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:


  • 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!


  • 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.

featured:: coastal bride "sailboat elopement inspiration"

We couldn't be more tickled to be featured on Coastal Bride today for our sailboat editorial shoot with Ian Riley last August! This was one of my most favorite shoots to plan and design of all time -- not to mention, sailing and styling pretty things in the sunshine is definitely my favorite way to spend the workday!

You may recognize a face or two, as well. Our own Associate Planner, Katie, starred as our Bride (along with her real-life boyfriend James as the groom)!

See more at Coastal Bride!




fall, y'all!

Between the cooler evenings, pumpkin flavor popping up everywhere, and full-throttle wedding season, there can only be one explanation:  it's fall, y'all! I feel like in the recent past, it has always taken seemingly forever for the leaves to start changing color and legitimate autumn weather to arrive. This year, however, it's been relatively cool several weeks this and last month (enough to break out my sweater and boots on a couple of occasions!) and a look out our living room window shows some turning leaves. It may not be Halloween quite yet or anything, but we're getting into the true "it's not summer anymore" season!

I've gotten my share of chances to mourn my favorite season (farewell, darling hot weather and frequent beach days!), so I'm embracing this new time with open arms. Let's bring it, tall patterned socks and Frye boots! Where on earth did I hide our monogrammed white pumpkin?

I'm also feeling fall in the kitchen nowadays. On my roster of recipes to try:  pumpkin french toast bake, pumpkin bark, a homemade pumpkin frappuccino, pumpkin scones...

I should probably break out my favorite orange pashmina scarf (I used to wear it nonstop in college autumns), too. And plan out whatever the heck I'm going to potentially dress up as for Halloween. I tend to pick easy-way-out costumes, like a cat or ballerina or werewolf (headbands / hair changes / made-up noses for the win!). But maybe this year I'll be something legit?

a favorite fall illustration by  rifle paper co !

a favorite fall illustration by rifle paper co!

Here's my fall bucket list (bold is complete, italics are in progress):

Go to an outdoor concert {needtobreathe Sept. 13 - PHENOM.}
Go to a pumpkin patch with my niece & nephews
Successfully execute 5 stunning weddings
Make an apple pie
Dress up in costume for something
Make a homemade pumpkin spice coffee drink
Attend a bonfire
Make or obtain a corn hole set for our home
Bake a sweet potato pie
Wear red lipstick

Drink apple cider
Hang something fall on our front door
Host pre-Thanksgiving at our place
Celebrate Thanksgiving in Savannah

Roast a s'more (or eat one Drew's made me!)
Make buffalo chicken something
Watch "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" with Drew
Decorate a beautiful fall mantle

inspired:: early fall

We may not be completely over summer just yet (I'm holding fast to my white jeans and beachy decor), but that doesn't mean we're not looking forward to fall, either! Fall evokes a sense of warmth, coziness, and beauty in nature. It can be conjured by a pumpkin latte or pumpkin-scented candle or the crackle of leaves underfoot. 

From Chelsey:  "The inspiration for this board is the time of early fall with its cooler nights and warmer colors. For this board however, I didn't jump straight into the typical colors of the season. I kept hints of oranges and reds, but incorporated a lot of darker green too. The barn scene has a lot of floral aspects that complement perfectly with the lights and draping from above. I also love the dress for the bride with the little cap sleeves and headband." 

Here's a subtle homage to the early fall we so adore.

Top left, clockwise:   suite ,  reception ,  cake ,  gown ,  rings .

Top left, clockwise:  suite, reception, cake, gown, rings.

november nuptials:: bridesmaids

Last week I promised to elaborate little thoughts and dreams between the lines of my November nuptial dreams. Today I'm zeroing in on the bridesmaid details for my dream wedding!

For our actual wedding, we had six bridesmaids, six groomsmen, three honorary bridesmaids, two ring bearers, and three flowergirls in our bridal party.

Six was a pretty good number for personal attendants. Not terribly big, not too small. I would consider paring it down to just one and one (my sister and Drew's brother) if we had an EXTREMELY small, intimate wedding. But oftentimes the wedding party contributes highly to the fun part of wedding festivities!

Regardless of how many we might have nowadays, I'd have my ladies wear floor-length gowns. I'm obsessed with this two-toned ivory lace and topaz matte satin After Six number, especially to contrast with some vividly toned red and pink bouquets. I couldn't find the perfect earrings to top off the look, but these drop earrings in rose gold would be beautiful. I love the look of blush pink pumps (and these popular Badgley Mischka pairs are just gorgeous) and red lips, especially with dramatic loosely-curled down-do's. I wouldn't necessarily ask all of my bridesmaids to rock the same hairstyle, but loose, "undone" styles are gorgeous and would fit so perfectly with the aesthetic.

after six  gown , reds and corals  bouquet , drop  earrings , badgley mischka  pumps , down-do's and red  lips

after six gown, reds and corals bouquet, drop earrings, badgley mischka pumps, down-do's and red lips

Stay tuned to see the next element:  Groomsmen & Little Ones!

inspiration:: november nuptials

I've always loved November. It's an anticipatory month. Has my favorite holiday in it. It's still autumny but not terribly cold. We got engaged in November. I found my wedding dress in November.

It may come as no surprise, then, that if I were able to marry (my same husband) again, I would highly consider saying "I do" in that gorgeous month. I've written posts here about what I'd do differently if we got married again (as well as what I'd definitely keep the same -- some things just don't change!). As a wed-obsessed planner and creative dreamer, I'm always taking mental notes about what I'd consider the perfect, ultimate wedding. (Specifically mine.) My tastes evolve over time and my knowledge and experience levels attune me to new things every week/event/year. I mentioned to my photografriend Amy last week that I would definitely change a few things if we got to say our "I do's" again now. Here's what it might look like...

blush chapel-length  veil , monique lhuillier  candy , feathered  mules , hominy ever after grits  favor , gatsby-inspired orchid  bouquet , my pear-shaped engagement  ring , robert redford-inspired groom  attire , swags of greenery  garlands , deep red and pink garden rose bridesmaid  bouquets , simple faux-diamond drop  earrings  for me, stunning topaz and ivory bridesmaid  gown , walnut  chiavaris  with trellises and chandeliers, muddled raspberry  libations .

blush chapel-length veil, monique lhuillier candy, feathered mules, hominy ever after grits favor, gatsby-inspired orchid bouquet, my pear-shaped engagement ring, robert redford-inspired groom attire, swags of greenery garlands, deep red and pink garden rose bridesmaid bouquets, simple faux-diamond drop earrings for me, stunning topaz and ivory bridesmaid gown, walnut chiavaris with trellises and chandeliers, muddled raspberry libations.

That dress always haunts me. GAH, I love it! If I EVER win the lottery, I am going to buy it. Hands down. Seriously the most perfect dress ever created. It inspired so much of my real-life wedding design, as well as my current dreams. I would totally wear it, a blush veil (just like the ivory one I have), some diamond drop earrings, a pair of slip-on feathered mules, carry an orchid bouquet, rock my pear-shaped wedding bling, and go to town.


Gatsby would affect a lot of my decision-making, too. I know it's "trendy" right now, but I couldn't care less. I wore a beaded flapper gown to my junior high school prom, so it is obviously something I've loved forever and have zero apologies for. The orchid bouquet was inspired by the Gatsby-meets-Daisy-again scene from the recent movie. Drew would wear some classic white tie tuxedo (a la Robert Redford) and his groomsmen would rock Leo's black tie attire. My bridesmaids would definitely wear floor-length gowns (I've always loved two-tone, and these ivory lace and topaz matte satin dresses are JUST the ticket!) and carry deep red and pink bouquets with velvet and pleated ribbons.

We'd still, perhaps, have the wedding set in a barn-like atmosphere (Green Door Gourmet, of course) -- but this time closer to town and more convenient for guests. (Not to mention legitimately air-conditioned and heated.) Mint Springs Farm would be a great location, come to think of it, too! Walnut chiavaris would at the very least be featured in our head table (which would seat our attendants and their spouses or guests).

We would serve a full meal (something lowcountry-inspired, to pay homage to our dream city of Charleston) and ample libations (of course something would have to have muddled raspberries to fit the color scheme!). Guests would be treated to die-cut bags of grits as their "hominy ever after" surcee.

I'll keep dreaming and will elaborate in between the lines here soon.