Honey.  Little can rival its sunny sweetness.  So in celebration of expectant mom Luisella and the sweet one soon to make a grand entrance into the world, Luisella’s sister enlisted the help of Dorangela Bobet to bring a brilliant, honeycomb themed baby shower to life.  Gold balloons spelling “BEBE” floated above the drink station where Arnold Palmer, a delectable combination of iced tea and lemonade, was dispensed from a beehive shaped container into mason jars garnished with lemon.  Yellow flowers and apothecary jars of honeycomb shaped cereal adorned the tables.  Baked brie, pesto pasta cups, and fruit skewers with orange marmalade were relished before the ladies fluttered to the dessert table, golden paper lanterns suspended above all the bright, honey-kissed sweets.  Honey Panna Cottas, a pull-apart lemon honey cake in the shape of a honeycomb, a yellow rosette cake complete with lemon curd . . .  And the sweet conslusion to Luisella’s celebration?   Mini-jar favors of French honey.  This happy affair is brought to you courtesy of Jessica Charles Photography!

Party Professionals
Concept, Styling, Catering & Desserts: Two Prince Bakery Theater | Photography: Jessica Charles Photography

When April begins to draw to a close my mind turns to two things; my birthday and the Kentucky Derby.  I mean is there anything better than an extra large hat and a mint julep?  I think not.  So to help you celebrate big hats, horses, and my birthday I wanted to share my go to Mint Juelp recipe.  I can’t guarantee it will help your chosen horse win, but I can guarantee it will be oh-so tasty.  truly, MKR  

Photos  ||  Rustic White




Classic Mint Julep
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  1. 2.5 oz Kentucky bourbon whiskey
  2. 1 tsp powdered sugar or 2-3 sugar cubes
  3. 2-4 tsp water
  4. 2-4 sprigs of fresh mint leaves/stems
  1. Muddle mint leaves, powdered sugar, and water in a rocks glass.
  2. Fill the glass with ice and add bourbon.
  3. Top with more ice and garnish with a mint sprig.
  4. Put on your large derby hat and cheers!
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Seeing the pictures from Emily and Charles’ wedding was like stepping into a fairy tale.  Green forests, blooming flowers, butterflies — be still my heart!  Emily knew when she became engaged that she wanted her special day held at her family’s garden in Lake Toxaway, North Carolina, and from the moment guests set foot on the mountaintop, the glorious sight of azaleas and rhododendron all around gave them a glimpse of the beauty yet to come.  Greens and blues — the cool colors of nature — were chosen for the celebration, bridesmaids clad in spring green dresses and groomsmen in navy suits with hydrangea blue ties.  The ceremony began, and all rose to honor the bride as she arrived at the scene, her smile beaming bright as she proceeded down the grassy aisle to her groom.  Following the pronouncement of the new Mr. and Mrs., guests spent a cocktail hour exploring the gardens before heading to the clear tent reception, where they dined, danced, and drank in the breathtaking view of the distant mountains.  This enchanting affair is brought to you by Kristen Alexander Photography!

Color Story

Please give us an overview of the event.
Charles and I got married at my family’s garden in Lake Toxaway, North Carolina. I have spent every holiday and summer there since I can remember. While the garden is beautiful in all of it’s seasons, spring is perhaps the most beautiful.

Tell us how you met. Was it love at first sight, blind date, friends forever?
We met in college. We both went to Washington and Lee in Virginia. I was a senior, and he a junior at the time. After 3 years of having my eye on him, we finally danced one night at a party. That must have sealed the deal, because he tracked my number down and the rest is history.

What was the most memorable moment?
Our photographer encouraged us to see each other before the wedding, which at first we were opposed to. I am so glad she convinced us to do just that. Seeing each other for that first time put us at ease and reaffirmed what the day was all about.

Tell us about your wedding gown and what your wedding party wore.
My dress was Vera Wang. It was the dress I wore to make my debut. After a few alterations, it was the perfect way to rewear a dress that would have probably never been worn again otherwise. Bridesmaids Dresses – Bella Bridesmaid. Groomsmen – grey slacks made by Sid Mashburn Band. Paired with white button down, navy blazer and blue tie – a gift from the groom. Groom – Navy suit.

Was there a specific theme or style?
Rustic Elegance

Now for the proposal…details!
Charles took me to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens for the Thursday night cocktails in the gardens. I didn’t suspect anything, but in retrospect should have picked up on the number of cocktails he was downing to calm his nerves. There is a vegetable garden there, given in honor of my grandfather, which is where he got down on one knee. I made him repeat the proposal after I gathered my bearings as I was too excited to really hear it the first time. We waited a little while before calling anyone, which I would recommend to anyone. It gave us some time to just soak it in, before the chaos of calling family and friends began.

What were your playful twists that made the event unique?
After the reception, we gave guests a map of the garden and asked them to meander to the reception site. The garden is set on 120 acres. We had bars and appetizers set up at different sites along the way. We also had a big fire pit where guests could take a break from dancing and make s’mores later in the evening.

What was the best wedding advice you received?
Someone told me that if I had time to walk through the reception before the wedding, to do it. I am so glad I did. Once we were married and at the reception, we were too wrapped up in our guests to notice all of the details that we had spent so many months planning.

Tell us about the food and desserts.
Epting Events – A couple of summers ago, I was at a farm party in Highlands, NC where Lee Epting had catered the most amazing southern supper. I remember approaching him saying, “If I can convince my boyfriend to marry me one day, I want you to do the wedding.” And that is exactly what I did. He seemed to exemplify the perfect balance between casual, but sophisticated. Rustic, yet elegant. And, I must add, he has the most amazing port-o-potties (feel free to exclude this part). Music, Air Conditioning, you name it, they have it. Instead of doing a grooms cake, we had cobbler, s’mores and of course Lee’s famous pralines.

What kind of energy did your entertainment give the event?
The Voltage Brothers were Amazing. Everyone was out on the dance floor. We passed out florescent sunglasses, which added to the fun.

If there was one thing you could change, what would it be?
We had a flight to Belize (leaving from the Atlanta airport) the next morning. We had to get up at the crack of dawn to drive back to Atlanta to catch our flight. In retrospect, we probably should have taken a later flight, so we could sleep off some of the fun!

Wedding Professionals
Photography: Kristen Alexander Photography | Event Design & Catering: Epting Events | Floral: David Lavoy | Entertainment: The Voltage Brothers

If this occasion doesn’t make you want to relax in a beach chair with a piña colada in hand, I don’t know what will!  Erik and Jacque’s wedding was truly a vacation celebration, the turquoise waters and white beaches of Islamorada, Florida, transporting guests to a piece of paradise.  Clad in a khaki suit and sandals, the groom stood beaming beneath an arch of bamboo and tulle as Jacque walked down the sandy aisle, her own father performing the ceremony amidst the whisperings of the ocean behind them.  Following the “I do’s,” dishes of chimichurri skirt steak, chicken saltimbocca, and blackened mahi-mahi were served before all ventured to the tiki hut for a time of dancing at the lantern-lit poolside, mouthwatering desserts of wedding cake and key lime tarts only increasing the party’s energy.  But the act that holds the prize in the minds of all who attended the affair?  The newlyweds’ fearless plunge into the swimming pool.  Dive into this fun South Florida celebration with these images by Tremaine Photography, interspersed with commentary from the groom himself!

Color Story
Please give us an overview of the event. My wife and I were married on May 11th, 2013 at a private beach resort on Islamorada in the Florida Keys. The resort is called The Ocean House and consists of a 2 story, 6 hotel room setup all with picture perfect views of the turquoise blue waters. Our wedding was held on the resort’s private white sand beach. The venue was small and personal with 50 of our closest friends and family in attendance making the wedding itself very intimate and picturesque.

Tell us about your wedding gown and what your wedding party wore. My wife’s dress (in her own words now) was an A-line Rivini dress with a Rivini sash. (Now my words…) The dress was very delicate with a satin/silk-like tulle and that’s about the extent of my dress knowledge. My wife’s wedding party consisted of her 3 sisters and 3 best friends. The ladies were dressed in a turquoise blue dress from David’s Bridal and they wore ivory colored sandals. 

Tell us how you met. Was it love at first sight, blind date, friends forever? The story of how Jacque and I met begins back in 2009. Jacque and I shared some mutual friends who had invited us to play in a two day soccer tournament. It was sheer coincidence, or fate if you will, that we met. As I recall, Jacque wasn’t even going to participate but decided to join the second day’s games. We played in a single game together and outside of talking on the field, that was the only time we had to meet each other. Not two months after that tournament, I was offered a job in Orlando, FL and off I went to make my living. Some months later, thanks to (you guessed it) Facebook, Jacque and I sparked up a conversation. But life and a new careers kept us both very busy as contact was sporadic until a winter storm hit the Seattle area. Jacque had made a Facebook note saying how she was forced to abandon her car on the hills of Seattle and walk, in the snow, the mile or so to her home. This proved an opportune time for me to brag about my warm 78 degree sunny weather here in Orlando. It’s amazing, looking back, that a seemingly unimportant message would lead to such happiness in our lives…but indeed that’s what happened. To this moment, I can’t think of a day after that cold walk home that we have not talked. Fast forward several months and the next thing we knew, we were planning Jacque’s escape from the cold weather of a winter in Seattle to the warm breeze and theme parks of Orlando.

Smartest savings… Save money through DIY invitations. They really are not as hard as you think to make something simple and beautiful. A lot can be done through free computer software trials and then it comes down to picking out the right material to make your invitations. It can literally save hundreds of dollars.

Did you DIY any of the details? Every last detail of our wedding was handpicked and created. The only exceptions to this statement was the outfits, the food, and the DJ equipment. The bamboo arch we created and decorated, the end caps of the aisles were created by us, the centerpieces of the guest tables, the lanterns around the pool and the candles inside them, the engagement notifications, save the date magnets, napkins, matchbooks, and yes, even the bar was self stocked. From top to bottom the event was DIY. 

Was there a specific theme or style? The theme could best be described (per our wedding coordinator) as “chic beach style.” Our ceremony decorations were tulle draped over our bamboo arch, and starfish hung around the ends of chairs for the aisle way to the arch. We used personally-found pieces of driftwood, different sizes of jars from slender to wide that held the different flowers that we selected (the colors of the jars were clear or turquoise) and personally designed/created luggage tags attached to wine bottle corks of starfish placed atop the dinner plates at each of the guest tables. Around the pool were large and small lanterns providing the only additional lighting that the tiki hut did not come with. The tiki hut had small LED light strips around the inner rim for mood lighting while the vegetation all around the venue had beautiful uplighting – again, setting a private and intimate feel to the whole evening.

What were your playful twists that made the event unique? One of the playful twists that we had was the shoe game between my wife and I where a series of humorous questions were asked based around who would do what or would be the first to do something. For example, a question that was personal to us was “Who is better at soccer?” Based on what each of us thought we’d raise the shoe of that person to signify our answer. With my wife and I being back to back and unable to see each other’s responses, the guests would get a good laugh from what we each thought. Another playful twist was in the fact that the resort had a private coral fire pit. We set up a s’more station consisting of different graham crackers, different chocolates, and even different candies such as Snickers or REESE’S to spice up the s’more selection.

What kind of energy did your entertainment give the event? Our DJ was excellent and provided an excellent transition of energy from the sweet loving atmosphere of the ceremony to the dinner followed by upping the tempo and excitement with great song selections. The DJ really was in tune with how the party was going and avoided a lot of sappy romantic slow dance stuff that some weddings have and instead kept the dancing going.

Wedding Professionals Photography: Tremaine Photography | Venue: Ocean House | Entertainment: DJ Buggy | Hair & Makeup: Beauty Boutique | Cakes: Cakes by Karol | Catering: Catered Affairs of Key West | Rentals: Florida Keys Party Rentals | Day-Of Wedding Planner: Just Save the Date | Floral: Lee Forrest Design | Wedding Dress: Solutions Bridal Designer House  

There are few feelings that measure up to  the excitement an editor feels when you close an absolutely gorgeous new magazine.  It’s partly a sigh of relief because all of that work is done, but also a gasp of excitement to see all of the gorgeous details you’ve collected over the past months come together on those glossy pages.  Best time of the year if you ask me.  So, as I sign off on the proofs and put our Summer 2014 issue into production I find myself saying once again, “This is our best issue yet.”  No really.  It is.  I can 100% say that and also that this issue IS The Stylish Bride’s Guide to Everything.  


With the help of some pretty amazing contributors we’ve curated only the very best wedding ideas captured by the most amazing photographers in town (eh hem, like Rustic White Photography who shot the cover above).  We’ve scoured our favorite shops for the best wedding finds and collaborated with our favorite wedding vendors to bring you honest-to-goodness great ideas and some seriously helpful insight on wedding planning.  You know me… I’m all about pretty things, but mostly what it’s going to take to get those pretty things at my party.  This issue is the epitome of what I’ve always wanted Occasions to be.  We’ve grown into our big girl shoes now and it feels great.  

New to the team is our Editor-at-Large, Mandy Kellogg Rye.  She is probably one of this most stylish women I know and brings to Occasions some seriously great ideas for brides and the everyday hostess.  This issue she brings out the colors of summer in our cover pictorial featuring dresses that are anything but white proving that there is no reason to be traditional if you don’t want to.  The shoot is a whopping 12 pages and if the cover doesn’t get you excited itself, how about  a behind-the-scenes video by Munn Brothers of all the looks?  You’re welcome.  Take a break from facebook and your overflowing inbox and watch this.  When you’re done you can pre-order your copy of our Summer 2014 issue here.  

Occasions: Brides of Summer from Munn Brothers on Vimeo.

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