Athens Magazine Wed, 23 Apr 2014 12:19:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Planning alcohol for your event Tue, 04 Mar 2014 22:29:16 +0000 By Rebecca Shaw & J’s Bottle Shop

Make sure you keep numbers in mind when considering your beverage options. How many people are attending your shower, reception or event? Rule of thumb: Each person will drink 2-3 glasses of wine. 1 bottle of wine has about 5-6 glasses. You can always offer a selection of red and white wines regardless of the food. Looking for a fun, refreshing and visually pleasing summertime cocktail, try this crowd please from Martha Stewart:

Watermelon Punch

• 3 cups seeded watermelon, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
• 1 1/2 cups white vermouth
• 1 1/2 tablespoons superfine sugar
• 3 cups crushed ice
• Edible pansies, for garnish

Place watermelon, vermouth, and sugar in a blender; process until

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watermelon has been liquefied, about 10 seconds. Add ice; process 3 seconds more. Garnish with pansies, and serve in chilled glasses.

J’s Bottle Shop is located at 1452 Prince Ave., Athens, GA 30606. Get more information about J’s here.

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Tips on finding and booking a band for your wedding Tue, 04 Mar 2014 22:25:02 +0000 By Meredith McLucas
The Higballs/Courtney Goldman Photography

The Higballs/Courtney Goldman Photography

Research references – Other wedding vendors are a great place to find band referrals…ESPECIALLY photographers, videographers and coordinators. These vendors are actually at the reception the whole time and know which bands run a professional outfit, get the guests on the floor and make their jobs easier. Online reviews from past brides will also tell you a lot about the quality of service and provide insight into things you might not even think to ask.

Book early – Popular bands and peak dates may be booked up to 12 to 18 months in advance and once a date is gone, it’s gone. You might get lucky and happen upon an open date at the last minute, but it’s best not to wait if you want to have a good selection of professional acts.

Find the right match for your style – Are you looking for a band to provide an elegant ambiance or to get your guests shaking it on the dance floor? Are you a little bit Country or a little more Rock & Roll? Most bands specialize in certain genres and post a sample playlist online. Be sure to read over the song list, watch the videos and be make sure the music suits

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your style. If you’re looking to dance to mostly Motown and Disco, the band that specializes in Country and Southern Rock is probably not the right choice.

Trust your band leader – Many couples are concerned about the specific songs the band will perform, but the experience to read the crowd and keep the party moving is equally, if not more, important. Generally, you want to trust the band to perform appropriate material at the appropriate time, keep the dance floor full and the itinerary on schedule. A simple phone call will go a long way toward ensuring your bandleader is a good communicator and whether you feel they are up to the task. Make sure you trust him or her to handle all of the details and keep your guests entertained.

The Higballs/Courtney Goldman Photography

The Higballs/Courtney Goldman Photography

Compare apples to apples – Make sure you know what tasks your band will handle and what they won’t. Many professional, experienced wedding bands will provide everything… emcee services, timeline management, DJ between sets and pro-sound and lighting. Other bands may only handle the live performance and you may need to hire additional vendors to cover the rest.

Know your venue and city rules – Before you begin looking at bands, know exactly what your venue can handle. Be sure your site has adequate space and power and ask if they have any policies that might limit the size of the band you can hire. Some venues only allow amplified music outdoors, and outdoor events may be subject to timing and volume limits. Check out the local ordinances to find out about any necessary permits or noise restrictions.

Meredith McLucas is a member of The Highballs. Find out more about them here.

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Behind the scenes of the cover shoot Wed, 19 Feb 2014 20:51:30 +0000 Meet Jenny and Aaron Carter.

Jenny and Aaron Carter had big plans for their wedding — lots of guests, a big party, the whole package. But with age comes perspective, and the couple, who got married in their 30s, realized perhaps their pot of money could be better spent if they did things a bit more unconventionally.

So, they shifted gears. Planning an August wedding, the couple decided on a 10:30 a.m. ceremony in her sister’s backyard (“It was a super hot summer,” Jenny says). Since the fathers of both the bride and groom are pastors, they both officiated the ceremony. Afterward, the couple rented out Marti’s at Midday, where owner Marti Schimmel created a brunch spread. And after a serving of cake from The Grit, the couple and their guests were off to enjoy the rest of their day.

“Aaron is vegan, so (Schimmel) made us some awesome snacky-type things,” says

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Jenny. “And then everyone went their merry way.”

And Jenny and Aaron? They took all the money they saved and upgraded their honeymoon to Florida.

That was six years ago, and today Jenny says they wouldn’t change a thing, even if money were no object. “If things had been different, money-wise, you know, I’d still do what we did,” she says.

The couple have a 4-year-old son, Aaron “Trey” Carter III. Jenny is a trainer and fitness instructor at the Omni Club and Aaron teaches history and social studies at Cedar Shoals High School.

Cover image by Melissa Pepin Photography
Melissa Pepin Photography is an Athens based photography company that specializes in weddings, portraits, and commercial photography. With over 8 years

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of experience shooting in Athens and nationwide, Melissa loves calling this city her home base. MPP’s style of photography is very organic, relaxed, and true to the individuals they work with. Getting to meet new people and being able to show them how beautiful they are with her camera is the biggest joy Melissa gets out of her job.
Visit Melissa Pepin Photography online

Shot on location at The Hill; tableware courtesy of Epting Events
Epting Events is a family of party-goers and party-throwers. We fashion unforgettable experiences and transform moments and milestones into stories to be shared. We deliver genuine Southern hospitality through our exceptional events and cuisine. It starts with a story, and then we collaborate with you to tell your story through an event experience that we oversee down to the last detail, from food to fun, so that you can feel like a guest, too. We consider it an honor to celebrate the moments and landmark occasions in our clients’ lives. After all, we love a good party.
Visit Epting Events online

Makeup by Eli Jana Cosmetics
Elijana Retail Store & Makeup Studio is a FIRST for Athens, A place that supplies and applies makeup for all occasions, such as Special Events, Proms, Formals and Weddings. Its the place to stop by and pick up anything you need for your makeup bag. Our motto is “It’s All About You.”
Visit Eli Jana online

Hair by Olive Hebert at City Salon
We believe in Beauty with a Purpose. We can make someone look beautiful on the outside but that’s the easy fix. What’s not easy? Calming the crazy, trimming frayed emotional edges before

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they’re even noticed, smothering the drama and bringing out the joy. Those things are tough but they’re the early makings of The Best Day Ever and our team is passionate about focusing on what’s to come and bringing our guests into the moment. Our purpose isn’t to simply make the outside glow but the inside, too.
Visit City Salon online

Flowers by Gardenia Floral Design
Gardenia Floral Design uses your pictures, ideas and inspirations to design unique flowers for your wedding. A detailed proposal let’s you know exactly what to expect

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for frustration-free flowers and we pride ourselves on providing our clients with the most & best flowers their budget will allow. Gardenia Floral Design – more flowers. more detailed. more you.
Visit Gardenia Floral Design online

Video coming soon!

Melissa Pepin Photography Melissa Pepin Photography Melissa Pepin Photography Melissa Pepin Photography Melissa Pepin Photography Melissa Pepin Photography Melissa Pepin Photography Melissa Pepin Photography Melissa Pepin Photography Melissa Pepin Photography Melissa Pepin Photography Melissa Pepin Photography Melissa Pepin Photography Melissa Pepin Photography Melissa Pepin Photography Melissa Pepin Photography Melissa Pepin Photography Melissa Pepin Photography Melissa Pepin Photography Melissa Pepin Photography Melissa Pepin Photography Melissa Pepin Photography ]]> 0
Wedding traditions Wed, 19 Feb 2014 20:13:53 +0000 By Allie Jackson

Traditions sometimes begin with one intention and transform over the years into something entirely different. Wedding traditions aren’t excluded from the phenomenon of change. Whether it’s the traditional concept of including “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue,” or the long-standing custom of incorporating wedding bands into the ceremony, traditions are passed down from generation to generation and it seems, somewhere along the road, their meanings have gotten strewn.

Here is a list of 10 wedding traditions

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and the peculiar ways they came about that you probably didn’t know.



1. The Bridal Bouquet

More than likely, carrying a bouquet of flowers originated from the era of the plague. Brides during that time instead carried items such as garlic, dill and echinacea. They would clutch the herbs underneath their noses and mouths in an attempt to ward off the disease. Over time, brides began adding better-smelling flowers and plants to the arrangement, with each type of blossom came a different meaning.







Sara Wise Photography

Sara Wise Photography

2. The bridal veil

The wedding veil more than likely originated as a way to ward off evil spirits and protect the purity of the bride.

The origins of a veil stems from the idea that the bride may be vulnerable to enchantment. The veil was meant to hide the bride from those evil spirits. It was also used in arranged marriages as a way to hide the bride’s face from the groom, who may not like what he sees. Now, the veil is seen mainly as an accessory to the bridal gown. It is sometimes still used in ceremonies as a religious symbol of purity or humility before God.





Courtney Goldman Photography

Courtney Goldman Photography

3. The throwing of the garter

The tradition of throwing the wedding garter is said to have begun as a way to protect the bride from wedding guests.

During medieval times in Europe, mainly France and England, the tradition was called “fingering the stocking.”

It derives from a tradition where the guests would go into the wedding chamber following the ceremony to check the bride’s stockings for signs that the marriage had actually been consummated.

In France a bride may be left in tears after the ceremony because guests would run to the altar following the ceremony in hopes to go home with a piece of her dress, which was said to be good luck.

Because of the invasive nature of the customs, somewhere in time it was changed to tossing just the garter to appease guests.


A Divine Event

A Divine Event

4. Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue

“Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue and a silver sixpence in her shoe,” is thought to have originated in England and is an 1898 compilation of English folklore.

While back in the day, the items were more to ward-off evil spirits, barrenness and bad luck, now the four items are used more as good luck charms or sentimental items passed down from family heirlooms to gifts from close girlfriends. Something old represents continuity; something new optimism for the couple’s future; something borrowed is said to symbolize happiness, while something blue stands for purity, love, and fidelity. A sixpence in your shoe is a wish for good fortune and prosperity, although it’s not as common in the U.S. and remains largely a British custom.


Twin Hearts Photography

Twin Hearts Photography

5. The wedding rings

Although now wedding rings represent to others that a man and woman are married, it originally symbolized the literal binding of the bride to the groom.

Although it’s not been verified officially, it is said that Egyptians and Romans used wedding rings. It is thought the ring became a less restrictive symbol of hand and foot bindings of captured brides. Yes, captured! In some countries, brides were literally abducted and bound until the ceremony was over.


6. Throwing rice

Throwing rice at the bride and groom following the ceremony is said to have its origins from the idea that throwing food at the couple symbolized wishing them fertility and a prosperous life. It is also said that throwing grains at the couple is symbolic of wishing them a bountiful crop.

Now, some people have steered from throwing rice and stick to bubbles or fireworks, which is seen more as a celebration of the union of the bride and groom that sends them off to their honeymoon and new life together.


7. The honeymoon

Similar to the tradition of wedding bands, the honeymoon is also derived from the days when grooms abducted their brides. This is also where the phrase “Will you take this woman?” is said to have begun.

Following the abduction, the bride and groom would go into hiding for 30 days while each of those days, a close friend or family member would bring the couple a cup of honey wine. The 30 days of consumption of the honey equaled a “honeymoon.”





Melissa Pepin Photography

Melissa Pepin Photography

8. Not seeing the bride or groom prior to the ceremony

The origins of the bride and groom not seeing one another prior to the ceremony derives from the era of arranged marriages. Many times, the grooms (and brides) had no idea what the other looked like. Families would keep the two separated in case one of the two didn’t like what they saw prior to meeting at the altar. Now, most marriages are not arranged and the bride and groom know very well what the other looks like. The idea is now incorporated into some weddings simply as a way to carry on the tradition, although not every couple likes the idea.


Rubin Knoll Shoreshotz Photography (

Rubin Knoll Shoreshotz Photography (

9. The breaking of glass

The breaking of glass is a Jewish custom that typically entails the groom crushing a wine class under his foot following the ceremony. This is said to be symbolic of many things, but typically serves as a reminder of the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. It is also said to remind the couple of the fragile stat of their relationship.





Melissa Pepin Photography

Melissa Pepin Photography

10. The bride wearing white

The idea of a bride wearing white is said to have begun after Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom wore white when she married Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in 1840.

White was considered unusual at the time.

Now, many brides opt to wear more colorful attire when it comes to their gown, but white is said to symbolize purity and virginity.

Follow breaking news reporter Allie Jackson on Facebook or Twitter .

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Happy pairings Wed, 19 Feb 2014 17:08:22 +0000 Danielsville winery, 40 minutes outside of Athens, offers an international atmosphere with a distinct Georgia flavor

By Andre Gallant

Victor and Mary Boutier have a theory as to why people love getting hitched at vineyards and wineries: It sounds better than saying you’re getting married in a barn.

Farm weddings are a hip locale for modern vow exchanges, but Mary cuts to the truth of it all: Brides and grooms are still getting married where cows once mooed.

A bit hyperbolic, sure, but such hilarious honesty is what makes the Victor and Mary Boutier duo so likeable.

They run a winery, obviously, but it’s likely one of the most unpretentious ones you’ll ever find.

“We aren’t snobs,” says Mary. And their wine names back that up: “Peach-o-Peno” and “P.M.S.”

The married couple has been making wine commercially since 2004, using industrial space in Ackworth to get the operation up and running. They’ve been growing their own grapes and bottling their own vino on their Danielsville land for the past five years, having built a tasting room smack in the middle of vines of Cythiana, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grapes.

Tying the knot there among the vines just sounds more romantic, Mary says. At least it might be better than getting hay stuck in your heels.

All kidding aside, the Boutier Winery is a 40-minute drive from Athens, boasts a verdant backdrop for a wedding in warm months and offers a reception room to seat plenty of guests.

Plus, there’s a ton of wine to be had.

AndreŽ Gallant/Staff

AndreŽ Gallant/Staff

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to get married at the Madison County winery have more than a dozen wines made

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in-house to choose from. Favorites to please any palate include Let the Big Dawg Drink, a mostly Cab Sauv blend fermented using California grapes. Boutier does grow six varieties of grapes on the land including Chardonnay, Cythiana, Cab Suv and Merlot.

Victor Boutier is always experimenting with fruit wines, including peaches or blueberries to make sweet drinks. Those

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are available as well, but given their sweet nature, it’s advised that perhaps only their Georgia Peach wine be used en masse, and even then perhaps only for toasts.

One of Victor’s stand-out wines is the Geordeaux, a blend of Cab Suav,

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Cab Fran and Merlot grapes in the style of the French Bordeaux. North Georgia isn’t southern France, of course, so Boutier riffed on the regional name.

A wonderful white to kick off the hitching is Boutier’s Riesling, a crisp dry wine perfect for an early course or passed hors d’oeuvres.

There’s plenty of room for caterers at Boutier Winery, with plans to expand an outdoors cooking and dining area, so you’ll be easily able to pair their wines with a main course.

Victor thinks his chardonnay goes well with asparagus, chicken or pork chops. The Georgeaux meets well with steak and hearty pastas.

For dessert, the best choice is the Diva ‘Licious Georgia Peach Wine. Another after-dinner wine with potential is the pear wine flavored with coffee beans. Fruit wines run $16.99 for half bottles, making them better priced for sipping in small numbers.

Boutier does prepare special bottles just for weddings, and will certainly label bottles with custom images and messages.

One option the Boutiers suggest are smaller bottles, perhaps a little more than a well-filled glass, that are individualized. Sold in cases of 24, these personal-size bottles are labeled specifically for the special occasion and are priced at $4.99 per bottle including any gift wrapping desired by the couple.

Or, like Mary Boutier, you can just keep you wedding day wine selection simple: “I just drink pinot.”

Individual, personalized wines can be bottled for wedding guests at Boutier Winery in Danielsville, Ga. (AndrŽe Gallant/Staff). Victor Boutier, owner and winemaker at Boutier Winery in Danielsville, poses for a portrait (AndreŽ Gallant/Staff). Victor Boutier, owner and winemaker at Boutier Winery in Danielsville, poses for a portrait (AndreŽ Gallant/Staff). The Boutier Winery tasting rooms has a wide selection of their wines available for purchase (AndrŽe Gallant/Staff). Bottles of dessert wine wait to be labeled in the Boutier Winery production room (AndrŽe Gallant/Staff).


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Old style, new use Wed, 19 Feb 2014 16:33:58 +0000 By Allie Jackson

When Lynn Edwards of Watkinsville had two daughters to marry within about a year of one another, instead of allowing the planning to overwhelm or bombard her, she turned her experience into a business venture.

Edwards says when her daughters, Lauren Hammond and Kristen Eason, used Pinterest to plan their weddings they quickly found there was a niche within wedding planning that was missing — vintage rentals.

She now runs the website Ooh-La-La Vintage Wedding Rentals ( and, starting with items first used in her daughters’ weddings, she now rents to brides who are seeking a vintage-style reception or ceremony.

“We had sought various places to rent vintage items, but we couldn’t find a vendor that carried vintage items,” Edwards says. “Well, we did find one in Atlanta, but felt it was overpriced. What I would pay to rent it, I might as well buy it myself.”

And that’s exactly what Edwards did.

She and her daughters began scouring antique shops for items that would eventually culminate in a collection that Edwards stores at her home and rents out to brides.

“When we were out shopping, I had

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it in the back of my head that I will buy this and then do something with it later,” she says. “Vintage weddings are so popular right now. It’s a lot of fun. I really like meeting the mothers and daughters and working with them. The brides often remind me of my daughters.”

The home business inspired by her daughters’ weddings also has given her more time with her family.

“We have had so much fun. My husband (Ken) and I will drive out to antique shops from Georgia to Florida and Tennessee,” Edwards says. “We enjoy browsing the shops together and have ended up with a lot of antiques.”

Edwards says she also enjoys seeing how brides use her items in different ways. Ooh-La-La has an array of items, including an antique chandelier, burlap runners, a double washtub often used as a cooler for bottled drinks, a vintage bicycle, various patterns of china to serve 300 or more, antique linens, silver teapots often used for centerpieces, doilies, an old trunk, vintage dressers and chalkboards.

Although many items were purchased in antique stores, some have been handed down from family members and hold a more sentimental value.

“The trunk was passed down from grandparents and one of the dressers from a grandmother,” Edwards says. “The items are sentimental, but they had been stored for some time and weren’t being used. It makes me happy to see them being used. Some of the china was even passed down from my mom, who recently passed away.”

Edwards says her most popular item is a chandelier she happened to find at the last minute, when another one she ordered failed to come, just days prior to one of her daughters’ weddings.

“It’s just a beautiful item and is so versatile,” she says. “It can be used indoors or out. It is so beautiful outside and I’ve seen it hung from a tree branch or a gazebo.”

Edwards says she also has multiple requests for the items to be used in other celebrations such as baby showers, conferences, parties and banquets.

Find out more about Lynn and her business here .

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Why take a first look? Wed, 19 Feb 2014 16:33:04 +0000 Sara Wise Photography

Sara Wise Photography

A “first look” is when a couple chooses to see each other dressed in their wedding-day finery before the ceremony. Choosing to do a first look can be quite special, and by doing so, you allow yourself some quality one-on-one time with your sweetie on your wedding day.

Many of my reasons why photographers like to do a first look has a lot to do with timing and lighting, but there’s an even more important reason: the bride and groom.

Yes, when you opt for a first look, you are “breaking tradition” by seeing each other before the ceremony, but you are also opting to take a moment (or two) during a busy, distracting day, and spend some quality time with each other. Imagine standing at the most comfortable, most beautiful location at your venue, all dressed and ready. As you stand there, nervous, your other half walks up to you; asks you to turn around and right then you are no longer nervous, but happy and you feel amazing. You hug, kiss, admire and talk — for as long as you’d like! And while you do this, you get honest photos of you, unhindered by the ceremony.

After your first look,

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you may allow 30 minutes to an hour for photos of cuddling, laughing and dancing. Explore your venue and make the most of every pretty

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Also, by choosing a first look, you also can get family and wedding party photos finished prior to the ceremony. After you say your “I Do’s” you can head straight to the party.

— Sara Wise

Sara Wise, owner of Sara Wise Photography (SWP), has been photographing weddings for more than 10 years. You can see more about Sara and her studio here .

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A UGA-themed proposal and wedding Wed, 19 Feb 2014 15:37:10 +0000 Living in Athens, Georgia is like living nowhere else. The same goes for being a Georgia Bulldog. Once a dawg, always a dawg. What better way to celebrate
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Athens and the University of Georgia than to have a UGA-themed proposal or wedding? Melissa Pepin Photography Melissa Pepin Photography Melissa Pepin Photography Melissa Pepin Photography Melissa Pepin Photography Melissa Pepin Photography Melissa Pepin Photography Melissa Pepin Photography Melissa Pepin Photography Melissa Pepin Photography Melissa Pepin Photography Melissa Pepin Photography Melissa Pepin Photography Melissa Pepin Photography Melissa Pepin Photography Melissa Pepin Photography Melissa Pepin Photography Melissa Pepin Photography Melissa Pepin Photography Melissa Pepin Photography Melissa Pepin Photography Melissa Pepin Photography Melissa Pepin Photography Melissa Pepin Photography Melissa Pepin Photography Melissa Pepin Photography Melissa Pepin Photography Melissa Pepin Photography Melissa Pepin Photography Melissa Pepin Photography Melissa Pepin Photography Melissa Pepin Photography Sara Wise Photography Sara Wise Photography Sara Wise Photography Sara Wise Photography

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How to make your wedding more eco-friendly Wed, 19 Feb 2014 06:15:15 +0000 A Divine Event

A Divine Event

Couples about

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to tie the knot may be preoccupied with finding the right color palettes for their wedding days. While is has long been a favorite wedding day color, many couples are now looking for ways to go green at their weddings, as more and more couples want to make their ceremonies as eco-friendly as possible.

While it might once have been difficult to make weddings environmentally friendly affairs, today’s couples have many eco-friendly options at their disposal. From hotels that use solar power to reception halls that rely on locally sourced foods, there are plenty of ways to turn weddings into entertaining and eco-friendly affairs.

* Reduce reliance on stationery. Couples hoping to be more eco-conscious can cut back on the amount of paper they at their weddings and throughout the planning process. Invitations can be printed on recycled stock, and couples can avoid using the envelope within an envelope that is often used when mailing wedding invitations. Furthermore, reduce what you place inside the invitation, including direction cards. Have guests visit a Web site to learn about hotel accommodations and respond to the wedding invite.
* Choose earth-friendly fabrics. When selecting gowns and other attire, lean toward natural fabrics, such as cotton, wool, hemp, or linen, each of which are eco-friendly fabrics.

Venue/Catering – Foundry Park Inn & Spa; Photography - Holly Jones Photography; Farm tables and chairs - Oconee Weddings & Events; Florals - Kreative Kreations

Venue/Catering – Foundry Park Inn & Spa; Photography – Holly Jones Photography; Farm tables and chairs – Oconee Weddings & Events; Florals – Kreative Kreations

* Pick flowers that are in-season. Much like produce, certain flowers are grown out of season with the use of pesticides and herbicides. Imported flowers have high carbon footprints due to the distance they have to travel. Cut down on how far flowers have to travel and the use of potentially harmful chemicals by buying locally grown, in-season flowers.
* Encourage guests to carpool to the wedding. You may want to make a flashy entrance at the ceremony, but you can curb emissions by having as many people travel together as possible. Ditch the sedan or limousine and rent a party bus that can fit many of your guests.
* Rethink wedding favors. Instead of trinkets that are produced overseas and likely to end up in the trash, opt for edible favors, seeds or plants or even donations to charitable organizations.
* Cut down on waste. Do you really need four courses at the reception and a complete dessert display? Food that goes uneaten will likely end up in the garbage. If you cannot arrange to have food delivered to a soup kitchen or another charitable group, scale back on how much is served. Chances are guests will not even miss the extra food.
* Recycle your gold or silver. Wedding bands symbolize are customary at wedding ceremonies. Rather than buying new rings, transform old jewelry into rings by having the metal melted down and formed.
* Style your hair naturally. Although many hair products have reduced or eliminated their use of CFCs, which can enter the atmosphere and damage the ozone layer, harmful chemicals are still used in many products. Brides can skip the elaborate up-do that requires a lot of hair spray for a more natural, free-flowing look.
* Rent or borrow whenever possible. Rented items are reused over and over, while items couples buy specifically for their weddings are liable to be used once and then discarded. Opt for rentals when possible.
* Light beeswax candles. Candles are an eco-friendly way to provide romantic lighting at the wedding. Opt for non-toxic beeswax candles rather than paraffin candles.

When couples put their minds to it, they can find many ways to have an eco-friendly wedding without compromising on style and fun.


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How to choose your makeup artist Wed, 19 Feb 2014 06:00:59 +0000 IMG_8217 By Jana Vlaciky

You’ve been asked “THE” question and said YES!! So now it’s your turn to ask the questions, during the process of organizing your wedding your going to be asking lots of people lots of questions.

Though Brides often forget to ask important questions to people like their hairdresser & makeup artist.

When dealing with Brides I always encourage them to ask me as many questions as possible and assure them that no questions is a silly one, it’s even likely I’ve heard it before.


Here are a few important questions you should consider asking your makeup artist. How long have you been a makeup artist, is this your profession, what products do use are they designed to be photographed (High definition) will they last the day especially if your having a Summer wedding.

  • Ask the makeup artist if they do trials and what you should bring with you. A trial is important as it gives you time to meet the artist and get a personal feel for them as well as it’s a good chance to
    Frizz breathing easier super can relief every hugely extra organic have gel.

    talk through your ideas about your look/makeup for the big day.

  • You should be asking your makeup artist if they have a portfolio of recent work that you can view, also if they have testimonials from Brides it’s always good to hear what overall experience another Bride had with her makeup artist, who is generally the last person you get to see before you step into your dress.


Remember you’re the center of attention, everyone is going to want to have their picture taken with and your professional pictures are what you’ll be looking at for the rest of your happily ever after.

Mostly you should have a good overall feel about the person your dealing with, remember it’s your day and it’s all about you weather you’re a classic Bride or going for something a little more edgy your makeup artist should work with you to make you feel the best version of you.

Jana Vlaciky is the owner of EliJana Cosmetics. Elijana Retail Store & Makeup Studio is a FIRST for Athens, A place that supplies and applies makeup for all occasions, such as Special Events, Proms, Formals and Weddings. Its the place to stop by and pick up anything you need

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for your makeup bag.Our motto is “It’s All About You.” See more about Jana and EliJana here .


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Do-it-yourself wedding Wed, 19 Feb 2014 06:00:57 +0000 Sara Wise Photography

Sara Wise Photography

Those thinking about tying the knot in the months to come may be discouraged by how expensive weddings can be. But with a little ingenuity and a hands-on approach, couples can have a wedding that is inexpensive and memorable at the same time.

According to, on average, U.S. couples spend $26,542 for their weddings. Weddingbells magazine states that the average cost for a wedding in Canada is $23,330, up from $20,129 in 2010. These amounts do not include the cost for an engagement ring or wedding bands. With such a high price tag, some couples may wonder if they can afford their dream wedding or if there are ways to cut costs. Having a backyard, DIY wedding can be the answer.

Although some may envision a backyard wedding with picnic benches and Dad at the grill, it can be a much classier affair than that. Smart couples are realizing that the money they would normally spend on a big wedding at an outside venue can be put to better use, either through buying a new home or fixing up one they may already own. Furthermore, for couples who are picky about details, having a DIY event ensures that they can control the details and have them as personal as they would like.

Getting Started
A DIY wedding is one that will take much more work than simply hiring vendors and leaving the details to them. But the money saved with sweat equity can be substantial. A well-planned wedding is the best start.

Grab a notebook and start making lists of all the things you will need:

A Divine Event

A Divine Event

* location
* tables and chairs
* linens
* food
* silverware and glassware
* invitations
* photography
* music
* officiant
* music
* centerpieces and other decor
* cake or dessert
* lighting
* attire
* flowers

Work in Advance
Many items necessary for a wedding can be bought in advance. Some couples find that purchasing low-cost items at discount stores turns out to be less expensive than renting. For example, inexpensive glasses and silverware can be bought

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at dollar stores or chains like Ikea. Later on these items can be kept, sold or even donated to shelters.

Tablecloths don’t have to be the traditional kind. It may be less expensive to purchase pieces of fabric from a fabric store and dressing them up oneself. Candles can be stockpiled relatively easy and provide a very affordable means of ambient light. Plan out centerpiece ideas and figure out which components can be bought and stored. Then items can be assembled at leisure. Wedding stationery is one thing that will have to be bought well in advance so there will be time enough to printout save-the-dates, invitations and response cards, as well as mail them.

An informal wedding may mean couples can get simple attire. Buying off the rack may mean a smaller price tag for gowns. Gentleman may be able to fare with sportcoats and slacks. Purchase wardrobe essentials several months in advance to be sure there will be time for alterations, if necessary.

Enlist the help of family and friends to get many of the tasks completed. Upon asking, many couples find there are members of the family who have skills in certain areas, which can be tapped for the wedding. There may be a gourmet chef, a disc jockey, a photographer or even someone who can officiate the vows. Having these people on board means a great reduction in costs.

Sara Wise Photography

Sara Wise Photography

Readying the Venue
Because couples will be doing the work themselves, it’s best to start several days in advance of the wedding (weather permitting). Be sure the grounds are well groomed and landscaped. Ensure there are no tripping hazards and that there is a sturdy surface for placing tables or creating a dance floor.

It may pay to ask an electrician or someone who dabbles in electric work to help string some lights to better illuminate the area, especially for when the sun goes down.

Set up the tables and chairs to finalize placement the day before. Figure out where the ceremony will take place. A small arbor can mark the area and make a nice photo backdrop. Dress the tables with linens and settings the morning of the wedding.

One splurge couples may want to make is hiring a waitstaff to help set up food service areas, serve as bartenders and clear away dishes and other messes. This way the bride and groom can mingle with guests.

Other Tips and Tricks
Here are some other ways to save money on DIY weddings.

* Fruit is less expensive than flowers for centerpieces.
* Include postcard response cards in wedding invites. The postage is less, and you don’t have to spend money on an extra envelope.
* Be sure to check with your town if you need a permit or variance for having so many cars parked by the house in the event of a backyard wedding. Otherwise you could be facing a fine.
* Many different foods can be cooked in advance and frozen instead of hiring a catering service.
* Consider favors that also double as table centerpieces.
* Bouquets can easily be made with store-bought flowers, some floral tape and decorative ribbon.
* Restrict the bar to wine and beer, and you’ll save money on expensive liquors.

A DIY wedding can be a fun, memorable event that costs a couple a fraction of what it would be to have it held at an expensive location.


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Simple ways to save on your wedding Wed, 19 Feb 2014 06:00:55 +0000 According to a 2012 report in Brides magazine, the average American couple spends just under $27,000 on their wedding, while their northern neighbors in Canada spend slightly more than $23,000 on average for their big day. Clearly couples, regardless of which side of the border they call home, can expect to invest a substantial amount of money for their weddings.

While many couples find the cost of a wedding is well worth it, others would like to find ways to save so their big day isn’t a budget-buster. Such savings aren’t always easy to come by, especially for couples with a very distinctive picture in mind of what their wedding should be. However, even couples strongly committed to a certain wedding style might change their minds once they realize how much such a dream wedding will cost. For those couples as well as couples who simply want to save some money, the following are a few ideas to avoid busting your budget without venturing too far from your dream wedding.

* Trim the guest list. The guest list is perhaps the easiest place to begin saving money. Many reception halls will charge by the head, so consider if you really need to invite 150 guests or if 100 will do. Such trimming can save you a substantial amount of money. For example, a banquet hall that charges $200 per guest will cost couples with a guest list of 150 $30,000 for the reception alone. Cutting that guest list to 100 reduces that cost by $10,000. When putting together the guest list, remove those candidates who would best be described as acquaintances. This can include coworkers with whom you don’t socialize, as well as old college friends to whom you rarely speak. Distant cousins you haven’t spoken to in years can also be cut from the list.

* Don’t go overboard on the gown. Styles are ever-changing, so there’s a strong chance brides won’t be passing down their wedding gowns to their own daughters someday. What’s popular now will likely seem outdated by the time your daughter walks down the aisle. Keep this in mind when shopping for a wedding dress, which can be made in the same design as the one you try on but with cheaper fabrics that are a fraction of the cost.

The disparity between gown costs in the United States and Canada should paint a good picture of how easily brides can save money on their gowns. According to a survey of wedding trends conducted by Weddingbells, an online resource for Canadian brides, the average Canadian bride in 2011 spent just under $1,800 on her wedding gown, while the average American bride spends roughly $1,100 on her gown. Though

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the reasons for that disparity are unclear, it’s safe to say there are savings to be had for brides who don’t want to break the bank paying for their wedding gowns.

* Get hitched in the off-season. Many couples prefer to get married sometime between the months of May through October. During these months, venues and vendors, including limousine services, caterers, photographers, musicians, and deejays, are more expensive. If you are willing to switch your wedding date to the off-season you can save a substantial amount of money. In addition, you likely won’t face as much competition for the best venues and vendors as you will during the peak wedding season.

* Trim your beverage budget. The bar tab at the end of the reception can be considerable, but there are ways to save money while ensuring your guests can still toast you and yours with a few libations. Rather than offering a full bar, limit the choices to beer and wine, which will be perfectly acceptable to most guests anyway. In addition, rather than paying the caterer for the wine, buy your own and you’ll save a considerable amount of money. You may have to pay the caterer a fee to pour the wine, but that fee is negligible compared to what you’d pay the company to provide the wine.

* Choose a buffet-style dinner over waiter service. Many guests will no doubt prefer a buffet-style dinner instead of waiter service, so take advantage of that and choose a more affordable buffet-style dinner that allows diners to choose their own entrees and side dishes.

When it comes to trimming wedding costs, couples will have to make compromises. But those compromises don’t have to come at the cost of a beautiful and memorable event.


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The four seasons of style: Spring Wed, 19 Feb 2014 06:00:49 +0000 Compiled by Natalie Bradley, Michele Turner and others in Athens Wedding Professionals

Just because you have a favorite color doesn’t mean it easily translates to a formal event. Instead, look to the season of your wedding for a color palette. Maybe it’s pastels for spring or bolder, cool colors for winter, but setting a color palette can set the entire tone for your event.

We talked with the experts at Athens Wedding Professionals, who offered up inspiration for a wedding for each season, starting with a color palette, but also taking into consideration the weather, the venue and the attire. Use these ideas to transform your own wedding or special event into an occasion to remember.

Epting Events

Epting Events


Spring is the perfect time to implement a fresh, fun palette since everyone is ready to shed the drab starkness of winter. Consider wedding colors that mimic the hues found in fresh fruits such as tangerine, grapefruit, citrus or lime. You do not have to feature all of them. In fact, you may choose

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to use just one color as an accent. But, don’t underestimate its ability to lighten up a spring event. — Michele Turner


Spring is the perfect time for a ceremony or reception in an outdoor space — but be sure your venue has an inclement weather option. It is OK for the vision of your perfect day to include a wedding ceremony under picturesque oak trees or a cocktail reception under the stars. But there’s also nothing wrong with having a clear plan B (or plan C).

The vibrant colors of citrus translate well into floral palettes of peaches, oranges, yellows and greens. Also consider using fresh fruit in your centerpieces, like peaches in clear cylinders filled with dark green crushed glass.

Talk to your caterer about using fruit as an accent for your food and beverage offerings. The most obvious way is to include them within the menu (chicken skewers in a lemon cream sauce or a lemon curd wedding cake filling). But fruit also can be used on the buffet for visual interest or as place card holders. Chris McCommons of A Divine Event says petite plates “are a hot trend,” and it would be easy to add a final flourish to one that includes a sliced lime or lemon.

Citrus-themed colors might be a little too much for a wedding gown, but, there are fun accents that allow you to have fun with your color scheme with more traditional attire. For example, consider fun, colored heels to peek out from the hem of your gown; colored accent ribbon delicately wrapped around the stems of your bouquet; or as an accent sash or a piece of colored, stylized jewelry in your hair. For a rehearsal dinner, wear a dress featuring your accent color. Or put bridesmaids in an accent color on the big

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Put it in writing Wed, 19 Feb 2014 06:00:49 +0000 The art of the invitation is in its message

By Kristen Morales

Often, a successful event is in the details. But before any guests set foot in the venue or sample a specialty cocktail, they get an invitation.

And it’s this piece of paper that sets the tone for the entire event, says Athens invitation designer Jane Bennett, owner of Plain Jane Designs.

With the advent of Pinterest and shabby-chic wedding themes, Bennett cautions brides about busting out the hot glue gun when embarking on their invitations. Instead, she says, consider how you expect guests to dress — is the event casual or formal, for example — and style your invitation accordingly.

This was the advice heeded by recent bride Sallie Belger, who married in April 2013. Her invitation subtly mixed hand-drawn floral patterns with modern typefaces for a whimsical yet dignified design. She says her updates to the classic invitation format were more subtle. For example, she says she felt strongly about listing both parents on the invitation, rather than just hers.

Her invitation, printed with a letterpress on cream cardstock, has type and artwork in navy blue and sage. “Navy was always at the forefront,” she says of the color choice. “But it wasn’t a very formal wedding or reception.”

The fonts, graphics and wording all have meaning, Bennett says. And while it’s OK to play around with tradition, Bennett feels strongly that the rules are there for a reason: Mainly, to keep your guests clear on the event.

“Invitations tell the story of the event,” she says. “The look of the invitation and the time of the event tell you what to wear. And if it’s a formal occasion, you shouldn’t have

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to put on the invitation what to wear.”

For example, an event that starts at 5:30 p.m. is still an afternoon event; parties that start after 6 p.m. are considered evening and require a more formal outfit. This means you want an invitation to reflect

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Bennett says while the advent of Pinterest has added more burlap to invitations than she’s usually OK with, it has brought a desire for more printed materials at weddings — save-the-date cards, programs, order-of-service cards and escort cards are all part of a regular event these days. That dovetails nicely with the branding that Bennett has been doing for many brides these days. “People like to have a logo. … We’ll pick a Pantone color, and make an old-fashioned monogram that can be put on napkins, programs and cups.”

PlainJane Designs

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Party Time Wed, 19 Feb 2014 06:00:47 +0000 Planning a wedding? We asked Janet Geddis, owner of Avid Bookshop, for some favorite guides for hosting the big event.







    • By: Elizabeth Demos
      Publisher: Chronicle Books

      Sometimes it’s the little touches that stick out the most. With this book, learn how to bring a vintage style to the special day. DIY projects inspire a personal touch that won’t go unnoticed. Author Elizabeth Demos hails from just down the road in Savannah, Georgia, where she runs a design and event-planning studio.

      Price: $30







    • By: Jenny Doh Publisher: Lark Crafts

      By: Jenny Doh
      Publisher: Lark Crafts


      This book is a crafter’s dream! Artists and crafters have contributed quick and simple projects for DIY invitations, table settings, decorations and more. Cost-effective and creatively stimulating, these design ideas will keep you on budget and keep you busy.

      Price: $19.95








    • By: Dana Larue & Astrid Mueller  Publisher: Potter Style

      By: Dana Larue & Astrid Mueller
      Publisher: Potter Style


      So you want to have a little money left over for your new life after your wedding day? Try this guide to not breaking the bank. Author Dana LaRue, creator of, shows you how to stay on budget without compromising style.

      Price: $16








  • By: Tess Ayers & Paul Brown Publisher: Experiment

    By: Tess Ayers & Paul Brown
    Publisher: Experiment


    Planning a wedding for gay and lesbian couples involves all of the challenges of straight couples, and then some. In this recently updated third edition, Tess Ayers & Paul Brown answer questions that don’t have clear-cut answers, like: “How should we word the invitations?” and “Who should perform the ceremony?”

    Price: $16.95

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Q&A with a catering expert Wed, 19 Feb 2014 06:00:46 +0000 Question: What about signature cocktails or punches. Are they a thing of the past?

A signature cocktail is a great way to welcome your guests to the celebration portion of your wedding. Our most popular signature cocktail is called “Let Them Drink Cake!” which tastes just like wedding cake. For an added touch we even rim the glass with delicious wedding cake crumbs held in place

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by a thin layer of creamy buttercream icing. The recipe is our secret though so you’d only get a taste of this fun concoction at a “Divine” wedding! Of course we also customize signature cocktails to complement a brides wedding colors or theme. Signature drinks also offer a great savings in cost by offering spirits without stocking a bar for a four hour reception.

Question: What are some hot new trends in catering for 2013 and 2014?

Petite Plates, Casual Receptions, Edible Wedding Favors, Family Style Seated Dinners, Brunch for Dinner Menus, Bubble Bars

Question: When deciding between a cocktail reception or seated dinner, what are some important factors that brides should keep in mind?

Cocktail receptions are more relaxed and have a nice casual party flow to them. When you walk into the room it is more about the experience the guests have with the food and mingling with each other. Guests can roam at their leisure instead of having a more structured timeline. For a seated dinner there is a lot of formality that can play into the evening, with place settings, plated courses and wine service at the table. However, if you have a small group, you can make the seated dining experience very fun and interactive incorporating long tables where guests can really chat and get to know one another and also have one course served butler style or family style to get the guests involved.

Question: How can brides ask their caterers to jazz up dessert tables (cappuccino or cognac bars, etc.)?

We love the idea of a mini pie and cobbler dessert station with cobblers in cast iron skillets and specialty pies to warm up chilly evenings. We make some of the best cobblers in town.

Question: We’ve all been to weddings where the night is ended with treats from The Varsity. Are late-night snacks here to stay?

Yes! Chicken & Waffles, Street Tacos and Krispy Kreme are some of our clients favorites.

Question: When it comes to plated dinners, what’s the new surf-and-turf?

In the winter months we are excited about a our newest version of surf and turf. It is a warm and wonderful dish that we serve in an entree bowl. Kobe Beef with fanned lobster on diced noodles with a few vegetables and then we pour a clear soup on it. Its like pho which is actually a Vietnamese noodle soup. Talk about fusion.

Question: How do you suggest incorporating the unexpected into meals when it comes to guests who have been-there-done-that?

We think it is important to impress guests with a twist on what is familiar. We really feel that people like to branch out, but on a comfortable limb. So if you add a hint of spice there, or an unusual flavor for surprise it works well. Also, presentation and flavor is everything to wow those hard to impress guests.

A Divine Event A Divine Event A Divine Event A Divine Event A Divine Event A Divine Event A Divine Event A Divine Event A Divine Event A Divine Event A Divine Event A Divine Event A Divine Event A Divine Event A Divine Event A Divine Event A Divine Event A Divine Event

Advice from Chris McCommons, Sales Director for A Divine Event. “We’ve been carrying on a passionate love affair with food for more than a decade now. Spurred by divine inspiration and a devilish desire to create food that’s wickedly delicious, it’s an affair to savor.” Find out more about A Divine Event here .

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Wedding pearls Wed, 19 Feb 2014 06:00:44 +0000 Pearls are the perfect symbol of the radiant bride. Pearls represent natural, unaltered beauty and pearls, like a bride on her wedding day, cannot be cut or polished to bring out their beauty. Their brilliance is whole and complete. No wonder ancient poets and artists have clung to the representation of pearls as a

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symbol of a woman on her wedding day. From the ancient Hindu texts that depict Krishna adorning his daughter with pearls he drew from the ocean, to the Greek artists who represented the union of Cupid and Psyche with a strand of knotted pearls, pearls are the ultimate symbol of love and marriage. They are metaphysically known as “memory keepers” and worn on a wedding day, pearls are meant to hold the joy of your special day. Hopefully, one day, you can pass this joy on to a loved one, perhaps a daughter!

Classic pearls have always been a go-to choice for brides but contemporary brides are breaking the mold with modern designs in pearls.

All of these

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pieces are available online at or by appointment 888-870-7390.

Classic Cultured Pink Pearl Necklace by The Pearl Girls $228 Classic Single Strand Pearl Bracelet The Pearl Girls $129 Double Strand Cultured Pearl Bracelet by The Pearl Girls $209 Little Pearl Girls Necklace by The Pearl Girls $149 Little Pearl Girls Pink Necklace by The Pearl Girls $149 Pearl Drop Earrings by The Pearl Girls $49 Star Power Pearl Earrings by The Pearl Girls $49 Star Power Pearl Stretch Bracelet by The Pearl Girls $49 Teardrop Pearl Earrings by The Pearl Girls $59 Carved Mother of Pearl Earrings by The Pearl Girls $49 Carved Mother of Pearl Necklace by The Pearl Girls $69 Classic Cultured Pearl Necklace by The Pearl Girls $228 ]]> 0
Picking the right wedding cake Wed, 19 Feb 2014 06:00:37 +0000  

What do you wish brides (or grooms) would ask you or consider in the planning and hiring process?

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Consider the heat/direct sunlight when deciding where to display their cake

Bring photos of cake they like so I can best design a cake with elements they already love

Be flexible with their budget and keep in mind that a custom cake is not like going to Publix and complicated designs and large cakes are not inexpensive

Ask me for exciting and fun flavor combination ideas

Ask me about my process and my opinion of what would look good

Only bring one or two other people with them to the tasting for a total of four. Too many people and/or children at a tasting make for a chaotic experience and that makes it hard to focus. Also too many opinions muddy the decision process

Bring your color palette swatches with you

If you are thinking ahead of time that you want to book that day remember to bring your checks or card with you. So many people forget to do that!!



Fall Fall Fall Fall Fall Fall Fall Fall Fall Fall Fall Fall Fall Spring Spring Spring Spring Spring Spring Summer Winter Winter Winter Winter Winter Winter Winter Winter Winter

See more about Deborah’s Specialty Cakes here .

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The four seasons of style: Fall Wed, 19 Feb 2014 06:00:34 +0000 Compiled by Natalie Bradley, Michele Turner and others in Athens Wedding Professionals

Just because you have a favorite color doesn’t mean it easily translates to a formal event. Instead, look to the season of your wedding for a color palette. Maybe it’s pastels for spring or bolder, cool colors for winter, but setting a color palette can set the entire tone for your event.

We talked with the experts at Athens Wedding Professionals, who offered up inspiration for a wedding for each season, starting with a color palette, but also taking into consideration the weather, the venue and the attire. Use these ideas to transform your own wedding or special event into an occasion to remember.

Sara Wise Photography

Sara Wise Photography

In fall, the days are warm and the nights are cool; the changing of the leaves to

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reds and yellows create a gorgeous backdrop; and of course, football season is in full swing. Golds and chocolate browns, coupled with shades of rose, make a great fall palette for both dress and décor. If you are planning an afternoon wedding, it is important to keep in mind that although it may be warm during the ceremony, the temperature will drop as evening approaches. For an outdoor reception, find a way to incorporate heaters or small fire pits. Also, be aware of the football calendar and be sure out-of-town guests will be able to book a room.

Although typical wedding flowers may not be in bloom in the fall, you can be creative with your bouquet and table decor. Be creative by incorporating nontraditional plants like wheats, berries, and those gorgeously colored fall leaves as a base, topped
off with marigolds and some Mexican sunflowers to add vibrant pops of color to a bouquet. This combination can add both texture and color to your floral arrangements.

Use burlap as a neutral base and add color with similar elements as your floral arrangements — leaves, wheat, pinecones and berries. Add small tea light candles for an extra glow.

Keep your groom and groomsmen simple with dark colored suits, adding a pop of color with a natural boutonniere. For bridesmaids, pick golds and chocolate browns for dresses. Consider sleeves

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or an optional wrap for those cooler fall nights.

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Photo Booth 101 Wed, 19 Feb 2014 06:00:29 +0000 A crash course for setting up a fun, photo-focused spot for your party guests

By Annie Cheatham

Photo booths have quickly become a must-have item for weddings. They provide a fun experience for guests and produce a unique favor that everyone can enjoy. If you’re thinking about hiring a photo booth for your wedding reception, rehearsal dinner, or other event, here are some of the areas you may want to research before making a decision.

Booth Design

Photo booths come in two main designs — enclosed and open. An enclosed photo booth is what most people think of as the traditional set-up. You walk into the photo booth, close the curtain, and have a private photo session. An open booth has a background and a photo tower, but the two sides are open.

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The open booth can accommodate larger groups of people, but it lacks the privacy of the enclosed booth. Both set-ups work great for weddings, but one may compliment your vision and décor more than the other.



The quality of the photo booth camera and printer make a huge difference in the immediate print and the ability to reprint your photos. You should look for a company that uses DSLR cameras and dye-sublimation printers. A DSLR will ensure that you receive high-resolution images after the event. A dye-sub printer will quickly produce professional photo prints that do not bleed or fade over time. Try to avoid photos booths that use small digital cameras or inkjet printers.


There are a lot of options to explore when it comes to the photo booth print. Most booths can print out either double strips and 4×6 singles, though you’ll have to pick one or the other for a single event. Some booths let the guests choose if they want color or black-and-white prints. On occasion you may find a booth that requires you pay extra for physical prints. Most companies offer an online gallery of your images, though some do charge an additional fee for it.



There are some classic booths that can operate on their own, but most photo booth experiences require, and are enhanced by, the presence of an attendant. Not only does the attendant set up the booth and make sure all the equipment is operating correctly, they also engage and assist the guests throughout the event.


The two most popular items to go along with a photo booth are a memory book station and a props table. Sometimes these items may come with your photo booth package, but many times they are items you can add on to your rental. Some photo booth companies may let you bring your own props and scrap book, but this is something to discuss before signing a contract. There is a huge difference between a memory book put together by a photo booth attendant and one set out for your guests to complete on their own. Other additions offered may include a social media station where guests can instantly email and upload their pictures, a live stream of images shown to guests outside the booth, a video booth where guests can take pictures and also leave video messages, and personalized graphics on the prints.



When you search online for photo booths, you’ll no doubt look through pages and pages of results. Prices can vary by hundreds of dollars for what seem like similar products. But all booths are not created equal, and all operators don’t provide the same level of professionalism or quality. Ask your wedding vendors, specifically planners and venue representatives, who they’ve had positive (and negative) experiences with and what type of booth they think fits your weddings style. Ask a photo booth company for references and photo samples. If you’re considering a national company, ask who will be the attendant at your event and how long they’ve been with the company. Ask about back-up equipment. A little extra investment may be the difference between a company having quality equipment, back-up equipment, troubleshooting experience, insurance and a great attitude.


Annie Cheatham owns and operates Athens Photo Booths. She has been working in the Athens wedding scene for more than 10 years. See more about Annie and Athens Photo Booths here .

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Money-saving tips from local couples Wed, 19 Feb 2014 06:00:28 +0000

James & Ashley Gordy

Wedding date: 9/2/12

Venue: State Botanical Garden of Georgia, Day Chapel (ceremony) & Terrace Room (reception)

Photo credit: Meagan O. Photography

Money-saving tips:

“Consider having a morning wedding. Our ceremony was at 10am with the reception beginning at 11am. We had Mama’s Boy Restaurant cater a delivious brunch with mimosas! Rather than having cake, we chose four different pies (also baked by Mama’s Boy).  We’re enjoying a slice of apple pie in our picture.  The brunch and mimosa/beer open bar were much more affordable than dinner options, and the pies were less expensive (and tastier) than traditional wedding cake.  More than a year later we still hear from our guests about how wonderful the food was.  We were worried that people might not dance at a morning wedding, but as you can see, there was no need for concern!”

“Another way we saved money is by tapping the talents of our family and friends: our live music was provided by the groom’s brother and friend; our favors were honey from the groom’s father’s apiary and muscadine jelly from his brother’s vineyard; the wedding ceremony photography was gifted to us by a close friend; the priest who performed the ceremony is the bride’s godfather! The made our wedding feel so personal!”


Lorie & Beth Moore

Wedding date: August 18, 2012

Venue: State Botanical Garden of Georgia

Photo credit: Todd Baugh Photography

Money-saving tips:

“Do not get married in Athens on a weekend when there’s a UGA home game if you or any of your guests will need hotel rooms. Most of the hotels in Athens exist only to accommodate the large influx of football fans during the fall, so pretty much every room within a 50 mile-radius is pre-booked by legacy ticket-holders and fan clubs up to a year in advance.”

“Find a venue and a caterer that will allow you to provide your own alcohol in bulk. The catering and alcohol were easily two of our biggest expenses, and the alcohol still cost us several thousands of dollars for 115 guests, but it could have cost us several thousands more had it been upcharged through a caterer. Ours even gave us a referral to a local distributor and helped us transport it to the venue.”

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The four seasons of style: Summer Wed, 19 Feb 2014 06:00:27 +0000 Just because you have a favorite color doesn’t mean it easily translates to a formal event. Instead, look to the season of your wedding for a color palette. Maybe it’s pastels for spring or bolder, cool colors for winter, but setting a color palette can set the entire tone for your event.

We talked with the experts at Athens Wedding Professionals, who offered up inspiration for a wedding for each season, starting with a color palette, but also taking into consideration the weather, the venue and the attire. Use these ideas to transform your own wedding or special event into an occasion to remember.

Compiled by Natalie Bradley, Michele Turner and others in Athens Wedding Professionals

Courtney Goldman Photography

Courtney Goldman Photography

Event planners often get requests for a “simple, elegant, classic wedding.” But this can mean different things depending on the couple. But for the most part, it means a look or a feel that will never go out of style or look too trendy.

Planning a wedding consumes extraordinary amounts of time, effort and money, which is why, when in doubt, opt for classic over super trendy so you can enjoy this rite of passage for many years to come (and not just while that trend lasts). 

That being said, if you’ve found details and trends that you love, consider adding those elements while keeping your overall wedding feel simple, elegant and classic. A neutral color scheme also will open up many options for flowers and décor.  

Dress it up to feel like old Hollywood with glitz and glam, or make it more casual with burlap, linen and organic elements. — Natalie Bradley

Summer has such a variety of white and cream flowers, so it’s a matter of a more tailored look (like a calla lily), informal (like a daisy), or textures (like roses, peonies, dahlias and carnations). If you’re a fan of greenery with your floral design, consider having extra pops of green showing through clear glass vases, like banana leaves.

Make sure to select foods that aren’t too heavy. Often you’ll find yourself planning summer weddings in the winter, when you crave heavier dishes. Instead think salads, fresh veggies and lighter meat. You can also pull your fresh look onto the buffet, asking your caterer to use natural accents like bamboo or large leaves in presentation.

Classic colors call for a classic dress design. Make sure to select a dress weight and fabric that’s easy to wear in those hotter months. Many heavily beaded dresses are extremely hot and heavy, so put a lot of thought into your selection.


Sara Wise Photography

Sara Wise Photography

Summer itself feels vibrant and full of life, which is why yellow is a great match for a summer wedding. Take this idea and run with it for your own inspiration, changing it according to your own style and personality. 

If your style is more preppy, try navy and gray accents. If you prefer a striking contrast, pair yellow with black and white. And because there are so many beautiful flowers in the summer in varying shades of yellow, try using décor and other design elements to bring in other colors and also help balance textures. 

For summer weddings, always make sure you consider the sun and the heat with your cake as well as flowers. You don’t want your cake to melt or any flowers to wither because of intense sunlight, so plan carefully with your venue, caterer and baker to make sure these details will last throughout the day (and not just for 30 minutes).

Also, don’t forget about your guests’ comfort. In the summer, bugs can be a major problem, so use a product like Yard Guard (available at hardware and home-improvement stores) that kills bugs and insects for six to eight hours. If you’re working with a location that you can access a few days in advance, you may want to invest in a few machines called Mosquito Magnets so you and your guests can enjoy your wedding day in comfort — they truly make a difference.

— Natalie Bradley


There are lots of fun, natural elements in this color scheme — sunflowers, daisies, mums, alstroemeria, baby’s breath, cotton and many more keep it cheery and bright.

Have fun with fabric and designer straws to add those elements of surprise. Think of home accessories and table-top decor that inspires you and makes you smile when planning your wedding design, and incorporate it where appropriate.

You can still choose to stay classic with your choice of dress if you’d like. Or, you can use accents in your sash, jewelry or shoes to pull in your vibrant choice of colors. The pop of color in your shoe and accessory choice in particular is hot right now and is such a fun surprise to see with a classic white, champagne or ivory dress.

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Popular songs for the father-daughter dance Wed, 19 Feb 2014 06:00:24 +0000 Many brides anxiously await their opportunity to dance with dear old Dad at their wedding receptions. One of the more beloved wedding traditions, the father-daughter dance is an often touching moment for fathers, new brides and guests alike. Though fathers and their daughters can choose whatever song they’d like for their special dance together, the following are some of the more popular songs for this special event.

* “The Way You Look Tonight” — Frank Sinatra

* “My Girl” — The Temptations

* “Isn’t She Lovely” — Stevie Wonder

* “Wonderful Tonight” — Eric Clapton

* “Have I Told You Lately” — Rod Stewart

* “Butterfly Kisses” — Bob Carlisle

* “Over The Rainbow” — Israel Kamakawiwo’ole

* “You Are So Beautiful” — Joe Cocker

* “Unforgettable” — Nat King Cole

* “Daughters” — John Mayer


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“Father and Daughter” — Paul Simon

* “Daughter” — Loudon Wainwright

* “Landslide” — Fleetwood Mac

MetroCreative Connection

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The four seasons of style: Winter Wed, 19 Feb 2014 06:00:22 +0000 Compiled by Natalie Bradley, Michele Turner and others in

Athens Wedding Professionals

Just because you have a favorite color doesn’t mean it easily translates to a formal event. Instead, look to the season of your wedding for a color palette. Maybe it’s pastels for spring or bolder, cool colors for winter, but setting a color palette can set the entire tone for your event.

We talked with the experts at Athens Wedding Professionals, who offered up inspiration for a wedding for each season, starting with a color palette, but also taking into consideration the weather, the venue and the attire. Use these ideas to transform your own wedding or special event into an occasion to remember.




A lot of people shy away from winter weddings, but they can be breathtaking, especially when you work with the season instead of against it. Navy is a popular color choice for weddings this year, but don’t worry about it being a fad — this color will continue to be fabulous for years to come. It is striking and works well with many other color choices. For inspiration, pair navy with mauve-pink and cream so it won’t feel like a spring color palette. The richness underlying these tones helps add depth and warmth to a winter wedding and keeps it from feeling stark.

Because winter has more limited options in floral, look to linens and other interesting textures to add dimension to your overall design.

In winter, either go natural with your décor or choose accents with a bit of sparkle, like brooches.

Make sure to choose appropriate fabrics for the cooler months, or provide wraps for yourself and your bridesmaids. You want to be comfortable for any outdoor pictures and travel time between activities. For men’s attire, even if you’re choosing navy, it’s OK if you decide on black tuxes or suits. Just consider navy accents or patterns for ties and other décor to pull it all together. You don’t have to be so matchy-matchy for this look to work.

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Stick to the list Wed, 19 Feb 2014 06:00:21 +0000 Your step-by-step guide to planning a wedding

By Michele Turner

Planning a wedding can be one of the most exciting and gratifying times of your life. It can also easily become a horrific experience plagued by panic, stress and an overwhelming desire to hop a red-eye to Vegas. So, how can couples “to-be” take measures to ensure that their ceremony guests do not include the hotel concierge or an Elvis impersonator?

The most important advice I stress to all brides is to allow plenty of time to plan. Rome was not built in a day. This is also true for one of the most important events of your life. Regardless of how small, large, simple, or elaborate your vision is for this day, rest assured that the height of your “to-do” list will undoubtedly dwarf the summit of Mt. Everest if you are not careful. Adequate planning and an experienced event coordinator can make all the difference in the world and ensure that the “b” words used by your friends and family to describe you on the big day include “beautiful and brilliant” rather than “bride-zilla.”

It is imperative that you set deadlines for yourself and meet them. Ideally, all brides would have at least 12-18 months to plan their event. Typically, this is not the case. It is important to remember that the earlier you start the more likely you will be able to secure the wedding professionals you desire.

Remember, there is a very good reason why a particular wedding professional is booked one year in advance: It is because they are great at what they do. So, don’t assume you will have your pick if you start calling four months from the date of your wedding. The only thing this assures you is a sense of panic that will quickly escalate to mass hysteria by day two of phone calls.

This timeline will help you organize yourself, set deadlines and keep you as calm as is humanly possible. Certainly, there are books devoted to wedding “to-do” lists. So be aware that this list encompasses the major highlights that will ensure you are well on your way to being the calm, collected bride you always envisioned. If you are planning in a short time frame, DO NOT panic. Start immediately, and do not be afraid to ask for help from friends, family and professionals. Most importantly, do not allow details to overshadow what this day should mean to you, your fiancé and your families.

At least 6-8 months prior to wedding
Determine your “vision” of the day
What season or time of year do you want to have the wedding? Is it intimate or elaborate? Formal or informal? Sit down together and make these basic decisions. The answers will guide you through the rest of the planning process.

Hire an event coordinator (if desired)
Being in the event coordinating business, I obviously have strong opinions about the benefits of a coordinator. Often, when interviewing with brides, I follow up the conversation with one phrase: “If you don’t hire us, hire someone.” In addition to having a professional that can guide you through the maze of wedding etiquette, which has come a long way since the days of Emily Post, a coordinator will allow you, your families, and your friends to enjoy the day together as he or she shuffles hurriedly around to pin corsages, line up ceremony attendants, cue reception announcements, and hand out favors.

Set a budget
Everyone’s financial circumstances are different. A budget is crucial because it is easy to lose track of expenses. A coordinator can also be a huge asset when setting your budget. They understand where the large expenses surface and can help you prioritize your needs, as well as brainstorm on creative ways to make the most of your available funds.

Compile a guest list
Many people wait until they have secured a site to worry about the guest list and addresses. This is a mistake that occurs all too often. How can you make an educated decision regarding the capacity needs of your chosen facilities with no clear idea of your minimum and maximum number of potential guests? Handling this detail early will prevent you from trying to squeeze 350 of your parents’ “closest” friends into an intimate wedding chapel built to accommodate 100 guests.

Set a date and

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reserve your ceremony and reception sites
These are the first things to secure. Find what you want and put down a deposit.

Select and reserve the following wedding professionals
Secure your caterer, photographer, florist, ceremony and reception musicians, officiate, videographer, and cake baker. This is time consuming. Do research, ask questions, and remember that time is always of the essence.

Select attendants and order bridal gown/bridesmaid dresses
Some bridal gowns and bridesmaid dresses can take months to receive after the initial order. Do this as soon as possible to ensure you will have adequate time for alterations.

Send out “save the date cards”
Save the date cards are primarily used for destination weddings, weddings in which a large portion of the guest list will be required to travel out of town to attend the event, or for events scheduled near holidays or on holiday weekends. They are not a necessity, though it is a considerate way to inform friends and family of your upcoming event.

4-6 months prior to your wedding
Plan and book your honeymoon
Great deals can be found on the Internet. Just be careful that it is a great deal. For plans this important, I recommend using a travel agent that can assist you with your trip details. But the need for professional assistance is ultimately dictated by the complexity of your travel plans.

Select and order invitations and all stationary
Don’t forget to secure someone to assemble your invitations.

Reserve all necessary rental equipment
You should consult with your coordinator, caterer, reception musicians, and event facilities on these requirements to ensure that all of your wedding professionals’ needs will be met.

Arrange wedding day transportation and wedding night accommodations
Are you departing for your honeymoon at midnight? Don’t forget to make wedding night arrangements and transportation to and from that destination. Otherwise you might end up “bunking” with your parents in their double room at Howard Johnson.

Register for gifts, purchase wedding rings, select favors and wedding party gifts
Selecting and ordering these items can often take longer than you anticipate. Leave yourself plenty of time to avoid hasty decisions.

Purchase or reserve groom/groom’s party formal attire
Men shrink away at the site of a tailor or the utterance of the word “tuxedo.” Handle this early to allow time for them to adjust to the idea of a bow tie or tails. This is also a good time to ensure you have the accessories for your bridal gown (shoes, jewelry, veil, lingerie, stockings, crinoline, and, of course, the kitchen sink).

2-4 months prior to your wedding
Discuss final event details with the following wedding professionals
Menus with caterer; event set up with coordinator, rental company, and event facilities; service, readings, wedding vows, and ceremony musical selections with officiate; desired photo list with photographer; floral and bouquet details with florist; music expectations and requests with your reception entertainment professional; hair and makeup with salon.

Mail invitations
Mailings should be coordinated with enough time to receive responses and provide a final guarantee to your caterer. Typically, invitations to out of town guests should be mailed 6-8 weeks prior to the event, with the in-town guests receiving invites 4-6 weeks prior to the event. Remember to check that the postage for your response card is adequate.

Schedule rehearsal and rehearsal dinner
Also, make sure that the wedding professionals planning to attend the rehearsal (your coordinator, officiate, ceremony musician, etc.) are all aware of the time and

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date, as well as your immediate family, wedding party, readers and other ceremony participants.

1-2 months prior to your wedding
Ensure you have compiled all necessary items provided by you or your family
The best thing to do is purchase two large storage tubs with lids. Label one “ceremony” and the other “reception” and add items to them as you acquire them. “Ceremony” tubs often include programs, unity candles, guest book, signing pen, pictures to display at ceremony site, etc. “Reception” tubs often include favors, favorite CDs for band or deejay to play, toasting glasses, cake service, etc.

Marriage license
Nothing brings a ceremony to a dead halt like the lack of a license. Find out what the individual requirements are for the county in which you will be married and make plans to do this immediately. This is also a good time to begin assembling the necessary documents for a bride wishing to legally change her name — but, do not start this process until after you return from your honeymoon.

2-4 weeks prior to your wedding
Finalize last-minute details
These details include tasks such as the final dress fitting and pick-up, finalization and printing of ceremony programs, writing toasts to one another for the rehearsal dinner or vows for the ceremony, breaking in your wedding shoes, finalizing your seating plan and place cards, and finalizing event timelines with your coordinator.

1-2 weeks prior to your wedding
More details
These last-minute details include such tasks as: getting a final guaranteed guest count to the caterer; writing thank-you notes to your parents, family, close friends and wedding party for their involvement in your big day and wrapping thank-you gifts; confirming and packing for your honeymoon; beauty requirements such as hair color, or eyebrow and body waxing; and confirming, or having your coordinator confirm, arrival times and all contract logistics with your wedding professionals and service providers.

1 day prior to your wedding
You’re almost there
Final details include tasks such as: getting a manicure and pedicure; hosting a bridesmaid luncheon; attending the rehearsal; and preparing tip or payment envelopes for wedding professionals requiring final payment the day of the event.

Your wedding day
You made it
Relax and enjoy every moment of the day.

Keep your eye on the aisle and don’t let details surrounding bows, bubbles, baked brie, or bands cloud your judgment regarding who and what this day is truly about. Planning carefully, setting and maintaining realistic goals for yourself, and never losing sight of the important aspects surrounding this day will ensure that you are the cool, calm and brilliant “bride-to-be” that everyone knows and loves. Follow these tips and save that “first-class ticket” to Vegas for your renewal vows later on down the road. It will enable you to have the best of both worlds, and you will still make Elvis proud.

Michele Turner owns Consultants Unlimited, a special event design group specializing in wedding ceremonies and receptions. See more about Michele and Consultants Unlimited here .

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Meet the Athens Wedding Professionals Wed, 19 Feb 2014 06:00:18 +0000 ACCOMMODATIONS

Athens Convention & Visitors Bureau


Hotel Indigo-Athens



A Divine Event


Deborah’s Specialty Cakes
Epting Events

Hallie Jane’s Catering

J’s Bottle Shop

Trumps Catering


Consultants Unlimited

Natalie Bradley Events


Cloverleaf Farm

Foundry Park Inn & Spa

The Georgia Center’s UGA Hotel & Conference Center

Georgia Museum of Art

Lyndon House Arts Center

State Botanical Garden of Georgia

Taylor-Grady House

The Georgia Club

Thompson House and Gardens


European Floral Design

Flowers By On

Gardenia Floral Design



Global Escapes Travel


Rabbi Dr. Ronald D. Gerson

Sacred Ceremonies
Rev. Dr. Don Randall / Rev. David Key
706.769.7540 / 770.309.2394


Athens A-Train Band

Carrie Scruggs-Harpist

Classic City Entertainment

Entertainment Purposes Only DJ

MusicMaster DJs, Inc.

Sound Insight Productions

The Highballs


Athens Photo Booths

Courtney Goldman Photography

Mark Parsons Photography

Melissa Pepin Photography

Sara Wise Photography

Wingate Downs Photography


Barron’s Rental Center

Oconee Events, Inc.


Annie’s Video Memories

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Popular songs for the mother-son dance Wed, 19 Feb 2014 06:00:13 +0000 Wedding ceremonies and receptions are rife with tradition, and many of those traditions are celebrations of the two families joining together. One of the more popular traditions is the mother-son dance during the reception when the mother of the groom gets to shine on the dance floor with her son as guests watch. Some mother-son combinations choose to go with a more traditional song for their dance, while others prefer to turn up the volume and get down to a more modern song. The following are some popular songs chosen for the mother-son dance.

* “What a Wonderful World” — Louis Armstrong

* “In My Life” — The Beatles

* “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)” — James Taylor

* “Summer Wind” — Frank Sinatra

* “Simple Man” — Lynyrd Skynyrd

* “Forever Young” — Rod Stewart

* “The Wind Beneath My Wings” — Bette Midler

* “Child Of Mine” — Carole King

* “God Only Knows” — The Beach Boys

* “Blessed” — Elton John

* “Just The Way You Are” — Billy Joel

* “I’ll Have To Say I Love You In A Song” — Jim Croce

* “You’ve Got A Friend In Me” — Randy Newman


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Love Stories Wed, 19 Feb 2014 06:00:13 +0000 Meet recently married couples from around the Athens area

MP Photography

Annie & Jeff

July 20, 2014

Madison County Fair Grounds

Photo Credit: Melissa Pepin Photography








MP Photography

Haley & Todd

May 18, 2013

Founders Garden, UGA

Photo Credit: Melissa Pepin Photography





IMG_0346Laura & Brent

December 14, 2013

The Twelve Oaks Inn

Photo Credit: Melissa Pepin Photography





Melissa Pepin Photography, Copyright 2013Danielle & Andrew

March 9, 2013

State Botanical Gardens of Georgia

Photo credit: Melissa Pepin

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Melissa Pepin Photography, Copyright 2013


MP PhotographyDanielle & Tyler

April 27th, 2014

Ceremony: Chapel at UGA

Reception: Foundry Park Inn & Spa

Photo Credit: Melissa Pepin Photography






MP Photography MP Photography


MP PhotographyDaynes & Brian

February 23, 2013

State Botanical Gardens

Melissa Pepin Photography







MP Photography


MP PhotographyMegan & Nat

July 30, 2013

Foundry Park Inn & Spa

Photo Credit: Melissa Pepin Photography







MP Photography


DSC_8543Caroline & Jamey

June 8, 2013

Ashford Manor

Photo Credit: Wingate Downs

See a video from their wedding day here .






Wingate Downs Wingate Downs Wingate Downs Wingate Downs Wingate Downs Wingate Downs


Taffi & Kelvin

October 19, 2013

Oconee County Civic Center









Stephanie & Randal

June 1, 2013

Day Chapel, State Botanical Garden









Heather & Michael

October 13, 2013

Cosmopolitan Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada









Kayla & Mark

June 22, 2013

Mt. Princeton Hot Springs Resort, Nathrop, Colorado

Photo Credit: Emily Lamont Photography








Shannan & Victor

September 6, 2013

Bistro on the Marsh, Kennebunkport, Maine









Denise & Craig

November 10, 2013

Thomas Cotton Gin









Grace & James

September 14, 2013

American Museum of Visionary Arts, Baltimore, Maryland









Corbin & Robert

April 13, 2013

St. Michael’s Church, Charleston, South Carolina









Anne & William

July 13, 2013

Hudson Hall, Central Station, Memphis, Tennessee









Melissa Pepin Photography, Copyright 2013Emily & Justin

April 6, 2013

Foundry Park Inn & Spa

Photo Credit: Melissa Pepin Photography

We met when we were 20 years old in 2007. Justin was in a fraternity and they were having their spring formal. Justin’s date backed out a the last minute and he needed someone to take…that’s where I come in! A few of my girl friends were going and suggested to him that they had a friend he should take. They promised I would be fun! So a few days later I got a call from him asking if I would go to formal with him. I said yes. Long story short we met I a blind date and started dating 2 months later. For the best two years we continued dating and having a great time in Athens finishing school. Maybe too much fun!! After Justin graduated he took a job that was 100% travel. This was pretty difficult but we made it work- FaceTime was such a blessing! Justin did this for a year and as you can imagine it got pretty old going from hotel to hotel. When he left that job he took a job right outside if Huntsville, Alabama (still long distance). Now that he wasn’t traveling anymore the pressure was on! Haha. After about a year and a half in Alabama he finally decided he was lonely and decided to propose. We were engaged in May 2012. FINALLY!! We got married in April and are still living in Madison, Alabama. It has been a great ride and I am so glad I took the leap and went on the blind date not knowing I would meet my best friend!


Stephanie-Ken-89Stephanie & Ken

Historic Smithonia Farm

Planner – Natalie Bradley Events

Caterer – Hallie Jane’s

Flowers – Gardenia Floral Design

Photo Credit: Twin Hearts

I met Ken in the dorms the first month of our freshman year at UGA. I had just woken up from a nap and was looking a hot mess. I heard some of my new friends hanging out down the hall and decided to see what was going on. When I got there, the first person I saw in the room was Ken. I had no idea who he was, but I thought he was the cutest thing I’d ever seen and I needed to meet him. I was introduced to him, but shortly after he said he needed to head back to his dorm. Because we were in Brumby, he needed an escort out, so at that moment I decided I was going for a run and could walk out with him. I ran and got my shoes and iPod we headed out.

We talked awkwardly in the elevator, asking the typical freshman questions like Where are you from? And what’s your major? He told me wanted to be President and I rolled my eyes. He said at that moment he thought he’d never have a chance with me. When we got out of the building, I quickly said good bye and ran off. Of course, I tried to run fast and make sure my pony tail was swinging even more than usual as he watched me run away.

He ended up getting my number from the girl I met him through in the dorms. They had been friends in high school. We hung out that Friday night and from then on we were inseparable.

After dating for 5 years, I knew Ken would be proposing soon, but I did not know exactly when. He caught me completely off guard, I came home from work and had plans with two of my best girl friends that evening. As I walked in my apartment there was a box of cupcakes sitting on my kitchen table, I knew what was about to happen and I froze. Ken came out of the back of my apartment and calmly told me to open the box. I said no. He repeated, “Stephanie, open the box.” Again, I said “No, Ken I am not going to open that box.” He gave in and opened the box himself. Inside there were 3 cupcakes and in place of the forth was a smaller box. Then, in the middle of my tiny apartment kitchen, Ken got down on one knee and proposed. Of course I said yes…. I remember just laughing. I was so happy, excited and shocked that all I could do is laugh! Four months later we had a beautiful August wedding, I could not have asked for a better wedding day!

For us, everything just seemed so natural. We have grown up together, from the crazy 18 year olds that we were when we first met to being 24, working full time jobs and trying to figure out adulthood. I think that is what makes our relationship so strong. We have been there for each other through these past 6 years full of changes… figuring out how to make it on our own in college, surviving our classes, graduating from college and this awkward transition into becoming adults and figuring out who we want to be and what we want to do in our lives. Through all of that we have seen every good side and bad side there is to see of the other. I love that I have had him with me through all of that and I am so excited that he will still be there for all of the changes in our lives to come. Ken is the absolute best friend I have ever had, and lucky for me he is now also my husband!


IMG_4468Kellie & Matt

November 19, 2013

Foundry Park Inn & Spa

Photo Credit: Melissa Pepin Photography

How we met:
Both of us were students working at Olive Garden to help pay the bills and keep food on our shelves. We had worked together for about 2 years before we started dating. We knew each other casually during this time period but we never truly hung out. In late 2008 we found ourselves both single and this was the start of our relationship.

How we fell in love:
To put in bluntly, Matt was the one who played hard to get. While he expressed interest in Kellie he was the one who “acted” like his feeling towards Kellie were “no big deal”. After some cat and mouse games, Matt officially asked Kellie out on a first date. While Matt was driving Kellie’s car to the restaurant on their first date, they were T-Boned in front of the Classic Center (not his fault). Matt then was forced to meet the understandably upset parents of Kellie. After this unfortunate first date evening, our love grew into the wonderful life we live now. Matt fell in love with Kellie’s selflessness, she is the nicest person Matt has ever met. She was beautiful, smart, and cared nothing about what was in it for her. She is always focused on bettering those around her. Kellie fell in love with Matt’s intelligence, musical talents, and humor, not to mention he is very handsome. Athens, being the great city it is, was the perfect back drop for our love to form a solid foundation. We had weekly dates at Transmetropolitan (Transmet for the locals), 2 Salads (no olives) and a pitcher of Terrapin (always outside, no matter the weather); in fact we held our rehearsal dinner there and it was wonderful.

After 5 years of dating Matt decided to make it official. One night after a long day at work Matt decided to take Kellie out to eat. Given it was 9 at night, Kellie was skeptical but since Matt being a manager at Olive Garden now and Kellie finishing school she didn’t mind when they had time to hang out or go on a date. We went to Outback as some of the other places we picked were closed at that time. We had a great meal and went home. Kellie went inside and put her coat up as Matt went upstairs to change and get ready for the surprise. Matt gave Lucie (our dog and we also have a dog named Boss but lucie was great for the part) the ring in the box as she always has something in her mouth she isn’t supposed to. Matt called Kellie upstairs and told her Lucie had something in her mouth. Kellie was concerned and grabbed what was in her mouth out and opened the box. Kellie started crying as Matt got on one knee and asked her to be his wife.

Athens Wedding:
We did everything, except the rehearsal dinner mentioned above, at the Foundry Park Inn and Spa. It was a great deal with what was included. Food was phenomenal, service was impeccable. We had tons of family from out of town and they drove up to the hotel Friday, and didn’t have to touch their cars until they got in them to leave. Centrally located to everything they could need in Athens: food, music, bars, and UGA. There was a shuttle to downtown always available…even at 2:30 AM. We had the wedding in Galleria 2 and the reception at the Melting Point (10 feet away). Both were more than we had ever dreamed. Our ceremony was unique in that our minister was Kellie’s Uncle, a Lt. Col. in the Air Force and also a Chaplin (Lt. Col. David Mansberger). He performed our wedding via Skype from a war zone in Afghanistan. The staff at the Foundry did a great job helping us with this monumental task. After much planning we put our faith in the satellites 100 of miles above our heads for a smooth transmission. Everything worked out perfect. It was a dream come true and we thank our Parents, Friends, and Families for being a part of our amazing ceremony. Needless to say, we are in love and will continue to grow together as a happily married couple.


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Getting your face wedding day ready Wed, 19 Feb 2014 06:00:06 +0000 By Jana Vlaciky

There are so many things happening when you’re a Bride that you often forget the basics, take a risk you may not normally or even more innocently treat your self and have it turn to disaster.

You’ve dieted & sweated it out to get into your dress and it’s likely even tired some crazy colored juice cleanse. But what about your face?

Many Brides forget to look after their skin and then end up stressing about it at the last minute. Here are some basic tips and hints for getting your skin ready for makeup & your wedding day glow.


Tip 1
Drink lots of water: drinking water can be hard work for all of us but the pay off is worth it. Water will help keep your skin bright, can reduce dark under eye circles and flush out any toxins – it won’t just be you face that feels better. We know everyone will want to celebrate your upcoming nuptials with you, where there is alcohol (tea or coffee) involved keep switching between these and water all of the former can cause bloating & dehydrate your skin. Lots of leafy green vegetables & a diet of anti oxidant rich foods is also recommended


Tip 2
DON’T change your beauty routine: If you decide your not happy with your current skincare this is something you need to address no less than 3 months before your big day, my personal suggestion along with most skincare/makeup professionals is 6 months. You never know if your skin is going to have a reaction to the new products/routine.



Tip 3
Facials & Waxing:  Treating yourself to a facial the week of your wedding as a way to relax may cause you more stress, unless this is something you’ve been doing regularly as above you just don’t know how your skin will react. If you do get regular facials the last one before your wedding should be the week before. Same thing go’s for waxing (and not just your brows) if you get your brows waxed this needs to be done at least a week before to make sure the skin has evened back out for smooth makeup application. If you don’t wax but want your brows shaped we suggest  getting a professional to pluck them, ask that they only clean your brows up not totally change the shape this way you’ll still feel like you.

Having your makeup artist booked months in advance can be a great help as talking to them or your skincare professional  can help guide you if your about to make a good or bad decision. Remember they have been doing this for sometime now and have seen all kinds of disasters & don’t stress more often than not they are fixable.

We always tell our Brides if your not sure call us first we’ll be happy to talk to you give you our advice, you’d be surprised just how many pick up the phone or send that email and end up being glad they did.

Jana Vlaciky is the owner of EliJana Cosmetics. Elijana Retail Store & Makeup Studio  is a FIRST for Athens, A place that supplies  and applies makeup for all occasions, such as Special Events, Proms, Formals and Weddings. Its the place to stop by and pick up anything you need for your makeup bag.Our motto is “It’s All About You.” See more about Jana and EliJana here .


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Everything in its right place Wed, 19 Feb 2014 06:00:00 +0000 By Natalie Bradley

Finding the right venue…
The size of your guest list and your selected venue will go hand in hand. I suggest determining your guest list before selecting the venue so that you’re not stressed trying to make something work that just won’t.

Make a list of your priorities as well. If you are dead-set on getting married at a specific venue because of sentimental reasons, that’s just fine, just consider that this may limit the size of your list. Also, remember that you can get a lot more bodies in a space if you have a cocktail reception or dessert reception where not every single person must have a seat. For seated and buffet dinner receptions, you need more space to accommodate all your guests.

Make sure you’re comparing apples to apples. Ask for a break-down for all fees. Sometimes a venue is very inexpensive to rent, but you must use their in-house caterer for all food and beverage, which could be way outside your budget. You need to see all the numbers before signing on the dotted line in other words.

Are there hidden costs, or costs you’re not considering? For instance, if you’re choosing an outdoor venue, do you need a permit, how much will rentals be for the space and are they included? Tents, tables, chairs and even restrooms may need to be rented. Make sure you know what the rules are.

Cassie Hunter

Cassie Hunter

Also, choose a location that fits with the vision you have in mind for your wedding. It will save you a bundle in the long run. If you choose a space because it’s cheap, but it will cost you a fortune to transform the space into what you really want, it may be less expensive in the long run if you choose a different venue.

Are there any restrictions about music, end time, parking, handicap issues, decoration restrictions and so on. There are a lot of things to consider beyond “curb appeal”. There are no right or wrong answers here, just what will work best for you and your wedding!

Selecting the food…
Timing is important when it comes to your food and your budget!  There are no rules that say you must get married in the afternoon or at night.  Think about your wedding day and envision what formality and style best suits you and your sweetheart!  Here are a few fun times to consider…

Good morning
If you are an early riser and really like the idea of starting off the day with your festivities, get married in the morning! (Just remember to allow time before your wedding to get ready and take your pictures.) Your reception can be a beautiful breakfast, bountiful brunch or even a luxurious luncheon.  Many facilities may even offer a less expensive rate because they can book a second event after your morning merriment!

Afternoon affair
If the afternoon suits you best, consider a few possibilities, but choose your time carefully.  There is a small window of opportunity to plan an afternoon wedding and which you do not need to serve your guests a full meal.  If you have your ceremony anytime between 1:00-1:30, you can coordinate a mid-afternoon event to suit your needs (and save a pretty penny or two).

Punch and cake reception
Many people immediately dismiss this type of wedding as the small town fellowship hall reception. Nothing is wrong with this type of reception as long as you plan and design this type of reception with style and class!

For this type of reception, you could serve a variety of smaller cakes- maybe 3 or 4 smaller wedding cakes of different flavors and designs, all complementing one another-and they can be the focal point of your reception.  In addition to the cakes, you could also serve other scrumptious sweet & salty delights.

When planning the “punch”, who says that you can only serve one type and that it must be out of a cut-crystal punch bowl?  What if you create a “punch bar”, consisting of an assortment of your favorite flavors? (Hello…yummy!!) You can rent an array of interesting glasses to serve from and garnish as you would any signature cocktail.  Or, you can create an ice table in which your delightful drinks are displayed with care and elegance, but also keeping them chilled at the same time!  What a surprise this striking display would be?!

Tea time
If you love the idea of a leisurely afternoon filled with elegance and timelessness, an afternoon tea could be perfect for your personality. Taking the idea from the punch and cake reception, you can offer a variety of iced teas (as opposed to punches), which can even include a few “spiked” samplings.

Your food can consist of enjoyable miniature-sized favorites, like sandwiches, salads, pastas, pom frites, and even dressier items like crab cakes and fried green tomatoes (is your mouth watering yet?).  This tea time is NOT just for ladies!!

A Divine Event

A Divine Event

The Cocktail Party
If you’re a couple that loves a great party, a cocktail reception may be perfect for you!  Don’t be fooled with the sound of the reception though.  If you’re hosting a reception during a mealtime (starting anytime between 4-8), it is your duty to serve guests a substantial meal.  The last thing you want is for people to leave hungry or complain about starving at your wedding.

At a cocktail reception, you can loosen up the atmosphere by serving fantastic cocktails of all sorts (just as the name implies), but you should also serve passed and stations of heavy hors d’oeuvres to your guests in lieu of a more formal seated dinner. Guests will feel free to mingle and graze while partying…and usually dancing… the night away!

Remember when planning the seating and menu, that normally this type of reception provides seating for half of your guests, so choose fork-or finger-friendly foods only!  No one wants to have to figure out how to cut their food while standing and juggling a plate, cocktail, napkin and utensils!!

Seated Dinner
For a more formal gathering, dinner parties can be the perfect choice for your wedding reception.  You can have multiple courses served to your guests.

Or, if you prefer a less formal approach, consider family style service, with all of the dinner’s offerings displayed in front of you.  If you choose the latter, just make sure that your tables are roomy enough for all the platters and place settings, and that you choose centerpieces that are not too over- powering.

Often times seated dinners will make your wedding reception last for five hours if you also have a night of dancing in mind, so make certain that you make all your vendors aware and include this time stipulation in your contracts (most southern weddings are based on a four-hour reception).

Dessert reception
If you fancy an evening event, but do not want to serve a full dinner, you may want to start your ceremony later in the evening so that guests can go to dinner prior to your wedding.  You can take similar idea inspirations from the above “punch and cake” reception, but also add fun elements like gourmet coffees and liqueurs.

A dessert reception is an elegant choice, but do make sure that you are clear on your invitation wording so that guests are not disappointed or starving upon arrival!

Incorporating your personalities and theme into your food and beverage
Serving delectable dishes to your guests is always a great way to create a fabulous wedding, but have you also considered that this is a fantastic way to add more of your personality to your special day?

For instance, if you just love Italian, why not consider a family-style Italian dinner, or stations of food like Caesar salad, breads, pastas-to-order, gourmet pizzas, and tiramisu for your wedding cake.  You could even go so far as to serve Italian wines and garnish with delightful herbs often found in Italian food.

We had one wedding where the couple loved all things Italian (even the groom was Italian), so we did exactly this.  You can also get your family involved like we did at this wedding and have them make cookies for favors-their family’s (Italian) tradition.  This is such a great personal touch and what better way to make the families and guests feel like a special, important part of your wedding day!!

No matter what you decide, the point is that you don’t just have to serve meat and potatoes at every event; have some fun and get your creative juices flowing!

A Divine Event

A Divine Event

Selecting flowers and décor…
Finding your inspiration without getting overwhelmed
I’m sure that you’ve already discovered that there are literally endless possibilities for planning inspiration. When you’re planning your wedding, it can be overwhelming to sort through all the amazing ideas out there. In fact, most brides pick too many of those great ideas to the point where your wedding has too many things to focus on, making your wedding chaotic and seemingly disorganized for guests to experience. And you end up wasting tons of money – thousands even – simply because you don’t know what you truly want.

So…how can you plan your dream wedding in a fabulous way without breaking the bank?

I always suggest to every bride having trouble finding her true inspiration to start with a “tear out session”. (Even if you love Pinterest big time, I’ve found that real magazines are easier for our brides and grooms to do this. Of course, I encourage you to use pins that you love too, but start with the magazines when possible.)

You may be thinking…What do I mean by “tear-out session”? You should literally start by sitting in your living room or some place super comfy with a stack of your favorite bridal, interior design, or style magazines and start ripping out the inspiring ideas.

Don’t think about it…just tear out anything and everything that even remotely appeals to you. Don’t think, just tear!!

THEN, once you’ve finished, go back to the stack and look at each pulled page and look for what is striking in each picture. Is it the color scheme, lighting, table-scapes, linens, chairs, or the overall mood? Make notes on each page accordingly (I prefer to use sticky notes) and this will help you get started in the right direction!

Creating your theme…
Once you have your inspiration(s), your theme is the realization of exactly that.  The theme translates your dream and vision into reality, bringing your fantasy to life! A wedding with a clear theme flows effortlessly and beautifully from one element to the next.

Epting Events

Epting Events

Every single detail of your wedding should reflect your theme.

The details make the design…
One major way to make your wedding simple. elegant. fabulous. is to have detailed surprises throughout your wedding and wedding-related events to dazzle your guests!  I’ve included a few ideas for you to use some beautiful details in your wedding plans.

Wedding “Logo”
Hire a graphic designer to create an incredible design for your wedding.  This can be a variety of fantastic designs, like a funky pineapple (hospitality), peach or cotton (southern or Georgia wedding), or it can be as simple as incorporating your initial or monogram in a creative way.  (If you want something very traditional, monograms are always an excellent choice and many stationers offer a beautiful selection so that you do not have to fork out the expense of a graphic designer. if that’s not in the budget.)

You may be thinking “where do I use a wedding logo”?  …Or maybe the better question is where NOT to use it?

For our clients, I suggest that you use your “logo” in these wonderful ways: Stationery, save-the-dates, invitations, thank-you notes, welcome notes and weekend itineraries, napkins, favors, menus, place cards, send-off signage, animated lighting (on your dance floor, side of a building, tent), and  cake “jewelry.”

Making your wedding as personalized and informative as possible is KEY when creating your fabulous day. All of your stationery should include your theme (color, tone and formality), starting with the very first printed mailing your guests receive (save-the-date or invitation).

It’s also a nice touch to include a wedding invitation that contains all events of the weekend (if everyone is invited, or specify the packet to only those invited to particular events).  This way, your invitation tells more of a story of the weekend rather than just inviting them in the old-school way. It’s more enticing to guests to be invited in a super-fun and fabulous way!

Welcome baskets and bags
There’s no nicer way to greet your guests as they arrive from weary travel than to present them with a beautiful basket or bag filled with regional treats.

Also, make sure to include a personalized note and weekend itinerary and/or suggested shops, restaurants, sites and activities to enjoy.

Menu and place cards
If you’re hosting a seated dinner or buffet with assigned seats, it’s always a nice touch to include personalized menu cards that also serve as a place card.

This way they not only know where to be seated, but also what they’re about to enjoy for dinner festivities.

Courtney Goldman Photography

Courtney Goldman Photography

Thank-you notes
Always tie your thank-you notes into your overall wedding theme to make sure that the last thing a guest receives from your wedding (usually after the occasion) reminds them of  how extraordinary and fabulous it was.

Well wishes
Guests love writing you beautiful notes of wishes or congratulations, so why not offer cards (even slivers of left-over paper from other printings) for your guests to write you personal messages and include in your wedding album later. It will be fun for all involved!

If your venue has specified parking areas, multiple ballrooms or can be difficult to locate, make sure to provide ample signage that is not only tied into the whole theme (use your logo or even as simple as the same font or wedding colors), but also very useful!

Incorporating your culture, family traditions and etiquette into your flowers and décor…
Contrary to what many may say, there is a reason for tradition and symbolism.  It’s an essential part of cultures, shows your heritage and shares (subtly) with your guests beautiful sentiments that are important to you.  The interesting thing about incorporating tradition and symbolism is that your wedding may seem cutting-edge because so many people abandon these elements. And, of course, your wedding will DEFINITELY be Simple. Elegant. Fabulous.

Don’t forget!!! …So that your guests understand these subtle Simple. Elegant. Fabulous. gestures you’re making, include a note about symbolism in your ceremony programs or in a prominent location.

* What are traditions for you, your family or culture? Growing up, did you always dream of wearing, your mother’s (or grandmother’s, or aunt’s or sister’s…) veil, wedding dress, pearls, or other heirloom?  Is there a special pendant, jewel, bible, handkerchief or significant accessory you’d love to carry with you on your wedding day (in your bouquet, your shoe or even pinned to your lingerie).

Courtney Goldman Photography

Courtney Goldman Photography

* Is it important to you to have your guests more involved in your ceremony? Taking typical traditions and making them your own can be a fabulous way to enjoy tradition and symbolism too!  Something as simple as adding hymns to your service, or spoken response for the congregation, are great examples of unity for all involved, not just the bride and groom. Or, you can create a thoughtful ceremony moment for all to share in, like the unity candle lighting.  Instead of just having the mothers or parents light the two outside candles, what if you have individual candles for each guest (like a candle-lit Christmas Eve service) and each of your guests share their candle light as a whole until it reaches you and your fiancé.  That’s real unity!

* Another fun way to add symbolism into your wedding is through your flowers.  You could add herbs to your bouquets or to décor like rosemary to symbolize remembrance (as seen in these boutonnieres), or have your guests toss rosemary clippings at your send-off.

*Some flowers that also have symbolic importance for weddings include: bachelor’s button (hope), bluebell (constancy), buttercup (riches), red rose (romantic love), violet (faithfulness), purple anemones (expectation), camellia (gratitude), daisy (shared feelings), honeysuckle (generous and devoted), ivy (fidelity), and lily (purity).

Customizing your wedding…
What I’m about to say may be contrary to everything else you’ve read from other planners, designers and even magazines. Simple. Elegant. Fabulous. Weddings are never overly trendy. Who wants to have a dated wedding before the photos are even placed in the album?

A Divine Event

A Divine Event

Instead….focus on a Custom Wedding. Do you remember specifics about any “cookie-cutter” wedding you attended? Probably not…because usually there are no custom elements present at “generic” events. Place your emphasis on well-chosen details and design rather than the latest fads. If you tend to gravitate toward very trendy looks, I’m not saying to ignore who you are. Just consider adding small touches of funky flare sparingly to show your style without dating your beautiful wedding day.

Put yourselves in your own wedding!! I always ask our clients what your favorite hobbies and interests are…Why?  I want to know who YOU are to make sure that your event features YOU (not some random bride and groom that I can pluck out of any group).  Who wants to waste thousands of dollars on something mediocre at best?

Where to begin?
Here are 5 fantastic ways to add custom touches to your Dream Wedding:

*Create a beautiful, tailored lounge or private getaway area for your guests to enjoy by using everyday furniture with a twist, like ottomans and benches (with fabulous pillow and cushion accents). Your guests will feel relaxed while still mingling in style!

*Have charming linen cocktail and/or dinner napkins made, embroidered with your wedding “logo” or monogram.  If you choose your “logo”, they can also serve as a beautiful favor for your guests, or if you opt for your (new last name) monogram, they can start your own linen collection, while taking away an extraordinary memento from your wedding day.

*Offer a signature drink to your guests that also reflects the theme of your wedding.  Sometimes this can be as simple as coordinating your color scheme into the drink and garnishing it with a beautiful orchid, piece of fruit, or colorful rimmer. You can also get more intricate with the customizing by having it reflect your sub-theme (like bellinis for an Italian dinner or mojitos for a Latin-inspired reception), and you can give it a funky name to also reflect your wedding’s style.

*Sensational serving pieces can also reflect the style, atmosphere, and creativity of your reception.  Silver or black trays are nice for passing hors d’oeuvres, but why not opt for more interesting items like bamboo, wood or even tropical leaves to serve your guests during hospitality hour.  Likewise, if you’re over the formal and traditional cake bases, maybe a moss; flower; or even fabric-covered cake stand is up your alley!

*For a seated affair, instead of numbering your tables, what if you name them after places you’ve been together as a couple, cities where each of you have lived, street names that are significant to you, or special buildings/gardens/areas in your host town. What a great conversation starter this can be for your guests at the reception!

Choosing entertainment…
Entertainment is SO important for a Memorable, Dream Wedding. This is so key to remember, especially when planning on a budget, because your entertainment it will MAKE or BREAK your Wedding! It doesn’t matter if you choose a DJ or live music, but what DOES matter is that you choose and research this area CAREFULLY. It can be as easy as 1-2-3 as long as you do some homework.

Entertainment-Purposes-Only-DJ, Courtney-Goldman-Photography

Entertainment-Purposes-Only-DJ, Courtney-Goldman-Photography

*Know Your Crowd!! Yes, this is YOUR wedding…BUT will you be the only ones dancing or enjoying the ambiance of your reception? Hopefully not. Think about the generations of guests in attendance, where your guests are from, and what gets them going. Is your crowd into Beach Music, Big Band, Motown, Oldies, Latin beats, R&B, or top 40?…. or are they into ALL of the above?

*Ask for References! Not only should you ask for references, but you should also actually follow-up on them. References can be your best tool in researching ANY vendor, but most importantly for your entertainment. Ask to speak to at least 3 of their last Brides (not corporate or social hosts). Brides LOVE to talk about their weddings (you will too!), so don’t be nervous about calling. Ask how the crowd responded to the music, how well the DJ/band leader emceed events, if they followed your requests, did they go with the flow, and were there any issues? And, of course, ALWAYS ask if she would hire this company again for her wedding (SO IMPORTANT!!)

*Carefully Review the Contract Contracts for entertainers often request all sorts of different things including power, stage or space requirements, weather contingencies, time limits, breaks (bands), setup stipulations, mandatory meals, lodging, and even alcoholic beverages (yes, you did read that correctly). Many times, you may want to amend your contracts according to your wishes and you HAVE EVERY RIGHT TO. It is, after all, YOUR WEDDING DAY! It can never hurt to ask…. and, if you don’t have a good feeling about someone, move on to the next!

Getting organized… 

Before you can really start planning, you need to get organized. Every simple. elegant. fabulous. wedding has a very organized outline for the overall plan ahead.

Here are a few things that I suggest:

Determine your system
Whether you prefer a “Martha” binder or you’d rather make your own custom system, the important thing to keep in mind is to use what works for your personality and to make sure it’s functional.

Keep copies of all contracts and correspondence with vendors in your wedding file.

Now that we’re in a super high-tech age, it’s also extremely important that you keep track of electronic correspondence. My recommendation is to create an electronic folder to keep your sent AND received emails to the right place.

These are just a few ways that we keep ourselves AND our brides organized too.

The (dreaded) Guest List
Although no one really enjoys the task of assembling all of the guests’ addresses and typing them up, it is ESSENTIAL that this gets taken care of ASAP. Not only will this ensure your sanity when it comes to ordering and sending out save-the-dates and invitations, but it will also give you a TRULY realistic look at your proposed guest list and allow for time to make any necessary changes. (BEFORE crunch time.)

Set the budget
Again, talking numbers is not a glamorous part of the wedding planning process, however it is a necessary one. We use a very detailed and customized budget planner for sure clients to really look at where the wedding money will be going and where we need to make changes. Whether your budget is $2,000, $20,000 or $200,000, a budget is needed to give you direction in your planning process.

Your to-do list
Martha Stewart and a few other planner books have some good planning guidelines for when you should do what we have created a custom planner for our brides, but as long as you have some point of reference, that’s a really good place to start.

The biggest thing to keep in mind is to tailor any standard planner guide to YOUR engagement. So, if you’re only engaged for 6 months, DON’T PANIC if it suggest that you get started 24 months in advance!

Courtney Goldman Photography

Courtney Goldman Photography

Picking a dress…
Choose a dress shape and design that flatters you and makes you feel amazing, not just something that’s in style at the time. You can find all sorts of options that will help accentuate your best features and help camouflage any areas that you don’t love. Plus, you want to make sure you’re choosing a gown you can wear for a long time on your wedding day, dance in, and move in very easily! Otherwise, you may look fabulous, but feel miserable. It should look and feel great on you!

Follow your instincts when you’re trying on gowns. Don’t justify or try to convince yourself that you like something to suit someone else’s vision. Follow your intuition and you’ll always be pleased.

Make sure that your dress formality also works for your setting and the time of day.  A wedding dress that you’d wear in a grand church and reception hall for a more formal time of day will be quite different from one that you’d choose for a garden wedding in the afternoon, for instance.

Don’t bring all your friends and family members. Too many opinions, too much advice and too many personalities may send you over the edge. It’s pretty much a great way to not have any fun, and it can be really hard for you to follow your own intuition. Take only a few people – or one or two – like your mother, best friend or sister. Choose people who know you the best and will know when you’re loving something or trying to make something work!


Natalie Bradley owns the Athens-based event planning and design company, Natalie Bradley Events (formerly Soirée! Ltd.). See more about Natalie and her company here .

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