Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wedding Planning ~ a Great Christmas Gift

Don’t Know What to Get Your Engaged Daughter/ Granddaughter?
Lots of young women are engaged or will become engaged this Christmas season.  One of the most generous gifts you could possibly give them would be a wedding planner.  Sure you can plan and manage a wedding on your own, but I could help smooth the way toward a stress-free day of your dreams, and save you money along the way.  Since I have experience with many vendors, I know how you can invest your money where it counts.  I can find out what are the most important elements to you, and work hard to find you a great professional at a great price.  Let your mother know, or your grandmother, that this could be the best Christmas gift you get.  Now through January 9, I will give you a $25 discount for booking a wedding.  You don’t have to make a commitment until we have had a face to face meeting.  I want you to like working with me, and I have every expectation that we will make a great team to pull off the wedding you have always wanted.  Check out my website at

Have a great Christmas season, and a Mistletoe new year!

Friday, December 10, 2010

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

The Christmas season is such a busy time for everyone, it seems that it would be a terrible time for a wedding because people wouldn't be able to take time out of their schedules to come and celebrate with you.  I disagree.  I think people who truly love you will make time to do the things they really want to do. 

Planning a wedding during the Christmas season has advantages.  Our church is decorated for Christmas.  If you had a dress, a ring, and a photographer, you could pull it off tomorrow.  The church is available tomorrow, but not next Saturday when a very lucky couple will be getting married there.

The Altar Guild at First Broad Street United Methodist Church has some very talented people.  They decorated ten windows like the one pictured here, and I did two of these matching arrangements for either side of the communion table.

That's only in the sanctuary.  The entire church is decorated inside and out.  Except for Easter, Christmas is the holiest of holidays.  We must always remember why we celebrate.

The words ALWAYS BELIEVE aren't just for Santa Claus.  Merry Christmas everyone!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

How Much Time Does It Take To Plan a Wedding?

As much time as you want, or as much time as you need.  Today I directed the wedding of Ashley Boatman and Cole Theile, who got married at 11 a.m. at First Broad Street United Methodist Church.  The wedding wasn't planned far in advance, as a matter of fact I wasn't notified that the couple wanted to get married until November 2.  It was a very beautiful wedding, as beautiful as if it had been planned for 18 months, as many weddings are. 

When you have such a short time, there are many compromises which have to be made.  Many things are not your first choice, but the choices you finally make turn out to be wonderful choices for your wedding.

Here is a candid photo I made shortly after the ceremony with my cellphone.  Notice that the groom is getting used to wearing a wedding ring.  I hope this family will be very happy, and I wish them all the best.  I was proud to be a part of the festivities.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Buttons and Bows

Buttons and bows
They look so pretty, you see
And they will look really nice
Underneath your Christmas tree.

This was a rap song a second grade class as Southside Elementary did one year!

You might think that bows would be a nice touch for kids' clothes or headbands, but they are absolutely everywhere now.  You could get a Big Shot and accessorize your own clothes.  Crystal Bennett is teaching classes in how to make holiday cards, and this is a first for her and a friend, venturing into fabrics

I have been sewing since I was thirteen years old, so when I see something like this, I instantly know how easy it would be to jazz up something. 

Think about how easy it would be to put all these bows on the sleeve of a bridesmaid's dress.  Then, after the wedding, your bridesmaid could decide for herself whether to keep them.  I really love the embellishments, but not everyone is as frilly.

If you have some ordinary ballet flats, you could add these bows to them.

This is just a very plain scarf with lots of embellishment.

You need to hurry if you want to take Crystal's class.  It will be a fun night and you will have the opportunity to make several things to take home.  Go through your closet and find some sweaters that need a little something extra.

Enjoy your holidays!

Saturday, October 30, 2010


Today was cool and beautiful, so I decided to go antiquing in downtown Kingsport.  I found some of the antique linens, which I collect.  I have a lot of appreciation for needlework.  I know that it took days or even months to complete some of the things.  However, when people inherit those things, if they don't like them, what are they supposed to do with them.  Along comes me -- I want them.

I also found some wedding items that someone might be interested in.  At River Mountain Antiques, I found a vintage wedding dress and veil.  The dress was a bit too reserved for my taste, but the veil was really beautiful.  It was attached to a beaded headband about two inches wide and had lovely trim along the edge.  It was probably about three feet long.  For $39 both could be yours.  I have seen similar veils for at least $300.

At P & J Antiques, there was a net and lace mid-calf wedding dress.  This would be great for a casual wedding.  If you're on a budget, it was only $8.

So, if you are on a tight budget, and enjoy a vintage look, you might want to shop around.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Happy Fall

Today has been the strangest weather.  It was 84 degrees this afternoon.  I did this flower arrangement this afternoon for no reason at all.  Isn't that the best way to enjoy flowers? Unexpectedly...

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Happy Anniversary Emily and Aaron

Hope Emily and Aaron are having a great time in New Orleans this weekend. 

Oh, I am really feeling nostalgic today.  My daughter, Emily's, wedding was 10.24.09.  She was a truly beautiful bride and I enjoyed every minute we spent planning, doing projects, and just being a mom. I am so happy to have Aaron in my family, and his entire family, who came from Colorado and Montana to celebrate with us.

We did all the paper goods - save-the-dates, invitations, table cards, guest cards, programs, even a couple of signs pointing the way to the reception, the flowers, and even the alterations on the dress.  It was a great day for a wedding, overcast, so it was perfect for taking pictures outdoors.

Emily, who, after all, is an English major, created this wonderful blog, which she updated during the process.

When Emily became engaged in May, I saw the work of Overbay Photography, and looked no further.  The style of photography is exactly what I wanted, and when Emily saw it, she agreed.  They were wonderful to work with.  They gave us so much more than we could have hoped for.  I can't begin to thank them enough.  I get so much joy from looking at the pictures all the time. All of the pictures you see here were taken by them.  You may see Emily’s slideshows at and  Don’t just look at her wedding, look at a variety of weddings on their website.  They do such high quality, creative work.

Sophisticated Strings played for the ceremony.  They are a very professional trio.  They do not usually attend the rehearsal, but you don’t have to worry at all.  They will show up early, they will look professional, and their music will be exquisite.  They have a repertoire of wedding music, but can play anything, with the sheet music and time to practice.  I have known them for almost twenty years, and I would highly recommend them.

We used BANQ for the reception.  The place is very old-worldly beautiful.  There is room enough for a wedding more than twice the size that we had, but it didn’t feel too big for our wedding of 104. They had someone there all day to let people in to decorate and to deliver things.  There were absolutely no problems, we were so happy with the location, just two blocks from Church Circle.

Cake by Main Street Catering

I, along with my friends Carolyn Baker and Rita Osborne, did all the flowers for the ceremony, bouquets, boutonnieres, and reception.  We kept pretty much to the marine blue and lime green theme.  It wasn’t a fall theme, but a wedding can be anything you dream it can be.

I am available to help you make your dream come true.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Pottery Gifts

Whether you need gifts for Christmas, bridesmaids, or you might even want to register for gifts for yourself, my good friend, Rita Osborne makes some beautiful things.  She has a good selection of pottery now, or she can make something for you in a specific color, but you will need to place your orders soon.  E-mail her directly at

Take a look at more Play in the Clay fall firings on Picasa.

Oh, Santa, you know I love red ;-).

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Unique Invitations

It has been rather cool this weekend, so I have been having fun creating some wedding invitations.  If you would like something unique - you have some special hobby, flower, animal, or sports symbol you would like to incorporate, I would love to do your invitations.

This one has a very earthy feeling.  You can see that the pocketfold closes with a leather string.  When the pocketfold opens, the reply card and envelope are enclosed in the pocket, and the invitation is attached with glue dots, which are easily removed.  The envelope is lined with a fern print.

This one I like to think of as Tiffany blue, with a white satin ribbon.  Since it is square and a gatefold, the reply card and envelope are behind the invitation.  The envelope cold be lined with the Tiffany blue also, but I like this tan and cream print.

This one is more floral.  It is closed with a polka dot ribbon and a sprig of Russian sage, dried to a pale lavender.  The envelope liner is a geometric, to offset the floral a bit.  Too much of a good thing ...

The fonts you can use on your invitations are limitless, also.  Also, if it's going to be a less formal wedding, you could have the reply card be a postcard.  It would save a little cash on the postage.

I'm thinking this could be an invitation to the rehearsal dinner for the wedding having the Tiffany blue.  You see the Tiffany blue in the flower and also in the envelope liner.  See how the right side of the paper looks aged.  This one can be so much fun.  Of course you could have this for your invitation, if you are bold enough.  It could easily go into a pocketfold, also.

These are from the real wedding of Emily Spears and Aaron Hammer.  We had so much fun doing these.

Crest of the spear and hammer designed by Emily Hoops Sanders
Overbay Photography

Overbay Photography

You could include as many small cards as you want in the pocket.  We thought about having a DIRECTIONS card, but we just included that information on the website.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Osage Oranges

Overbay Photography
Today I went out to harvest osage oranges, which grow here in Tennessee and are ripe this time of year. It made me so happy, because I had such fond memories of them.  Last year, I was so obsessed about getting them to use in the decorations for my daughter's wedding, and they hadn't matured.  The minute Emily said she wanted to use lime green and marine blue, I knew the osage oranges had to be part of the festivities.

I ordered some from the midwest, then after the frost ours came down.  On their website, they claim that having them in your home rids your home of insects.  Well, you can't eat them, so I guess they have to promote them some way.  But, even Crate and Barrel had some fake ones, so I guess they are more popular than I had thought.

Which brings to mind that decorating for a wedding could involve any number of things.  This time of year, branches with fall leaves would be really pretty.  I have made arrangements with leaves, which look very classy.  The miniature pumpkins look really good, as well as the ornamental gourds.

Happy Fall!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Harmonious Relationships with Vendors

As a wedding planner, one of the most critical parts of the wedding is having a good relationship with the other vendors.  I am happy to help other vendors with parts of the wedding they should have been responsible for, if it will help my client.  My goal for the day is to see that the couple is not stressed and that everything goes smoothly and that their dream wedding becomes a reality.
I would say that the following vendors should be carefully selected to ensure a harmonious and perfect wedding:
Cake Baker

Of course, if you hire someone who is less experienced, you will probably save money, but the risk is that they will be less competent.  If you have me to help you with the vendors, I can ask them all the right questions so that we are sure that all areas will be covered, who will be responsible for each item, and what time each item will be performed.  Even an inexperienced vendor will perform well if all the areas are addressed.

Even with really good vendors, there can be misunderstandings.  I can help you to be sure that everything is very clear.

Of course you can have a wedding without a planner, but having one really is worth it.  Happy Weddings everyone!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

October - a Great Time for a Wedding

October is a great time of year in Tennessee.  The weather can be volatile, however.  It can be the last remnants of summer, or the beginning of winter.  I have been involved with many October weddings, and I would like to share several of those with you this month.
Real Wedding – Carrie Bridwell and Chad Jacobs
The first is a wedding of Carrie Bridwell and Chad Jacobs on October 29, 2005.  The weather was very warm, and was just a beautiful day.  Carrie chose fall colors for her flowers, the cake, and for the bridesmaids’ dresses. I enjoyed directing this wedding at Covenant Presbyterian Church and the reception at Johnson City Country Club.

Photography by Higgins Photography

Carrie and Chad now live in Knoxville and have a beautiful daughter, Annie.


I want to share with you something I learned from a friend's mother early in life

1.  Don't spend so much on a house that you don't have money for fun.

Also, something I wish I had known early in my married life.

2.  It's better to know what kind of style you have for decorating before you begin buying things. 

It will also help you to avoid costly mistakes.  I have been really enjoying watching Nate Berkus on Oprah for a long time, but it has usually been only a 15-30 minute segment (and Oprah has so many viewers that the advertising probably took up ten minutes of that).  Now ABC brings you The Nate Berkus show!  See more about it at

He has celebrities on to show their design style.  He has viewers on with their design problems.  He gives really great advice on how to do things for less cash.  He even has viewers on to show off their successes.  One day he had a quiz so that you could discover your personal style.  What I love that he said is that you continually add things to your home to make it your own.  You might collect those things on your travels or your style might be to have a very modernistic approach and to have a very clean environment with very few accessories (making what you do have very important).  Monday's show is Design in a Day.

I love watching him bring things together, even when it's not my style.  What style are you?

Monday, September 20, 2010


renewal (noun) ri-'nu-el
the act or process of making like new: restoring to freshenss, vigor, or perfection

I spent the weekend in Houston and I feel like a new person, thanks to many things.  First, thanks to Continental for a great weekend rate.  Next, thanks to my lovely daughter and son-in-law for hosting me.  As usual, we did a little shopping, but just being there with my family meant more than anything.  In Houston, I was expecting 90+ temperatures, but it was much cooler and as humid as I have ever seen it.

Inside every curly-haired girl is a craving for coarse, stick-straight hair. I shopped for some travel-sized hair products of the brand I usually use, but couldn't find them and bought some Pureology hair products.  With 89% humidity, my hair stayed straight all weekend.  I used the conditioner, hair mask, and serum.  Believe me, I have tried everything to get my hair straight.

My daughter, Emily, her husband, Aaron, and I are self-confessed foodies.  We had a little wager on the outcome of Bravo's Top Chef.  Aaron won and got to choose the meal that Emily and I would cook for him.  He was a really good sport, though, and cooked along with us.  So, on Saturday night, Chef Aaron made lamb with a red-wine, herb and fig sauce (his own recipe), Chef Emily made banana fritters (see recipe at, guacamole, and bread, and I only acted as sous-chef.

We shopped at HEB, a grocery in Houston.  The selection was beyond amazing.  There were rows and rows of produce.  I can't imagine anything you wouldn't be able to find.

Last night, we ate at Hugo's, an up-scale Mexican restaurant in Houston.  If you are ever in Houston, try it.  You will not be disappointed.  I had Chiles en Nagoda, which is as good a meal as I have ever had.  It looked exactly like this picture.  See the pyramid rice.  Does it make you think of the Mayans?

I read Terry McMillan's Getting to Happy, which helped to remind me to enjoy life to the fullest, and to love my friends unconditionally.  Life is much too short to waste any of it.

I'm back in Kingsport, now.  The temperature is 91.  I'm holding on to every little bit of summer that I can.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Size Doesn't Matter

When I was a teenager, I wished that I was shorter. As time went on, I became happy, even proud, to be tall. But there was a time… funny how things change. Now it seems to be so cool to be tall.

I don’t know how tall Lady Gaga is, but last night she had on some shoes that I would have guessed were 8 inches tall. They weren’t. They are 9.1 inches tall and are made by Noritaka Tatehana. After looking closely at the length of her legs, I’m thinking she is probably still shorter than I am with the heels.

She is one very cool performer. I love her music and love to see her perform. She also seems like such a nice person. If she wants to look very tall, it’s working for her. Gotta love her in anything she wears.

In Rolling Stone she was quoted as saying, “When I wake up in the morning, I just feel like any other insecure 24-year-old girl. Then I say, ‘Bitch, you’re Lady Gaga, you get up and walk the walk today.’”

Doesn’t that just make you want to stand up straight and strut?

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Excitement Begins!

Always just before a wedding, I feel a little giddy.  If I get this excited about a wedding, how excited must the bride and groom feel?  I think one of the reasons I love weddings so much is that everyone is so happy.  The wedding party is happy to be reunited with their best friends.  The groomsmen are happy to be meeting the bridesmaids.  All those young people excited and happy for each other.

In less than one month, I will be assisting Trista Haupt and Josh Wright with their wedding on October 9 at First Broad Street United Methodist Church.  To see more about this couple, visit  I am just proud to be a part of the celebration.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

From This Day Forward...

J. Crew Bridal has opened its first wedding boutique – J. Crew Bridal, 769 Madison Avenue, New York City.

J. Crew has had lots of great wedding attire for a long time. My daughter, Emily, wore a beautiful pink bridesmaid’s dress to Susan Kirkwood Ward’s wedding in 2006, four years goes by so fast.

The reception was in beautiful, downtown Jonesborough.  They very much enjoyed taking pictures along the street and on the balconies of the historic hotels.

Photography by Swaggerty Portraiture

At Emily’s wedding, the girls wore blue dresses from J. Crew.  Without the October wind, we can't guarantee the Marilyn Monroe effect! So, it goes without saying, that we are big J. Crew fans. I made a sash for our flower girl to match the dresses, after contacting J. Crew for a swatch.

Erica Hammer, Emily's mother-in-law, also contacted J. Crew for a swatch so that she didn't wear the exact same shade of blue.  They are very helpful, and sent the swatches by mail in just days.

The September catalog has lots of really interesting dresses, and I notice a color which could be used with any number of wedding color schemes – aluminum, pewter, graphite. These are such neutral colors that they could blend with red, pink, orange, yellow, purple, blue, green, any color. The neutral looks very sophisticated, you could just add the color with the flowers.

If you are in New York, check it out, if not see them on-line at

Photography by Overbay Photography

Monday, September 6, 2010

A Musician's Wedding Cake

Because I am exceptionally interested in nutrition, I love yogurt and eat it every day.  Fage yogurt is especially good because it's totally natural and extremely thick.  It has none of the gelatin some companies add to their yogurt to make them thick.  When I saw this ad in Bon Appetit this month, I thought it might serve as an inspiration for a musician's wedding cake. 

This design could go around the layers, and a huge mound of cherries could go on top.  There could be cherry filling between the layers, or it could be cherry cake.  You would have to check with your baker, but it might be possible to ice the cake with Fage yogurt...just a thought.

Hope you're having a great Labor Day!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Real Wedding - Tiffany Taylor and Bill Owen

June 26, 2010

This couple came back to the bride’s former home in Kingsport, TN from West Palm Beach, Florida to be married. As you can see, the couple are very happy and enjoying the day. The entire wedding party was having a great time. The bride had been very involved with the wedding details, even from such a distance. I really enjoyed working with this group. Almost all of the flowers were locally grown, I just added a punch of green button mums, which were shipped here. Hope you enjoy seeing them.

Photography by Ricky Jones

Friday, August 27, 2010

Pink and Blue Isn't Just for Babies

I have had such a busy week.  Wednesday I made flower arrangements for the flower festival at my church, First Broad Street Methodist. We had such a great time decorating the entire church as a gift to our community.  I did get to make a pink carnation wreath I had seen in Martha Stewart Weddings It was surprisingly not very time consuming and turned out beautifully. It takes about three dozen carnations to make a 12" wreath. I accented mine with green hypericum berries, and hung it in a window with green ribbon.

I also attended a wonderful workshop on making floral centerpieces, with Samuel Franklin, the featured artist, from Clinton, Tennessee.  He had so many fun, modern ideas. 
Oh, baby, what would a blue and pink wedding look like?  Here are just a few ideas: The bride could wear pink shoes, as well as the bridesmaids.  The Kate Spade shoes might be a little expensive to ask the bridesmaids to purchase, but aren't they really beautiful?  The rsvp shoes are really cute, too, and less than a third the cost of the Kate Spade. 

The flowers, hydrangea, peonies, and stargazer lilies would be gorgeous together, or separate, in different areas.  Some peonies in the blue pottery vase, along the floor to designate the family pews, would be beautiful.  If someone purchased a couple of those vases for that purpose, it would make a wonderful wedding gift.  The bridesmaids could carry pink hydrangea, and the bridal bouquet include stargazer lilies and hydrangea.

The pink napkins add a pop to the place settings.  Look at that heavenly blueberry cake.  It is alternating lemon curd and blueberry filling.  I am a big fan of fruit, and it is so beautiful!  Does the pink lemonade look great for a summer wedding?  Can you imagine that in a big five-gallon jar?  Yum.

Then, just so it doesn't look too pink, the wedding attire could be blue.

Kate Spade at
Cake by Jim Smeal