inspiration:: specialty stations

I love the creativity in weddings today. There are so many elements included in weddings now that were not even a thought a decade or two ago, particularly the variety of menu items available to guests in the form of specialty stations or bars at the reception. I chose the title for this post because it feels much more classy to say that I am inspired by specialty stations than to say I am inspired by bars, but in reality, I do like some of the actual bar options out there as well.

It seems that at weddings in the past, the expectation was that there would be a nice meal provided (probably chicken of some kind), wedding cake, and possibly alcohol depending on the wishes of that couple. Today, couples may still choose to offer a plated meal. However, many modern weddings may have a meal as well as specialty stations or bars available to guests. Some even choose to have only specialty stations or buffets. There are far more options for these than I have listed, but here are a few of my favorites, and I have grouped some of them by category/type of wedding:

Brunch Wedding

  • Mimosa Bar
  • Coffee Bar (or have a coffee catering company come)
  • Biscuit Bar
  • Crepes Bar
  • Waffle Bar
  • Donut Bar
  • Pancake Bar
  • Omelette Bar    

Winter Wedding

  • S'mores bar
  • Hot Cocoa Bar

Fall Wedding

  • Caramel Apple Bar
  • Chili Bar

Spring/Summer Wedding

  • Lemonade Bar
  • Snowcone Bar
  • Popsicle Bar 

Alcoholic Bar Ideas

  • While offering beer and wine for the meal and champagne for toasts, also have two signature cocktails--a "his" drink choice and a "her" drink choice
  • Martini Bar
  • Margarita Bar

General

  • Taco Bar
  • Nacho Bar
  • Candy Bar (ha)
  • Mashed Potato Bar
  • Pasta Bar
  • Personal Pizza Bar
  • Fancy Grilled Cheese Bar
  • Pie Bar (see my inspiration: : pi(e) day post)
  • Cookie Bar
  • Popcorn Bar
  • Cupcake Bar
  • Gelato Bar

I love the idea of giving guests lots of options like this. The bar idea gives them a chance to be selective in their menu choices, but also just gives them a chance to be creative. It's a fun addition to the night.

Why settle for one open bar? Or even an alcoholic one, at that? I'd love an open popsicle bar, an open fancy grilled cheese bar, an open biscuit bar, an open pie bar...

From left to right, top to bottom: biscuit bar, caramel apple bar, chili bar, s'mores bar, candy bar, popsicle bar, coffee bar, mimosa bar, taco bar, mashed potato bar, pie bar, omelette bar, cookies and milk bar, donut bar, his and her cocktail bar sign, popcorn bar, waffle bar, hot cocoa bar. 

Inspiringly Yours, 

Rachel



love and loss, but mostly love

We lost our beloved Aunt Net this morning, after a hard-fought battle against illness.

Despite the pain and discomfort of leaving one's life behind, she maintained her sense of humor and sharp wit. When I spoke with her Saturday afternoon, I asked how she was doing she replied, "Oh, I'm just great!" with a little laugh.

In these last days, I shared many conversations with Drew and other members of our family, reminiscing about fabulous Aunt Net and her colorful life. She rocked an amazing blonde beehive back in the 50s and 60s and threw amazing parties. While the majority of our family lived in rural Tennessee, she resided in sunny Callahan, Florida. We took as many trips to visit her as we could muster, and I distinctly remember spending every birthday of my childhood at the Eastwinds Motel in Jacksonville. Dani (my sister) and I still remember the layout of those motel rooms! Anytime I smell grits and eggs and bacon cooking, I immediately am taken back to those huge family vacations at Eastwinds, and I can see Aunt Net sitting in her lawn chair on the pool deck, talking about how cute she thought boys with earrings were, and Uncle Bob in his shorts. Uncle Bob taught me how to play solitaire (with an actual deck of cards) on my grandparents' kitchen table.

Bob and Nettie were some of the loveliest people you could ever meet. My family probably doesn't want me publicly discussing this, but whenever Uncle Bob passed away, Aunt Net kept his ashes in an urn (knowing that they'd one day be buried together) and anytime there'd be a hurricane, she'd pack up Uncle Bob and head back to Tennessee. Now, there's some "until death do us part... and-beyond" love. They really did just adore each other.

My Granny told me this morning that anytime they saw a red bird, they knew that was Uncle Bob checking in on Aunt Net. Sure enough, a red bird was outside her house just yesterday - Uncle Bob finally came to get Aunt Net and take her home.

When Aunt Net got really sick a few years ago, we knew that any visits she could make back home to Tennessee would be extremely limited. Yet somehow, miraculously the month that Drew and I were to be married, Aunt Net got cleared from her doctor to travel. And so she flew up with her daughter Debbie, and they came to my wedding. I finally got to introduce her ("my favorite aunt!!!") to Drew. I have this one picture, a still shot I snapped from the video footage Kelsey and Jon Bufkin took of her sitting at her table during our ceremony. And it means absolutely everything to me.

We may have lost you physically, Aunt Net, but you're with us every time we think of Florida. Every time I see an orange tree. Every time I step into the ocean. Every time I burn my feet on sand. Every time I see a little toddler with a swimming-suit wedgie. Every time I hear the word "reckon." Every time Drew and I make breakfast. Every time I see a deck of cards. And now every time I see a red bird. 

registry recs

Oh, wedding registries! Some people claim that registering for gifts can be one of the most stressful and argue-inducing times in a couple's engagement (someone actually told Drew & me to have a cocktail beforehand to take the edge off!), but I think it's really one of the most fun things you can do together to get excited about the big day.

Perhaps not every couple sees completely eye-to-eye on future home decor or has the exact same priorities (I will say Drew does tend to want massive TVs significantly more than I do), but registering is the time to dream up your future life together and what it looks like on the home front. Will you have a simple, clean-lines airy look with monochromatic toned walls and furnishings? Do you have a love for all things rustic and go for bear-skin rugs and natural wood details and burlap shaded lamps? Or does the coast call for you (as it does me!), with its brightly colored hues and geometric prints and sea-inspired details?

Is a large kitchen, complete with a Kitchen-Aid mixer and nice knives and stainless steel pans, important to the two of you? Or could you not care less about cooking at home and prefer exemplary dinnerware to serve your takeout and catered meals? Maybe with your busy careers, you want a spa-like experience when you come home, complete with plush towels and luxurious bath soaps and matching His & Her robes? Here is your opportunity to dream big and craft together the life you desire.

Think about your priorities, your lifestyle now, and how you want your lifestyle to be. Will you entertain a lot at home? Do you dream of hosting Thanksgiving for both sets of families come next November? Do you want somewhere to just sleep and keep your things with your on-the-go lifestyle? Are you minimalist and plan on moving someday soon? Or are you wanting to settle down and stay put once you've moved in together? All this can factor into the decisions you make whilst registering.

Here are a few basic tenets of wisdom in registering:

1. Who will primarily be fulfilling these registry requests? Are you inviting a lot of family and older family friends to the wedding? Are you fresh out of college and planning on inviting all your sorority sisters and fraternity brothers to the blowout party? Think about your target audience when you choose where and what range of gifts you register for. Options for places to register range the whole gamut, from big-box retailers like Target and Amazon.com to independent boutiques in your hometown. It never hurts to have a range of options but you don't want to be spread too much in different directions. Three seems to be the magic number of registries (but you don't have to follow all the rules). Here are some of your options:  Macy's. Target. Amazon. Crate & Barrel. Bed Bath & Beyond. Belk. Williams-Sonoma. Pottery Barn. Local specialty stores (there are a billion!). Places like Anthropologie also offer "Wish Lists" you can utilize similarly to registries. Then there's honeymoon registries galore, allowing opportunities to add on massage or spa treatments, champagne and room service, etc... The pragmatist in me tends to want to steer you away from doing the honeymoon registry unless you're already completely set with your home life (maybe you live together already and have all the things you'd otherwise need to outfit your life as a married couple, or you're moving to Haiti to become missionaries and don't need any "stuff" whatsoever), since honeymoons are DIVINE but temporary. But you make the call. :)

2. No matter how many companies you choose to register through, it always helps to give a wide range of cost to appease all your guests. Some people like to get big-ticket items. Some people like to go in with others on a large group gift (especially in office or organizational situations). Some people like to give lots of little gifts that have a theme ("outfitting the master bath" or "all you could need for baking"). And then some people wait until the last minute and just need something in their budget. Please everybody by choosing a variety!

3. If you're registering really early (as in, 6 - 9 months before the wedding day, or a few months before your showers are scheduled), try to register for as few "seasonal"  or clearance/sale items as possible. Some things are seasonless, but occasionally you'll fall in love with a set of dishes that happens to be in the spring line at your department store, or decide that you really should register for Christmas decor (since your tree may otherwise be bare). The issue with registering for a bunch of seasonal stuff is that by the time most guests are actually buying you gifts, those items will be insanely hard to find or completely out of stock, meaning that you'll MAYBE get 1 - 2 in a set, they'll be hard to return if you need to, and everyone ends up frustrated. Sale items can be okay (since limited-time sales oftentimes don't necessarily mean the item is going to be discontinued), but clearance things are almost always impossible to find when you need them. Go for the timeless stuff, y'all!

4. With that same thread, I promise you'll be less regretful if you register for timeless goods rather than what's trendy right now. Part of the fun is picking out the super cool printed towels and a set of china that looks so awesome. But the trendier you get, the more likely you are to hate that item in a couple of years and eventually stick it in the Goodwill donations box. Registry items are meant to last you a long time! Go for longevity. Quality > Quantity, usefulness > "cool", things you love > things you like, timeless > trendy.

5. Listen to your friends and ask what they use the most out of the things they registered for and received. Especially since you have a lot of things in common with your friends, their insight will be valuable so you know what to go for versus what to avoid.

6. Don't be afraid to return things you are "iffy" on or change your mind about. Sometimes people will gift you things that are not on your registry (sometimes those things are great and totally valuable -- as in "why didn't you think of that?!"). Sometimes those things were not on your registry for a very important reason (so thoughtful, but it would really take up more space than ever get used...). Get over the emotional guilt-trip and just return what you don't want and won't use. There's no use in taking up too much storage space just because you don't want to hurt Aunt Mildred's feelings. Most considerate friends & family will include gift receipts or return tags (sometimes you get duplicates or find a better price elsewhere, etc... lots can happen!), so get over the guilt and just get rid of what you don't need. Sometimes you register for things and then decide the things you DIDN'T get would actually serve you better. So return the things you don't want anymore and use that credit to get the things you need. Everyone wins. (JUST MAKE SURE TO WRITE YOUR THANK-YOU NOTES AS SOON AS YOU GET THE GIFTS! No one has to know you returned it the next day.)

7. Don't buy into the crazy long laundry lists of things all the stores tell you that you need to register for. Those businesses are for-profit. They don't know you personally, so they're going to be all-encompassing when they give you suggestions on what to register for. You can always err on the side of too much instead of too little (to give your guests more options, remembering that you can always return things you don't need), but don't get stressed trying to register for every last little thing. Enjoy it; this is one of the fun things!!!!

 

Here's a list of items that have historically been really lovely to register for & receive:

  • a lot of towels {they say you can't have too many. if anyone could, i think it's us, since we have about eighty billion, but we haven't regretted it. they stay fluffier longer and it means we can wait longer in-between laundry loads. also, when you have kids you'll need a billion. so go ahead and register for a zillion!}
  • china that is mix-and-matchable {determine whether or not you want to register for the fancy "fine china" -- some people are adamant that it is ABSOLUTELY necessary whereas some people don't use it and it takes up way too much space. but whatever patterns/materials you opt to register for, you will need something to eat on and it might as well be intermixable. you'll get more use, it seems more customized and personal rather than something boring and passé, and it's way less boring! by the way, i am all in favor of fine china but only if you use it on a daily basis. and why shouldn't you? if you spend a fortune on it, USE IT! that "special occasion" you're waiting for is your daily life!}
  • this can be the same as the aforementioned china, but i do recommend getting some attractive yet microwave-safe china {because sometimes you'll need it because life gets busy and we're all human here. save yourself an ikea trip to get ugly boring flat-colored microwave safe china by just registering for pretty stuff that you can pop in the science oven. lesson learned over here.}
  • a steamer & quality iron {drew works as an accountant and i'm a wedding planner, so our steamer comes in INSANELY handy! it's perfect for suits, wedding and nice dresses, pants, linens, everything. sometimes we get too lazy to iron things so we steam and done. however, we use our iron at least on a daily basis. get something good that isn't going to scorch your shirts and actually works. opt for the dripless varieties and read user reviews!}
  • a quality vacuum {nothing is more frustrating that a vacuum that doesn't work well. drew & i scoured consumer reports to find ours -- the hoover bagged wind tunnel anniversary edition. it was around $175 - 250, so not expensive, but works AMAZINGLY for pet hair & everyday use. vacuums are NECESSARY for EVERYONE, EVERYWHERE. so get one! it's a great group gift! ps: our hoover tends to bust through vacuum bands here and there, but they're super cheap to replace and can be found at any home depot, target, lowe's, etc. bags are also easy to find and cheap to replace. and the roller can be found on amazon for cheap, too!}
  • a french coffee press {we got a legit coffee maker too, but we use our french press daily. it's easy to use, doesn't make TOO much (only 3 - 4 cups at a time), is easy to clean, doesn't require coffee filters, and produces delicious coffee. cheap, easy, awesome. and pretty! who doesn't feel fancy boiling water in a kettle and making freshly-ground coffee? related items to register for (nice but not totally necessary):  coffee grinder & kettle}
  • a laundry sorter {ours is a combination dirty-laundry sorter and ironing board. drew even uses it as a desk in our bedroom, too. more attractive and takes up (kind of) less space than a traditional ironing board/hamper set. easy to dump into the washer.}
  • organic cotton sheets {these are softer and more temperature-appeasing than normal high thread count cotton sheets. if you're hot, they're cool, if you're cool, they're warm. they're super soft and not terribly expensive. we got ours from target and adore them. get at least 3 sets! i also recommend 1 -2 sets of flannel sheets for the most frigid winter nights}
  • nice, heavy silverware {i like 'em heavy yet dainty. opt not for wooden handles because they warp in the dishwasher. go for timeless because these will last you a long time!}
  • NICE QUALITY KNIVES {nothing infuriates me more than flimsy, cafeteria-grade knives. i'm serious, y'all. get them sharp and built to last!}
  • NICE QUALITY POTS & PANS {you just have to have them if you cook or plan on having anyone in your house to cook. i like copper, but stainless steel is great too. you can do the teflon-coated skillets but some naturalists are against them. see below.}
  • A CAST IRON SKILLET {yes, you need at least one. are you southern or not?! you can make literally anything in one and you can't live without it. trust me. get one in every size if you're truly southern.}
  • a casserole dish, preferably with a lid - monogrammed carrying case optional {ARE YOU SOUTHERN!? if so, you must. there is no question. we did not heed this advice until well after our wedding and it came back to haunt us at every thanksgiving, christmas, and potluck to come. BE WARNED!}
  • a kitchen-aid mixer {if you ever plan to bake anything}
  • a hand mixer {if you ever plan to make frosting, mashed potatoes, pie, or bake in a pinch or on the go}
  • a Silpat silicone baking mat {this is perfect and necessary for biscuit and cookie making. see also:  biscuit cutters, rolling pin, airlock cookie sheet}
  • airlock cookie sheet {this is a cookie sheet that has little air bubbles underneath the flat sheet to provide for even cooking. ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY for cookie baking, unless you want black-bottomed burnt nasty cookies or biscuits. also helpful for anything else you plan to stick in the oven, including toast. DO NOT EVER PUT THIS IN THE DISHWASHER OR IT WILL BE RUINED FOREVER!}
  • miscellaneous kitchenware:  rubber spatulas, a can opener, a bottle opener/corkscrew, flat spatulas, a whisk, a sieve, a cheese grater, a slotted spoon, an ice cream scoop, pizza cutter, garlic press, measuring cups for liquid and solid measurements (everything down from 1/4 teaspoon to 1 cup and 1/4 cup - 4 cups for liquid), pot holders, pretty kitchen towels and washcloths, the list could continue forever...
  • a food processor {despite the fact that i rarely used mine in college, drew and i use it on a daily basis now. do yourself a favor and get a mini one and the full-size.}
  • a blender {i recommend the glass ones instead of plastic. they blend better and don't drip or break nearly as easily.}
  • attractive bathroom accessories {ours are hammered silver and they just look so pretty! don't get ugly stuff because you'll be looking at it daily.} don't forget your shower curtains, hooks, and memory-foam mats!
  • coffee cups {i love really pretty ones that may not be super matchy-matchy but at least coordinate.}
  • mixing bowls {i recommend two (medium and large) metal mixing bowls, as well as a set of nesting bowls in all sizes. these come in so handy!}
  • baking pans {a muffin tin, 8" round cake tins, a long rectangular brownie pan, a roasting pan, a 9" square cake tin, a springform pan if you plan to make cheesecake.}
  • magic strips {for even baking in cakes and cheesecakes!}
  • a le creuset dutch oven, or similar {le creuset is the famous supplier of these amazing pots, but we have a similar one of a less-notorious brand and it still comes in handy ALL THE TIME! love love love. we also love our rachel ray casseroval!}
  • crystal glassware {i love riedel stemless wine glasses and also love our crystal highball and rocks glasses that we use for everything.}
  • glass "tupperware" {it doesn't have to be name-brand, obvs. but get something you can put leftovers in so you're not using old empty cool whip containers. and glass is safe for the science oven!}
  • entertaining things:  a serving platter or two, a serving bowl or two, serving utensils, cloth napkins, a table linen or two, some placemats, candlesticks, a cake stand
  • practical things:  a plunger, a toilet brush, trash cans, cleaning supplies, a broom, a mop, a bucket, sponges
  • outdoor entertaining things, if applicable {plan on spending some time partying with friends on your back deck or patio? i recommend pretty but plastic dinnerware, some anti-mosquito candles, and a lovely furniture set. we got ours from ikea and it can't be beat for an apartment entertaining hub!}
sources:  west elm, anthro, crate & barrel

sources:  west elm, anthro, crate & barrel

That's just a teensy bit of advice for you! Now, go grab that scanner and get to work! :)

inspiration:: love that lasts far beyond "I do"

This week's inspiration has been a constant inspiration to me throughout my entire life: love that lasts far beyond "I do." Whenever I see couples, particularly elderly ones, that are still clearly just as in love today as they were at their wedding, if not more, I am truly inspired. 

It makes perfect sense to be madly in love on the wedding day, or else the couple would not be there. To still be that head over heels 50 years down the road? That takes a lot of hard work, and a lot of humility. 

When such couples were asked how they made their marriages last in a recent Huffington Post article, these were some of their responses:

1.  "You give and you give and you give." -Agnes and Harry Hutfles, 60 years.

2. "Do not hold grudges. Forget, forgive and remember how you fell in love in the first place." -Ummugul and Fikri Tatlici, 62 years.

3. "Tell [your wife] she's beautiful every day and no matter how old you get, how sore your 'ol bones feel, or how many teeth you lose, slow dance with and kiss [your wife] every chance you get. You never know when you won't be able to again." -Mary and John McFeely, 60 years.

4. "When you go to bed at night, it doesn't matter how angry or sad you are, you don't have to say anything but you always, always touch toes. Just a little reminder that I'm here and I still love you no matter what." -Jenny and Manny DaSilva, 65 years.

5. "Forget how society views marriage today. We were always in it for the long run." -Robert and Laura Wilkinson, 57 years.

This is what a wedding should be celebrating--not the exciting event itself, but the life ahead. It's a recognition to the joys and hardships to come, but more importantly, to the commitment of love that will outlast any circumstances that may come along. It's a commitment to choosing the other person above one's self, daily, forever. True love. 

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From left to right, top to bottom: couple sharing milkshake, couple laughing at hospital, vintage wedding photo in uniform, laughing couple against wallpaper, couple kissing in field, man presenting rose to woman, man kissing woman on the cheek, man helping woman down the stairs, it gets better with age chalkboard photo, vintage couple wedding cake-feeding photo, couple dancing, couple on hammock, vintage wedding photo couple with glasses, vintage wedding cake cutting, vintage wedding kiss

Inspiringly Yours, 

Rachel






life updates | march 2014

March came and went. What a lovely month it has been! Fun-packed weekends, a trip to my favorite cities, a good deal of husband time, celebrating my best friend's baby-to-be, power sessions with clients, talking over RIDICULOUSLY gorgeous wedding design schemes in the '14-15 season... March has been good. The least anxious month of the year. I have eaten beaucoups of seafood and sweets and party fare (whoops), but SPRING IS HERE and despite the gray skies and snow that fell earlier this week, I know the warm weather will be here to stay shortly.

Hello, sunny days and boating excursions and al fresco parties to come!

I've got a hot chocolate in my hand and a pile of tax forms to my right. While I will not actually be filing my own stuff (thanks, Valerie!), it's still quite the effort to prep everything.

Gorgeous cake by Crumb de la Crumb at their delicious Open House last night!

Gorgeous cake by Crumb de la Crumb at their delicious Open House last night!

Here's the standard:

self care  |  I've successfully been drinking less coffee. However, I still need to cut back. I need more water, more yoga, and more vegetables, but besides that, I'm good on sleep and taking adequate breaks.

home environment  |  Work in progress. Working currently on streamlining even more to have less clutter and more room to move eventually:)

relationship  |   Drew is my favorite.

friends & fam  |   It's been so nice to see friends several times (yay spring break for teacher-friends!) and spend a lot of time with family. Good progress here.

career  |  I LOVE MY JOB AND I LOVE MY COUPLES! April wedding, here we come!

fun & rec  |  I got my fill of fun this month, for sure! My cup runneth over:)

cause or purpose  |   Working on financial peace-building to tithe more. I want to be a better steward of His resources!

Newest updates to the KDE HQ!

Newest updates to the KDE HQ!

April is going to be a big month, as it starts the spring/summer season for KDE weddings, wraps up our time with our much-adored intern Rachel, and kickstarts the "meat" of event production. Lots to look forward to, to see and do and get accomplished and plan for!

We're interviewing candidates for our summer internship in the next couple of weeks! While the application is officially closed, we're still open to receiving inquiries for particularly awesome applicants (I'm looking for really good answers to the "What sets you apart?" question!). You can send your resume to kelly@kellydellingerevents.com! But time is limited!

Goals for April:

1. Select perfect summer intern
2. Finish taxes. Pray for a return!
3. Wrap up Rachel's internship with a big, pretty bow and awesome experience
4. Get Lauren & David married successfully without a hitch!!
5. Reincorporate yoga into daily life (2x/week minimum!)
6. Eat less cookies & cake (exceptions will be made for client tastings, obvs)
7. Get a pretty pot and mini table for my office palm tree (!!!)
8. Plan next trip to Charleston - continue planning expansion (!!!)
9. Finalize business plan to make everything SOLID
10. Finalize plans for May weddings
11. Plan staff photo shoot! (Any photogs up for grabs here?)
12. Consider planning a fun party to showcase the KDE HQ! Mini Open House, anyone?

inspiration:: irish blessing

In honor of St. Patrick's day earlier this week, today's inspiration is Irish. The Irish Blessing. The Irish Blessing is:


"May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm on your face, the rains fall soft upon your fields, and until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand."


I was introduced to The Irish Blessing in high school. We sang a song containing its words in choir for festivals some years, but we learned it each and every year to sing at that year's graduation. 

I am scheduled to graduate college in 45 days (what?). I remember graduating high school. For some reason, unlike most people, it did not feel like a transition to me. I was about to go to a college only 20 minutes from home, had an older sister at the school already, and grew up around the school because my mom worked there. My best friends were all going to different schools, but we had such a trust and understanding in our friendship that I was not at all concerned about those friendships changing. And honestly, they really haven't. For that I am thankful. Now I find myself at the end of college, and for the first time ever, I feel transition more than I ever have in my life. 

Change and transition is never comfortable and usually never wholly fun. A new city or a new job may be exciting for change's sake, but relationally-speaking, transition can feel scary. For the first time in my life, I feel and see everything and everyone I know going different directions, and there's no guarantee of how long they will be there or if they will return. Both my high school friends and my college friends are preparing to pursue their dreams all over the world, and our sense of "home" may never be the same again. I myself may be going to a new city next year that I do not know anyone in.

At my worst, I selfishly want everyone to stay right where I can reach them and be with them until our dying days, but I know that's not the plan for any of us. We were all created with unique purposes that will take us where we are needed most, and that's not always where we are right now.

At my best, I give the Irish blessing to all my friends. 

"May the road rise up to meet you." May your path come and find you in such a way that you never wonder if you are going in the right direction. May it literally come and meet you.

"May the wind be always at your back." May you feel momentum behind your path as you go.

"May the sun shine warm upon your face..." May you have joy as you pursue your path.

"...the rains fall soft upon your fields..." May the difficult things along your path meant to help you grow fall gracefully upon you, and not drown you.

"...and until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His Hand." I don't know when we'll see one another again, but may God hold you closely always, and may we be able to trust Him with one another's lives when we cannot see one another in person.

Hoping that as you are inspired by the Irish blessing and some Irish-themed weddings below, you'll take some time to think about those you love--those you see every day and those you haven't seen in a long time, and then respond accordingly. Maybe you send a letter to a friendship that transitioned a few years ago that you miss. Or maybe you tell someone you see all the time that you care, even if you think they already know.

If there is anything I have been learning about transition, the best way to keep it from being traumatic is to live continually in the Irish Blessing mindset with those around me, recognizing that any season or friendship I am currently in will one day be a transition. For those right in front of me, may I always truly want the best path for them and trust God with them, even if it's not close to me, and encourage them towards that path. For those already pursuing their dreams far away, may I trust Him with them until we meet again.

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From left to right, top to bottom: Irish handfasting wedding tradition, couple in the rain, Irish wedding invitation, Irish stone cottage/rings on Irish book, Irish blessing, Irish candy favors, Irish candles, wedding shoes, green centerpiece, green bridesmaid's dress, bagpipes player at wedding, shamrock cufflinks, Irish wedding cake, Irish castle, rings on March 17, shamrock silverware, shamrock quiche

Inspiringly Yours,

Rachel

real engagement:: stephen & jenn

Oh, engagement season. I love the early spring because it means heavy volume of planning power sessions and lots of face-to-face time with my darling couples. (Meetings are probably my favorite part of planning!) Especially those who live out-of-town -- spring seems to be the best time for people to make a quick weekend jaunt to Nashville, power through some tastings and final meetings, and get ready for their late spring/summer/fall nuptials.

all photos by Jessica Rai Photography

One of my late spring couples is particularly dear to me - my husband's brother and his fiancee will be tying the knot (at long last!) this Memorial Day weekend at the gorgeous historic Carnton Plantation. Stephen and Jennifer have been in my life for many years; Drew and I photographed them getting ready for their high school prom what seems like ages ago! Now they'll be saying "I do" beneath the oak tree at one of their favorite Franklin plantations in just a few short weeks.

Here are a few sweet photos of them (taken by the talented Jessica Rai), in honor of our mega (final) planning session tomorrow!

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Stephen & Jenn - we can't wait to get y'all hitched in just over two months! Love you two!

xoxo, KD