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Southern Charmed Weddings

I love being southern. Some would argue that Tennessee is truly not a southern state, but if you live here you know you are southern. I love knowing how to properly set a place setting (Emily Post would be proud!), I know what manners are, and I know what “bless her heart” really means.  Sweet tea and a good cup of coffee are my go-to drinks, and I can hardly turn down banana pudding, red velvet cake, or pralines.

When I design weddings somehow the southern me creeps in. I just have to use my grandmothers cut crystal in that place setting. That wont be complete without a long tailed bow. You have to have the bread and butter plate with that china. I have seen lots of southern touches became national wedding trends; monograms, pies and desserts beyond tiered wedding cake; big floral prints just to name a few. So I thought it would be fun to take as many things southern as possible and squeeze them all into one wedding.

Southern Wedding at Kincaid house
waldorfphotographicart.com

First I selected the setting. In the south we love using historic feeling locations. The tower was the perfect setting for a big ole southern weddin’. I then took what had become popular with brides and altered it. Lets start with the ceremony, shall we….

Lately in wedding world we have seen many, many sets of doors. As a guest you have probably walked thru several as you enter your friends wedding. Some brides have used this elements as a doorway into the wedding environment. Some have used it as a backdrop to their ceremony symbolizing the doorway into their marriage. I used a set of doors to represent what we do best in the south, a welcome to our home symbol. In the South front doors are important. They make a statement to a house, and it is the first thing to welcome your guests to your home. With this in mind I wanted the doors and entryway into the ceremony to represent that of a good southern home. We have a set of doors that were styled with a hand painted home sign, a mailbox, finished with magnolia trees on either side.

Southern Charm Kincaid House

As guests enter pass thru the door way, I wanted to guests to be welcomed with pieces as they would be in a big southern plantation; a big foyer table filled with fresh flowers and 2 sideboard tables styled with wedding items and home items including: a space for gifts and guest book; flower girl basket; a simple cake; my grandmothers tea set; vintage lamps, and no home is complete without fresh flowers, courtesy of Samuel Franklin Florist.

KIncaid house by JoPhoto

Southern Charm by Bill Waldorf

 

Southern Charm Kincaid House

After the ceremony the guests would move under the tower, and enter into a breath of fresh air reception anchored with a navy head table. I chose the color scheme of Navy to represent the nautical style you always see in Charleston (no pineapples please); keep the blush and bashful of it all, and of course you have to have your something blue. I wanted it to feel breezy, careless, but southern strong. I used simple linens, with an array of china, and mixed patterns. I kept thinking of the perfect spring day in the south with sweet tea, lemonade, and bourbon.

 

Southern Charm Reception

This head table is meant to host the wedding party, or family. Just using a solid bold navy main this table the focal point. Of course  I brought in the southern elements to each place setting. I chose to style each place setting with new and old china. A friend of mine received china from both her grandmothers, both her and her husbands mother. She never knew who’s to use and for what occasion. Plus she had received her own china pattern that was so modern compared to her heirloom china. It reminded me of the saying “something old, something new.” So I took what some might struggle with; mixed new rented china from All Occasion Party Rentals with older china patterns by Unique Place Settings Knoxville Each place setting with a traditional style flatware, and blush goblets for a little touch. Classic Southern centerpiece of magnolia leaves, but with a candle monogram in the center of all the magnolia by Samuel Franklin Florist. Every Southern lady has at least one thing monogrammed, right?

Southern Charm at Kincaid House

Other tables to host guests were styled with my favorite southern fabric, seersucker! You cant get more Southern than seersucker!

Then to add to the environment and really create a classy party atmosphere I chose to use 4 umbrella tables and some accent couches. Some find the umbrella type of tables dated, but if used correctly they can really make a statement. I didn’t want to overload these tables, and take away focus from the head table. So, simple white linens, blush chargers with vintage china, simple glassware. The finishing touch was creeping vine up the center poles with hydrangea blooms.  

I adored putting this together. I think I made by mama, my Nan, and my Topsie all proud. I hope Shelby and Jackson ight like it for their own wedding. Its a wedding that could have been accomplished in 1950 and still be modern enough for today. Here in the South we love a good party, but we do it with class, a smile, and some good fried chicken.

Good ole Fried Chicken by Bradford Catering

Home Improvement; Using Lowes for your wedding

I love home improvement. I adore painting hand me down furniture, arranging inspirational image walls, building craft tables, and discovering how to build anything I need for weddings!! Just this fall I am building game inspired centerpieces, ceremony pedestals, and light fixtures. More on those details later. My husband and I love to build, fix, and improve our home on our own as much as we can. Lowes is our Target. We go in for one item, and exit with a buggy full!

My love for home improvement paired with everyone’s obsession with Fixer Upper  inspired me to do a Lowe’s meets wedding design. I can just picture a simple bride with a tea length wedding dress and a high ponytail with her groom  in simple slacks with a bow tie and suspenders. Their closest family and friends having a brunch or an afternoon at-home, reception. The more I think about it the more I want to do it with my own husband!

In the middle of putting this design together, a dear family friend hired me to design her wedding. It was simple, classic, and amazing. She and her new husband were still in college, and trying to put together their first home. She received some items from her family; researched other items in yard sales; and when all else failed, knew to go to IKEA. Her setting up house reminded me of so many newlyweds. All you want is to make your own home but you yet to have your dream job (or paycheck!). So, you get a couch from your friend, a bookcase from goodwill to makeover, and a basic drill to help you along the way. You are also surrounded with brand new pots & pans, fine china, that coffee maker you’ve always wanted, and a memorable monogram wall hanging. Half your house is 2nd hand and worn; the other half if shiny, pretty, and oh so brand new!

This is the aspect that completed my design. I can only imagine a couple making multiple trips to Lowes to prepare their house, and make the most of it for as little $$ as possible. While loving all the pretty fine new things sitting in their dining room.

So what does this all look like?

At home wedding

Some of the details I love: First, the tile chargers. I found some great faux marble tiles on sale for $.45 each and added some copper and rose gold brush strokes to each. All Occasion Party Rentals finished everything with simple white plates, and their Sheraton style flatware.

At Home Wedding

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As a His & her touch we used antique cut crystals glassware with moscow mule mugs. Second: The clever and copper styling.  The copper paint cans added a great touch and were practical for cake stands and holding utensils.  Plus how cute is that little colander!!! If you look closely you can even see my little nodd to Penny tile!

Third: styling with food and drink. I love seeing the drink and food options. Having the food right out ready for guest to dive into and really adds to the look. No catering chafer dishes, no bar menu needed. Put the growlers, the whiskey, the wine bottles right out there. Let the products become the decoration. Plus, imagine trifle dishes filled with homemade banana pudding, platters of fresh fried funnel cakes, plates of moist apple cake with rum sauce. Makes you want to curl up on a couch with a mug of Cafe DuMonde coffee, huh?

The finishing touch is the sign. I handed painted the saying “This is us” on to a walnut stained board. I believe this saying sums up what weddings/marriages/homes should be about. You should be able to walk into your wedding look around and say “this is us.”  Make your guests feel a part of your life. Make your wedding the start of your marriage. Simple is always beautiful. Comfort and hospitality is always timeless.

So, next time you are at Lowes get inspired. Next time you are at a wedding look around and see what the wedding says about the couple. Some start off with a brand new house, some renovate a family home, and some just rent a simple one bedroom loft. Whatever your wedding is make it feel home to your guests.

Thank you to all the vendors:

Samuel Franklin Florist

All Occasion Party Rentals

Kincaid House

Bradford Catered Events

JoPhoto

Bill Waldorf Photography

Design, Styling, Signage, by Live Laugh Love Weddings

Wedding Designs Brought to Life

I am a wedding designer, and proud of it. In fact it is my true passion in this world of wedding planning. I adore the puzzle of linens, centerpieces, furniture, colors, and floor plans that makes a wedding come to life. I am known for having a vision, or a directed path when designing a wedding, but I am always tweaking, researching, experimenting to really make the design as perfect as it can be. The opportunity for me to attend a lecture by my wedding designer/planner icon, Tara Geurard, came about. I don’t think I could have jumped in my car faster on the day of the lecture. Still, it was one of the best days of my career, and for many reasons. The main reason that this day, this lecture was the best is because it ignited inspiration in me.

Before Pinterest there was imagination in creating wedding designs. There was creativity in deciding the centerpieces and place cards. Since Pinterest my wedding world had become a world of “replicate this lanterns, with this greenery, and these favors.” Personalization was falling away and replication was taking its place.  After listening to Tara, and hearing about her creative process, I was asking myself “why am I letting Pinterest dictate my talent? Why shouldn’t I let Pinterest turn off my creativity and imagination?” So away I went to sketch, build, and spray paint. In a matter of just 24 hours I had 5 designs in my head. Over the next 5 months I tweaked, twisted, defined, and edited these designs. on August 22, 2017 I saw them finally come to life.

On August 22nd a bandwagon of vendors came together, and made my wedding designs, my ideas come to life. Now it wasn’t easy, and it came with challenges, but in the end I was proud of all the work and effort. I was extremely proud and thankful for my family and friends who sweated and paid a physical price for me and my creativity. I could not have done all this with out you! I couldn’t have asked for better colleagues who joined in, and gladly tried to make the design in my head come to life. Many times I was asked “do you have a photo of this idea, or a point of reference?” I would smile and simply say “nope, its in my head!”

I’m not a simply designer, I’m not a cookie cutter planner. I am a “go big or go home” person. So, I was determined to produce all 5 designs, photograph them, and break it all down in one day. Thanks to the Kincaid House in Clinton, TN and its coordinator Melissa Charles, we were able to do it! The Kincaid House’s  property allowed me to set-up all the designs in different areas but still in the same location.

Here is just a taste of the different designs. I will blog about each individual one later. There is too much to say about each design. The designs were created from a love of home improvement; the life of broke newlyweds; the infatuation of the blush color; the hospitality and trends of southern women; the celebration of family; and the styles of bold classic fashion.

 

 

Bill Waldorf Photography

 

Thank you to JoPhoto, Bill Waldorf, And Katherine Birkbeck for their gorgeous photography! Thank you to All Occasion Party Rentals for your generosity in supplying with a huge order! Especially Cindy for organizing my crazy rental list on a weekly/daily basis. Thank you to Bradford Catering for making wonderful food, and going with my crazy ideas! The list goes on and on including: Unique Settings of Knoxville, The Happy Envelope, White Lace and Promises, Regal Tuxedos, Southern Sirens, all the models: Adaira, Hannah, and Katryn, 

 

I want to especially thank Samuel Franklin Florist. Sam and his staff have been an amazing team to work with. Sam is my go to, see it through, no idea is too crazy guy. He has been such a support thru my whole career, and continues to be my main man. Sherri and his crew go above and beyond any of my requests. They were out in the heat helping set-up chairs, moving props, and doing anything I asked of them. I can’t say thank you enough to Sam and his amazing crew!

If you are interested in more about this photo shoot; more wedding design; how your wedding can be personalized, or how we can help you in anyway with your wedding event go over to livelaughloveweddings.com. I would be happy to your wedding memorable to you and to your guests!

Rainy Day Weddings

Rain, Rain, go away….

I used to love rainy days. I could put on some sweat pants, curl up with a big mug of coffee and work from my home. I used to love watching the rain make the tree leaves dance, and the sound it just calming. After kids, I found a love-hate relationship with rain. Rain means the front steps to the houseis going to flood, and Im going to have to hop with a toddler on my hip. It means complaints from my son about everything being wet outside, and heave forbid any of his clothes or shoes get wet. Rain means craziness in the house cause there is no dry playground. On the love side rain means great naps, and allergy substances are washed away.

Rain usually isn’t something that a bride wants to wake to either. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a bride wake up on their wedding day and exclaim “Yay, its raining, its raining on my wedding day. This is perfect!” A blue sky, sunshine day is what brides want. It makes you cheerful, enlightened almost. Of course mother nature always has to make sure there are some rainy wedding days. Here are a few ways you can turn your rainy wedding day into the best wedding day!

  1. Photographs- Rain can be a wonderful detail in your photographs. Plan ahead to have a great umbrella, just in case. A classic big golf black or charcoal grey umbrella is always classic. Keep any patterns monochromatic and simple. Also find a place where the rain is really pouring. A great photographer can capture the rain falling on you in such a romantic way.
  2. Move the outdoor garden ceremony indoors. Have your florist, and rental company set-up items in your reception room. Make your dance floor the ceremony stage, and have your guests find a seat at a table, and offer some cocktails before ceremony. If your reception is at a separate venue then delay your ceremony time half an hour. Most guests will make it!
  3. Change the venue-If you are planning an outside, in the grass under a tent kind of wedding, you might find your guests walking around in mud. Do the events you have to, offer a take home box of food & cake to everyone,and then ask your guests to join you at your nearest bar or restaurant. Say cheers with a favorite pint. Keeping miserable guests in a miserable situation never ends well.
  4. Function and Practicality before pinterest gorgeous! What makes a wedding great is the joy the guests share with the bride and groom. The more joy and happiness felt at a wedding the better it makes the wedding. Go with the flow and remember if you are married and happy in your marriage, all will be fantastic!

Happy Rainy April!

 

Imagine Pinterest

“Come with me, and you’ll be in a world of pure imagination. Take a look and you’ll see into your imagination.”

-Willy Wonka

I find myself staring at a wall or table, and wondering “There must be something I could do with that.” I reach for a tech device, click my Pinterest button, and get lost in a world where wooden pallets become chairs, chairs become night stands, and a night stand becomes  a kitchen. It is a world that can stretch, deepen, and enhance your imaginative mind; or it can be a world that consumes you and you lose your own imagination.

As a wedding designer it is my job to take a person’s style, interests, ideas and make them into an environment that reflects one of the most important days in their life, a wedding. When I started as a wedding designer there was no Pinterest. You flipped through magazines or watched reality TV to find the latest trends. Big trends beginning in NYC or LA didn’t reach little Knoxville til 2 years later. It always fun to design for bridal shows. You could make your booth/display completely out of your imagination, and get brides to think “huh! Thats different.” It could be purple, yellow, all black or all white. It was always exciting to see what people would dream up. Now we have pinterest to filter to us the latest trends, and we get them as quick as we can. The pantone color of the year” greenery, the latest dress style: grace kelley/lace;  the trend of weddings; copper. It is all at your fingertips, no imagination required. Weddings seem to be more about replicating a photo, and less about expressing personality.

Now don’t get me wrong. I who hold a Bachelor’s in Art find myself searching Pinterest many times a day for various projects. I too have lost a since of imagination. My goal now is to awaken my old imagination. I urge you to do the same. Find the latest trends and ideas, and apply them to your wedding. Just remember you are not like everyone else, you want your wedding to be special, set apart. Use Pinterest as a taking off point. So, copper is the latest trend, how you use it is key. Are you a bride who serves a cocktail  in a moscow mule mug, or are you a bride with a sweet tooth who will fill it with krispy kreme bread pudding? Are you a spreadsheet type person who will use copper geometric lanterns for centerpeices; or will you be adventurous and copper spray paint your grandmothers teapot as a memory to her.

I urge you to use Pinterest, and discover a world of imagination. I also urge you to deepen your imagination and go one step further than Pinterest. The world of weddings can be endless, it is important not to lose you and your imagination in such a giant world.

Pinterest Wedding Trends

Wedding Imagination

bright pops of yellow wedding

My Perfect Day; inspiration, design, build, invent, create

Create and Invent; it is the lesson I took away from today. Today Tara Geurard introduced me to her life as a wedding designer. I entered the room full of glee, butterflies, and amazement. I sat in my seat and thought “I finally get to hear and understand this woman who does these amazing, customized weddings. She will be incredible.” As I heard her speak,  I found myself engulfed in every word she spoke. She shops at Lowe’s; She spray paints; She hates round tables! Shes a lot like me. All this time I envisioned Tara as a rich designer, who travels, and has everything at her disposal to make these incredible wedding environments.  Within 10 minutes of her talking I found she is humble, tireless, inventing, and dedicated. Everything I strive to be in this business.

I launched my business at the January Pink Bride Show 2009. I wanted to conquer everything. I had 10,000 ideas to put into a wedding. I was constantly trying to invent new displays of place cards, or collaborate crazy colors and make them work. I had inspiration from my own imagination. I had a passion to invent, build, and create. I wanted to do it all.  Then one by one life piled up. I became “mom”; Pinterest infected every wedding; and white became the trendy theme. My inspiration was getting lost, and my ideas were random.

Today Tara brought  a spark back to me. She reminded why I started this business, why my whole heart and mind should be in every wedding I design. She inspired me to create trends. My favorite was ” Can’t find it? build it!” Early in my career I was on fire, and I’m on fire again. Color is coming, patterns will make a statement, personal style will be reinvented, and F-U-N is coming back to weddings.

Thank you Tara for reminding me of the joy of this job. We are creating an experience, an environment that should be intimate, joyous, and the least of all random. We create weddings.

Tara Guerard Signature. Weddings by Tara Guerard; Southern Weddings by Tara Guerard

 

Colors for 2017

Every year there is a bridesmaid dress trend every bride wants. Ten years ago it was tea length dresses ; Five years ago it was the high to low or fit n flare dress; 3 years ago is was the mix-match color palette. Last year the trend was sequins and evening gowns. This year I have heard nothing but the words “Jenny Yoo”. Every bride is after a convertible Jenny Yoo dress. It seems to be the golden ticket for bridesmaids.  Any color of this dress is popular, but if you want the most popular go for the shades of blue. They are subtle muted shades of common pastel colors.  Sky Blue + Grey= Mayan Blue; Sea Mist+ Grey=Ceil Blue. Of course you can always go for the classic navy. Other shades are blush, rosewater, and sweet pea.

If you are drooling over Jenny Yoo, and looking for a similar style that’s more affordable, don’t worry. Many mainstream designers get their inspiration from popular trends. You should see very similar styles being created from various designers. Davids Bridal is already manufacturing colors like Steel Blue, and Blush. I’m sure we will see more convertible dresses throughout the 2017 and 2018 seasons.

May Jenny Yoo be ever in your favor!

For Local Bridesmaid selections Check out:

White Lace and Promises

Davids Bridal 

Gilded Gown

 

everyone wants Jenny Yoo

PINK Bridal Show January 2017

Sunday started yet another year for me planning and designing weddings. I kicked off my 8th year at the PINK bridal show. It was exciting, yet calming. I enjoy talking to new brides. I love pitching ideas making people think outside the box and our booth design did just that. Samuel Franklin Florist and I partnered up for the show, and created a spectacular booth filled with gold flatware, and lots of white! We felt the brides and everyone loved every detail, and we didn’t skimp on those! Plates filled with stacked pancakes, a full dessert bar in the back with polished gold goblets. Some mothers of the bride even had eyes for the comfy white leather lounge seating. I love creating and displaying a booth of original design. I take into account some trends, but go with what I feel brides what to see, and what is realistic for most. Brides what to see what can be created within the resources available, but also see ideas of how to make their wedding theirs. I cooked every pancake in the booth, polished each gold goblet, and custom covered each pillow. I hope you enjoyed it. My favorite comment was from a lady who stood in front of our booth, pondered, then said “yep, you win!”

Chairs, tables, fabric backdrop, tableware. lounge furniture provided by All Occasion Party Rentals

navy and white cake by Heather Grubb of Knox Provisions

All flowers by Samuel Franklin Florist

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PINK bridal show Knoxville January 2017 Live Laugh Love Weddings  with Samuel Franklin Florist All Occasion Party Rentals Knox Provision Catering The Pink Bride

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brunch wedding ideas; a little but of everything

PINK bridal show Knoxville January 2017; Samuel Franklin Florist; Live Laugh Love Weddings

Cake and gold drinkware

 

 

 

Capturing the Moment- in a new way

Brides: Have you heard about Wedding Snap? It’s a new iPhone and Android application that allows your guests to take pictures and sends them in real-time to an online photo album; you can even upload pictures from a digital camera. This is a cool addition to having a professional wedding photographer, and it allows everyone to see the photos your guests took of your big day!  You can also create an album for birthdays, bridal showers, or any other family event. Here’s the website for more information: http://www.weddingsnap.com/index.html

Vintage Glam

It is such a thrill to introduce make-up artist Amanda McKnight to all of you; her amazing talents have been featured in many of Live, Laugh, Love’s photo shoots, including the Summer/Fall 2012 cover of Enchanted Brides Magazine. For this post we asked  Amanda to show us one of her favorite looks for Brides:

Vintage Glam 

I start the vintage glam look with a neutral eye shadow base, and a black liquid eye liner in a strong line along the upper lash line. For the eyelashes, I use a lush mascara that can be accented with individual false lashes for an extra “pop“. I like using a bright crimson red for the lips, and offset the cheeks by a soft and natural blush. This is a timeless look, that has never gone out of style.

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