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Aimee wanted her wedding to Ted be a “love letter to our relationship.” The couple, both Filipino with a love of food and travel, personalized every last detail of the menu and experience for their guests at Early Mountain Vineyards. Hosting a fall wedding was a priority for the couple and they selected a venue overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains playing up the lush foliage and color palette it offered. Florals were by The Posey Detail and floral invitations by Citrus Co. and the beauty of the day is beautifully captured in these images by Elizabeth Fogarty.

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What made the wedding special and unique? 

I wanted our wedding to be a “love letter to our relationship”. At our core, Ted and I are consummate hosts, foodies and world travelers. We saw our wedding as the opportunity to share our personality and the experiences that shaped us as a couple with our guests. Every decision was purposefully made to craft a thoughtfully curated experience. Hosting a fall wedding was at the top of our list. It is our favorite season and I knew the lush, saturated tones of the fall foliage would be the perfect backdrop for our wedding. I was also remarkably picky about our venue because it would set the tone for our day. It was important to me that our guests experienced different moments of our day in different spaces. We selected Early Mountain Vineyards for that exact reason. We hosted cocktail hour in the beautifully decorated Tasting Room and the reception and ceremony in the Event Hall. Our wedding was held in the evening so the venue took on a lovely romantic glow that made our fall wedding dreams come true.

The food was also a top priority for us. Ted and I are both Filipino and food is a defining aspect of our culture. We also plan our trips around food! We worked with a local caterer to create a completely custom menu and curated cocktail selection. I worked for months and months researching recipes to pinpoint exactly what we wanted. We selected a menu that was elevated, yet comfortable. One of my favorite moments was seeing our guests take to our cocktail selection and enjoy the Aperol Spritz. We love turning people on to new foods and experiences.

With delicious food and the haze of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the background, our wedding was the most perfectly, imperfect day.

Tell us about the gown and where/how you found it!

I wore the Watters Alice gown in ivory. It was actually one of the first dresses I tried on. I tried it first at a boutique in Georgetown, DC and then again at Love Couture Bridal in Potomac, MD. I am notoriously a more conservative dresser so I was surprised when I fell in love with the form fitting silhouette of the Alice gown. It made me feel beautiful, elegant and just a little bit sexy. The modern, graphic lace detail was my favorite feature.

What were some touches added to make the wedding personal? 

Our wedding was all about the special touches. My favorites were:

Our wedding cake topper was handmade by my mother. Baking and fondant work have been become a great hobby of hers. She recreated the magnolia flowers from our invitation suite.

Matchbox favor: As a designer, I’m a huge proponent of function over form. I wanted to give something to our guests that would be both useful and remind them of our special day. Ted and I love to collect matchboxes from restaurants. We designed two matchboxes to give a nod to the wedding and our love of Washington, DC.

Playing New Orleans jazz during cocktail hour: New Orleans is a city the holds a special place in both of our hearts. We visit every year. During cocktail hour, we played New Orleans jazz to pay homage to our favorite foodie paradise.

Bridesmaid dresses: I am a huge fan of the mismatched bridesmaid dress trend. I think it elevates the concept of matching dresses to look more purposeful and gives each bridesmaid the opportunity to share their personality. At the time, it was really difficult to find what I wanted in bridal salons. I had selected a dusty, slate blue color and no one had that color let alone varieties of that blue. In addition to wanting shades of this hard-to-find blue, I wanted each girl to wear different textures. A lot of conditions, I know! But I had a vision. I scoured the sale section of Nordstrom.com and purchased a variety of dusty, slate blue dresses that fit the bill. I set up a bridal salon in my own apartment and treated my bridesmaid to a homemade brunch. They selected their exact dresses for our wedding and my vision came to life. Each girl is wearing a different fabric/texture and I love the look of them together.

My veil: My veil was a nod to my favorite design era: Art Deco. I selected a custom-made Juliet Cap style veil to blend together the modern look of my dress and soft, romantic design of our wedding.

What was the most memorable part of the day? 

The outpouring of love and support we felt throughout the entire day. Given that our wedding was a destination for all of our guests, we were so grateful for those who traveled near and far to celebrate with us. It truly was the best day of our lives.

Tell us how you met and became engaged.

Ted and I met right after college in April 2011 but our stories differ. I will say we met through a mutual friend while Ted says we met at a local bar.

One of the first things Ted learned about me was my love for food and design. The Kennedy Center is my favorite building in DC and they host a Sunday brunch in their Roof Terrace restaurant. I took Ted years ago to share one of my favorite DC experiences. Fast forward to 2017, Ted had slyly suggested that we go again in May. The day he proposed was a miserable, rainy day. I wasn’t sure I wanted to go anymore but Ted was adamant. We arrived at the top of the Kennedy Center and Ted asked me to go out on the roof terrace (in the rain) which I found so odd. (He had hired a college friend turned photographer to capture our proposal.) To my surprise, he got down on one knee and popped the question! It was a beautiful, special moment between the two of us that I’ll remember forever. Afterwards, we had brunch with our families who met for the first time.

Aimee & Ted // November 4th, 2017 from Altamira Film Co. on Vimeo.

Photography: Elizabeth Fogarty // Month of Coordinator: Dream Defined Events // Flowers: The Posey Detail // Invitations: Citrus Co // Venue: Early Mountain Vineyards // Dress: Love Couture Bridal (Watters- Alice gown) // Makeup and hair: First Look Artistry // Tux: The Black Tux // Catering: C&O catering // Ring Box: The Mrs. Box

 

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Who else is ready for proposal season to heat up? It seems like as soon as the temperatures dip, and the closer we get to the holiday season, the more we see new shiny rings on fingers! And with so many options out there today for rings, we thought we would partner with Clean Origin to navigate the decision making process. 

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How to navigate the 4 c’s

You’ve likely heard of the four things to look for when you’re searching for a diamond — cut, clarity, color and carat. But what exactly do all of those mean? And why are they so important to your diamond?

Cut
It’s common for people to mix up cut with the shape of the diamond. However, the cut is actually a grade of how well the diamond interacts with light, and how well the jeweler plans, maps and hand cuts the facets on each individual diamond. It’s no surprise that we all want our diamonds to shine, and how well your diamond is cut will ultimately be the deciding factor in how much sparkle you get. The cut of your diamond will be: Good, Very Good, Excellent, Ideal, or unavailable. Obviously, the better the adjective, the better the diamond cut. It’s also common that your diamond might not possess a cut at all. For some fancy-shaped diamonds, such as cushion, there is no cut grade. This is simply because there is not a grading system in place to measure the light return. If you’re interested in one of these shapes, simply talk with your jeweler about what else to look for during the purchasing process — often you’ll be looking for specific qualities in specific cuts. 

Clarity
The clarity of a diamond is a bit more self explanatory. Due to the high amounts of pressure that’s used to create a diamond — either in the earth’s surface or in a lab — it’s common for these jewels to include internal characteristics called ‘inclusions’ or external characteristics called ‘blemishes’. Naturally, the fewer characteristics that the diamond has, the more expensive it becomes. When you’re searching for your diamond, the clarity will includes one or two letters and a number — SI2 for example is the lowest you would want to go on the scale if you do not want to see any visible imperfections.

Color
Although a pink diamond might be turning in your head right now, when you hear about color in diamonds, it’s actually referring to the absence of color. The color of a diamond is graded on an alphabetical scale, starting at D and ranging all the way down to Z with D being a colorless diamond and Z being yellow. Most of the time, you’ll want to look for a diamond that is higher up on the alphabet — yellow in a diamond can actually leech the sunlight and minimize sparkle. It’s important to note that the differences from one letter to another are often minute — go with your eye, your gut and a trust jeweler. 

Carat
Finally, you’ll have to choose what carat size you want. Carat refers to the actual weight of the diamond. As you probably already know, size is a huge contributor to the price of the stone. It’s extremely important to understand some of the terminology around carat. For example, if you see “tw”, that means “total weight”. Unless marked otherwise, this could be the total of the center stone and the accent diamonds together. If you want a center stone alone that weighs a certain amount, make sure you specify! However, some small differences in carat size can be almost absent to the naked eye, but can cause a dramatic price jump. Make sure your jeweler knows your budget and is getting you the best bang for your buck in that range.

We know, we know, your head is starting to turn with all of these numbers and letters. But don’t worry, your jeweler should be able to help you with all 4 C’s, but it’s important to be educated so that no one tries to rip you off. And, always remember, this is your decision! Sometimes choosing one ‘C’ over another might be the right choice for your style or budget.  

Diamond choices
It used to be that you had very little say in where your diamond was sourced. In fact, if you walk into the average jeweler, it’s unlikely that they will be able to tell you where your diamond came from. With lab-grown diamonds, this is no longer the case. Lab-created diamonds, like the ones from Clean Origin, give you an ethical, environmentally friendly and less expensive option for diamonds. 

Not only does Clean Origins offer engagement rings, but you can also find loose diamonds, wedding bands, wedding sets, beautiful earrings and also bracelets! With over 100 ring styles available, free shipping, free resizing, a 100-day return policy, and a lifetime manufacturer’s warranty – using them is a no-brainer!

Ethically sourced, environmentally friendly diamonds may be their product, but their business is making sure that the individuals purchasing and receiving those diamonds are 100% satisfied. No matter how small the detail or how many questions you have, they’ll be there to help you throughout this important decision. 

Bride Katherine—who works in landscape architecture and formerly at flower magazine—knew florals would play a major role in her hometown Birmingham wedding to Howard. The couple enlisted Holly Carlisle of ROSEGOLDEN whose artistic work “glorifies the wild beauty and unpredictability of plants and never tries to fight it.” They also brought on Mariee Ami to help plan the rest of the cool-weather celebration in rich blues and greens, with golden accents and velvet ribbons setting that back drop for arching branches, shades of white blooms, lots of greenery, and pine cones from Katherine’s dad’s farm.  Davy Whitener Photography was on hand working his magic and capturing all the lovely details in his signature fine art style.

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From the bride: When Howard and I started planning our wedding, we really didn’t have a vision for what the day would look like. We just knew that we wanted to be surrounded by family and friends, and we wanted everyone to have a great time. We feel so lucky to have found each other and were excited to celebrate in a big way!

So with no real direction, the first thing we did was bring on Mariee Ami to plan the event – Neillie Butler, owner of Mariee Ami, is a longtime family friend and was actually my boss one summer in college. It was extra special to have Neillie and her team work their magic for us.

Our next move was to line up a florist. I work for a landscape architecture firm and formerly worked for flower magazine. The one thing I did know going into the planning process, is that I wanted the flowers to be special. I’ve been Instagram stalking Holly Carlisle of Rosegolden’s work for some time and was thrilled when we were able to bring her on board. Her work glorifies the wild beauty and unpredictability of plants and never tries to fight it—she’s an artist.

We decided to get married in my hometown, Birmingham, Alabama, and settled on a date in January. We both love being outdoors and would have enjoyed having at least part of the festivities outside—but we didn’t want to wait for spring, and January in Alabama can be balmy one day and frigid the next. We huddled with the team and ultimately decided to bring the outdoors in with a kind of enchanted forest aesthetic. Rich blues and greens, with golden accents and velvet ribbons set that back drop for arching branches, shades of white blooms, lots of greenery, and pine cones from my dad’s farm. It was magical.

Overall, the weekend was just perfect. We felt surrounded by love and we had so much fun. It is a testament to the team we worked with, that we truly got to enjoy each other and our friends and family, and didn’t have a care in the world on wedding day. So many thoughtful and special details were expertly woven into this event; it was more wonderful than we could have hoped for. And thank goodness for these gorgeous photos by Davy Whitener, lest we ever forget what a blessed day (and epic party) we had.

Photography: Davy Whitener Photography // Planner & Paper Goods: Mariee Ami // Floral Design: ROSEGOLDEN by Holly Carlisle // Ceremony: Canterbury United Methodist Church // Reception: Mountain Brook Club (Birmingham, AL) // Wedding Dress: Lian Carlo // Wedding Dress Shop: Carriage House Weddings // Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Jenny Yoo // Cake: Barb’s Cakes // Ribbon: Frou Frou Chic // Band: Atlanta Showstoppers // Linen: La Tavola Fine Linen Rental // Catering: Mountain Brook Club

 

“Marrying Justin is all I care about… I trust y’all and I’m just not sweating the small stuff!”  These were the words that Madison emailed to The Burlap Elephant during the wedding planning process and we couldn’t love them more. The couple, who have known each other since childhood, had their priorities straight and they ended up with a stunning event at Lowndes Grove in Charleston to prove it. The New Orleans natives kept this simple with a neutral palette and let the grounds of the plantation take center stage, while Out of the Garden added to the backdrop with an airy ceremony arch and classic white florals. The couple enlisted Brandon Lata to capture all the moments of their day in these lovely images.

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Tell us how and where you found the dress!

It was the second dress I put on. I did try on a few more during that appointment, but ended up putting that dress on again and it just felt right. I did not purchase that day because my mom didn’t think it was possible to buy a dress at my first wedding dress appointment (classic) so I did sleep on it. I went back two days later to put it on for my dad and there was no question to me that this was the dress I wanted to wear.

For the bridesmaids I wanted to do navy blue and figured it would be cooler weather on March 3, so the darker color made sense to me. I am not into chiffon or nudes, or plain dresses that just “blend in” and that’s pretty much what 90% of bridesmaids dresses are for some reason! I found Katie May on the internet one day and then I found them in a local store so I to went to see them in person. I loved the fit and the material. It was similar to my dress which I really loved. I decided I wanted my friends to pick out whichever dress they wanted. It was all the same material, color, and fit so I just let them pick out their favorites. I don’t like telling people what to wear or how to do their hair and makeup. I just wanted everyone to feel beautiful and like themselves instead of me telling them how be.

What made the wedding personal and unique?

What made the day personal for me wasn’t a thing or something I brought. It was honestly the wedding guests. It was so meaningful to have people get on a plane and travel to Charleston for Justin and I. 170 people that truly wanted to be there for us. That for us was a ‘wow’ moment. To know we have that many people that were there to support and celebrate us. It was special.

Is it unique to have groomsmen take their shirts off during the reception…? But really, Lowndes Grove made it unique for me. Working with the designers to pick out linens, chairs, chandeliers, etc. was amazing. It wasn’t just the standard items that came with the venue. It represented me and my style, not someone else’s.

My earrings were my mother’s diamond studs she gave me for the wedding. I had a ring you probably couldn’t see in the photos, but I was wearing my great grandmother;s wedding band which was really special to me. Kept it simple.

Walking down the aisle with my dad was really memorable for me. You see that moment repeatedly in movies so that moment was surreal for me.

How we met & became engaged:

I attended high school with Justin’s younger sister, Emma. We were, and still are, best friends. Justin was a few years older at the College of Charleston so I wouldn’t see him often. We did kiss after my high school graduation, but it was kind of an ongoing joke that he liked his younger sister’s friend. It wasn’t until he moved back to New Orleans after college that things kind of turned into something. I think I was 20 or 21 when we started dancing around this idea of liking one another, but he was not interested in having a girlfriend at the time. But I knew I was going to marry this person and kept persisting. We dated for 4 years before we became engaged.

He proposed last April 2017. It was a Thursday and I was on my way home from work, and he was annoying me all afternoon about when I was going to be home and what I was doing – I should have known by his weirdness what was going on. I walked in the house and our golden retriever, Haley, was sitting down with a ring box attached to her head and he was kneeling on the floor next to her. It caught me off guard and the dog sitting there with the ring was just such a sweet moment.

 

Design & Coordination: The Burlap Elephant // Photographer/Videographer: Brandon Lata // Floral: Out of the Garden // Invitation/Stationery: Scriptura and Calligraphy by Maria Helena // Venue: Lowndes Grove (Patrick Properties) // Dress Designer: Mikaella Bridal // Wedding Dress Salon: Town and Country Bridal // Hair & Makeup: Lashes and Lace // Cake/Catering/Bar: Patrick Properties // Tabletop Rentals: Polished Tabletop // Band: Crystal Clear Band // Ceremony Musician: Holy City Strings // Transportation: Lowcountry Valet & Shuttle // Shoes: Chanel // Bridesmaids: Katie May Bridesmaids Collection // Bridal salon for bridesmaids: Bella Bridesmaids Mandeville // Groom tux: Brooks Brothers // Groomsmen: The Black Tux // Rentals: Ooh Events / Snyder Events / La Tavola Linen

 

Lindsay and Brad loved the idea of a destination wedding where friends and family spent an entire weekend getting to know one another. With Palm Springs as their chosen location, Stone Eagle Golf Club was a natural choice of venue with it’s spectacular mountain views. Lindsay loves neutrals and settled on a palette of blush, mauve, maroon, deep purples and grays and planner COJ Events implemented the pared-back hues in fabulous fashion. A casual elegance underlies the design in the both the outdoor ceremony and garden reception and florals by Arrangements Floral and Party Design are spilling from every detail. Stationery is by Union Street Paper, cake by Exquisite Desserts and it’s all captured by Birds of a Feather Photography.

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Why did you choose Palm Springs/Desert Area as your wedding destination?

Brad and I really wanted a destination wedding. We loved the idea of our friends and family spending a few days together and really getting to know each other. Zika quickly limited our options, as we loved the idea of hot and sunny location! Palm Springs came to mind as it’s such a manageable destination and a lot of our guests had never been; it seemed perfect. Also, I loved the idea of being able to quickly fly down from SF for any wedding meetings; it made the planning process so much easier.

About 12 years ago, when I was working at Merrill Lynch, I assisted with an event at Stone Eagle Golf Club. From that day forward, that venue always stuck out in my mind. If you’ve been there, you know why. The views are spectacular. The venue sits upon these amazing mountains, and it is extremely unique. When we started looking I knew we had to check it out. And bonus, they had just redone the restaurant where we had cocktails and the reception, which is completely stunning. We spent a full day in Palm Springs venue hunting, and Stone Eagle was our last spot to check out. The minute we walked in, we knew. It really takes your breath away. We really wanted a unique venue, something different. And Stone Eagle was just that. You also get to head up the mountain in these sporty Jeep safari vehicles (the guests loved it!).

What colors/themes/diy/handmade elements did you include on your wedding day? How did COJ help?

I love neutral tones and my favorite season is fall so I tried to marry those two for the overall theme/color palette for the wedding. Blush, mauve, maroon, deep purples, greys also some greenery. My bouquet was this amazing airy and wispy creation with lovely fall neutrals of wild flowers, roses, dahlias, and anemones with a cascading nude ribbon. The bridesmaids had a smaller version also with a ribbon, I loved the look the neutral ribbons. I wanted the boutonnieres to be succulents; I thought it was such a cool way to bring the desert to the wedding and they looked so sharp against the tuxes.

One of my favorite elements was the escort card display. As my venue is not traditional, there was no clear separation between cocktails and dinner. We decided to use the escort card display to divide the two areas. Luna, at Arrangements (who is a genius) said she would create something with linen/drape and velvet ribbons. Seeing her work before, I trusted her but also had no idea what this would look like. It was STUNNING. It was DREAMY. We loved it so much we ended up moving it as the photo booth backdrop after dinner.

Tell us about the dress and how/where you found it!

I’ve loved fashion from the moment I was born and was extremely excited when it came time to look for the dress. However, I had no idea what I was looking for. I did not have a real vision in mind, but there were a couple details I had to have: lace, a deep v and something unique. I had almost finalized on this beautiful long sleeve lace number when my girlfriend and I spotted this whimsical fairy tale dress that had butterflies (never thought I would end on a dress with butterflies!). She said, “Try it on for fun”. So I did, and that was it. My dress was the Francesca Miranda Aurora dress. It’s a-line with a deep v. It has embroidered silk butterflies and Swarovski crystals sewn on the bodice. The details are one of a kind. It also has a gorgeous French lace underskirt with layers of Italian tulle on top. It was romantic, and perfect for Palm Springs. However, I customized it. I wanted the tulle removable so I could experience that princess bridal feeling and also something a little sleeker. I also opened up the tulle in the front so you got more of a glimpse of the stunning lace skirt. I wore the tulle for the ceremony and cocktails.

It was a lot of dress so I opted for no veil and minimal jewelry. I wore a simple pair of diamond studs, one of the diamonds was from my great grandmother’s engagement ring, very special. I also wore my mom’s diamond tennis bracelet, which my sister also wore on her wedding day. For the shoes, I also knew they had to be simple, but I wanted some sparkle, obviously! I went with Stuart Weitzman Nudist (in the tallest heel!), in platinum lame. The best part of those shoes, I have worn them many times post wedding.

What was your favorite part of your wedding day?

Our favorite moment was cocktails (seems crazy) but that was the first time we could let loose, say hello to our friends and family and really start enjoying the evening as a married couple. The setting was perfect, a cotton candy sunset on top of a mountain with 110 of our best friends and family (with great music and bacon wrapped dates). We loved scanning the crowd and seeing the mixing and matching of guests. Brad’s family talking to Lindsay’s friends and vice versa. Those moments are so special to us and we will always remember it.

How did you fall in love and become engaged?

Brad and I were set up by mutual friends in February of 2015. To be honest, neither of us had high expectations as set ups had not really worked for us in the past. We met at a popular bar in Santa Monica named The Bungalow with a small group. It was an instant connection. We both thought we would end up leaving early that night, however we wound up closing the bar down at 1:30am. The following weekend we spent a weekend in wine country. In August of that year, Brad was offered a job in San Francisco. Taking a big step, he asked me if I would move with him. I said yes and the rest is history.

Brad and I dated for about a year and a half prior the proposal. The proposal happened in Split, Croatia. It was the 2nd night of our 12-day trip. We stayed in the cutest boutique hotel called Villa Split; it only has 9 rooms. Brad had asked the owner to decorate our room with some flowers and add some champagne while we were out at dinner. We later walked back into the room and were greeted with flowers everywhere, champagne and a heart made out of rose petals and chocolate on the bed! I was still clueless and thought it was just a sweet gesture since we had a very nightmare travel experience getting to Croatia. Brad said “I have one more surprise”. He pulled the ring out of his suitcase, (which is another story in itself, almost getting caught with it going through security) got down on one knee and said, “Will you have my babies and marry me?” (yes in that order!).

It was the best night. I was extremely surprised, which I loved. I think that is the best way to get engaged, when you have no idea it’s coming. I couldn’t believe he brought a ring (my dream ring) all the way to Croatia. We were on cloud nine and about to embark on our first international travel experience together for another 10 days. Couldn’t have been better!

What advice do you have for future brides and grooms?

A few pieces of advice…Do not start planning the wedding right after you get engaged. If you have the luxury to have a long engagement, enjoy those first two months and just glow in your happiness. We loved those first few months just celebrating and enjoying life as an engaged couple. Next, EXAMPLES are your friends. When you are researching vendors, have them send examples, so many examples. Do not feel bad about asking for multiple examples. Full photo albums, full wedding videos, florals from previous weddings, etc. They are so helpful in nailing down your favorite. Instagram is a great place to look too! Also do not rush into decisions, if you start early you can take your time and feel 100% about your decision. Last piece, you do not need your photographer that late on the actual day. If you are working with a certain time limit, have them arrive early and leave early (no one wants professional photos past 9:30pm, trust me). Oh and one more, let it all go that weekend. Have fun, take it all in and enjoy it. Fastest weekend of my life, but also the best weekend of my life.

Photography: Birds of a Feather Photography // Wedding Planning: COJ Events // Flowers: Arrangements Floral and Party Design // Stationery: Union Street Paper // Venue: Stone Eagle Golf Club // Brides Dress:  Francesca Miranda // Bridesmaid Dresses: Jenny Yoo  // Videography: Satellite Pictures // Dessert: Exquisite Desserts // Hair and Makeup: Chelsea Nicole // Photobooth: Classic Photo Booth // Bridesmaid Gift: Madewell Handbag with custom embroidery // Guys Tuxes: The Black Tux // Rentals & Lighting: Arrangements Floral and Party Design // Entertainment: Dart DJ