Friday, May 29, 2015

A Wedding and a Marriage??

Happy Friday! Hope everyone is having a great week! We are gearing up for a Bradford event and a Bat Mitzvah off-site this weekend. Always busy over here!

Today I wanted to talk about marriage - not in the sage/wisdom - I have it all figured out sort of way - because nothing could be further from the truth! I know we talk a lot about weddings over here and I feel that I have a real knack for pulling together all the details and executing an event that starts off a new relationship with a fairy tale day. However, these skills DO NOT in any way translate to a successful marriage! As much effort, time, planning, and stressing that goes into a wedding - that should be a paltry amount as compared to the effort, time, planning, and stressing that goes into your relationship - because after all is said and done - that is what's left and what you wanted for forever! (if we didn't..why get married??)

Marriage is hard - just ask anyone who is married! You are committing to stand beside this person and hold each other up through great times and terrible times - knowing that life will bring you difficulties and pain and hurt and anger...and I could go on! You committed to this person who you know will hurt you and disappoint you and make decisions that will affect you - choices that you may not agree with! I was married 13 years ago and I can honestly say that I had no idea what I was signing on for - what it meant to be married - not just GET married. It is a constant effort to BE married.

I am writing this - and it may (or may not ) be a series or ongoing topic as I learn and grow- because it's been hard lately! We have been fighting for it over  here - BEing married has not come naturally for us and it has left lots of wounds and questions and soul seeking in its wake. It has really made me question life's direction and what is best for my family. We have some great tools and support in place - people that love both of us and have been where we are and fought their way through. Today I have hope - and a journey ahead of me! Maybe we can walk it together, blog world - with the end goal of having a marriage that would put that gorgeous, dreamy wedding day to shame!


Where I am at right now!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

The End of May

Can you believe that it is the end of May?!? I am still in slight shock that the month went by so quickly! I have loved this season. The flowers were so bright and vibrant, the weather was not too hot (some days), and the nights were still relatively cool. As June rolls around, I know that is all going to change. The days will get longer and hotter and the spring flowers will transition to summer flowers (still beautiful, just not as bountiful). And as sad as I am to see May go, I am looking forward to June even more. Not only do we have some pretty awesome weddings on the books - June 20th - seriously guys, it is going to be ah-mazing! But I am actually looking forward to the warm days and nights.

I have been scheming on how to get into a pool around here because nothing beats a lazy pool day. Now that the kiddos are older and I don't have to constantly fear for their life at a pool, it makes it a little more fun. No more swim diapers, diaper bags, or the conundrum of nursing while keeping the 3 year old from drowning. It is actually relaxing and fun! We kind of skipped last summer. I really don't even remember it! I just know we worked a lot and played very little. So, it is my mission to change that! I want this summer to be fun, to be relaxing, and to be filled with as much adventure as possible!

Any pool advice is appreciated - where to go, where not to go. We are thinking of the 15 punch pass with Raleigh Parks and Rec and utilizing Jordan Lake since it is right down the road. Any other great ideas out there??

I hope that you welcome June with open arms and bask in the sunshine when you can. One thing I have learned this year is that life is too short and moves way to fast to not stop, take a breath, and enjoy what is around you. Here's to a wonderful June!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Looking for Fall Interns

One thing I learned from years of interns is that they all want to be a wedding planner until they actually see what we do. They all envision J-Lo clickity clacking in heels and not breaking a sweat. Well - it is not like that - it is tiring, and sweaty, and so very exhausting. The days are long, the work is tiring, and the weekends seem so very long - but at the end of the day, it was all worth the hug at the end of the night, the smiles from the family, and the "I couldn't of done this with out you." 

I love it, and we are successful because we bust our tails every weekend. So - if you want to be part of the team - we are looking for Fall Interns. It is hard, it is exhausting. You will be sore, you will be tired, but you will also feel like you have accomplished something great. 

Send resumes to 

Excited to share our crazy, busy, and awesome world with you! 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Glassware Everywhere!

After first arriving at the Bradford, one of the responsibilities given to me was to just get the office organized. Not a big deal, until I found the flower room. The flower room, is our designated area to hold, process and assemble flowers. We also hold in this room ALL of the glassware we own... and we own a lot of glassware.

Over the past couple months we have been slowly going through each box, bin and bag we have cleaning and clearing our glassware. We now hand have them organized and grouped by type and size, and we officially have an inventory book! I could not be more excited! If you can't tell already by my previous posts I love to organize, and I will probably talk about it a lot... sorry!

But my organizational skills haven't always been there and I am always looking for great ways to improve it, or tips on how to organize specific areas of my own home, and at work. And my most helpful tool is Pinterest. I love it! all I do it type DIY organize and there are so many great ideas! So here are a few you may like to use, or go check it out yourself!

One of my favorites is A Bowl Full of Lemons! There are some great ideas and fun ways to keep organized. And a lot of it you can make your own or tweak to fit your needs!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

My Passion Planner Summer

Summer! Its summer ! I am so happy for summer! It means no school, no homework, no crazy papers or professors, it means sun and flowers and weddings! This summer could not have come fast enough! And while I couldn't be more ecstatic for this season, it also brings a lot to do. Not just the weddings and work, but its the time for me to do all of those things I've been putting off because I did't have enough time. So I've been thinking of some ways on how I can get these things done, without feeling like I've packed my days off with so many things to do that they don't really feel like days off!

A few months ago I heard about something called a Passion Planner. As I researched it I thought to myself " I NEED THIS!" It's a planner, but not just a typical planner. It helps you plan for everyday, for work and for life! It started out on Kickstarter and took off! It allows you to mind map four main life goals, and then small goals for every day that help you get there, while still leaving room for the things that need to get done. It has really changed how I plan my days and weeks. And really is something I will be using this summer. It will help me still enjoy the free days summer gives me as well as prioritize and still get it all done!

Here are a few pictures of the Passion Planner a video! I really encourage everyone to check it out !

                                                One example of the mind map!

A preview of what a week in the planner could be!

Watch one of their Kickstarter videos!!

- Caroline 

Monday, May 11, 2015

Melrose Knitting Mill Style Shoot: Sneak Peak!

I'm a creator by nature. I absolutely LOVE putting together ideas and pulling people together in order to create an event or design.  One of my personal goals this year was to do more style shoots - in efforts to get to know my wedding industry "people" better, foster community within the industry, and honesty, to create pretty designs of my choosing.  I couldn't have asked for a better group of gals to work with for this first shoot.   These vendors are SO good at what they do and are just super authentic people who have a passion for beautiful designs and making wedding days phenomenal.

We recently found out that we will be featured on The Perfect Palette sometime this Spring - so I'll save the details and my inspiration for later!  Can't wait to show you more from this gorgeous shoot! 

Photography: AJ Dunlap Photography
Design coordination/wedding planner: Becca Taylor with C&D Events
Stationary design: HeartCommaJenna
Floral design: Pine State Florals
Vintage rentals: Greenhouse Picker Sisters

Friday, May 8, 2015

To Tent or Not to Tent

That is the question!

We have had a plethora of tented weddings over here at the Bradford - they are mostly over our BEAUTIFUL new terrace. (You can read about that here) It has got me thinking about innovative ways to stylize a tent! Enjoy some creativity and inspiration on this lovely Friday!

Love these pendants - this says I don't take myself too seriously - but elegant all at the same time!

Christmas tent anyone??? Who says you can't have a tent for your December wedding! 
I love how this feels like a room - complete with flooring!

Clear Top Tents - Gives you all the security of a tent with the feel of eating under the stars! Best of both worlds!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

"I'm not beautiful"

Fair warning: This post is going to be a little personal.

I struggle on a daily basis to balance it all. Being a mom, wife, business owner, wedding planner, venue owner - there is a lot on my plate. Sometimes I want to just walk away and be just a mom and a wife. Then my husband gently reminds me that I would be happy for about 2 minutes and then be itching to get back into something. He is right. But sometimes the guilt seems too much.

There is nothing worse than "mommy guilt." Truly - I can have guilt about past friendships, aspects of my job, or even my marriage at times. But nothing truly pulls on my heart and leaves me this gut wrenching feeling than my mommy guilt. I call it "my" mommy guilt because I don't believe that someone else is judging me - I don't buy into all that - but I, me, personally, put it upon myself.

Most instances of mommy guilt are minor. "I should be buying organic vegetables." "Are the kids feeling like I am never around?" "Do they look a little skinny to you?" "Man, I should be reading more to them." "Ugh- I will never be able to schedule a play date!" "Should they be in ballet, soccer, art class, etc?" The list goes on and on and I am convinced I should just start saving now for their therapy when they are 20. There is very rarely a time when the guilt seems so overwhelming that it moves you to tears and truly makes you look at yourself and wonder what you did wrong. Such a moment happened this morning.

A little background here - Ada is obsessed with skirts and dresses. I don't really care - but the girl will only wear dresses/skirts. Now I am not a crazy controlling mom. But what does drive me nuts is that she wears the same thing over and over has literally a drawer full of shirts and shorts that she never touches. So we started a clothing chart. It has 4 dresses and 3 pants. She picks the day she wants to wear a dress/skirt or shorts. However, once all 4 dresses have been used she has to wear pants.  The chart resets on Mondays and she normally does the chart happily. She likes the control and the expected. She always wears her dresses Monday-Thursday then shorts Friday-Sunday.

Today is Thursday and normally a dress day. So, what is the problem? Well this week she knew Sunday was Mother's Day, and she knew she wanted to wear a dress. She struggled. I was tired. Bad combination. She really wanted to wear a skirt. I really wanted to get her brother dressed. We talked about it, and talked about it, and talked about it. She just kept saying she really wanted to wear it. I normally would just acquiesce and move on, but this morning I was really irritated at how this little girl was so upset about a pair of shorts. I walked away for a few and then told her to come sit with me on the couch. She is in tears - well fighting tears. I asked her - a question I don't think I had ever asked - "What is the difference between shorts and a dress?" Her response - "I'm not beautiful in shorts!" Then the sobs started - I mean hiccups, snot, big alligator tears kind of crying. Her head is buried in my lap and I just want to cry with her.

Now - to most people they may think this is silly. But she was serious. She genuinely felt like she was not beautiful in a pair of shorts. I told her that she is beautiful no matter what she wears. That clothes don't define who you are.  As we sat there, I couldn't stop thinking about myself. Not literally 2 days ago I was lamenting over having nothing to wear that makes me feel pretty. I can't tell you the last time I did not stop in front of a mirror to adjust this and that. I do not know the last time I just walked into the shower with out inspecting the fact that I should probably lose those love handles, or inspecting the many stretch marks my babies left me. I pick, I prod, I complain about my skin, my hair, and whatever else is getting me down. When I put on make-up, a nice dress, and some heels - I feel prettier and I act more confident.

We live in a world where the princesses my daughter loves are only seen wearing dresses and told they are beautiful. Yes, they are brave and smart and whatnot - but they are not told they are - just that they are beautiful. Kate - a real life princess - is judged based on her dress and applauded for looking perfect hours after giving birth. All I heard was "Wasn't she just so beautiful?!?" "look at how thin she is!" "Her dress is stunning, and so perfect." Yes this is all true, but she was also amazingly strong and brave (you would not have found me stepping out, much less functioning that soon after).

How was I suppose to tell this little girl that she was being silly? I understood her. I felt her pain. And I hung my head in realizing I was teaching her all the wrong things. I picked up her face and asked her -

"Do you ever feel smart?"

"Sometimes," she responds.

"Do you ever feel kind?"

"Not really"

"Do you ever feel sweet?"

"Only when you tell me"

*Slowly a smile starts to emerge*

"Do you ever feel like you are a good friend?"

"Not all the time"

"Do you ever feel brave"

"Not when I get shots!"

"Do you ever feel like you love other people?"

" Of course Mom!"

"Ada you are all these things. You are not just beautiful. Beauty is not about what you look like, or what you wear, but who you are baby girl. You are smart, kind, sweet, a great friend/cousin/sister, brave, and you love people so much! That is what makes you beautiful"

I told her that I was sorry I didn't tell her those things more often. The guilt was overwhelming and heart breaking. But in a way it was something I needed to hear. We will probably still battle over dresses and shorts, but I can guarantee that my "you are beautiful" compliments will not be reserved for when she is wearing a dress, but for when she is being smart, or brave, or kind, or just Ada.

~ Dana

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Ali and Shane: Merrimon-Wynne

You all - this wedding. Let me just tell you that it was literally the perfect day and one of the most gorgeous weddings! I am getting ahead of myself - I am just that excited! 

The whole team got the opportunity to meet Ali and her mom last fall. We chatted over coffee at Panera, lamented over being a teacher, and really hit it off. We met them early on in their planning process and they had not nailed down a venue. A few months later they had picked the gorgeous Merrimon-Wynne in downtown Raleigh. We met a few more times throughout the year to hammer out the details and every meeting was just so enjoyable. Ali and her mom were SO organized and every detail planned down to the T! 

They really wanted to get married in the church, but the church was not available on their wedding say, so they had a very private, intimate, family only ceremony hours before the rehearsal at the Merrimon-Wynne. Shane (the groom) was so smitten when I saw them on Friday and with big, happy, eyes - he said - "I'm married!" He was just so excited to be married to his bride. It kind of made my heart melt just a little :)

With out gushing any further - here is some snapshots from the very talented Anderson Shore of their gorgeous day!

Who says wedding shoes have to be uncomfortable?

Custom Bridesmaids wine glasses for getting ready

This dress was nothing short of amazing

They got all their Bridesmaids AND vendors custom bags. I tote mine around all the time! 

Love this!

The Jewelry

The boys had a fun little box to open filled with cigars and the makings for a jack and coke

Love this invite! It matched their decor perfectly. 

Bouquet from the florist at Catering works!

All the girls

Such a sweet moment

What a beautiful bride!

I love this detail shot!

Just stunning

Ali and her maids

So cute

The boys

This pretty much sums them up!

Just Cheesin' away

First look

Could they be anymore excited?!?

This shot = amazing!

Such a fun group!

One of my favorite altars. Ali found this at the flea market and knew it would be the perfect back drop! 

Calligraphy by Carrie did a great job on all the signage!

Beautiful day, beautiful setting

Love this pic of the two of them! 


Cupcakes with a cake topper to cut!

Doughnut favors - everyone was so ecstatic to see these!

Get it Ali!

Perfect end to a great night! 
Thank you so much Ali and Shane for choosing us to share in your perfect day! We are so happy for you both!

Their lovely vendors:
Venue: Merrimon-Wynne House
Coordinator: Dana with C and D Events
Photographer: Anderson Shore Photography
Florist: Catering Works Florals
Caterer and Cake: Catering Works
Videographer: Three little birds studio
Signage: Calligraphy by Carrie
DJ: Bill Baucom

Monday, May 4, 2015

Durham Winter Wedding: Shantay + Brian

Becca here - wedding season has been crazy and good so far, and I'm finally getting time to sit down and review some of the fabulous weddings we had earlier in the year.  I absolutely LOVE reliving all the special moments when we get the edited images from photographers after a wedding.  We have some incredibly talented photographers in the Triangle!  If you are searching for a photographer, let us tell you who our favorites are! (we have a long list of them!)

I met Shantay back in winter 2014 - when we met at Starbucks over a coffee. I could immediately tell that this girl knew exactly what she wanted her wedding to be like - classy, elegant, and modern in style.  I loved getting to know Shantay and Brian throughout the planning process!  Their love for each other and their family was SO evident on their wedding day.  I can't believe just how excited Shantay was to walk down the aisle to Brian!  They had such a fun dancing crowd at their wedding, and ended the night in a magical white confetti exit!

Venue:  Durham Arts Council
Photographer: Wake Forest Portrait Shoppe
DJ: Steve Max with Feel the Sound/Music in Motion
Planner: Becca/C&D Events
Event & Floral design: Becca/ Bushel & Peck Designs
Cake: Ashley Cakes
Caterer: Farmer's Table
Makeup:  Charlyko Beauty Art
Rentals: APR & CE Rentals