A Bride’s Story – Bridal Shower

| A Bride's Story

It’s time for another edition of – A Bride’s Story.

Hello, my friends!! I cannot believe it’s already been a month since I last posted a blog! What a month it has been, I have started a new job and have been traveling all over. Though I hate being away from Dan, he is finishing up his semester right now and I think having me out of the house is good for him, ha! I have spent a few days in Virginia, a day in Raleigh, a few days in Asheville, a few days in Columbia, SC, and of course a weekend in NY for my bridal shower! The new job is absolutely fantastic and I am loving every minute of it, it’s everything I have been working toward and for once in my life I understand the meaning when people say, “if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.” I’m not saying it is all rainbows and unicorns and there will be plenty of tough days ahead, but it’s a far cry from the general misery of the mundane I have grown accustomed to. Enough about that though…you guys want to hear the good stuff.
I flew up to NY last Friday night, after a rather long delay, switching planes, and not even leaving Charlotte until 15 minutes after I was supposed to land in NYC. Lemonade though, right? I made it and got some sleep before Krista and I headed over to the Bronx to meet Keri and Lacey for a Yankees game, because no trip to NY is complete without taking in a baseball game. We had an absolute blast and I am so thankful for the wonderful ladies in my life. There was lots of laughs to be had and although I was completely beat, the thought of not rallying, was never an option!
Sunday morning, Lacey and I went to David’s Bridal to go and get her bridesmaid dress and she was in charge of keeping me entertained and away from the golf course until it was time for the shower. Now, this is the perfect time to let everyone know that I had no idea what the theme for the shower was and had no clue what to expect from the shower. The last bridal shower I went to was when I was a child and have always been too far away when friends had theirs. Lacey and I get to the golf course right on time and as I am offering to help my future mother and aunts in-law help unloading, my little sister and maid of honor takes a box out of my arms and hands me the invitation. I almost burst into tears right then and there. The theme was absolutely perfect. She and Krista had sent out invitations that were little baseball tickets with Yankees vs. Mets on them!! When I got inside I saw that the favors were bags of cracker jacks and cookies with baseball stitching.


The whole darn thing was even better than I could have imagined and to say that I am blessed to have these girls would be such an understatement.















The shower was absolutely lovely, I got to see my new family and some of my current family and friends and we all had a wonderful time. Lunch was absolutely wonderful and from start to finish I could not have asked for a better time. I was sitting there thinking…how could this get any better? Then the cake came out. It said “Batter Up 11/21/15” and had our names on crossed bats. Seriously, how lucky am I to have the maids of honor I do?


I don’t know what the girls have planned for SC in September, but the bar was set pretty darn high, haha!








As for everything else wedding related, we are doing our engagement photos at the end of August and then will be headed to the hotel in Savannah to choose our scrumptious dinner for the reception! For all the times I whined about it taking forever…I feel silly now, because time is flying by! We are creeping up on that 100 day mark very quickly and no, I will not start officially counting days until we have hit 90!!


I hope you enjoyed the blog and the photos and I cannot wait to tell you all about the engagement photos and tasting next month.
Until next time.


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Summertime Fun – Save the Dates

| Save the Dates, Summertime Fun

A Fun Day for Save the Date Photographs - All Photos by Caroline Gooding

A Fun Day for Save the Date Photographs – All Photos by Caroline Gooding

It’s summertime…vacation time…and this week…Save The Date time. In this week’s summertime fun blog, I thought it was the perfect time to show off some of my new Save The Date package designs for 2016. Although these designs were created with Summertime in mind, as with any customized invitation, they can be catered for any season. True to my designs, there is a rustic, beach, nautical, vintage and vineyard design and are listed in no particular order…BUT…as always, I’d love to hear your comments on which ones are your favorites.

Rustic Themed Save the Date

Rustic Themed Save the Date

Although, Save the Dates are not mandatory, they are becoming common practice for most couples. In some cases, they may even be the first time you introduce your future spouse to some of your family and friends.

The general train of thought is that Save the Dates should go out six months prior to the wedding and up to eight months out for a destination wedding. Since you are sending out Save the Dates so far in advance, you may not know your complete wedding list but it is definitely a wedding etiquette don’t to send a save the date to anyone without sending them an invitation.

Nautical Themed Save The Date

Nautical Themed Save The Date

All Save the Dates should have the bride and groom’s name, the date, city and state. If are having a destination wedding, you may want to include hotel information either on the Save the Date or on a separate card. You can also include a wedding website if you have one.

Rustic Themed -  Save the Date

Rustic Themed – Save the Date

Save the Dates can be as creative as you want them to be and should reflect the couple. They can be as simple as a postcard or as detailed as a bottle of the couple’s favorite wine with the Save the Date on the bottle.  Although, all the designs featured here have photos, they are not a requirement for Save the Dates.

Chalkboard Vintage Themed Save the Date

Chalkboard Vintage Themed Save the Date

If you are planning to use a photo from your engagement photos for your Save the Date, think about what you want it to look like and what you want your theme to be, before your shoot. Be sure to share your ideas with your photographer, as their knowledge and expertise can come in handy. If you want your Save the Date to include props, like a sign, writing on your shoes, a picture frame, scrabble pieces, etc, be sure to remember to bring them with you.

Vineyard (Wine Country) Themed Save the Date

Vineyard (Wine Country) Themed Save the Date

Remember I said that your Save the Date should reflect the couple, this applies to your photographs as well. Since our theme for these Save the Dates was summertime fun, we chose all outdoor places and activities. Other places to think about would be where you met, the place of where you got engaged, the venue where you are getting married or somewhere that reflects your favorite hobbies.

Beach/Lake Themed Save the Date

Beach/Lake Themed Save the Date

After all this, if you don’t remember anything from this blog, remember this…a Save the Date is your way of announcing one of the most exciting events in your life to your friends and family. Let that announcement showcase your and your future spouse in a way that makes everyone feel honored to be invited and want to attend. But above all, have a great time doing it.  The journey to your wedding day should be nothing but EXCITING and FUN!

Until next time, stay cool and hydrated and share your love on Facebook and Instagram!

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Spotlight – Hayes & Fisk Photography

| Photographers, Vendor Spotlight, Virginia, Weddings

When I first went to Mary and Jamie’s website, I checked out their About Us page. It is a picture of them in sun glasses holding slurpee’s and a beach ball. I knew right then that Mary was someone I had to meet. I haven’t been let down since. I just know that you are going to like as much as I do…so let me introduce you to Mary Fisk-Taylor of Hayes and Fisk Photography in Richmond, Virginia.


What made you decide to start your business?

Well, it is a super crazy story that brought Jamie Hayes and I together. I actually was getting married and Jamie photographed my bridal portraits. He was working with a local Richmond studio and I knew that he had a lot of talent. He did so much to make me feel comfortable in front of the camera and I really love the images that he took. I was working in politics and law and was newly married and frankly did not give it much more thought. Until I had the most beautiful and perfect baby girl for him to photograph. I knew that I wanted to find that guy that did such a great job on my bridal portraits because if he could make me look good he could certainly take perfect portraits of my little princess. Now here we are 19 years later. He had just started his own studio and I was literally one of his first clients. I loved his work but knew he needed help with the business. I started helping out and this grew into photographing here and there and my love for the business and art of photography grew organically from there.   Our studio just celebrated its 20th year in business and we are a proud small local business with very deep roots in our love of creating images that families will cherish forever.

Do you only photograph weddings as well as portraits? What is your favorite?

We are a full time, full service studio. After 20 years we have been compared to and referred to as visual historians. We are at the point in our lives where we have photographed the parent’s weddings, and documented the family as they have grown. It is so cool to look back and remember photographing the engagement, bridal and wedding of a couple and now we photograph their family portraits, children’s portraits and even some high school senior portraits! Wow, time flies when you are doing what you love to do. Eventually we will be photographing their children’s weddings!

If you could describe your style of photography in three words, what would they be?  

Classic, Professional and Timeless

What is in your camera bag that we wouldn’t expect?

We have all of the usual suspects and even a complete wedding day emergency kit with a sewing kit, safety pins, Rolaids, smelling salts, Band-Aids, etc., etc. but what might surprise you is the small treasure trove of goodies for the little ones. When we are photographing a wedding there are small children in the families and wedding parties a lot of the time. These kiddos are tired, hungry and exhausted but everyone wants the cutest and best pix of them in the pictures. So we have found that fun and unexpected squeaky toys and bribing them with little fun trinkets can get their attention just long enough to get the perfect image. And, we also have a small bag of dog treats for the occasional four-legged members of the bridal party!

Okay, I would have never thought about things like that. What a great idea! 

If you could do a photo shoot of anything, what would it be?

Okay this is a tough one. I can honestly say that if a client is engaged with me and we are having a good time and I know that I am creating the best possible images for them then that would be any photographer’s dream. But, I guess if I could have a pie in the sky photo shoot it would have to be celebrity based. I would love to photograph Adam Levine of Maroon 5. I am a completely gob-smacked by that man and I think that I would melt from excitement but photographing him in his space would be a dream. I love character studies and photographing people, doing what they do, so he would be my dream shoot.

What is our favorite part of your business?  

The best feeling in the entire world is delivering that perfect wedding album or portrait to a client and sees them become emotionally moved by the presence of my work. I mean seriously what could be better than that? Watching someone take your vision and artwork and embrace it as their own. Yes! Great feeling and it makes my heart so full and confirms that I am doing what I am supposed to do.

How many weddings do you shoot a year?

We photograph about 18 weddings a year.

What packages do you offer? Do they include an Engagement Shoot and a Bridal Shoot?

We offer each of our couples a complimentary engagement and bridal portrait session. All of our wedding collections include full service and products as well as our time. I am kind of old-school on this but I really want all of my couples to have something to hold, and share and look at together.   I cannot stand the thought that all of their memories reside on a memory stick or live in the cloud somewhere. I love creating beautiful and finished top quality leather albums that illustrate their story from beginning to end. So all of our collections must include a story book. I believe that images are so much more powerful when printed and shared, but we do offer the files as well so it is truly the best of both worlds.

What is your process? Do you meet with your brides beforehand?

Heck yes! We work with many out of town brides and grooms every year but I try, try, try to meet with them as many times as possible before the wedding. The relationship and comfort factor between a couple and their wedding photographer is so important. If the couple lives close by then it is not a problem but if they are out of town we try to meet with them when they are in for visits or since we travel quite a bit if I know we will be near or in their home town in the future we try to meet them there. Most of our couples choose to have engagement portraits created with us so that is a huge plus. Being able to spend the time with them and photograph them before the wedding gives us so much great information about them as a couple plus how they react in front of our lens. And, hopefully they get a since of who we are, and they grow to like us and will feel super confident and comfortable with us by the day the wedding gets here.

How do you send your files to your brides?

All of our collections include the digital files as well as the custom design album.

Do you work with a second shooter?

Yes, we have a second photographer with us as well as a lighting assistant to make sure the day rolls as smoothly as possible on our end.

What is your favorite type of venue to shoot?

We love to photograph in any and all venues. We really do, but if I had to pick one location it would be an over the top ballroom with amazing chandeliers, luxe linens and dripping florals.

What trends do you see with the current brides?

Something that we are seeing more of and I love to see is the idea of skipping the wedding favor and making a donation to a charity, group or organization. I love this trend and feel that the bride and groom supporting something that is personal to them and their family is such a great way to show and share the love.

What is your favorite song that you use for your wedding videos? What’s the most popular song that couples request?

I am kind of out of the loop with this one. I only use copyright free music so I use what I think my couples will enjoy when I create mixed media presentations.

Now that we’ve heard a little about your business, I always like to ask a few questions to know the person behind the camera…

What do you like to do when you are not photographing weddings?

I love to travel. I just love exploring and going to new places. If I could travel and see something new every single week I would be so happy!

What are the five presets on your car radio/iPod?

Ed Sheeran, Maroon 5, the soundtrack to 50 Shades of Grey, Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel. Love to mix up some old school throw backs and new hits!

What are your three favorite apps on your phone?

BuzzFeed, Mextures and Where Chefs Eat

I have now downloaded Mextures on my iPhone…thanks for the hint.

If you weren’t a photographer, what would your dream job be?

I would travel the world and teach photography and the business of photography.

Just two more questions to sum everything up…

If you give the brides one piece of advice, what would it be?

I have been sharing this piece of advice for 20 years now, only hire vendors that you like. You have to trust your gut. You have to really like these people. We are in charge of capturing one of the biggest days of your life thus far and you need to trust us and like us.

If you could tell the brides one thing about your business, what would it be?

For 20 years we have been fine tuning our craft and every single year we take at least two weeks out to go and learn from other mentors to bring our photography to an even higher level. We only use the finest albums, leathers, paper and frames for everything we deliver and we personally handle every image from capture to delivery. We are a small but mighty company that truly puts our client’s first and telling their stories is an honor and privilege that we do not take lightly.

Thanks Mary for taking time to talk to us. I learned so much. And guess what, Mary will be photographing some of my invitation designs soon, so keep checking our social media and blog posts to check out more of her great work.  Until then, be sure to follow Mary and James on their social media.

Website: http://www.hayesandfisk.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HayesandFisk
Instagram: @hayesandfisk
Twitter: @hayesandfisk
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/hayesfisk/

Until next time, stay cool and hydrated. Don’t forget to share your love on Facebook and Instagram!

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Food Truck – Wedding Style

| North Carolina, Virginia, Weddings

Photo by: Tea Olive Photography

Southern Cake Queen – Photo by: Tea Olive Photography

As most of you know, I am southern girl, born and raised. I grew up on things like bbq, country ham biscuits, home grown tomato sandwiches, fried fish and of course sweet tea. We went to high school football games every Friday night in the fall and couldn’t wait for the sound of the ice cream truck in the summer. In the olden days (lol) when my friends were getting married, they got married at their local church and had their reception in their backyard or at the country club.

Today, brides are getting married and having receptions in those same places but they are also including such places as parks and squares, rustic barns, vineyards, beaches and boats. But no matter how many things change, some things remain the same. In this case, it’s that love for great food (in my case southern) and the love of homemade ice cream or desserts.

With that in mind, why not try out the growing trend of wedding food trucks for your catering. Not only can these trucks provide you with the food of your choice and GREAT wedding cakes, cupcakes and donuts but it also brings back the memories of that ice cream truck from when you were little.

After a little bit of investigating, I learned that there are actually a lot of different food trucks in the Charlotte, NC and Virginia areas that cater to weddings. I decided to reach out to a few to see what I could learn and pass on to you.

I talked to:
Emma at Southern Cake Queen – Charlotte area
Casandra at Eat the Streets 757 – Hampton Roads, VA

Eat the Streets 757 is actually unique. It is made up of food trucks in the “757” area code. This local group includes food trucks, trailers and carts and they offer everything from pizza and bbq to tapas and appetizers to drinks and desserts. Southern Cake Queen provides custom wedding cakes, cupcakes and desserts.

Southern Cake Queen started her cupcake truck in February 2011 when she simply introduced weddings to their current list of special occasion cakes that they offer. In the last four and a half years, they have handled weddings up to 200 people. They work with their brides to create their own menu but provide guidance throughout the process.

THE GUEST southern queen

Southern Cake Queen – Photo by: Tea Olive Photography

Although Southern Cake Queen works mainly with brides, she has worked with a few planners and has done wedding in several wedding venues including parks, barns, breweries and hotels.

When I asked Emma what her favorite part about catering a wedding, she told me that she loves bringing the brides vision to reality. I also asked her what one piece of advice she would give and she told me to be sure and choose a truck that fits your them so that you can give your guest the best culinary experience.

Eat the Streets 757 started almost five years ago when Cassandra opened a cupcake truck with her sister. She later changed her path, opening Sofrito, Mac’n Whoopie by Sofrito, while her sister took over the sole running of the cupcake truck. Seeing the need and wanting to help companies, event planners and others find excellent food trucks, she helped to start Eat the Streets 757. Their mission is to provide you a service to make booking a truck easy and convenient. Their services are free to the host and currently there are 20 different trucks to choose from in the Hampton Roads area. By offering different types of trucks to choose from, brides are able to get the customization that they are looking for. They can provide everything from tapas and appetizers to signature cocktails to full meals to wedding cakes and desserts.


Eat The Streets 757

Depending on the size of the truck, they can handle weddings from 100 to 300.  Similar to Southern Cake Queen, they work with different types of venues, brides and planners. Because their trucks are self-sustaining with their own power and water, they can cater anywhere a truck can drive from the parks and venue to desolate mountains.

When I asked Cassandra what one piece of advice she would offer future brides, she said to trust that the food truck knows what they are doing and to let them help you.

The one thing that seemed to be consistent with everything I read and learned from these wonderful ladies is that brides that use food trucks to cater their weddings are only limited to their imagination!

On a side note, Cassandra also owns The Hub in Hampton Roads. The Hub is Virginia’s first ever Food Truck Park. It is a hub of local talent which includes food trucks, musicians, artists, artisans and brewers. It offers a fun atmosphere to bring your family and kick back and features a rotating schedule of local food trucks, local craft beers, local artists and local musicians! If you are in the Hampton Roads area and looking for somewhere fun to start your bachelorette party, check out their schedule.

If you are interested in learning more about Southern Cake Queen and Eat the Streets 757, please check out their social media:

Southern Cake Queen:
Twitter: @southerncake
Facebook: southerncakequeen
Instagram: @southerncakequeen
Pinterest: eatmorecakescq
Website: http://www.southerncakequeen.com

Eat The Streets 757:
Facebook: eatthestreets757
Instagram: @eatthestreets757
Twitter: ETS757foodtruck
Website: http://www.ets757.com

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Summertime Fun – Bachelorette Parties

| Summertime Fun, Weddings

smiling girls with drinks on the beach

Summertime Fun Time – Bachelorette Party

It’s summertime…vacation time…fun time…and for some of you…bachelorette party time. In this week’s summertime fun blog, we wanted to take a look at some of the fun places to have your summer bachelorette party. They are listed in no particular order except for as we came up with them…BUT…as always, we’d love to hear your comments on which ones are your favorites.

#1 – A Spa Day


Get your girlfriends together and check out the local hotel spa. Plan a day of pampering and then lunch. If you want to make a weekend of it, check out one of the many spas in the US and schedule a weekend trip. As a gift for your bridesmaids, think about a Spafinder gift card that they can use for the party or at another time.

#2 – Scavenger Hunt

Are there still things on your shopping list for the wedding? Why not make a game out of it. Divide your girlfriends into teams and send out to pick up items on your list. Make sure to have them take pictures along the way and Instagram as they go so you can play along with them. The winning team gets a great prize, you have a fun party and your list is finished! Better yet, end the party at your favorite bar or restaurant to celebrate and share the pictures.

#3 – Cruise

schooner-754872_640Now some of you may be thinking Carnival, Disney, Royal Caribbean…and that’s okay. But, I was thinking more along the lines of renting a yacht for the day or weekend and taking your own local trip. Most local areas with a lake or ocean near by, have a place where you can rent a boat, captain and crew for the day or weekend. Pack a picnic, your sunscreen and have fun!

#4 – Musical Festival

ThinkstockPhotos-177012012Pick your favorite musical group or singer and look up their schedule. Depending on their genre, chances are they are playing at a music festival at some point during the summer. If not, pick a place on the map you really want to visit and check out theirs. Pack up your girlfriends, the cooler and blanket and head out for the weekend. Don’t forget your sunscreen.

#5 – Glamping

ThinkstockPhotos-177508718Yes, believe it or not, the picture above is a form of camping – called glamping. Now, I can hear you now. If small tents, sleeping bags and bugs aren’t your thing but the thought of the outdoors, mountains or sleeping by a stream are, check it out. Think I’m crazy, google it and see what you find out. And don’t forget, just because you aren’t in the city, doesn’t mean you can’t eat like you are. Stop at the local fruit and vegetable stand on the way to your camp site and pick up some great vegetables and fruits to grill over an open fire. Don’t forget the marshmallows, chocolate bars and graham crackers.

#6 – The Beach or Lake

pier-748491_640Can you say weekend Road Trip! Want to work on that tan for the wedding. Pack your overnight bag and head to the beach or lake for a long weekend. Think about renting a house instead of hotel rooms so that you can have some bonding time and don’t forget the bachelorette party games for night time.

#7 – Wine Tasting Tour


Instead of a cramped bar or crowded restaurant, think about a day trip to your local winery for a wine tasting tour. Schedule a limo or party bus and hit the road. Enjoy some fun at the winery and close out your night at a great restaurant on the way home.
For those of you that are local to the North Carolina area, you may want to think about scheduling your party around National Girlfriend’s Day at the Vines on August 1st. Doyle’s Vineyard, along with Bikini Bus and Weddings by the Vine are hosting a Festival. The Festival will have wine tasting, food, music, vendors, crafts and so much more. What a great way to spend the day with your girlfriends. Interested in more information, message me or keep watching for a future post. Since LaurieLouis.com will be one of the wedding vendors at the event, we will be talking about it more as we get closer.

These are just seven of the great ideas that we came up with for summer bachelorette parties. As always, we can’t wait to hear your favorite and any new ones that you come up with.

Later this week, I will share with you some interviews that I had with area wedding food trucks and why you should think about using them for your wedding reception.

Until then, stay cool and hydrated and share your love on Facebook and Instagram!


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Spotlight – Debbie Alwi – Officiant

| North Carolina, Officiants, Vendor Spotlight, Weddings

In today’s Vendor Spotlight, we sit down with Debbie Alwi – wedding officiant. Although her territory is the Charlotte Metro area, she will travel.  Debbie has been happily married for over 17 years.  According to Debbie, she is the mother of two fantastic and amazing children, three rambunctious boxers and four crazy cats. I met her through her daughter and I can’t wait for you to meet her as well.

Copy of 100_4617
Tell me a little about your business.

I am an ordained minister/wedding officiant.   I can actually perform anything a clergy member can.

What made you decide to become a wedding officiant?

I actually became ordained to perform a wedding for friends at their request. That was in 2008.

Do you find that couples write their own vows these days or used the traditional verbage?

It seems to be a combination of both.   Partial traditional with their spin on it seems to be a growing trend.

Are there benefits to using one or the other?

No, not really. It really is whatever the bride and groom prefer.

How do you meet your clients? What do you do to get to know them?

Mostly through friends and word of mouth. I am branching out though. I have recently started a website and had business cards made.   I’m hoping this will help me expand my business.

I like to meet with them at least once in person and just talk to them. I try to get a feel for who they are and what their expectations are. If they have children, I suggest including the children in the ceremony in some form.

Copy of 100_4740
Do you have a funny wedding story to tell?

Not really funny, but memorable. The first wedding I performed for our friends that had asked me to get ordained, I was so emotional that I actually had to stop at one point to compose myself. I was so embarrassed, but afterward everyone came up to tell me it was so much more special seeing my emotions and my true feelings for the couple.

What trends do you find with brides and grooms lately?

They tend to want short and sweet.

That would be me, short and sweet. Now, as part of any vendor spotlight I do, I like to give everyone a little insight into the person behind the occupation.

Copy of 100_4630
What are the four presets on your radio or iPod?

2 country stations, 1 classic rock and one light listening.

If you weren’t a wedding officiant, what would you be?

Goodness, I don’t know. I’m not sure what I would be, I love being an officiant.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Who has spare time? I love to read and spending time with my family.

One last important question, if you could give today’s bride and groom some advice, what would it be?

Marriage is not 50-50, but 100% from each of you all the time. Nor is it easy, you may not always like each other, but remember you do love each other.   Never forget that!

Finally, is there anything you would like to add?

All that matters on your wedding day is whether you two are happy.   Forget about trying to please the masses. You will always have someone unhappy. That is their problem, not yours.

All photos taken by Debbie’s husband, Rif Alwi.

I hope you have enjoyed our discussion with Debbie Alwi – Wedding Officiant today.  If you want to know more about her and how she can help you with your wedding, check out her website:  Your Vows for Life.

Be sure to keep watching Instagram for great shots of my designs by Mary Fisk-Taylor – #invitationphotographyfun.  And next week’s Summertime Fun blog will be on Bachelorette Party Fun in Summer.

Until next time, stay cool and hydrated! We love to hear from you so be sure to share you love on Facebook,


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Summer Schedule

| What's Up?

Looking for a blog on Fall and Winter Wedding Colors – check back later in the summer – I have put it temporarily on the back burner.  Today, instead, I wanted to tell you all about the interesting blogs that are coming up this summer.

We have two Vendor Spotlights scheduled this month:  Debbie Alwi – wedding officiant and Hayes & Fisk Photography. These will be posted on July 9th and 23rd, respectively.

july vendor spotlights - laurielouis.com

We have two Summertime Fun blogs – July 13th and 27th. The one on July 13th will be fun summer bachelorette parties and the one on the 27th will be fun summer places to photograph Save the Date cards.

Finally, on July 16th, our post will talk a growing wedding trend – Wedding Food Trucks. We will be interviewing Sugar – Handmade Gourmet Donuts and Southern Cake Queen both of Charlotte, NC, South Fork Food Truck of Charlottesville, VA and Eat the Streets 757 of Hampton Roads, VA.

Along with these great posts, look for new photo shoots on Instagram and Facebook, along with information about a new line we are starting – Wedding Gift Bags and Baskets.

Until next time, stay cool and hydrated! Have a great 4th of July!

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Summertime Fun – Engagement Party – 4th of July Style

| Engagement, Invitations, Summertime Fun

Are you getting married in the next year? Your summer is CRAZY…and you need to slow down long enough to introduce your new fiancé to your family…STOP…I have an idea. Chances are that are you having some sort of celebration next weekend for the Fourth of July. Why not make it a dual party and celebrate your engagement at the same time. You already have the decorations…all you need is an invitation and a few more items to make it look more like an engagement party. Not only does it work well into your busy schedule but it’s a cost saving idea for a party.

I even came up with a list for you to help you get ready:

1.  Invitation: In keeping with the red and blue theme of the Fourth of July, this cute invitation is perfect to celebrate your engagement. If you don’t have time to mail invitations, then you can turn this cute invitation into a pdf and send via email or upload it to paperless post and send it that way. Check out the title – Come Watch Sparks Fly and Celebrate the Engagement of…you will understand later. Be sure to use an email address of phone number for RSVP’s because you won’t have time to receive them in the mail.

4th of July Engagement Invitation2. Menu: That’s easy…what else would you have on the Fourth of July…hamburgers and hotdogs on the grill. If you want to arrange food ahead of time so noone has to cook, call your local bbq place and get take out from there.

hamburgers for 4th of july engagement party


3. Side Dishes: It’s summertime, so this time of year you have to have a tray of fresh vegetables. I always include celery, carrots and either red or green bell peppers. Don’t forget to add some ranch dip for the center. Potato salad is also a great side dish. I like mustard in mine but everyone has their own recipe. And of course, you have to chips.




4. Dessert: Staying with the blue and red colors, watermelon and blueberries make the perfect cool dish for summer. Blue and red cupcakes are holiday treat as well and are fun for the kids. With the heat though, be sure to wait until the last minute to put them out.



5. Drinks: I love lemonade this time of summer. It’s so refreshing and just a little different. I always have soft drinks on hand though and these cute diet coke bottles are perfect for the party. Water bottles are a must this time of year as well. You have to stay hydrated. Of course, for those who want adult beverages, I suggest a metal buck with ice for your beer. It keeps it cold and it fits with your decorations.



bucket of beer

6. Decorations: This is the easy part. I would keep with the blue and red theme. I happen to have a red metal shelf that I use outside as a bar top or for food.  When I created the invitation, I created a customized logo for them that I also used on the envelope liner. Carry this throughout, incorporating stripes and stars to represent the flag. A banner with their names on it stringing from the bar is a perfect decoration.  Mason jars are cheap and perfect for holding the lemonade.  The only problem is that they all look the same. Cute labels with everyone’s name on it are the perfect answer. All they need to do is pick their glass. And of course, red and white paper straws with cute flags make the perfect detail. And finally, use the logo, stripes and stars to make cute water bottle labels celebrating the bride and groom.

banner for engagement on laurielouis.com


7. Favors: What would a Fourth of July celebration be without fireworks. Remember I told you in the beginning of this blog to pay attention to the heading of the invitation – Come Watch Sparks Fly and Celebrate the Engagement of, well check out these cute favors. Using the same cute cards that I created for the name tags but replacing them with our favorite saying and adding the bride and grooms name, they make the perfect gift tags for sparkler favors. If you cut an even straight line above and below the writing, you can slide the sparklers in to secure them.

sparklers for engagement for laurielouis.com

sparkler2 for engagement for laurielouis.com

Finally, when everything is finished, grab a burger, a cold one and sit back and watch the fireworks.



All paper items above were created by LaurieLouis.com and can be customized for any wedding or event. If you are celebrating soon and need some invitations or day of event paper, let’s talk! Just click here for information on how to contact us.

Until then, stay cool and hydrated and share your love on Facebook and Instagram! Be sure to check back for Thursday’s blog as we take a look at the fall and winter wedding colors.

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Spotlight – Sawyer Family Farmstead

| North Carolina, Vendor Spotlight, Venues

In this week’s vendor spotlight, we sat down with Nicole Wade of Sawyer Family Farmstead. Established in 1993, the Sawyer Family Farmstead is located about six miles from Cashiers, North Carolina and is a working Christmas tree farm. Nestled in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains overlooking Lake Glenville and a short distance away from plenty of hotel accommodations, it is a perfect rustic wedding venue location.

I know that Sawyer Family Farmstead is part of a working Christmas Tree Farm. What made you decide to go into the wedding business?

We wanted to share the beauty of the mountains with others.

What are some of the hurdles that come with running both a farm and a wedding venue that couples may not know about?

Up keep of the property. There is a huge difference between “farm” look and wedding venue look.

What sets Sawyer Family Farmstead apart from other venues?

Our location absolutely sets us apart as well as that we are family owned and operated. We offer everything from DIY to all-inclusive packages.

You have several different venue locations. Can you tell us a little about them and why each one is so special.

When couples book our venue, they have the whole place for the day, so they can use any area to hold their ceremony. The most often used one is the pergola, which is located on top of a grassy knoll over-looking Lake Glenville and the Blue Ridge Mountains.

What different packages do you offer your couples?

We have a basic package that includes the ceremony and reception and a separate rehearsal dinner package. We also have four other packages: the Mountain Top package, the Mountain Love package, the Plateau package and the All-In-One Plus package. Starting with the Mountain Love Package, each package includes the package before it respectively and adds a few more options with the All-In-One Plus package including everything. All of our packages are broken down here.

Photo by: Ruby Peoples Photography

Photo by: Ruby Peoples Photography

What is your favorite part about the weddings?

When the bride arrives to the ceremony. It is a beautiful moment.

Do you have a favorite fun story?

There was a planner working with a couple and we were assisting with the ceremony line up and as the ceremony started, they realized the rings had been left in our bridal cottage. So, we ran down to get them and by the time we got back, 3 sets of wedding bands had made their way to the maid of honor. In the end, they were able to use their own rings and it was a great story.

How long in advance do you typically start working with a bride?

6 months – 18 months

Do you provide someone dedicated to the couple on the day of the event to help them?

Yes, we provide a dedicated person on the day of the event.

What size wedding is typical for you?


What trends do you see with the current brides?

We have seen lots of couples choosing to do a first look. Other trends include: using coral, navy and gold together, having varying shades of bridesmaids dresses, a “man of honor”, using non-traditional songs for ceremony and reception, and hiring Blue Grass bands for ceremony and cocktail hour.

Is there one thing that you feel is important for brides to ask or know when choosing the perfect venue?

What is included in your packages? Are there any hidden costs?

Finally, if you could tell the brides one thing about your business, what would it be?

Free advice – Make sure to create an inspirational board either to help you choose a venue or once your venue is chosen. Take you Pinterest boards and choose your top 2-3 pictures for each different category. Looking at the whole board can be overwhelming. Doing this will help you set healthy boundaries, plan better, get more of an accurate quote from vendors, and help you communicate with those helping you what your vision is. It is well worth the time and energy.

I love that idea. One of the first things I ask my brides is whether or not they have a Pinterest board. It helps when looking at colors, styles and typography. It helps to tell me a little more about the couples personality.

I hope you have enjoyed our discussion with Sawyer Family Farmstead today.  If you want to know more about them and how they can help you with your event, be sure to follow them on social media:

Website:  http://www.SawyerFamilyFarmstead.com
Facebook: Sawyer Family Farmstead
Instagram: @sawyerfamilyfarmstead
Twitter: @sfarmstead
Pinterest: Sawyer Family Farmstead

Thanks for joining us today. Be sure to check back next week for another edition of A Bride’s Story and the next #Summertimefun post.  Until then, stay cool and hydrated and share your love on Facebook!



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A Bride’s Story – Nightmares

| A Bride's Story

If you read the title of this week’s blog, I can only imagine what you are thinking. When Amber told me what she was going to write about, I googled it…there were ten different google pages on wedding nightmares. So for those of you that thought you were alone, it’s VERY real!

Happy Wednesday, friends! After talking with Laurie, we have decided that in order to keep this blog fresh, we are going to drop down to once a month blogs until we get closer to the wedding. I don’t want anyone getting bored and am struggling with ideas!

With just under five months to go before the wedding, I had to look up something that I have been experiencing…wedding nightmares! I thought for sure that it was far too early for these to start and with not stressing out about the wedding at all, I figured it probably wouldn’t happen at all. Silly Amber. I had one a few months back, the details are fuzzy now, but I figured it was stress about other things in life and my subconscious was just putting it into the wedding because that is what I am usually thinking about as I fall asleep. (Read: daydreaming about how awesome it’s going to be and how excited I am – nothing bad) It was just the one and I brushed it off. Until a few nights ago that is, I have been having some trouble sleeping for about a week now, but that isn’t too unusual for me, it happens from time to time.

The other night I had not just one, but two wedding nightmares! The first one, we were in Savannah and starting to get ready and all of a sudden (2 hours before the ceremony) I realize that my wedding dress is still in the closet at home. Everyone is freaking out and we find a store and try to find a new dress, but I just keep wandering around the store not being able to find anything. It was a wedding dress store, but somehow I kept coming to Halloween costumes! I would find a dress that I liked, but when I would walk back over to get it, I could never find it again. I was hysterically crying (of course) and just kept screaming that I couldn’t get married in another dress because the one at home was my dream dress! I finally found a dress that looked exactly like my dress, but when I tried it on and walked out of the dressing room it was ripped and tattered. It was a horrifying dream! My second dream was a dream that I am sure every woman can relate to, I dreamt that Dan left me for a younger woman. No need for details on that one, it kind of speaks for itself, I guess. He assures me this won’t happen, so there’s that!

When I woke up, obviously still upset, I looked up wedding nightmares because I had not really heard about it being a thing. They are apparently very common and you should not be freaked out by them! There are so many moving parts to a wedding that your subconscious is bound to get twisted occasionally and often times it can make you realize another issue that needs to be addressed. For example, dreaming about chipped toenails may symbolize feeling unstable. My dream about not being in the right dress may symbolize feeling vulnerable, the shopping part generally symbolizes making choices in my waking life (I just got a promotion at work, so this one really makes sense). Just a few things to think about, they all come from somewhere and there is no need to freak yourself out more!

There is so much emphasis on everything going perfectly on your wedding day, that we often times forget that there are very few people that are going to realize if something is a little off. The only people that know what the exact plan is are you, your fiancé, your wedding coordinator (if you have one), your bridal party, and your photographer. This is a limited number in the grand scheme of things and all of those people are going to act as normally as possible to hide/fix any issues before you see them. Just remember, this is the first day of the rest of your life. It’s a big step. You might stumble a little, just don’t let anyone see you sweat (unless you’re getting married in the summer and that might happen!). Until next month, friends! I will be telling you all about my New York bridal shower and the obvious shenanigans that I get into with my ladies! Maybe not ALL of the shenanigans…


Be sure to check out tomorrow’s vendor spotlight, where we sit down with Sawyer Family Farmstead and be sure to check out Instagram on Friday for some new Rustic Wedding Invitation designs. Perfect for the Sawyer Family Farmstead bride.

Until next time, be sure to stay cool and hydrated and be sure to share your love onFacebook!


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