introducing our tiniest team member

Lilly Beth.jpg

My husband Drew & I welcomed our darling daughter, Lillian Elizabeth, into the world on April 23, 2015 at 10:23pm. Weighing 8lbs 9oz at 20.5 inches long, she has stolen our hearts completely.

As I spend the next two months taking in this precious time adjusting to motherhood, all forthcoming emails will be automatically forwarded to our new office manager, Mary Catherine. You may contact her directly at hello@kellydellingerevents.com or by phone at 205.639.7022.


Please note that we will temporarily not be taking on any new planning or consulting clients until after my return to the office in July 2015.


We look forward to reconnecting with everyone this summer!

re-introduction

It may be several months into 2015, but regardless -- 2015 is a new year, and with every new year and engagement season, there are obviously new brides and readers! (YAY! Welcome! Glad you're here!!) You can read about me & my team from our website "about" page, but I thought I'd elaborate a little more here on the blog today.

My name is (obviously indeed) Kelly Dellinger, I'm in my mid-twenties, married for close to 3 years, wife of my darling college sweetheart Drew, and future mama to Lillian Elizabeth (Lilly Beth - coming literally any day now). I have been wedding planning for 5+ years and worked a crazy circuit of all KINDS of special events industry jobs before I started my own business -- so you are safe to assume I am a well-rounded professional when it comes to planning events. (I've done it all -- manned photo booths, prepped flowers, delivered cakes, wrote for a magazine, served as a bridal concierge, coordinated for a venue, logged countless hours of wedding films, you name it!) I have a Bachelor's degree in Communications, but the best experience I garnered in college was planning events as my sorority's social chair and interning for a wedding planning studio my Junior & Senior years. When I am not pregnant, I am an avid hot yoga practitioner and instructor (and yes, that's probably the thing I miss the most as a preggo). My favorite place in the world is Charleston, South Carolina -- namely, the beach at the Isle of Palms. I have yet to find an ice cream parlor on the island, but I'm determined there HAS to be one somewhere, as that is the only missing link to it being the most perfect place on earth. I also adore Mexico and all of the Caribbean islands; I am an equal-opportunity island appreciator, especially when mojitos and coconut drinks are involved. Mexican food is my favorite (pregnant or not, 24/7, and 365 days a year), specifically anything with copious amounts of avocado and spicy peppers (bonus points for fresh-off-the-boat shrimp). Drew is always tackling challenging Rick Bayless recipes to my culinary delight, so I am spoiled rotten in the food department.

Cake is my favorite part of weddings, but I am very picky about the quality. (And I could seriously talk to you for DAYS about it -- incredible flavor combinations, comparisons of crumb texture and buttercreams, how much I love it... you get the point.) I'm also obsessed with bridal fashion and go starry-eyed any chance I get to walk into a gown boutique. (Favorite details:  tulle and fine-quality crystals and fancy lace and STUNNING silhouettes.) I love the variety there is for brides to choose from -- everything from the simplest clean, sophisticated lines with architectural detailing in ivory for a perfectly timeless look to masterfully designed, hand-sewn beading and sequins and pleated ribbons on a work-of-art blush pink tulle number. My own gown was very simple but timeless -- ivory Duchesse satin, A-line skirt, straight-across strapless neckline, but with a gorgeous asymmetrical bustle and small bow-flap on the back. (And I accessorized with a perfect crystal belt that I still break out to wear at least once a year. Girl's gotta have some bling.) I love stunning tablescapes and heartfelt details and luxurious paper goods and classic getaway cars and all-night dancing and sharing a first married meal, and obviously the gorgeous/lovely/love-permeating start of brand new marriages. Weddings are A DREAM!

My honey & I, at our favorite restaurant in Savannah -- B Matthew's!

My honey & I, at our favorite restaurant in Savannah -- B Matthew's!

I am a Nashville native (born, bred & educated), but I hope to move to the lowcountry part of the southeastern United States as soon as humanly possible. Shrimp & grits would probably be my last meal request, and I really can't stand cold weather. I have two (enormously fat) cats and one day hope to adopt a golden doodle or a giant poodle named Lulu. I prefer to spend as much time as humanly possible outside, under string lights or overlooking a body of water. Party-planning is my love language -- Drew and I love nothing more than to cook and entertain guests while playing parlor games and drinking wine (or signature cocktails). I love beaucoups of natural daylight, green trees and fresh flowers, and have a pretty impressive dress closet accumulated over the years. 

And now, because i haven't done one of these in eons:

the best advice i've ever received
"feel the fear and do it anyway."

my favorite quote
"do everything well." - kenneth calhoun

favorite vacation spots
charleston, sc | cancun, mexico

five things i cannot live without (excluding my family, faith, and God)
sunshine, avocados, vacation time, my iPhone, & ample sleep

favorite thing to cook
i love to bake, so cake! otherwise, marguerite pizza.

something surprising about me you may not know
i started out college aspiring to be a broadway actress.

most trusted beauty secret
mascara + blush makes all the difference in the world.

song that sums up my life outlook
i surrender all

women i admire, and why?
mothers in general (definitely including my own) - because motherhood is insanely hard, lara casey - her faith is her guiding force and she is one hell of an influencer in the best way, & calder clark - her style and approach to designing weddings; she always comes up with something brilliant.
 

books on my bedside table. 
make it happen, bringing up bebe, and lessons from madame chic.

how i enjoy spending my free time
snuggling, pontooning, entertaining, seeing family, traveling or dreaming about it.

Another particularly notable factoid:  I will be on maternity leave from the end of April until mid-July, so if you are reaching out to us, you will hear from our fabulous planner Katie in my absence. I am planning to continue blogging and staying as in touch with the biz as possible, but as you can imagine, newborns tend to be a bit demanding in the time and attention department:)

april life updates

Well, I absolutely fell off the face of the planet these past few months, as I'm sure you are well aware! Spring weddings + preparing for maternity leave + growing a human have been all-consuming -- not to mention some work/personal travel scattered in and the execution of one absolutely gorgeous March wedding!

Life? Insanity. Faster than ever. How is it past the halfway mark of April? Two years ago at this time I was gearing up to go out of the country for a spontaneous early-anniversary vacation. One year ago I'd just wrapped up Lauren & David's beautiful 30s-inspired wedding. This year, I'm finishing childbirthing classes and attending showers and anxiously awaiting the arrival of my future daughter who seems to be coming sooner than later (regardless, she'll be here by the end of the month! Gasp!).

Packing baby's hospital bag!

Packing baby's hospital bag!

Trial run / childbirth education at 37.5 weeks preggo!

Trial run / childbirth education at 37.5 weeks preggo!

We have three stunning weddings coming up next month at a gorgeous luxury barn, a 1920s train station-turned-upscale-hotel, and botanical gardens. My hands have been FULL in preparation for these lovely events, and my calendar brimming with planning appointments. All three of our May couples are planning from out-of-state, which poses its own set of challenges in scheduling around travel opportunities (February was quite the debacle, with all of Nashville's snowstorms and subsequent flight delays/cancellations!). We've done a good deal of Skype here lately!

Nashville Photography Group

Nashville Photography Group

Last month we wrapped up Nicole & Nick's gorgeous, glamorous Country Music Hall of Fame wedding and traveled to South Carolina to execute the editorial shoot of my dreams. It's hard to wrap my mind around all that's been going on here in the past few months!!!

Springtime has gloriously been celebrated. Warm weather and (mostly) sunny skies were much welcomed (I have potted flowers and plants ALL OVER our house right now) and outdoor entertaining has resumed its place in my heart and everyday life. Praise the LORD! I can't believe Easter's already come and gone. (And still I managed to not accumulate even one bunny decoration. My Easter holiday decorations are tragically minimal.)

GOALS:

Prepare everything to an optimal level of organization to ensure smoothest transition to maternity leave for May weddings. My ever-capable planner Katie will be taking over my role for the months of May & June; just got to get everything transitioned over to her first!

Prepare life for the impending arrival of Miss Lillian Elizabeth. Detail car, restock pantry/household goods, prep a couple of freezer meals, organize the nursery, rewire the ceiling fan/light to a dimmer switch, attend final baby shower, send off thank-you notes in a timely manner, prep birth announcements, sew a hospital gown (maybe), and get adequate sleep. Doesn't that sound like an oxymoron?

Deliver a healthy, happy baby. 'Nuff said.

Figure out what life looks like. So many cha-cha-cha-changes in these parts!

Here's to spring with its new beginnings!

real honeymoons:: 2 travel anywhere

All my couples know there is one singular company I will always recommend to everyone, no matter the budget, tastes, or style of the couple:  2 Travel Anywhere's honeymoon planning service! I absolutely adore Carlie Finch of 2 Travel Anywhere -- she has planned two Caribbean vacations for my husband and me, as well as countless trips for friends, family, and occasionally the odd stranger I encounter who happens to be talking about wanting to plan an upcoming vacation! Carlie is thorough, knowledgable, detail-oriented and timely in working with her clients. She always delivers amazing trips with seamlessly-planned itineraries. Drew and I would not DREAM of going anywhere out of the country without consulting Carlie, which is why I hands-down recommend her to everyone interested in traveling!

Carlie is particularly talented in honeymoon travel - she has relationships with so many incredible resorts all across the world and is familiar with each location's unique honeymoon travel perks. This has allowed so many of my past brides and grooms to take advantage of added amenities they might not have otherwise known about! 

Are you active duty military? Carlie can also help you find discounts, such as at Sandals & Beaches resorts, which offer 10% off for military!

Here are some Real KDE Couples who have used Carlie's honeymoon travel services:

Erin & Alfred {June 2014} | The Grande St. Lucia

st lucia honeymoon
st lucia honeymoon 2 travel anywhere
Private bed hut on beach? Check. Vanilla latte? Check. Book? Check. Perfect Friday morning!
— Erin Chambers Stewart

Jennifer & Stephen {May 2014} | Excellence Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

stephen & jenn honeymoon2.jpg

Laura & Michael {January 2014} | Sandals Royal Caribbean in Montego Bay, Jamaica

We felt like absolute royalty! The level of service was unbelievably amazing and the food was phenomenal. The staff is attentive and kind. You don’t have to leave the resort to have a good time. Best of all, there is something for every type of couple. We are the keep-to-ourselves, quiet type, and we were able to relax and chill out without feeling imposed upon or pushed into activities. At the same time, I saw many more active couples taking part in all the entertainment and activities that were offered and having a ball. I feel like the resort is able to meet the needs of any couple with any personality. I don’t think there is a person on earth that wouldn’t enjoy everything they have to offer there! This resort actually was not my first choice, but was the one that Carlie strongly recommended for us. I am really glad that I trusted her judgement and took her advice!
— Laura Hart Wauford

Hayley & Braxton {October 2013} | Sandals Jamaica

Jamaica was AMAZING. So warm, staff was so friendly, and the drinks flowed! It was a fabulous trip!!!
— Hayley Cook Wilson

Don't these make you swoon just thinking about the crystal waters and sandy beaches? GET ME TO THE BEACH, STAT! 

ups and downs

Deary me! This year is two weeks in (almost) and I feel like work has already been a roller coaster of craziness catching up. I'm JUST now getting to the bottom of my email inbox, and simultaneously working on improving my planning processes so I can serve my current clients better.

January and February tend to be focused on booking new business, since it's mid-engagement season and brides start their wedding planning in the winter when work might be slower or at least some time has presented itself after all the holiday madness is over. As much as I tried to be strategic with planning for business operations in December, taking close to two weeks primarily off from work to see family and be a normal human made that impossible to "complete." So now I'm entertaining prospective clients, catching up on wedding plans for 2015 weddings, working on my behind-the-scenes processes to do a better job for EVERYONE, and it's a little overwhelming.

But isn't that normal? January and February tend to be my most anxiety-ridden months, year after year. I am working hard to BREATHE and set myself up for success (not overscheduling my weeks, trying to observe my office hours, finding nice ways to destress that don't involve a bottle of Prosecco, drinking less espresso). I want to be the BEST PLANNER EVER for my brides. And to attract the BEST-FIT BRIDES in these initial consultation months. That requires amped-up streamlined processes, organization out the wazoo, and a lot of hard work. No coasting allowed.

In the meantime, in all my leisure hours/not thinking about work, my brain is checked out and 100% living in Charleston. I'm serious - when I'm pumping gas or making dinner or driving on the weekends, my brain is out of reality and just hanging out on King Street or looking out over Shem Creek or walking the streets downtown. It's kind of nice, mentally feeling the cold sand on my bare feet (which in reality are wearing thick socks since it's EFFING COLD HERE) and taking walks on the beach. Sometimes in-my-head-Kelly is pushing a stroller (that I don't have) holding my daughter (who is still in utero) around the Pineapple fountain and the pier with its wooden swings and occasionally enjoying pistachio gelato from the Belgian gelato store. Sometimes I'm driving across the bridge to Mt. Pleasant, or getting a cocktail at SOL, or even just browsing the aisles at the gorgeous brick Target on the way to Isle of Palms. Pretty much any memory I have of Charleston I'm recalling and fantasizing about. Even when Drew and I were out on a date on Saturday night, I was thinking about where we'd be if we lived in Charleston and were on a date night there.

Maybe it's my coping mechanism for surviving the cold. And surviving tax season when Drew's not around much. Is it healthy? Meh. Is it good? Meh. Who can say? All I know is that I miss that favorite place, and can't wait to get back there. I'm content to travel there until we can legitimately move. I'm content living here, in this beautiful house, near our wonderful family and friends. But these winter months of solitude and stress... I'm holding fast to my happy memories.

Perhaps it's time to work on an inspiration board for my future Charleston styled shoot? We'll see.

inspiring me lately:

For now, here is a list of goals I have for winter 2015:

BUSINESS

  • Update a couple of aspects of my physical office. (Something to refresh and re-inspire! It's been one year of working there, come January 16th!)
  • Rewrite & design my current planning package offerings.
  • Finish my 2015 Action Plan to start the year off strong.
  • Revisit my process-writing program and streamline my operating systems for 2015. This is especially crucial for maternity leave prep!
  • Update ALL client files to new system.
  • Set up tracking system for hours. More organization!
  • Finish "Make it Happen!" Lara Casey book.
  • Finish reading Southern Weddings V7.
  • Research innovative ideas and opportunities for event design. Polish my skill sets!
  • Plan a Charleston styled shoot with Amy Cherry.
  • Work on my photo-editing skills. Be more professional with my graphic design.
  • Build the KDE team further. I have some gaps to fill!

PERSONAL

  • Pare down my belongings further. I have too much stuff!
  • Start to organize Lilly's nursery.
  • Organize my dress & shoe closet.
  • Commit to reading a devotional daily. I'm starting with "New Day, New You" by Joyce Meyer. Write in prayer journal daily, too.
  • Work on polishing weekly/daily schedule. How can I make more time with the hours I'm given?
  • Clean out my car. It's a disaster from the move/holidays.
  • Organize my closet so that only the clothes that fit me (and my preggo body) are visible and accessible.
  • Read more books.
  • Make the bed & clean the kitchen daily.
  • Vacuum weekly, before Drew comes home on Friday nights.
  • Prep the back deck for entertaining come March.

nourish

I am a big advocate of goal-setting, list-making, and planning for the future (duh). I believe strongly in the power of prayer and thought. I strive to think positively, set lofty goals, and fail often. (If you're not failing, you're not trying hard enough.) The past two years of my life and this business (HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, KDE!) have revolved around focus words. I don't necessarily think these up on my own - sometimes they will be suggested by someone, or randomly stumbled-upon... mostly, I think God plants them. And they can certainly change. I can be wrong about what I think the word of the year should be. They can evolve over time. With clarity. They don't necessarily come when I think they should, and sometimes they're even an afterthought -- a descriptive word of what happened, rather than a foresight into what should happen.

I like action words. When I'm setting an intention for yoga or any other pursuit (big or small), I tend to gravitate towards the one-word kind (even though an intention can be a "word or phrase, something or someone, whatever you need to dedicate your practice to" -- words from my own yoga teaching script!). One word seems to be the most clear. I like a word that has multiple meanings, or at least can accommodate a variety of situations. I like a word that ends up being so encompassing it's not limited to just a business focus, or a life focus, or a marriage focus, or whatever.

2013 was building. I thought for a long time it was just my business word, but in hindsight it was everything. Building our marriage (wrapping up our first year of it), this business, our life as it is. Building long-term goals. Building a yoga practice. Building a teaching career. Building a strong foundation that could survive four months of Drew traveling for work every single week. Building a presence in church, building a stronger faith. Building relationships that would develop slowly and sweetly over time.

2014 was establish. Once again, my initial focus with it was just Kelly Dellinger Events. It started out as "legitimize." I attended an industry conference, acquired an office, started working on more intensive weddings. But rather than "legitimize," which seems more like a justification than a true focus, I was establishing. Establishing the KDE brand. Establishing my ideal clients, my planning approach, my design style. Establishing our family, our roots, a long-term path we're seeking.

2015 was hard to figure out at first. (Is any year not?) I know certain things are on the radar for 2015:  namely, a baby. A baby that will change absolutely everything. I thought about "transition" or "survive." Drew hated "survive" as a focus, since it sounded too negative. (I argue that it's a perfectly good intention and one I have OFTENTIMES during my hot yoga practice -- sometimes you just need to survive a season, or survive 90 minutes of sweating and challenging yourself. But maybe it's not as optimistic and makes time go fast wanting to "get things over with.") One of my plans for 2015 and my business is to grow my value as a wedding planner & designer (attending conferences, adding value to packages, differentiating myself), so I thought about "value" or "increasing worth" but those didn't fit either. My sister suggested something along the lines of "birth" or "create," since that's literally what I will be doing this year. But my business isn't being rebirthed or created. I certainly feel I have and will continue to have a lot of creativity to burst forth into the word (there is something creativity-spawning about creating human life, I must say). But there will also be recovery this year. Downtime. "Growth" is inevitable, as it accompanies change, but some things will stop growing at times (ummm, don't know about you but I'm not planning on getting physically larger post-baby-birthing. Just sayin'). And couldn't every year be "growth" anyways? We grow every day in wisdom and knowledge and insight and experience. 

As Drew and I were talking over dinner last night about all of this, I prayed and thought about what I want to cultivate in 2015. I want to take care of the things I hold dear. I want to breastfeed once Lilly is born. I want to be careful and mindful of the time I spend - working, in leisure, travel, with family. I want to be good to my body - taking care of myself with adequate sleep and nutrition and exercise, growing this baby to fruition, birthing her with care, recovering from the trauma, learning to be a mother, allowing my body to heal and grow strong once this season is over. I want to take care of my CHILD. I want to take care of my marriage - prioritizing my husband even when it's not an evolutionarily-wired desire, even when I feel resistance from the lack of sleep and difficulty of a huge life transition. I want to take care of my faith - growing in it, learning more, soothing my spirit. I want to take care of relationships, past and present and future. "Take care" doesn't even really cut it, but "nourish" does. My word is nourish. It sounds luxurious, like a spa day. It brings to mind sleeping in on a Saturday morning in luxe pajamas and intertwining legs and feet with Drew's. It brings to mind visions of the ocean, of healing salty air, of swaying palm trees (and coconut drinks). Of pampering. Of lavish abundance of care. The official definition is "to provide with the food or other substances necessary for growth, health, and good condition." I want to nourish all of the important areas of my life -- body, soul, spirit, faith, mind, spouse, child, family, business, clients, relationships, finances, home. Abundantly bless these areas. Be abundantly blessed. I want to provide the things necessary for the important things to grow, be healthy, and in good condition.

I love the English language. I love that there are words to fit the years.

Do you have a word for 2015? Happy new year, y'all. And happy two year anniversary of KDE -- here's to many, many more!

  500 likes, y'all! Happy birthday to us!

 

500 likes, y'all! Happy birthday to us!