Events by Reagan

From the Desk of Reagan

Wedding Chicks Feature: Moody Modern Fall Wedding

October 25, 2017

The air is crisp, leaves are turning, and it finally feels like fall!  So what better way to welcome the season than with a feature in Wedding Chicks?

They’re calling it “How to have a Moody Modern + Rustic Fall Wedding Day.”  This shoot was a ton of fun to design and I had the best time spearheading it with dear friend and talented photographer, Leigh Miller.  This is for the texture-loving, color-loving bride.  Go bold or go home!

Link to the full feature here – and more images here.

Excerpts from the article below.  Enjoy!

So Fall is upon us, and what better reason to get your moody modern vibe on is there? Deep maroons and burgundy color palettes and mixing minimalist style with cozy textures just makes us want to curl up near a roaring fire as we clutch our coveted seasonal PSL. 

This gorgeous shoot took that rustic barn style and classed it up to a level we weren’t even aware of! To see more just keep scrolling and don’t miss out on a single detail, we have a full gallery that is packed with stunning fall decor thanks to the talents of Leigh Miller Photography and Events by Reagan

Venue + Candles

This boho barn shoot is full of inspiration for the bride who is not afraid of deep, rich colors and one that had the cattle rancher doing a double take. Our setting was the most unassuming of locations: a historic 1879 barn on an operating cattle ranch in. The barn’s interior was filled with unbelievable textures of exposed stones and weathered wide plank floors, expansive barn doors, cathedral heigh ceilings, and towering windows that let sunbeams shine through. Once inside, you felt as though you had discovered a hidden treasure, a portal back in time. It was the perfect setting for our shoot. 

Ceremony + Barn

We focused on color and textures to create a moody and romantic setting, mixing custom elements with easily accessible store bought items. The wine colored velvet linen, plum feathered pillows (Target purchase!), mixed metals, and lush florals really popped against the natural textures of the old, worn barn. Toss in lots and lots of candles and (voila!), a dramatic ceremony setting. 

Good Earth Floral knocked the florals out of the park and must have jumped inside my mind when I said we wanted a moody, dripping candle ceremony setting. Ashley truly brought my vision to life…and if you only knew the fear that coursed through our veins as we lit all of those little candles on wobbly 137 year old barn planks.


Table + Pillow

The dinner table was set under a low lying branch of an old oak tree. Wooden benches with pillows tied in the formal table to the more rustic barn setting. Marble tiles (from Home Depot!) with gold calligraphy atop a patterned napkin served as place cards for each guest and colorful jewel toned and pink pastel votives littered the center of the table. 

Flowers + Calligraphy

Florals of deep burgundy and peach with trailing greenery loosely draped over their brass containers created a bohemian yet sophisticated setting. 

Loveletter Studio’s dramatic modern calligraphy was striking in wine colored ink against our sultry florals and velvet table linen. 

Bride + Groom

The bride was dressed in a form fitting gown with a free flowing skirt from Altar Bridal. She was accessorized with a fur shrug and striking burgundy velvet heels. Her real life groom wore a gray plaid suit with plum accents and their chemistry was off the charts! 

It takes passion and (sometimes) guts to get the job done! After sharing a toast of sparkling rosé in gold etched champagne chalice and a piece naked wedding cake, the couple was sent off under a shower of gold confetti! This shoot was the marriage of many unexpected design elements, resulting in a bunch of sexy inspiration!

Much love to all of these lovely vendors!

Photography: Leigh Miller Photography
Venue: The Historic Taylor Barn 
Florals: Good Earth Floral Design Studio
Bridal Gown: Altar Bridal 
Groom’s Attire: Banana Republic 
Hair & Make Up: Magdalena Styles 
Calligraphy: Loveletter Studio
Cake: McLain’s Bakery 
Rentals: UltraPom 
Linen: La Tavola Fine Linen 
Glassware: West ElmAnthropologiePottery Barn 

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Featured on Inside Weddings

October 17, 2017

Events by Reagan couple, Melissa and Tom, are featured on InsideWeddings!

Excerpts from their write up below.  See the full feature {here!}.

Though Melissa Cooper works in catering at a luxury hotel in Chicago, she and her fiancé, Tom Funk, decided to host their wedding in her hometown: Kiawah Island, South Carolina. As both the bride and the groom are in the hospitality industry, food and beverage were important aspects of the celebration. “I viewed the day through the eyes of the guests,” shares Melissa. To start, those traveling from out of town were greeted with a welcome bag. 

Instead of a full bridal party, the couple elected to have one attendant each: the bride’s sister and a cousin of the groom. His other cousin officiated over the vow exchange. “We wanted the day to be intimate and personal,” affirms Melissa. “We asked all family to wear blue since we did not have a formal bridal party.” The bride wore a designer gown from Dimitra’s Bridal Couture, a salon in her current home of Chicago. While it was strapless with a sweetheart neckline during the “first look,” she had an illusion neckline and sleeves added for the ceremony to match the lower sheer portion of the skirt. 

To complement the beauty of Kiawah Island, the sweethearts wanted to bring the outside in, incorporating natural and organic elements into the décor. Guests sat on wooden benches during the ceremony, and the reception featured a variety of nature-inspired centerpieces: traditional flower arrangements, tall trees, and bowls of floating candles and blossoms. Rose gold was used as a metallic accent to match the bride’s wedding and engagement rings.

The newlyweds had their first dance to the modern classic “All of Me” by John Legend, while the father-daughter dance had a particularly personal touch. The bride and her father swayed to “Sweet Melissa” by the Allman Brothers, which the bride was named after. She and Tom made sure to carve out time for themselves during the celebration, eating separately from their guests. 

Afterward, they were sure to party with everyone to tunes played by a live band flown out from New York City. Though the entertainment went over wonderfully, it did lead to the one thing Melissa would change from the big day. “I would have extended the reception by 30 minutes to have more time to dance,” she admits. However, once their time was up, the newlyweds had a wonderful send-off as they were showered with pink rose petals before getting into a vintage convertible for their getaway. 

Many thanks to the talented team of vendors who helped make this day possible:

Tim Will Photography, Charleston Stems, Wedding Cakes by Jim Smeal, Kiawah Island Club, Lifestage Films, TEC, Ooh! Events, EventHaus, EventWorks, Latavola, Bliss & Bone, Laura Hooper Calligraphy, Braxton Crim, OtherBrother Entertainment, Sam Hill Entertainment, Charleston Style Limo, Cacky’s Bride Aid

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International Destination Weddings – Italy Part II: Villa Medicea di Lilliano

October 6, 2017

Image from Villa Medicea di Lilliano

After breaking through the dreamy haze of what was our Tuscan vow renewal, the following day we departed the quaint Val d’Orcia region of Italy and headed north towards Florence for Villa Medicea di Lilliano.  It was shoot day!

This was a shoot that Sansaara Photography and I had been tossing around for months – actually from our very first phone conversation – and after our first home run collaboration together in Atlanta, we decided to pull the trigger over the summer to make this international shoot become a reality.

Assembling our vendor team was a thrill.  When Villa Medicea di Lilliano accepted our request with open arms, we were ecstatic.  The villa is an exclusive event venue but first and foremost a private home to the Malenchini family, who has owned the estate for over two centuries.  Before the Malenchinis, the estate belonged to the famous Medici family and was visited by top aristocracy and royalty including King Frederick IV of Denmark.  Stepping onto these pristine grounds and strolling the property thinking of its long history literally took my breath away.

After securing the location, I was fortunate enough to be connected with the talented Ilaria of Artemisia Fioristi in Florence.  I loved her philosophy of design, rooted in her background of art history.  She chose the name Artemisia for two reasons: Firstly, Artemisia Gentileschi was a Caravaggio school painter in the 1600s who was one of the first to acquire fame as a courageous woman who broke the rules of the times.  Love that.  Secondly, artemisia is also the name of a plant with many varieties…and voila, the combination of history and flowers.  This plus one glance at her work and her incredible studio space in the heart of Florence and I knew we had to have her!  She was such a gift!


Me with Ilaria at Artemisia in Florence

When it came for design, our goal was to stand out.  So much of what you see in Italy involves beautiful neutrals or soft pastels with olive branches – all incredibly lovely!  But we wanted to be cutting edge and introduce design that has not already oversaturated the market.

We sought to combine organic elements with modern, high fashion touches.  I am crazy about juxtapositions and combining the unexpected – and we were outside of Florence after all, the Italian center for fashion and design!

For floral design, we loved the idea of fruit bearing branches.  I wanted to keep things very organic as though the arrangements were just clipped from the garden and orchard and plopped loosely in a vase.  I wanted the design to feel very refined and high end, yet relaxed and natural.  Ilaria ran with this freedom, introduced us to flower types we’re not used to seeing in the states.  She created the most delicious arrangements…literally…the bouquet may or may not have been completely composed of edible plants.  I cannot wait to share!

As for the rest of the shoot, you’re just going to have to wait!  It was a day that had me pinching myself from beginning until end, watching the sunset and the lights of Florence come alive from on top of the hill.  For me, it was truly a dream come true and hopefully the beginning of a fruitful relationship with the wonderfully kind Italian professionals I had the privilege of working with.

Thank you also to Veronica Couture, Lindsay Marie Design, and Elizabeth Porcher Jones for donating your incredible talent and trusting me to take it with me abroad.

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International Destination Weddings – Italy Part 1 Puscina Flowers

September 30, 2017

Lately, I have been doing a lot of thinking…reflecting on my business, how my business has developed, and where I want to see it go…lots of good quality soul searching.  2017 marked five years for Events by Reagan, so naturally I’m asking myself the “where do you see yourself in five years?” question.

The last five years have been fantastic.  Every year seems to outdo the last.  Each year I am able to add a new US destination to my list, which means working with fresh faces and blank canvases.  New challenges, new victories.  It is incredibly rewarding and I’m ready to keep growing.  To keep moving forward.  To expand my reach….internationally.

And that is my goal for the next five years: to begin serving couples who look beyond US destinations for their wedding while still serving those who choose to get married within the states.

As part of this journey, I recently traveled to Italy for both pleasure and business development.  It was everything I had hoped for an more!

First and foremost, the Italian people blew me away.  Their hospitality and generosity as a whole was unlike any other culture I’ve ever experienced…yes, maybe even rivaling our Southern hospitality…{don’t kill me}.  Complete and total strangers felt like lifelong friends and their willingness to trust and give their talents to an event planner they’ve never met before was inspiring.

Our travels took us from Rome to the Tuscan countryside, then Florence, ending in Venice.  I spent two days working: one in San Quirico and Pienza in the Val d’Orcia region and the other on the outskirts of Florence with Duomo views from on property.

The Tuscan countryside embodies every romantic notion of Italy I’ve ever had.  The rolling hills, the ancient villages, the church bells forever tolling, the old weathered women walking down old winding roads in their floral dresses and canes…  Life is strikingly simple in the Italian countryside and that is what I think is so attractive to so many people.

I had the pleasure of working with two florists while in Italy, both incredible women and two who I cannot wait to work with again.

Image from @puscinaflowers

Puscina Flowers reminds me of something out of a storybook.  Tucked away in Pienza on the family farm they grew up on, this team of three sisters built a flourishing flower farm.  Every single bloom that is tucked into any arrangement they create was planted, cared for, and carefully selected and harvested on their land.  Talk about a labor of love!

I contacted Mara Cugusi, the lead floral designer of Puscina Flowers, for a bouquet and boutonniere for a vow renewal.  Before even meeting her, I fell in love with their philosophy of finding beauty in nature’s imperfections and embracing simplicity.  So often we try to dictate nature rather than letting nature shine.  I loved her organic approach and thought it would be perfect for the carefree vow renewal I had planned.

When we arrived down to the dirt road that lead to their farmhouse, Mara embraced me with a hug and kisses, then joyfully invited us on a tour of their garden, which we eagerly accepted.  I’m not sure if it was the dahlias the size of my head or the hanging grapes that Mara casually picked for us to snack on as we walked that had me pinching myself.

This is Mara. See, I’m not kidding about the size of those dahlias!  Image from @puscinaflowers

After walking the grounds, Mara took us to her design barn where she presented me with one of the most beautiful bouquets I have ever seen.  She held it to her chest and looked at me saying, “I really like this bouquet…”  It was clear that Mara had designed this from the heart and it was almost too beautiful to take from her.  To pair, she had designed an incredibly artful boutonniere that included the tiniest, most intricate blooms.  It was a small masterpiece.  We were offered espressos before selecting ribbons for the bouquet, all the while listening to the soft clanking of the bells around the necks of the sheep just outside.  The entire experience was beyond dreamy.

Image from @puscinaflowers

I was on a high after meeting Mara touring her flower farm for quite a while.  Here, seemingly in the middle of nowhere, is Puscina Flowers who is an incredible talent and has been featured in some of the top US publications including Once Wed and Wedding Sparrow.

Me, giddily leaving Puscina Flowers.

The next morning, we rose at 4:45am to prepare for a sunset vow renewal at the famous Cappella della Madonna di Vitaleta.  This abandoned chapel is the most photographed church in all of Tuscany.  At sunset, you’ll see landscape photographers lining the roads with their long lenses capturing this idyllic setting.  Even the best camera doesn’t do this justice.

From Google images.

After traveling unmarked dirt roads in the darkness of early morning, we met photographers Anul and Bijal Shah of Sansaara Photography where the road ended and traveled the rest of the way to the church on foot.  It was chilly and quiet and we had this treasured gem all to ourselves.

This incredibly intimate photo session lasted for a few hours beginning at the threshold of this old church, followed by a stroll down the stone streets of Pienza, breaking midday before ending with an incredible tour of the Tuscan countryside where we stopped for photos on the side of the road for some of the most picturesque settings in all of Italy – each scene carefully mapped out in advance by the meticulous Anul.

I told my husband that when I die, it will be memories from this day that flash before my eyes.  It was more beautiful than I can put into words.

But the journey didn’t stop there.  The next day, we left for Florence for an incredible shoot at Villa Medicea di Lilliano.  I was certain the experience from the Tuscan countryside could not be topped, but the untouched 16th century frescos and lemon tree lined landscaped that awaited us took my breath away.

Italy Part II coming soon…

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Kansas City Fashion Week Garden Party

September 28, 2017

This fall I am excited to be sponsoring the kick off event for Kansas City Fashion Week!  Themed as a brunch garden party, this tented affair will feature sponsored light bites, mimosas, and Bloody Mary’s in a rare and beautiful rural setting right in the heart of Kansas City!

I have teamed up with fellow sponsors, R24 Studios and Jordan Statz, to collaborate on design.  Our decor meeting last week may or may not have involved a few bottles of wine…and we are thrilled with the results!

Expect to see suspended floral, torn fabrics, lots of texture, and a luscious color palette of mustard, burgundy, orange, gold, with just maybe a pop of cobalt.  It’s going to be hot!

Get your tickets here!  ($25)

Sunday, October 8th
1:00pm to 4:00pm
The Van Noy Mansion:
6800 Elmwood Avenue
Kansas City, Missouri

Now get yourself dolled up and meet us at the Van Noy Mansion!  What better way to spend a Sunday afternoon?

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My Journey as a Destination Wedding Planner

July 25, 2017

Marble Inspired, Image by Rachel May Photography

One of the most commonly asked questions I get as a destination wedding planner is, “How do you plan weddings in places you’ve never been before?”  The answer?  I work really, really hard.

If you know me, you know that I don’t try to sugar coat things.  I like to be as up front and realistic as possible because false pretenses make me uncomfortable and I don’t like surprises.  So, I will not offer you a bunch of flowery language as to how breaking ground in a new destination is a piece of cake – because it isn’t.  It takes a lot of research, interviewing, trials, and vetting to assemble and trust a new vendor team that will flawlessly execute the effortlessly beautiful event that I have worked tirelessly to be known for.

What does that process look like?  To best explain, let me share a bit of my professional history.

Rose Garden Romance, Image by A Bryan Photo

In 2010, I moved to Charleston, South Carolina to take a position as senior event planner for a high end event planning company.  I left a job in Charlottesville, Virginia with a hugely successful event planner who, in recent years, has been voted by Vogue to be one of the top planners in the country.  It was a fantastic foundation to have under my belt.  I made the transition for many reasons, but the main one being that Charleston was the number one wedding destination in the country (well technically, number two behind Las Vegas) and I wanted to be a wedding planner in Charleston.  So sight unseen, I drove down for my interview, accepted, and moved to the Palmetto State three weeks later.

As an event planner in Charleston, it’s safe to say that 95% of your clients are coming in for a destination wedding, therefore the demand for event assistance is high.  It quickly became second nature to work long distance with every bride, usually only meeting with in them in person two or three times before the wedding.  When the couple or family was able to come into town, the day we would have with them would be scheduled full of vendor meetings, tastings, and site visits.  I learned how to be productive and effective in a short period of time.  In many ways, I think working with destination clients can be more efficient than working with local clients because you are forced to plan ahead and make the most of your time together.

Floral Island Romance, Image by Tim Will Photography

The best source of new business is referrals, so naturally with guests of destination weddings we would get called by a bridesmaid, relative, or guest who experienced our work first hand and be invited to do their destination wedding elsewhere.  While I was with my previous company, we were taken to Napa Valley twice (St. Helena and Calistoga), Atlanta, North Carolina, Virginia, San Diego, and Sea Island, Georgia.

And so it began…discovering and mastering breaking into new markets.  If I had to name one thing that kept us afloat and was our key to survival, it would be vendor connections.

THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is why an event planner is so valuable – because of who she knows and, in turn, who her contacts know.  

What I bring to the table is a history of working side by side with multiple vendors, intimately learning what they do best and trusting them as experts in their fields.

As the number one (okay, number two…) destination spot in the country, it makes sense that Charleston attracts the best wedding vendors in the country.  So who do I call when I am hired in a new destination and know no vendors?  You guessed it, my Charleston professionals.  As the best in their field, they too are pulled to new markets.  If they haven’t served as the lighting professional or tent provider or florist in the location where I am headed, chances are they know someone who has.  Not only do I know and trust these vendors, but these vendors know my standards and what I expect of a vendor.  If they can’t come fulfill the job themselves, they will only recommend the best who will do as well of a job as they would.

Vendors and vendor connections are my lifeline.  They are my vetting process.  I owe so much to the vendors who support me to make my clients’ visions come to life.

Al Fresco by the Sea, Image by Julie Livingston Photography

Once I have the recommendation of my trusted vendors, the vetting process doesn’t stop there.  At that point, everything is in my hands to ensure that they can execute and are the best fit aesthetically and financially for my client.  This involves countless phones calls, site visits (when possible), logistical planning, and number crunching before the client introduction or contract is ever made.  And in some cases, I decide it’s not the best fit.  This is the hard work I’m talking about.  It is a process – much more so than planning a wedding in Charleston or a destination I’ve worked in before.  It is a process and it should be.  This is my value added as a destination wedding planner.  Any planner who tells you it’s a piece of cake is doing themselves a huge disservice.

Floral Island Romance, Image by Tim Will Photography

So how did I grow my destination business to be where it is now?  Out of necessity.  In 2012 I was married and transitioning out of my current job to leave Charleston full time to live with my new Marine husband who was stationed on the coast of North Carolina.  Events by Reagan was born and came out of the gates with a dream client.  Being just a few hours from Charleston, most of my weddings continued to be in the Lowcountry and I also had the opportunity to expand my markets.  In short time, I added New York City, Asheville, Charlottesville, Kiawah Island, Winston-Salem, Kansas City, and Charlotte to my laundry list of cities where I’ve planned weddings and events.

With each new location my vendor list grows, adding value to my services and freeing me even more so to keep going and keep breaking ground in new places.

While I have been working the Southeast vigorously for the last five years, I am ready to set sail and start working internationally as well.  I hope to spend the next five years expanding my business to serve as an international wedding planner for couples who see beyond US destinations.

My first opportunity is just a few short weeks away and my excitement is at an all time high.  What better place to get your feet wet than in the beautiful Tuscan countryside?

Italy, here I come!

Related post: Destination Weddings: Trending in 2017


Sexy in the City… Kansas City Modern Romance Wedding Inspiration Shoot

July 12, 2017

It’s sexy, it’s moody, it’s fashion-forward, and edgy.  It’s wedding design that Kansas City has yet to see…

…and it was just featured on Ruffled!

As an event designer, I am always thinking of ways to reinvent the wheel, especially when that means pushing the envelope.  I feel like it’s my duty as a creative to keep things fresh and introduce new ideas to my clients.  It’s my job to inspire clients and fan the flame of passion within fellow wedding creatives.  When passions are ignited, great things happen and we’re reminded why we chose to go into the event industry in the first place.

This modern romance inspiration shoot was no exception.

The concept had been brewing in my head for quite some time… I wanted to create something beautiful in a chic, urban setting featuring a same sex couple.  This shoot needed to be current and what’s more current than celebrating and supporting marriage equality?  Our same sex couples are under marketed, especially in Kansas City, so I wanted to make sure they knew they had just as much of a home in our wedding industry as any other heterosexual couple – and that my door is always open.

Beyond the setting and couple, I envisioned a cutting edge design.  I wanted the same feeling and emotion you feel when watching a high-end fashion show. It need to evoke power and confidence.  I wanted it to command your attention.  It needed to be masculine and incredibly well tailored.  I wanted layers, textures, juxtapositions.  I wanted DRAMA.

About the time I was ready to start bringing this vision to life, I met Amy Loux of Flora Design Co. in Kansas City.  I knew from our first coffee date when it was all we could do to pull ourselves away from each other because we could have discussed wedding design all day long that she was the creative energy this shoot needed.  And boy, did she deliver!

From the very beginning, the only home in my mind for this shoot could be The Rooftop at The Brass on Baltimore.  The clean white walls, the showcase bar, its modern finishes, and a view of the downtown skyline – it was the only option for me.  Luckily, they were all about it.

The rest of the team came together too easily – they were inspired by the concept and their passions felt tangible.  Add energy to great talent and amazing things are bound to happen.

As things began to come to fruition, we decided why have one cake when you can have three?  Aleta of Adorn Cakes brought a trio of wedding cakes featuring the hottest trends in design.  Gold foil, marbled, and drip cakes…  The display, accented with stalks of pampas grass was a head turner.

I dressed the table with a sultry navy velvet linen from La Tavola and topped it with custom antiqued mirrors (edge to edge) specially made by local designer Cody Brown of R24 Studios (who also served as a model…love that man).  Keeping things clean and modern, I accented the table with lucite chairs.

As though the antiqued mirrors didn’t step up the table enough, I styled the table with mixed metals: burnished copper flatware, a pewter charger, black and navy china next to a mix of black and Waterford crystal glassware.

The napkins were made from men’s suit fabric, each tied with suede cord and a tassel, and every place setting was marked with a metallic laser cut name “card” calligraphed by loveletter studio.  Little Yellow Leaf brought her A game with chic glass menus printed in copper foil vinyl.  Ah!  The various textures and materials of this design made my heart sing.

We flooded the table with candlelight and Flora Design Co. adorned it with lush, dried arrangements of pampas grass and money leaf.  The cherry on top?  A dramatic overhead installation of pampas grass.

The romantic glow from the candles and reflective metals against the nighttime cityscape was everything and more.


Thank you to the amazing team of vendors!

Venue | The Brass on Baltimore
Planning & Design | Events by Reagan
Photo | Leigh Miller Photography
Florals | Flora Design Co.
Calligraphy | loveletter studio
Cake | Adorn Cakes
Graphic Design | Little Yellow Leaf
Rentals | Ultrapom
Videographer | Creative Films


Tips for a Perfect Table

March 22, 2017

Today I highlight an event element with rules that remain unchanged, whether you’re hosting a private dinner party in your garden or if you’re planning a luncheon for the Queen of England.  For all of you hosts and hostesses, this element is the table.  Below are a few tips for a perfect table for any kind of event.

Julie Livingston Photography, Al Fresco by the Sea

Always set a table as if a photographer will be following right behind you and capturing your handiwork on film.  Any blemish that you see (or may not see) in person will certainly be seen in photos…and while your event may only last for the evening, photos will last forever.

At each event set up, my request of my team when setting the table is always “straight as an arrow.”  It is the most simplistic rule for setting a table but it will make the greatest impact.

This rule touches everything on the table except, potentially, the floral and candle arrangements (depending on their design).  Every chair, charger, napkin, each piece of stemware and flatware should be perfectly in line with its match at the next place setting.  Perfect place settings are not only lovely visually, they are little gifts to each guest letting them know that they have been thought of and are being cared for.

Julie Livingston Photography, Al Fresco by the Sea

When placing the chairs, you should never tuck a chair under the table.  The ideal placement of a chair is so that its edge is perfectly in line with the edge of the table.  If you’re using a table linen, the edge of the chair should rest lightly against the linen so that the linen still falls directly down to the floor.  When setting a long table with multiple chairs on each side, fishing wire will become your best friend!  I often tie fishing line to the first chair of one side of the table and then to the last chair on that same side.  This will give you a “straight as an arrow” line to then arrange the backs of all of the chairs in between against.  Talk about a stunner photo!

Lastly regarding chairs, if you are using a rental chair with a tie-on cushion, take the time to neatly tie each cushion so that you don’t have any flyaway bows or knots.  I like to wrap the ties around the chair back and tuck the knot and tails of the tie underneath the cushion.  This creates a band rather than a bow or knot – a nice and clean finish!

Leigh Webber Photography, Classic in the Carolinas

Do you own an iron or a steamer?  These tools are hands down the most important tools for a perfect table.  I never go to an event installation without them.  Press or steam out any existing creases in your linens, especially focusing on areas that will be focal points of the room such as the ends of tables and bar fronts (if you are having a linen-covered bar).  Ensure that the edge of the table linen rests straight across the floor and falls evenly on all sides of the table.

If you are using a rental table, add a table pad before tossing your linen to soften it.  If table pads are not available, thick felt also works wonderfully.  Once you’ve pressed and placed the lines, visit each corner of the table and form a nice box pleat as a finishing touch.

Pressing your napkins also makes a great impact.  Often our napkin folds serve as a frame to the menu and it is crucial that all of your napkins are folded uniformly.  To maintain a consistent size, tape out the dimensions of how you would like your napkin to be and fold each one on top of this tape.  Once the napkin is folded perfectly, hit it with an iron for a crisp, tailored finish.

A Bryan Photo, Rose Garden Romance

Whether you are arranging the flowers or if a florist is arranging them for you, ensure that the height of the arrangements are conducive to conversation.  There is nothing worse than having to talk around flowers, even if they are the most amazing things you’ve ever seen!  Make sure that they are either low enough to converse comfortably over or high enough with clear or thin containers that do not block the person across from you.

When designing your flowers, also consider having them arranged in containers that guests may take home at the end of the evening as a favor.  Or, if you can’t part with the display container, have several disposable containers in the wings to place flowers in for your guests as they depart.  Pretty, inexpensive mason jars are great for this!

Rachel May Photo, Marble Inspired

Lastly, if you would like to use taper candles on your table, there are a few things to consider.  If the table is outside, you will likely need to protect the flame from any possible breeze with a hurricane.  There are many beautiful hurricanes out there that can really add to the design of the table!  If your table is inside, be conscious of your air conditioning vents.  Sometimes vents positioned on top of or near the table will cause a taper candle to burn down incredibly quickly and drip wax onto your perfectly thought-out table.  In this case, taper candles without the protection of a hurricane may not be the wisest choice.  In any case, you can always purchase dripless (and smokeless!) beeswax candles to prevent wax from falling on your flowers and tabletop.

Now that you have some of the most essential tips for a perfect table, you can blow your friends and family away at your next affair.  Happy hostessing!

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Pantone Play on St. Patty’s Day

March 14, 2017

St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner and we thought why not create a beautiful setting playing with the pantone of the year? This inspiration shoot is Gaelic in the most subtle fashion and an inspiration for those wanting to give a nod to the holiday but without all the kitschy details.

We call it “Celtic eclectic.”

2017 is the year of not only greenery but of floral installations.  Amy Loux of Flora Design Co. in Kansas City was the creative genius behind this shoot’s floral design and the expansive white walls of The Gallery Event Space provided the perfect backdrop.  This ceremony wall installation was composed of Italian ruscus with ivy. The goal was to make it look like the greenery was naturally growing. We loved the feel of the stark, minimalistic wall with the organic, flowing elements.  Creating juxtapositions is one of my favorite things to do!

The bouquet and table arrangements were composed of cinnamon roses, parrot tulips, snap dragons and buttonhole feverfew. Amy selected a rose that had burnt-orange, coral hues but wasn’t too over the top orange. The yellow tones of the tulip helped to mute the brightness of the roses. She wanted a clean but earthy look with colors that gave a subtle nod to the Irish flag.

The table design is a little old world but with a modern sensibility, resulting in an eclectic feel.  Our objective was for the table to feel special and festive without being too stuffy.  We snuck in subtle clover on the table next to mix-matched green estate glassware and set the table with various patterns of vintage silverware.  Delicate ivy trailed along the tabletop, up the chair backs, and around the crisp, lace-trimmed napkins and the brass candlesticks and amber votives provided a nice warmth to the setting.

Hand torn and lettered place cards by Loveletter Studio were stamped with a burnt gold wax seal and placed on top of a stack of cut glass plates. All of this rested atop a moody charcoal velvet linen that offered some depth to this otherwise whimsical design.

Thank you to all of the participating creatives behind this shoot! It was a fun one to whip together.  Who knew St. Patrick’s day could look so good?!

Photography: Leigh Miller Photography
Floral Design: Flora Design Co.
Planning & Design: Events by Reagan
Venue: The Gallery Event Space
Calligraphy: Loveletter Studio
Rentals: UltraPom
Bridal Gown: Something White Bridal Boutique
Hair & Make Up: Bronzed & Blushed
Collective: A Fine Fête

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Destination Weddings: Trending in 2017

March 6, 2017

Image by Julie Livingston Photography, Ocean Course Wedding

If you haven’t already heard, one of the things that is trending for 2017 are destination weddings.

Hello Italy, Mexico, and BVI!

Finally more and more couples are catching on to this trend and it is no longer a concept for only elopements or second marriages.

Here’s why…

Image by Julie Livingston PhotographyOcean Course Wedding

Destination weddings eliminate the politics of who should be on your guest list.  We all have friends who have planned a hometown wedding where it just seems impossible to draw the line on who to invite.  You have your distant cousins, your parents’ work colleagues, your social club connections, your high school friends who you casually keep up with on Facebook but haven’t really seen in years but couldn’t not invite…  Before you know it, your list is way over where it should be creating a throbbing headache and mountains of stress.

With destination weddings, you gain more control over your guest list.  It is understood that only those closest to the couple are invited and, magically, the guilt of not including extended friendships on the guest list is gone and there tends to be no hard feelings in those who are not invited.

Image by Julie Livingston PhotographyOcean Course Wedding

What goes hand-in-hand with a smaller guest list?  A more intimate occasion.  For some couples, the hustle, bustle, and production of a big wedding can be distracting while for others it is a non-issue.  If you find yourself being distracted but the thrill of a big wedding, remove yourself from the fuss and escape where you have the ability to focus on your marriage – and sometimes that means finding an exclusive destination to exchange vows.  Everyone is different and never losing site of why you are getting married is the most important key to any successful marriage.  As a planner, I do everything I can to support my couples in maintaining that focus no matter how much or how little production goes into the day.

Image by Julie Livingston Photography, Kiawah Island Party

Speaking of focus, what a better way to absorb in the magnitude of your upcoming marriage than traveling to a beautiful destination to relax, unplug, and unwind in the days leading up to the big day?  Disconnect by arriving to your destination earlier the week of your wedding.  Allow yourselves some quiet time together and consider making plans for some down time with your parents as well.  I always encourage my couples to schedule at least a dinner with immediate family the week of the wedding because once the wedding festivities begin, you all will be swept away with your guests and your attention will be elsewhere.  Savor this special time and make a point to spend some of it with your family.

Image by Julie Livingston Photography, Ocean Course Wedding

Another reason why couples are so drawn to destination weddings is that they want to do something different – not the same old country club wedding that 15 of their friends have already had.  More and more couples are viewing weddings as not just a celebration but a statement of who they are.  It is much bigger than a party, it is an experience and a personal expression – and there’s no better way to provide an experience for your guests than by inviting them to travel with you.

As a destination wedding planner, I serve as the concierge to my couples, their families, and their guests.  I work closely with my clients to curate an experience their guests will never forget.  The planning goes beyond just creating a beautiful event, it is about ensuring that guest traveling is easy, that their arrivals and departures are seamless, that they are equipped with all of the information they need to explore the destination and make the most of their stay.  They are offered the best recommendations on where to eat and which sites to see and are given intentional down time away from wedding events to enjoy a little escape of their own.  My goal is to leave no question unanswered and allow your guests to feel just as cared for as if it were they who were getting married.

Image by Tim Will Photography, Beach Club Rehearsal Dinner

Last but not least, how incredible would it be to wake up the morning after your wedding and find yourself already on your honeymoon without having to get out of bed and onto an airplane?  Don’t wake up from the destination dream that you’re already in, stay there awhile.  Worried about privacy from your family and guests?  Book accommodations away from where your guests are hubbed and achieve the seclusion and alone time you deserve.

Need any more convincing?  I could keep going!  If you’re toying with the idea, I’ll give you a nudge.  It’s not as difficult as it seems and, with a good planner at the helm, it can be an experience of a lifetime for you and your guests.

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