Vine Hill House Wedding by Bright Room Studio + Ken Kienow

vine-hill-house-1 I'm excited to share one of our blogger bride's weddings with you today. Kim & Dan were married at the Vine Hill House in Northern California on a beautiful day with an even more beautiful sunset. Kim designed her own wedding invites and various paper products all around. After her wedding she opened up a Graphic Design studio and specializes in wedding invitations.

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Wedding Photography: Ken Kienow Wedding Photography | Wedding Venue: Vine Hill House in Sebastopol, California | Floral Design: BV Florals | Catering: Park Avenue Catering | Wedding Cupcakes: Foxy Cupcakes | DJ: AMS Entertainment | Wedding Stationery: Bright Room Studio | Wedding Dress: Ivy & Aster | Bride’s Shoes: Elie Tahari | Bridesmaids’ Attire: Asos | Groom’s Attire: Joseph Abboud | Groomsmen Attire: Calvin Klein 

Advice From A NewlyWed {Plus A Sneak Peek}

Remember me? The "California Casual" bride? Well I've finally come up for air post-wedding and am so excited to share some advice (and a few amazing photos!) with you all. I'm sitting here in my living room, surrounded by boxes, thank you notes and slightly beat up wedding decorations, reflecting on the amazingness that just occurred over the last month. I'm happy, exhausted, overwhelmed with love and excited to begin the next chapter of our life!

The wedding was incredible. The weather was absolutely perfect, the details came together and everyone had an amazing time. There was so much love during the whole weekend...from the rehearsal dinner excitement, to the magical wedding day to the lovely Sunday BBQ that wrapped up the weekend. We felt so blessed all weekend long.

In thinking about my advice for other brides, I think it can be wrapped up in one word: perspective. If you can keep the right perspective of what the day is all about, a lot of stress can be avoided. For us, the day was all about our love and the friends and family who helped us get where we are today.

At the beginning of the planning process, I told myself not to sweat the small stuff. I knew that no one would remember if we served salmon or cod, if the flowers were orange or yellow or if the bridesmaids dresses were strapless or not. This did end up putting a little extra pressure on myself for the bigger decisions such as venue and dress, but it did help me take a step back whenever I found myself getting caught up in little details.

I also found that, for each key person involved, especially parents, there was something that was particularly important to them. So let them own it! My mother-in-law loves flowers, so she was very involved in selecting a florist and working with her on designs. For me, all the printed materials became a big focus. So I took the lead of all the paper goods.

I think my absolute favorite thing we did was involve our friends and family in the wedding. My uncle and a close friend or ours shared officiating duties, which made for an incredibly personal and memorable ceremony. My dad involved my wedding party in his toast and we had two very talented friends perform our first dance song. All of these touches made the wedding feel personal, warm and comfortable, which was exactly what we were going for.

All in all, the day was incredible. It was perfect in its imperfections. And ultimately, I came out married to a wonderful man! And then we topped everything off with an incredible honeymoon in France.

Really, what more could a girl ask for?

Photos by Ken Kienow

It's Here.

Nearly a year of blogging. Two years of planning. Nine and a half years together. I can't believe that after all this time, our wedding day is upon us. We're now in the final days and my house is a disaster, covered with craft projects, spreadsheets, wedding gifts, and beauty products. I pick up the dress on Wednesday, nails and facial on Thursday and then head up to Sebastopol on Friday!

Remember where we've been? Our inspirationobsessing over the wedding dress, the bridesmaid dress dilema, making save the dates and invitations? It has all come together and I can't wait to see the end result.

I'm so excited for the big day. I know once Saturday rolls around, the stress will melt away, the excitement and joy will set in and we'll get to enjoy being surrounded by our favorite people. I have a feeling I'll feel a little bit like this...

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4

And, if all else fails, we're heading to France a week from today! :)

So any advice for the big day?!

The Last Two Weeks & the Next Two Weeks

Sorry for missing my post last week! It has been a crazy few weeks and a couple more crazy ones to come! We have a little less than two weeks until the big day. TWO. WEEKS. We've been planning this wedding for nearly two years, so it is really hard to believe how close we are.

So, what have I been up to, you ask?

Last weekend was my bachelorette. My friends kept everything a total surprise, gave me a packing list and picked me up on Friday afternoon for my unknown adventure. We ended up in Oceano (right on the beach outside of San Luis Obispo and Pismo Beach) for a weekend of lounging on the beach, girly craziness and a lot of surprises--including, but not limited to, a pole dancing class! It was an amazing weekend of girl bonding, so needless to say I was a bit on the tired side when I got back.

Since then, I've been swimming in a sea kraft paper, washi tape, bakers twine, vintage wood, stamps and more. I'm crafting like a mad woman, with the hope to be done by the weekend. Here's a quick snapshot of my last two weeks.

Personal Photos

I think my favorite craft project so far has been our hand-stamped cork board. It is covered in polka dots (my favorite!) and will be used to display our escort cards. My fiance and I made a giant grid using string to align all the dots, then I dotted the whole board using a white ink pad and the back of an eraser. I actually can't wait to put it up in our office after the wedding :) (Sorry I don't have pics of the final product. Guess you'll just have to wait for the wedding photos!)

Personal Photos

In these next two weeks, I need to finish programs, welcome bags, table numbers and escort cards. I have some honeymoon shopping to do, plus a much anticipated spa day a few days before the wedding.

I'm a little stressed, a little overwhelmed, but a lot excited! How did you feel the last few weeks before your wedding? Any to-do's I might have forgotten about?

Wedding Party Party & Cocktail-Off

Ever since I got engaged, I've been saying that I want wedding planning to be fun. And as the planning days tick away, I'm taking full advantage of this mantra! We wanted to make sure our wedding party had a chance to meet each other before the wedding weekend. Some of them know each other, but we wanted to get everyone in one room, have some drinks and be close enough to really celebrate together. So we hosted everyone at our house for a Sunday-Funday Cocktail-Off.

Wooden Sign, Hand Lettered Sign

That's right. A cocktail making contest. And the winning drink will be the signature cocktail at the wedding! We thought this would be a fantastic way to have some tasty drinks, spend some time together and let our wedding party feel like they are really apart of the big day. And, it was a huge success (as evidenced by our near-empty cups!)

Personal photos from our Cocktail-Off

We tasted six different cocktails (yes, I know....we ate pizza and played bocce before anyone headed home). We tried everything from peach juice and ginger beer to a fall-spiced sangria to a blackberry mojito. Once we all tasted, we voted for our favorites. And the winner was.......a watermellon mint concotion made my two of my bridesmaids. And it was DELICIOUS! The name was also discussed as a group...possibly "Mint To Be Together"? :)

1, 2, 3, 4

So now we have to find a way to make it happen for the wedding. It may need to be tweaked to be doable for a large group, but I love that it is something from our closest friends.

What about you? Did your wedding party know each other before the big day? Did you spend some time together?

Hair Today

My goodness. I feel like each time I do a post these days, we're hitting a wedding countdown milestone! Tomorrow will be the official one month mark and I'm definitely starting to feel it. While I swim among the thank you notes, seating charts, and craft projects, I'm really looking forward to heading up to Sebastopol for my hair trail next week! I'm still not 100% sure what I want to do with my hair, but I'm hoping a pile of photos will provide the needed inspiration for my stylist to come up with something fantastic.

I love braids and twists. I know it's trendy, but I like the boho feel to it (I do live on the Berkeley border after all). I'm thinking a loose braid or twist is a must. Aren't they gorgeous?

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4

The wedding is fairly casual and I typically wear my hair down, so something pulled all the way up doesn't really feel like me. That said, I definitely want my hair to feel special (and to stay off my face when dancing). I'm thinking a side pony is a great solution to achieve both a casual and special feeling together in one style.

Sources: 1, 2, 3

So take one part braid and mix in one part side pony tail, I guess this is what you get!

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4

What do you ladies think? Any advice, do's or don'ts for wedding day hair?

Take A {Bridal} Shower

This Saturday was my bridal shower! I love this wedding tradition--getting to spend time with your favorite women, drinking cocktails, eating good food and having wonderful conversation. Ok, I guess being the guest of honor don't hurt either. ;) My bridesmaids did an amazing job putting the shower together. Tissue paper poofs decorated the trees and pottered herbs served as centerpieces. We drank bellinis while playing games and opening gifts. Isn't it pretty!?

Chances are, you're not only a bride but a guest, or even host, at lots of showers as well. In fact, I went to a shower of a family friend on Sunday, so it was a shower filled weekend. At each and every event, I'm taking notes for good ideas, cute decorations or clever gifts. Here are some of my favorite ideas and tips.

I think a shower should feel special. It doesn't have to be over the top, but a few decorations and games really make the event feel important. And when it comes to decor, I say go girlie! The bride is probably trying to keep the wedding sophisticated, so let the shower be vibrant, feminine and fun!

Or, how about making it a unique activity. How cute is this picnic shower?

Picnic Shower

I don't know about you, but I'm always trying to brainstorm unique gift ideas. Registry gifts are great, but sometimes feel impersonal. For a shower, why not give the bride something that she can use at the wedding! How adorable are these personalized hangers and signs? Or Kate Spade's gorgeous "mrs." necklace. LOVE. (Full disclosure, these were not my ideas. My Co-MOH and college friend gave me both the hanger and the "mrs." necklace and I just love them so much!)

Kate Space Necklace, Embroidered Sign, Personalized Hanger

One favorite shower tradition is the ribbon bouquet. You end up with such a masterpiece to use at your rehearsal! As I guest, I think you should have fun with your wrapping so that the bride has an amazing bouquet. How about cute fabric flowers or colorful string?

Ribbon Bouquet,Ribbon Bouquet, Colored Ribbon Packaging, Paper Flowers, Fabric Flowers

Tell me about your wedding shower! Any good ideas to share? I have plenty more showers to attend in the future! :)

Invitation Revealed!

I've talked a lot about invitations here on E&I. I'm a girl who LOVES paper goods, graphic design and pretty stationary, so the invitation process was really fun for me. That means that I'm particularly excited about this week's post--I finally get to reveal our final invitation to you all! I decided a while back that I wanted to design my own invitations. It was a bit daunting but I knew that's how I was going to get the perfect invitation. And I was excited for the challenge.

I set off to find some inspiration. Here's a reminder of some of my favorite ideas.

Source: 1, 2, 3, 4

And then I began designing. I wanted something personal, that let our guests know what kind of wedding this is going to be as well as the kind of people that Dan and I are. After lots of iterations and ideas (and stress), I developed a design that I love and that I'm really proud of.

Again, I really wanted this to be personal. So the hat on the chair is actually a trace of one of Dan's hats. The the left chair style is the same chair that Dan used in the proposal at the Palace of Fine Arts. The font was a font that I searched high and low for, one that looks a bit like my handwriting (on a good day). My dress even provided some inspiration (though I can't say more than that!).

Designed by me, Photos by me (sorry about the blurred text!)

What is even more special about these invitations for us is that we designed them from scratch, and also printed them! Remember this from a few weeks back? We also had help from our wonderful friends and family (yes, cutting out each piece of envelope lining!)

So, what do you think? I hope you love them as much as I do! A quick shameless self promotion: If you like what you see here, message me! I'm starting my own graphic design venture and would LOVE to help you with your custom wedding invitation.

Perfectly Fitting

The official two month mark passed yesterday, and I can't believe how close the big day is getting! Fortunately, the planning so far has been pretty drama- and stress-free (knock on wood!), with one exception--dress alterations. The dress fitting was a step I hadn't thought much about. I figured I take the dress to the experts and they'd make things happen and there was nothing I needed to think much about. Unfortunately, I was wrong. It really is a critical to-do and I knew nothing about it!


The salon where I bought my dress didn't have an alterations department so I went to a tailor that they had recommended. The first appointment went well and the tailor seemed sweet and knowledgable. When I went to the next appointment, things began to go down hill. The tailor pushed back on things I was requesting, including hemming the dress so it wouldn't drag on the ground. When we started looking at the bustle, we were told that there was no way to bustle the dress so that it didn't drag on the ground. This was all a major problem for me, especially being that our wedding is entirely outdoors. Things just didn't feel right with this tailor, so we kindly took the dress for a second opinion.


Since that appointment, I've seen three additional tailors, so I've learned a lot! Here are some things I learned that I hope will help you in your own alterations!

* Your dress should not drag on the ground, especially if your wedding is outdoors. Don't let them tell you otherwise :)

* There is always a way to bustle your dress so it is off the ground, you just have the find the right one for you and for your dress. There are a couple of types of bustles--English bustles pick-up and pin on the outside of the skirt, while French bustles tie under the skirt, creating a bubble effect. There are tons of different ways to use these two techniques, with different numbers of pick-ups and different heights. Your tailor should be able to show you your options and, moreover, make a recommendation to you based on the length of the train and fabric of the dress.

Some examples of french bustles...

1, 2, 3, 4

And some examples of English bustles...

1, 2, 3

Personally, I like the more streamlined look of the English bustles, but the French bustle is slightly more romantic. I couldn't find an image of what I ended up with, but it is the English bustle technique, but pulled up at my waist.

* Make sure your tailor is handling your dress properly. I learned from the last person we talked to that the type of fabric my dress is made of tends to stretch. So leaving the dress hanging was making the fabric grow! Who knew?! They recommended just leaving it at the bottom of the bag. A scary thought, but trust the experts. :)

* Feel free to get multiple opinions and price quotes on your alterations. Most tailors will be willing to give your their expertise and a quote and should understand if you elect to go elsewhere. Also, considering calling a bridal shop that does have an alterations department to see if you could bring your dress in. They have the most expertise in bridal and, while they might not be experienced with your particular dress, most likely have seen one with similar qualities.


* Don't settle for anything less than perfect! You should feel 100% comfortable in your dress the whole night. You don't want to be picking it up every two seconds, having people step on it, have it falling down or anything else. Ask questions, push your tailor to get what you want and don't let them tell you "no".

Finally, remember that you'll look gorgeous and glowing no matter what!

Source (Adore this photo!)

Did you have issues with your alterations? Any advice or stories to share?

Crafters Unite {Throw a Crafting Party}

We've had a long engagement and one of my philosophies the whole time has been to enjoy each and every wedding task. So when it came time to assemble our invitations, we thought we'd make it a party. I'm sure this won't be the last project-filled party we have; it is a great way to get wedding to-do's done while spending time with you favorite people, letting them get to know each other...and maybe drinking a cocktail or two :) Here are my tips on throwing a fun, yet still productive, crafting or project party.


First of all, I recommend not making this a "required" event. Your friends are doing a lot for you as it is, so be grateful for whatever time you can get from them and then tackle the remainder with your honey. That said, don't be afraid to bribe them with food and drinks. ;)


When selecting a location, pick a place where you can spread out. If you don't have a big kitchen table, just move your furniture out of the way and throw some pillows on the floor!

If there is anything that you want don't really specifically or that takes some extra concentration, consider doing that on your own before hand. I had to stamp our return address on each envelope, which takes some concentration to keep everything aligned. I took care of that the night before so I didn't have to stress at party time.

Don't forget the food! Get fun (and clean!) snacks. You don't want hungry girlfriends, nor greasy, fingerprinted invitations. We had cheese and crackers and bowls of candy, but I also love the idea of air-popped popcorn or little tea sandwiches.

Popcorn, Candy

Provide drinks! Again, drinks with caps are fantastic, or at least have an area where drinks can be set down so that they won't spill on your hard work. Cocktails are always a great idea too. Consider saving the harder stuff as a celebration for finishing (though I admittedly didn't quite follow my own advice here...)

IzzeChampagne, Sangria

Also make sure you have plenty of supplies. You may need to ask your friends to bring a pair of scissors if you don't have enough. It's also smart to have some miscellaneous items like tape, string and ribbons on hand in case someone gets a stroke of inspiration in the moment (I like to stop in the sale section of Paper Source whenever I drop in just in case something catches my eye). Items like post-its, sharpies and baskets are great to have on hand to keep yourself organized. And trash cans or bags near by will also help save you some cleaning once all the cutting and pasting is done.

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Finally, don't forget to say thank you. Sorry, don't mean to be a mom here, but don't let your friends forget how grateful you are for their help.

And, of course, have fun! Put fun music on (we went with Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston Pandora :) ). Tell girly stories and have a good time!

Share your ideas for an awesome crafting party!