Annika & Mike | Elegant and Relaxed Door County Wedding

Annika and Mike worked through long distance, medical school, and moves to get to their beautiful wedding day. Over the course of seven (right, Annika?) years, Annika and Mike chose each other no matter the circumstance. For them, it's always been about love. Not a wedding (even though, of COURSE that's cool! It just wasn't the point. Love was.) It was about a marriage. Not about an event, about a life. 

And because of that awesome perspective, Annika and Mike's elegant and relaxed Door County wedding at Gordon Lodge was filled with so much joy! (How could it not be? these are some of the most beautiful people inside and out!)

An elegant and relaxed wedding at Gordon Lodge

Annika grew up spending her summers in Door county, so she chose Gordon Lodge for its beautiful grounds and relaxed feel. She envisioned a lakeside ceremony, cocktail hour on the lawn in the sun, and dinner watching the sun set over the waters she spent so much time on. 

Create a relaxed schedule for a stress-free wedding

Not only was Annika and Mike's day nostalgic, but they prioritized an amazing schedule. If there's something you can take away from this wedding, let it be this: there's a TON of moving parts on your wedding day. Creating a relaxed schedule doesn't happen by accident.

It takes intention to make a day that allows you to feel celebrated and loved. That allows you to walk barefoot on the lawn during cocktail hour, that allows you to BE there to hug people for your cocktail hour. 

But, I think Annika and Mike would agree that the effort was SO worth it. 

Many thanks to the following talents:

Venue: Gordon Lodge | Florals: Flora | Dress: via White Dress, Milwaukee  

Our fifth anniversary trip to Charleston, South Carolina

We've had the chance to travel every year for our anniversary-well...except one year. That year I may or may not have cried because I was bummed that we "had to stay home." Can we just take a moment to mourn with poor Stephanie? I know you feel so bad for me, right? ;)

Celebrating our fifth anniversary

While nothing tops being in Rome for our anniversary last year (Stephen, let's do that again next year!) this year, we had so much fun visiting Charleston, South Carolina for our 5 year anniversary! With it's historic charm, it was hard not to wonder if we were in Europe at times. And this year, we were celebrating our final anniversary before our baby! It was such a special time in a special place!

We looked up a few fun city guides, including Gal Meets Glam's Charleston City Guide and I quickly developed some favorites! Charleston was infinitely charming, beautiful, and tasty. Here's what we loved during our stay: 

Favorite Food in Charleston

Barbecue-Lewis BBQ and Rodney Scott BBQ (go to Lewis for the vibe and go to Rodney Scott's for the ribs...MIND BLOWING.) 

Southern style biscuits-Callie's Hot Little Biscuits (such a cute spot! Definitely crowded...but aren't the best places usually?)

Coffee-Black Tap Coffee-guys it's DOG FRIENDLY!!! Not only were the iced lattes delish, I got to pet I-don't-know HOW many puppies. Such an ideal way to start your day, if you ask me.

Lunch-Goat.Sheep.Cow-we could have spent hours in this darling cheese and charcuterie shop chatting with them about European cheeses! Everything was delicious and we were able to get some favorites from our time in France and Italy last year! We would stop here, stock up and walk to a nearby park to picnic. It was such a fun way to slow down, reconnect and enjoy our vacation!

Favorite Sights in Charleston

Plantations: Middleton Place-I mean, with a name like that, could you go wrong? We loved this one because it had the original plantation house and was reknowned for it's stunning gardens. 

Shopping: King Street is where it's all happening! Enjoy shopping there and make SURE you stop into Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream for a scoop or two. (I personally fell for the lemon blueberry, but have a longstanding love interest with the dark chocolate and Salty caramel ice creams.

tour-we took a great tour of the architecture and history of Charleston-while i can't remember the company name, I'd totally recommend doing a tour-it helped us enjoy the city even more. 

If you have been to Charleston, tell me-what did you do? Love? eat? comment below-I could easily be swayed to go back!

 

Mimi & John | Elegant Private Estate Wedding in Historic Galena

Mimi and John referred to their wedding as a "backyard wedding at the farmhouse." No big deal, right? I had no idea that the "backyard" she referenced was actually the rolling hills of a gorgeous family estate, filled with meticulously reconstructed historic farmhouse, horses, guest cottages, and a view that went on for days. 

A private estate wedding on a historic horse farm

When we arrived at Mimi's family estate, I was so excited! It was a gorgeous sunny summer day and she had a team that knew how to bring to life the laidback, relational day she wanted with all the class she inherently had. Bliss Weddings and Events designed and produced a flawless day for Mimi and John to spend on the farmhouse veranda, sipping lemonade cocktails with the ones they loved most. 

I personally loved Mimi's custom watercolor invitation suites by EJD Designs, featuring favorite spots on her family estate. Her custom peplum gown was intended to mimic the horse competing jackets she wore during her years competing her beloved horses. 

And her wish for a family harvest dinner with greenery and farm fresh florals came to life perfectly under a Sperry tent overlooking the setting sun. Touches like vintage china place settings, gathered florals, and hanging garlands gave the perfect touch of heritage and elegance. 

Mimi's tips for a no-stress wedding day

Mimi and John are busy professionals living in the buzz of the city. When they have time off, they want to spend it on the family estate, riding horses and spending time with their beloved dogs.

To protect that margin in their lives, Mimi hired a full service planner and event design team. If the idea of making wedding decision during your time off makes you feel frazzled, take Mimi's advice and invest into a full-service team to manage this on your behalf and streamline your communications. 

Many thanks to the amazing creative team:

Wedding design and planning: Bliss Weddings and Events 

Floral & Decor: Bliss Weddings & Events | Frost Lighting | Garden Party Florist

Furniture & Rentals: Bowery & Bash | Halls Rental | Tailored Elements | A La Crate Vintage Rentals

Paper Goods: EJD Designs

Are Wedding Albums Really Worth the Investment?

I love wedding albums. It's how we finally chose to preserve our photos after thinking we lost them all! But not everyone shares my love. One of the most common objections people have to investing in a wedding album is kind of obvious: cost.

Albums are expensive! Have you ever wondered why? In learning about what we wanted to provide for our clients, I learned some awesome things about why a professional wedding album is really worth it. Here are some of the key factors that make a quality album worth every penny.

Wedding Albums: Cover quality

Beautiful textiles like luxe leathers and linens in heirloom finishes and colors are meant to get better with age. They’re meant to be touched and handled. And they’re meant to be devastatingly handsome on a coffee table or a built in bookshelf.

We look for albums that source their cover textiles from around the world, where each textile quality has the strongest reputation. Linens from France, leathers from Italy, silks from Japan. The cover textiles are usually sourced with long-lasting quality in mind and I personally love that!

Wedding Albums: Construction quality

We look for a flush mount album design. Flush mount albums have hard covers with thick, layflat pages. They consist of photographic prints that are dry-mounted on substrate to give you those unbending pages that we love so much. The covers, as I mentioned above are often made of leather or other fine materials and the photos lay completely flat and extend across the whole page.

Wedding Albums: Printing quality

There is suuuuuuch a big difference between printing styles and what they're best at. And this is where we could cheap out and choose a less expensive printing method-it's where a lot of the cost of production lays. But here's why we don't:

We are pretty specific about choosing albums using photographic printing. You're probably familiar with press printing (even though you may not know the term)-the type of printing that involves spraying ink onto a paper in various ways-tiny dots or spray are the two most common. This easily accessible and enjoyable printing option leaves us with two concerns for albums:

  1. it's a more immediate printing solution, so it's prone to yellowing, fading, and curling over time. In other words, this printing method isn't intended to last a long time. It has other strengths, but longevity isn't one of them.
  2. because it's only a translation of color, it doesn't have the same amazing spectrum of color available with our printing method. 

Why Photographic Printing?

Photographic paper prints are light sensitive—In the printing process, the paper is exposed to light inside the printer to produce the image. After that, chemicals are used to eliminate the light-sensitivity and set the image, which is now “in” the paper. This printing process means that, though it increases the cost, you have printing specifically made to last over time. No yellowing, curling, or fading. And due to the nature of the printing method, the color spectrum is true and rich, allowing for a variety of paper options not available for press printing.

Customer service

You’re investing into an heirloom! Because of your investment, we’re looking for a company that guarantees their work and will be there for you when you need them. This has been one of the biggest stress relievers for our clients-knowing that their albums have a guarantee. 

What's in it for you?

Our gorgeous albums will be a part of our black friday sale on Friday, November 24! Sign up below to get access to an exclusive print sale only available via email

Kelly and Cody| Milwaukee Art Museum Wedding Photography

As featured on

 
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Inspired by one of their favorite memories – sipping wine under the starry night sky in Napa Valley – Kelly and Cody decided to recreate the experience for guests at their Milwaukee wedding. They transformed the Milwaukee Art Museum into California Wine Country, with help from planning experts, Événement, and floral design by Impressions. The result is a modern, rustic blend we can't get enough of, and it's all featured this morning on Style Me Pretty! 

Designing a modern and organic wedding at Milwaukee Art Museum

Kelly and Cody shared some amazing memories during a visit to Napa Valley and wanted to recreate that for their guests. They chose a show-stopper of a venue in the famous Milwaukee Art Museum that gave the sense of staring up at the starry night sky sipping wine – their favorite experience together. They chose a venue that gave them that feeling of looking up at the stars at night, strung cafe lights to create some romance, and put a great glass of wine in everyone's hands. Add in top notch catering for that quintessential Napa culinary experience, and they had created something truly distinct for their favorite people.

Kelly and Cody wanted their florist, Esther Fleming, to have free reign to soften their modernist space. They shared how they loved the way the vines grew in Napa Valley and showed her some samples. She took things from there, building them a long pergola for their head table and wrapping it in greenery and vines. Kelly and Cody recreated one of their favorite experiences together for their guests, and the result is pretty incredible!

Creating a personal experience for your guests

Whatever you do, tell your story in your wedding design! Not in a literal way, using words, signs, or photos plastered around, but in an experiential way by creating an atmosphere, beloved memory, or favorite experience together to share again with your guests. 

Many thanks to the following talents:

Event planning and design: Evenenment Planning | Florist: Impressions by Esther Fleming | Venues: Villa Terrace Museum of Decorative Arts, Milwaukee Art Museum | Bride's Gown: Nouvelle Amsale | Wedding invitations: Paper Envy | Catering: Calatrava MAM

Relaxed Farm at Dover Wedding | Julia and Will

Julia has always reminded me of one of my dearest friends. She looks like her, smiles like her, and laughs easily like her. She emanates goodness and love so strongly that being in her presence continually feels like you're getting a hug. Obviously I love her. 

And so does Will. She's the perfect compliment to Will's personality, a directional, task-oriented man who knows how to get things done. He is a classic leading man, easily taking charge of tasks, working industriously, and accomplishing much in life. Together, Will leads them forward and Julia keeps them warm and loving along the way. They're the most beautiful couple and we were thrilled to be a part of their Farm at Dover wedding day!

They wanted their day to be effortless and unscripted. They wanted to live through their day with intention and heartfelt connection and I love how that came through! They chose the perfect florist for the job. Jamie of Sweven Floral created installations and arrangements filled with texture, the perfect peachy late summer palette, and lots of natural movement. It was the ideal way to showcase Julia's vision for their day!

Many thanks to the following talents for bringing Will and Julia's vision to life:

Venue: The Farm at Dover | Florals: Sweven Floral styling and photography: Booth Photographics

The 6 Floral Design Elements Editors Love

If you want to see your wedding featured, floral design is a key player. Blogs adore showcasing innovative floral design, but what are they really looking for? Here are the top elements that will catch an editor’s attention.

1. Use composition and structure to grab their attention

Floral design is all about shape and movement. Gone are the days of compact, rounded shapes and simple vases of flowers. Blogs and magazines want fresh ideas and are looking for florals composed in interesting shapes.

The Japanese practice of Ikebana is making a huge impression on floral design right now with shapes that showcase natural movement, growth, and organic shapes. And, conveniently enough, bouquets that are created in this style are much more photogenic and much lighter than a standard bouquet!

My favorite florists showcasing composition are the talented ladies of Studio Mondine. While I think they nail all of these floral design elements, they always catch my attention with their ikebana inspired compositions.

What to skip: designs that are compact and rounded (even if the florist adds in a few sprigs of greenery)

2. Create an interesting floral color palette

Original color palettes in floral design are a clincher in getting a feature. Though they’re classics, consider skipping the ivories and blushes in favor of something with caramel and gold tones, peachy pinks, and deeper hues, such as chocolates and deep wine tones. Alternatively, pair ivories and whites with interesting cool tones, like pale blue for a refreshing and interesting take on a pastel palette. Caramel, chocolate, wine-I mean...could it really be a bad thing?

Tip for palettes: If you’re keeping your palette classic, pair it with at least one of the other important elements like composition or texture. Otherwise, skip the ivory and blush for something more fresh and innovative.

My favorite designer for original and interesting color palette is Sinclair and Moore. Even when Steve opts for a classic ivory palette, he pairs it seamlessly with iconic shapes or interesting textures to create something publications line up to show.

3. Incorporate layers of texture into the floral design

Along with palette is texture. Texture is another massive floral trend right now-adding in dried leaves and pods, soft grasses, painterly smokebush, or leathery magnolia create a head-turning effect. If you’re opting for a simple color palette, consider adding textural interest in this way.

What to skip: I do love olive leaves and eucalyptus-I probably always will, but they’re done a lot. Try broadening your horizons and having some fun.

My favorite floral designer for textural components (and really, all of these) is Kelly Lenard. With a fine art background, she creates florals that have so much dimension that you can feel them, even in a photograph. Her work is distinctive, creative, and deeply thoughtful.

4. Make a floral statement

While simple vases of florals make sense, blogs and magazines die over floral designs that make a statement. Think of hanging installations, a statement centerpiece for a welcome table, a floral arch and aisle arrangements like you’ve never seen before, and centerpieces that create movement and conversation.

Individual elements don’t really clinch an editor’s attention. They love seeing comprehensive design throughout an entire day.

5. Give ample time for photographing your florals

The proof of your stunning floral concepts is in the photos. Make sure your photographer has ample time to photograph the design elements without being rushed. This allows us the creativity to move pieces to ideal lighting condition and photogenic settings when needed, which will be the pivotal key to an editor wanting to show off your day.

6. Avoid these 3 floral mistakes

One of the biggest pitfalls I see with floral designs is this: a bride shows them some inspiration and, though it’s not what they typically do, they promise they can deliver. They have an understanding of what the bride wants, but have never actually created anything like it. =

The problem is that they don’t deliver-they go back to their traditional shapes and compacted designs, just adding more flowers to make the bouquet bigger, but also making the bouquet really heavy to hold.

Additionally, because they don’t really understand how to achieve the voluminous bouquets, they add in “big flowers” to take up space, even if they’re dated. This is basically a death sentence to publications.

  1. Hire a florist whose body of work shows an innovative mindset and and understanding of current design ideas. Don’t hire someone who simply says they get it and can deliver but doesn't represent your vision with their body of work.

  2. Ask questions about how where they find inspiration and how they stay educated and current. When was the last time they attended a floral design workshop? Even if a shop has been in business for 30 years, if they’re constantly educating themselves and pushing to create fresh work, you’re likely in for a treat. And bonus points if you’re hiring someone who teaches floral workshops-look for workshops photographed by fine art photographers and picked up by blogs afterward. Then you know that, if florals are high on your priorities, you’re getting the most skilled of artisans.

  3. Avoid dated flowers: Flowers go in and out of style. And the out of style flowers are often less expensive and easy “fillers.” But you’ll lose your chance of publication if an editor spots lilies, carnations, standard roses (like the ones you can grab at your local grocery store) and even traditional hydrangea.

Thank you to these talents for providing the gorgeous content for this post: 

Floral design: Kelly Lenard | Styling: Lacy Geary | Venue: Foxfire Mountain House | Workshop host: Jake Anderson | Film Scans: Photovision | Film Photography: Booth Photographics

Want to get your wedding featured on your favorite blog? Here are seven details you can’t overlook

You’re hosting the biggest, prettiest party you’ve ever planned. You’re spending money and getting compliments already. Why NOT try to get your wedding featured on your favorite blog? If you’re already putting in the work, it’s a nice added benefit!

The biggest mistake brides make who want to get featured

Too often, brides go through the wedding planning process trying to keep focused on the important aspects of their day, dismissing the reality that they’d genuinely enjoy seeing their day inspiring other brides on their favorite blog. All of a sudden, they determine AFTER all the decisions are made that they can’t ignore that feeling and they really do want to shoot for the stars and submit their wedding for publication. The problem is, they’re already too late. There’s nothing worse than arriving at a wedding and finding out the bride would love to see her day published in her favorite blog.

If there’s a chance you’re interested in publication, be honest about that early in the process and know this: It’s okay to want that! I give you permission! You’re not a diva, you’re planning a beautiful, intentional, and personal day and think it could inspire others. Let’s work together to give it our best effort!

7 details you can't overlook if you want to get your wedding published

Want to know what blogs and magazines really look for in wedding submissions? Here are the details you can’t overlook if you’d like to get your wedding featured.

1. Choose the right players for your creative team.

(As seen in The Knot Chicago Magazine, pp 70-74 with planning by Shannon Gail Weddings, Florals by Stems Chicago, Venue, Artifact Events)

It’s important that the creative team you hire (photographer, planner, stylist, floral designer, venue) are familiar with wedding publication-they should know how to style for it, shoot for it, and still be focused on giving you the dream day you’ve hoped for. Look for people who’ve been published recently and regularly.

2. Choose a wedding dress that enhances your overall design.

(Left: Lian Carlo as seen in The Knot Chicago Magazine; Right: Nouvelle Amsale, coming soon to Style Me Pretty)

Dresses can make or break a wedding submission. it has to align with your overall design and has to be fashion forward. Check out the trends at New York Bridal Fashion Week (bell sleeves are comin’ in hot this year as is minimal and modern elements) and look on blogs and in magazine for the brands who pay for advertising with them. Chances are, they’ll want to give those brands publicity and will increase your chances of getting picked up.

3. Develop a cohesive event design.

(As seen on Ruffled Blog with planning by Italia Celebrations at Villa la Vedetta)

You can have the prettiest florals at your tables, but all is lost if there isn’t some kind of design statement or point of view you’re making that carries throughout your whole day. Blogs don’t care as much about the one pretty centerpiece, or that cutie pie sweetheart table, or your wowzah dress. You can have all the pretty individual elements in the world, but they need to tell a story and share a point of view. The best way to accomplish this is by hiring a skilled and experienced planner/stylist. It makes all the difference! Need recommendations? Sign up here for our vendor recommendation freebie.

4. Prioritize floral design.

(as seen in Wisconsin Bride Magazine; designed by Flower & Bee)

Floral design is one of the most influential aspects of wedding features! People just die for posts that showcase beautiful floral inspiration and design, so blogs are constantly on the lookout for fresh ideas, design trends, and color palettes in the world of floral design. If there’s something you go crazy over, let it be florals.

(planning and design by Cherry Blossom Events, florals by Daffodil Parker)

5. Choose a publication-worthy venue.

(Villa Terrace and Milwaukee Art Museum; coming soon to Style Me Pretty)

Closely behind florals is a statement-making venue. While golf clubs and ballrooms were made for hosting large gatherings, publications are often looking for something a bit more personal and pretty. A winery, private estate, piece of modern architecture or venue with historic charm (think european historic, like chateaus, and villas, not kitchy 50 year old American-historic) will be winners. On top of that, plan an outdoor event. Publications almost exclusively prefer to show off natural light, so plan a day outdoors, and if you need a rain plan, schedule a clear topped tent to keep that light coming in.

6. Consider lighting when constructing your timeline.

To attract a publisher, it's not only important to consider what is being photographed, but how those things are photographed. Good lighting elevates the quality of your images and makes everything looks its best.

If you're planning an beautiful outdoor ceremony, consider where the light will fall at your ceremony time. Bright, overhead midday lighting will detract from even the most beautiful of designs, so we recommend having your ceremony just a few hours before sunset. 

If you're having an outdoor reception, consider the best time for the space to be photographed when building it into your timeline. The closer to sunset the better! While every moment of your day can't be shot in that warm, glowy light right as the sun sets, prioritizing the best light for the most impactful moments of your event design can go a long way toward getting published

7. Communicate your goals with your creative team well in advance.

Shooting for publication is an intense game and requires planning and extra work. We need to know this early so we can make sure we're shooting both for you and for the publication you like. If you like Style Me Pretty and would like to aim for a feature there, tell your team early in the planning process and ask the question “what do you need for this?” For photography, it will impact how we schedule for your day.

We’ll want to plan our styling, coordinate with the florist, make a list of details to photograph and ensure we have quality time to photograph everything well. Telling us after we only had 30 minutes to photograph details is the equivalent of a death sentence to your dream of publication.

Communicate what you’d like EARLY and OFTEN and listen to your team when they give suggestions or tell you how to get it.

 

5 tips for a healthy relationship when life is busy | Annika and Mike | A UW Memorial Union Engagement session

We first met Annika and Mike last year at Elise and Travis's wedding. We were setting up a family portrait and someone made a joke about the groom's sister and her long-standing boyfriend being next. She blushed and he shook his head and smiled. I chatted with them and learned that Annika and Mike had been dating for five years, Annika was in Med school, and though they were incredibly busy, they had a sweetness to their relationship that anyone would want. 

Annika is currently traveling to a rotation in Utah, Mike is in Wisconsin, and still, amid stress and time constraints, they are kind and thoughtful to each other. No they aren't perfect people! They have to work to make their relationship sweet during busy seasons of life. Here are Annika's top five tips for making your relationship thrive when life is busy:

Five tips for a healthy relationship when life is busy

Relationship tip #1: The people you love matter the most in life

With a busy schedule, it is easy to get wrapped up in the many commitments and it can completely consume you. However, I soon realized that success is not possible without a support system and I don’t have to choose one or the other. In fact, fully committing myself to both has lead to me feeling grounded and truly happy.

Relationship tip #2: Trust is essential

In medical school, your life is very hectic and chaotic, making any long term plans nearly impossible. This leads to anxiety on both ends, fearing the “unknown.” However, as Mike has always reminded me “no matter what, we will be together in the end and that’s all that matters.” If you truly trust one another, it eliminates the anxiety of the “unknown” and allows you to live in the present and appreciate what you have.

Relationship tip #3: value the time you have together

Often, I will be gone for a month or longer on rotations and we will not get to see each other for an extended period of time. This can be extremely difficult, but we learned to deal with this by truly valuing the time we have together. As cliché as it sounds the distance actually does make you appreciate each other more. When we see each other, we don’t fret about the small things or take anything too seriously because we know our time is limited.

Relationship tip #4: Talk daily

Set aside time to talk every day, even if you are not together physically. Again, separation is hard and sometimes you feel that you are “living two separate lives.” That is why we have found it so important to commit to talking EVERY day, even if it’s just for five minutes. Consistently chatting on a daily basis allows us to feel connected on each other’s lives. Even on nights that I get home from the hospital at midnight, I still call Mike before I fall asleep and remind him that I love him.

Relationship tip #5: Compromise!

A healthy relationship is about happiness on BOTH ends. This means fully supporting both people’s goals. We are both motivated people and have some crazy long-term dreams. However, that is what we love most about each other. Never forget that a relationship is a team and you’re both in it together, forever.

Casey and Nate | A Pope Farm Engagement

Casey and Nate met while in Dental school and are the best pair together. Casey's quiet and gentle smiles paired with Nate's outgoing nature really make the most inviting couple. They introduced us to the beautiful Pope Farms (where have I been?) where Casey spent her childhood walking with her family. Now, as they build their life together over in Milwaukee, coming home to Pope Farms was just the nostalgia Casey needed to feel at home and relaxed during their session. Everyone feels a bit jittery when their session starts, but as Casey told stories of her times at Pope Farms, that melted away instantly. It was so much fun to have her show us around one of the most beautiful locations in our area!

Casey and Nate, we cannot wait for your wedding next year! Thanks for showing us Pope Farms-I'm ready to go back asap!