DIYF: Kid-Friendly

Ok, it is DIYF time again!  In the wedding world Friday is a time for rehearsals and preparation for the big day Saturday.  You take things “Step by Step” and this is exactly what we will do with our DIY Friday.  Not sure if you remember the show “Step by Step” but it was a Brady Bunch-esque modern family (before “Modern Family” was the newest modern family on the sitcom block) with a crew full of kids and shenanigans.  Your crafts might also include a crew full of kids and shenaningans so in honor of those things here are some kid (and adult) friendly crafts:

I made these water sponge balls last summer for a camp and they were so easy and so fun!  I plan to make them for back yard fun this summer.  They are made from regular ole sponges and string or dental floss.  Count me in for some summer fun.  You can find the tutorial here from One Charming Party.

Photo from You've Got to be Kidding Me blog.

Because it is Friday and I totally want to do this at home: Fort Fridays from All for The Boys  (Yes, I would do it even without a kid there.)  I think it would be awesome to cuddle up as a couple or a family under a fort with some popcorn and watch a movie.  I can’t think of a better way to spend Friday night.  No tutorial for this one, because all forts are not created equal and you will have to make the one that feels right for you.

 I also think this glowing jar contraption from from {panka}  with love would be perfect for movie night in your fort!  It doesn’t look like a craft a kid could do exactly but certainly one they could enjoy!

Well there you have it; throw some sponge balls, make a fort, make it glow and get cozy with your honey and your babes.

Venue Spotlight: Front Porch Farms

I recently had the pleasure of visiting Front Porch Farms in Ashland City, TN. A few weeks ago, the venue was the secret location for a special wedding.  The venue sits atop a hill overlooking a gorgeous view of rolling, green countryside. I’ve got to be honest, when I first saw the view from the yard, I might’ve been speechless. And that is a feat for me.

Photo by Jonathon Campbell Photography

Owners Kathy and Brian Best live in the three story antebellum house at the top of the hill and open it up each weekend to couples as they make their vows to one another. The grounds feature a 3400 square foot covered pavilion, a pool with outdoor cocktail patio, an outdoor fireplace, and a beautiful lawn with a breathtaking view.

Photo by Cali Ashton Photography

Jonathon Campbell Photography

With all of the various spaces that make up Front Porch Farms, there are several layout choices for an event. Ceremonies are often performed on the lawn overlooking the countryside or underneath a sprawling old oak tree.  Receptions usually take place in the large pavilion, which also offers absolutely stunning scenery.

Jonathon Campbell Photography

Photo by The Photography Collection

Cali Ashton Photography

 

The master suite and upstairs balcony of Kathy and Brian’s antebellum house is available for the bride to get ready for her big day. And this house is ah-mazing. The décor is chock full of vintage touches and country charm.

Cali Ashton Photography

Phindy Studios

Towards the bottom of the hill, there is also a fully furnished guest house, where the wedding party can relax while prepping for the day. The guest house is 1400 square foot with two bedrooms and is also available to rent overnight. The barn underneath the guest house is the home of tons of cool vintage props, event supplies like candles and mason jars, tables and chairs. Many of these items are free for use at your event and others are available to rent.

The wedding package will get you the venue from 10 am – midnight so you should have plenty of time to get ready, celebrate and cut a rug — er– dance the night away. Kathy and Brian recognize the fact that their little slice of heaven is a bit of a drive from Nashville so they have partnered with Grand Avenue to provide a roundtrip shuttle for up to 56 guests. Shuttles for additional passengers can be secured for a great price.

The Photography Collection

Photo by Phindy Studios

Jonathon Campbell Photography

Phindy Studios

I’m so glad I got to visit Front Porch Farms and can’t wait to work with them in the future!

Rock Island Engagement Photos

The first thing I should tell you about Brittni is that she is always smiling.  Her laugh is also contagious.  Andrew and Brittni have this easy going relationship and genuinely care about the other’s opinion. Did I mention that Andrew helps with the planning?  I’m not knocking guys who don’t, but it sure is fun when the guy helps!  (No, my husband wasn’t huge on helping and he was still my favorite part about the whole day.)

I haven’t met Andrew’s family yet but I am sure that they must be cool since he is a product of them. Brittni’s family is awesome, her dad loves the heck out of his daughter and just might pull out his cell phone to show you a funny youtube video at any minute and her mom is this amazing and together woman that I can tell has been a huge influence on Brittni.  Their family draws to show their points during dinner and laughs with each other.  I kind of love them all.  I can not wait for their wedding on Cinco de Mayo!

The photo amazingness you just experienced was brought to you by Ariel Renae Photography.  She will be rockin’ the wedding photos, I am sure of it.

DIYF: Favors

It’s Friday night and the mood is right…It’s time again for another DIYF. This week, I have been seeing cool ideas for DIY favors all over the place. If you are going to do favors for your event, making them yourself can be a good way to cut down on the coast. Although fair warning, that is not always the case – make sure you price out premades as well! But – homemade favors can bring a nice personal touch and if your guests are anything like me, they will really value something that you made for them by hand.

I would love to try these little tea soaps featured on Cucumbersome. Aren’t they adorable? I am a huge tea drinker (hot not cold) and I just think these would be the sweetest little favors.

Succulents are growing more popular (yes, literally growing) in wedding decor and I love the way they look. For an event using succulents in centerpieces or other decor, wouldn’t a favor like these little mini terrariums be cool? Ruffled blog has the full tutorial here.


Favors like these DIY coasters on Setting for Four are gifts that your guests can use again and again after your event. And when you see them adorning the coffee tables of your friends and families even years after your wedding, it’s such a sweet reminder of that special day.  I may or may not know from personal experience ;)

Food is a longstanding favorite when it comes to favors. Many people do candy, cookies and all kinds of other edible treats. But these DIY Pie in a Jar favors caught my eye the other day on Green Wedding Shoes and I just keep going back to them. I think I might just make them next time I have people over to my house – they’re so dang cute.

Now, go have fun, get creative and have a great DIY weekend!

Catering Alternative: Food Truck Frenzy


Gourmet food trucks are making a comeback recently on both the foodie scene as well as at weddings and other events. You may have seen these vintage style trucks selling their tasty wares in the parking lots of Nashville. Patrons can find a variety of gourmet delights from caribbean jerk chicken to loaded burgers,  scrambled eggs or homebaked goodies. Food trucks are quickly becoming a growing wedding trend as an alternative to the traditional catering company.

What’s behind the rising popularity in these throwbacks to the meals on wheels of the 1950s? The modern day trucks have come a long way from their sometimes sketchy and gut-bomby ancestors. Yes, I think I just used the term “gut-bomby.” These guys have taken all of the quality and flavor of an upscale restaurant and made it work in a mobile kitchen. The trucks can lend a certain unique and whimsical feel to your wedding reception, while delivering high quality food to your guests.  Family and friends will be intrigued and charmed by this new spin on the customary reception dinner.

So what is available to a bride looking for the perfect food truck for her wedding?  There are a wide variety of options to choose from, depending on the theme and style of your day. The Nashville trucks often team up to offer an array of different choices to customers. Consider hiring two trucks or a truck with main dinner items and a dessert truck. The styles and varieties of food offered on Nashville’s vast selection of food trucks run the full gamut from cheeseburgers and sandwiches to pizza, Mexican and decadent cuisine.

For a classic favorite with a gourmet twist, the Grilled Cheeserie serves up a number of different selections sure to make your taste buds sing. In addition to their regular menu Crystal De Luna-Bogan and her team can customize their menu and offer a special grilled cheese named after or tailored to the event and their clients’ tastes. Mini melts, homemade pudding and vintage sodas are just a few more items that they can provide for an event. 

Riffs Fine Street Food focuses on using local foods to craft creative and and delicious dishes which give their customers a restaurant-like experience in a fun and unique atmosphere. Inside the brightly colored truck, owner Carlos Davis takes care to design menus that showcase local products and flavors.

Photo by Rachel E Downey Photography

For dessert, you could schedule a cupcake buffet compliments of the Cupcake Collection’s Cupcake Bus. The Germantown based cupcake shop can load up all their flavors into their school bus turned mobile bakery. Mignon and her team can create all different kinds of custom flavors and fillings for their delicious treats. Currently, the bus is not available on Saturdays, but can serve all different types of events throughout the week and on Sundays.

Having a hot summer wedding? Serve guests homemade ice cream sandwiches and confections from The Sugar Wagon. Owners Jane and Tracy use high quality, natural ingredients in their baking and also specialize in delicious vegan items.  And I’m telling you, their peanut butter ganache cups are addicting. I mean – really.  Service generally includes 2 hours with the cart and all its yummy goodness.

So, if you’re ready to jump on the truck…er…bandwagon, and hire one of Nashville’s food trucks for your wedding, you can get a list of the local offerings on the Nashville Food Trucks blog. The blog contains updates on where the trucks will be parked throughout the week, as well as links to each truck’s website or twitter feed. As for me, I’m headed to the parking lot to get some grub.

Featured Food Trucks:

The Grilled Cheeserie
Contact: Crystal De Luna-Bogan  at 615.491.9640 or grilledcheeserie@gmail.com
Twitter: @grlldcheeserie
Minimum: $1,000
Most Unique Custom Grilled Cheese So Far: Salted Caramel Apple Melt – with brie, salted apples and brioche bread (i’m drooling)
 
Riffs Fine Street Food
Contact: Carlos Davis at (615) 473-1390
Twitter: @riffstruck
Minimum: $300 Catering starts at about $14 p/person
Most Popular Items:  Shrimp & Grits or Caribbean Jerk Chicken
 
The Cupcake Collection
Contact: Mignon Francois at  615-244-2900 
Twitter: @cupcaketweets
Minimum: $250 worth of cupcakes or bus fee (cupcakes are $2 each)
Most Popular Flavor: Sweet Potato
 
The Sugar Wagon
Contact:  Jane Nickell at 615-863-3011 or TheSugarWagon@gmail.com
Twitter: @SugarWagon
Contact for pricing
Most Popular Item: Ice Cream Sandwiches
 

Inspiration. Owlove.

I guess you could think I have a speech impediment when I talk about owlove.  (That’s right our love.)  I love owls, birds and most forest creatures; as long as they are in the confines of the forest that is.  I have jumped on the owl bandwagon and my daughter’s room is even decorated with owls and little birdies.  You can check it out on my personal blog here if you want to see (h)owl I love my baby girl. (Do the own puns ever end?)

I think owls and birds can be incredible for a party or a wedding.   I love all the sweet little sayings you can come up with about love birds and whooo loves you.

I love this dessert table from Hazelwood Photos blog.  The entire wedding is incredible, it has a lot handmade details that made me twitterpated.

The photo above makes my literary heart swell with joy.  This comes from a baby shower featured on Bump Smitten that has been one of my favorite parties since I saw this photo.  It has a ton of owl details and I feel wiser just from looking at them.

Utterly Engaged featured a shoot that is so cute it would send all our furry little woodland friends into a frenzy.  (Wow, the puns just do not stop.)  The cake above incorporates owls and is so cute without being owlver the top.

Finally the above photo is from an owl vintage wedding on My Owl Barn.  First of all, this blog is enough to make any owl lover hoot in the nighttime and second, the wedding this photo came from is really cool!

If you want to see more inspiration from us, you can check out our Pinterest boards here and here.  Be inspired this week!

DIYF: Repurposed

Remember on “Family Matters” when Steve Urkel turned into Stefan Urquelle?    In case you missed it (you know because you weren’t born or you were trying to get some peace and quiet while your kids watched TGIF) you can find a clip here.  The quality is not great but you get the gist.  Steve was re-purposed to be Stefan and while we might miss him doing the uh-uh-uh-uh-uh-urkel he was destined for bigger and better things.  There are a lot of things I would love to re-purpose and give a fresh new look.

One that I have been really been wanting to do is turn an old shutter into a magazine rack like the one below from My Repurposed Life.  She has an awesome tutorial on how to do this and it looks oh so cool and fun.

If you haven’t even seen her blog, you should. It is kind of awesome, I think she is a mixture between Martha Stewart and Bob Vila.  While some of her projects seen a bit lofty for me, there are some that look completely doable.  Another one is this adorable sign.  While I would probably buy board to use, I think this would be a really cute addition to a wedding or a party.  You can find the tutorial here.

I also like her family rules sign.  I would love to use my Cricut and make one of these.  (That is, if I had any wall space left in my little ole house.)  Her tutorial is here.

Go out and enjoy your DIYF and weekend!  I might just try to fit the Urkel dance into my day somehow…

Registry Alternatives

At a loss for what to include on your registry or feel like you already have everything you need? Or maybe you would just rather your friends and family have the option to focus their giving towards a cause that you feel strongly about supporting?

A traditional registry through a department store or Amazon.com can be the perfect way for couples to stock up on all those household items and necessities for beginning their new life together. And, it can be mighty fun to skip through the store with that little scanner gun in hand — doesn’t it make you feel kinda powerful?

But if you’re having trouble finding items to fill out that list — Do you really need that creme brulee torch or are you just grasping for things?– you might want to consider an alternative gift registry. Here are some that we think take the cake (wedding cake of course):

I Do Foundation

Charity Registry:  The I Do Foundation is the wedding side of justgive.org. When you create an account with the I Do Foundation, you will be given the opportunity to create a personalized wedding website to share with your guests.  You can use this to share your registry information with all those attending your wedding. From there, the I Do Foundation has an extensive list of charities and non-profit organizations you can choose to support. You can set a specific number of donations or monetary goal, or leave it open. Guests can make tax-deductible donations right through your wedding website. The site will also keep a record of donations that you can reference when filling out your Thank You cards.

Gift Registry:  If you want to register for wedding gifts but would still like to make a charitable contribution, I Do Foundation’s Gift Registry offers the best of both worlds. They offer a list of retail partners, including registry faves like Target and Amazon, that will donate between 3-5% of the purchase to the charity of your choice. And the donation is made at no additional cost to the buyer (your guest). Sounds like a pretty sweet deal to me.

Honeyfund

For those couples who already have all the household items they need, but are lacking on the extra cash for the honeymoon, the Honeyfund offers a great online honeymoon registry. You can load in details about your dream honeymoon, then give guests the opportunity to donate towards specific items — such as a night in your chosen hotel or snorkeling in Cancun.

The neat thing about this platform is that rather than your guests just feeling like they are giving you cash for your honeymoon, they will feel like they contributed to actual events — and later you can thank Aunt Mimi for sending you horseback riding or Uncle Joe for the vineyard tour. You could even send them a photo of the two of you enjoying the item they sponsored. You will need to provide a paypal account for guests to purchase Honeyfund gifts online or they can print out a description of the item to give you with their check. Honeyfund does not charge any fees for their account, but there will be a minimal fee that paypal charges for the online transactions.

OurWishingWell.com

Our Wishing Well works very similar to Honeyfund, except that it applies to any and all items you’d like to add. Rather than registering for wine glasses, you can just enter the value for the glasses you’d like and add them as a line item, then use the donation money to purchase them yourself.

I just had to include this wishing well photo with the gnome!

You could also include honeymoon requests as well as things like money to put towards a down payment on a house or anything else you have been saving for.

MyRegistry.com

MyRegistry.com is an online registry management tool that lets you incorporate gifts from any online retailer into one handy dandy location. Rather than managing registries with several different stores, you can use this tool to add gift requests from any store online, as well as nonprofit/charitable requests. Guests can use the tool to browse your registry and when ready to order, they will be directed with a link straight to the original retailer’s page to purchase the item. MyRegistry is free to use, although Cash Gifts may incur a small fee.

Whatever registry option you choose, some guests will go it on their own anyway. And even if Aunt Bertha gives you a a ceramic fish statue for your coffee table or a second-hand mop, remember what the occasion is all about. At the end of the day you will be given the incredibly priceless gift of being married to your love and the promise of your new life together (and you can always hide that fish statue under the bed until Aunt Bertha comes to visit).

Oregon Engagement Session

Engagement.  Being engaged is so exciting. Introducing your once boyfriend as your fiance might make you feel pretentious at first but soon the word is flowing from your lips like honey and it feels good!  Megan and Art are getting married here in Tennessee in September but live in Oregon.  I have always wanted to go to Oregon so they better watch out, they might have a house guest.  We are excited about their wedding, they have great style and we know it will be amazing!

Their photos are from Ashley Sturm Photography in Salem, Oregon.  They are incredible!  I love that they brought their sweet dog along and that she complied.  (Ok, I bet most people’s dogs are much better behaved than my rowdy bunch.)

Isn’t it so fun to see people in love?  It gives this old married gal a renewed sense of excitement.  It makes you remember the beauty and the sheer inability to contain your love.  As a marriage progresses and changes it gets better, the bond stronger, but it is important to revisit that initial excitement.  It reminds you who you married and who you were when you said your vows.  It takes you back to the moment when you realized you didn’t want so spend a day of your life without your love.

DIYF: Mason Jar Love

Another week has flown by for us and once again we’re gonna have some fun, show you how it’s done DIYF! That just continues to be funny to me. Remember Perfect Strangers? Oh how I used to love it when Balki would announce, “Now we are so happy, we do the dance of joy!”

Today, I am dancing for joy just thinking about all the cool things you can do with mason jars. Long before the days of Perfect Strangers and Full House, I remember that my Nana always had a supply of these little canning staples in all different shapes and sizes for the various jellies, jams and other yummies she would prepare. Back then I thought of them as nothing but a convenient storage devise for Nana’s treats.

In the past few years, however, mason jars have become a household name in a new way. They are popping up in all kinds of decor — from weddings and events, to gardens to the living room. And there are so may cool things you can do with them!

I just swoon over vintage colored jars, but have you seen the price tag on those beauties? Authentic colored mason jars go for a pretty penny. I’ve found a couple of different techniques to get the same effect while saving some of those hard earned pennies.

This tutorial featured on Tatortots & jello  by guest poster My Greenbrae Cottage shows how to color jars using Vitrea glass paint.

 Like a Cup of Tea features how to get a similar effect using Modge Podge and food coloring.

You can personalize jars with a stencil and a little chalkboard paint to serve as an adorable way for your guests to mark their glasses at an event. They’re also a super cute way to do your seating arrangements. Big Day for 10K has some great pointers for making these jars for your own big day.

Mason jars make great decor when spray painted as well. You could paint the inside like this tutorial on 100 Layer Cake.

Or you can paint the outside like this tutorial on The CSI Project.

I just had to include the photos from these little beauties in honor of the Easter weekend.

How do you plan to spruce up your mason jars? Get crafting and have a Happy Easter weekend!