Gilded Baroque Romance

Oh, my heart lovelies! I cannot express how excited I am and  how incredibly blessed I feel to do what I do and to love it so darn much! Last Friday, an inspiration shoot I styled with an amazing group of vendors was featured on Swooned blog- over here!!!

Yes, I’m exclamation happy, doing my happy dance and beaming with smiles right now! Who would have thought that a cup of coffee and a mutual love for romance and all things lovely would lead to something so full of passion and gorgeous? This shoot was born out of a discussion of at least ten other ideas and my love for music, tradition and ball gowns. Oh, and the color blue! With the idea to do a “Something Blue” shoot with a twist, the obvious choice was to go with the “old, new, borrowed, blue”, but I wanted to dig into that and figure out what that really meant to me. I came across some Baroque inspiration and history of the rhyme, then my mind went crazy– blue like the sky; gold like the sun highlighting gorgeous gilded architecture; romantic flowers and a drop dead gorgeous bride all dressed for a ball. Sounds like a great basis for a wedding design to me!

Grab something to sip on and stay a while, this one gets pretty long darlings. There’s just too much pretty to share!

carolynannphoto025The Veteran’s Memorial Ballroom was the perfect venue, with floor to ceiling windows, neutral walls trimmed in the most amazing hand carved detail and finished in crisp white – so swoon worthy! It was a match made in heaven. Oh and did I mention, the views of downtown add that perfect modern urban touch I love?


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An invitation suite is the first impression guests have of your wedding. The suite Andrea at AC Design created was so stunning! The hand painted watercolor on acrylic paper with gold details are more than I envisioned. The silhouettes are so fun and a bit of a modern twist, if you look closely at their hairstyles. Andrea also made the table numbers. We decided to have a combination of numbers and names to mix things up a bit. Why not name tables after favorite Baroque composers?  Another detail to add an extra luxe touch was gold wax seal. The nostalgic details just speak to my heart.


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Spielman’s Event Services provided the linens and other rentals to pull the design together. Kelly and her team are such a joy to work with and always have what I need. Candles are always romantic, so we gathered some gold leaf pillar candles for our alternate centerpiece and accented them with vintage candleholders. Imagine that ambience as the sun sets!

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There were so many layers to the table settings to add that opulent and luxurious feeling. One of my favorite elements is the place cards with handmade sheet music tags and calligraphy by Genevieve at Blush Papier.



Alason at Vintage Farmhouse Rentals had the perfect collection of antique goblets that added to the collected elegance of the tablescape. The design was created with the idea that some of the pieces, like the glassware and candlesticks, were passed down from family and were that older touch.



The beautiful floral centerpiece was the finishing touch on the table and added extra romance. Angela from the Flower Shop at Cedar Memorial worked magic. I actually found her two days before the shoot, believe it or not. She understood my vision and made it come to life even more beautifully that I could have imagined. The arrangement and bouquet included Hydrangea, Roses, Wax Flower, Stock, blue Delphinium, Anemones, Tulips, Seeded Eucalyptus and Italian Ruscus. Adding the gilded apples and some gold painted greens added just enough glamour.

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Anne at Classic Cakes by Design is such an artist. I showed her my inspiration boards, which she then combined and improved upon to create the absolute perfect cake design for this shoot. I audibly gasped when she sent me a photo. She is one of those people that can see a picture or hear a slew of adjectives, et voila- she designs something better than I even dreamed up myself.


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Speaking of beautiful goodies. Berries and fruit tarts were common desserts and knew that I needed to have some of those as details and a pop of color. That’s where Julianna at Sweet Satisfaction Bakery came in. Her baked goods are always so delicious and beautiful. I knew this would be no exception and called her right away. They were the perfect accent and tasted absolutely amazing.



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The jewelry and accessories were provided by Hope’s Bridal. The jewelry is designed by Meg Jewelry. They were perfectly ornate and felt like they were family pieces, while still adding a bit of a modern day flair.

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Redhead Salon’s Morgan and Lindsey did hair and make up on our lovely model, Megan. WOWZA! I asked for romantic and editorial- well hello! I sure got it. They were so much fun, brought the music to the party and had amazing energy all day. We were lucky enough to be able to work in two looks. Going from romantic to sleek and modern was so fun and they made it happen effortlessly!


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As usual, the staff at Hope’s Bridal was amazing and provided two gorgeous gowns. The looks both worked with the design, but were totally different. We used the amazing Essence ball gown for a soft, romantic look, my personal favorite. The other was a sleek, modern, and curvy fit and flare dress by Martina Liana.




There wasn’t a moment of this process that didn’t get me fired up! A big thank you to every, single vendor and friend that had a hand in making this a reality. Carolyn, thank you for capturing this so beautifully both on digital and film! Last, but certainly not least, thank you, thank you, thank you to Swooned for loving this little piece of our hearts and sharing it with your readers!!!

Happy Wednesday my lovelies!

xoxo- Jenn

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Heart & Soul

Today’s inspiration is a departure from what you normally see from me. I have always been drawn to art in all of its forms. Not just pretty images, but the kind that make you stop and really feel something — they have been grabbing me lately. So, for any of you seeing this, I hope it makes you feel something wonderful, as this ballerina did for me.

Ballerina Bride Art

{ Dust Jacket Attic tumblr | Matchbox Magazine | Magnolia Rouge }

True art awakens the soul and speaks for itself. Enjoy darlings and have a fabulous Tuesday!

xoxo- Jenn

Anatomy of a Welcome Bag

Imagine traveling 12+ hours to a wedding, in a city you’ve never been to, and arriving to a thoughtful welcome package in your hotel room. Amazing and personal, right? Wedding Welcome bags are not a new idea, but they are certainly getting more extravagant and almost a checklist must these days. So how do you know what to put in one or how lavish to make yours, if you choose to do so?

Have no fear my darlings, it’s really quite simple and completely dependent on your wishes, as with most anything regarding your wedding!

When compiling your welcome bag, think through the experience you want your guests to have and what is vital for them to have that weekend. Similarly to how your invitation sets the tone for your wedding, as the first thing guests see, a welcome bag will set the scene for the weekend. It will be the first part of the experience they get when they arrive in town.


After a long day of travel, a snack and fun beverage is always welcome, so they don’t have to worry about where to get a snack later in the evening. A map from the hotel to both your ceremony and reception locations will save time and confusion for anyone driving themselves around town. Also be sure to include a list of restaurants and fun things to do around town. Even though the hotel staff can help advise your guests, you know them best and might even have some local spots that the desk staff won’t recommend. It’s always a great idea to include contact information and information for the wedding day, such as timeline and any traffic reminders, etc. that will help the day run more smoothly.

When it comes to personal details, the options are endless. A handwritten note, deck of cards, sunglasses, homemade cookies, a post card for them to keep, a local delicacy, your wedding favors, your favorite beverage, flip flops if you’re on the beach, a puzzle book or mad libs. If you are all staying on a property, maybe a directory of guests’ cabins, a scavenger hunt, a list of activities you might have planned and a whole host of other ideas.


{ Jenny Steffens | Martha Stewart Weddings }

As you can see, champagne can have a more casual and simple feeling. These miniature Prosecco bottles are packaged in a clear cellophane bag with a  printed top enclosure. On the right, a grocery store water bottle was personalized to match the wedding colors with a simple printed sleeve. For the water bottle sleeve, you could also just cut wrapping paper to size and use double sided tape. Many of these packaging items can be purchased a the Dollar Store and dressed up to give your guests a very special welcome.

We had very simple bags for our wedding and guests raved! We included water bottles, pretzels, assorted candies, 2 decks of cards and an information envelope with each piece of paper printed on color coordinated card stock. They loved not having to go out for a snack between lunch and the wedding and really enjoyed having an activity to do in the hotel. My family are BIG card players, so they all congregated in the community room and went at it.

Casual and Personal Bags

{ Pinterest | Tara Guerard Soiree | The Bride’s Cafe }

Next, we can get a little bit more elaborate, but still very casual. If there are a lot of  local hot spots and special items that were created in your town, make a themed bag. If you’d like to dress up your information, get welcome bag stickers and paper goods that are ‘branded’ to your wedding. Maybe a beach or lakeside wedding would include playing frisbee for the two of you and you’d like to share that with everyone.

Canvas Luxe Bags

{ Southern Weddings | SMP }

Now, if you really want to go above and beyond, getting personalized canvas totes for your guests is a great way to go. You can get as themed, branded or personal as you like with welcome bags. The thought that goes into them, just like any aspect of your wedding, should have your personalities infused throughout.

It is worth mentioning that this is not a requirement or expectation, simply a nice gesture if you find you’d like to offer something like this to your guests. If you have a small percentage of guests arriving from out of town, this may not be the best place to distribute those funds. However, if the majority of your guests will be venturing in, it might be something you’d like to extend to them in the form of hospitality. Think of it this way, you won’t be able to give them a hug and welcome when they arrive in a hotel, like you would if they visited your home. It’s just a warm and personal touch as an additional thank you for coming.

xoxo- Jenn

Summer Lovin’

Oh summer, how I love thee and your beautiful, bright colors! I need some firefly inspired summer nights, surrounded by my nearest and dearest, every now and then.

Today, we are going to talk about celebrating as a couple before the big day. After all, this is about both of you, not just the bride, right? I absolutely love and advocate for bridal showers and gal pal time, but why not throw a couples shower or engagement party to celebrate this momentous occasion, too?

SummerCouplesEngagementParty{ SMP Pinterest | Completely Delicious | digibuddhaPaperie | Exquisite Weddings Magazine | Green Wedding Shoes }

 This bright and glittery palette just makes me so excited for Summer! The joy of celebrating your love with family and friends as you navigate planning and prepare for the rest of your lives should be palpable and what better way to express that than a cheery, dance worthy afternoon? Those tangerine sorbet champagne floats- just take those four words in, slowly…… That just screams summer cocktail and the citrus deliciousness has me craving one now. I bet it would be great with ginger ale too, if you need!

I love the idea of both, because I love parties and celebrating love. That said, we didn’t host or attend either fete when we were engaged. How many of you had, or will be having, an engagement party or couples shower? Would you recommend that others do so?

xoxo- Jenn