a part of your special day!

XO,
A.

Real Wedding + Featured: Southern Charm at Trump National Golf Course

 

I am just over the moon to see Ellyn + William's wedding featured on Carats + Cake last week! It's about time I finally share photos from this gorgeous spring wedding we had the pleasure to plan + design. Get ready, y'all - you're about to meet two of the sweetest souls on Earth! Ellyn + William met at work, and after hanging out professionally for quite some time, they made it official with a date outside of work. And soon, this workplace meeting turned into an international love story, with William living outside the US. And after years of distance, they're finally together... and finally Mr. and Mrs.!

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Family is everything to Ellyn + William, so it was really important to make family a priority on their special day. The bridal party was made up of siblings and close friends, and the couples nieces and nephews joined in as (the most adorable!) flower girls and ring bearers. Each guest table at the reception was given a name that held special meaning to the bride + grooms families. And of course, there were special heirlooms incorporated into their love story. The groom now wears his grandfathers wedding band, the stone in the brides engagement ring is from her mother, and the charm on the bride's bouquet is in memory of her late father.

The only way we can describe this wedding style is timeless elegance, with a whole lot of grace and Southern charm. The couple chose a classic color palette of ivory, greenery, and a soft blush. It was absolutely perfect for this spring, lakefront wedding. Ellyn + William actually chose Trump National Golf Club because of it's waterside location, as a nod to their love of being out on the water. And after the wedding, the newlyweds left the reception on the grooms family boat! Working with this sweet family was such a pleasure + an honor! I loved getting to be a part of this fabulous celebration!

Huge thanks to our amazing vendor team, who helped give Ellyn + William the dreamiest wedding day!

Wedding Planner + Designer: The Graceful Host
Photography: Old South Studios
Reception Venue, Catering + Cake Design: Trump National Golf Club, Charlotte
Floral Design: Lily Greenthumbs
Ceremony Venue: Williamson’s Chapel United Methodist Church
Ceremony + Cocktail Hour Musicians: Queen City Ensemble
Reception Entertainment: Atlanta Showstoppers
Hair: Mirror Bomb Studio
Makeup: Erin Ashley Makeup
Lounge Furniture: Old South Vintage Rentals
Draping, Lighting, Staging, Linens: Party Reflections
Rentals: Cooke Rentals
Linens: Nuage Designs
Wedding Dress Designer: Mikaella Bridal
Wedding Dress Boutique: J Majors Bridal Boutique
Bridesmaid Dresses: BHLDN
Groom + Groomsmen Attire: Mens Warehouse

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Thank you Ellyn + William for allowing us to be a part of your special day! It was such an honor to witness your gorgeous day + to celebrate you both! Wishing you a lifetime of happiness as you begin this next chapter in your lives!

XO,
A.

 

How to Create a Wedding Website

 
Invitation Suite by Elisabeth Rose | Photography by Lauren Rosenau Photography

Invitation Suite by Elisabeth Rose | Photography by Lauren Rosenau Photography

There is no doubt we live in a digital age. And while that little fact can bring on it's own issues, it's also proven to be helpful in the wedding world. Don't get me wrong - paper invitations and RSVPs are considered proper etiquette for weddings. But wedding websites are rising in popularity - and necessity! With most weddings being a destination for guests, a website is an important piece of the puzzle to ensure wedding information is properly communicated and in some cases expanded upon. Save the dates and wedding invitations are for informing your guests about the time and place of your celebration. You should include additional cards with your invitation suite for other information, such as an accommodation card or direction card. Or you could just simplify it and include an additional card with your wedding website, and let the website guide your guests to all the additional information not communicated with your invitation that they'll need about your wedding weekend, such as dress code, transportation, and registry information.

Wedding websites should be something each couple creates for their wedding weekend. But how do you do it?! We create a complimentary custom wedding website for each of our couples, with a custom URL to go with it. (See the photo above from Angela + Charlie's wedding.) Here are some tips on how to create your wedding website and what all you should include.

1. Do purchase your own domain. It's inexpensive and convenient! Make it something easy your guests can remember, like your names. But don't include this on your actual invitation. It should be printed on an accompanying card, such as an accommodation card.

2. Don't be intimidated about building your own website. There are plenty of websites that offer wedding website templates - Squarespace, Weebly, etc. They're easy to figure out and easy to customize. Minted actually offers wedding websites that match your wedding invitation suite.

3. Do let your guests know about the area attractions. Your out of town guests are going to want to experience the city where you're getting married through your eyes. So, create a tab where you share all your favorite restaurants, bars, and sights. Don't forget to include the contact information, like the website, physical address and phone number. 

4. Do share your registry information through your website. You should never include registry information in any of your invitations. So add a tab for your wedding registry on your website and link out to your wedding registry lists.

5. Don't feel like you need to share everything on your website. Keep it simple. The most important details to include is the when and where of the wedding, accommodations in the area, transportation, travel information, and registry locations. If you want to include a story about how you met and/or how you got engaged, then feel free... After all it is your wedding website! But don't feel like you need to include every little detail about your relationship and your bridal party on your website. Think of the wedding website as an extension of your invitation where you provide a bit more detail about the wedding weekend. Keep the wedding website focused on the events of the wedding weekend so that you can ensure that guests won't miss any details.

6. Do be mindful of what information you include on your wedding website. Yes there will be a rehearsal dinner, but if all your guests are not invited then it shouldn't go on your wedding website. Consider the website a place where you communicate information to everyone; not just family and vip guests. So if one of your room blocks is earmarked for family and bridal party only because there is limited availability, don't include it on the website or in your invitation suite. Share that information privately through email or word of mouth. You should include things like a welcome party or farewell brunch, where all your guests are invited to attend. And you can use the website to allow guests to RSVP to these additional events.

7. Don't skip the paper RSVPs. Your website might have an RSVP function available, but please do not go all digital for your wedding RSVPs. I know, I know you don't want to pay for the RSVP card, envelope and postage, and this feels like a great area to save money. Remember, not all your guests will be Internet-savvy. And guests aren't very pro-active - they like things to be easy! So asking them to write their name, check a box, and put a pre-stamped envelope in the mail (which is already in their hand upon opening the invitation) is less steps than telling them to get online, type in a website, and RSVP. So, if you do plan to offer a digital RSVP option through your wedding website, you should still include an RSVP card with your invitation suite and just simply add a sentence at the bottom saying, "You may also reply by way of our wedding website: www.yourweddingwebsite.com." 

We are quoted on InStyle Weddings today giving some wedding website tips alongside other wedding pros. Check it out for even more tips and how-to advice!

What do you think of wedding websites? Are you planning to create your own wedding website? We want to know! :)

xo,
A.

 

2016: Year In Review

 

It's hard to believe we are about to say goodbye to 2016 and welcome in 2017! Each year, I like to take a look back to see all the celebrations and milestones of The Graceful Host. This year was unlike any other. We had the pleasure of working with some amazing couples and talented vendors over the past 12 months. We visited old, familiar places and new places, made some incredible memories, and continued learning and sharing. Here is a peek into the year that was!

We kicked off the year with Meg + Heyward for a winter wedding celebration at the Bride's family's home. (iPhone snaps by me)

Then a few weeks later we celebrated an amazing couple at the Mint Museum Uptown with a serious wow-factor winter wedding for Katie + Kyle. These two know how to party, let me tell you! View the full gallery, here. (photography by Crystal Stokes Photography)

In March, we celebrated a very special couple. Melanie, the talented florist behind New Creations Flower Company, got married! It was an honor to help one of our own on her big day! View the full gallery, here. (photography by Lauren Rosenau Photography)