Thursday, March 16, 2017

3 Things...To Bring with You on Your Wedding Day

I'm so excited to kick off a new blog series today! "3 Things" will be a quick snippet of important info for brides to consider when planning their weddings, and beyond!

Our first post is all about 3 super important things to remember to bring with you on your wedding day. These are things that may seem so crazy obvious to you right now, but in the excitement of packing your bag and rushing out to start hair and just might leave without them!

Elizabeth Henson Photos
Your Rings
This happens so much more than you might think. Brides {and grooms} get through the whole morning of their wedding only to realize an hour or two from the ceremony that no one brought the wedding bands with them. It's a great idea to put one of your most trusted attendants in charge of these. The Maid of Honor or Best Man will likely be a little less frazzled the morning of your wedding and they'll make sure the rings get to the ceremony.

Your Vows
If you're writing your own vows, chances are you've put some serious time and effort into doing so. These aren't just a few sentences you've scribbled down on the fly...these words mean so much to you and your fiance. So once you have them written, put them with something you cannot leave without, like your dress!

Rebecca Keeling Studios
Details for the Photographer
You put some serious effort into planning this wedding, and you've likely invested quite a bit of money on a talented photographer to capture every single detail of the day. Make sure to set aside any special details you want the photographer to capture. Things like an invitation suite, any heirlooms you might plan to wear, and even your perfume are all things that you'll want photographs of later. Try having them all set aside neatly for your photographer to start capturing as soon as they arrive.

Do what you can to plan ahead and make sure these things make it out of the house with you the morning of your wedding. Pack them ahead of time and maybe put them with your dress...since we know you won't leave the house without that beauty!

If you have any suggestions for future "3 Things" posts, shoot me an email at I'd love to hear your ideas!

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Thursday, March 9, 2017

Cedar Hall Farms Styled Shoot

One of my favorite things to do, outside of coordinating beautiful wedding days for my clients, is helping my vendor pals put together shoots and workshops. I have some friends in this industry that have such a heart for education and I always have the best time watching them spill their knowledge and experience onto others. There's a lot of emphasis on community in the wedding industry, and I love watching my people really be about that life.

My #vendorsoulmate Liz, from Elizabeth Henson Photos, put together an invitational photography workshop last month and asked that I put together a small styled shoot for the attendees to practice on. For it being about 25 degrees all day, this was easily one of my favorite shoots ever.

You might recognize that super gorgeous couple as JDE bride and groom Julia & Justin. They just got married in October and Julia was so pumped for the opportunity to get back in her dress already!

I also got to try my hand at bouquet making. While I don't hate how it turned out, I definitely think I'll be sticking to the planning and leaving the flowers to my friends with greener thumbs.

Special thanks so the awesome vendors that helped bring all this together. You guys are amazing!!

Venue: Cedar Hall Farms  //  Cupcakes: Rachel Bakes  //  Signage & Invitations: HyHopes Natural Creations  //  Makeup: Dhalia Edwards - Elizabeth  //  Hair: Hair by Stephanie B

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Thursday, March 2, 2017

Workcation 2017

Oh I'm so sad to see Workcation 2017 behind me. Do you ever spend so long counting down to something exciting, and then it feels like it's here and gone before you know it? And then you have that "crap, what do I look forward to now" feeling? Yeah? Ok good, then I'm not alone.

We did this last year and I felt like all the stars aligned to make it happen, but I had my doubts that we'd be able to make it happen again. If you think about it, it's nearly impossible to coordinate the schedules of 11 people. Especially when you take into account the fact that we're all small business owners, more than half of us are mothers, and a handful of us also work full-time jobs. Well, by some miracle, we worked it out...and it was incredible.

We rented the same adorable beach house in Oceanview as last year and once again brought far too much food and wine to get us through two nights and three days. We took full advantage of the natural light in the house and styled some fun flat lays and headshots for each other before parading down to the beach for more in the sunshine. We lucked out with some seriously gorgeous weather and all wished we could have stayed longer to keep enjoying it.

We even got reallllly fancy this year and booked a private chef to come cook us dinner our last night in the house. It was SUCH A TREAT and definitely something I think we'll all agree to do every year moving forward. It was awesome to not have to interrupt our workflow to cook {or do the dishes}, but not have to depend on pizza for dinner either! Brian KILLED it in the kitchen!

We played some really fun games this year that had us all in total giggle fits. Heads Up, Code Names, and LCR may be my new favorite games to play. Did I mention I WON the first game of LCR?! 

There were two big moments that really hammered it home how much I love these ladies and how thankful I am to have each of them in my life. While we were taking headshots on the beach, we each ended up jumping into a few quick snaps with "our people". This group of wonderful women consists of quite a few smaller groups that just love each other to the core. It was because of all these small groups that we all came together to be friends in the first place. So it was super special to see us each take a minute to honor those friendships as well. I think it was Erin who kept saying that watching each of us love on our people made her want to cry. And she was so right.

 Another moment was during our round table discussion. Every time someone presented something to the group, they had the eyes, ears, and hearts of 10 other people focused solely on them and what they had to say. We had the best time talking through our struggles together, offering sound advice, wiping each other's tears, and laughing wholeheartedly at each other. You just don't get that kind of commitment from people every day. It was heartwarming and powerful to watch my people be so invested in each other.

The whole weekend was just so genuine. I think that's probably the best word I can think of to describe these friendships I've been blessed with. I really don't know what I did to deserve having them in my life. But every day I thank my lucky stars for their friendships, their wisdom, and the constant belly laughs they give me.

Until next year ladies! xo

Thanks to all the photogs of the group for the awesome/entertaining pictures. Feel free to check out all my ladies and give them all some love!

Elizabeth Henson Photos //  Christina Barnum Photography  //  Alison McPherson, Real Estate Professional  //  Ro & Co Designs  //  Waters Edge Design  //  Heidi Calma Photography  //  Erin Ammons Photography  //  Crystal Belcher Photography  //  Angie McPherson Photography  //  elovephotos

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Friday, February 24, 2017

JDE Bride: Julia

Happy Friday friends!!  It's been a little while since I've brought you a JDE Brides post.  So I'm super pumped to start the weekend off with my bride and incredible friend Julia sharing about her gorgeous King Family Vineyards wedding!

Introduce yourself!  And your husband!
Hey there!  I'm Julia Ogden and I'm an English teacher and have a small business called Water's Edge Design  I'm also a JDE bride and my husband Justin and I got married just this past October at King Family Vineyards in Charlottesville, VA.

Rebecca Keeling Studios
What's your love story?  How did the two of you meet?  How did he pop the question?
I might be biased, but I think our love story is pretty special.  Justin and I actually met online!  I had gotten over the ending of a long relationship and felt ready to get back out there.  I just wasn't exactly sure how to do that!  My friend convinced me to sign up on a free online dating site and things just kind of snowballed from there.  I went on a LOT of bad dates, and a few good dates.  Met a lot of great guys, who just weren't MY GUY.  I even started a blog to catalog all of my adventures in trying to find the one.  Months passed and I Was ready to give up.  I went onto the online dating site to deactivate my profile when I saw that I had a message from a handsome guy with the most unbelievably cute dimples.  It was sweet and simple and at the end of it, he asked if he could call me.  He literally wrote "may I call you?" so old fashioned and sweet.  I figured, why not....I'll give it one more chance.  I gave him my number and immediately deactivated my profile.  If he wasn't it, I was going to give this whole dating thing a break for a while.

That first date turned into two years together and on the anniversary of our first date, December 15th, Justin took me to go see the lights at Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens...we walked around the grounds, got hot chocolate, and the whole time I could tell he was trying to get me to a spot where we could be alone.  We saw this little path that lead through the woods to a gazebo, but it was roped off.  We felt like rebels hopping over it and he lead me down the path to where it was quiet and secluded.  He took my hand, lead me into the middle of the gazebo and got down on one knee to propose.  Of course I said yes....more like yelled it haha...and he told me that our whole family was meeting us at a restaurant nearby so we could celebrate together.  It was honestly the best day of my entire life.

What five words would you use to describe your wedding?
We started planning the wedding right away and I really wanted it to represent us and our personalities.  Pinterest can be super overwhelming and unrealistic so I used it a little bit for some inspiration, but mostly thought about what elements we loved in our life.  If I could choose 5 words to describe our wedding, they would be:
Fair tale {I know that's two lol}

Elizabeth Henson Photos
What were your favorite & least favorite parts of wedding planning?
My favorite parts of wedding planning were:
1. How much time I got to spend with my mom and Justin's mom doing the planning.
2. Finding all of the beautiful pieces we would use for the decor.  Styling is my favorite thing to do, so to do something on this big of a scale was so fun!
3. All of the site visits and tastings!  It was so exciting to have everyone treat you like royalty and come on, free food and wine!?  Sign me up!
4. Finding my wedding dress.  I went with a small group of the women in my family and it was just so special to get to spend the day with them.  It was a pretty magical moment seeing how emotional they got.

My least favorite parts of wedding planning were:
1. Worrying about the budget.  We didn't realize it, but Charlottesville is the 2nd or 3rd most expensive wedding location in the US....THE US PEOPLE!  We just love that area because we are UVA fans and I go there every fall with my girlfriends for a winery trip.  Everything was so outrageously expensive and after we splurged on the venue, I didn't know how we were going to fit in everything else.
2. All of the tiny details that you have to make decisions about.  It can get super overwhelming and you just wanna hands things off to someone else.  {Enter Just Dandy Events to talk me off the ledge}

Where did you go for your honeymoon?
After the wedding, we stayed in Charlottesville at the sweetest little Airbnb.  It was within 5 minutes of downtown and it even had the cutest goats on the property!  It was so much more romantic and cozy than a hotel room and we have plans to go back every year for our anniversary.  We left that Tuesday for our honeymoon in Ireland and it was an incredible whirlwind trip.  We had so much fun exploring the little towns, meeting the nicest locals, and basically eating and drinking Guinness constantly.  We got home and needed another vacation from the wedding/honeymoon excitement.

Rebecca Keeling Studios
Who were your vendors?
Venue: King Family Vineyards
Coordination: Just Dandy Events
Photographer & Videographer: Rebecca Keeling Studios
Florist: Courtney Inghram Events
Lighting: The Lighting Professors
Caterer: Glorious Foods
Cake: Everything Emma
Styling & Decor: Water's Edge Design

If you could do one thing different throughout your entire wedding planning journey, what would it be?
I don't think I would really change anything that happened in the wedding planning journey.  I do wish our location had been a little less expensive, but it was exactly what we pictured and felt so very us, that I can't really wish we had gone somewhere else.

Do you have any advice for future brides?
1. Hire a is really hard trying to do everything yourself and you, at the VERY LEAST, need a day of coordinator.  That day flies by and little things are constantly popping up.  Like one of your tables collapsing in the middle of dinner lol!  As much as you love your aunt or best friend, they might not always know how to handle these things.  You need someone with experience.
2. Get ready at your venue or very close by your venue.  We booked a house close by the venue for the bridesmaids to stay at, and for us to get ready all together that morning.  Unfortunately, we had to change locations the week before and ended up at a house 30 minutes away from the venue.  It made things feel a little rushed that morning and in all the craziness, we left my bouquet behind.  Luckily someone able to bring it before the ceremony, but I didn't have it for all the wedding party pictures.  It made me sad.
3. Take a deep breath, use Pinterest sparingly, and remember that your day is going to be perfect because you are getting to marry your dream guy/girl.  Everything else is just icing on the cake.  You getting stressed out and unhappy during the planning process is the opposite of what should be happening.  Take your time, use your partner as a stress reliever and sounding board.  Try not to take advice from too many people, everyone thinks they are an expert, but only you know what you really want.  Just have fun with it and remind yourself that this is a really incredible time in your life.  It goes by fast, so don't waste in with over-analyzing table cloth colors.

IYQ Photography
Such wonderful advice Julia!!!  For a look back on some of my favorite parts of Justin & Julia's beautiful day, check out this blog post.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Join the 2017 JDE Team!!!

Hey there!  Are you interested in getting into the wedding industry but you're not sure where to start?  Or do you just love pretty things and want to surround yourself with blushing brides as often as possible?  Well, we've got great news {I totally sound like an info-mercial here}!!  We're looking for 2 assistants to join the JDE Team for the 2017 wedding season!

The requirements are simple: We're looking for ladies with strong attention to detail, a professional and friendly demeanor, and the ability to take direction, but make creatively-led decisions on their own when necessary.  Bonus if you enjoy doing the Wobble and won't laugh at me when I cry through the speeches.

This is an intern-level position and is unpaid.  However you will ALWAYS be fed and there is room for growth throughout the season, which could lead to a paid position.

The assistants would be required to help with both weddings and styled shoots.  Wedding would require you to be available starting at 1pm and ending after cleanup at the end of the night.  These days are generally 10-12 hours long.  Styled shoots would require you to be available for the entire shoot and these days are generally 4-6 hours long.

If you're interested and think you'd be a great fit for the 2017 JDE Team, shoot me an email explaining what you would bring to the team!  We'll be accepting applications until March 5th!

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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Julia & Justin - King Family Vineyards

Oh friends, I am so beyond excited to share this beautiful vineyard wedding with ya'll.  Where to begin.  Justin and Julia got married in October at King Family Vineyards and the day was epic.  The weather was perfect, the details were gorgeous, everything was exactly what Julia had been dreaming of.  And the fact that she asked me to be a part of that day was the biggest cherry on top of the whole thing.

Time to get a little sappy.  Julia and I have been friends for about 5 or 6 years {I think} and she's also the beautifully talented brain behind Water's Edge Design.  We've had the opportunity to work on so many fun projects together and she's always been such a huge supporter of JDE.  Then Justin {who I also ADORE and is the absolutely perfect match for my sweet friend} proposed and Julia asked me to be her wedding planner.  And let me tell you, the honor you feel when a friend tells you they 100% trust you to put together one of the most highly anticipated days of their's a tough feeling to beat.

Anyways, Julia's style is very earthy and organic with a bit of forest fairy tale thrown in.  She's my little hippy friend that has a serious love for pretty things and I think the details she put together for her wedding mirrored that perfectly.

One of the big perks of being a part of the wedding industry is knowing some of the most amazing vendors in the area personally.  Julia handpicked an A-list of people to help make her vision for the day come to life.  Check out this gorgeous wedding!

Oh and did I mention they had a DONUT TRUCK in lieu of traditional wedding cake?  WINNING!

A big bonus to also being a guest to this wedding was that Wes got to come with me!  He helped with set up and break down and now he fully understands why my feet hurt so badly at the end of a wedding day.  And how cute is he dancing with the beautiful bride?!

I absolutely LOVE when my couples take my advice to set aside a little slice of time on their wedding day for just the two of them.  Justin & Julia liked the idea of having a "last dance" together before their big exit.  We sent all the guests outside and let the two of them have the dance floor to themselves.  They danced to one of their favorite songs, held each other tight, and soaked in the gloriousness of their day.

I'm so honored to have played a part in this beautiful day.  Justin & Julia, I love you both to pieces and I'm so happy to see you both love each other so hard.  Thank you for trusting me!!

Venue: King Family Vineyard  //  Photographer: Rebecca Keeling Studios  //  Coordinator: Just Dandy Events  //  Florist: Courtney Inghram Events  //  Cake: Everything Emma  //  Lighting: The Lighting Professors  //  Catering: Glorious Foods  //  Specialty Furniture/Signage: Water's Edge Design //  DJ: DJ Mark Allen  //  Beauty: Elle Style Studio  //  Donut Truck: Carpe Donut

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