Sarah and Jay's Rustic Wedding at the Foundry at Puritan Mill

Sometimes the fairy tales do come true! Meet Sarah and Jay. They met when they were little kids. And though their families and friends always knew they were destined to be together, it took them just a bit longer. Fast forward through their college years to that point when they reconnect, fall in love and get married. That's where we joined the party.

The wedding was truly a fun-filled and very beautiful family affair! Sarah's uncle happens to be the fabulous Al Dellinger of 2000 A.D. floral design. He and his team set the tone for this rustic wedding at The Foundry at Puritan Mill, creating an arbor under which Sarah and Jay said, "I do." This backdrop was perfect for the delicious food stations set up by Zest Atlanta. Can we say biscuit bar? (I can't - I'm too busy drooling over sweet potato biscuits with chicken fried steak.)

Friday Night Lights! #TexasForever

One detail Sarah and Jay got SO right was to pick the right DJ for the kind of wedding they wanted. Since their wedding was a Sunday afternoon affair, they hired DJ Tod, who did a great job keeping the crowd engaged. 

We ended the day with a pretty ribbon send-off and a happily ever after.

Wedding Coordination:  Pretty Swell Parties

Floral Design: 2000 AD Inc.

Catering: Zest Atlanta

Wedding Cake and Grooms Cake: Confections by Stephanie

Jen & C.S.

Here's what you need to know about Jen & C.S.: they love good food, good wine, the outdoors, and each other. Their goal was to create a relaxed atmosphere where their guests could enjoy all of these things.  Set at the incomparable Dunaway Gardens , this wedding was a perfect blend of their tastes -- elegant and beautiful (him), with rustic and natural (her).

Besides blending their styles, the couple also blended their cultures. The rehearsal dinner was held at Alma Cocina to represent C.S.'s Mexican heritage, while the wedding cuisine from Endive was purely southern -- a nod to Jen's South Carolina roots. The ceremony was performed by the bride's brother, and translated into Spanish by the groom's sister. Guitarist Brandon Crocker played some great American classics for the ceremony and cocktail hour, while  DJ Eric Anthony  brought along some Latin favorites to spice up the reception.

They also brought in some of their favorite things including carefully chosen wine selections served from the venue's gorgeous wooden bar (adorned by ever talented Bloomin' Bouquets), a special chocolate cake made with olive oil and sea salt, the couple's favorite dessert from La Tavola Trattoria, and specialty cupcake flavors like creme de menthe and samoas, created by Amy from Sugar Moon Bake Shop.

Congrats Jen & C.S.! 


Wedding Planning & Coordination: Pretty Swell Parties

Photography: Amber Fouts for Our Labor of Love

Floral Design: Bloomin' Bouquets

Ceremony & cocktail hour music: Brandon Crocker

Catering: Endive

Bride's Hair & Makeup: Hope Ferguson

Invitations: Smitten on Paper

Jordan & Katie

Jordan and Katie had traditional Jewish wedding was felt relaxed, bright and fun -- much like the couple themselves. With a cheerful palette of reds, corals and creams, and loads of personal elements, this was such a fun wedding to plan! 


The afternoon started with the signing of the Ketubah, or marriage contract. 

Then the couple met again under the chuppah, where they did a modern take on an old tradition by circling one another to begin their ceremony. 

Later in the evening, after a spirited horah, Katie and Jordan were lifted up in chairs in celebration. 

And guests enjoyed a delicious cake along with the adorable Georgia Bulldog cupcakes 
(with a few dead Gator cupcakes mixed in!)

After a night of dancing and fun, they had a quick change of wardrobe and were off! 

 Wedding Planning & Coordination: Pretty Swell Parties

Floral Design: Bloomin' Bouquets

Videography: Iris Films

Hair & Makeup: Jennifer Neiman

Venue & Catering: The Roswell Mill Club

Happy Anniversary to Tiffany & Shawn!

Wishing this adorable couple a very Happy 1st Anniversary! 

Tiffany and Shawn were so much fun to work with. They are such warm people, and they each have a thousand-watt smile. Tiffany is also super crafty, so she handmade many of her own wedding details (including the directional sign below).

Tiffany's bouquet and other florals were created by the lovely ladies of Tulip

After Tiffany made a grand entrance down the beautiful Callanwolde staircase, the couple was married by the bride's Uncle.

 At the end of the ceremony, they "jumped the broom"on their way back down the aisle. 

It was an absolutely perfect Fall day. 

Congrats y'all! Wishing you many years of love and happiness! 

Wedding Coordination: Pretty Swell Parties

Florals: Tulip

Photography: Libby Photo

Katie & Brad

Katie and Brad had a pretty incredible wedding reception at The Estate in Buckhead. What an amazing and perfectly decorated venue.  Katie and Brad were so much fun to work with, and their wedding day was a blast! 

The personal flowers, including the bride's bouquet were done by the ever fabulous ladies at  Bloomin' Bouquets. I always love a white bride's bouquet - traditional and perfect. 

Reception decor was created in-house at The Estate by A Legendary Event in corals and hot pink, and orange. 

 And this cake by Sweet Caroline's! Have you ever seen such a big wedding cake? It was as delicious as it was beautiful.  

Congrats to Katie & Brad! 

Venue, catering and reception florals and decor: The Estate

Personal flowers: Bloomin' Bouquets

Photography: Photosynthesis Studio

Wedding Coordination: Pretty Swell Parties

An "I Do Barbeque" with Maggie & Andrew

Maggie and Andrew were such a dream to work with. They planned the perfect, personal wedding with details that truly reflected their sweet personalities (and Maggie's craftiness!). 

After a first look in the square in downtown Decatur, 

Maggie & Andrew got married in the beautiful Old Courthouse on the Square.  

The gorgeous florals were provided by Shanna Skidmore for Amy Osaba Events, and table numbers (pictured below) were created by the bride herself. 

Guests found their seats with festive party blower escort cards, 

and were treated to Fox Bros BBQ for dinner -- a favorite of Andrew's, and a real crowd pleaser! 

Everyone danced the night away to the music of the New South Players
The dancing at this wedding was no joke!
 I saw a girl do The Worm. Seriously! It was amazing. 

Congrats to Maggie and Andrew! 

Photography: Andrew Thomas Lee

Wedding Coordination: Pretty Swell Parties

Floral Design: Shanna Skidmore for Amy Osaba Events

Bride's Hair & Makeup: Claudia Mejerle

Catering: Fox Bros BBQ

On Marriage

When you are a wedding planner, you hear a lot of toasts. Some are lovely, some hilarious, and let's face it, some are just plain awful.

There have been many times when a good toast has gotten me teary-eyed, but this past summer, I heard one that was so touching and sweet, it just stuck with me. 

It was given by the bride's sister who was the Maid of Honor. She had found a post-it note at their grandmother's home (pictured below), and saved it for the occasion.  On it were these words:

Love is so many things. 
It's being romantic; it's being practical. 
It's speaking kind words. It's forgiving unkind ones. 

It's changing the baby, fixing a tire, mowing the lawn, holding hands, 
holding a basin when someone is sick. 

People need different things at different times, and that's what real love is. 
Doing what the person you love needs at the moment. 

Excellent advice, and so well said. 

What will your groom remember?

So much of wedding planning is centered around the bride and what she'd like her wedding day to be. 

But even if your guy doesn't care which way the napkins are folded, or what specialty cocktail you decide to serve, he will certainly have his own set of memories. 

Wondering what types of things stand out for the guys? We asked a handful of our favorite guys about their best wedding memories. Here is what they had to say: 

The details are all a blur, but I think the memory I took away from our wedding day was realizing how happy my wife was to see all the planning and coordination come to fruition. Everything went so perfectly that it was even more beautiful and more fun then we could have ever imagined. 


Normally we prefer to stay out of the lime light, but  my bride looked so stunning on our wedding day that it felt like I was escorting an 'A list' celebrity actress to a high profile televised event.  


I have so many favorite memories of my wedding day.  Waking up and realizing I was about to marry the love of my life. Getting ready with my Dad and my brother.  Celebrating with our friends and family at a reception that is still talked about among our friends as one of the most fun weddings ever.  But of all the memories, my absolute favorite is holding hands with my bride under the chuppah, totally oblivious to what the rabbi was saying, just thinking that I could not wait to get our life started together.  And that applause from the crowd when I stepped on the glass and kissed my new bride and felt prouder and happier than I ever had.  That's my favorite memory.


I think my favorite memory from my wedding (aside from the obvious) was two-fold.

One was my grandfather getting up and speaking, which he didn't do for any other weddings. He was on his last legs, and had really kind of rallied big time just to make it to this one. 
He took a turn after that and died the following February, but he always loved my wife and it was incredibly moving that he spoke.

The other thing I loved was just that all of the events were at the hotel, which meant that everyone was around to hang out the entire weekend. As a wedding guest, you always get to hang out with your friends, but when you are in the wedding, you barely have time to say hello to anyone.

I felt like I really got the chance to spend quality time with friends and family because we all were there with nowhere else really to go, and that made the weekend all the more special.


Second Line Parade!  We got married in New Orleans and the entire wedding party and all of our guests marched through the French Quarter dancing behind a brass band for 30-45 minutes.  People were coming out of bars and handing everyone drinks, and everyone on the street cheered for us as we marched and danced past.  Our feet were exhausted by the time it was over, but it was worth it!


My best memory from the wedding weekend was the first time I saw my wife in her dress. It had been less than 24 hrs since I saw her, but it felt like it had been weeks because of all of the chaos leading up to the big day. The anticipation leading up to the exact moment made it even better and it was very special to have a private moment where we could just enjoy 
being together and not have to think about anything else. 


A special thanks to our friends for sharing these wonderful memories!

Blair & Bryan

Planning a wedding long distance is always tricky. But when you live out of town, both work full time, and are both pursuing master's degrees, well that's just plain nuts! This is exactly what Blair & Bryan did.

The couple lives in Washington, DC, but they had a perfect southern wedding at one of my favorite venues, The Georgian Terrace Hotel.

The couple chose not to see each other before their ceremony, which took place at Second Ponce de Leon Baptist Church.  So their photos afterwards on the church grounds were a little extra special.

Blair's beautiful bouquet was done by the amazing ladies at Bloomin' Bouquets
They also created these gorgeous centerpieces,

and a drop-dead amazing magnolia leaf table runner. Does it get any more Southern than that? 

 Their escort cards were created by Dondrea of Jenkins Rose Modern Paper, who hand painted and hand wrote each one. This is quite possibly my favorite wedding detail ever. 

The cake was created by Frosted Pumpkin Gourmet

The invitations were designed by the bride's sister, using a watercolor painted by the bride's mother. 

Wedding Planning Pretty Swell Parties
Floral Design Bloomin' Bouquets
Hair & Makeup Jennifer C. Neiman
Reception venue and Catering The Georgian Terrace

Signature Cocktail: The Chaperone

Thinking about a signature cocktail for your wedding or engagement party? Its definitely a fun way to add something special to the bar, and we've got the perfect recipe for you: The Chaperone. 

Incorporating Vodka, St. Germaine, and bubbly mixed with citrus and bitters, this drink is absolutely delicious. It was created by bartender extraordinaire,  R. Victor, AKA The Liquor Vicar. 

Here's how to make it: 

First, add some ice to your shaker: 

Next, add  1oz Vodka, 1/2 oz Grapefruit Juice, 1/4 oz Lemon Juice, and 1/2 oz St Germaine:

Add 2 Dashes Regan's Orange Bitters:

Then, shake it all up:

Strain into a champagne flute or coupe: 

Top with sparkling wine: 

Garnish with a grapefruit twist: 

and Enjoy! 

The Chaperone
Served in a Flute or Coupe
1oz Vodka
1/2 oz Grapefruit Juice
1/4 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz St Germaine
2 Dashes Regan's Orange Bitters
Sparkling Wine
Grapefruit Twist
Shake all ingredients except for the sparking wine with ice.  Strain into a glass and then top with Sparkling.  

Saving the top layer of your wedding cake?

We've all heard the story of the couple who pulled the top layer of their wedding cake out of the freezer on their first anniversary hoping it would look like this:

but instead ended up with something more like this:

And tasted even worse! 

So, if you are planning on saving the top layer of your wedding cake, here's how to do it right: 
  • Place the cake, unwrapped,  in the freezer overnight to let the icing harden
  • In the morning, wrap it tightly with plastic wrap and then cover the plastic wrap in tin foil
  • Place the cake back in the freezer, preferably toward the back.
  • Wait one year and enjoy! 

Children + Wedding Party Doesn’t Have to Equal Disaster!

It can be difficult to know the challenges that  come along with inviting children to be a part of your wedding party, since many couples planning their wedding don’t already have children.  As a wedding planner, a mom of two girls (see adorable flower girl above), let me break it down for you!

Choosing attire
This may seem like the easiest part. Just choose something you like that fits with your over all look/color scheme, right? Sure. But it might be really helpful to have a chat with the parents of your flower girl or ring bearer to get a little bit of input.  Some (most!) kids are sensitive to itchy fabrics, and some have a hard time with certain sizing (think little boys who need slim pants). Mom or dad should be able to give you some helpful hints about things to look out for when choosing mini attire.
Getting Down the Aisle
This is really dependent on the age of the children, but as a general rule of thumb: the lower the age of the child, the lower your expectations should be. I’ve seen flower girls and ring bearers do all sorts of things ranging from running down the aisle straight to their parents, bursting into tears and not making it into the ceremony at all, and of course those who get it just right. If you go in with the attitude that whatever ends up happening will be cute (And it will! People love to see little boys in suits and little girls in fancy dresses regardless of what they are doing!), and not worry too much about whether they pull of their duties perfectly, you’ll be in good shape. Kids are just too unpredictable to get too caught up in a perfect performance.
Even after months of practice, my daughter (then 2) didn’t drop a single petal. However, at my wedding,  my little cousin, who was around 5 at the time, was very meticulous with her petals.  She dropped petals so slowly and carefully that after several minutes, my husband had to coax her to walk to the end more quickly just to keep the ceremony moving!
If its possible for them  to attend your rehearsal, this is a huge plus, and if you can have the child’s parents seated near the front of the room so that they have someone familiar to focus on – even better. And last of all, when in doubt, the promise of treats for good behavior can be very motivating!
After the Ceremony
This is also very dependent on the age of the children in question, but if they are very young, it is likely that they don’t typically stay up very late. Some parents are ok with keeping their kids at a lively reception until the wee hours, but many will want to either take the children home to a babysitter. If your flower girl or ring bearer is coming from out of town, it would be really thoughtful to offer to help their parents arrange for babysitting at the hotel so they can enjoy the rest of the evening.

The Lovely Find

We are proud to announce that Pretty Swell Parties is now a preferred vendor on The Lovely Find!

In case you aren't familiar, here is a little description: 

The Lovely Find wedding blog is a regional wedding resource for modern, in-the-know brides... Connect with your ideal wedding vendors and find original wedding ideas for your Southern wedding day. We believe that no two weddings in the South are the same, and we adore weddings that are fresh, fun, and unique. Whether you're planning on walking down the aisle in a backless lace wedding gown and cowgirl boots or dancing the night away in an Atlanta ballroom, The Lovely Find is the wedding blog for you! Happy wedding planning, y'all!

But really, what are you waiting for? Head on over and see for yourself! 

Thinking about having your dog at your wedding? Read this first!

Last spring, we coordinated not one, but two weddings where dogs walked down the aisle. I have to admit, when I found out that this is what each of these couples wanted, I thought it would be disaster! And I am a total dog lover.  

I'm happy to say that both ceremonies went off just fine, and all three of the dogs involved not only made great ring bearers, but also made everyone in attendance smile.

So, I'm here to tell you that if you can't imagine your wedding without your four-legged friend, it can be done! But there are definitely a few very key things to consider and plan for to make things go smoothly:

1) Does your venue allow dogs? 
Ok, this is the most obvious detail, of course. But every wedding venue is different and most have many rules about what you can and can't do. Even if you are planning on getting married outdoors,  find out for sure that they don't have a no dogs policy.

2) Logistics! 
It is likely that you will be out of the house early on your wedding day, and you'll definitely need someone to pick up your dog from the house and bring him/her to the venue for you. Depending on the temprament of your dog, you may consider having this person take him on a long walk or to the dog park to get some energy out (and then for a bath!).

Once your pup is at the venue, you'll need someone to be in charge of handling your dog before the ceremony. Ideally, this is not someone involved in the wedding party (paw prints + bridesmaid's dress is not a pretty combo!).  

Then once he makes it down the aisle, will he sit still during the cermony? If the answer is no, I highly recommend you have someone designated to whisk him away at the end of the aisle and either take him home, if you plan to return to your house after the wedding,  or to be boarded for the night - or the week if you are leaving directly for our honeymoon!

Clearly all of this is a lot to ask of a friend or wedding guest, so I'd recommend hiring your dog walker, dog sitter, dog trainer, or someone who works at your doggie day care for the day. It really can be anyone, but someone who is experienced with dogs, and preferably familiar with yours!  

3) Getting your dog down the aisle
If you are planning on having your dog walk (run!) down the aisle by himself, then make sure you have his favorite treats for the groom to hold in his pocket. Your wedding coordinator can be sure to have these on hand to give to the groom at the last minute. Another option is to have someone walk your dog down on a leash. 

4) Attire
This is the fun part! There are so many adorable options these days from doggie bow ties to  "Here comes the bride" signs for pup to carry. But my very favorite is the flower collar pictured above. Don't these two look great? To pull this look off, you'll need to measure the circumfrence of your dog's neck and give this info to your florist ahead of time to make sure that your collars will be the right size. 

Having your dog as part of your wedding is not for everyone, or every dog. But with a little extra planning he can be an adorable addition to your wedding party!

Photo credit: W. Scott Chester
Flower dog collar: Flowers by Yona

We are proud to announce that we have won the Wedding Wire Couples' Choice Awards for 2014!

A very big thanks to our past clients! The winners of the WeddingWire Couples' Choice Awards 2014 are determined by recent reviews from newlyweds, recognizing the top 5% of Wedding Pros in the WeddingWire Network.

To see our past reviews, you can visit our Wedding Wire page here.

The NotWedding 2014!

If you don’t already know about The NotWedding, I highly suggest that you come check out this fantastic event on Monday, February 17 at the W Hotel in Buckhead.
The NotWedding is a bridal show alternative in the form of a big, fake wedding. “Wedding guests” are brides-to-be who enjoy an emotional ceremony, a tasty dinner and dance-party reception while truly experiencing the participating vendors in action.
We are so honored to have been selected as the Wedding Coordinator for the second time, and would love for you to come see us there!
If you’d like to get a feel for what its all about, here is a link to the last NotWedding we were a part of  back in August at Callanwolde.
You can buy your tickets here, and I’d do it quickly. The NotWedding pretty much always sells out!