Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Romantic South Carolina Weddings

USA Today recently compiled a list of the most romantic wedding destinations in South Carolina, and to my pleasant surprise, an upcoming friend's wedding locale made the cut. I knew the scenery at Palmetto Bluff was beautiful, and cannot wait to head there in November where my husband will be performing the ceremony at the charming chapel.

Here's a snippet from the article: The Inn at Palmetto Bluff, a Montage Resort - tucked into a curve of the May River, 40 minutes outside of Hilton Head, the Inn at Palmetto Bluff is a luxurious retreat set in the heart of the lowcountry where you and your guests can kayak with dolphins; ride horseback; hike; and indulge in massages and facials in a spa overlooking a quiet lagoon. Dreamy settings for weddings — inside an old-fashioned clapboard chapel, on a formal lawn with plantation ruins as your backdrop, under a canopy of moss-draped oaks — set an unabashedly romantic vibe that's only matched by a visually stunning landscape of ancient maritime forests and tidal creeks.  montagehotels.com/palmettobluff

Check out some photos of our friends' engagement shoot at Palmetto Bluff, South Carolina:

Photo credit: Virgil Bunao, Charleston

Monday, May 19, 2014

Southern Charm: Savannah

A recent friend's wedding whisked me to Savannah, Georgia - a city on my "must-visit" list for quite some time. I love the south - the food, charm, rich history and I was thrilled to have some time to explore the city before the wedding festivities.

I instantly fell in love with Savannah - the cobblestone and brick streets, old churches, statues on every few blocks reminiscent of a European city and not to mention the shopping - it was everything I expected and then some. 

Check out some photos of my explorations - will post in a bit about this breathtaking, southern-chic wedding shortly!

Friday, May 9, 2014

A Traveling Event - Monday, May 12

Many of you know by now that I am a traveling gal, so when I was approached to help host a launch event Monday, May 12 of travel-inspired pieces designed and manufactured by a sister duo in my favorite city (Chicago), I jumped on board. The pieces are designed to pack in suitcases for any destination - so many of the pieces are super versatile and of course will pair seamlessly with added sparkle. I have my eye on the Cabana Dress

Check out the Buckley K website and invite details below. Even better, 10% of proceeds will benefit Girl Effect and guests will enjoy cocktails and hors d'oeuvres at the chic Hotel Lincoln (Clark Room). 

Hope to see you there! 

Cabana Dress in Ivory and Black

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

An Unconventional Wedding Gift

For one dear couple whose wedding was the week before ours, both us newlyweds opted for an alternative wedding gift exchange. Instead of gifting wine glasses or towels (which are still lovely), we set to create a lasting memory and share a meal together. And it seemed about right - we all like food and booze. Further, it would be a time post-wedding to relax, enjoy a talented kitchen and relive some of all of our whirlwind wedding activities.

We felt this route was more apropos than the former, and selected a top destination that none of our quartet had visited. And it wasn't just any meal - we selected L2O in Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood. 

Here's a snapshot of our menu and wine pairings (well the gals had the vino, the guys enjoyed scotch and whiskey.)

To top off the evening, we received a post-meal private tour of the pristine kitchen and experienced an inkling of the culinary passions behind the scenes. 

Indeed a gift to remember and I highly suggest investigating an alternative experience as a gift for a wedding. 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

A Selfie: Bride Edition

Ok, I did it. I had this photo for ages and held posting it on social media for months. I've never been an avid selfie-taker, but it seemed so apropos. 

Which got me thinking... so many disclose photos and major life events on social media (guilty), so why would I shy away from sharing a selfie on one of the biggest days of my life? Perhaps I was feeling I should be sensitive to appearing too self-absorbed? Too into myself? Thinking no one cared to see it (likely the case)... 

Who knows, but in the end, I'm happy I snapped a rare moment of isolation post-wedding and embraced the social media fever (and word of the year) albeit in a wedding dress. 

With that, behold my wedding selfie. Would love to hear/see if anyone else has snapped one or if it's simply my own lonesome, photo-loving self?! 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

A Sunny Bachelorette

My husband and I have many destination weddings in 2014, and bachelorette parties have followed suit. I was recently in Scottsdale for a college friend's bachelorette... sun, cocktails, games and food with friends ensued. And escaping the Midwest snowstorms made it so much sweeter. Below are some PG highlights of the weekend.

An appropriately-stocked fridge - bubbles, beer, mixers, and plenty of water for hydration. 

The humble condo for the weekend - stunning decor and design...

A serene poolside view for soaking up the sun...

Custom menu celebrating the bride in the private chef's table room Elements restaurant at Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain...

...complete with rosé and roses for Valentine's Day.

The lingerie game with goodies for the bachelorette - what bride doesn't want some new undergarment goods as she becomes a Mrs?! Set a price limit for attendees, make sure those who aren't in attendance send along a gift and write cute unsigned notes for the bride to guess who it's from! 

Last night at Dominick's Scottsdale up in the rooftop poolside dining room... cheers to good friends and delicious seafood! 

Scottsdale sunset.

Elements - XII

Friday, February 28, 2014

Thank You Notes

Many overlook the importance of a quality, hand-written thank you note. And wedding "thank you's" should stand no different. 

However, no one tells you these puppies take forever... it seems as if it's a bottomless list! 

I went old-school in my approach (vs. digital), checking off a master printed spreadsheet when the stamps and letters were licked to ensure no one was overlooked. 

Some Suggestions:
-Quality over quantity. Add a personal touch to each and every note and have the husband sign. Hey, he reaps the benefits of the gifts too, no?! I received so many lovely comments on the thoughtful notes and the groom signature.
-Cards. Do you want your wedding photos as your card for guests to remember the night? Ask your photographer if they offer printing as part of your package. Or a simple initial of your new last name is always classic or consider mirroring wedding colors/prints/invitations to match your thank you cards. 
-Custom Stamps. Don't forget a custom return address stamp with your new last name or initial. Nearly all paper shops will carry these and try etsy as well!
-Stamps. Do you really want Lego-Man on your wedding thank you notes? There are lovely floral, love and wedding stamp options. 
-DIY. If feeling a little sassy or crave and added sparkle, put a small adhesive gem on your notes (found at Michael's, Jo-Ann Crafts, etc.)

My setup one snowy afternoon... 

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Darling Details

Boasting a creative background, some artistic talent and an undeniable attention to detail, I was easily able to orchestrate much of the decor and planning for my wedding. Because, after all, isn't it all in the details?!

Take a peek at a few of the many from the evening:

Champagne and sparkling water waiting for guests post-ceremony.

Pen and ink bride and groom sketches by yours truly.

"Sweet" childhood photo for the candy/sweet tables... (yes, my husband is a cookie)

Custom chocolate coins at the candy/sweet bar with our names/wedding date.

Dated and custom kippahs.

Metal picture frame table cards for all guests to take home. (I love my photos - so this gift was special to me.)

Chimes post-cocktail/appetizer hour welcoming guests to dinner. 

Individual custom "R" sugar cookie (from my uncle's bakery!) for every guest before dinner... 

...complete with a sweet thank you plum seal.

Vintage bird cage with ribbon and crystal atop a crystal cake stand for cards/gifts. 

Variety of black and silver flip-flops in silver wicker baskets for guests to comfortably dance the night away. 

A limoncello palette cleanser served in martini glasses. 

Custom designed and sketched Instagram reminders. "Let Love Sparkle - Take A Pic" #LeahandDustin

Signature wedding cocktail named in honor of the dear friend who introduced us at all bars: "The Mel-Onade" - Fresh Basil Leaves, Kettle One Vodka, Lemon Juice, Simply Syrup. And custom-stickered bottled water. 

Specially-sourced Boulevard Wheat beer as one of five beer selections - the groom's favorite from college. 

Fun "Leah and Dustin Become One" foam fingers.

Finally, a post-candy, post-cake, post-mini dessert late night treat, the groom's favorite... Lou Malnati's Chicago-style deep dish pizza. 

Majority of photo credit: Husar Photography.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Loved Ones & Wedding Signs

Photo: Husar Photography (with inputted text)

It's truly been a year of highs and lows. And how, when it's a year celebrating one of the most ultimate highs - getting married - could it possibly be a year of lows?!

On a personal note, I lost two very important people in my life within months of each other. And the saddening, depressing feelings seemed to tackle the joyous, exciting, celebratory ones without warning. It's quite a unique juxtaposition, it is. And confusing. I often caught myself with my thoughts in nearly accusatory fashions: how could I possibly be happy when she's not with me?! She should be here doing this/going to this appointment/talking about this coordination... 

But I knew after some time that wasn't fair.

Now, I still cried a steady amount - certain things about every day occurrences would trigger the waterworks and the most upsetting thing was the sinking reality that they wouldn't be there in the flesh on our special day to see me marry my everything. 

In an effort to not make this my most depressing post to date, I wanted to share with brides to take solace in knowing your loved ones who aren't with you WILL be there with you on your day. 

The morning of my wedding day, I had no doubt they'd be there. It was a surreal feeling. My friends, bridesmaids, mom, sisters, wedding planner can all attest - I had a unique calm about me and I attribute it ALL to them. (Oftentimes I can be a bit intense and controlling - I even thought I'd be this way at my own wedding!) They pushed me to live in the moment and savor all the love that the day had to offer. 

They soothed me. It was raining. It stormed. There were large gusts of continuous winds. My wedding was outside. I never flinched. I knew the sky would open up. It did. 

Further, I received two distinct signs:

-Grandma Freed, thank you for the painted nearly electric green Emerald sky after the rain finally settled. It was as if I was Dorothy myself in my silver shoes walking to my home, my love. And thank you for your perfect purple handkerchief that absorbed my sweaty palms wrapped around my bouquet.  (My mother, her daughter and my sisters always shared - still do - a deep love of the Wizard of Oz. Hey, we had an "Oz" room growing up!)

-Aunt Judy, who knows where that darling Golden Retriever pup came from, but once he emerged from the wood, and I was able to hold back tears under the clear afternoon sky in the pagoda, I knew you were there. 

In closing, I am thankful and forever will cherish their energy and signs that day. For anyone struggling with a loss or absence at such a celebratory time, I would first like to give you a big hug and share that it's never easy, but hope you can have a bit of comfort knowing that their love and warmth will be with you on your day. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A Wedding SPLASH

Professionally, I am lucky to work with some talented reporters and editors. I'm used to being behind the scenes and my clients taking headlines and center stage. But for our wedding, the tables were turned and it was me and my hubby front and center sharing our story.

The Chicago-Sun Times SPLASH was gracious enough to feature our wedding in the Cheers! section of their November 24-30, 2013 Holiday Issue. We were so pleased with the outcome - a sure memento we will cherish forever. Check out the online article here and online and print mock-ups below:
Online Screengrabs:

Monday, November 25, 2013

Wedding Photos Have Arrived!

At long last some initial wedding photos have arrived and I'm thrilled to share with you!

Our talented photographer, Chad Husar / Husar Photography, uploaded some incredible images on his blog and captured some fantastic moments we will cherish forever. We are to receive the big batch in the next 48 hours, and are so pleased already with this bunch.

Take a peek at photos below as well as on his blog link: http://husarphotography.com/blog/?p=6079