Monthly Archives: May 2012

Vintage Wedding Ideas Decorations and theme inspiration

Vintage Wedding Inspiration

Besides shopping for your wedding dress, I think the next absolute favorite step in wedding planning is styling and/or decorating. Whether it falls in the category of centerpieces, table linens, tables and chairs, additional decor at your wedding offers the opportunity to really create a homeyness to your venue and be a reflection of your personality. And when it comes to finding vintage items, renting them from a professional is really one of your best options. They have done the legwork and the homework, saving you time and money.

vintage crate with lollipop placecards

Bobbi + Mike Photography for One True Love Vintage Rentals

vintage wire basket filled with loaves of fresh baked baguettes

Lori Paladino Photography for One True Love Vintage Rentals

We’ve invited several experts in vintage rentals {Jeni Maus from Found Vintage Rentals, Maggie Farrell from Maggpie Vintage Rentals and Amanda O’Shannessy from One True Love Vintage Rentals} to share some words of wisdom and tips to inspire you, and help to design and style your wedding to vintage perfection.

{Vintage Style or Trend?} Jeni has been collecting antiques for years, so for her, vintage is definitely a style not unlike rustic, country, modern or contemporary decorating. Many are drawn to the vintage style for not just the chipped paint and worn edges but for its character and history. People have been “antiquing” since forever, but now we’ve been able to give this activity a word befitting a style vintage. Most couples that choose vintage decor are already drawn to this style because they have it incorporated either into their home or clothing. So why not be surrounded by the people and the things you love the most?

vintage doors as decor, vintage tables and pews as ceremony seating

vintage furniture as reception decor, vintage living room furniture as lounge area at wedding reception

vintage dining table setting, vintage tablescape

vintage armchair, antique armchair

vintage side table as wedding decor, vintage pew as ceremony seating

Collection of photos above via Found Vintage Rentals

{Uniqueness} Maggie feels that vintage styling allows a couples uniqueness to shine. Many pieces are one of a kind with their different shapes, textures and colors. Unlike some of today’s styles which can be very homogenous, many vintage pieces are altogether different and custom made. This uniqueness allows couples to create something special that may inspire their guests to remark, “Oh, I remember my grandmother had a table like this one, but it was blue and I loved it!”. Think of the decor as literally extending the warm, comfortable hospitality of your home to your venue.

vintage dining table and chairs, vintage tablescape

Abby Grace Photography for Maggpie Vintage Rentals

vintage side table with doilies and vintage vases as wedding reception decor, vintage suitcases as dessert display

Jason Hoak | Abby Grace Photography for Maggpie Vintage Rentals

vintage china

Jason Hoak for Maggpie Vintage Rentals

vintage trunk as drink display

Abby Grace Photography for Maggpie Vintage Rentals

{Styling} Amanda tells us that once you’ve determined your colors, vintage styling is easy because it’s not about being matchy-matchy. Vintage allows you the flexibility of varying shades of color (think soft pastels, muted neutrals balanced with rich, dark wood tones) adding interest and depth to your decor. And here’s a great tip ~ arrange things in odd numbers, not evens. Amanda says, “Groups consisting of odd numbers make for a more effortless yet balanced look whereas even numbered groups look a bit forced and incomplete.” Go ahead, yes, do try this at home! I do it all the time. You will notice a difference.

vintage suitcases as wedding decor, vintage birdcage as wedding decor

Kate Harrison Photography for One True Love Vintage Rentals

vintage trunk as wedding decor, vintage settee as lounge area at wedding reception

JK Life Stories Photography for One True Love Vintage Rentals

vintage mason jar stand display, vintage dining table and chair, vintage tablescape, vintage wedding decor

Lili Durkin Photography | MEF Photography for One True Love Vintage Rentals

vintage bureau as dessert and drink display

MEF Photography for One True Love Vintage Rentals

vintage pak benches as lounge area for wedding reception, vintage wedding decor

Sloan Photographers for One True Love Vintage Rentals

vintage sofa as lounge area for wedding reception, vintage wedding decor

Lori Paladino Photography for One True Love Vintage Rentals

{Budget} When it comes to budgeting for the decor, Amanda suggests that you ask yourself what area is the most important to you. Is it the ceremony or the cocktail hour? Do you have a sweet tooth and want to display your dessert in a special way that reflects your personalities? Maybe you want to create a fun photo booth area. By breaking down your needs and wants you’ll better be able to budget.

Amanda of One True Love Vintage Rentals also shared some tips on “navigating the flea” if you’re a DIY bride and want to venture out on your own.

Never leave home without

  1. Cash: Very few vendors accept credit card or check so you’ll need to hit up the ATM before heading to the flea.
  2. A notebook + pen: Keep track of the items that you like in a notebook or on your phone. If I’m unsure about an item I’ll write down the seller’s booth number, a brief description of the item and the price. If the item is still on my mind later, I go back and swoop it up! (My tip: Ask the vendor if you can take a picture with your phone/camera so that you can remember what the piece looks like)
  3. A tape measure: You know what’s not fun? When you buy a gorgeous piece only to find out you can’t fit it into your car! Not that that’s happened to me or anything
  4. A water bottle and a snack: This one’s pretty self explanatory. Nothing puts a damper on flea market day like dehydration and a growling stomach.

Smart shopping tips

  1. Don’t be afraid to haggle! Sellers often price things knowing that people will try to get a lower price. Note: This doesn’t mean you should “low-ball” a seller. If the item is priced at $300 and you offer the seller $150 expect to get some dirty looks! Be reasonable.
  2. Make price comparisons before making a purchase. Maybe you are looking for some vintage cameras and you come across one being sold for $75. You buy it and then 10 minutes later find a similar camera for half that price. Eventually you’ll start to get a feel for what constitutes a fair price for a particular item. Until then do your research!
  3. There are no returns at flea markets. Make sure you are certain about a piece before buying it!
  4. The early bird gets all the vintage goodies! The earlier you can motivate yourself to get out the door, the better! If you’re going before the sun rises (trust me, people do it!) be sure to bring a flashlight.

vintage serving tray with pale pink roses centerpiece

Charley Star for Found Vintage Rentals

One last tip from me

When planning your vintage decor, you have the option of renting or buying, both of which have pros and cons which I provided a mini list of below.

Buying ~

{Pro} Having fun chasing down 200 mason jars for your signature drink.

{Con} What do you do with all those 200 mason jars after your wedding?

{Pro} You can use the mason jars for drinks and escort cards and favors by personalizing them so you won’t have to bring them home.

{Con} Extra time and possibly money finding all those mason jars and other pieces.

Rental Companies ~

{Pro} Saves you time by having all those 200 mason jars already collected and waiting for you to pick up 🙂

{Pro} They know exactly where to find 200 mason jars, saving you time and money.

{Pro} They have the expertise to style pieces in a way that will make the most of the area that you want to focus on. Trust them. Therein lies the real value of someone that knows what they are doing.

You probably figured out that I am a huge fan of vintage rental companies and of the gals that gave us tips today. That’s because I like to save time, want to experience stress-free planning and enjoy receiving the input of experts to make my event all that it can be within my budget. That being said, I would also love to experience the fun of hunting down smaller, one of a kind items at the “flea” but only if I am able to utilize it again in my home or for other entertaining.

Thank you so very much to Jeni Maus of Found Vintage Rentals, Maggie Farrell of Maggpie Vintage Rentals and Amanda O’Shannessy of One True Love Vintage Rentals for sharing their time and expertise with us today.

Have you decided to add some vintage decor to your wedding? We’d love to know what pieces you might be adding to your wish list.

Lavender Bath Salts – DIY – Simple and Easy

DIY Lavender Bath Salts

We are SO EXCITED to have our DIY series back and better than ever! We’ve cooked up some super easy do-it-yourself projects that we hope you will fall in love with as much as we have. We’re going to start with one of our favorites, DIY Lavender Bath Salts. We think they would make great wedding or baby shower favors. We even gave them away as Christmas gifts (handmade with love) last year! And they smell heavenly too! Special thanks to Katherine Henry for taking such beautiful photos.

DIY Lavender Bath Salts

{Step 1} Gather your supplies. The recipe we chose today was from Whole Foods. You will need 1 cup sea salt crystals, 1 cup epsom salts, 1 cup baking soda, 3/4 cup dried lavender, lavender, chamomile, and eucalyptus essential oils. (The dried lavender and essential oils can all be purchased at Whole Foods) You will also need jars, fabric and baker’s twine.

DIY Lavender Bath Salts, wedding and baby shower favors, Christmas gifts, do-it-yourself, handmade with love

{Step 2} Measure all of your dry ingredients in a bowl and mix together. Add your dried lavender, 5 drops lavender oil, 4 drops chamomile oil,  and 3 drops eucalyptus oil.  Mix together.

DIY Lavender Bath Salts, wedding and baby shower favors, Christmas gifts, do-it-yourself, handmade with love

DIY Lavender Bath Salts, wedding and baby shower favors, Christmas gifts, do-it-yourself, handmade with love

{Step 3} Spoon mixture into small jars. (We purchased our mini mason jars from Candle Soylutions and the daisy lids from TomKat Studio) Cut a piece of fabric the size of your jar’s opening with a little overhang. Ours was approximately 6-inches by 6-inches. We cut it with pinking shears to add a little decorative edge and it helps to prevent too much fraying of the fabric.

DIY Lavender Bath Salts, wedding and baby shower favors, Christmas gifts, do-it-yourself, handmade with love

DIY Lavender Bath Salts, wedding and baby shower favors, Christmas gifts, do-it-yourself, handmade with love

{Step 4} Before you wrap everything up, take a big, wonderful sniff of the bath salts. Go on, breathe deeply! Smells divine, right? You’re going to have to take my word for it until you make it. Sorry, we don’t offer smell-a-blog. Yet. 😉

DIY Lavender Bath Salts, wedding and baby shower favors, Christmas gifts, do-it-yourself, handmade with love

DIY Lavender Bath Salts, wedding and baby shower favors, Christmas gifts, do-it-yourself, handmade with love

{Step 5} Take the fabric swatch and place it over the jar. Take the lavender essential oil and place a few drops on the fabric. Secure the lid and tie with baker’s twine. Oh, how we love baker’s twine!

DIY Lavender Bath Salts, wedding and baby shower favors, Christmas gifts, do-it-yourself, handmade with love

DIY Lavender Bath Salts, wedding and baby shower favors, Christmas gifts, do-it-yourself, handmade with love

Voila! We had SO much fun making these simple gifts for Christmas last year that we went a little wild making them. Along with the Lavender Bath Salts, we also made Herbes de Provence Salt, Citrus Salt, and Vanilla Bean Sugar. See how we decorated them below!

DIY Lavender Bath Salts, citrus salt, wedding and baby shower favors, Christmas gifts, do-it-yourself, handmade with love

We used this recipe to dry the orange slices. Be careful with these. Don’t overcook, and don’t slice too thin, jusssst right. You may have to practice a few times. We speak from experience 🙂

DIY Lavender Bath Salts, citrus salt, herbes de provence salt, wedding and baby shower favors, Christmas gifts, do-it-yourself, handmade with love

DIY Lavender Bath Salts, citrus salt, herbes de provence salt, vanilla bean sugar, wedding and baby shower favors, Christmas gifts, do-it-yourself, handmade with love

DIY Lavender Bath Salts, vanilla bean sugar, wedding and baby shower favors, Christmas gifts, do-it-yourself, handmade with love

Inquiring minds will want to know, the purple jar is the lavender bath salts (the scoop is from The Container Store), the jar with the orange slice is the citrus salt, the teal jar is the vanilla bean sugar and the smaller jar is the herbes de provence salt. Go on, you know you want to go whip up some of these easy-peasy jars right now! And you don’t even have to be a DIY diva to do it! 🙂

Happy Crafting!

Rustic California Wedding – Turquoise Ideas and Theme

California Wedding – Rustic and Turquoise Themed Decor

One of my very favorite things about the wedding you are about to see is the brilliant pops of turquoise seen throughout the details of the day. The peachy cream roses of the centerpieces and bouquets are offset by chocolate hydrangeas and surrounded by turquoise alstroemerias. The bridesmaid dresses, the vests and ties of the groom and groomsmen, the cake, custom soda pop bottles, and many other details all turquoise! And let me tell you something, it ROCKS! The colors, the love between the bride and groom, the sparkles on the bride’s wedding dress and shoes, all brilliantly captured by Mirelle Carmichael Photography!

bride and groom couple photos, bridal portraits, sparkle bodice draped waist wedding dress, rustic turquoise California wedding, Mirelle Carmichael Photography

turquoise bridesmaid dresses, teal bridesmaid dresses, rustic turquoise California wedding, Mirelle Carmichael Photography

Jesse and Colleen first met at a barbecue through mutual friends. Colleen thought he was just another “one of the guys” but very attractive with his piercings and tattoos. Jesse was bummed that Colleen wasn’t exactly single at the time. They stayed in touch though, and soon began courting each other a couple of months later.

bride's shoes, rustic turquoise California wedding, Mirelle Carmichael Photography

peachy cream roses, chocolate hydrangeas, turquoise alstroemeria, bride's bouquet, rustic turquoise California wedding, Mirelle Carmichael Photography

floral shoe clips, rustic turquoise California wedding, Mirelle Carmichael Photography

bride's shoes, diamond engagement and wedding rings, shoe shot ring shot, rustic turquoise California wedding, Mirelle Carmichael Photography

They went to a movie for their first date, but can’t remember which one. Nor can they really recall the details of their first kiss, funnily enough. They think it happened a couple of dates after their first date. They’d decided to watch a movie at his house, it was getting late, and as she was getting ready to leave, something magical happened. It wasn’t love at first sight for these two, but they swear it was love at first kiss.

peachy cream roses, chocolate hydrangeas, turquoise alstroemeria centerpieces, rustic turquoise California wedding, Mirelle Carmichael Photography

handmade ceremony programs, turquoise decor, hand painted boxes of bubbles and programs, rustic turquoise California wedding, Mirelle Carmichael Photography

Their first Valentine’s Day together was both the best and worst moment of their relationship so far. They’d had such a romantic evening, and really enjoyed their time together. But when they returned to Jesse’s house, something changed. He gifted her an adorable teddy bear holding a red heart, and then promptly proposed right then and there. They’d only been together five months, and because Colleen wasn’t ready, she turned the poor guy down! He took it rather well. He let her keep the ring, they never celebrated Valentine’s Day again, and it took him another five years to garner the courage to ask her again.

peachy cream roses, chocolate hydrangeas, turquoise alstroemeria, bride's bouquet, sentimental bouquet charm, rustic turquoise California wedding, Mirelle Carmichael Photography

handmade escort cards, peachy cream roses, chocolate hydrangeas, turquoise alstroemeria centerpiece, rustic turquoise California wedding, Mirelle Carmichael Photography

On their five year anniversary, Jesse proposedagain! He’d come home early from work and was immediately shooed into the house by a surprised Colleen who was still setting up his anniversary present (a new golf bag). After giving it to him, she figured they’d leave right away for dinner and followed him to the garage. But Jesse, who had other plans, changed direction and headed into the bathroom. Slightly annoyed, Colleen went to wait for him on the couch.

The next thing she knew, he was sticking the ring in her face, saying,” SoWill you marry me?” Her shocked response: “Are you serious?” was quickly followed up by his: “What? Of course, I’m serious. I want to marry you. Will you marry me?” Thenshe said yes! Finally 🙂

He later told her that he didn’t actually have to go to the bathroom, but needed to get her off his back so he could think of some creative way to ask her. He wound up blurting it out instead. Not the most romantic of proposals, but it was real, and quite funny too.

romantic bride and groom couple portraits, rustic turquoise California wedding, Mirelle Carmichael Photography

romantic bride and groom couple portraits under a tree, rustic turquoise California wedding, Mirelle Carmichael Photography

{From the Bride} We remember so much of the wedding day, many memorable moments! But it does seem like a blur at the same time. I worked for months to get the decorations, music selections, rentals, flowers, etc. figured out. Always with Jesse’s input, of course. The day before the wedding, my bridesmaids, family and I went to the venue to set up, decorate, make bouquets, centerpieces, and such; while Jesse took his groomsmen, family and friends to the golf course.

When the big day arrived, the girls got started on their hair and makeup, while I oversaw a few last details before delegating the rest to trusted family and friends. I heard at some point that the groom was in the building and that he and the boys were getting ready (phew!). Once we were all beautiful, and the amazing Mirelle was on scene, Jesse and I stole away for our first look session. We aren’t superstitious, and honestly seeing Jesse before the ceremony was the best treatment for all of the butterflies and nerves that I had.

The ceremony is the blurriest. Everyone was up there waiting for me. My veil was blowing all over the place and my Dad had to hold it under his arm so I could see where I was going. But once I got up there, no one else existed. It was just me and Jesse. That is until I couldn’t repeat my vows and had to literally read them off the paper. Luckily, we were married by Jesse’s stepdad, so it was very informal, and quite the comedic routine. It was so flawed, it was perfect!

Everything was perfect, even when it wasn’t. The one thing we did not know or expect is that after all the planning, stressing, trying to make things match, creating, and losing sleep, nothing but being there together with all of our family and friends mattered. The day was perfect! I got to marry the nicest guy I know, who also happens to be my best friend. We smiled and cried all day, it was all so overwhelming and so, so amazing. Our family and friends from both sides blended together like one, big happy bunch of people (a family), there to celebrate our love that day.

turquoise wedding cake, handmade wishing tree guestbook, rustic turquoise California wedding, Mirelle Carmichael Photography

custom soda pop labels, rustic turquoise California wedding, Mirelle Carmichael Photography

hand painted box for programs, rustic turquoise California wedding, Mirelle Carmichael Photography

handmade wishing tree guest book idea, rustic turquoise California wedding, Mirelle Carmichael Photography

{Advice for Couples} TALK TO EACH OTHER. Everyone says communication is key, and they’re right! Share your day with each other, even for just 15 minutes. When something bothers you, say so, no one can read your mind, and if you don’t say anything, you’ll only bottle it up and explode eventually. Never go to bed mad at each other and always kiss goodnight. Say I love you whenever you feel like it. (We say it so much you would think we’d just fallen in love!) If you’re wrong, admit it, there is no pride in a partnership! We’ve been together seven years so far, and these are the things we live by.

bride and groom couple portraits, bridal portraits, rustic turquoise California wedding, Mirelle Carmichael Photography

sweet bride and groom couple portraits, rustic turquoise California wedding, Mirelle Carmichael Photography

Congratulations, Jesse and Colleen! May your future together be filled with nothing but love and laughter. Thank you so much for sharing your love story with us. A special thank you also to Mirelle Carmichael for sharing their very special day with all of us today! xoxo

Photographer: Mirelle Carmichael Photography / Venue: Spanish Oaks Ranch / Bouquet: Jamie Jespersons Flowers / Other Florals: Sister of the Bride, Tanya Salo / Decor: by the Bride / Catering: Butterfly Grille / DJ: J.R. Rodriguez / Cake Baker: Honeybee Cakery / Bride’s Dress: A Hearts Desires Bridal & Tuxedo / Bride’s Shoes: Nina / Bridesmaid Dresses: Impression Bridal / Garter: Petal n Pearl Boutique / Bride’s Veil/Hair Accessories: Made by the Mother of the Bride / Hairstylist: Melanie Taylor of Reflection Salon / Makeup Artist: Katie Avila of Central Coast Beauty Connection / Men’s Attire: Calvin Klein at Mens Wearhouse / Wishing Tree Tags: Bag of Tags / Rentals: Taylor Rentals Party Plus

Romantic Red and White Wedding – Christmas Inspiration

Florida Destination Beach Wedding

Hello lovelies. I have something gorgeous to share with you. Actually, gorgeous doesn’t quite cover it. Because this wedding shot by the incredible husband and wife team of Luminaire Foto is breathtaking, kneeweakening and stunning beyond measure. The details are subtle yet captivating and a perfect representation of the couple’s love story. From the intricate lace detailing on the bride’s dress, to the red rose and calla lily bouquet, from the simple beach ceremony, to the subtle traces of the Christmas holiday, to the incredible photos of the gorgeous bride and her dashing groom on Fort Myers beach. It’s what only the best kind of dream weddings are made of. I’ll have you know, it’s what my dream wedding is made of 🙂

bride and groom sharing an intimate moment on the beach, classic men's attire, red tie, red calla lily boutonniere, romantic Christmas beach wedding, Luminaire Foto

bride and groom sitting together in the sand watching the sunset on Fort Myers Beach, romantic Christmas beach wedding, Luminaire Foto

It must have been fate for Albert and Valerie to meet. Nothing else could explain them both being in that same place, at that same time. It was a warm summer’s night in June of 2008. Valerie and a close girlfriend had gone out to the bars to celebrate the end of the semester and toast to all their hard work and accomplishments. The first bar they went to was dead, a bit of a let down for Valerie’s friend who was looking for someone to date. Valerie assured her that it was alright, and insisted that she not be in such a rush to find the one and get married. Little did she know, she was only minutes away from meeting the man of her dreams.

red satin Nina shoes with bow adornment, red rose and calla lily bouquet, Luminaire Foto

They moved on to another bar where Valerie’s friend was immediately taken with someone tall, dark and handsome. Valerie went on ahead to get drinks to allow the two to get better acquainted. While she was away, Mr. Tall Dark and Handsome began to ask questions about her. When she returned to check on her friend, he asked her for her name. She refused to give it to him and then laughed when he told her he’d been looking for her his whole life. Valerie’s friend admonished her for being so harsh and insisted she give the man a chance.

He was a special education teacher from Miami (Valerie was getting her Masters in special education), twenty-eight, single, liked to travel, surf, and play the guitar, spoke Spanish, loved children and was close with his family. What more could a girl ask for?

red rose and calla lily bouquet, Luminaire Foto

strapless lace Casablanca wedding dress, custom i do bridal hanger, custom i do wedding dress hanger, Luminaire Foto

He asked her to accompany him to breakfast the next morning where he says she unknowingly spoke from her heart directly into his own. He was completely taken with her after only spending a few hours with her. Just days after that, he made plans for her to fly to Miami and spend the fourth of July holiday with him and his family. A whirlwind romance had begun.

They dated long distance for a year, with them flying back and forth (Miami to Omaha) to see each other every three to four weeks. It was during one of these earlier trips that Albert told Valerie he loved her (it came out naturally during a conversation at a red light), though he swears it had been love at first sight for him. So when the distance became too much for him, he bravely moved to Omaha where he experienced the coldest winter the city had recorded in decades.

Almost one year to the day that Albert moved to Omaha, he proposed. He picked out a ring, asked Valerie’s mother for her hand, and then took Valerie to one of their favorite places, Soaring Wings Vineyard. They were taking photographs when Albert “suddenly” thought to set up the camera to capture the two of them walking hand-in-hand. He set the scene and prompted Valerie to start walking as he counted down. 5-4-3-2- when Valerie turned on one, she found Albert on one knee, asking her to be his forever. Ohh, how I love that.

first kiss as husband and wife, simple beach decorated wedding arch, starfish and palm frond wedding arch decor, Luminaire Foto

handmade menus and favor boxes of sea salted caramels at every place setting, Luminaire Foto

{From the Bride} Our wedding day was magical and more beautiful than I could have ever imagined. As everyone says, the day absolutely flies by, and it is somewhat of a blur, but with distinct frozen moments that were filled with endless happiness and love. My day began early at 7:30am. I woke up full of excitement and anticipation as to what the day would hold. After a year and a half of planning, I was thrilled the day had finally arrived. And as it all came together, I counted my blessings that this gorgeous day was my wedding day.

To Albert and I, pictures really are worth a thousand words, they are a moment frozen in time and I cannot imagine my day without Karl and Nanette capturing the magical stories of the day with every shot they took. Albert and I decided very early on in our engagement that we didn’t want to see each other on our wedding day. But a friend suggested a way for us to see each other without actually “seeing” each other. Just before the ceremony, Karl and Nanette placed Albert and I on opposite corners of a wall and gave us a moment to talk and be together. That moment was so special and all the emotions that had built up to that moment flooded out. I sobbed. To be with Albert, to touch him, to know he was there and that in moments would become my husband was so beautiful and special.

Our ceremony was dreamy and intimate, the white sand beach between our toes, the sun glistening on the waves, the red rose petals lining the aisle to my husband. As the door opened and I began the descent down to the beach, my heart raced with excitement. My favorite moment was having my mom give me away to Albert. Seeing Albert’s face as I walked down the aisle, watching the way he lovingly embraced my mom and said thank you, turning to me and tightly wrapping me in his arms to share in this beautiful love filled moment we’d waited a lifetime for. Albert and I wrote our ceremony so every word had special meaning to us. We had two readings from the bible, one in English and one in Spanish to honor the coming together of our families. In addition to writing the ceremony, we also exchanged the vows we’d written ourselves and did a sand unity ceremony, incorporating both of our moms into it as well. After being announced as Mr. and Mrs. Varas, we shared a passionate kiss and then strolled back up the aisle to the chorus of “All You Need is Love” by the Beatles.

tall red rose and calla lily centerpieces, romantic Christmas beach wedding reception, classic tables cape, orchids floating in water amongst crystals, Luminaire Foto

Meanwhile, the Captiva Ballroom, where our reception would take place had been transformed into a warm and romantic seaside escape. The breath taking 3-tiered cake with vivid red roses and lilies with gold lace twinkled in the sunlight, beside it lay the forks that said together forever. The table centerpieces by Kevin at Botanicals on the Gulf were spectacular and the up lighting done by our DJ, Jim Dalia, brought the room to life. I also saw the menus and favors that my mom handmade. We decided to give caramels that were sprinkled with sea salt from Wockenfuss, a chocolate shop in Baltimore. It was more beautiful than I could have ever dreamed it would be.

{Advice for Couples} Albert says: “A happy wife is a happy life.” Ha-ha. Valerie says to savor every minute because it all goes by so fast and laugher is the best medicine. They also both highly recommend reading the book “The Five Love Languages” as it will give you insight into your partner.

bride and groom walking on the beach, strapless lace Casablanca wedding dress, classic men's attire, red silk tie, red calla lily boutonniere, red rose and calla lily bouquet, romantic Christmas beach wedding, Luminaire Foto

romantic dip kiss in the sand, romantic dip kiss on Fort Myers Beach, romantic Christmas beach wedding, Luminaire Foto

Every last bit of me is swooning. I love everything about this wedding. And not just because it’s my dream wedding to a T (although it is, right down to the breathtaking dip kiss in the sand;)) But because of how simply captivating everything is. Part of that has to do with the beautiful simplicity Valerie and Albert created in the details and style of their day, and part of it has to do with the way Karl and Nanette captured every single bit of it. It’s unforgettable. Congratulations, Valerie and Albert! May all your days be as blissful and beautiful as this one! Thank you for sharing your story with us! And a special thank you to Karl and Nanette for sending this amazing day our way! xoxo

Photography: Luminaire Foto | Officiant: Marcena Hendrix Event Coordination: Dony Lubig at Pink Shell Beach Resort and Spa

Venue & Catering: Pink Shell Beach Resort and Spa | Cake: Kakes by Karen Flowers: Botanicals on the Gulf | DJ: A DJ with Class | Invitations: Invitations by Dawn

Wedding Dress: Casablanca | Veil: Bel Aire | Sash: Kitty Chen at Suburban Bridals Shoes: Nina | Garter: Victoria’s Secret | Hairpiece: OliniFloral

I Do Shoe Crystal: YourHappilyEverAfter | Custom Hanger: deliziare | Jewelry: Valeska Jewelry Men’s Attire: Perry Ellis (suit), Cole Haan (shoes)

Hair & Makeup: Sir Daniel and Faces by Frohmberg at Salon Tease Favors: Wockenfuss | Cake Boxes: Cake and Wedding Cottage

Together Forever Forks: Bentspoonjewelry | Flip Flop Tub: BroddersTubs Sand Pouring Glasses: EtchArt | Personalized Tub: treefrogcreations

Open Bar vs Cash Bar – Wedding Planning

Open Bar at Wedding

vs Cash Bar at Wedding

The choice to serve alcohol or not at your wedding is one of those factors that can often times create a great deal of discussion amongst everyone involved in the planning process. Everybody has an opinion, and sometimes the solutions can become an arguable point. Now, why does the discussion about alcohol become such a heated topic? Because there are a number of options, where cost is probably one of the biggest concerns. We’re going to dive right in, sharing some pros and cons along with a few tips you should consider when choosing to serve alcohol at your wedding or not.

Moet champagne, champagne bottle display

Photo by Adam Barnes via Southern Weddings

{Open Bar} An open bar is probably one of the more popular choices when planning your cocktail hour (usually a time when the bride and groom are taking portraits) and your reception.


  • Easy for your guests. No worries for them if they didn’t bring enough cash with them.
  • Guests have many choices and varieties of drinks (both alcoholic and non), especially when the wedding is held at an established venue such as a restaurant or banquet house that is well stocked.
  • An open “bar” is more conducive to guests getting their own drinks rather than waiting for staff to wait on them.


  • Possibility of overindulgence by a small group of your guests. Only you can be the best judge of your family and friends.
  • Expense. Having an open bar can be a budget buster and that is why many opt out.
  • Depending on your guest list, an open bar can be a distraction from other events at your wedding reception. I have been to weddings where some guests were more interested in hanging out at the bar because the drinks were free, than watching the cake cutting, first dance or bouquet toss



{Cash Bar} A cash bar is when your guests will be expected to pay for all of their alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages with the exception of a champagne toast at dinner.


  • Easy on your budget.
  • Usually, lesser chance for overindulgence by your guests.


  • Your guests may feel a little disgruntled especially if the drinks turn out to be very expensive. The price will depend on whether your wedding reception is held at the local Moose Club, where beer is $2.00 a bottle, or at the Four Seasons, where it might be $7.00 a bottle. The bigger the price tag for your guests, usually the less they will drink. It might even chase them out of your reception sooner; like right after the meal. Kind of sad, right?

chilled champagne glasses, champagne toast

Photo by Hazelnut Photography via Style Me Pretty

{Limited Bar Open or Cash} A limited bar is just that. Limited. Choices include one or two different beers (regular and lite), red and/or white wines, even limitations of soda Coke, ginger ale and/or club soda. No hard liquor but a signature drink both alcoholic and non-alcoholic may also be available. You may offer a champagne toast with dinner, which is a nice touch when having a limited bar.


  • A limited bar can save everyone money, whether open or even cash.
  • Most guests are satisfied with options of beer or wine.
  • It’s a happy medium for everyone.


  • Choices for guests are limited. Maybe they don’t like beer or wine. Then they are left with only soda (maybe not even one that they like) or water.

rustic limited bar sign, Izze sparkling juice drinks served in vintage rustic coca cola crate

Photo by Anna Page Photography via Style Me Pretty| Photo by The Nichols via Style Me Pretty

{Non-Alcoholic} The decision to serve no alcohol can be a very personal choice. It may be based on religion or other personal circumstances. Either way, family and friends who know and love you will understand and respect your decision. Katelyn James, a popular wedding photographer in Virginia whos personal wedding we featured in January, did not serve alcohol at her wedding. She observed, that while no alcohol was served, everyone had the best time ever!?? Dont believe me? Then watch her awesome wedding video, starting at 4:13. Evidence that alcohol does not a party make, because when all is said and done, it is your day, a celebration of your love and marriage. 🙂

A couple of other things to think about when considering the types of refreshment to serve at your wedding. When having an open bar, to save money, you can place a dollar limit of your choice. We did that at our wedding. When we were close to the limit, the head bartender came to us and let us know. As we were very close to the end of the evening, we opted to keep the tab open, resulting in only an additional $30 to our original budget. If you do reach your limit, you can then convert to a cash bar, however, it may create a bit of awkwardness for your guests.

non-alcoholic beverage decanters, signature drinks, drinks bar

Photo by Dan Cutrona via Inspired By This

If you’re having a backyard bash, there are other options that you have available. If you have a caterer, check with them if they will be providing the liquor and what their pricing will be. Since you are hosting, a better option might be to purchase your own liquor and save a bunch of money if you are able to take advantage of a discount liquor store. Be sure to advise the caterer or hired bartender to not open all the bottles or get the labels wet on the unopened ones. This way you can easily return items that were unused and save some money.

One last tip, when working with your venue or caterer, ask if there is a package/fixed price for the bar or if you could pay on a consumption basis. Guests sometimes will surprise you and not drink as much as you originally might have thought or planned. You can save a fair amount, especially on those guests that will nurse a drink all night long.

signature cocktails in mason jars, bride and groom toast

Photo by Adam Barnes via Southern Weddings

Now, if all this has your mind a totally jumbled mess, then my last recommendation hire a wedding planner, tell them your budgetary needs and wants, and let them handle it! 🙂

You can see why this topic could cause some angst with so many (maybe too many) options. Who knew, right? Anybody else feel this way? How will you or did you handle serving alcohol at your wedding? Let us know in the comments below!