Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Laura + Andrew: Spring Wilmington Kenan Chapel & Shell Island Resort Wedding

So many special details during this wedding!  "Lulu and Roo" are such a fun-loving couple!  There were so many things I loved about this wedding - obviously the location being one of them.  From the beginning of our planning time, they desired to have a wedding beachside, without having it specifically on the beach.  Their ceremony was held at Kenan Chapel - so elegant and intimate of a chapel.  The reception was held at the beautiful Shell Island resort right on Wrightsville Beach.  Some of the highlights of the evening were: a surprise British taxi for a getaway car, absolutely stunning cake by One Belle Bakery, and Andrew's mother playing the piano for the ceremony music.  Their officiant (Andrew's uncle) had their parents come up to the altar during the ceremony and read a letter to their children - it was such a special moment!  Another tear-jerking moment was when Andrew surprised Laura by singing to her at the reception.  There wasn't a dry eye in the room!  

Congrats Laura and Andrew - we wish you all the best for a meaningful, blessed marriage!

Ceremony venue: Kenan Chapel at Landfall
Reception venue: Shell Island Resort
Caterer: Shell Island Resort
Florist: Flowers by June
Planner: Becca/C&D Events
Photographer: Dana Laymon Photography
Videography: Divine Treasures
DJ: Craig with Active DJ Entertainment

Monday, September 28, 2015

Our Industry Rocks: Instagram favorites

Happy Monday everyone! Today will kick off our first week of "Our Industry Rocks!" I decided to use Instagram to choose my top "picks" for what inspired me, made me pause a little longer, and just made me smile. But boy was it hard this weekend - Instagram was just  filled to the brim with ah-mazing events. It was hard to choose just a few! Let's begin:

The first is a photo re-grammed by Donovan's Dish. It was originally posted by Southern Love Studios. The wedding was planned by Chad Biggs Events and was seriously just amazing. I could fill this whole post with the pictures I saw from this night. But I felt like this one captured it the best. Chad and Chris were the first to wed in NC after it was legalized in October. They finally got the chance last weekend to celebrate with friends and family. Not only was the wedding just picture perfect, but it is such a neat thing to see all the industry professionals that came together to celebrate these two.

The next photo just made my jaw drop. I have worked at Bay 7 lots in the past and never have I seen it look this amazing! Get Lit did such an amazing job. It truly looked like it was straight out of a Fairy Tale!  The ladies at Gather Together were the visionaries behind this so I can only imagine what the rest of the event looked like!

We belong to the small community over at Wilmington Weddings since we do a handful of weddings over there each year. We love following knot too shabby events mostly because her ideas and weddings are different and really make you think outside the box. This past weekend was no exception! I absolutely adore these white couches as ceremony seating, The lanterns, gold accents, and flower walls are just the perfect touch to this seriously gorgeous ceremony. 

Sometimes you get just a little stuck when it comes to escort cards. I saw this on a friend's Instagram and saw that it was from Premier Party Planners. I love this idea! Each cup had a couple's name on it telling them what table to sit at. Such a cute and fun idea! There were lots of neat pictures from this event but this was by far my favorite take away idea! 

 I love this picture from AJ Dunlap. It just truly emotes happiness and joy. I love it when a photographer captures such raw emotion. It can transport you to the moment and have a glimpse into what they were feeling at that moment. I came across this and just smiled when I saw it- because how could you not?!?

 And my last shout out is to On the Rocks Bartending. They did a bang up job this weekend working in the rain, and helping make our event just go flawlessly. I love it that they are always smiling even if they are wet. They were such a pleasure and joy to work with. And of course their drinks were the talk of the night!

I know this weekend was a tough one with all the rain - but everyone rocked it and pulled off fantastic events! Here's to you and a job well done!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Some real truth here

You know I like to get all honest and personal here on the blog. I love sharing our events and all the fun and new things we are doing over here. But sometimes, you just need to be real. There is more behind rosy Instagram pictures and Facebook posts.  I am not one for airing dirty laundry or even giving you a glimpse into every second of my life, but I do struggle with how much truth we should put out into the atmosphere.

The thing is- I am not perfect. Oh my goodness the farthest thing from it. I don't have the perfect life. My life is...complicated.

1. I am a wife to a man that has unwavering support of what I do and who I am. We have been through some trenches, we have figured out who the other is. We have changed our expectations. For example, after Ada was born, I expected Sam to get up in the middle of the night EVERY night because I had to nurse her- and it wasn't fair that I had to get up just because I had boobs. Did that happen? No - not at all. It just turned into resentment when I looked over and he was asleep and I was just beyond exhausted. It took lots of tears and talking to work through our expectations. Yes, I had to nurse, but he also had to be awake and able to work - every day. So, we made a deal that when there was a night that she just couldn't go back down  (which was often) we would take turns being up late and losing sleep. Because even though he had to go to work. I still had to be present, awake, and work myself. His needs were not bigger than mine- just different. I was able to sleep later, I could squeeze a nap in at least a few days a week. When Henry was born - I changed my expectations- and his infancy was so much more enjoyable.  It doesn't mean we are perfect. The Bradford tested us in ways we never thought. We clung to each other because there was nothing else to do. Owning a business is hard. Running a business is just plain selfish at times. Sometimes the business is the priority. Sometimes you have to schedule your life around it like it is a Diva. And marriage is hard enough when you are working through your own selfishness - add in a business and you sometimes have the perfect storm. We are a team - and yes, it takes work, but goodness I got a good one to work with!

2. I am a Mom. Sometimes I just have to tell myself that. Not that I forget because who can when you have a three year old yelling at you and a five year old insisting that she knows best? But, in this industry, there is so little support for those of us that have kids. It IS different. I can't throw my whole life into this. If I am going to miss bedtime Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, then I am not going to go to a network event where I will have to miss another night. I have to make so many choices and you never really know the weight of your choices until after the fact. Yes, I do get to "be home" a lot of the time during the day with them and I am really not complaining - but it just isn't the same as just being home. I am rarely not distracted, or shooting off an e-mail or text to a bride. I wouldn't change my choice to be a working mom half the time and a stay at home mom the other half. But, it does make life complicated.

3. I run two different - very different businesses. I think that is the most shocking to me, how different these two businesses are. They are not a like in any way other than we have brides and grooms. But, the decisions, the work flow, and even the accounting is completely different. We have been on a learning curve this past year and if you know me, you know that is just unacceptable! I don't want a learning curve, I want it to be right, right now. I want it to perfect right now. I want it to run seamlessly like a well oiled machine- right now. And it's not. C and D is like an old friend that you can rely on. The Bradford- well it's like that wayward cousin who you never know is going to show up and ruin Thanksgiving. It's stressful, exhilarating, but more than anything it's like a big puzzle that we have started. So far, the edges and borders are all put together and now we are working on the inside (the hard part) to make the picture complete.

4. Oh yes, and I have friends. Really I do! I see my best friend once every 3 months it seems. We meet up for breakfast, late night dessert, or we just wait out bedtime in pj's. We frantically catch up on each other's lives, talk about the kids, gossip, and just decompress. We rarely get to hang on the weekends and I miss a lot of birthdays. My other BF lives in Winston and I don't think I have been to single birthday of her daughter's. It is always the last weekend in September- aka- one the busiest day of the year! I hate it. I hate that I have friends that live just a few hours away and I never see them. Better yet, my best friend from high school literally lives 15 minutes away and I see her maybe once a year. We text, we FB, we try to make plans, but it never seems to get there. And it is me. I am the wild card. I am always busy, crazed, and always have something going on. Because if it isn't weddings, I am trying to cram in as much family time and "experiences" as possible. It is hard to be a friend when your life is so busy - sometimes I have to choose - is it the kids or the friend? Is it date night or girls night? No choice is right.

So - yes, my life is complicated! It is wonderful, but it isn't perfect - I don't have it figured out. I say Sorry a lot. I miss out on a lot. And that is my truth - I hate missing things. I have a serious case of FOMO.

I don't like to admit it- but it is true. And it so real and so frustrating. This past spring I had a very busy weekend and I started my Friday super early picking up flowers. On the way I got a text with a picture that Ada had lost her tooth. I cried. I missed the first tooth!

On the flip side, if I am home and I miss a networking event, I am so bummed and worried I could have missed a connection, or a new business relationship. I see all these people that just look like they have it together all the time and I just don't know how they do it.

Here lately, we have been looking long and hard at our advertising choices. Mostly just trying to make sure our money is well spent. We have advertised with The Knot for over 6 years! We get TONS of inquiries - it works for us. We have a decent niche and we see results. Well, lately I just keep seeing all these planners do these amazing things and see how busy they are and it makes me wonder- "how are they getting those clients?!?" So I start looking around and I see that a lot of them advertise with a competitor. I march straight to Courtney and say- WE NEED TO SWITCH!! In my normal Dana spaz of a self - I convince here in more or less words that this is what we need to do - it will be the difference! Always calm Courtney looks at me and says - "What needs to change? We are on a great trajectory. We have plenty of business, we love our clients, we are in a great place. What needs to change?"

I took a step back and looked - yes, we are in a great place. I, myself has been yearning to slow it down a little. So why do I want more? Why am I always looking at the person next to me and am convinced they are better, more successful, and they have what I need? Why can't I just be content? I think that is the world we live in. We always want more, need more, and sometimes it creates an ugliness inside ourselves that you never knew was there.

I am not an overly competitive person.  I don't do drama. I just don't have the patience for it. That was not the case in college. Going to an all girls school, there was always some element of drama no matter what was going on. "Oh my goodness- did you see her eat that bagel?!? She does not need to be eating carbs right now." Or "I can't believe she is already engaged! I mean, can't she just slow it down?" No matter what you were talked about. Don't get me wrong. I love/loved MC. It is one of the best decisions I ever made. And one of the reasons was the drama. I learned I don't like it. I don't really like to participate in it. I had my fair share of "instances" that I got caught up in. After being removed from it all - you realize how silly everything was - how pointless.

This year, we have found ourselves in the middle of someone else's drama and quietly excused ourselves out of it. It's not who we are. It's not what we believe in. When you throw yourself out there - you invite the criticism and you hear the gossip. No matter what- someone has something to say about you and you tell yourself, who cares? I don't care! Yet. when you constantly compare yourself, when all you see is the perfect and rosy on social media you start to get that feeling that you are missing out on something and you tell yourself things to make yourself feel better. "I could be that successful if I didn't have 2 kids." "I could have done that better." And in the end, all you feel is icky.

What does all this mean? I really feel like to change your perspective, and to change your thoughts, you need to change your actions. Sometimes the action comes first before your head follows. I want to start viewing my colleagues, and even direct competitors not as competition but as inspiration. I am starting a new blog series that celebrates other vendors. I see things all the time that I think are so inspired, and such great ideas. Or I worked an event where a vendor was just plain amazing. Instead of trying to compare myself to them, I want to celebrate them. We are starting a new series that does just that! We are calling it "Our Industry Rocks!" Frankly - our industry does rock. It is filled with amazing people and so much talent. I hope that you all can help by commenting, sharing, and celebrating with us!

Let's start ditching the fear of missing out on something and start looking at all that we are a part of!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Carolyn and Aaron: April 11th at The Bradford

I can't even begin to tell you how much I love these two! They were one of our very first clients to book the Bradford. When they toured it had studs up and that was it! No drywall, no actual stairs, just a very empty house. Carolyn and I laugh every time we think of walking up those office stairs and how terrifying it was being able to see all the way down to the bottom! They were married on April 11th and the day could not have been more perfect.

I loved this couple from the moment I met them. They were sweet, kind, down to earth, and this girl has some serious style! I knew her wedding was going to be epic. And it was! Her vision was 1920's, prohibition, and Great Gatsby having a dinner party. She wanted an eclectic, gathered look that still had glam to it. The flowers were white with lots of greenery. She loved magnolia leaves, so we added them as our accent and as the head table runner. It was stunning. The day was perfect, the couple was just gorgeous, and we were so happy to be a part of this day!

Even more awesome was that this wedding was featured on Trendy Bride! I mean how could it not of been?!?

All photos are by the ever so talented Three Little Birds Studios. Enjoy!

Don't you just love her headpiece?!?

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And this is them to a tee

We loved their bridal party - so much fun!

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Thanks so much to these awesome vendors!
Venue: The Bradford
Catering: Beau Catering
Rentals: CE Rentals
Cake: Goody Box
Officiant: Rev. Kayelily