hey y'all!

I inadvertently took a couple years’ hiatus from posting consistently on here… Growing my family took first priority over the last few years so I spent my work time exclusively planning weddings and let the majority of my marketing strategies take a backseat. I am so excited to be re-entering the world of working ON the business (rather than JUST in it!) with a refreshed mindset. Without further ado, here’s a re-introduction of myself and what we do here at Kelly Dellinger Events!

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Hometown: Chapmansboro, Tennessee but I was born in (and currently reside in) Nashville!
Birthday: August 7. This year I turn 30, and I’ve never been so excited for a new year!
What fires me up: Dancing, teaching barre, worship music (obsessed with Amanda Cook from Bethel), soaking in precious little things about my daughters, the beach, spending quality time with my husband Drew.
You would be surprised to know: I once performed as a living statue for a cocktail reception at the Nashville Library. I was covered head-to-toe in maroon iridescent paint and wore a top hat that had a bunny coming out of it. It took FOREVER to get that paint out of my hair!
Favorite class I took in college: Creative nonfiction! We read so many memoirs and wrote our own mini one. I love reading and telling real life stories!
How I came to work at Kelly Dellinger Events: I began my career working in political event planning and nonprofit fundraising. While I quickly learned that was NOT my cup of tea, it segued into an internship with a wedding planning company that I fell in love with! I worked as many wedding industry jobs as I could fit in for many years, and then launched my own planning company in January 2013!
Favorite wedding to plan, ever: This is so hard — each of my couples has meant so much to me personally and every wedding I put my hands on teaches me something valuable. Perhaps one of my most recent favorites was Ellen and Joe’s — I planned and designed the entirety of their backyard Owensboro, Kentucky wedding from the ground up. We brought in all our team of vendors from Nashville: everything from flooring to clear-top tent to floral chandeliers, tables and chairs, tabletops, paper goods, you name it. It gave me a lot of creative liberty and was a challenge in the best way.
Best part of my job: I love the creative expression my career offers me. My favorite part of the process is when we do our vendor meetings, particularly design meetings, in person! The vast majority of my clients plan their Nashville weddings from afar, so I really thrive facilitating “marathon planning sessions” where we knock out a lot of decisions over the span of a few days. This is always a great time to get to know my clients better (since so much of what we do is over phone or email, there’s just something special about face-to-face!) and really lets us flesh out the particulars of the style and feeling we’re evoking with the wedding.
What I do in my spare time: My girls, ages 2 and almost 4, keep me on my toes most days! (Lots of play-doh building, dance parties, making art, and going on adventures as a family.) I also LOVE taking and teaching barre classes at Village Barre, and serving on Sundays at Zeal Church.
The cause/organization/charity that most captures my heart: I have loved the mission of Project R12 since I first heard about it in 2013. I think they have a really unique structure with empowering leaders internally in Uganda and funding projects that are sustainable for the country’s growth (that benefit education, access to health care, etc). They’re also founded locally here, so it’s special to me getting to know the spearheads personally who make so much amazing progress happen!
True love is: I actually dreamed about that question two nights ago, randomly! In much better words than my own, true love is patient, kind, does not envy or boast, is not rude or self-seeking, is not easily angered, keeps no record of wrongs, does not delight in evil but rejoices in truth, always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres, and never fails.

it's 2018

Another year has passed, and another anniversary of Kelly Dellinger Events! We launched our company January 1, 2013. On one hand, it's hard to believe it's been five years; on the other, it feels like there was never a time before KDE. My own personal life has changed so dramatically over the course of these five years  (two children, a chronic illness diagnosis, a house bought, many career changes and accomplishments for Drew) -- somehow KDE feels like the stability behind all the chaos. 

I am so, so grateful for all of the couples who have entrusted me with their weddings over the last half-decade -- each and every wedding has been so special to have a hand in, and I've learned a tremendous amount from the couples and families I've gotten to spend this precious time with. It's fun to see families grow as past brides have birthed babies, siblings have gotten married, and life marches on (since weddings are always just the beginning). What a gift!

It's also amazing to me to see how God has blessed this company, from a shred of a dream to full-fledged fruition. He's provided financially, emotionally (my friends from the Nashville Wedding Planners Group are some of my dearest!), physically (the perfect office that we called home for many years, and now a home base that fits us so well). I have been pushed, challenged, stretched in every way. Each new wedding teaches me so much. I have found fulfillment in making the planning process a fun one and wedding days sacred for my couples. Thank you, Lord!

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And so we march onward. My aim for 2018 is for discipline, wisdom, simplicity. Doing the hard work for the long-term good. "Wisdom is choosing to do now what you will be happy with later on." - Joyce Meyer. 

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Happy new year, to you & yours! May you find yourself closer to God than ever before, may you find the courage and strength to aggressively pursue your calling, and may your year be abundantly filled with joy, peace, and gratitude.

Love,
KSD 

nearing the end of 2016

Happy holidays, y'all! We are somehow staring down the end of the year with less than three weeks until Christmas -- which also means our final wedding of the 2016 season. We are closing out 2016 with a big ole' wedding bang:  Lauren & Chris' downtown Nashville New Year's Eve wedding!!! You can expect to see many sparkles, confetti flakes, balloons, and candles galore shared as we close out the year and enter into one of our most exciting wedding years yet. 2017 is shaping up to be busy, beautiful, and a new pace for Kelly Dellinger Events. 

Personally, I'll be giving birth to our second child (another girl - Julianna Cate!) in late winter. For this reason, we have not taken on any weddings for production in January - April. We will also be halting in-person consultations for the month of March (as we adjust to live as a family of four and I recover physically -- not to mention soak in all those newborn snuggles! Swoon!). Then we'll be back in the saddle and ready to take on our whirlwind of 2017 weddings!!!! *heart eyes*

We're SO excited for our roster of 2017 clients -- couples from Arizona, Chicago, Atlanta, and our own backyard of Nashville will be getting married at stunning venues like Ruby, the Country Music Hall of Fame, Richland Country Club, Belle Meade Plantation, and a private estate in Owensboro, Kentucky! 

2016 was a great year -- full of challenges, new lessons learned, some incredible people met, really amazing travels, and obviously the growing of our family. I'm looking forward to recapping our eventful 2016 wedding season here on the blog in the next couple of weeks, so stay tuned for that! 

I'll leave you with these family photos my dear friend Amy Cherry did for us in September. Wishing you & yours the merriest of Christmases and a very happy close to your year!

 

 

anniversary time:: another list of do-over's!

Every year as I approach my husband's and my wedding anniversary, we get a little older and wiser and look back with retrospect at how we did our wedding, and what we might do differently had we gotten married later. Of course, I would've killed Drew had he not proposed until we'd been dating 8 or 9 years, but this is hypothetical anyways. And also I totally understand that this is coming from a place of having had our wedding exactly as it was (so maybe if we HAD eloped and only had 20 guests, I'd be sitting here writing about the huge Southern wedding we wished we could've had... the grass is always greener on the other side).

{See what we would've done differently one year out here!}

Without further ado, here are the things I think four years out, we might have done differently:

Pay more attention in writing invitations. Include everyone's names on envelopes. Cut down the guest list but communicate clearly to avoid hurt feelings later on.

Smaller bridal party and guest list, probably. As you get older you pare down those you're closest to!

Keep up with thank you notes!!! Better system for tracking, follow up where needed. (I'm still getting flack about screwing these up. Brides, take heed and get organized in this arena!)

Try the pistachio cake!!! Juanita doesn't make it anymore. :(

Pay for a bigger cake.

Opt for a smaller bachelorette party group, and go on a little weekend excursion to a beach city away (like NOLA or Charleston or Savannah).

Hot glue the cake topper to its base, since Ken kept falling off. 

More classic bridesmaid shoes and accessories. I wanted to go whimsical and I did, but I now look back and think what?? Some pretty pink teardrop earrings would've gone with my emerald ones and looked lovely. And an almond-toed leather shoe in a similar hue would have looked a little more timeless than the rounded suede pink pumps I had them wear. But it was just the style then!

Wear Clean Feel bug spray (non-greasy! unscented! my favorite!) to avoid those millions of mosquito bites.

Start the wedding a hour earlier, add on extra hour of dancing. Attend cocktails and serve a simple dinner. I did love our cake and coffee reception but we were starving and I'm sure guests were too!

Not feel bad asserting boundaries and cutting off people who chatted us up too long.

Maybe nix the ice cream bar, since it melted anyways in the 95-degree heat!

Ante up the cash to provide ample champagne for guests. We didn't need to serve a full bar (that's not really our style), but we needed way more champ than we had.

Provide hair stylist for bridesmaids. We did fine without it, but it would've been nice to pamper everyone.

More classic song selections. I've mentioned this before, but I was really trying to be clever with Pour Some Sugar On Me for our cake cutting...

Walk slower down the aisle. I dragged my dad at lightspeed... 

Cut my dad's jacket stays.

Not set an alarm the morning after the wedding. We had all day to sleep in and catch up on rest, but instead we woke up too early and were bored out of our minds all day.

Put more thought into the letters we wrote one another.

Store a nice bottle of champ that ages well in our wine box. 

Opt for a looser style updo and darker lips. Maybe do a lighter nail color. 

Thank my vendor team in my speech.

Do different favors and nicer escort cards and table numbers.

Finalize seating chart the week of/before the wedding and tell people no when they tried to RSVP late.

Pare down our photo list so the things that were most important got captured. Like the punch bowl.

Label items better, have fewer knickknacks for planner to keep up with.

Opt for nicer champagne. Get a bottle of Veuve for me & Drew.

Maybe buy the more expensive wedding dress. I still think about it.

Put more thought into comprising our ceremony script. Change the verses to more meaningful ones.

Dance with my dad to the song he actually requested.

Do a post-wedding brunch to see everyone before they departed.

Cut our honeymoon down to 6 days, 5 nights in Riviera Maya, and not go to Cozumel afterwards.

In all honesty, if we redid our wedding older and wiser, we'd probably elope to some destination beach, only invite absolute closest friends and family, and spoil the heck out of them. We were so concerned with trying to include everyone that we didn't even get to see 1/3 of the guests that came. We didn't have any semblance of an unlimited budget so this would've allowed us to "do right" for a few guests rather than scrape by for everyone (and still piss people off because that's inevitable). We could've sent announcements after the fact so no one felt pressured to give us a gift but could still be in the loop. That would've saved the headache of keeping up with so many table assignments / thank you cards / last-minute RSVPs / getting to talk to everyone. We probably would've been a little sad to not include everyone but I think it would've been worth it. Ah well!!!

Photo credits: Kelsey & Jon Bufkin and Kristine Neeley.

honing

Oh haiiii!! 

Kelly here. Still planning gorgeous weddings. Still loving collaborating with fabulous vendors and darling brides. Chugging along on the quiet but steady train. Learning a new pace. 

As could be anticipated, my life has been completely flipped on its side following Lilly's entrance into the world. Everything is different. My marriage, my time, my body, the way I think, the way I make decisions, the way I eat... so many aspects of who I am have changed.

It seems across the board in all avenues of life right now that there's an ushering in a season of transition. People taking new and leaving old jobs. People moving. New births, new deaths. Engagements, marriages, divorces. Weather changing. Physical relocations. New construction. Nashville itself is ENTIRELY different than it was five years ago, one year ago. It's incredible witnessing it all. Life changing before me! The world changing before me.

I haven't always been very adept at adjusting with change. Sometimes I'm in denial -- I brush off the inevitable and just assume "it'll take care of itself." And time always DOES take care of itself, but at the same time, if you just start aimlessly wandering somewhere you may end up somewhere you don't want to be. Intentionality is very important.

One of my favorite speakers talked about holding on loosely to things of this world, of this life. (I've mentioned it here before.) It always makes me think of that Anthology song even though the subject matter really isn't that related. I will give myself credit that I have been MUCH better about opening my fists and going along with transition as it comes as of late. (God, please don't test this assertion, k?)

One of those areas has been my business.

As this year has progressed, I have had to face the fact that my business is not the same as it was one year ago, nine months ago, or even three months ago. I've tried to keep a VERY open mind about how I operate. I have to! I don't know what every month will hold, and I have to take it little by little. Things that worked for me a year ago, two years ago, don't necessarily work for me now. I've been HONING my business. I'm picky about the clients I work with. (And I L-O-V-E that. My clients are amazing!!!) I know better what types of jobs I work the best on. I know better what workload works for me. And I know that things will continue to change, especially in the years to come. So I'm working on changing with it all.

I literally have to ask myself regularly, "Who am I now?" As life goes on, it becomes more limited (in a good way). With limitations, you have to make choices and prioritize. INTENTIONALITY. What relationships do I want to continue to pursue? What direction do I want to go with my business? How do I want to spend the time I have every day, every weekend, every evening? 

Everything is a choice. It's that way with wedding planning too. You have a limited time period (i.e. your engagement) to plan your perfect event. You have a million decisions to make. You must prioritize what you want in every avenue of the planning process.

So I'm here! Honing away. Making decisions, right or wrong, learning from mistakes, living life, planning weddings. I do love this career. I love my business, I love my clients, I love the life it enables me to live.

Thank you for the part you play.

september life updates

I swear I keep blinking and suddenly another month has passed, or a season has gone by. As I was driving yesterday morning to a Nashville Wedding Planners Group meeting, I rolled the windows and sunroof down and turned on some Zac Brown Band and Jimmy Buffet. Wind tousled my hair, the warm sun shone down on me, and I breathed it all in -- "This is summer bliss, right here!" Thoughts of coconut water and crystal seas came to my mind. And then I remembered... it was the last day of summer. WHAT?

who says tennessee porches can't be beachy?

who says tennessee porches can't be beachy?

I kept complaining that I wasn't doing enough summery things the past couple of months. I wanted to go to the pool more often, make a batch of homemade ice cream, get outside and catch fireflies or something. Sit on the front porch more, anything! It irritated Drew whenever I'd say that, since he felt that we had a perfectly great summer and did plenty of fun things and I wasn't giving it enough credit. And perhaps we did. We did go on a wonderful vacation, see the ocean, go to the pool (once), made lots of key lime pies, and took a few walks. But it was REALLY hot. Too hot to go on walks most days. Too hot to sit out on the back deck or front porch for longer than a few minutes. Too hot to go to the zoo. You know, Tennessee really sucks that it gets so hot and humid (WITH NO OCEAN BREEZE) in the summers. You really have to be out on a body of water (read: boating) to fully enjoy it, I feel like.

At least fall means the weather is nice! It's still a little unbearably warm today, but there were a few morning hours of blissful 72 degrees. And more is coming. The evening temps are going to be dropping, daytime hours will be more comfortable. And hopefully it won't rain too much.

I'm going to be in denial that winter will soon follow. That's literally the worst part of fall.

For whatever reason, my summer got cram-packed-full with weddings and my fall ended up light and slow and peaceful work-wise. I am 100% happy with that, too. For the first time in 5 years, I'm getting to enjoy weekends in September and October! I am loving every minute with little Lilly Beth and she gets more fun with every passing month. She is such a giggly, sweet girl. She's super talkative, blows the funniest raspberries (especially when conversing with her father), and loves songs and even sings along with me on occasion. I am so grateful for this slower work season for ample family time.

LB at four months - such a sweet girl!

LB at four months - such a sweet girl!

I remember last year (in the midst of one of my most demanding Septembers ever) seeing houses near Cheekwood with haybales and pumpkins on their stately front porches. I thought to myself, "Huh! Must be fall soon, I guess." Now I am having the opportunity to buy mums and keep them alive and decorate my mantle with polka-dotted glittered gourds. To plan a zoo date with the little girl whose eyes light up when she sees new things. To bake an apple pie. To throw a baby shower for a close friend, for pleasure. To take barre classes and mama-baby yoga, and learn what it is to practice self care as a new mom. To actually go to church, and take walks and go on little day hikes enjoying the foliage.

There's a new season on its way! I can't drink a pumpkin spice latte like I'd like to (#diabeticprobs), but I'm taking advantage of this fall. Fall free of sorority recruitment, free of work-packed weekends, free of CPA studying and test dates. Free fall for me!

some fall-y inspiration for you -- via  amy nicole  &  le parfait

some fall-y inspiration for you -- via amy nicole & le parfait

If you need me, I'll be wearing ankle boots and orange scarves, cheering on Tennessee college football (from a distance -- I don't actually care about it enough to watch a game in person), lighting harvest-scented candles, dressing my baby in ridiculously cute Halloween outfits, and wrapping up 2015 wedding season in a beautiful slow-paced (but still efficient) manner. PS -- We already have several 2016 dates booked up and plans underway, so don't waste too much time if you need some assistance for your next-year wedding. :)

Happy fall, y'all!

nursery

I'm late to the game in posting these images of my daughter Lillian's sweetly Southern nursery, but better late than never!

One of the very first discussions my husband and I had upon finding out we were expecting was how to outfit the baby's nursery (#priorities). We tend to have very complementary interior design tastes -- we're typically drawn to a more neutral palette, natural-finished wood, lighter colors, and anything subtly evocative of the sea. (Although sometimes we do go overboard -- there are actual seashells lining the surface of our garden tub at the present moment, but I'll forgive that.) As much as we both love the whitewashed ultra-neutral nurseries of Restoration Hardware lore, we knew we could take some liberties to go bright and whimsical for our little one's room. (It is a child's space, after all!)

Initial ideas of the "theme" were Adventure (too "Pinteresty", IMO), Maps (also overdone), Sea Creatures (love them but don't love the premade cutest "sets" they sell at baby gear outfitters), Lilly Pulitzer (obviously a big influence but didn't want it to be identical to my office and I can never pick just ONE favorite print), and Flamingos (also love but there is such a thing as too much pink).

Drew was really pulling for the Maps/Adventure thing (esp when we were both convinced Baby Dellinger would be a boy) and I could get into it a little -- I've seen gorgeous antique watercolor maps in Savannah bookstores of the SC/GA coastline that are to die for. However, a $400 framed vintage map wasn't really in the budget and I didn't want to get too too themey. (Too many maps and you look like a Subway station, amirite?) 

Then we moved into our new house and found out we were having a Lilly. Drew was even more insistent upon painting the nursery a girly hue (which was a bit of a sallow pale green upon move-in) than I was. We found the perfect color, Beach Trail by Behr, and decided to subtly decorate the room with things influenced by our favorite city, Charleston. The color palette is reminiscent of Rainbow Row (and a project is in the works for a legitimate Rainbow Row-shaped bookshelf Drew's going to make!) -- bright pastels and beachy shades. We framed a couple of watercolor maps of the city and Isle of Palms, my maternity shoot was taken downtown so there are images of baby & me in her nursery city, and the room is replete with all the fixings of a sweet little Southern belle -- monogrammed wares, seersucker, Lilly Pulitzer baby shifts, bonnets and bows for days. 

It's certainly been a work in progress, one we're not completely through with. Things have evolved even since this photoshoot, taken when Lilly was a mere 2 weeks old. There's now a capiz shell chandelier mobile hanging above her crib, the seahorse painting has been hung above the glider, and one day we'll actually decide what to adorn the largest wall space which is currently still empty. But for now, a glimpse at a lovely little girl's room. :)

All images by the incomparable Amy Cherry.

Some of my favorite elements in her room are all of the handmade pieces gifted to us by our ultra-creative families. The below seahorse watercolor was painted by my sister-in-law, Jennifer, the day after Lilly was born (in between visiting us that morning and evening - can you believe it?!). My own sister, Dani, painted the narwhal and jellyfish canvas. My father made the gorgeous wooden stands that display my mother's handiwork: the going-home dress and bonnet Lilly wore out of the hospital.

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Crib, Nightstand, & Dresser | Dolce Babi via USA Baby
Glider & Ottoman | Best Home Furnishings via USA Baby
Paint | Beach Trail by Behr
Flamingo Wall Organizer | Three Sprouts
Crib Sheet | Pottery Barn Kids
Whale Organizer | PBK
Narwhal Canvas | Dani Boudreau
Seahorse Watercolor |  Jennifer Dellinger
Sailboat | World Market
Swiss Dot Balloon Shade | Target
Hairbows | Julia's Boutique
Monogrammed Receiving Blanket | Vera Bradley