Favorite Friday: Bold and Beautiful

While I was flipping though the latest Charleston Weddings today I suddenly came across a scene that looked very familiar to me: Lowndes Grove on a blustery yet, superbly sunny April day last year. Bold and beautiful colors of orange and green were everywhere transforming this classic Charleston venue into a stunning and unique reception. That was yet another spectacular day that I worked with Calder Clark Designs. As always it was a joyous and humbling experience to learn from one of the top Charleston event planners. I watched her take spring green patterned pillows and orange flowers and make her vision come to life. Before working with Calder I had been taught that most weddings in Charleston were cookie cutter…rustic, plantations, and lots of the same antique furniture. Same colors, same flowers, etc, etc, etc….BORING!! I realize now that working with Calder taught me that every event has it’s own identity and that all it takes is the simplest of details (it’s always in the details) to transform a cookie cutter event into a unique and unforgettable evening. Take a look and you’ll see what I mean. (See more on Calder’s Blog)

Check out the custom aisle runner!! Stunning…and yes all handmade!!

Wonder where the idea from the aisle runner came from….hmmmmm? Once again, it’s always in the details!

Photos: Gayle Brooker 


Subtlety is Key

I know all you 2012 brides are rolling up your sleeves and getting down to the nitty-gritty of wedding planning….details and color schemes. Remember when planning your day that subtlety is key. Don’t overwhelm your guests with too many patterns or a mish-mash of colors. You want your day to have a cohesive look that is timeless and elegant while still reflecting your personality. There are a few easy ways to achieve this.

1. Think outside the box with color schemes. Don’t choose the same old pink and navy or aqua and chocolate. Maybe choose shades of pink with touches of cobalt blue or a fun, funky aqua pattern with hints of chocolate for the smallest details. This will set your event apart from all the other weddings your guests are bound to attend this bustling wedding season. Just remember to THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX and be SUBTLE.

Photo: The Sweetest Occasion

2. Once you have picked your perfect color scheme now you can add those extra special touches in the smallest of places that will make the entire event come together. For example, fabrics…they can be used on pillows, lamp shades, linens, back drop for the photo booth, or even incorporated into your cake. All of these cohesive design elements will make your event seem smooth and classic.

Photos: Mood Fabrics

3. You can even incorporate your colors or pattern into the bridal party by thinking outside the box for bridesmaids dresses!

Photo: The Sweetest Occasion

Photo: A Bryan Photo for Southern Weddings

4. And lastly, you can incorporate your color scheme or theme through the catering or rentals. Adding bookshelves behind a normal table bar, having server attire, or even patterned china can add just enough detail to make your event seem truly elegant.

Photo: A Bryan Photo for Southern Weddings

Cheers to the New Year

My family has had many reasons to cheers this New Year: moving, new job opportunities, and celebrating our first wedding anniversary. I hope that many of you have had lots of reasons to cheers this year as well. I am sure some of you sipped some bubbly while announcing your new engagement! So in honor of those special moments I have shared some of my favorite signature cocktails for you to cheers with on your big day!


French Quarter Cocktail:


1/4 cup spiced light rum
1/4 cup dark rum
1 cup orange juice
1 cup pineapple juice
Splash of grenadine
4 maraschino cherries, for garnish

Fill a cocktail shaker and four tall glasses with ice. Pour the rums and the orange and pineapple juices into shaker; add the grenadine. Shake well. Pour through a fine sieve into each glass. Garnish each cocktail with a maraschino cherry.


Punchy Cocktail:


1 cup guava juice
1 cup passion fruit juice
1 cup lychee juice
1/2 cup packed basil leaves, plus more for garnish
1/3 cup fresh-squeezed key lime (or regular lime) juice
1/2 cup tangerine juice
Lime slices, for garnish

Mix guava, passion fruit, and lychee juices (we like Ceres brand) in a large pitcher. In a saucepan, combine 1 cup of the fruit-juice mixture with the basil. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, let cool, and strain, discarding basil.
Pour infused juice back into pitcher, and stir in lime and tangerine juices. (Optional: Add 1 cup rum.) Ladle over ice and garnish with basil and lime.


Watermelon Bloody Mary’s (even the kids can enjoy this one!):


12 cups watermelon chunks (from one 4-pound watermelon, rind removed), plus pieces, for serving
1 teaspoon sugar, or to taste
Ice, for serving
1 1/2 cups tomato juice
13 dashes hot sauce, such as Tabasco, or to taste
1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon celery seeds, ground with a mortar and pestle, or celery salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 to 1 1/4 cups vodka
Celery stalks, for serving

Working in batches, puree watermelon (with seeds) and sugar in blender. Strain into a bowl through a fine sieve, pressing with a rubber spatula; discard solids. (You will have 5 1/2 cups juice.)
For children’s drinks: Divide 2 1/2 cups juice among 4 ice-filled glasses.

For adults’ drinks: Stir remaining 3 cups watermelon juice with tomato juice, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and celery seeds in a bowl set in a larger bowl of ice. Season with pepper. Stir in vodka and divide among 4 ice-filled glasses.

Garnish adult drinks with a piece of watermelon and a celery stalk.


And last but not least a good ole Southern favorite with a twist….Spearmint Juleps:


2 1/2 cups bourbon, preferably Maker’s Mark
1 cup packed fresh spearmint, plus 4 sprigs for garnish
2 to 3 tablespoons superfine sugar
Ice cubes, for serving

Combine bourbon and mint in a large pitcher, cover, and refrigerate 12 hours or up to 1 day. Strain, discarding mint. Add sugar, stirring to dissolve. Divide julep mixture among 4 ice-filled glasses. Garnish each with a mint sprig.

Photos and Recipes: Martha Stewart

Favorite Friday: Purple and Gold

I am obsessed with the color palette of purple and gold for anything lately. Jewelry, clothes, parties, Christmas, you name it and I adore it in purple and gold ha! However, it must be a subtle purple and gold combo. Not the overwhelming kind that gives your guests the feeling that they’ve walked into a grape. The chic, timeless, elegant combination that just screams glamorous.

 Photos: Top: Polyvore | Bottom: Etsy

Photos: Top: Elements of My Style | Bottom: Daily Mail UK

I also discovered this to die for winter wedding shoot by Southern Weddings (click for all the details) on The Sweetest Occasion. All you winter brides out there, try this divine color palette for your winter wedding and “wow” your guests with glistening details.

 From: Southern Weddings shot by Chudleigh Photography


DIY: Birdcage Veil

We all know that weddings can be costly and stressful. I always try to share my experiences, tips, and any fun tricks I can find to help every bride enjoy her wedding planning process. In wedding planning you notice it’s the little details that add up. Escort cards, invitations, shoes, accessories and so the list goes. In my research efforts I found this DIY for a birdcage veil. If you’re crafty or have a crafty family member or friend this is one way to cut down on a small expense while still getting a gorgeous veil. It can also be customized to match the feel of your gown. Check out Once Wed for the full instructions. Happy Planning!

From: Once Wed

Melanie & Jeff

Melanie and Jeff are two very, dear friends so when the idea of their wedding being in Charleston was tossed around one night at dinner I immediately volunteered to help! Melanie is a chef and Jeff is a foodie so extraordinary cuisine was their top priority. There’s no place better to host a wedding with impeccable food than Peninsula Grill. After months of planing with Melanie the guests arrived to an intimate courtyard ceremony just off of Market Street. The Planter’s Inn veranda provided the perfect “Charleston” backdrop for photos. Cocktails were filled with lamb lollipops, decadent cheeses and champagne. As the guests moved into the Garden Room the stunning and legendary coconut wedding cake took center stage. The dinner encompassed all the love and laughter a fabulous meal should hold. It was a special memory for us all! I am grateful to have been a part of it. Congratulations Melanie and Jeff!

All photos by Kerri Crutchfield Photography

Reception Venue: Peninsula Grill | Photographer: Kerri Crutchfield Photography | Florals: Sara York Grimshaw Designs | Wedding Cake: Peninsula Grill | Rentals and Tenting: Snyder Event Rentals | Calligrapher: Andrea Brown |

Superbly Succulent

If you’re getting married and you’re not a “flower” girl I know you’re wondering what are my options other than lanterns, birdcages, and candles. Succulents are definitely an option for you! They add amazing texture to a tablescape and can be used with any theme. Just take a look at these stunning centerpieces. They can be added to a floral arrangement to give dimension or stand alone. They will also last a few weeks after your special day, which makes a perfect gift for mom. Think outside the box if you’re not into the traditional floral centerpieces, you never know what you might find!

From: Elizabeth Anne Designs

From: The Knot

From: Re-nest

From: Style Me Pretty

DIY: Cobalt and Colorful

During my usual research to bring you all the latest and greatest in events I discovered this refreshing color palette for fall parties on The Sweetest Occasion. Cobalt + Kraft. I could definitely see this tabletop at my next Thanksgiving dinner instead of the overused orange and brown. Bright yet not alarming, along with the simple DIY centerpieces what’s not to like? Check out the full post for the step by step instructions!

{Photos by Hey Look.}

Favorite Friday: It’s Gel..It’s Polish..It Lasts FOREVER!

Before heading on our 2 week honeymoon I had to get my nails done. My cousin recently told me about this new thing called gel polish or shellac. I went to my local nail salon and asked for this special, extra long-lasting polish. The hostess popped out this wooden box filled with about 15 different containers. Each was a different color! I chose Russian Navy, classy, yet fun. Then they manicured my hands and painted two layers of base coat, then colored gel followed by a clear sealant. In between coats you put your nails under the UV lights. And in about 45 minutes…viola! You have beautiful and indestructible nails. I paid $35 for gel polish + manicure. To get this color removed and a new color on you must go to the salon or else you could ruin your natural nails, be careful ladies!! You may say well that’s not cheaper because you have to go back and have it removed. Well for $25 (at my local salon) I can have it removed and a new color painted on which I know will last a month. That is half the price of a full set + fill ins every two weeks!

I did some research and discovered who made these little jars of nail heaven and of course it was OPI. I would make sure that whichever salon you to uses this brand so that you know you are getting what you pay for.  My gel polish, that is still on by the way because I have to go and have it redone, has been on for over a month! No chips, no scratches, and it’s just as shiny as ever. The only thing is that is just grows out with your nails. It’s amazing! I scratched them on zippers, washing laundry, cooking, swimming, even once with the razor while shaving my legs and nothing!! No nicks, chips or a single peel!!! I highly recommend this for weddings, proms, or every day life. Especially if you’re like me and you cannot paint your own nails to save your life. It’s my new favorite thing. Now I can have professional, perfect nails for half the price of going once a week to get a manicure or a full set all because they last longer! Hooray for perfect nails and saving money!!