Kentucky Derby Tablescapes

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One of my favorite times of year is when the Kentucky Derby rolls around.  I've always been mesmerized by the celebrity of it all.  The  bright dresses, the big hats, oh, and of course the horses!  When I became engaged and began planning my bachelorette party with my girls (yes, that's right- I helped plan my own bachelorette party.  I am a planner after all.), I knew I wanted to go to The Derby.  When we arrived I finally saw what all the hoopla was about!

This year I was asked to collaborate with A Classic Party Rental, in Indianapolis, IN, to help design three tablescapes for their showroom, to be on display for the months of April, May, and June.  I knew as soon as they asked what I wanted the theme to be- Derby inspired table designs.  I just needed the perfect team of vendors to help bring my designs to life.  I reached out to Kaitlin Robinson, Founder and Designer of Athena Street Creative for all my paper goods.  I knew her eye for detail and love of color would be the perfect fit for what I had in mind.  Stephen Brooks, Paper Florist and Owner of The Paper Peony, was just what I needed for flowers since the designs would be up for three months and I wouldn't be able to use real flowers.  I chose Vanilla Bean Bakery for the Derby themed cookies that adorned the party table. Chloe Luka Photography rounded out the vendor team.  I love her fine art photo style and I knew I wanted the photos to be bright and airy. 

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I approached each table as if they were separate events.  The idea for the pink and green table came from wanting the bridal brunch to feel like a garden party.  I opted to use more delicate colors, with little pops of brighter colors in the floral design.  Athena Street created recipe cards to adorn each place setting.  A treat for the bride-to-be to walk away with after the bridal shower.  Each horseshoe donned a placecard for each guest.  She also designed an invitation suite to go along with the table design.  The boxwood placemats added the finishing touches to tie in the garden feel.  I purchased them from Pier 1 Imports.

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The second table represented a Derby party with both men and women guests.  I wanted it to be bright and fun so I opted for a seafoam green striped table cloth, more understated glassware, vibrant flowers, and bright paper goods.  Each placesetting was complete with a betting card, a horseshoe cookie, and a mint julep- the official drink of the Derby, which made the table feel like it was right in the Grandstand.  

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The last table symbolized a Derby inspired wedding reception.  I wanted it to feel rich and luxurious so I opted for white and gold rather than bright colors.  I wanted it to feel very modern so I used a geometric, gold candleholder from Crate and Barrel.  I used it as the focal point, rather than a floral arrangement.  We decided to use single white stems in wine glasses for the flowers.  Very seamless and minimal.  We topped off each placesetting with a gold horse, to tie in our Race for the Roses.

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While you may not be able to go to the Kentucky Derby this year, you can at least feel like you're there with a little Derby party of your own.  If you're looking for more pictures of the Derby Inspired Tablescapes, head on over to A Classic Party Rental's Blog.

Vendor Team:

Blush and Blossom Events

A Classic Party Rental

Chloe Luka Photography

Athena Street Creative

The Paper Peony

Vanilla Bean Bakery

Pier 1 Imports

Crate & Barrel

Emily + Demetrice | A Modern Industrial Wedding at Neidhammer


Emily and Demetrice had one of the most authentic and fun weddings I’ve ever attended.  They were one of my last weddings of the year, and by far one of my favorites. I knew Emily and Demetrice from working together for years as teachers, however then they were Emily and Demetrice, the colleagues, not Emily and Demetrice, the couple.  When Emily reached out to me to plan her wedding, I couldn’t wait to meet the lucky fellow who had finally swept Emily off her feet. When she told me it was Demetrice, I was floored! All this time they were together and I never knew. You can imagine my excitement to plan this wedding!  I love helping couples craft beautiful weddings, but when I know them personally, it’s an extra special feat.

When I asked Emily how she wanted her wedding to feel, she said comfortable, fun, and laid back.  Not only did Emily want to ensure that her and Demetrice’s personality resonated in every detail of the wedding, but she even went as far to make her own bouquet and floral arrangements.  The Motown inspired live band was the perfect addition to this vivacious wedding. Stiles Studios did a fantastic job capturing the love and energy on this crisp November day.


Vendor Team:

Photography: The Stiles Studio

Venue: Neidhammer

Planning: Blush and Blossom Events

Cakes and Desserts: Fresh Market

Hair: Megan Meyer

Makeup: Jacey Griggs

Gown: The Wedding Studio

Bridesmaids Dresses: David’s Bridal

Shoes: Toms

Entertainment: Groove Theory

Catering: Nameless Catering

The Pros of Doing a First Look on Your Wedding Day  

Photo Credit: Christa Hitchcock Photography

Photo Credit: Christa Hitchcock Photography

I had the pleasure of having drinks with midwest wedding photographer, Christa Hitchcock, recently.  Though newer to the Indy scene, she is no stranger to capturing the beauty of weddings and new beginnings.  A recent bride herself, Christa can tell you first hand just how many choices you’ll have to make as you plan your wedding.  Venue, catering, photography, entertainment, a dress, the list goes on and on.  Christa, so kindly, is sharing her thoughts on one of the biggest decisions you’ll inevitably have to make.

Congratulations! You’re engaged! Once you’ve accepted your sparkly new ring and said yes to the man of your dreams, the wedding planning is officially underway. And speaking from experience, it won’t be long from now that someone (probably your photographer or your wedding planner) will confront you with the choice of a first look.

If you’re unfamiliar, a first look is simply as it sounds. It’s a chance for the bride and groom to see each other before the ceremony in a private, more intimate setting. Now I realize that some of you are already apprehensive- isn’t this breaking tradition? Perhaps, but as first looks become more and more popular, it’s almost the new tradition. And here’s why:

Calm Your Nerves

You probably don’t realize how nervous you will be on your wedding day- I certainly didn’t! After months and months of planning, there is a lot of anticipation that can easily turn into some pre-ceremony jitters. It’s easy to imagine a wedding day where the suspense is building, the pews are filling up, and you’re finding it harder and harder to stay present. The beauty of a first look is that it cuts this tension with a beautiful, intimate moment for you and your groom. It gives you a chance to redirect your nervous energy and connect with one another before the craziness begins! Once the pressure is off, it is so much easier to slow down your thoughts and take it all in.

Photo Credit: Christa Hitchcock Photography

Photo Credit: Christa Hitchcock Photography

Extend Your Day

If you’re planning an evening ceremony, it could easily be 5 or 6pm before you see your groom at all! For as much as you dream of your perfect wedding day, isn’t it a little ironic to not even see your fiance until most of the day has gone by? Even if you see your groom at the end of the aisle it won’t be until half an hour later that you get to actually give him a kiss or exchange any words. A first look pushes up your timeline so you get to extend your day by a few hours, allowing you to spend more time with the guy this day is all about!

Photo Credit: Christa Hitchcock Photography

Photo Credit: Christa Hitchcock Photography

Enjoy Your Cocktail Hour

Speaking of timelines, one of the biggest benefits of a first look is that it allows you to finish all of your bridal party portraits before the ceremony! This means that there’s no stress after the big “I do’s” and you’re free to enjoy your own cocktail hour without chasing down bridesmaids and groomsmen. Trust me, you don’t want to miss out on this sweet opportunity to greet your guests and kick off the reception. You’d be amazed at how many brides & grooms never even get one of their own hors d'oeuvres!

And the best part? A first look in no way detracts from your walk down the aisle- I promise! It’s such an iconic moment that you’ve been dreaming of your whole life, and the emotion is still just as consuming. In fact, I found the walk down the aisle after a first look to be even sweeter because I was calm enough to really focus, and there was less pressure on my reaction! Of course this decision is totally a personal one, but I wanted to share what all the hype is about!

3 Major Reasons You Should Hire a Wedding Planner

So you think you've got everything figured out, do you?  You've been planning your wedding since your childhood and couldn't fathom hiring someone to plan Your. Big. Day.  What could you possibly need with a professional planner?  Well I've got news for you my friend- there's a lot that goes into that dreamy, fairy tale wedding and planning is not for the faint of heart.  Here are a few reasons why you might think twice about handling all the details yourself.