How to Galentines with Your Gal Pals

If you've watched Parks and Rec, you are probably pretty familiar with the idea of Galentine's day.  I, for one, am all about it.  Who doesn't love a chance to celebrate with your gals.  I wanted to put together an easy and affordable "how to" on how to have an epic get together with your girlfriends.  I tried to use a lot of things that I had around my house, but I also purchased a few things. In coming up with this blog post I made a few things priority: a beautiful table scape, a great charcuterie board, and a custom cocktail (who doesn't love a drink unique to the occasion!).  

We'll start with the charcuterie.  Trader Joe's is my favorite place to get all the fixins' for a good cheese board.  I went for three different types of cheese, some prosciutto and salami, a baguette, some crispy bread sticks, as well as some blackberries, pomegranate seeds, truffle oil almonds, and some fig jam for garnish.  We also decided to put our desserts on the same table.  I was trying to keep things simple so we snagged some heart shaped shortbreads with raspberry jam from Trader Joe's, as well as some delectable pistachio and raspberry macaroons from Whole Foods. 

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Next, we move onto the table scape.  I wanted to put together a table scape that was girly, but not too girly.  I also wanted to keep it affordable.  The first things I found that kind of set the tone for the whole table were the placemats and place cards from Hester & Cook.  Hester & Cook is a really fun local store here in Nashville.  If you are planning a party, definitely go check them out.  They specialize in unique paper goods and everything in their store is AH-MAZING.  

I used matte black plates that I bought a couple years ago from World Market.  I also purchased the napkins on clearance at World Market, as well as the gold rimmed goblets (not on clearance, but still a good deal!).

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The antique gold flatware was a flea market steal a few years back, as well as the antique champagne cooler holding the flowers.  I wanted to mix modern and antique and I think the two matte black candle holders that are Hearth & Hand by Magnolia for Target really helped do that. The jewel cut glasses also came from Target and I love them!   

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I wanted to keep it on the cheap with the florals so they all came from the grocery store:) . I decided to knot the napkins for a bit of a more casual look.  I decided to go with the black tapers for a bit of a moodier vibe. I was so happy with the way this all came together.  It seems like the perfect place to host your gal pals to me! 

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We wanted to create a custom cocktail that you can easily create at home to celebrate! We are calling it the l’Eau de Saint-Valentin:

l’Eau de Saint-Valentin

((The Water Of Valentines))

Yield: 2

INGREDIENTS

3 oz Eden Mill Love Gin

1.5 oz Berry Syrup*

1 Lime

2 Small Cucumber Wedges

Tonic Water

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Muddle gin, lime & cucumber until fully juiced.
  2. Fill glasses with ice, strain and divide juice.
  3. Top with tonic water and drizzle Berry Syrup.
  4. Garnish with a cucumber spear, a blackberry and a sprig of thyme.

BERRY SYRUP RECIPE

5 Blackberries

5 Rasberries

2 Tbsp Maple Syrup

2 Tbsp Water

  1. Place all ingredients in saucepan on low for 10 minutes.
  2. Press juices from berries and stir intermittently.
  3. Strain and chill.

Recipe curtesy of my friend, Bede Benjamin-Korporaal.  Also wanted to give a shout out to his amazing wife and one of my best friends, Izzy for being awesome and helping me all day.  You guys are the best <3 

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Happy Galentines, y'all. 

DIY Clay Bead Necklace

I know this post doesn't have anything to do with weddings, and I'm ok with that.  I wanted to share a fun necklace I made for myself with you.  You can make this for yourself or as a simple gift to give someone.  The best part?  It is SO easy to make.  It only takes about 5 minutes of active time, and can cost as little as $4 to make.  I wear mine all the time and every time I do, I get asked where I bought it.  Let's get started! 

SUPPLIES:

  • Sculpey bakeable clay.  $2.79 ( Michaels ).  I used 2 different packs of clay.  The colors I used are Pearl and Beige (which is actually a light pink).
  • Some type of durable string.  I found some cording in the sale section at Michaels for $0.49.  
  • A Skewer to make the hole in the bead
  • A Baking Sheet
  • An Oven

 

STEP ONE:

Break your clay into the pieces you will need to make the beads.  Since I was using a marbled effect on my necklace.  I used 1/4th of each color of make the larger middle bead, and 1/8th of each color to make each of the two smaller beads. Sculpey makes this super easy because their clay is already split into fourths.

STEP TWO:

Roll out your pieces of clay to make little snakes (elementary school term, I know.), then combine the two colors for each bead and roll them together.  For instance, the 1/4th piece of pearl clay and the 1/4th piece of beige clay should be combined, as well as the  1/8th piece of pearl clay and the 1/8th piece of beige clay (there should be two of these). This should leave you with three little clay snakes.

STEP THREE:

You should now have three pieces of clay, each with two colors (if you are doing the marbled version).  Take each piece and work it into a ball.  If you are only using one color, this step is super simple.  If you are using two colors for the marbled effect, the more you work the clay, the more marbled it looks, but be sure not to over work it.

STEP FOUR:

Use your skewer (or something similar) to poke a hole through your bead.  The bead will probably become slightly mis-shaped during this process, but it is very easy to fix.  Make sure that the hole you make is big enough and clear enough for your string to easily fit through.

STEP FIVE:

Now its time to bake the beads.  Just place your beads on a baking sheet and bake them at 275° F for 15 minutes.

STEP SIX:

Once your beads are done baking, remove them from the oven and let them cool for about 10 minutes.  They may appear to have some cracks in them when you remove them from the oven. As they cool, these cracks typically seem to go away.  Once they are cool, string your beads.  You can make the length of your string however long you'd like.  Simply tie the ends together.  There is no need for a clasp.

STEP SEVEN:

That's it!  Now you have a new piece of jewelry and you can make one for all your friends :)   

Share your pictures with me (@ac_weddings, alexandreacantrell@gmail.com) if you end up making one!  I would love to see what you guys come up with!  

Special shout out to my sister, Olivia, for taking these pictures.  Neither of us are photographers, but we still had fun pretending! 

11 non-traditional centerpieces that I love

Don't get me wrong, I love flowers.  They are actually probably one of my favorite things.  I am constantly buying new flowers and making new arrangements for the antique and beautifully tarnished champagne cooler and sits in the middle of my kitchen table.  One thing that I have noticed with almost every single one of my brides is that they are shocked when they get the quote from the florist they want to use for their wedding.  Flowers aren't cheap.  One way to cut back on the cost of flowers for your wedding is to pick a non traditional centerpiece.  I have curated some images of centerpieces that I love.  These are centerpieces that you don't typically see at weddings, but if done right, people won't be able to stop talking about them.

 Image via Free People

Image via Free People

If you are having an outdoor wedding or a wedding more on the casual side, a centerpiece like this could really set your wedding apart.  This stick tee pee could be easily constructed using some twigs and the string of your choice.  It would look really cute with an air plant, succulents, or maybe even some small votive candles underneath.

 

 Image via Etsy

Image via Etsy

Picture some beautiful geodes, air plants and some greenery arranged in the center of your table.  I think this idea could be really cool.  You can find geodes for cheap on eBay or at your local antique stores.  Air plants can be found at local nurseries.  If you don't want to spend money on greenery, you can always cut some from your backyard and keep if fresh by sticking it in a little bit of water.

 

 Image vis Her New Tribe

Image vis Her New Tribe

I love the idea of potted plants as a centerpiece, so much so that I am going to give you two different ideas in this blog post.  I think that succulents and cacti potted in terra cotta pots are a great statement centerpiece.  This could work in spring, summer, or fall weddings.  You can buy cacti and succulents and your local Home Depot or Lowes for next to nothing.  Terra Cotta pots can also be found at local hardware stores for around $1 a piece... I'd say thats pretty good.  You could even mix in some vintage pieces for potting your plants from antique or thrift stores.

 

 Image source Unknown

Image source Unknown

Let me just say this, there is nothing more dreamy to me than melting pillar candles grouped together.  This one is a little tricky because most venues don't allow you to have candles outside of a container.  If you find one that does, please let me know because I will love them forever.  Regardless, whether a backyard dinner party or a wedding, pillar candles are pretty beautiful on their own.

 

 Image via Ali Harper

Image via Ali Harper

Another candle centerpiece.. they are just so pretty.  I'm also a sucker for taper candles.  You can find antique candle holder like this at a flea market, antique store, thrift store, or heck, you may even know someone who has a lot you can borrow.  Candles grouped together like this are beautiful on their own... you don't even have to add anything to them! 

 

 Image via TwoFold LA

Image via TwoFold LA

How gorgeous is this for a beach inspired wedding.  Coral as a statement centerpiece with taper candles and shells surrounding it all...  I think this is divine.  If I was having a beach wedding, I would want my centerpieces to look like this.

 Image via Lauren Michal

Image via Lauren Michal

One last candle centerpiece... This is seriously so easy and cost next to nothing.  I'm not a fan of wine bottles as centerpieces, but I am a fan of this.  Wine bottles (labels removed) with taper candles.  This would look so good in a dimly lit room.  You can collect wine bottles, ask your friends to collect wine bottles, or even ask local restaurants if you could have the ones they are going to throw out.  An odd number of these bad boys grouped together in the center of your table and voila, you have yourself a good looking (and cheap) centerpiece.  If want your bottles to be really wax covered, I would suggest melting a candle in each one before the big day, and then adding new candles for the actual wedding.

 Image via OnceWed

Image via OnceWed

This is once of those ideas that is so simple, yet so pretty.  A simple fern leaf put in a vase.  I would do several of these gathered on a table.  For these, you could literally just buy a few ferns from a nursery /Home Depot/Lowes, cut off the leaves, and place them in a thin necked vase.  I would look for vases at thrift stores.  If you are looking to buy vases that are all the same, a good place to start would be save-on-crafts.com

 Image via Divine Day Photography

Image via Divine Day Photography

This is one of my absolute favorites.  This idea consists of potted herbs and candles in votives (you really could just do the herbs by themselves).  You can buy herbs for super cheap at you local Home Depot/Lowes along with terra cotta pots. For the smaller candles and votives, I would look on amazon, save-on-crafts.com- or even eBay.  You may even be able to find some at some yard sales (I have found a TON that way).  You could also make this centerpiece more unique by using vintage planters found at thrift stores, antique stores, flea markets, or yard sales. Bonus: the herbs smell like Heaven.

 Image via Brandon Chesbro

Image via Brandon Chesbro

This idea is SO simple and the only thing you have to pay for is the vases.  Magnolia blooms and leaves are so gorgeous on their own, all you have to do is put them in a little water after they are cut.  You would only be able to use the blooms for a summer wedding, but the leaves can be used all year round.  I would do several to a table.

 Image via Etsy

Image via Etsy

This picture isn't necessarily a good representation of what you could do with feathers, although I love the antique trophy they are placed in.  To liven these up a little bit more, I would add in some sticks for height and more texture, plus a little greenery for a pop of color.  These would look  really good mixed in with some fern leaves! 

on starting my own business

It has always been a big dream of mine to own my own business.  As I was growing up, I always pictured myself going into some type of design... I always thought it would be interior.  It wasn't until I planned my own wedding that I realized how much I loved the wedding industry.

After I graduated college, I had no idea what I wanted to do.  I was offered a job that seemed great, and it was, but then due to circumstances outside of my control, the company actually decided to shut down.  At this point, I knew that I wanted to be in the event planning business, but I had just gotten started and in no way was I ready or prepared to start planning+designing weddings full time.  I then had another opportunity present itself to me.  I would be working for a family nannying/personal assisting 30 hours per week crammed into 3 days each week.  This job was truly a blessing because it allowed me 4 day weekends and really enabled me to get my business off the ground.  

The whole process of starting a business has been very eye opening to me.  I have learned so much and have so much more to learn.  This week is my first week of working for myself full time(!!!).  Getting to this point has been a whirlwind and I am so thankful and excited to be here.  It is scary going into business for yourself, but if it is a dream of yours, you can make it happen! Here are some things that have helped me get to this point:

 

  • Don't give up.  When starting a business, you will have moments that are discouraging.  Push through them.  Just like life, businesses are full of mountain tops and valleys.  Everyone has to go through valleys (sometimes multiple) to get where they want to be.
  • Surround yourself with people who will build you up.  This one is pretty self explanatory
  • Talk to other business owners and get advice from them.  I have found that talking to other business owners is one of the best things you can do.  Other business owners can be a great resource of knowledge and encouragement, as well as a great source of connections.  
  • When you own your own business, you really never stop working.  Yes, you have control of your schedule, which is wonderful, but you have a lot to do and a lot of upkeep in order to maintain your business.  This is something that's hard to understand unless you are at this place.  You have to think about things like your website, finances, advertising, relationships with clients and other businesses, emails, social media...really, the list goes on and on.
  • Don't be afraid to ask for help.  You'll never know the answer if you don't ask (or research).  This is a hard one for me because I like to do things on my own.  I have had to learn that asking for help doesn't actually make you weaker, but actually can make you stronger.
  • Surround yourself with things that inspire and motivate you.  If I don't have sources of creativity flowing into my life, I have found that I almost become dormant.  if you are in any type of creative business, you have to feed your creativity.  Some things that I have found feed my creativity are: going to galleries/looking at other artists artwork, hiking, running, mediation, reading really great books, exploring new places, having a creative space, and talking to other artists to see what inspires them. 

 

These six things have helped me tremendously.  Working for yourself is not for the faint of heart, but I truly believe that if it is a dream that you have, it is so worth the work!