Monday, February 29, 2016

Love and Marriage Series: Contentment and Dreams

For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Kelsy and I have the honor of helping the C&D Team pull off some incredible weddings. I had the privilege of getting married to the love of my life, Jason, at The Bradford last June. Reflecting back almost 8 months later, that day was truly a dream come true. Not only because I got to get all dolled up and dance the night away, but mostly because I got to celebrate and be celebrated by the most important people in my life. Yes, that day was mostly about Jason and me, but it was also about the friends and family who have supported us along the way. Without them, we wouldn’t be where we are today. I feel incredibly blessed to have such a strong support system in my life.

As I think about what advice I would like to share on the topic of Love and Marriage, there are a plethora of options that come to mind. The two thoughts on my mind lately are contentment and dreams. I truly believe that a happy and fulfilling marriage has to incorporate both of these ideas; being content about life in general is important, being content in marriage is critical. I am a perfectionist and have a tendency to over-analyze everything in life. This can lead to feeling unsettled and not content with my life. There will always be something that can be different or better, and when I dwell on what I don’t have I miss out on the joys in life; it is a daily decision to appreciate and enjoy what you already have. I experience the most joy in my marriage with Jason when I make a conscious decision to be content and thus appreciate him more. Instead of dwelling on how he or my life could be different, I get to enjoy the blessings I already have. That is way more fun!  

However, being content is only half of the puzzle, if I stopped there I wouldn’t be capturing the full picture. I have learned that while it's critical to be satisfied with your unique situation, it is also critical to work towards growth and both partners' goals and dreams for the future. One of my absolute favorite aspects of my marriage with Jason is working as a team with him. It is incredibly fun and rewarding when you have common goals and work towards them together. We have experienced a tremendous amount of positive change since our dating years and seeing that growth in our relationship is incredibly rewarding

One goal that we are working on right now is saving for a house. Jason is by far the handiest person that I have ever met (and I’m not just saying that because I’m his wife- ask anyone that knows him). His handiness, coupled with my very amateur design eye has resulted in a strong desire to buy an old (and rather ugly) house and make it our own; too much HGTV I’m sure! This goal is years away for us and having diligence in saving enough each month to one day live out our dream is a lot of fun (and hard work!)  

So here is to feeling content with what life has handed you right now- and dreaming about what the future brings. 

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Love and Marriage: Caroline's Advice

Part of our Love and Marriage series is to give advice about marriage and relationships, so as I pondered what "wisdom" I could share, all I could think about is how every time Sean and I tell someone that we are engaged, they always start their next sentence with " well you know what you should do....." Everyone seems to know the best way to be married or have a wedding, everyone is an expert and everyone has something to say. And we have found that the only thing we can do is nod and slowly walk way.

But how ever annoying it may be, we have found some really good advice and most of them have to do with trusting each other. As Sean and I have been preparing for marriage through pre-marriage counseling, we have really been able to break down and dissect what it is that causes us to fight, or be upset. Most of the time is boils down to a simple miscommunication and not trusting that we have each other's best interest in mind.

It’s hard to trust, even someone you love because up until now we have only really needed to look out for ourselves. It's hard to trust that someone else is going to be there for you and take care of you. So we have decided to trust each other. But it doesn't just happen overnight and it doesn't mean we don't have doubts or concerns. What it means is that we have to work on communicating better with each other.

Over the past few months we have really been able to see a change in how we trust each other through communication. Sharing and being clear about what we want and how we feel, has really shed on light on to the fact, that we want the same things. And I know the hope and the assumption is that we wouldn't be getting married if we didn't want the same things... it seems obvious. But sometimes its hard to remember when you are fighting about what color to paint the living room.

So while I haven't been married for 50 years and I don’t  know all the wonderful and scary things that marriage brings. All I know is that without my trust in Sean, or Sean;s trust in me, we can’t move forward or grow in our relationship.

So here’s to the next many many years of our lives together and here's to trusting that we will always have each others backs, because after all that's what best friends do!

Monday, February 22, 2016

Caroline And Sean's Love Story

Sean and I met junior year of high school at High Point Christian Academy. Now when most people hear that, they assume we are high school sweethearts. And while that would be a cute and wonderful tale, Sean and I laugh at the thought of our high school selves ever dating! In fact junior year, we were very far from it!

Sean and I met briefly one day after class just a few weeks into junior year. I was the new kid, and yet to have really found my group of friends, I didn't have my license, I was getting a ride from a boy in my class who's mother knew my mother and arranged him as my "chauffeur" for all of volleyball season. Because he played football, our practice got out at the same time, they lived close by and I needed to make friends and what better way to make friends then have your mother arrange it for you...... it was so humiliating for me that I don't even remember meeting Sean. However, Sean remembers the events very clearly.

He told me that up until that day Andrew, the boy with the car, was his ride to and from practice, and now he would have to find another ride because I stole him. To him I was the new girl that messed up his weekly schedule. What a great way to start of a relationship!

We didn't interact again until second semester during a class work day for spirit week. Because I was still the new girl, and lacked any real artistic ability I was assigned to boat duty. I was given a print out, youtube video and a cardboard box to turn into Captain Hooks ship for our Peter Pan themed hallway. Oh and Sean along with a few other guys were assigned to help me. None of them knew my name (and for the record I didn't know theirs but that's not the point!) Sean with his need to be witty and entertaining, decided to call me boat master, and for the rest of the year that was my new name. Although he swears to this day he really was just trying to be funny and knew exactly who I was, I still do't believe him.

From then on we were acquaintances and later into senior year became friends as we studied for anatomy and stats, oh and did I mention he dated my best friend, Ellen :/. I was the third wheel on many a date to Chick-fil-la and sporting events, and eventually became Sean's right hand man in figuring out how to make Ellen happy. Apparently I did't do that great of a job and by the time graduation rolled around the relationship was over and we all left for college.

Sean and I are on the left, this was taken in Florida on the annual high school senior service trip. 

Sean and I were two of the four people from our graduating class that ended up at NCSU. And the four of us stuck together as we navigated the new chapter in our lives. Eventually we began to form our own friend groups and drift apart, but Sean always seemed to be around. He quickly became my go to person and best friend and everything was great! Until I started dating Chris. Sean was moody and mad all the time, I didn't know why and it wasn't until Chris and I broke up that he seemed his old self again. As he comforted me after the breakup, we started staying out later just talking and hanging out, and eventually somewhere that year my feelings for him changed.

This was taken on a spontaneous beach day Freshman year of college.

I later found out he had liked me for quite some time and I had been completely oblivious! We started to go out on dates and just have fun. But I ruined it. Right before the summer of freshman year I told him I just wanted to be friends... it was a total lie, but I left, I mean I literally left the country for the next 10 weeks. Not exactly the best way to end things.

As school started back Sean and I respectfully gave each other the silent treatment. We didn't speak at all, and barley acknowledged each others presence even though we saw each other  ALLL the time, because he lived in the same building, right above my suite. Those next 6 months were the absolute worst. I think I cried everyday and was constantly in a pout. I missed my best friend and I still liked him, I was just scared to ruin a friendship, but the problem was I had already ruined it, so I decided that wallowing in self-pity was the answer. I was such a downer to be around and all my roommates can testify that they had had enough of this ridiculousness.

My roommate eventually helped me realize that it wasn't worth it, and that I had nothing left to loose, it was time to talk to him. After some liquid courage (because we all need some now and again) I walked right up to his door and asked to chat. After that things happened rather fast, within three days we were not only best friends again but officially and publicly dating. It was great!

After just a few months I knew he was it and I couldn't have been happier. About a year into the relationship we started talking about marriage. We knew were young, but waiting any longer was just not an option. We had great relationships with each others families and when you know, you just know.

And finally this past October he asked me to spend the rest of my life with him! And in just 75 days we will graduate and in 76 days we will tie the knot at The Bradford with all of our friends and family!

So no, we aren't high school sweethearts, and while that would make for a great story, I like ours a lot better.

Just a few photos from our engagement shoot with Blest Studios!

Friday, February 19, 2016

Love and Marriage Series: What Inspires Us (Leah and Adam)

Happy Friday y'all! I hope that everyone is gearing up for a fabulous weekend! I personally am nursing a nasty cold, but we're really looking forward to attending The WED Tour on Sunday. A night of amazing vendors, great food, bubbly and wedding planning... what could be better?! (enjoying it sans a cold.. that's what).

Today I'm finishing up my portion of the love and marriage series by talking about what inspires Adam and I. I know that I said my last post on love advice was difficult to think about.. but this topic is even harder. We've only known each other for just over a year, so even though we're engaged to be married we're still learning about us, our relationship and each other.

Call me sappy, mushy, or what have you, but truth be told what inspires us at this point in our relationship is each other. Adam and I are very alike in many ways, but we're also opposites in some characteristics as well. He's a calm, cool, collected optimist who's motto seems to be "let's see what happens", while I'm a more future/planning focused, sometimes overly analytical and anxious realist.

We are learning from each other constantly and both agree that being with each other makes us better than we are as individuals. We challenge each other but also support and encourage each other, no matter what. Our love is unconditional and inspired by each other.

I can imagine some of the eye rolls that are happening now, I totally get it.. it all sounds sappy and kind of like a cop out. This is what our inspiration is right now, but I know that as our relationship continues it will change. We will find things down the road that mean so much and inspire us in new and different ways. I know we have a lot to learn and many amazing things ahead, and I can't wait to see what it is that inspires us in 1, 5, 10, 20+ years from now!

I've really loved sharing with everyone about Adam and I: our story, our advice, our inspiration. I hope that you all have enjoyed reading the posts as much as I've enjoyed writing them! I also can't wait to hear from Dana, Courtney, Becca, Kelsy and Caroline - learning more about their relationships, stories, advice and inspiration as well! 

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Love and Marriage Series: Leah's Love Advice

Hello again blog world! I am back with part 2 of my portion of the love and marriage series. This time I'll be giving you a little bit of advice on this thing called love.

In full disclosure: this post has been a little harder than my previous one to sit down and come up with what to write. When it comes to relationships I've certainly had my fair share of experience with the good and the bad.. but I've had a hard time putting pen to paper when thinking about what one piece of advice I would give.

Ultimately it came down to this question for me "What advice would I give to my younger self?".

And so my advice to all you readers (single, engaged, married.. whatever your relationship status may be) is to know when and when not to compromise.  I'll preface this by saying that, yes, I've heard many times and truly believe that compromise is KEY to making a relationship successful. But when it comes to finding the person that you want to be with, my advice is to not compromise on the qualities and characteristics that are most important to you.

Step one of this would be to understand what IS important to you. What are the things that you look for in a partner that are a MUST? Sure we all have the list of "wants" and "would be nice to haves", but when it comes down to your happiness in a relationship (and finding a partner that compliments you the best), what are the things that you know are the most important to you? Perhaps it's honesty, loyalty, empathy or faith. Or maybe it's that they need to have a sense of humor or deep compassion.

Whatever it may be, figure out what it is that you are not willing to compromise on in your partner and stick to it. Trust me, there is someone out there who has the qualities and characteristics you're looking for. Even if it means you have to compromise on some of the "would be nice to haves".

Step two is to be honest with yourself about if someone has these qualities. Dating can suck and relationships can be hard work. But you know what's even worse? Being stuck in a relationship or situation that you're not happy in because you've compromised on one of your big "must haves".

At this point I feel the need to say that this list of "must haves" needs to be realistic, honest and probably short. If you have a laundry list of 10-15 "must haves" that you're never willing to compromise on, then things might be difficult (and lonely.. because come on, no one's perfect). This is why it's key to know what's most important. And sometimes it takes not having it to learn what you're looking for.

For me, I was looking for someone who was honest, kind, empathetic, family oriented and that I could be my true self around.. someone that made me comfortable and that cared, a lot. These were qualities I knew were my "must haves", and thankfully I found someone who had all of these qualities (and so much more!)

Everyone's list will be different, but what's important is that you know what's on that list and are honest with yourself when dating, in a relationship, etc.

So that's my advice to all of you! We still have so much to learn about love and marriage as we continue to grow our relationship (and get married!), and maybe 10 years from now I'll have a new piece of advice for my younger self. But for now, knowing what I want most in a relationship has led me to what I've always wanted: true happiness <3

Monday, February 15, 2016

Leah and Adam: Our Love Story

At a wedding in October
Hello blog world! I am kicking off our love and marriage series and am so thrilled to be sharing our love story. Especially because... (wait for it)... Adam and I recently got engaged! He popped the question just over two weeks ago and we have been enjoying engagement bliss (and planning) ever since. 

Taken shortly after the Broncos Super Bowl win (hence the jersey)
But let's back up and start from the beginning. Adam and I met just over a year ago on February 6, 2015.  We had connected on OK Cupid the Monday after the Super Bowl, and after chatting non-stop for a few days we set a time and place for our first date. While our night of drinks, bowling and laughter was a memorable one for both of us, the one thing that I will never forget about that night was the look on Adam's face when we saw each other for the first time. Was it love at first sight? Not quite, but did we know we had something special right off the bat? Absolutely.

Being in our late twenties we both knew exactly what we were looking for in a partner, and we quickly realized that we had found it in each other. By April we were discussing moving in together. By the summer time we were talking marriage. He moved in right before Christmas, and we were engaged one week shy of the anniversary of our first date.

The proposal itself was beautiful, romantic and intimate. It was January 30th and we had gone for a walk in our neighborhood up to the country club bar/club house. Normally this time of year it's freezing cold and miserable, so when Adam suggested a stroll up to grab a drink at the bar I thought "It's warm in January, heck yeah let's go for a walk!". When we arrived at the club house there was a beautiful set-up of flowers and a lit fire-pit. I initially said "Whoa, who's this for? I think we're intruding", but when Adam started telling me how much he loved me I knew this was it. He got down on one knee and I think I was nodding my head and saying "OMG yes!" even before he popped the question. 

The proposal scene
Post-proposal (and lots of tears)
From there we headed to my sisters house where I thought we were celebrating my mom's birthday, but where in fact there was a surprise engagement party! We celebrated, cried and toasted with our families all while still in somewhat of a shock that we were actually engaged.

One thing that has always been a huge part of our love story is our families. Not only does my family love him, and I adore his, but our families have now become good friends with each other. Having their love, support and encouragement has been a huge blessing. It all just feels so RIGHT, ya know? 

So what's next for our story? Marriage. We're enjoying being engaged and planning our wedding for next June. But our next big step in this journey is marriage: learning the lessons of what it means to be a married couple. We have a lot of amazing times ahead of us, but we also know that marriage is hard work. 

Well, that's our love story! I'm so glad I was able to share with you all and I look forward to hearing all about YOUR love stories as well.  <3

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Love and Marriage Kick Off

In Honor of Valentine's Day this weekend we are starting a 6(!) week series on Love and Marriage. I am so, so, excited for this series! We talked about a few months ago and I have been anxiously awaiting since.

Being in the wedding industry you are surrounded by love all the time. You hear the most romantic proposals, silly first date stories, and reasons why people have decided to stand before their family and friends and say "I will be your forever." I love it. I am a romantic through and through. I love every gushy moment, and every silly little detail.

When I stop and think about it - it seems crazy that there is one person in the entire world that I fell in love with and he in return did the same. It seems like the odds are really not in your favor, and it feels like you have to go through a lot of heartache to find the one.

This series is going to walk you through each of our relationships. It will be over a course of a week (3 blog posts) that will start with our relationship story with our significant other, our best relationship advice, and inspiration that either pulls us through a hard time, or helps us celebrate in the good times. We are all at different places in our relationships so it will be lots of fun to see all our stories.

I hope everyone has a fantastic Valentine's Day celebrating with someone they love. Check back Monday when Leah kicks off this super awesome series!

Friday, February 12, 2016

Top 16 Wrap Up

Today is our last day of our Top 16 Series! I have to say we saved the best for last! Here is a little refresher of the Top 16 things we are excited for in 2016:

TOP 16:
1. Chapel Hill Magazine 
2. The Knot Best of 2016
4. Leah
5. Pre-Wedding Soiree in Southern Bride and Groom
6. Caroline
7. C and D is in SBG!
8. Bradford Improvements
9. Dana 
10. Weddings Magazine
11. Courtney
12. Office Organization
13. Our Clients
14. Becca
15. Vendor Connections
16. Bridal Shower Styled Shoot

So you guessed it - today, we are sharing our Weddings Magazine spread of a Bridal Shower Party. Some time early last year, we met with Maureen over at Fig and Honey IE- the best lunch spot ever! And she asked us to do a styled shoot for the magazine. There were a few things that were already set - the venue, photographer and florist. She also REALLY wanted to use aprons some how, some way.

We took the concept and ran with it. We wanted to do a more preppy/bubbly shower theme as opposed to the vintage glam that was inundating my news feeds. For me, this was a slight struggle. My natural aesthetic is the vintage, soft, airy look. I did what all planners do when they hit a block- I called on my team. Courtney immediately had tons of ideas and she gave me a great inspiration board to work from.

Two of our models were past brides, so it was wonderful to see them again! We stayed after and had lunch, caught up, and heard all about the married life!

We brought in an excellent vendor team and every single one was awesome. Maghon with ASWN was so easy to work with and went all out for us! Logan at Kendra Scott spent hours with us picking the perfect combo of jewelry. Dare with APR was wonderful (as always) to work with. Frill gave us lots of options and allowed us to really play with idea. And Lauren with Southern Season was just the perfect host and was so accommodating to our needs. It was seriously a rock star team!

Calligraphy: All she Wrote Notes
Venue: The Weathervane 
Food: The Weathervane 
Flowers: Southern Season 
Dresses: Frill 
Jewelry: Kendra Scott at Southpoint
Rentals: American Party Rentals
Table Decor: West Elm
Lashes: Amazing Lash Studio
Aprons: Made by Lauren's mom - how awesome is that!?!
And of course our photographer: Heba Salama Photography

 It was a warm day, but beautiful and not rainy!  Any time you are with Heba, you are for sure going to have a good time - and this time was no different. Take a look at the beautiful spread! Eeek!

It really was a fun shoot and we had the best time designing this fun little party! Thanks so much to Maureen and Weddings Magazine for the opportunity - we had a blast!

Well folks- that wraps up our Top 16 series. We have had a great time sharing our excitement with you! Tomorrow we will be revealing our new series - it's a good one - so be sure to check back this weekend!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Top 16: Vendor Connections

I know you all are just waiting on the edge of your seats to see our last two "Top 16" Posts! Well, today we are going to chat about vendor connections. How can I be excited about vendor connections?!?

I can not tell you how isolating owning your own business is. It is one of the hardest, loneliest, and soul crushing at times, thing I have ever done. (It is also exhilarating, wonderful, and the best thing I have done.) While the good times are fantastic, the bad times are just hard and it is so hard to share your woes with people who don't really understand the pressures and failures you feel. I remember when we were building the venue and everyone I saw said something similar to - "You must be so excited! This is your dream come true!" And yes, I was excited, but I was also scared out of my mind. I was over my head, into the biggest pit of debt that I didn't know how we would get out of, and I was constantly asking myself why we did this. It was the hardest thing mine and Courtney's relationship endured, it questioned my resolve, and it made me yearn for a normal 9-5.

During this time, we were silent. Smiling on the outside, but just dieing on the inside. Who understood what we were going through? It wasn't until we started peeling back the layers that we realized -who understands us more than other small business owners? They get it! They took the leap. They put all their eggs in a similar basket. They also feel lost, alone, and sometimes just bewildered at what their next step is.

So - we dug in. We started making friends in the industry. We started being real. Not Debbie Downers - but real. We laughed, we shared war stories, and when a fellow business owner was struggling - we provided a shoulder because we get it! We were/are there! We started connecting with moms in the industry. We felt so alone that we had to make a choice - do I go to this event or do I tuck in my babies? Do I go to a meeting, knowing I will have a baby at home that has to take a bottle instead of nursing? At the time, we felt like no one got it. But we realized is that they do - and the loneliness is only because we have created it.

We made a choice last year, to be more present, to uplift those around us, and to make good connections with people that provide us with a breath of fresh air. We have people that we call when we need advice, help, or just a "Can you believe.." We send business to our competitors because they aren't our competition, but our friends. We dig in when we can, and we are so excited for the relationships that have flourished because of it.

When we go to networking events it is so refreshing to see people and not just be surface level - "everything is great, I have X many weddings, and we are just so blessed, and love all our clients, and love everything about what we do." Instead - it's how ARE you? Can we HELP you in any way? Can I ask what you would do in this situation? Business is great - but do you struggle with this? How would you charge this client?

It is real, and I think the purpose for getting together is to learn, grow, and sometimes lean on each other. Granted not every one in the industry is chummy, but for the most part, the people we choose to spend time with, meet with, laugh with, and learn from are worth investing in.

We love this industry- we love the people - and are so grateful that we get to be a part of it!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Darling Workshop

In Honor of AJ Dunlap opening registration for the next Darling Wedding Workshop - we thought we would share our experience as being a part of this awesome concept. 

Let's start back to the beginning - I first met AJ while planning Chandler and Jason's wedding. I went to the Bridal session and got to meet this "totally awesome photographer." AJ was the only vendor Chandler had already picked out when she met us - and she was completely right. AJ is a totally awesome photographer. She was pregnant, super cute, and  we clicked right away. About a year later, Becca ends up doing a styled shoot and AJ was the photographer! It affirmed how much I adored this girl! We had a blast, a killer vendor team, and we all ended up staying and chatting and just had the best time. 

Around this time, AJ contacted me about her special new project - The Darling Wedding Workshop. She launched into her story, how she got the idea, and what she wanted to get out of it. I just remember nodding my head and thinking the whole time- YES! For us, it wasn't about the exposure, or the notoriety of it, but we absolutely loved the whole concept. For those of you that are not in the wedding industry - it is brutal, cut throat, and filled to the gills with gossip and back stabbing. We stay far, far, away from all of that. I mean, I have toddlers - I deal with enough drama over lunches, hair brushing, and the fact that "I control my 5 year old's life." I'm good. I don't need it in my professional life. So, when she was telling us about Darling, I was hooked. I see the need, I love the transparency, and I love this girl's heart for people. There was no question that I wanted to be a part of it. I took it to the team and it was unanimous - Not only would we be more than happy to host at The Bradford, but we would love to stylize it. 

So began the planning process. We brought a team of vendors who just rocked every inch of it. We wanted to make the room feel welcoming, so Greenhouse Picker Sisters donated couches, chairs, end tables, and various other pieces for the attendees. It was the cutest little set-up! AJ spoiled these girls. Each attendee got an awesome swag bag filled with goodies. Every morning, coffee and light breakfast was served. After the first day of shooting, The ladies at Greenhouse and ourselves stylized a yummy, intimate dinner from Cafe Luna on our front drive complete with market lights from Get Lit. Seriously SOMEONE put market lights there again - it was gorgeous! The Dinner was featured on Trendy Bride - and I know those ladies got some awesome pictures for their portfolio. 

The second day was the big shoot. The workshop was held in July. It was hot. It was blistering hot. sunscreen was passed around all day, and the sweltering heat was almost unbearable. We started at 6 am that morning traipsing through the woods to find branches and leaves for the pergola. 

Fun story: We pulled up a poisonous plants guide to make sure we were not covering it in poison oak or sumac. We were worried the entire day because all leaves look the same on the internet! It wasn't until our florist got there and said oh no - this is just Birch Tree leaves. Shew. We were in the clear and now we know what grows in our woods. 

We started adding the leaves and it was just gorgeous. As the day went on, it got hotter and hotter and the leaves started to curl!! My spastic self was going around trying to spray it with water without getting the chandeliers wet. It wasn't helping, so we kept adding more and more branches hoping the pictures wouldn't show how dried and hot the leaves actually were! They didn't, thankfully. 

Our models were past clients of ours who I saw at their wedding and said- I am going to call you one day to be models! A few months later, I did just that! They are just the sweetest people who genuinely love each other and it also helps that they are also a gorgeous couple!  The ladies of The Stockroom/All Saints/Glass Box were our bridesmaids.  They were great to work with - all of them. We had the ballroom AC going full blast and had the models come out in spurts because it was so hot, but not a single complaint was uttered from either of them. We laughed, caught up, and just had a great (sweaty) time! 

I can not even begin to tell you how happy I was with this shoot. It was exactly what I wanted and AJ just knocked it out of the park with these images! Here are a few of our favorites!

It was published on Elizabeth Anne Designs - which is such an honor and is so hard to get in to! We were so thrilled to hear the news! 

The attendees left with awesome photos for their portfolio, a mentor, and friends to call and lean on when the wedding industry tries to knock them down. Registration for the next workshop just opened on Sunday, and if you are a photographer who is trying to break into this world. Sign-up. It is the BEST investment you will make. This "totally awesome photographer" has so much to offer and so much to give. If you are a vendor - jump in! It is such a fun few days that will leave you with a sense of pride, accomplishment, and stunning photos of your work. Our advertising this year is amazing because of this workshop. Do it - you will not regret it! 

The full vendor list :Photography – A.J. Dunlap | Venue – The Bradford | Event Design and Decor – C & D Events | Pergola and Lighting – Get Lit Special Event Lighting | Furniture Rental –  Greenhouse Picker Sisters | Floral – Artfully Arranged | Linens and China – CE Rental | Stationery – Jess Creates | Calligraphy – The Littlest Paperie | Desserts & Cake – Sugar Euphoria | Hair and Makeup – Makeup For Your Day | Gown – Watters fromThe Lily Rose | Jewelry – Erica Koesler | Suit – Jos. A. Bank | Bridesmaids Dresses – Jenny Yoo and Adrianna Papell from Bella Bridesmaids | Workshop – Darling Wedding Workshop

Monday, February 8, 2016

Top 16: The Season of Love

Happy Monday friends!

I hope that you Carolina folks aren't too depressed today - what a sad loss for the Panthers at the Superbowl last night!  The Panthers playing in the Superbowl again brought back memories for me - as 12 years ago, I attended a Superbowl party to cheer on the Panthers and met a very sweet, southern band boy with long red hair, who eventually would become my husband!  We were babies then, freshmen in college, and ended up becoming the best of friends.  After a few years, and other relationships, we finally confessed that we had always wanted to be together.

Just in case you want a visual of our dating years!

Now we are 8 years into marriage with a sweet little baby.  I'll be sharing more during our relationship series coming soon on the blog about how our marriage and life has changed bringing a wild little toddler into the mix.

We are very busy in the C&D Events/Bradford office this month - we've been booking brides continuously and have been very involved in planning meetings while we have the time before our crazy spring season begins.  I'm VERY excited about my clients this year - I have some really sweet couples who have such awesome visions for their weddings.  I really do love that I get to be a part of building their marriage!

We also have some pretty awesome Style Shoots planned for 2016, as well as our C&D Summer Soiree - you'll hear more about all of those in the upcoming weeks!  So much to look forward to!

As it is Valentine's week - I'm hoping that all of you readers feel loved and special this week!  I'm sure my Valentine's Day may look a little bit different this year - instead of a fancy meal, we may have a date night in with our favorite take-out and splurge on some fun dessert treat and fancy wine.  Whatever you do, make sure those you love know it, this Valentine's week!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Top 16: Clients!

Welcome back to our series "Top 16 in 2016"! Today I want to speak about our clients! We LOVE our clients over here! For many of them, by the end of the planning process, we have become quite good friends. This year is no exception! We have some pretty awesome clients that are throwing some spectacular events this year! Let me list the top 3 reasons we love them!

1. They are so creative - Our brides have such great style! I am digging all the looks we have going on this year from clean and crisp to moody and bohemian. I love it when you first start talking design with a clients and you hone in on their vision and you can see it in their eyes when you have nailed it! You know at that point you are speaking the same language and the end product is going to be incredible but most of all you know they are going to love it on the day!

2. Quality over quantity - We have been seeing this great shift over here both at the Bradford and with C and D clients toward smaller weddings. Let me tell you how much I LOVE this trend. Not only does it make clients think about who is really important to them and who they really want to witness their wedding but it allows for so much room in the budget for amazing food and over the top details. As a planner of details this makes me so excited!

3. Guest focused - Our clients this year are super focused on their guests! While the day IS about the Bride and Groom - we have noticed how grateful our clients are for their friends and families making the trip to celebrate with them on their wedding day. This translates into great welcome bags, shuttles to and from hotels, creative favors, and personal Thank you speeches that make guests feel special and honored at the wedding. We love a thoughtful client!

While there are many more reasons we love our clients - we thought we would just share the top 3 with you and maybe give a few ideas for your own events! Have a great weekend, Courtney

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Top 16: Office Organization

This year we have implemented a few things to help keep the office organized, so we can keep a little bit of our sanity as we spring forward into the new year.

Here are the three things I believe that have helped us along:

1) Blank Slate - Before we started anything this year we decided to purge the office. We got rid of everything we don't use, or that has been sitting around forever. We cleaned, but most importantly we changed. We move the desks around for a better working environment. This has allowed us to start the new year with literally a fresh perspective. This fresh perspective has given us the energy to keep it cleaned and organized.

2) Team Meetings - Every Wednesday the four of us get together at 9 a.m. to talk about the goals for coming week and make lists. At first it seemed to be a little redundant saying the same things over and over again. But we've found that once we verbalize lists outloud and write them down together, they become real. It becomes a "thing" that has to be done because well the rest of the team is counting on you to get it done. Holding each other accountable not only helps with the getting things done, but simply allows us to be on the same page.

3) Synced Calendars - We are all officially synced on each other calendars this year. It has been amazing what knowing where each other will be during the workday does for us! We go to a lot of client meetings, and give lots of tours, and not all four of us are in the office at the same time (except at 9a.m. on Wednesdays). It has helped and increased our communication as now we know when to best reach each other.

4) Communication - The calendars and team meetings are really all about communication, which I believe to be the key to offie organization. If we know what each other needs and wants, we can works best with each other and have an organized system. Communication is great, but it must be effective too. And so the circle of organization makes effective communication and effective communication makes for great organization begins. And when we are organized and communicating we can give our clients the best experience!

So theres my two cents, and I look forward to a happy organized communicating office this year!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Ruth and Matt

Hello again! Hope everyone is enjoying this Tuesday - today I want to share with you one of my favorite weddings from 2015! First of all Ruth was GREAT to work with - she is funny, smart, and has realistic expectations! A planner could not ask for more - Secondly she made the sound decisions of booking the Bradford, Hiring C and D to coordinate, and Bushel and Peck to design - I mean clearly the girl has taste:) All that aside - the day was dreamy - one of those days where you love what you do and everything goes perfectly! She was so happy all day (As you can see in the pictures) and her family and friends were the sweetest people! I loved her romantic blush and grey color scheme with vintage overtones - it complimented the venue perfectly! My favorite part of the day was the ceremony! Ruth's Dad, who is a local pastor, officiated and it was the sweetest ceremony I have ever witnessed (and I have seen a lot!) You could tell how much he loved her and how much prayer and nurturing went into making Ruth the gorgeous woman that she is today! Enjoy the pics to follow - they were captured by Cole with Blest studios and he was the icing on a beautiful cake of a day!

Do they make happier brides??

Handsome groom!

Seriously my favorite picture taken at a wedding EVER!

The day was filled with prayer and celebration - you left there feeling blessed to be a part of it!

Sweetest ceremony in our back garden area!

Gorgeous Bridal Party 

SO much fun!

Adventuring in our woods...


So good....
Loved all the gold details sprinkled about

Seriously a fairytale on our terrace!
My Favorite Rose featured here!

Sweetheart table centered on the door

Happy Couple!

Is this not the prettiest sky?!

Beautiful ending to a perfect day!


Venue: the Bradford
Coordinator: C and D Events
Flowers: Bushel and Peck Designs
Photographer: Blest Studio
Caterer: Green Planet Catering