Casey & Joe - A true Richmond wedding

posted Jul 27, 2016, 6:52 AM by Molly Sherwood   [ updated Jul 27, 2016, 7:05 AM ]

Casey and Joe were the coolest couple. I love when a couple becomes friends with all of their vendors - it just makes the whole night click. When you are hunting for your vendors, take a page out of their book and choose people who you trust and, equally importantly, enjoy.

They also found little ways to make this night reflect them. Joe is a chef, and made duck and andouille sausage gumbo for the guests. They provided flip-flops, so guests could comfortably dance their butts off (and they did... shirts came off). Their aunt made a delicious wedding cake - they had very little leftovers, and let me tell you, that does not usually happen with the cake at weddings. Usually there are tons of uneaten pieces sitting at the tables. 

This wedding was so Richmond. They were married in a historic Catholic church in Church Hill, and hopped on a trolley afterwards for some pictures at a few iconic Richmond spots, including Bottom's Up Pizza. If you haven't been to Richmond and sat on the deck at Bottom's Up while the train breezes by and nearly flops your pizza off your table, then you haven't been to Richmond. They served local beers to their guests, and of course after the reception ended, they rounded up the party and headed downtown to continue the celebration. 

Here come the pictures, courtesy of Seth Roberts Photography, a very talented husband and wife team. You can just FEEL the energy of this wedding in these pictures. Normally I don't post as many dancing pictures as I am for this wedding, but you'll forgive me.

Check out this Richmond skyline. And look at Casey's beautiful lean. I see you girl.

This pre-reception picture at Bottom's Up Pizza helps to explain some pictures to follow, I think...

ArtWorks, Richmond, VA

Joe is totally a crier. I love when they cry.

And then came the moves.

Later in the night the glowsticks were distributed. Joe was so excited he needed to bust his favorite move back out.

Usually when I ask my brides what they're worried about, they say "I'm afraid my guests won't have a good time" or, "I'm afraid I won't be able to enjoy myself." This wedding is one that I think all couples dream of for that reason. 

Since the wedding, I've had the pleasure of regularly Facebook stalking them and have seen many adorable pictures of the happy couple, often with their equally adorable dog, Bacon. Congratulations to Casey and Joe, who are so deserving of their happily ever after!

Our October baby shower - the LUCKIEST one yet!

posted Nov 20, 2015, 3:42 PM by Molly Sherwood   [ updated Jul 27, 2016, 7:07 AM ]

I call this baby shower the luckiest EVER because this sweet mom-to-be had been recently diagnosed with pre-eclampsia, and wasn't sure that she would be able to make it to her own shower. But, like any first-time mom, she spent a lot of hours worrying over whether she'd have all the baby must-haves before her little lady arrived. So her and her belly made their way, and it's a good thing they did, because sweet Adalind was born via emergency c-section just two days later!

Just look at all those goods!

Baby showers can sometimes be challenging because the involve family and friends of various ages who don't always know each other. And, though we all dread a cheesy baby shower game, they exist as a way to bring everyone together without forcing conversation. The guests at this shower were evenly divided between the mom-to-be's friends, and the grandmother-to-be's friends. That's a big age range. But let me tell you, ALL the ladies were loving the games we chose!

1. Guess the animal baby name: I designed a document with adult animal names and baby animal names. The guests had to match the adult to the baby name. Our
momma, Sarah, loved this game because she is a true animal lover and has her master's in biology. This is also a great game for guests to complete o
n their own time, between chatting with friends and eating. *SCROLL DOWN FOR THE ANIMAL GAME FILE*
2. Play-doh baby game: We've all seen it on Pinterest. It's all over Pinterest because it works! Everyone loved it, and the  grandmother-to-be's friends were particularly into this one! We had our guest of honor judge the winner, who received a prize. 
3. Baby-themed Pictionary: You have not lived until you've seen 15 60-year old women giggle at someone trying to draw "sore nipples". 

I also had the chance to experiment with my baking skills. I adore being a planner, but I enjoy baking on the side too. Check out these adorable baby owl cupcakes. The pink cupcakes are strawberry guava (Sarah loves guava), and the brown cupcakes are chocolate, of course! When you have 30 women in one room, it's basically unethical to not offer up some chocolate. 

I always incorporate a personalized keepsake for the guest of honor at my events. I designed this one to include predictions about the baby's birthday and more (everyone was way off on that one!), as well as some spots for more sentimental comments ("what I admire about your mom")... 

And, as promised, here is the image used for the baby animal game!

That day Sarah and her husband John drove home with plenty of goods, and barely had time to unpack it all by the time they welcomed their healthy, beautiful, TINY little Adalind. She is three now weeks old and just hit the big 4lbs! We all wish her and the new mom and dad well. 

The three types of wedding venues and how to compare them

posted Oct 18, 2015, 2:21 PM by Molly S   [ updated Jul 27, 2016, 7:06 AM by Molly Sherwood ]

I remember when on the venue hunt for my own wedding, I was drowning in different numbers, and the worst part of it all was that no one venue quotes their services in the same way. The only way to know what you can really afford is to adjust each venue's quote to ensure you're comparing apples to apples. I'm no mathematician, but I love to strategize, so here's how I began to think about it. I use this technique now with my brides and it significantly lowers their blood pressures (as much as it could, anyway, when they've got a mother-in-law breathing down their necks). 

First of all, if you are doing the venue hunt on your own, you have to suck it up and contact each venue manager in-person. It is rare to find pricing online, and they're used to sending out info pamphlets and not hearing back if you realize right away that they're out of budget or can't accommodate your guest list. So, go ahead and ask them, "I'm interested in the following wedding dates. Please send your availability and pricing packet at your earliest convenience." Short and sweet. Not too painful, right? 

Blast your favorite 10-20 venues (or 30, if you're me), and wait. 

Now the pricing packages are coming in. Right away you'll notice there are three types of venues: 
  1. A full-service venue: these guys often require you use their own catering and alcohol, and often include a day-of coordinator, linens, tables and chairs, and an AV hookup. This is all worth something, so do the math accordingly. For example, I've learned that linens for a wedding of 150 run around $175 in my area. 
  2. A partial-service venue: often provides tables and chairs, and has a recommended list of caterers, but doesn't require you use one. The tables and chairs are worth something too.
  3. A bare-bones venue: these are growing with the rustic wedding trend, and I can't blame brides for falling in love with them (and their prices!), but we have to take their base prices and consider some additional costs - do you need to rent heaters, fans, restrooms, tables, chairs for reception and ceremony, a ceremony arch, and linens? 
We have to factor in all the same costs to compare venues appropriately. I have a document I created for a bride with four of her favorite venues - one was bare-bones, two were partial-service, and one was full-service, but rather than an event fee, they charged a total fee per guest which included catering, cake, day-of coordination, set-up and clean-up, tables, chairs, and linens. 

The key to populating the unknowns is to know what each element typically rents for. Find a local events rental site near you and use their pricing to figure out what you're really saving by having a venue that provides ceremony chairs or doesn't. 

When all was said and done, the four venues ended up very similar in cost, to my bride's surprise. The fun in doing this process is that many brides realize a venue they thought they couldn't afford is actually within their budget. 

Happy hunting, and as always, shoot me an e-mail if you get stumped at 


Photo courtesy of Dapper Design and Photography, Culpeper, VA

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