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September 2012 Archive

Kristyn Hogan published in Rustic Wedding Chic Book

Kristyn Hogan’s infamous Burlap & Bling photoshoot was recently published in a gorgeous coffee table book full of lovely rustic chic inspiration for brides! Available at Barnes & Noble as well as Amazon.

Amber Housley launches new Etsy Shop – Sweet Tea & Lemonade

Amber Housley recently announced the debut of her Etsy shop, Sweet Tea & Lemonade. See her seasonal selection online now!

From Amber Housley’s blog:

I’m excited to announce the Fall edition of my pop-up shop is now open on!

I’ve stocked my Etsy shop full of adorable custom plates and platters that can be personalized to your family. These Halloween & Thanksgiving keepsakes will be fun to use year after year.

As with all of these, we want you to receive and enjoy your plates and platters as soon as possible, so you will NOT receive a proof of customization prior to production. Simply include the exact spelling and capitalization for how you would like your plate customized in the “notes to seller” section at Etsy checkout, and we will print exactly as you type it.

Halloween designs are available for order for a limited time only through October 17, 2012 and Thanksgiving designs through November 5, 2012.

Thanks so much for your kind words and support of these Fall designs. They are only a fraction of the goodness that is to come in just a few short weeks when the official Sweet Tea & Lemonade shop opens!

Kelly Planned a Wedding: The Honeymoon {Part One}

As you may have read in the Kelly Plans a Wedding series previously, planning our honeymoon was the most fun, enjoyable, stress-free experience in our whole wedding planning process. {Attributed COMPLETELY to the helpful assistance of Carlie Finch of 2 Travel Anywhere, let me assure you.} From her reaching out to us back when she first joined StudioWed to meeting with her in person, perusing tons of catalogs of gorgeous tropical locations, daydreaming about lazing about the beach… it was the best experience ever, pretty much. Drew was totally invested, spending hours of research looking up the websites for the places Carlie recommended and even sleeping by the brochures at night (ha!).

{Patrick Runyon photography}

By early spring, we had decided to book a 7-night honeymoon at the all-inclusive Excellence Riviera Cancun resort in Mexico. Carlie secured us an oceanfront Excellence Club Junior Suite {complete with an incredible honeymoon package, including a private dinner on the beach, 50-minute couples’ massage and hourlong aquatherapy session, champagne breakfast in bed… the works!}. The upgrade to Excellence Club (as opposed to the other normal resort rooms) was ABSOLUTELY worth every penny — the Club provided for us SO many fabulous amenities, including an upgraded minibar in our room (the best alcohol EVER), upgraded room service menu (available 24/7 — you can bet Drew was ordering steaming hot fajitas every single night at 1AM!), two private pools (beautiful, crystal, secluded… with lots of loungers available and delightful little tiki huts for shade), and a private beach (also gorgeous, totally secluded, and the most incredible little cabana beds to lounge in!). We also had access to the Excellence Clubhouse, which provided two impeccable bartenders (who made THE BEST margaritas and mojitos you could ever dream of — I would vouch for the other drinks, but Drew and I almost exclusively stuck to those two the whole trip! They were THAT good!), desktop computers with wireless internet (so we could email our families to say we were never coming back, while we were waiting on our premium drinks to be made!), and a selection of little tapas that were TO DIE FOR. We had a private concierge service that was so accommodating, sweet, and genuinely cared about our happiness while we were there.

{Our gorgeous room… I spy an empty mojito glass!}

On the topic of the bartenders, we had one in particular (Javier Castillo — ASK FOR HIM!) who ABSOLUTELY went above and beyond for us. As I mentioned before, I exclusively drank mojitos on our honeymoon. One day, the Excellence Club bar ran out of mint leaves. (Travesty.) When I asked Javier for a mojito, he told me they were out. When he saw my disappointment, he asked where we were headed (to our private beach, of course!) and said he would make something happen. {In the meantime, he made us two mean Don Julio margaritas that put every other top-shelf marg in America to shame.} Fifteen minutes later, just as we were settling into our cabana bed to sunbathe, here comes Javier with the most divine mojito I’ve ever seen in my life. Continuously over the course of our vacation, he would exceed all our expectations, doing whatever it took to make us (beyond) happy. Despite being stationed in the small Excellence Clubhouse bar, he went out of his way to an outdoor bar to blend us a strawberry dacquiri when we told him how much we loved HIS drinks. Every morning at 9AM, he’d greet us by name when we went to grab our cappuccinos and french toast. By 10AM, our beverages were awaiting us right before we hit the beach.

{Us and our favorite bartender EVER, Javier Castillo!}

So– let’s back up to the beginning of our trip. We spent the two nights after our wedding at the Loews Vanderbilt Hotel in Nashville. One of my bridesmaids picked us up at 6:15AM the next Monday morning to take us to the airport. We flew American Airlines from Nashville to Dallas to Cancun. The days leading up to our wedding, Carlie had called our resort and transportation companies and confirmed all of our arrangements for us (SHE’S WONDERFUL!). When we arrived in Mexico, we were geared with a little leather folder with all our reservations and travel documents (sent in the mail previously by Carlie, God bless her) and knew to look for the men in orange polos at the airport to find our chaffeured van. They were easy to find as soon as we stepped out of Customs and sent us almost immediately on our way in a nice, air-conditioned shuttle filled with other honeymooning couples who shared our wedding date (YAY 7.21.12!). The other couples were headed to different resorts than us, but we got to see a little glimpse of a couple of places while they were being dropped off before us. When we pulled up to Excellence, it was obvious we were headed somewhere heavenly.

{The legit view from our balcony — ah-mazing!}

Drew made the comment at some point our first day that “Almost all vacation places look way better than they actually are on their websites and marketing materials, but Excellence is LEGITIMATELY as gorgeous in person as it seems online!” The landscaping was beautiful (bright flowers, lush trees, and tropical plants everywhere). The architecture was amazing. The facilities were superb. Everything was perfect. We were met the second we stepped out of our van with a cold wet towel (to cool down and wash our faces, if we so wished) and a glass of sparkling wine. Everyone greeted us “Welcome home!” We had a tour of the resort first thing (as soon as our suitcases were whisked away). Check in was SUPER easy, and the drinks kept coming. {I promise we did more than just drink all week — but gosh, were they good!} We about fell out when we saw our room… it was perfect, and JUST like it was pictured online!!!! King size bed with big white fluffy linens, rose petals, a beautiful plant and a candle awaiting us, massive jacuzzis inside AND on our balcony (!!!!), full marble bathroom and shower, striking teak closet/storage space, mini bar stocked TO THE BRIM with “the works” (premium liquor, chips, M&Ms, orange juice, bottled water, soft drinks in glass bottles with REAL SUGAR, everything!), two cozy terry cloth robes and slippers, pretty geometrical print stationery, a welcome letter and daily itinerary of the night’s shows and activities, and out-of-this-world view of the gulf coast. We literally pinched ourselves and questioned if we’d died on the plane ride over because it was truly paradise.

{OUR ROOM!!!!! Giddy with excitement right after we arrived!}

The food was incredible. We ate the first night at Chez Isabelle (French cuisine) and had THE BEST seared tuna steak of our lives. The whole week we gorged on shrimp, steak, seafood, pasta, sushi, guacamole, polenta, everything. I’ve never eaten that much in my entire life. Our two favorite restaurants were Chez Isabelle and Spice (the Japanese place, where we had both their normal menu one evening and the Hibachi Grill another night), although the bananas foster we had at Toscana (made at a portable stovetop right by our table!) was the best dessert ever. We really hadn’t eaten hardly at all the days leading up to our wedding, so we ABSOLUTELY made up for it by stuffing ourselves silly all week long. The room service (completely included in the all-inclusive resort price) was a favorite of Drew’s too.

{Our night at Agave, the authentic Mexican restaurant}

{Our hibachi grill group — new friends we made from the UK, Denver, and Dallas!}

We made some pretty awesome friends a couple of nights into our honeymoon — we met a couple at the Martini Bar who was celebrating their four-year wedding anniversary from California. Rachel and Patrick came all the way from Orange County to Cancun, and we spent many an evening chatting with them at the bar and watching shows in the outdoor theatre. {Speaking of that — the shows were unbelievable. I SERIOUSLY underestimated how good the entertainment would be. We saw the Michael Jackson tribute show, the Elvis show, and the circus-themed night… incredible.} The last night they stayed at the resort, we took turns taking pictures of each other with Patrick’s fancy camera — so we got some awesome nice-quality pictures on the beach!!!!

{This man is balancing on stepstools balanced on a saw balanced on a rolling log of wood on top of a step ladder whilst moving his entire body through metal hoops!!! RIDICULOUS!!!!!!}

{With our amazing friends at the delicious Martini Bar — with strawberry and lime mojitos at hand!}

One of the highlights of our time with Rachel and Patrick was the turtle release we got to participate in! That Friday night, the resort brought out these huge buckets of baby sea turtles at sunset for guests to release into the wild (amazing timing, huh?!). Drew and I joked that since sea turtles typically have super-long life spans, the two that we released would be our “marriage turtles,” and “however long they live, our marriage will last!” Fortunately, the beach buzzards circling above all of us as we released their prey into the ocean didn’t manage to scoop up either of our “marriage turtles” and we’ll never know how long they do, indeed, live to be… but we’ll just be optimistic and say they’ll survive at least 200++ more years;)

{prev. three pics by Patrick Runyon photography}

{off they go!}

Essentially, the trip was perfect. Incredible. Couldn’t have been better. Carlie made all our dreams come true, and we were THRILLED to death. I highly, highly, HIGHLY recommend utilizing her FREE TRIP PLANNING SERVICES (you would be doing such a disservice to yourself to NOT use her!) and would entrust no one else to plan the honeymoon of a lifetime!!!!

{Patrick Runyon photography}

~ Kelly

The Bride Room offers a Wedding Styling Course this Month!

From the Bride Room blog:

We are very excited to announce our partnership this month with Stockroom Vintage and The Skillery, to bring you a one-of-a-kind experience: a hands-on, in-depth wedding styling course. We very cordially invite you to attend Stylist Secrets: Design Your Own Wedding Vignettes at The Bride Room on Monday, September 17 from 6:30-8:30pm.

Presented by the fabulous, knowledgable, and adorable Elizabeth of Stockroom Vintage, this evening will guide you through the process of designing and executing the wedding {or other event!} of your vintage dreams. Included in the evening’s agenda are tips on designing a guestbook area, dessert table, and dinner tablescapes.

Tickets available here | More info + ticket giveaways here