3 Things...To Bring with You on Your Wedding Day

I'm so excited to kick off a new blog series today! "3 Things" will be a quick snippet of important info for brides to consider when planning their weddings, and beyond!

Our first post is all about 3 super important things to remember to bring with you on your wedding day. These are things that may seem so crazy obvious to you right now, but in the excitement of packing your bag and rushing out to start hair and makeup...you just might leave without them!

Elizabeth Henson Photos
Your Rings
This happens so much more than you might think. Brides {and grooms} get through the whole morning of their wedding only to realize an hour or two from the ceremony that no one brought the wedding bands with them. It's a great idea to put one of your most trusted attendants in charge of these. The Maid of Honor or Best Man will likely be a little less frazzled the morning of your wedding and they'll make sure the rings get to the ceremony.

Your Vows
If you're writing your own vows, chances are you've put some serious time and effort into doing so. These aren't just a few sentences you've scribbled down on the fly...these words mean so much to you and your fiance. So once you have them written, put them with something you cannot leave without, like your dress!

Rebecca Keeling Studios
Details for the Photographer
You put some serious effort into planning this wedding, and you've likely invested quite a bit of money on a talented photographer to capture every single detail of the day. Make sure to set aside any special details you want the photographer to capture. Things like an invitation suite, any heirlooms you might plan to wear, and even your perfume are all things that you'll want photographs of later. Try having them all set aside neatly for your photographer to start capturing as soon as they arrive.

Do what you can to plan ahead and make sure these things make it out of the house with you the morning of your wedding. Pack them ahead of time and maybe put them with your dress...since we know you won't leave the house without that beauty!

If you have any suggestions for future "3 Things" posts, shoot me an email at justdandyevents@yahoo.com. I'd love to hear your ideas!

Cedar Hall Farms Styled Shoot

One of my favorite things to do, outside of coordinating beautiful wedding days for my clients, is helping my vendor pals put together shoots and workshops. I have some friends in this industry that have such a heart for education and I always have the best time watching them spill their knowledge and experience onto others. There's a lot of emphasis on community in the wedding industry, and I love watching my people really be about that life.

My #vendorsoulmate Liz, from Elizabeth Henson Photos, put together an invitational photography workshop last month and asked that I put together a small styled shoot for the attendees to practice on. For it being about 25 degrees all day, this was easily one of my favorite shoots ever.

You might recognize that super gorgeous couple as JDE bride and groom Julia & Justin. They just got married in October and Julia was so pumped for the opportunity to get back in her dress already!

I also got to try my hand at bouquet making. While I don't hate how it turned out, I definitely think I'll be sticking to the planning and leaving the flowers to my friends with greener thumbs.

Special thanks so the awesome vendors that helped bring all this together. You guys are amazing!!

Venue: Cedar Hall Farms  //  Cupcakes: Rachel Bakes  //  Signage & Invitations: HyHopes Natural Creations  //  Makeup: Dhalia Edwards - Elizabeth  //  Hair: Hair by Stephanie B

Workcation 2017

Oh I'm so sad to see Workcation 2017 behind me. Do you ever spend so long counting down to something exciting, and then it feels like it's here and gone before you know it? And then you have that "crap, what do I look forward to now" feeling? Yeah? Ok good, then I'm not alone.

We did this last year and I felt like all the stars aligned to make it happen, but I had my doubts that we'd be able to make it happen again. If you think about it, it's nearly impossible to coordinate the schedules of 11 people. Especially when you take into account the fact that we're all small business owners, more than half of us are mothers, and a handful of us also work full-time jobs. Well, by some miracle, we worked it out...and it was incredible.

We rented the same adorable beach house in Oceanview as last year and once again brought far too much food and wine to get us through two nights and three days. We took full advantage of the natural light in the house and styled some fun flat lays and headshots for each other before parading down to the beach for more in the sunshine. We lucked out with some seriously gorgeous weather and all wished we could have stayed longer to keep enjoying it.

We even got reallllly fancy this year and booked a private chef to come cook us dinner our last night in the house. It was SUCH A TREAT and definitely something I think we'll all agree to do every year moving forward. It was awesome to not have to interrupt our workflow to cook {or do the dishes}, but not have to depend on pizza for dinner either! Brian KILLED it in the kitchen!

We played some really fun games this year that had us all in total giggle fits. Heads Up, Code Names, and LCR may be my new favorite games to play. Did I mention I WON the first game of LCR?! 

There were two big moments that really hammered it home how much I love these ladies and how thankful I am to have each of them in my life. While we were taking headshots on the beach, we each ended up jumping into a few quick snaps with "our people". This group of wonderful women consists of quite a few smaller groups that just love each other to the core. It was because of all these small groups that we all came together to be friends in the first place. So it was super special to see us each take a minute to honor those friendships as well. I think it was Erin who kept saying that watching each of us love on our people made her want to cry. And she was so right.

 Another moment was during our round table discussion. Every time someone presented something to the group, they had the eyes, ears, and hearts of 10 other people focused solely on them and what they had to say. We had the best time talking through our struggles together, offering sound advice, wiping each other's tears, and laughing wholeheartedly at each other. You just don't get that kind of commitment from people every day. It was heartwarming and powerful to watch my people be so invested in each other.

The whole weekend was just so genuine. I think that's probably the best word I can think of to describe these friendships I've been blessed with. I really don't know what I did to deserve having them in my life. But every day I thank my lucky stars for their friendships, their wisdom, and the constant belly laughs they give me.

Until next year ladies! xo

Thanks to all the photogs of the group for the awesome/entertaining pictures. Feel free to check out all my ladies and give them all some love!

Elizabeth Henson Photos //  Christina Barnum Photography  //  Alison McPherson, Real Estate Professional  //  Ro & Co Designs  //  Waters Edge Design  //  Heidi Calma Photography  //  Erin Ammons Photography  //  Crystal Belcher Photography  //  Angie McPherson Photography  //  elovephotos

JDE Bride: Julia

Happy Friday friends!!  It's been a little while since I've brought you a JDE Brides post.  So I'm super pumped to start the weekend off with my bride and incredible friend Julia sharing about her gorgeous King Family Vineyards wedding!

Introduce yourself!  And your husband!
Hey there!  I'm Julia Ogden and I'm an English teacher and have a small business called Water's Edge Design  I'm also a JDE bride and my husband Justin and I got married just this past October at King Family Vineyards in Charlottesville, VA.

Rebecca Keeling Studios
What's your love story?  How did the two of you meet?  How did he pop the question?
I might be biased, but I think our love story is pretty special.  Justin and I actually met online!  I had gotten over the ending of a long relationship and felt ready to get back out there.  I just wasn't exactly sure how to do that!  My friend convinced me to sign up on a free online dating site and things just kind of snowballed from there.  I went on a LOT of bad dates, and a few good dates.  Met a lot of great guys, who just weren't MY GUY.  I even started a blog to catalog all of my adventures in trying to find the one.  Months passed and I Was ready to give up.  I went onto the online dating site to deactivate my profile when I saw that I had a message from a handsome guy with the most unbelievably cute dimples.  It was sweet and simple and at the end of it, he asked if he could call me.  He literally wrote "may I call you?" so old fashioned and sweet.  I figured, why not....I'll give it one more chance.  I gave him my number and immediately deactivated my profile.  If he wasn't it, I was going to give this whole dating thing a break for a while.

That first date turned into two years together and on the anniversary of our first date, December 15th, Justin took me to go see the lights at Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens...we walked around the grounds, got hot chocolate, and the whole time I could tell he was trying to get me to a spot where we could be alone.  We saw this little path that lead through the woods to a gazebo, but it was roped off.  We felt like rebels hopping over it and he lead me down the path to where it was quiet and secluded.  He took my hand, lead me into the middle of the gazebo and got down on one knee to propose.  Of course I said yes....more like yelled it haha...and he told me that our whole family was meeting us at a restaurant nearby so we could celebrate together.  It was honestly the best day of my entire life.

What five words would you use to describe your wedding?
We started planning the wedding right away and I really wanted it to represent us and our personalities.  Pinterest can be super overwhelming and unrealistic so I used it a little bit for some inspiration, but mostly thought about what elements we loved in our life.  If I could choose 5 words to describe our wedding, they would be:
Fair tale {I know that's two lol}

Elizabeth Henson Photos
What were your favorite & least favorite parts of wedding planning?
My favorite parts of wedding planning were:
1. How much time I got to spend with my mom and Justin's mom doing the planning.
2. Finding all of the beautiful pieces we would use for the decor.  Styling is my favorite thing to do, so to do something on this big of a scale was so fun!
3. All of the site visits and tastings!  It was so exciting to have everyone treat you like royalty and come on, free food and wine!?  Sign me up!
4. Finding my wedding dress.  I went with a small group of the women in my family and it was just so special to get to spend the day with them.  It was a pretty magical moment seeing how emotional they got.

My least favorite parts of wedding planning were:
1. Worrying about the budget.  We didn't realize it, but Charlottesville is the 2nd or 3rd most expensive wedding location in the US....THE US PEOPLE!  We just love that area because we are UVA fans and I go there every fall with my girlfriends for a winery trip.  Everything was so outrageously expensive and after we splurged on the venue, I didn't know how we were going to fit in everything else.
2. All of the tiny details that you have to make decisions about.  It can get super overwhelming and you just wanna hands things off to someone else.  {Enter Just Dandy Events to talk me off the ledge}

Where did you go for your honeymoon?
After the wedding, we stayed in Charlottesville at the sweetest little Airbnb.  It was within 5 minutes of downtown and it even had the cutest goats on the property!  It was so much more romantic and cozy than a hotel room and we have plans to go back every year for our anniversary.  We left that Tuesday for our honeymoon in Ireland and it was an incredible whirlwind trip.  We had so much fun exploring the little towns, meeting the nicest locals, and basically eating and drinking Guinness constantly.  We got home and needed another vacation from the wedding/honeymoon excitement.

Rebecca Keeling Studios
Who were your vendors?
Venue: King Family Vineyards
Coordination: Just Dandy Events
Photographer & Videographer: Rebecca Keeling Studios
Florist: Courtney Inghram Events
Lighting: The Lighting Professors
Caterer: Glorious Foods
Cake: Everything Emma
Styling & Decor: Water's Edge Design

If you could do one thing different throughout your entire wedding planning journey, what would it be?
I don't think I would really change anything that happened in the wedding planning journey.  I do wish our location had been a little less expensive, but it was exactly what we pictured and felt so very us, that I can't really wish we had gone somewhere else.

Do you have any advice for future brides?
1. Hire a coordinator...it is really hard trying to do everything yourself and you, at the VERY LEAST, need a day of coordinator.  That day flies by and little things are constantly popping up.  Like one of your tables collapsing in the middle of dinner lol!  As much as you love your aunt or best friend, they might not always know how to handle these things.  You need someone with experience.
2. Get ready at your venue or very close by your venue.  We booked a house close by the venue for the bridesmaids to stay at, and for us to get ready all together that morning.  Unfortunately, we had to change locations the week before and ended up at a house 30 minutes away from the venue.  It made things feel a little rushed that morning and in all the craziness, we left my bouquet behind.  Luckily someone able to bring it before the ceremony, but I didn't have it for all the wedding party pictures.  It made me sad.
3. Take a deep breath, use Pinterest sparingly, and remember that your day is going to be perfect because you are getting to marry your dream guy/girl.  Everything else is just icing on the cake.  You getting stressed out and unhappy during the planning process is the opposite of what should be happening.  Take your time, use your partner as a stress reliever and sounding board.  Try not to take advice from too many people, everyone thinks they are an expert, but only you know what you really want.  Just have fun with it and remind yourself that this is a really incredible time in your life.  It goes by fast, so don't waste in with over-analyzing table cloth colors.

IYQ Photography
Such wonderful advice Julia!!!  For a look back on some of my favorite parts of Justin & Julia's beautiful day, check out this blog post.

Join the 2017 JDE Team!!!

Hey there!  Are you interested in getting into the wedding industry but you're not sure where to start?  Or do you just love pretty things and want to surround yourself with blushing brides as often as possible?  Well, we've got great news {I totally sound like an info-mercial here}!!  We're looking for 2 assistants to join the JDE Team for the 2017 wedding season!

The requirements are simple: We're looking for ladies with strong attention to detail, a professional and friendly demeanor, and the ability to take direction, but make creatively-led decisions on their own when necessary.  Bonus if you enjoy doing the Wobble and won't laugh at me when I cry through the speeches.

This is an intern-level position and is unpaid.  However you will ALWAYS be fed and there is room for growth throughout the season, which could lead to a paid position.

The assistants would be required to help with both weddings and styled shoots.  Wedding would require you to be available starting at 1pm and ending after cleanup at the end of the night.  These days are generally 10-12 hours long.  Styled shoots would require you to be available for the entire shoot and these days are generally 4-6 hours long.

If you're interested and think you'd be a great fit for the 2017 JDE Team, shoot me an email explaining what you would bring to the team!  We'll be accepting applications until March 5th!  justdandyevents@yahoo.com

Julia & Justin - King Family Vineyards

Oh friends, I am so beyond excited to share this beautiful vineyard wedding with ya'll.  Where to begin.  Justin and Julia got married in October at King Family Vineyards and the day was epic.  The weather was perfect, the details were gorgeous, everything was exactly what Julia had been dreaming of.  And the fact that she asked me to be a part of that day was the biggest cherry on top of the whole thing.

Time to get a little sappy.  Julia and I have been friends for about 5 or 6 years {I think} and she's also the beautifully talented brain behind Water's Edge Design.  We've had the opportunity to work on so many fun projects together and she's always been such a huge supporter of JDE.  Then Justin {who I also ADORE and is the absolutely perfect match for my sweet friend} proposed and Julia asked me to be her wedding planner.  And let me tell you, the honor you feel when a friend tells you they 100% trust you to put together one of the most highly anticipated days of their life....it's a tough feeling to beat.

Anyways, Julia's style is very earthy and organic with a bit of forest fairy tale thrown in.  She's my little hippy friend that has a serious love for pretty things and I think the details she put together for her wedding mirrored that perfectly.

One of the big perks of being a part of the wedding industry is knowing some of the most amazing vendors in the area personally.  Julia handpicked an A-list of people to help make her vision for the day come to life.  Check out this gorgeous wedding!

Oh and did I mention they had a DONUT TRUCK in lieu of traditional wedding cake?  WINNING!

A big bonus to also being a guest to this wedding was that Wes got to come with me!  He helped with set up and break down and now he fully understands why my feet hurt so badly at the end of a wedding day.  And how cute is he dancing with the beautiful bride?!

I absolutely LOVE when my couples take my advice to set aside a little slice of time on their wedding day for just the two of them.  Justin & Julia liked the idea of having a "last dance" together before their big exit.  We sent all the guests outside and let the two of them have the dance floor to themselves.  They danced to one of their favorite songs, held each other tight, and soaked in the gloriousness of their day.

I'm so honored to have played a part in this beautiful day.  Justin & Julia, I love you both to pieces and I'm so happy to see you both love each other so hard.  Thank you for trusting me!!

Venue: King Family Vineyard  //  Photographer: Rebecca Keeling Studios  //  Coordinator: Just Dandy Events  //  Florist: Courtney Inghram Events  //  Cake: Everything Emma  //  Lighting: The Lighting Professors  //  Catering: Glorious Foods  //  Specialty Furniture/Signage: Water's Edge Design //  DJ: DJ Mark Allen  //  Beauty: Elle Style Studio  //  Donut Truck: Carpe Donut

Somer & Josh - Shifting Sands

Hey friends!  How is everyone recovering from our big "blizzard"?  The time on the couch with my guys was fantastic but MAN am I glad to be able to leave the house.  The cabin fever got very real ya'll.

In other news, I'm so excited to share some of my favorite details from a wedding I coordinated back in October at Shifting Sands in Virginia Beach.  Somer & Josh's music-inspired day was so representative of them as a couple and I loved hearing each of their guests say so as they walked into the reception.

Here are some of my favorite images from DCPG.  It was so fun to work with Ciesther!

Venue: Shifting Sands  //  Photographer: DCPG  //  Coordination: Just Dandy Events  //  Beauty: Ulta at Landstown  //  DJs: Josh Liehr & Micah Spruill

Goals for 2017

HAPPY NEW YEAR FRIENDS!!!  I'm still in total disbelief that 2016 is over and we've been gifted with a brand new year.  Time seems to be flying by faster and faster and it's just plain crazy.  2016 was a pretty great year for me {I shared lots of my favorite business moments here last week} and in some ways I'm sad to see it go.  But I'm also beyond pumped to make 2017 an even better year, both personally and professionally.

I've got big dreams for this little business of mine and also big goals to better myself.  I always like to share a few of my goals on here to help hold myself accountable.  So here goes nothin!

Book an Out-of-State Wedding
One of my goals in 2016 was to book a wedding outside of Hampton Roads.  And I did!  Thanks to my dear friends Julia and Justin, I coordinated my first wedding at King Family Vineyard in Crozet, VA.  It was an absolutely perfect day and I can't wait to share more of it later this month!  Now this year, I want to coordinate a wedding outside of Virginia.  I would love to take JDE to North Carolina or Maryland...but if I'm dreaming big and putting it all out there, I'd cry the happiest tears if I booked a wedding in Nashville or Charleston.

Take Better Care of Myself
2016 seemed to be the year of putting myself last and letting myself gooooo.  I'm not proud of the shape I'm in or the habits I've developed, and I'm ready to be a better me.  So my goal for this year is to wake up earlier, eat healthier, drink more water, and workout regularly.    Yes I know how cliche that sounds this time of year.  But I'm making a promise to myself to do better.

Begin Transitioning to Part Time in my Day Job
This is a huge one to admit ya'll.  HUGE.  March marks 6 years {!!!!!} of operating JDE while working a full time job.  It's been some of the hardest work I've ever done and I've loved just about every second of it.  But now it's about time I start making a few changes so that I can focus more and more on growing this business.  It's going to mean more hard work and some big changes, but I'm ready to embrace all of that 100%.

Get Outside More
If you know me at all, you know I love to be outside.  I love to play sports, go for long runs, go hunting with Wes, hike mountains, spend time on the beach with my puppy.  I tend to feel more like ME when I'm outside.  But over the last year or so, I've let work take over.  Between working 8-10 hours at my day job and then coming home to accomplish as much as I can before bedtime, I haven't been making much time at all to be outside.  About a month or so ago, I made myself a promise that I would start doing whatever I could to better balance work and life.  Right about that time, I was invited to be a part of a local group called Girls Who Hike, put together by a wedding friend of mine.  I'm so excited for my first hike with the group later this month!  I can't wait to be outside, meeting new people, and having some time to hit the reset button.

So there they are....my four big goals for the year.  I have a handful of smaller goals, simple things I want to accomplish.  But these are the ones that I'm putting the most effort into and marking as most important.

I'd love to hear what you are planning to accomplish this year.  How are you holding yourself accountable?  I'd love to cheer you on!

Looking Back on 2016

Oh friends.  2016 has been such a crazy year.  And I mean that in the best way possible.  We met some of the best couples JDE has ever had.  We worked at so many amazing venues.  We set goals and smashed them.  And we had so much crazy fun during all of it.  I can't wait to see what's in store for 2017.  But in the meantime, let's take a little look back at the last 12 months and all the adventures involved.

2016 brought so many incredible people our way.  Our clients, along with their friends and families, made our job so much fun.  We had a couple intimate weddings and a few extravagant weddings, and everything in between.  I always try to remember, amid all the hustle and bustle, to pause for a quick picture with our couples before they make their big exit.  I love looking back at those pictures so much!

Natalie & Tyler, Elizabeth Henson Photos
Chelsea & Jaine, Angie McPherson Photography
Ellen & Jake, Elizabeth Henson Photos
Julia & Justin; Rebecca Keeling Studios
One of my favorite things about this year was all the amazing projects we got to play a part in.  Everything from styled shoots involving long lists of talented vendors.....

Alice in Wonderland, Elizabeth Henson Photos
LuLaRoe Carnival Shoot, Elizabeth Henson Photos
Kate Spade Thanksgiving, Heather Papineau Photography
Bridesmaid Luncheon, Let's Wed Hampton Roads/Angie McPherson Photography
...to strikingly beautiful anniversary shoots involving ballgowns and hundreds of grasshoppers...

First Anniversary Session, Elizabeth Henson Photos
...and everything in between.

We put together our very own branding shoot for Just Dandy Events and, despite the snow on the ground, we had the best time.

JDE Branding Shoot, Elizabeth Henson Photos
We went to some crazy fun parties with other vendors....

Nicholas Woolsey Photography
and even threw one with Elizabeth Henson Photos.

Mai Fotography
The Wolfpack had quite a few adventures in 2016, including having pictures taken with Sharon Elizabeth Photography.  That day will forever hold some of my favorite memories with my sweet friends.

Wolfpack Headshots, Sharon Elizabeth Photography
2016 was also the year that JDE took on it's very first interns!  Such an exciting step for our little business!

And because everyone loves a good behind the scenes montage....here are a few from this crazy wild year.

Please take note of the fish to the far left of this picture.....that's me, holding a bubble maker.
I work with some of the best people in the industry and I'm so lucky to call them my friends.  Thanks for an incredible year ya'll!  Here's to more good times in 2017!

2016 JDE Brides Brunch

This past Sunday I got to spoil my 2016 brides and it was such a great time!!  It's a really tough time of year to get everyone together because of the hustle and bustle of the holidays, but I'm so glad a few of us were able to take the time to relax and catch up a bit!

I'm fairly certain this sign is going in my office.  Champagne for Breakfast!!

Emma from Everything Emma provided all the food and, as usual, it was just perfect.  I left feeling twenty pounds heavier and needing a serious nap.

  My friend Heidi from Heidi Calma Photography was sweet enough to come and take a few pictures of the day for me and I'm so grateful!  Thank you Heidi!!!  These two ladies are just the best ever and I rarely get pictures with the two of them together!

I'm in awe of how wonderful my couples were this year and I'm so excited I got the opportunity to spoil my brides a little bit.  They definitely deserved it!!!  Now I'm excited to welcome all the 2017 couples I'm lucky enough to get to know.  Can't wait to make your day absolutely perfect!

The Importance of a Wedding Day Timeline

Hey ya'll!  How was everyone's Thanksgiving?!  I hope you ate as much as I did and enjoyed some fantastic family time.  Now it's back to the grind and today I'm here with a little bit of advice for your wedding day.  A few months back, I wrote this as a guest on Sterling Dawn Events' blog and I knew I needed to share it over here on mine as well.  The wedding planning process is filled with so many important aspects and it's pretty easy for things to fall through the cracks if you're not careful.  Whatever you do, do not let your wedding day timeline be one of those things that ends up forgotten or neglected!

Kirstyn Marie Photography
I've met with so many couples who've told me in the beginning stages of planning that they won't be needing a day-of timeline.  "We're really laid back", "We like to wing it", and "We don't want to feel rushed" are some of the reasons they've given me.  As their wedding planner, it's my job to explain to them why those are all the perfect reasons they NEED to have a timeline for their big day.

Timelines allot the right amount of time for each aspect of your day, making sure that there's no rushing to fit everything in.  Without a timeline, important things like the bouquet and garter toss can be forgotten.  Then you're left to squish them in at the last minute, when some of your most important guests may have already headed home.

As much as you'll depend on your timeline to keep your day on track, your vendors will depend on it even more so.  A wedding is full of so many moving parts....sometimes dozens of vendors are working together to bring your vision to life.  It's so important that they each know what the order of events will be for the day so that they know when they have to be ready.  Your caterer will want to make sure that your dinner is served on time.  Your photographer will want to be ready by the cake table when it's time for toasts and cake cutting.  And your driver for the night will want to have your vintage care ready in time for your grand exit.

Elizabeth Henson Photos
Now that you know why the timeline is important and necessary for your wedding day, how do you build one?  It can seem like a really overwhelming thing to tackle.  Your wedding planner will be a huge help when you're putting it together, but here are a few tips for constructing the perfect timeline for your day:

- Build it around the non-negotiables.  If sunset portraits are of the utmost importance to you, build the timeline around when you and your new husband will be outside catching that perfect light with your photographer.  If it is imperative that your great-grandmother be present for the cutting of the cake and you know she won't stay past 8pm, take that into consideration when mapping out the order of events.

- Include your vendors in the building of the timeline.  You hired each of them because of their ability to perform their craft so well.  Let them educate you on what they do and how much time they need to do it.

Daniel Pullen Photography
- Set aside a little quiet time for you and your new husband!  Whether it's immediately following the ceremony or during sunset, set aside just 5-10 minutes for the two of you to catch your breathe, sip some champagne, and give each other all the goofy grins because YOU'RE MARRIED!!

Fall-Inspired Styled Shoot with elovephotos

Hi friends!!  I'm so stinking excited to be able to share more of the fall-inspired styled shoot I put together with elovephotos and a group of some incredible vendors last fall!!  This shoot definitely goes down in history as one of my very favorites I've ever worked on.  The models were adorable {the groom is a friend of mine from high school}, the details were gorgeous, and did I mention we had a DONKEY that wore a FLOWER CROWN?!

Sorry, I didn't mean to yell at you.  But COME ON....Gus is just the most adorable donkey I've ever seen and I've now spent the last year trying to convince Wes that we should get Wyatt a donkey brother.  Sadly, he hasn't gone for it...yet.

Anyways, Emily reached out to me about putting a shoot together and I was so pumped to work with her!  She's one of the funniest and sweetest photographers I know and I loved getting to put our heads together to bring this vision to life.  The shoot was just featured on Burnett's Boards last month and I'm so excited to share some of my favorite images with you!

Our vision definitely wouldn't have come together the way it did without the help of our incredible vendor team.  Thank you all so much for all your creative magic!!

Photography: elovephotos  //  Coordination: Just Dandy Events  //  Gown: House of Maya Bridal  //  Hair: Bonnie Dreyer  //  Makeup: Stacey Williamson  //  Jewelry: Adele Diamond  //  Furniture: Paisley & Jade  //  Sweets: Whipped Up By Mimi  //  Linens and Chargers: Waterford Event Rentals  // Paper Goods: Ro & Co Designs  //  Florals & Styling: Ester Roberts  // Hand Lettering: House of Flourish  //  Models: Drew Shortt & Jessica Skeeter

My Wolfpack

Hey ya'll!  Happy Thanksgiving week!!  And yes, I do tend to celebrate the entire week.  I'm wrapping this week up into two days and then heading out of town.  I'll be mountain-bound with Wes & Wyatt so that we can spend a few days with family, eating too much, hiking a little bit, fishing a whole lot, and playing football with the kids.  This is my favorite week of the entire year and I'm just so glad it's finally here!

But before I go off the grid, I wanted to share some of my most cherished pictures ever.  A couple weeks ago, the Wolfpack and I headed out to Smithfield to have pictures taken by Sharon Elizabeth Photography.  We were all so excited....for a few reasons.  Liz had told the rest of us a hundred times how fun Sharon is and we couldn't wait to crack up with her.  We were really looking forward to some updated headshots for each of us.  I'm so beyond happy with my new headshots from Sharon!  She had me cracking up the entire time and it was such a blast!

Most of all though, we were super pumped to get pictures of the four of us together!  All Wolfpack pictures up to this point were taken on our phones, usually at horrible angles, and not exactly something to write home about.  So we couldn't wait for Sharon to really capture our goofy friendship!

If you follow me at all, you know how much I adore my Wolfpack.  Angie, Heidi, & Liz are a constant source of support, belly laughs, and brilliant ideas.  We're constantly bouncing our crazy goals off one another and then pushing each other to accomplish them.  We're what one might call business besties but I promise we're also real life friends.  We love each others families, talk daily about normal every day stuff, and get together for wine & snacks as often as life allows.  We're always each others plus ones to vendor events and take plenty of embarrassing pictures and videos whenever we hang out.  We're each so crazy different from one another, but we completely "get" each other and our businesses.  Our friendship is one for the books and something I'm thankful for every single day.

Left to Right: Angie McPherson Photography  //  Heidi Calma Photography  //  Elizabeth Henson Photos  //  Just Dandy Events

Liz and I met while working a wedding together back in 2014.  We bonded over our vendor meals while talking about our blossoming businesses and I remember leaving the wedding thinking, "I have GOT to work with Liz again soon."  Her enthusiasm for business and helping others was just so contagious!  We planned our first styled shoot together that October and have been #vendorsoulmates ever since!

Heidi & I met when she attended Liz's workshop that was our first styled shoot.  Liz had talked about her tons before that and I was so excited to finally meet her.  She showed up, all smiles, and I knew I needed to be friends with her.  Since then, Heidi and I have worked on quite a few projects together and had the best time doing so.  Every time we get together it's constant laughing.  She's definitely the more introverted one of our group and I absolutely love how she balances us out.

Angie and I became friends while we worked together on a wedding in 2015 and since then I've tried to book as many weddings with her as possible.  Not only does she take incredible care of my couples....she also makes the wedding days so much fun!!!  I can always count on her for a quick lesson in social media or advertising and to catch up on the latest episode of How To Get Away With Murder.

I can't imagine where JDE would be today without the unwavering support of these ladies.  Gosh I can't imagine where I would be!  They remind me every day to value myself and my craft, and to constantly push myself to be better and go bigger.  They're the first ones to dish out some #realtalk, telling me to stop making excuses and to "make it happen" and I love them so much for that.

Thank you so much to Sharon for these awesome pictures that totally capture our friendship.  We had the very best time being wild and inappropriate with you!!!  And to Dhalia Edwards for making us feel oh so pretty....you're the bomb girlfriend!! 

A Kate Spade Inspired Thanksgiving Styled Shoot

Hey ya'll!  I'm so excited to share this shoot with you!  I tasked JDE Intern Lauren with putting together a styled shoot on her own as a sort of "senior project" before her internship wrapped up.  To say she made me proud would be a huge understatement.  She totally knocked it out of the park!  Read on to hear all about her process and to see the incredible pictures from Heather Papineau Photography.

"My very first event with Just Dandy Events was a styled shoot at the gorgeous Lee Hall Mansion, so it's only fitting that my last event with Holly was another styled shoot.  Only this time, it was my OWN!  I spent three-ish months planning and let me tell you....it was something!  My planning process was a little confusing and a little stressful but a whole lot of fun.  It was certainly more difficult than I'd anticipated but one of the most rewarding learning experiences I've had!

From the very start, I knew what vision I wanted to bring to life - the holidays!  If you know me at all, you know that Thanksgiving and Christmas are my very favorite times of the year.  I wanted to bring to life all of the things I love about it - going to my parents' home for dinner, listening to Kenny G's Christmas CD with my mom, being surrounded by my favorite people in the world, and eating my little heart out.  Another detail that was important to me was the thought of tradition.  In my family, you can count on a few things: One, there will always be collard greens in my Nan Nan's ceramic turkey.  Two, we always put the rolls in a big ice cream bucket.  It's just what we do.  And three, there will always always always be pie!  Since my Nan Nan's passing two years ago, we've made sure to continue her tradition of homemade chocolate, coconut, and pumpkin pies.  Pie isn't my favorite dessert...but I just knew I had to incorporate it somehow!

The other thing I love most in this world is Kate Spade.  I've always said she is my spirit animal!  I wanted to put a modern twist on Thanksgiving - to bring together the feeling of "home" and tradition, but in a modern way.  I thought to myself, "If I was having a friendsgiving, what would I want it to look like?"  The answer?  Polka dots and pretty fall colors and flowers everywhere!  I wanted a metallic color - like copper - mized with cranberry and ivory.  A little neutral with a little sparkle.  And so my "modern Kate Spade inspired Thanksgiving" styled shoot was conceptualized.

From there, I had to decide on a venue, models {or no models}, vendors, and more.  Holly let me tag along on a site visit to Hollyfield Manor in Manquin, Virginia.  As soon as I saw the fireplace and chandeliers, I knew I had to have my shoot here.  It was pretty much the easiest decision I made the entire shoot!  I still wasn't sure about using models....as Holly mentioned, it can make things complicated.  I decided to take her advice and plan a details-only shoot and I am SO glad I did!  I'm super detail oriented so I loved getting to make sure everything looked just right.  I think it made my first styled shoot a little simpler and was a good way to get experience with doing a shoot.

When it came to vendors, the decisions got more difficult.  I'm thankful that Holly had already lined up the lovely Heather Papineau to photograph the shoot.  I struggled, though, and felt stressed over getting vendors booked right this minute.  Holly helped me compile a list of potential vendors and I sent e-mail after e-mail in hopes they'd be on board.  I'd been following a few of them on Instagram, like Rachel of Rachel Bakes and Waterford Event Rentals and had already fallen in love with their work.  I'm glad I was able to use a few vendors I was already familiar with or had worked with via Holly before.  I had no clue about the paper products or flowers, so I went with Holly's suggestions {which were perfect}.  Rentals took a little longer to decide on, so I went and visited Sharon with Chic Unique Rentals & Events.  She showed me her dark wood farm table and it was love at first sight!  It was such a relief when I'd booked all of my vendors....all that was left were the little details!

Perhaps the most complicated part of the shoot was that I had to purchase some items myself.  I knew this happened sometimes, as it did with my first event with Holly.  I felt like a lot of the pressure was on me to not only make sure the color scheme and shoot looked good, but that the details fit in perfectly.  For a few weeks, I hunted for the perfect plates, wine glasses, and other items.  I spent an entire afternoon hunting down those darn mini pumpkins {seriously, why does no one carry those?!}.  My husband can tell you that I was stressed out.  Like, really stressed.  What would I do without the perfect silverware?  Why was the ribbon I bought so stiff?  These worries worried me for weeks on end until it finally came to be the day of the shoot....

By the time the shoot rolled around, I was feeling pretty anxious.  Everything was done, now just came the part where we had to put it all together!  Holly and I arrived at Hollyfield and were greeted by the sweetest little puppy, so I knew it was going to be a good day!  Holly and I started the day by getting stickers off wine glasses {which I completely forgot to do beforehand}, so that was a little nerve wracking.  I had to remind myself to breathe!  Thanks to Tracy at Hollyfiend, we got it done and got everything set up in under an hour.  After the last place setting was set, the candles lit, and the fireplace turned on, I stepped back to admire it.  It. Was. Perfect.  I was so impressed by how well everything came together.  I literally wanted to sit down at that table and have Thanksgiving dinner!  It was that moment that I knew my vision had come to life.

My styled shoot was absolutely perfect.  All of the time spent gathering items, booking vendors, and worrying {as I so often do} was worth it.  Heather gave us a sneak peak of some of the photos and all I could think was "We did that.  I did that!"  I am so thankful to have gotten the opportunity to experience planning a styled shoot with such an incredible group of ladies.  This process showed me that I need to have a little more faith in myself and learn to relinquish the control sometimes.  I also learned that relationships are incredibly important in the wedding industry; I'm blessed to have built relationships with each of the women I worked with.  Finally, the process reminded me how much I love doing this.  I am so excited to see where this new career path takes me!

As you look through these photos, I hope you'll feel the same warm and fuzzy feeling that I did.  I hope it'll bring a little bit of "home" into your office or wherever you are.  I hope that you have the happiest of Thanksgivings - thank you for following me on this journey with Just Dandy Events!"

Thank you to our incredible team of vendors!!
Photography: Heather Papineau Photography  //  Coordination: Lauren with Just Dandy Events  //  Venue: Hollyfield Manor  //  Linens: Waterford Event Rentals  //  Florals: C&J Floral Design  //  Sweets: Rachel Bakes  //  Paper Products: Paperdolls Design Inc  //  Rentals: Chic Unique Vintage Rentals

Ellen & Jake - Oyster Farm at Kings Creek

Oh friends!  I'm so excited to share this wedding with ya'll!  Ellen & Jake were married on October 8th at the Oyster Farm at Kings Creek in Cape Charles.  We had the prettiest Eastern Shore-inspired wedding planned and I'm beyond happy to say that, despite Hurricane Matthew trying to wreck the party, we totally pulled it off.  If you had looked at Ellen & Jake's faces, or the faces of their guests, you'd never have known there was a storm raging outside.  Everyone was so present and so happy to see these two say I Do...it gave me all the happy feels throughout the whole day.

I could go on and on about how much I loved this couple, their family and friends, and their beautiful wedding, but instead I'll let the images from Elizabeth Henson Photos speak for me.  I will say though that working with my #vendorsoulmate on a wedding is one of my favorite things in the world.  I just love how she captures our couples!

Congratulations Ellen & Jake!  I adore you both so much and loved seeing you so happy on your beautiful day!!

Also a HUGE thank you goes out to all the incredible vendors that helped to make this wedding day absolutely perfect.  We truly had a dream team on our hands that day and I love each and every one of you to pieces for making my job so much fun!

  Venue: Oyster Farm at Kings Creek  //  Coordinator: Just Dandy Events  //  Photographer: Elizabeth Henson Photos  //  Cake: Incredible Edibles  //  Florist: Seagrass Floral  //  DJ: Astro DJ  //  Hair: Beach Bridal Artistry  //  Makeup: Makeup By Kim Porter  //  Officiant: Cotton Markert

Lessons Learned from JDE Intern Lauren

These past two months, I’ve gotten to tag along with Holly and play “wedding coordinator assistant” at my very first #jdeweddings! It was definitely a whirlwind of different emotions- nervous, excited, anxious and completely in love! Here’s what I learned:

Holly has one of the most stressful jobs ever: I’m not kidding- google it! Seeing the way she handled her timeline, certain unexpected situations (like Hurricane Matthew requiring we use our rain plan!) and interacting with the couple and other wedding vendors really impressed me. Maybe I’m a little biased, but she works incredibly hard and is SO good at what she does. I admire her for that!

You’re more than just a planner: At each wedding, I was more than just the “assistant wedding coordinator.” I was the champagne-pourer, the oyster-shell-arranger, the milk-carton-finder (for some of the littlest wedding guests) and a voice for Holly whenever someone had a question or concern.

You will be out of your comfort zone: Had I ever popped champagne bottles before? Heck no! Both weddings were filled with “firsts” that caused me to be a little out of my comfort zone but that was okay! Despite being so nervous, I learned some new skills and gained experience that’ll help me as I continue in this industry.

You’ve got to be confident!: At my first wedding, I felt a little like a lost puppy while pouring champagne or answering questions. My response was often “Let me check with/find/get Holly!” By the second wedding, I felt more confident and comfortable. I tried my best to stay calm, get an answer to a question promptly (and write the requestor’s name down so I could find them later) and double check with Holly when I needed to. I learned that no matter the situation, you’ve got to show that you’re calm and confident.

You do you: Working alongside Holly on wedding days has taught me a lot about myself. Even though I felt nervous, anxious and overwhelmed, there was nothing I couldn’t handle (either by myself or with some help!). Also, it’s okay to be your (overly organized, helpful) self! For me, this meant writing literally every single question, comment or note I heard down so I would refer to it later and asking “Is there anything I can help with?” a million times over. These experiences have helped me develop my problem-solving skills, enhance my organization and multi-tasking and become more sure of myself.

I have loved every single nerve-wracking, exciting and “aww-” inducing moment of wedding coordination. I cannot wait to use all that I’ve learned during my time with Holly as I begin a new adventure!  I am so thrilled to be putting my social media skills to good use at an internship with Misty Prewitt of Misty Saves the Day.  I have also accepted my first job in the wedding industry as an assistant event manager at a local wedding venue!  I cannot wait to continue being a part of couples’ “best day ever!”

Elizabeth Henson Photos

Sentimental Details

Sometimes a wedding can feel very scripted.  The guests enter and take their seats.  The bride walks down the aisle to meet her groom.  The couple exchanges vows and rings, they kiss, and then the party begins.  Everything, from the dress to the details, can make you have a bit of déjà vu, like you've seen all this before.  So how can couples keep their wedding from seeming like "another typical wedding"?

A great way to keep that from happening is to incorporate some really meaningful and sentimental details throughout the day.  I'm not talking about a 20 minute photo montage of the two of you from birth to engagement.  But the little, personal details are a great way to make sure that your personalities are reflected, both individually and as a couple.  They'll ensure your guests leave with a better sense of who the two of you are, even if they've known you forever.

Incorporate Family
Mementos that the bride or groom can carry down the aisle with them offer a reminder of beloved family members.  These can be tied to the bride's bouquet or onto the groom's boutonniere.

Angie McPherson Photography
Another way to incorporate family is to wear your mother's or grandmother's gown.  You could also sew a piece of your dad's or grandfather's shirt inside your gown, or don a piece of heirloom jewelry from the family as your "something borrowed".

I've even seen a bride's father tie a piece of her baby blanket around the stem of her bouquet.  Adorable!

Incorporate Special Music
Is there a song that means a lot to the two of you as a couple, but just isn't meant to be a first dance?  Play that during your recessional!  Maybe "Benny & the Jets" or "Wouldn't It Be Nice"??  These would make such a fun exit from your ceremony and such a special touch if they mean something to the two of you. 

Personalize the Ceremony 
Have you and your fiance known each other for many years?  Incorporate a funny story of your early years together into the ceremony!  I once had a couple that had known each other since elementary school.  During their ceremony, they displayed a picture from their year book, showing where the bride had written "hottie" under the groom's picture.  THE BEST!

Sami Proctor Photography and Design
   Has your pastor known the two of you for many years?  Suggest they tell a story during the ceremony that some may not know!

Handwritten Sentiments
Small treasures, like a handwritten letter, aren't just for your soon-to-be spouse.  Make the day special for your bridesmaids, your parents, or your soon-to-be in-laws with handwritten notes on the wedding day.

Elizabeth Henson Photos
Personal Vows
This is a more obvious way to add personality and sentiment to your big day, but it's definitely a favorite of mine!  Writing your own vows or even modifying traditional vows to reflect what each other means to you is such a sweet and heartfelt touch to a wedding day.

What different ways did you bring sentimental elements into your wedding day?  I'd love to hear about it!

Vendor Friends

Just Dandy Events has been fortunate enough to work with some truly incredible vendors in the industry, many of which have become valued friends.  Here are just a few of our favorites that we trust without a doubt to take amazing care of our couples!




Rachel Bakes



Save vs. Splurge: Bachelorette Party Ideas

Hey ya'll!  Are you or your BFF planning a last fling before the ring?  If so, check out some of these bachelorette party ideas for every bride and budget!

For the Foodie Bride
Save: Host your very own Bubbles & Butter party!  This party includes sweet treat decorating and tasting, coupled with cocktails for each dessert pairing!  Email bubblesandbutterplease@gmail.com to find out more about how to host your very own sweet soiree!
Splurge: Map out some of the bride's favorite local eateries {restaurants, bars, food trucks, etc.}, pile the girls in the car and enjoy indulging at each location!  Apps & cocktails at one, dinner at the next, then dessert at a third?  Sounds like the best kind of evening!

Andrew & Tianna Photography

 For the Active Bride
Save: Get the endorphins going with a private group class at your local Purre Barre or other dance studio.
Splurge: Go Ape! in Williamsburg at a ropes course, perfect for the adventurous group of gals!

For the Creative Bride
Save: Host your very own paint night at home!  Find a picture, grab some paints & canvases, and brush up on your paint skills!  Don't forget the music and snacks {and cocktails}!
Splurge: Choose a local Paint Night event in your area, arrange a limo to pick up the bridal party, and paint the town {and canvases}!

For the Stressed Out Bride
Save: Create a spa oasis in your home for the bride and the rest of the maids.  Grab the clay masks, nail polish, and relaxing music and don your favorite cozy robe for a night of pampering.
Splurge: Book mani/pedis, facials, and massages for the bridal party.  Bonus points if you include bubbly!

Angie McPherson Photography
 For the Spontaneous Bride
Save: Go on a weekend adventure exploring a city nearby - think DC, Charlottesville, Richmond, or the Outer Banks!
Splurge: Have the bride pick a city - Myrtle Beach, New York, maybe even Cancun - and spend a few days exploring with the ladies!

What other ideas have you tried for a unique bachelorette party experience?  I'd love to hear them!

Building Your Wedding Brand - Ro & Co Designs

Hey ya'll!  Happy Monday!  You've all heard plenty about Rosalie of Ro & Co Designs here on the blog before.  She was a 2015 JDE bride, turned friend, turned my all-time favorite graphic designer.  I must send her a request at least once a month of something new I need designed and she hits the nail on the head every.single.time.

Today she's here to teach us a bit about wedding branding!

Hey there!  I'm Rosalie with Ro & Co Designs and I am so excited to share with you what I consider to be the secret ingredient that will help you personalize and fuse together every detail of your wedding day .... Friends, I give you Wedding Branding!

Wedding Branding can be defined as the overall look and feel that you have chosen for your special day.  I like to think of it as the expression of you and your fiance's love through meaningful, cohesive design.  It helps to tell your story visually and emotionally so you are able to connect your story to every element of the big day!

You may or may not have met my frenemy, Pinterest.  I remember when I first got engaged, I immediately unlocked that "secret" wedding board I had been pinning to over the years {that's right - years.  Guys, my husband waited 7 years to propose....a girl had to dream out loud somewhere} and I felt so overwhelmed.  I'm talking major bridentity crisis.  I had pinned rustic barns, bohemian hair styles, ballgowns galore, mason jars, and nautical bottle opener favors...all in one board.  This is where wedding branding rides in on its big white horse to save the day.

Establishing your branding early on in the planning process helps you focus your vision and "see" it in action, allowing you to make more informed choices along the way.  Not to mention, it's extremely helpful for your vendors to see what you're envisioning in terms of specific colors, design elements, and the overall aesthetic you've dreamed of.  This results in a unified look that ties your whole day together and truly captures your essence as a couple.  Most importantly, a strong and consistent brand has the power to transform an already beautiful event into an unforgettable and meaningful experience that you and your guests will always remember.

Here's the fun part!  Here are some tips to help you and yours find your "brand".

I know this sounds daunting.  But start with a simple conversation between you and your fiance and create a list of things that represent you as a couple.  What do you like to do together?  Where are your favorite places to visit?  What kind of experience do you want to give your guests?  Are you rustic?  Nautical?  Preppy?  Whimsical?  By asking these types of questions, you should be able to pick 4-5 words that define who you are together.

Before you get too far into the planning process, you have to figure out when and where your nuptials will take place {if you haven't already}!  This will not only lay the foundation for all design choices, but it will determine vendor availability and really put the planning into overdrive.  WOO!

Now that you have an idea what you want to represent and when/where your wedding will take place, you can determine your colors, patterns/textures, fonts, and even a logo!  This is where I like to create an inspiration board for my couples to present their very own unique brand.

Your wedding inspiration board should include the following:
color palette
Start by picking one or two colors that you two adore, and build off of them with accents.  OK - so this is where Pinterested becomes a bestie again {DARN YOU} as it can be a wonderful tool to find colors that complement one another without overpowering.

As you peruse through wedding blogs and magazines, try to find images that reflect your overall style.  ANd keep in mind that textures and patterns can be a subtle way to create a strong image for your day.  Do you find yourself gravitating towards nautical stripes?  What about bold Lily patterns?  Or maybe you can't stop pinning rustic wood images.  Incorporating these textures into your wedding stationery can be a great way to really set the tone for your guests from the get go.

logo and fonts
A wedding logo?!  Yes, the exist and they are the strongest ingredient in successfully weaving your brand throughout every detail.  You can opt for a custom designed logo or monogram, as well as two complementary fonts to use on all of your paper goods!  From your save the dates and wedding invitations, to your wedding website, to your reception signage and favors, all the way to your thank you cards.  This is where your wedding brand comes to life and what will make your wedding day truly memorable!  By taking this time to brand each element, your guests will actually notice the continuity and appreciate the thought that went into every decision.

Branding a wedding is a fun way to make it memorable, but you do want to avoid going overboard.  Focus on keeping it personal and meaningful, and you'll achieve that perfect balance that comes with a beautiful branded wedding that reflects what's most important here - your life as a married couple!