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Kelly Plans a Wedding Archive

Real Wedding: Kelly & Drew

I’ve shown snippets and details galore from our wedding day, but at last — here is the exhaustive wedding recap! Everything was perfect; Brocade transformed the entire barn space into a string-lit indoor secret garden. It was delightfully Southern, sentimental and brimming with emotion. A Delightful Day seamlessly executed the evening (it went by SO FAST!), documented by Kristine Neeley and FocalPoint Cinematic. Cosmo Creations kept the dance floor packed until our departure! Swoon.

PLANNER |  A Delightful Day


VIDEOGRAPHER | FocalPoint Cinematic and McNeal Wedding Films

LIGHTING | Nashville Audio Visual

DJ | Cosmo Creations

HAIR/MAKEUP | Amy Lynn Larwig

CAKE | Dulce Desserts

DESSERTS & BAR | Hillary & Co.

BRIDE’S DRESS | Amsale by The Bride Room

RENTALS | Southern Events Party Rentals

~ Kelly

Kelly Planned a Wedding: Paper Goods Details

Last week, I wrote about our gorgeous invitation suite and the process for designing them with Brocade Designs.

Now I’m going to give you some insight on our paper goods — the projects we designed with the help of family and friends that made up all the little details of our day.

First things first — our escort cards. These were inspired by a Pinterest image I fell in love with forever ago (source: Martha Stewart). I loved the little leaf tags and striped straws. While we couldn’t end up doing the tall highball glasses I loved so much, our “favor” doubled as escort cards and drinking glasses: the Mason jar! At first I tried SO hard to avoid having ANYTHING burlap, Mason jar, or “distressed” — some trends die hard (and wear out fast) in the eyes of a wedding professional. However, I gave in to the Mason jars since they’re pretty damn cute and legitimately Southern.

Hillary helped me out with these by taking the green shiny textured scrapbooking paper I purchased at Michaels and cut them with her Cricut into these cute little leaf shapes.  I then punched holes (with a teensy tiny hole punch) to string pink and gold striped baker’s twine through the tags to tie them on. With the help of my team of six bridesmaids (as well as my aunt — who happened to be in the line of fire while I was neck-deep in escort card-making), I hand-wrote the names of wedding guests on the tags with a gold Sharpie (that was supposed to be a thin-tipped paint pen). Oh, and by the way? This was still happening until NOON ON MY WEDDING DAY. Word of advice:  Do these as early as you can. Go ahead and make up the tags (or cards, whatever) before you get all those last-minute RSVP’s. Then just toss the ones who end up not being able to come. It’s better to have too many done early than to have a boatload left to do the MORNING OF YOUR WEDDING.

Next up — our table numbers! Two of my bridesmaids (Laken and Julianna) took a huge pile of scrapbooking paper to the Cricut to cut out 23 numbers for our table assignments (the Monday before our wedding).  We backed one matte cut-out with glitter paper, and then backed THAT with a contrasting matte solid. My father made all of our gorgeous little stained wooden stands the day before the wedding (once we realized we didn’t have anything to prop them up, and picture frames would be upwards of $100 to purchase for all 23 tables — even at the lowest price point I could find).

The one thing I failed to remember when creating our table assignments was writing out which table would go where. It resulted in my elderly relatives being sound-blasted right next to the DJ speakers… whoops. Word of advice:  Don’t forget that!!!!!

Then we have the children’s coloring books. I saw these printed in their beautiful glory at a friend’s wedding I coordinated this past spring and had to do it myself.

We printed our menu/programs a couple weeks before the wedding. Maybe the week before. (They may or may not have come just two short days before our nuptials — whoops!) I’d fallen in love with a similar design (see below) months and months before we ever got engaged, but the project got pushed to the backburner amidst all our other plans, invitation-designing, etc. I took Hillary’s “D” monogram she’d designed for our invitation suite and used the same font from our invitations, added pictures from our engagement session and my bridal portraits, and created combination menu/programs! I printed them on on a 6″ x 11″ (I think) glossy thick cardstock with rounded edges. I love how they turned out!!!

{Original design inspiration — this is actually a little book with a built-in folder for the menu to sit in, but I loved how it looked open like this!}

Devising our final ceremony script and menu was what prompted us to FINALLY put these into production. So luck they came in on time!

Our “Where Y’All From?” board was inspired by another Pinterest find (made from burlap). I knew from the get-go that I wanted one made out of our wedding’s signature textile, green seersucker. My best friend (and MOH) came over one weekday over the summer and traced and exacto-knife cut out the shape of the USA out of foam board, which we then covered with a large scrap of seersucker and fastened via hand-pressed staples! Laken backed it on a gold spray-painted chalkboard (used in her wedding this past June) and Cricutted letters in pink printed scrapbook paper to write the words.  A girls’ night sleepover the Tuesday before the wedding resulted in the finished ribbon-tied pushpins guests used to designate where they traveled from!

{Original inspiration!}

Last but not least, one of Drew’s most invested wedding projects was a mixed CD of songs that were meaningful to our relationship or inspired him. We handed these out to guests at the end of the night.  Note the engagement photo CD label! :)

So there you have it! DIY projects galore. See my recap of our save-the-date designing process and invitations here!

Kelly Planned a Wedding: The Invitation Suite

Joining the wedding industry fuels the love of certain things in a bride’s heart. Things like paper goods. Ask any wedding planner if she’s a sucker for stationery — I bet she’ll start swooning. Just look at the following for Stationery Academy!! I love looking at recap posts from the Academy; pretty typefaces and thick cardstocks and gorgeous graphic prints, oh my!

When Drew and I first started planning out how we’d be announcing our engagement and inviting guests to our soiree, initially we came into things with serious budget-vision. We tried to see what our cheapest options were, looking at ready-made invites online and etsy vendors with low prices. However, over the course of planning and utilizing Brocade Designs‘ event design services, we began to fall madly in love with the idea of a custom suite built to fit our specific vision!

Hillary did not disappoint. After filling out an extensive questionnaire, sending pictures of paper suites I adored, gasping over gorgeous fonts, tossing creative ideas around and tweaking verbiage… she sent me several stunning options.

Here’s my initial inspiration:

As you can see, the elements I was drawn to were:  suites in our color family (pinks, greens, taupe/gold), calligraphy-esque fonts, graphic (sometimes geometrical) prints, monograms, wreath detailing, and a soft/romantic look.

Hillary took those ideas and came up with three different models for our invitation.

Our favorite of the three was the model on the far right — the champagne backing and paler pink detailing seemed a little less feminine-only (although I tossed the idea of having it be completely gender-neutral pretty early on), I loved the fonts and outline pattern, and it could easily be translated into a cohesive invitation suite!

We tweaked a couple of things:  changing the color of the “D” monogram, adjusting the font and design hues a bit, and then changing the reception info/time (after we fired our caterer mid-invitation design period!). Finished design? See below!

For our RSVP cards, I had the strike-of-genius idea one evening to do a cookbook as our guest book*, compiling recipes from guests as they RSVP’d to the wedding. Hillary designed a super-cute matching RSVP card for the suite.

(*We didn’t actually make the cards into a guest book per se, but we do have them all to reference whenever we want a great new married recipe to make!)

Hillary showed me a pretty little booklet of paper types to choose for our big envelopes, RSVP envelopes, and envelope liners. I opted for the prettiest pink-and-green floral print liner (slid inside a STUNNING sparkly ballet pink envelope) and a little pop of bright raspberry pink for the RSVP cards.

After a few months of helping Hillary around the shop with crafts, I couldn’t stop there with the invites. To make them extra-special fancy and gorgeous, I crafted a multi-layered belly band with lace and ribbon to hold the pieces together. I made my team of dedicated bridesmaids slave away with me putting the pieces all together. It took a week, but the result was amazing!!!!! Way better than I ever could have imagined. Gorgeous work, Hillary!

{And in action:: As framed in my little shadow box on display at our reception!}

Stay tuned next week to see our other paper goods — save-the-dates we created from some favorite photos from our engagement shoot with Brett Price, menu/programs inspired by Style Me Pretty that tied in our invite suite, the escort cards that I didn’t finish until noon on our wedding day, and more!

~ Kelly

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