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next week is…

…drum roll please!

Photography Week!

I’m excited to blog all-things-photo next week, and we’ve got a couple of fun things in store! First, we’ll have Q+A and featured weddings with 3 wonderful local photographers. You’ll get to know more about them, their style, and check out pics that show off what they do best!

We’ll also have helpful tips for your wedding day and even a guest blogger! Stay tuned for more details, and don’t miss Photo Week starting August 11th—there will be some fabulous eye candy…and who doesn’t like candy!?

{free} stuff is fantastic!

(photo courtesy of Kelly Powers–of course!)

I love to win things, and if you do too, then you have until 5:00 (EST) TOMORROW to leave a comment on Kelly Powers’ blog, for a chance to win a $25 gift certificate for her services! I love to give fun gifts, so after Kelly took some shots of me when we met up, I bought a gift certificate from her for a friends’ baby shower—-and she LOVED it!  She recently had her son, and is so excited to use it—and I can’t wait to see the beautiful pictures! So hop over to her blog and leave a comment (quick!) for your chance to win!

mid-summer mini vacation

(image source}

My husband has officially confiscated my cell phone, and I’m using my last few (precious) moments with my laptop to let you know I will be out of the office through Tuesday. We’re headed up North for a much-needed mini vacation to spend a little time together during this busy wedding season! We’re going up north to a lake house (no internet access) and my husband will probably find me creeping out of the house late at night to find Wi-Fi! So perhaps there will be some vacation posting? I hope so, but don’t count on it–we’ll be back to regular posting on Wednesday–hopefully with a tan!

the library @ elizabeth anne designs

The wedding blog world is buzzing….so if you haven’t heard about the Library at Elizabeth Anne Designs, well, quite frankly, I’m shocked! This great new resource put together by the lovely ladies at EAD offers listings (by category) of fabulous wedding vendors! An amazing resource for brides, and we’re so happy to be included! Thanks to EAD, and congrats on an amazing project completed!

weekend recap

Our wedding this weekend was on Friday, so our work took place Thursday night to start the decor setup for Tracy+David’s wedding reception at Foundry Hall in South Haven. Because the hall was (of many things) a restored foundry (surprise, surprise!) the interior is very industrial, and Tracy was very concerned about making it a colorful and elegant wedding venue. I met up with Tracy a few weeks ago, we brainstormed, and we came up with a great design scheme to pull together hot pink+orange fete!

Thursday night we spent about 6 hours hanging giant paper lanterns in the buildings high ceilings, setting up some beautiful place settings, and making the tables look fabulous with accents of pink+orange and even some crystal trees! It was quite a night, but I have to say, we all left there knowing it was going to be one amazing wedding! Plus, Tracy+David (and the entire family and bridal party) came by to check out the final result, and all were ecstatic! I am always so happy when a bride sees the decor design come to life and is thrilled (especially on one like this where I threw out some ideas and she let me run with it!) Above is the (best I could do) before pics—I absolutely can’t wait to see the fabulous detail pics from JK Photography,  to show you what we did with this space! I’ll post them as soon as I get them!

christmas in july

I’m a mail fanatic (as in, I practically run to the mailbox, and I skip back to the house when I get something “good”). By good, I mean anything not a bill, not junk, and DEFINITELY wedding related! Yesterday was like Christmas for me! I got 3 fabulous packages, c/o 3 fabulous ladies!

The first, was a cd of pictures from the wedding of Claire+Chris, courtesy of the always fabulous Leda of LVL Photography. I can’t say enough good things about working with her in May, and she has been such a sweet heart in passing along pictures for this blog! Thanks Leda!

The second package was a cd of pictures from Kelly of Kelly Powers Photography. A month or so ago, she was nice enough to meet me in St. Joe to get to know each other, talk weddings, and we squeezed in a little photo shoot! I am usually not a fan of getting my picture taken, but Kelly made me feel completely comfortable, and I felt like a celebrity getting my picture taken all over downtown St. Joe.

This is one of my favorites—taken outside the Chocolate Cafe, which I refer to as my “corporate headquarters,” since this is my favorite place to meet new and old clients! Many a wedding has been planned over a bowl of soup and a good hot chocolate at the Chocolate Cafe! (and of course, that’s where Kelly and I met up, too!) Thanks Kelly, it was such a pleasure meeting you, and I’m looking forward to our wedding together in September!

Lastly, I received my first of 3 books I recently ordered, thanks to the wonderful suggestion of Liene of The Smart Planner and Blue Orchid Designs. If you’re involved with weddings, you simply have to stop over at The Smart Planner for all of Liene’s wonderful advice, articles, and book recommendations for small business owners! So thanks to Liene for the suggestion, and thanks to Amazon for the speedy delivery!

happy 4th of july!

For some reason my pictures won’t post right now—so just imagine there is a really cute picture of a newly married couple, making a heart with sparklers! (how cute is that!?)

Happy 4th of July to all you wonderful guys and gals out there! My husband and I took the train into Chicago for the day and spent a wonderful lunch at the Taste of Chicago, dinner at the Cheesecake Factory, and shopping downtown! Now, I’m exhausted, and will be out and about the rest of the weekend!

Have a safe and happy weekend!

great weekend+great brides

(photo)

I didn’t have a wedding this weekend—but the weekend was still filled with brides and planning regardless! I had a meeting with Tracey at Foundry Hall in South Haven to go over decor details for her reception setup for her wedding July 11th. The Foundry is such an awesome urban location, and I love how versatile the space is. So we spent a few hours going over how we would work the lighting in the room, played around with a gobo projector, and came up with a complete decor plan the space, so it will be exactly what Tracy+David are hoping for! The best part…we discovered the ceilings are covered in orange and pink christmas lights, which happen to be Tracy’s colors—how perfect!

Later in the day my father in law came down to visit for the afternoon, and we headed downtown for a late lunch at Shu’s downtown. As we were heading into the restaurant I ran into Kate+Mitch (plus her mom and his parents) enjoying a Shu’s lunch after a little of their own wedding planning that day! I haven’t seen Kate in person since our consultation (Kate+Mitch live in Chicago) so it was so fun to bump into them and hear about the band-scoping they had done that weekend! Their wedding isn’t until June 2009, but I’m already excited, because I know it will be fabulous, and they have been great to work with so far!

Even later that day, I got an email from bride Kelly, confirming a centerpiece proposal I had sent—-so we are all set on that, and I will get to hit the floor running this week to get decor ordered! I love it when weekends are uber-productive! Plus, it was fun to get to see & talk to so many of my clients this weekend—I am so lucky to get to work with such a sweet and fun group of brides in 08/09, and I count myself truly lucky to have such a great group of clients!

diy {sisle runner}

Earlier this week I posted about the fabulous custom runners available at {Fairytale Runners} Now, for those of you DIY gals out there who can’t (or just don’t want to) spend $200+ on a custom runner, here is the step by step for making your own! People assume this is difficult, but it’s SO easy!

Supplies:

  • Aisle runner (size and width depend on your preference) but for these directions it should be a sheer material. Available for $29.99-$49.99 at stores like Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, JoAnne Fabric
  • A poster printer or access to Kinkos, Staples, or a local printer (we used a family member who blew it up at work for us!)
  • Paint (pick a color, any color! to coordinate with your wedding palette)
  • Brushes (a variety of sizes depending on your design)
  • Fabric Tape or Paper weights
  • Time (2+ hours depending on the complexity of your design)

First, Decide what you want to put on your aisle runner. For ours, we did a very simple monogram, which we had also used on our invites. Also, head down to your local craft store, and pick out the perfect paint color. The color tends to look much different on your fabric, so I suggest buying a variety of colors in your hue to try on a scrap of fabric (and at $1-$4 a bottle, it’s sure to be a worth while purchase!)

Using a poster printer (or heading down to your local kinkos or staples), blow your image up to fit on the aisle runner, with at least 6 inches of white space on each side. The size will vary, depending on the width of aisle runner you purchase.

Be sure to measure the aisle at your church or ceremony location, to determine where the design should be placed on your aisle runner.

Next, it’s time to start tracing….lay your aisle runner on top of your print out, and secure it with fabric tape, or paper weights. I suggest you use a large hard surface such as a large table or your floor, but I used the coffee table in my living room, so it’s personal choice! Use a fabric pen (or permanent gel pen) in a color that will blend in with your paint (ie. don’t trace with blue if you’re painting in yellow!)

(above) This is the worst picture in the world, but if you squint, this is what your aisle runner should look like after tracing–Now, it’s time for painting…the fun stuff!

Depending on your design, you’ll need to buy a variety of brushes to meet your needs. I had to use some very tiny brushes to fill in the delicate tails on my “J.” Squirt some paint on a plate (the palette of champions) and get going!

Keep painting (I painted for about 2 hours for this simple design)….. If you’re using multiple colors, make sure to paint in layers, painting each color, and letting it dry before moving on to the next colored section. Your finished product should look like this….

Ta Da! For the cost of a runner, plus $10-$20, and a few hours of your time, you can add a custom touch to your aisle! If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment, or email me at jessica {at} Stellaeventdesign {dot} com! Happy Painting!

fundraisers that rock {a wedding for alex}

(A Wedding For Alex)

If you haven’t heard about Alex’s lemonade Stand, you are missing out on such an amazing cause! I first heard about Alex when I did a Google image search for “Lemonade Stand” (for a wedding project). What I found was an endless list of pictures of lemonade stands dedicated to this wonderful cause. Alex’s Lemonade Stand was started by a little girl with cancer. She didn’t live to see her ninth birthday, but in her short time, she managed to raise over $1 million towards the fight against cancer—I’ve lived almost 3 times longer and can’t even begin to think of how much she accomplished in such a short time!

Now, the charity lives on, and people continue to raise money in the name of Alex and her Lemonade Stand. Now, as a bride, you have a chance to make your dreams come true, while also helping this amazing cause. Omni Hotel at Independence Park has put together a wedding package to rival all wedding packages. For $20,000 (or more) you can bid on this amazing dream wedding on EBay, and have a five star wedding fit for royalty. You’ll get a wedding for 135 guests at the Omni, a couture gown, a honeymoon to Dreams Tulum Resort & Spa (my husband and I honeymooned here, and it is AMAZING!)…you also get a rehearsal dinner, and so much more! Check out the website for full details on all that’s included (jewelry, hair, cake, photo, video and entertainment, and more!) Bidding begins today, and runs through June 7th! Bid Now!