Elise and Andy: E-Session

January 13, 2011  |  Southern Fete News  |  2 Comments

I have a sweet couple getting married next November at the Grand Opera House in Crowley! I am thrilled to be back there but also excited because we will be taking the decor in a completely different direction!! Cat Guidry took some fun shots of them for their engagement session. You have to check out her blog to see more images and hear her tell the story of why they shot their photos on a plane. Trust me, it’s super cute! Cat is not only a great photographer but a wonderful storyteller. : )

Meet Elise and Andy!

2010 on Paper

January 10, 2011  |  Southern Fete News  |  3 Comments

What an incredible year! This week I took a few days off to reflect on 2010 and determine where we’re headed in 2011. I loved the idea of what Gina did to document her year but it’s usually tough for me to actually do. How would I remember things that happened 6 months ago? Well I did, and I soon realized it was an incredible journey. I strongly recommend everyone do something like this. It reminded me of successes and also reminded me of possible pitfalls in the new year to avoid. But before you read on, check out Gina’s.

And here goes:

JANUARY

After MTH, you discovered yourself. You realized the things that make you different should be embraced. It was simple but you tend to forget that and try to mold to what you think people want. You got to get creative with your brand as a company as you worked on your new site.

Never forget that first realization that being me was all I needed to do. Remember the confidence it gave you to be yourself unapologetically.

FEBRUARY

This month, you did big things, but you did too much. You put together your first two photoshoots, all shot in one day and followed it up with a photo shoot of the invitation collections the next day. Remember how you felt after the last photo of an invitation was snapped? You collapsed on two chairs in your office and fell asleep. And got sick. This year, plan and prepare better. Achieve your dreams but balance it over the year. Learn to say no if you need to. You will not regret it! You also tried P90X. Exactly 30 minutes of it. Fail. Some things won’t be for you. Move on and try something new. No one said you have to be good at everything. Just willing to try. Remember this when you try ballet class for the first time ever tonight.

MARCH

You got engaged to the love of your life this month! : ) Making you a wedding planner planning your own wedding. You let creativity flow knowing you could put whatever you and Tyler wanted to into the day. You started to pass that on to your clients more too. You realized The Wedding Shoebox wasn’t headed where it should go. Instead of having it as a source of income, it became a better outlet to let locals know you. Good move. Priorities are important and yours was serving clients well. Always reavaluate why you do what you do. Spending hours on something that doesn’t contribute to your life’s purpose will drain you.

APRIL

Three weddings in three weeks. Wedding season began! You worked one of the happiest, the hardest, and easiest weddings of your little career. You made mistakes by shrinking back and have grown so much since then. Don’t shrink back. Don’t let those voices pop up that tell you you’re too young or too inexperienced. You have 23 weddings and 23 happy brides that would beg to differ. Keep a list of those mistakes and never stop learning from them because though you are growing, you’re not finished yet!

MAY

Southern Fete Creative took off wildly this month. You did more invitations this month than the first four months of the year combined. You realized you love creativing invitations and hope to be doing more of it. Sever months later you are! It’s nearly half your business and has produced new opportunities like Southern Life and reaches brides all over the US. Always do what you love. When you are, you’re unstoppable, passionate, excited and contagious. When you’re not, you fight burnout and make mistakes. May was also the month you had your first wedding canceled for upsetting reasons just weeks before the big day. You’re heart broke and you realized how much you’ve grown to think of brides as friends rather than just clients.

JUNE

It was a rough month. You let Satan creep in and tell you lies. You gave him control of your thoughts. And let him pick away at who you are. You cried out to God, and He answered. Never forget that thoughts and actions are all a choice. Remember there is someone who wants to destroy and make you powerless. Don’t let him win ever. You are so strong and powerful.

JULY

You took your first vacation since starting SF in 2008, a trip to Branson with your future-in-laws. Y’all went to a water park and you LOVED it. It reminded you of being a kid again. Sliding down a slide in a tube, you didn’t have a care in the world. The solitude as you flew down let you soak it in. Return to that carefree child-like feeling often. Dance in the rain, run as hard as you can, eat sour skittles. Just stay young at heart.

AUGUST

You moved in with your twin sister to enjoy one last month as roommates. You saw how much she loved you by every sacrifice she made for your wedding. She put together a shower that made you cry when you walked in the door and even made you question if you really were the “creative twin.”  Y’all also shared you’re 26th birthday this month. Do the same for her in every aspect of her life. Support her. This year is going to be big for her.

SEPTEMBER

You struggled this month balancing work and the wedding and life. You’re birthday fell on a Saturday, with Tyler’s two weeks after , then the wedding two weeks after that. What were you thinking?!? Have babies in Spring. The wedding week came and you were calm as a cucumber though. You knew it had to be God. When you find yourself overwhelmed, turn to Him. You’ve seen His power in action. AND then it happened. Your wedding day was PERFECT! : )

OCTOBER

You found bliss in coming home to your best friend everyday. You challenged each other and supported each other’s dreams in business even better than before. You were so glad to not be planning your wedding anymore. You much prefer planning your client’s weddings. : ) The experience of your own wedding gave you a much greater understanding of what brides go through. Never forget that feeling. It will make you a better wedding planner. Also, you booked four brides in one day! Very exciting! But be careful. Despite a busy calendar , 2011 will be balanced. Learn when to say no. Don’t overbook yourself. Remember time is precious and can’t be gotten back.

NOVEMBER

You hired someone to handle your accounting. Smart move. You kind of stink at it. It made you procrastinate and wasted your time trying to figure it out. Remember the relief you felt to know you don’t have to open quickbooks again. It’s freeing! More tasks may surface that you need to let go of. Don’t be afraid to. You also finally raised your prices after 2+ years. And guess what?  It didn’t hurt your business! You learned how valuable your product was. If you don’t, no one else will. Remember what you have to offer. Cat helped you see it. Don’t diminish it or shrink.

DECEMBER

This month was big. You launched Southern Life and people liked it. You were worried that it was too simple. You had more meetings than ever before in one month and still managed to find yourself even more. You learned everyone is different. You may not approach things the same as everyone and that’s OK. It’s what makes us human and not robots. You decided your word for 2011 was balance. Although 2010 was an amazing year, a flourishing business was not without lots of sacrifices of time with friends and family, health and hobbies. 2011 will be different. No more wasting time. You want it all. Be adventurous. Be bold. Be successful. Be creative. Stay focused because it will take lots of focus but you can do it! Here’s to 2011!

The Dream Team

December 22, 2010  |  In Her Shoes  |  2 Comments

My wedding recap posts would not be complete without a huge thank you to three very special people! I am so glad to have them not only for my wedding day but in my daily life!!

First a few words my mom wanted to share about the wedding day.

“The hours and days following Valerie and Tyler’s wedding I found myself with an overwhelming feeling of gratitude. I had enjoyed the wedding so much, I couldn’t help but feel that it was all of the vendors that made that possible. The photographers and videographers were everywhere, so I had this peace that I wasn’t missing anything. If something important was going on and I wasn’t there it was being captured for us to see later. (At one point I saw something I wanted to get a picture of and signaled Jason, he came running, I think leaping over a chair to accommodate my whim.) If there was anything needed Hannah (Valerie’s counterpart for the day) was there and the fact that she was busy as a beaver meant there were obviously things that need to be done, but I never knew about them. Our guests raved about the venue of the Opera House and the owner sat calmly, close at hand ready to take care of anything that came up. To top it off the food was delicious; we (Gervies and I) just grabbed bites of food here and there so as not to miss anything but because the staff with Zea’s prepared plates for us as well as packaged up the leftovers we thoroughly enjoyed it later.”

Hannah Trahan: Day-of Coordinator

I know how much goes on on the actual wedding day. Who could I possibly trust with my own wedding day? Who would trouble shoot issues? Or make sure we got down the aisle? Or work well with the vendors? One, Mrs. Hannah Trahan, event coordinator for City Club. My biggest memory of the day is that it was “perfect.” I can’t think of one thing I would have changed. One glitch that I noticed. One issue that set me off. It was all in good hands. If you decide to book your wedding at the City Club, you will be taken care of from start to finish.

Mark Eric

Mark’s creativity astounds me. His vibrant color draws me in. The way he can take a location, I’ve seen shot by dozens of other photographers and make it something completely unique is truly a talent. While we were getting ready at the hotel, Mark started playing “final countdown” on his iPhone because he remembered me making a joke about that song the week before the wedding. What? Photographers do more than just take pictures? This one does! He went above and beyond, keeping me laughing and calm. Patient with any of my over-the-top ideas. And fun to be around. Brides, you spend a lot of time with your photographer. Fun and personable is a big big plus and will make you more comfortable in front of the camera.

Jason Cohen

For my wedding day, I was one lucky girl! I had my wedding documented by one of my very good friends and office mate Jason. I could tell you how amazing his pictures are but I’ll think they have spoken for themselves. But in case you need a reminder, they are amazing!! :) If you want a photographer who will be accommodating and remember it’s YOUR wedding day, he’s the guy. If you want to receive the best customer service from your booking to album design, he’s the guy. If you want someone to capture emotion EXACTLY as it is happening, he’s your guy. If you want to look back on your pictures and remember small significant moments you thought you’d never see again, he’s your guy.

Brides, I am completely satisfied with my wedding day. I don’t want to have a do over. I have amazing pictures that tell the story. They don’t just have us posing in front of a mantle or posing in front of a cake. I can get the whole day again through my photos.

I found a remarkably high number of photos of Jason doing the white man’s underbite.

Thank you all for sharing in this journey with me! I am thrilled to be on “the other side.” I am fueled even more than before to create beautiful paper products and unforgettable days for brides.

The Favorites

December 22, 2010  |  In Her Shoes  |  No Comments

Today I’m sharing my very favorite images from our wedding day.

During our first look, we also had a first listen to our vows. This shows the emotion I was feeling as I read him my vows and his sweet calm face.

This photo has such build up! They’re dressed and ready to do this: like the astronauts heading to their shuttle.

This picture, I felt truly captured the grandeur of the Opera House. I think before you get married, you always “see” the wedding happening from above. In my mind, this is how I had pictured it for so long. Seeing the reality of it is crazy to me.

For obvious reasons! It’s that first moment when we thought “We’re married!”

LOVE

I loved this picture of Grace. The day we got engaged, I went over to her house to tell her and ask her to be my flower girl. It was the first decision I made! And she just loved looking at my ring. The next time she saw me, she looked at my hand to see if I was wearing it. I told her I’d wear it forever and that on my wedding day, I’d get one more to go with it. This is her checking out the new addition!

I just love Tyler’s mom’s expression during the mother-son dance. She’s savoring a very special moment she will never forget. And if she does, she’ll have this photo to remind her.

My grandmother pulled me on the dance floor and told me “This is me and Gramps song!” He passed away 15 years ago. I was honored to share in that dance with her.

I love this photo! This is me, soaking up the day, completely living it up and reveling in a time I will cherish forever.

During the reception, I pulled Tyler from the reception to get the next photo.

We had to recreate our proposal day!

At the end of the night, when the videographer showed us the Trailer of the day, it was very emotional and exciting to share that with everyone. And it seemed to me to symbolize Tyler as my partner and protector and comfort. His faces says “Everything is good.”

My parents during the video. Just made me smile! : )

So we may have forgotten to actually get pictures in the photo booth until we were walking out. We quickly grabbed this shot and made our way to the silly string exit!

Photos by Jason Cohen and Mark Eric! One more post coming later today you don’t want to miss!

Out Sick

December 21, 2010  |  In Her Shoes  |  No Comments

I have one more leg of this marathon that was our wedding blog post but am a bit under the weather today. Expect a fun closing post tomorrow!…hopefully. : )

The Stationery!

The Stationery!

December 20, 2010  |  In Her Shoes  |  1 Comment

We definitely put the cart before the horse when we began designing our invitations. The first thing I knew I wanted was to incorporate custom book page envelope liners. We actually created all 150 of them before I even decided on an invitation concept.

So now we had blue envelopes, black and cream print liners. It definitely helped to reign in a million and one ideas being so limited in what would work with it. As I mentioned the other day, I loved the banner on the Barq’s rootbeer banner and wanted to incorporate that design element somewhere. While working on the crest, the stars aligned and the font I had chosen created a design I loved  when the M of my last name and W from his were meshed together!

When I was studying journalism, a major principle we learned in designing front pages was to never repeat the same format two days in a row. People could easily pass up a newstand when it looks like the same paper. I’ve carried that principle over into my collection of invitations. My goals for my invitations was to do the same: Have a few consistent elements that can be incorporated in different ways to compliment each other and look like a cohesive set, not the same piece.

Our elements were reversed text, stripes, banners, varying shapes and three fonts.

The true test, would be graphic designing fiance like it? Score! He did!

The big question I get is whether I think it’s necessary to do RSVPs. The truth is, many brides don’t get enough feedback for the price they pay to pay for the extra postage and actual card. We decided to send two different RSVP options. To those we knew would respond by mail, like my grandmother, we sent a traditional RSVP. To our tech-friends we sent them a card sending them to our website.

Brides, don’t be afraid to split it up. No guest list will ever be made up of all people who will respond through mail or respond through website. If you really want to get a response back, consider the medium they will find easiest. Out of 250 guest, we heard from everyone but about 20 people. At the point, we facebooked. : )

So now we had our envelope complete and invitations to match. Done right? Not quite! As I put the sample invitation into envelope, I notice text liner and text invitations clash quite a bit! About 5 minutes away from throwing in the towel and scrapping all the hard work, I had an idea. Crisis averted! We opted for a tri-fold black piece of card stock and bakers twine to make it visually aesthetic right as guest pulled out their invitation.

We designed several other pieces for the wedding day.

Our guest book marriage license, marriage tips from our guest, food tags, silly string labels and programs.

We continued the book theme by creating mini booklet programs. I loved the idea of doing white ink of black paper (reverse text, anyone?) but didn’t like the price for printing white ink! Instead I created a stamp and stamped each cover of the booklet with white ink. Very cost effective brides!

Well that was quite a bit of talking on stationery. I’ll let the photos (by Jason Cohen and Mark Eric!) do the rest of it!