Thursday, April 30, 2015


And just like that the terrace is green again.

Well not "just like that." We actually had to rip out the old sod and put in artificial turf because when the tent is up the grass is not happy. But more on that lovely/grueling/terrible project tomorrow. 

While we were painstakingly putting this in (it was painful - it hurts to sit, move, and just generally exist at this point) we had a lot of time to reflect on the company, friends, and just general life choices. The one thing we kept circling back to was how impossible all this would have been (and still would be) if it wasn't for our support system. At that exact moment out walks Barbara. 

Barbara is a gem. She is seriously amazing. This is how Barbara came to be on the C and D Team:

First off, Barbara was not a stranger - her daughter Rachel booked the Bradford when it was pouring down rain, mud up to our ears, and no drywall on the walls. Her mom accompanied her and was so very excited that Rachel was having her wedding here. She worked at Lowe's and over the next 8 months she saw A LOT of us. Every time we saw her, we were dirty, tired, kind of zombie like mumbling about Pex fittings and HVAC parts. She was always happy, and always offered to help. 

The week before our first real/big event was a doozie. I am not sure why. I know we had about a zillion plants, 100 yds of mulch, and just various things that needed to get done before this wedding happened, but there was a ton of little things that just kept that to do list growing. I was in Lowes getting something - who knows what - and I got in line and who was my check out person but Barbara! Always happy and smiling asked how it was going. My gut reaction was to say GREAT! But I decided to be real and my response was: "Honestly, pretty terrible - I am not sure how we are ever going to get it all done." With out a beat she asked, would it be helpful if I came and cleaned? 

I am not sure what happened next other than tears, hugs, and very firm yes!! A few days later Barbara comes over and scrubs The Bradford like it has never been cleaned before. The windows sparkled (Granted she scraped and scrubbed for HOURS), the floors were glowing, and the place smelled amazing. From then on, Barbara became our knight in shining armor - she is the one who swoops in and cleans for the next client and I can not tell you what it feels like to have that weight off of our shoulders. 

To top it all off- she brings us coffee on the mornings that she comes and she sings at the top of her lungs. She is truly so filled with joy that you can't help but smile around her! She makes our Wednesdays so much better. 

I have learned that it is okay to accept help, even when you feel like you shouldn't. If I had said no- we are fine and gave a fake smile as I walked out, I would have missed out on truly knowing such a great person! So, when you feel overwhelmed and you just don't know how you will get it all done - say yes to the person that stretched out their hand - you just never know when a Barbara will walk into your life.

~ Dana

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

“Great,” “Crazy” “Love them!”

“Great,” “Crazy” “Love them!” Just a few ways my Bible study leader described the C&D sisters. I now know this is the only appropriate way to describe them. Kelsey, my bible study leader, had been working for Courtney and Dana at the time and I was ready to get my feet wet and hands dirty in an internship. And here was the perfect opportunity. So I made a move and the interview was set!

I was nervous as I pulled up in front of The Bradford. It was hot and sticky, and the air conditioning in my car was broken, so my hair was a mess from the rolled down windows and I had spilled coffee on myself in the car. So lets just say it wasn’t my day, let alone a good day for an interview. But it went well, I think… considering they hired me! I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but I was ready for anything. 

My first day with them I knew kelsey was right, I would love this, but it was also crazy! I came during the end of the chaos of building a venue from the ground up and there was much to organize and get done before this wedding season arrived. I learned the true meaning of hard work, not just mental work, but carrying boxes, spending days organizing glassware and learning the pains of painting in the lines when completing our accent wall. I’ve learned since the start of my internship the behind the scenes struggles and details we worry about as planners, and have seen the feeling of handing your baby ( in their case The Bradford) over to a 21-year-old college student to look after in hopes it doesn't break. Most importantly I’ve learned from the girls how to wear many hats, and be able to deal with it and love it all at the same time!

This internship (and now job) has become much more to me than just a job. I have found my niche, and I am still learning and tweaking it. I am an office manager, a planner, a designer, a babysitter, landscaper and a sister. And I can’t express how much I love it!

Now with wedding season here at our doorstep, I am nervously excited! It’s my first wedding season, and I know it will be crazy! But the Bradford is looking great and ready to open its doors to what’s to come! Be excited with us and share in the experience! We’ve finally got our own Facebook, Instagram and Twitter set up and will be posting daily (I hope). 

But to end today I will say this, if you ever work with us, (and I hope you do!) keep in mind we are great, we are a bit crazy, but we love what we do and we look forwarding to sharing that love you with! 

So Happy Wedding Season to you! 


Thursday, April 23, 2015

Wedding Season

Hmmm..that's a hard one! 
Wedding season is here! I am so excited to start seeing some of these weddings we have been planning come to life! When January rolled around we had a team meeting and started assigning assistants to weddings and mapping out some of our busier weekends and it hit us. We had 17 weeks straight with 27 events. My initial thought was to panic. How are we going to do this? I found myself excited, yet fearful of this very busy season.

Planning works in waves. There are busy times and slow times, but what I found this year, that there really isn't much of a slow time. When we aren't inundated with weddings we are busting our tail to make sure the busy times are truly busy. Where as before we had a nice little break at the end of fall, beginning of winter, it all the sudden became advertising season. Who are we advertising with? What's our budget? What is our projection? What kind of a design do we want?

That season ended and we were greeted with booking season. Which is so.much.busier. with a venue than a planner. So many tours, and new clients were completely filling our calendar. Then there is networking. I love this part. I love meeting new people, making connections, and getting to know the people in our industry even better. I love it, but it takes time. I miss bedtime and the night time snuggles. So, when wedding season started, I was shocked that it was here! Where was the break?!?

Naturally, I felt nervous when I looked at the calendar. However, instead of being fearful - I took a moment to think of where we were this time last year.

We were knee-deep in construction. We had just spent the last weekend putting in the terrace, laying sod, and putting in hundreds of plants. We had been pulling late nights where we worked all day, had dinner, put the kids to bed, and then went back out and worked until 2 am. We still had wedding season with C and D - there was no break. It was hard and stressful. It is nothing like where we are now.

I look at all that we have accomplished and I can't help but be proud of where we are. I can't help but feel grateful for the first time in 5 years Court and I took a paycheck. I can't help but feel relieved when The Bradford starting making its own mortgage payments. I can't help but feel..excited.

Sometimes you just need some perspective. As much as the busyness seems daunting - it is such a blessing. The stress of construction is slowly going away as the last little pieces are put in place here at The Bradford. The stress of "where is this money going to come from" is almost gone. In it's place is the joy of working with my brides. When I think of them walking down the aisle and the anticipation of seeing their groom, or the excitement as the reception space is unveiled- I find myself smiling. It is such an honor to be chosen to work with these wonderful clients.

Here's to you Wedding Season! We are ready and so very excited!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Anna and Justin : Chapel Hill Carriage House

This was one of my favorites last fall. I met Anna through a phone call with her mother that insisted that if they were ever going to get married they needed a planner. They had been engaged for awhile- but after I met the couple - I could see that the wedding wasn't nearly as important as the relationship. They were the most down to earth couple who just adored each other. They complemented each other so well and balanced the other out perfectly. I loved having meetings with them- they were always so happy and fun. I really was sad to see this one end! They were such a joy to work with.

They wanted to find the perfect place and the perfect vendors to celebrate with their closest friends and family. Off the bat Anna and Justin's number one concern was to make sure their guests felt comfortable. They wanted nothing too stuffy, or contrived. We came up with a fall picnic with a touch of Alice and Wonderland. We used bright colors, vintage pieces, and had just a touch of whimsy throughout the evening. 

They were married at Chapel of the Cross - Anna's childhood church and followed up with a reception at Chapel Hill Carriage House. The weather could not have been more perfect! It was a wonderful evening that was filled with smiles, laughter, and a gushing bride and groom. 

Congrats Justin and Anna - we are so lucky that you chose us to be a part of your day! 

The beautiful bride and her proud father. Such a gorgeous venue for a wedding!

Love this picture of them!

Driving up the Carriage House

One of the centerpieces

One of my favorites! I love the flowers bursting out of the lantern

A natural gift spot

Drink station. Y'all - you HAVE to try Fig and Honey's Rosemary Lemonade. Seriously ah-mazing. I drank that all night! It was so refreshing and light! 

Cake! They had cake AND Pecan Pies - I may have been in a sugar coma

Mmm...SOOO good!

Little vintage touches on the buffet. What you see before you is Fig and Honey's Tomato Pie. It is to DIE for. It is so so so so good! People raved all night about the yummy food! It was truly perfect! 

Guests had a popcorn bar for cocktail hour with ladder golf, games, and corn hole to occupy them. We were spread out all over the Carriage House and guests loved the ability to roam and relax.

Photo booth! 
The guests were encouraged to grab a quilt and make it a picnic! It was such a hit! 

Hay Bale couches were the hit of the night with the groom's mom's handmade quilts for them. I may just have to employ her to make me one - they were so awesome! 
Thank you so much to everyone that helped make this happen! 

Our Awesome Vendors!
Catering - Fig and Honey
Florals and Design - Bushel and Peck 
Photographer - Jared Lazarus

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Jeff + Jullie: All Saints Chapel & Stockroom Winter Wedding

Ah - this couple = model status!  I had the opportunity to work with Jeff and Jullie for about a year to plan their gorgeous, authentic wedding.  Their day was one I'd say was truly "them" - they were very involved in creating a lot of the details you'll see were captured.   The day started at All Saints Chapel as the sun streamed through the stained glass window...perfect!  Her blush-colored, lace bridal gown was gorgeous!  Their wedding was so special as friends and family shared in helping pull off such a sweet ceremony and reception - check out that Stockroom chalkboard wall created by their friends and tattoo artists - wow!  
Congrats, you two!

Rentals: CE Rentals
Lighting: Themeworks
DJ: Ross Merle of Just Music DJ