Monday, December 30, 2013

Hemingway Inspired Destination Wedding

Today I was reminded of one of my favorite weddings on Captiva, Florida at South Seas Island Resort.
Jen and Des designed some their own decorations for this very Hemingway themed wedding.
Des, the groom, wore a personalized tie clip. I love his style! 

 Jen and Des on the boardwalk to Captiva beach, behind Chapel by the Sea. 

The Muller's captured this traditional wedding photo on the sand dunes making it a little less traditional!

Chapel by the Sea is known for their traditional sea glass blue pews.

Just married!

The bridesmaids wore sophisticated, but beach perfect, strapless, knee length, turquoise dresses.

Instead of a typical guestbook the bride and groom used a Hemingway coffee table book and asked guests to leave notes under the images. 

 The vintage labels above the card box and guest book were collected by the bride during the months we were planning her wedding.

For seating, the groom used titles of Hemingway's manuscripts & made an authentic looking covers.
Each title was actually the name of a guest dining table.
Under each title he put the guest's names. 

 The bride and groom collected several 
antique, Hemingway themed items to display at their wedding for decoration.

 Des designed all the paper details including the table name, menu cards, and place cards.
To make the reception feel a little less traditional-been there-done that, we used longer rectangular Kings tables that sat 8-12 guests each.  These are great for low and long centerpieces like these.
The bouquets included roses, succulents, and green viburnum.

We love what Floral Artistry created for the table centerpieces.
Including the fruits made it very island authentic. 

For more images from this wedding, check out our real wedding pinterest board

A wedding in the US Virgin Islands (Married in a Synagogue)

Just because you're planning a destination wedding, it doesn't mean that you can't still have the traditional wedding ceremony that you've always dreamed of.  The US Virgin Islands have some of the oldest and most incredibly beautiful synagogues and churches that I have ever seen.  All are rich in history and grandeur in the most feel good ways.  Seriously - you just feel good in these places.
In St Thomas I visited St Thomas Synagogue(Charlotte Amalie St). This synagogue is the oldest in the contiguous United States! When marrying at the synagogue, the signing of the ketubah and the bedekken are also included in the services.
Aren't the dark mahogany woods and blue cushions on the benches perfect for a Caribbean wedding? What makes it even more island...the sand floors!  You can read more about the theories of the sand floors here.

As you know, wedding ceremonies can't take place until after sunset on Saturdays.  All the more reason to have a chandelier lit ceremony.  The center chandelier uses REAL candles.

For information on getting married at this hystoric synagogue, email mina.synagogue{at}
For great information on the US Virgin Islands, go to  Its a great resource for gathering information on having a destination wedding on St Thomas or St John.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

A wedding in the US Virgin Islands (Caneel Bay, St John)

If you're looking for a destination venue that offers everything that you would have in a luxury resort and at the same time the the most relaxed, unplugged and "away" you've ever felt; The resort at Caneel Bay is a place that I would highly recommend that you check out.
  Located on the island of St John, this resort boasts so many of these to die for views

The cottages are so un-hotel.  Love this about Caneel bay.

Beach front cottage?  Yes please.  Imagine waking up here and taking the 6 steps down to ...

 THIS.  Actually, this is the ceremony location.  Not that its any less disappointing.
At the top of the hill near the ruins (yes, real ruins) there is the estate house.

Courtyard of the estate house

Dinner in the ruins?

Or a tented reception?

Maybe move inside...just for dinner.

For great information on the US Virgin Islands, go to  Its a great resource for gathering information on having a destination wedding on St Thomas or St John.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

A wedding in the US Virgin Islands (Ritz Carlton, St Thomas)

This past summer I had the pleasure of touring the US Virgin Islands to scout for a few great wedding venues and fun destination wedding excursions & activities.  Boy did I ever hit the jackpot! Here is my first post in the series, highlighting The Ritz Carlton on the island of St Thomas.

The Ritz Carlton St Thomas is spectacular.  There are several outdoor and indoor waterfront locations to choose from for all your weekend events.  I especially loved the wedding gazebo that seemed to hang over the super blue waters of the Caribbean. The resort is also an easy drive in and out of town (shopping & restaurants) and to/from the airport.

One of the many outdoor dining areas overlooking the waters and surrounding islands.
Perfect for a welcome reception, wedding reception or farewell brunch.

The courtyard of the lobby building.  Whats cool about it - there aren't any interior walls!  Everything is open air.  So beautiful.
For great information on the US Virgin Islands, go to  Its a great resource for gathering information on having a destination wedding on St Thomas or St John.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

From my family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving! Oh, and get ready for the questions.

This is my family: Kelly, Emily, Madeline and I.  Krista over at Impressions Photography took this photo for us a few weeks ago.  I am thankful for her years of friendship and professional expertise. I am thankful for this amazing family that I have. Sometimes Kelly helps with weddings. Mostly when I forget something at the studio and he has to drive it out to me last minute.  Madeline has assisted at nearly a dozen weddings now.  She's grown up with it...she already knows so much.  But it still amazes me how proactive she is on wedding days. Emily keeps our family in check, I don't know how we'd get through the wedding weeks sometimes- she always has a plan for everything (and a grocery list texted to us when the pantry is empty and nobody noticed).

So it's the start of the holiday season.  Over the next 6 weeks you will see so many of your close family and friends and they will all have 2 common things for you: Questions and opinions.  Your wedding will without doubt be the topic of the season.  To prepare, decide in advance what you're willing to talk about, and what you want to keep a surprise.  The best thing you can do is to speak about your excitement but not give away to many details.  Especially because the more you give the more "advice" you're given and will be expected to take!  It can be overwhelming, but be "Thankful" for this great period that you are celebrating your engagement.

Monday, November 04, 2013

Please oh please, send him to the tailor

Lindsey at Hyatt Coconut Point by Impressions Photography Weddings by Socialites
Lindsey by Impressions Photography
Ladies, some of you will have 3-4 alteration appointments to ensure that your dress fits like a glove.  Why?  So that you can not only look your absolute best, but so that you will feel your absolute best. 

However, our grooms, for some reason they tend to fall through the cracks.  Some of you will stand next to your groom and pose for photos while he is wearing the most ill fitting suit or tuxedo because the same thought was not put into how well his attire looks. Can we just stop this madness?
Alright, maybe its not madness, but it is important.  He will thank you.  Your photographer will thank you.  Please send your groom to the tailor.  Have him properly measured and his suit or tuxedo fit to a T. Please trust me when I say that you will be so glad that you did
Lindsey and Derek at Hyatt Coconut Point by Impressions Photography Weddings by Socialites
Lindsey & Derek by Impressions Photography

Monday, September 30, 2013

Fall Bridal Market 2013

Pnina Tornai at Kleinfeld NY Bridal Market
Pnina Tornai at Kleinfeld NY Bridal Market
We're looking forward to another amazing International Bridal Market in New York later this month!  Be sure to follow me once again via my instagram & twitter feeds live from the runways and wedding industry events. ----> @weddingtidbits

From the Anne Barge Runway to the Pnina Tornai show at Kleinfeld Bridal to the Martha Stewart Weddings Market Party and the ISS Magazine Soiree we'll make sure that you get a view of all the gorgeous new collections, wedding fashion and industry trends!

Are there any designers you'd love us to cover?  Let me know, and we'll do our best to get there.

Kelly McWilliams at Christian Siriano Design Studio

Thursday, September 12, 2013

A $400 reason for wedding professionals to read this blog post.

$400 is a pretty good sum of money.  It's even better when you're given the opportunity to earn that much & ten-fold (and quite possibly far more) because you:
  1. Learned something new...
  2. Were introduced to a new way of accomplishing ...
  3. Because you were introduced to someone who taught you how to think differently about your business...
  4. Found an amazing resource you didn't even realize was out there...
  5. Were reminded of why you're in this business and inspired to do it-live it-make it better...
-----> And that is where Inspire Smart Success comes in.  Here is your opportunity.  The door is open...walk in.  Oh wait!  Let me make it easier for you to get there:  Here's a link to register as one of my guests at $400 off the regular registration rate (this is for new registrants only and you'll need to register as alumni) and then type Weddings by Socialites as the "WHO CAN WE THANK FOR REFERRING YOU TO ATTEND ISSE PALM BEACH?"
I'll be speaking at this outstanding conference with 20 incredible wedding business and motivational speakers.  It is a great opportunity and I really hope that I will see you there.  I truly mean it; I want to see you there!  Tweet me @weddingtidbits to let me know you registered!

Really now?  Imagine being surrounded by all of these people?  How could you not walk away with fantastic insight and a greater knowledge of this incredible business that we are in?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Art Deco inspired wedding in Florida? Sure why not.

I had so much fun designing this wedding.  When Jessica called me and said, "Old Hollywood, Glamour, Grandiose, Black, Silver..." I went ballistic with excitement!  We had so much fun pulling this one together and I think this video shows it perfectly.

Bonita Bay Country Club Wedding - Jessica + Keith from iheART Films on Vimeo.
My favorite part of watching this video?  It reminded me of everything.  Right down to our original image it all started with:
I originally found this image on Pinterest, and I believe the photographer is Becker

It really was the most perfect Bonita Springs day. 

Friday, August 02, 2013

Vintaged church pews & moss filled Oak trees; My first Florida "Southern" wedding

Vintage styled church pews and benches, moss filled Oak trees, a peach wing backed chair, honey candy filled mason jars, Amaranthus, white hydrangea and peach garden roses, white panel sheers and pool blue linens, 3 wedding cakes (one with red velvet), a lantern lit path to dinner, a flower girl with loads of tulle, a bride and groom so full of love.  This is the perfect southern wedding and I adore it.
The wedding planning and design that went into this day was an experience that I am so grateful to have had and I am so happy to share this iheart film with you.

Southern Waters Wedding - Sarah + Brett from iheART Films on Vimeo.

Our creative talent:
Signature Florals, Hope Artistry & Yum Yum Cakes

And the team who made the day a true celebration:
Stereophonic DJs, Jamie Lee Photography, Ellas Vintage Rentals, Pastor Tom Funk
Venue: Southern Waters

If you're looking for where to rent vintage styled furniture for your wedding, here are 2 resources that we recommend.  Please keep in mind that most of these boutique rental companies rent direct only to industry professionals on behalf of brides.  Keep in mind that each company is going to have completely different and unique collections:
Ellas Vintage Rentals
All Things Vintage

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The difference between Vintage, Retro and Antique

The truth is I never felt completely comfortable using the word Vintage because I wasn't truly certain what made something vintage.  I still used the word, but to do this day I am waiting to get called out on it.  Today after a little bit of research,  I *think* I've got it somewhat narrowed down for all of us.  Let me start by saying this though - there doesn't seem to be a very strict rule book on these words.  Although I am certain an antique connoisseur would completely disagree with me on this.  However, I'm going to go with the following from now on when it comes to all things weddings and social events:

Retro doesn't necessarily have to be an old item.  Its just something that looks like its from a different time period.  Basically, if it isn't something created with todays themes/styles...its retro. So if you had those cute little glass bottle cokes at your wedding- those are retro because they're new.  Well, at least I hope they aren't from the 1970's!  Also, I noticed that when using the word Retro, you should include the decade you're establishing, "1950s Retro"

Vintage can be narrowed down to anything 50-100 years old.  But I did come across some sites that mentioned "New Vintage".  These seemed to be in the 20-50 year old range.  No matter what though, it seems the easiest way to make sure that you aren't breaking any rules is to just say "vintage inspired" when you're trying to evoke the feeling of an item from a era gone by.
Antique is 100 years old or older.  This is the one that seemed to be the most well defined.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Wedding vendors can't act

Here's the thing, wedding vendors can't act. It's true. I'm about to prove it to you. However all the best wedding vendors LOVE weddings.  It's actually really great for you that we can't act. {This unless you count purposely being cheesy as acting} Because if we could, we would not be good at bringing you the most incredible celebration of your life.
You see, it takes a special person to be a wedding vendor.  To be in this industry you really have to have the heart and love for weddings because we are counted on making your most important date the best it possibly can be in some of the most difficult situations and we only get 1 shot to get it right.
And now I present to you, the proof that we can't act. Prepare to laugh at pure bad acting cheesiness from some of my favorite people who adore weddings.  Oh, and this video production was not professionally produced or edited (I haven't got a clue how I even got this loaded and the volume is terrible at best).

Special thanks to all the bad actors and FANTASTIC wedding professionals who dared to make this possible:
AMC Video; Wiley Entertainment; Tie the Knot Bridal; Matt Steeves Photography; Ashley Brockinton Photography; Impressions Photo; Hope Artistry; Botanicals on the Gulf; Audrey Snow Photography; Signature Florals;

Destination Wedding Straw Clutches

I came across these clutches while I was doing some scouting in Key West this weekend.
 How perfect are these for your pre and post parties? Besides being the perfectly sized, you can't beat the great prices!
Really, with the prices ranging from $23-$37 you could get one for your rehearsal dinner outfit, one to match your welcome reception attire, and another for your farewell brunch. Guess what? They have matching medallion cuffs too.
These would also make fantastic bridesmaids and house party gifts.
Where to find these mud pie clutches?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A photo begging for a great caption

This is the bride, groom, pastor and makeup artist; in the ladies room.
Boy did I get a giggle when I walked into this!
What would your caption be?

Friday, March 29, 2013

What to serve at cocktail hour

There are no shortage of great foods and drinks that you can serve at your wedding cocktail hour (Some venues refer to this hour as the reception).  Here are a few that I found on Pinterest.  I have many more pinned - go have a look!
Open faced Egg Roll from The Passionate Cook Blog

Raspberry Ginger Bellini Photo by Noel Barnhurst

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Martha Stewart Wedddings, the color issue, Ipad version!

Today I received my print copy of Martha Stewart weddings.  Its the color issue, which is my favorite.  Even better... its out on a digital version for your ipad! I know, get out of town, right?
Guess what?  You get a copy on me.  Well, technically its from the fab ladies over at the MSW offices, but you read it here.
To get your digital issue, click here and give the code: GFfPG7 (note the upper and lower case letters!). This code will be good through April 10th. Happy reading!
Be sure to have a look at the amazing bouquet on page 366.  I really kind of just want to have it forever and ever amen.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Behind the scenes at our weddings

Have you checked out our instagram feed?  Now that its online, you can see all our weddings behind the scenes, before and after. All from my perspective and bigger than on your iphone/smartphone.  You'll get a healthy dose of my crazy family and friends too (I love them all so much).  Here is a little peek I posted to instagram from this weekends weddings at Southern Waters in Ft Myers and LaPlaya in Naples, Florida:
 I honestly just want to never again use a banquet table for ceremony welcome again after this.
 Three cakes?  Sure, why not!
Sue at Signature Floral never ceases to amaze me.  The flowers for the ceremony and reception and all the little tables were so lovely.  I feel like she can read my mind sometimes.  Particularly when my mind is thinking of 8 different things wrapped into one.  Not too many people can do that!
No, you do not need to have your ballroom wedding looking stuffy. Kevin at Botanicals on the Gulf made the most wonderful centerpieces for these tables!  I loved that he was able to bring just the right amount of "soft" to the Navy and white striped linens we picked.
These images above and below are the real deal; What actually happens before the wedding ceremony.  Above breakdown:
1. Photographer Sam distracting baby FG#1 
2. Ashley Brockinton shooting bride and FOB as MOG approaches
3. MOH pulling splinter from FG#2 
4. MOB trying to rally FG#2-3-4 and probably wondering where FG#5 is
5. One of the best Nannys I have ever met, trying to bribe FG#3 with a tic tac that Photographer Sam brought.
Many more on the instagram feed so go check it out! Oh, and Clint Wiley from Wiley Entertainment also posted a video from the dance floor at the LaPlaya wedding:


FOB- Father of the bride
MOG- Mother of the groom
MOB- Mother of the bride
MOH- Maid/Matron of Honor
FG- Flower Girl

101 Destination Wedding Planning Tips

From the editors of Destination Weddings & Honeymoons