Ahhhh the new year. The new you hit the gym cut the carbs work less say “no” more prioritize your well being + family time is upon us.
It’s always an exciting time when there is hope for something better + gym memberships sky rocket. The holiday decor is packed away, the final sprinkles of glitter + pine are swept away. When your glowing + holiday home suddenly feels minimal, more white, + perhaps filled with more toys.
Admittedly each year, I make a list of all the things I want to accomplish. It’s usually entirely too big. In years past, I made vision boards. Yes, before pinterest, where I cut out inspiration from magazines. Can you believe that is how weddings were designed + planned before too??? Binders of sleeved magazine pages, home-made scrapbooks, collections of fabrics, ribbons, invitation samples, family momentos. Oh how far we’ve come!
Anyways, back to these goals + vision boards. Over the years my goals were centered around 3 things: Health, Relationship, Business. I’d have clippings of wedding gowns, tennis shoes, yoga models, a modern farm house with a blue dutch door. Everything I wanted + didn’t have (yet). Babies. Business women in bright colored heels perched on their desks ruling the world.
So much stress on what I don’t have + not being happy, fulfilled unless I accomplished said goals. End of the year, when prepping taxes, I would think OMG, we owe that much? It costs how much to move to that town, to build that house? I haven’t gotten any healthier or lost any weight. Ugh.
Inevitably, I make a list of what I accomplished that year. What I am grateful for. What my favorite highlights were, personal + business.
Obviously I don’t have wedding gown or babies or dutch doors in mind for this year. I am focusing on three simple things that don’t cost, that I can do on the daily, that bring joy. That I know I can accomplish. Fun Love Trust
FUN: I am going to be present with my family. Have fun playing with my baby. Building blocks, reading books, singing songs, going for walks. The simple things right! And hopefully I can lure my hubs in to partaking in some of the above. In all fairness though, he loves playing with our baby + does so every night.
LOVE: remember all those years of I GOTTA LOSE WEIGHT? Now more than ever I SHOULD be focusing on this right? Especially since I am at my heaviest, with barely having lost any baby weight. BUT instead I am focusing on self love. Loving myself no matter where I am, what I look like, what size I am in. Making choices based on that love. It feels empowering just typing that out.
TRUST: Trust seems so hard sometimes, especially after this tough year. Trust that things will work out. Trust that the business comes. Trust that the right clients show up. Trust that we make it through all the challenges. Trust that even if I don’t know the answer or the way or the decision to make, that as long as I believe + stay in action, I will eventually figure that out. No matter what you call it: trust, spirituality, religion, this is something I am committing to in the new year.
Check out what some of the gals on our team are up to in 2021!
First off, we gotta brag about our Tara!! Her new photography business – Tara Ann Photography – is the genius behind the lens for our cover pic!
It has taken me quite a while to respond because I’ve been thinking long and hard about where I was a year ago vs. where I am today. “Music Stores Survive the Pandemic” is an article that made the front page of the paper and pretty much sums up 2020 for me. I was able to pivot, navigate and thrive during the first part of the pandemic. I was able to save jobs and save two music stores from closing by taking all music lessons online, revamping our web presence, and working countless hours by taking over our website, sales, and shipping departments. Things I’ve learned: it’s okay to cry, you are never truly in control, love your favorite people because you are never promised tomorrow, and you are probably stronger than you think you are. With that being said, I’ve realized how much a photo can mean to a person so I started a photography business. It is my goal in 2021 to to build my photography business by helping other business with their web presence and to capture special moments for families.
Next up! Our Sam! She was the answer to our math prayers this year! We thank the universe for brining her to us every single day!
This year I resolve to be kinder to myself. 2020 has taught me that the world is completely unknown and we all need to go with the punches. My favorite part was joining this team!!! ….. and going to French Polynesia. I spent a LOT of 2020 taking care of Nat the Brat and I love the personality she’s been showing. I’m proud to say I have a lot to do with her having good manners and behaving. Even though it’s totally my fault she says “💩”.
Lauren “Pumpkin Spice” came back to us in 2018 + we couldn’t be more overjoyed! She’s a short + sweet + to the point kind of gal + that is a huge reason why we love her + she is such a major major asset to our team + on wedding weekends!!
2021 Goal = make pickles and refine my own recipe! 2020 reflection = slow down every once in awhile
Oh Jenny! She is a powerhouse of a mama, friend + businesswoman. Her giggle is contagious (for real this girl keeps us all smiling on tough wedding weekends) + her strength is inspiring!
2020 taught me about TRUE love and faith. If there was ever a time in my life to learn the meaning of things that surrounded me, it was this year!! I grew in such a way I never thought possible. As far as the future – or even within the next new year – I hope to take what I have learned and grow from it. As far as what I am proud of…I am proud of my daughters!!!! I am proud of their strength! They have been so strong and showed much courage to rescue ME! For that, I couldn’t be more proud of knowing what great beautiful strong knowledgeable and independent women they will grow up to be.
Patrice is glamorous, exciting + all around a magical person to be around! She loves weddings + SSD so much that she drives in from Kansas City for wedding weekends!! + we cannot find words to explain how joyous that makes our hearts!!
2020 – I realized I need to do more for myself, self care is really needed. Doing for others brings me joy. But it’s not always reciprocated and it weighed on me this year. So neglecting me can’t happen anymore. Resolutions are not my thing but in 2021 I just desire to be #Better
Our Rachel “Ray of Sunshine” had a bittersweet 2020, but she still managed to send virtual hugs to everyone who needed one! + that is a big reason why we love her so much! Her love for love, her fur babies + for others is inspiring! #AddictedtoLove
I don’t really do resolutions as I get more upset and bent out of shape if I don’t stick with them, but I do want to make sure to take Millie to as many outdoor things as I possibly can next year! I’d like to take her on hiking trails, lots of dog parks, swimming, etc. so that her (and I) can stay active and get fresh air while exploring what’s around us! I also want to get back to my creative roots as this year my job has drained me of my creativity so I haven’t had much left to use on my own for fun projects! 2020 Memories! Seren crossed the rainbow bridge after years of kisses + happiness together. Bringing home Tucker even though it was only for a short time. Bringing home Millie! Getting my two best friends married! Moving!
2020 taught me an attitude of gratitude! Cody + I continued dancing through life together – from sea to shining sea! Our year started on the East Coast when Cody was appointed to Warrant Officer of the Marine Corps. We had a mini “layover” in the Midwest from Illinois(where the incredible Kristina Cipolla captured some of our memories!) to Minnesota + then trekked on over to the sunny West Coast to start our newest adventure with our fur babies! – I am forever grateful for the 6 weeks I got to move home with my parents during the Illinois lockdown in April. Honestly, my proudest achievement of the year was cleaning up their library! It took over 52 hours! #humblebrag – I am forever grateful for my Foofy + my Fizz. They keep me on a schedule + out of trouble (mostly because I am chasing them around the apartment to keep THEM out of trouble!) – I am forever grateful for SSD + for Ashlee. I cannot put into words everything that she has done for me in recent years, but this year takes the cake! Getting to work remotely while overlooking sunny California is literally living the dream! – Most of all, I am forever grateful for my husband + his dedication to us + to our marriage (as long as I keep my glitter bombs away from his uniforms!!) 2021 promises more changes, more growth + more adventures to Starbucks with my fur babies! Y’all know I take my cat + my dog to Starbucks everyday, but I’m resolving to “buy” Starbucks from myself. Like, if I want my Venti Iced Coffee with 2 pumps of white mocha, light ice + no classic syrup tomorrow, I’m going to take 45 minutes to myself today. Whether it’s on a run, a virtual ballet or yoga class, or just reading on my balcony with no phone, no emails + no social media! (I also want to run 500 miles this year but I’m thinking my old body isn’t too into that one LOL) Maybe I’ll just stick to chasing all 365 sunsets!
Cheers to 2021!
Bring on the confetti + hopefully more group hugs!
& Happy Hannukah! & Happy Kwanza!! & Happiest of Joy-filled Days to all!!
This time of year holds a special special place in SSD hearts – Katie celebrates her Best Day Ever in December & our Sam celebrates (one of) her Best Day Evers in January (oops, spoiler alert for our January blog!)
We have to talk about our Hallmark Movie-worthy weddings from Decembers Past!
Allison + Andy – 12.31.12
Alison + Andy were one of Ashlee’s last weddings at Four Points + it wasn’t easily one of the best ever! A New Year’s Eve wedding with snow, streamers, another sparkly costume change, and a countdown at midnight to a forever long kiss! Since their wedding 8 years ago, Ali has modeled in a few of our SSD shoots + is hanging on our office wall. New Year’s Eve weddings will always be a favorite – there’s just a bit more magic as we ring in the new year + also lots more glitter!
Danielle + Billy – 12.27.14
Oh our Danielle + Billy!! These two know how to partayyy!! Danielle started their day in a princess gown + kicked off their dance party looking like a mermaid princess in a sparkly blue number! + when we say “kicked off” I guess we probably should’ve been more clear – their dance floor had a full offensive line. So, football fans, did they “Hike” the dance party? Is that the word here?? Regardless!! It was a dream of a day + we still swoon over BOTH of Danielle’s dresses!!
Grace + Alex – 12.1.18
Oscar + Layla + Sally (their pups!) are getting a baby brother this summer!! How exciting!! We are so excited for the New Year we just had to talk about that first, but we also can’t help but reminisce about Grace + Alex’s day 2 short years ago! Grace looked absolutely stunning in her Stella York Moscato-colored gown as she waltzed down the aisle to her happily ever after + Alex was tickled blush + gold (like their colors!) to see her! We finished our evening with a private photoshoot with the new Mr + Mrs + biodegradable confetti!
Brianna + Dom 12.29.18
When we say that planning with Brianna was a party in itself, we are not kidding!! This gal was so detailed and organized that she barely needed us! But are we ever grateful that we still got to dance with these two! Bri is one tough cookie (she’s a helicopter nurse, you know!) – this gal stood outside for over an hour in St. Louis in December for pictures + did not complain one time. Not once!!
Katie + Cody 12.26.15
Totally not trying to steal the spotlight from our couples but I do have to brag about my hubby for 2 seconds! This man has put up with my glitter bombs for 5 years already! I still pinch myself on the weekly that I get to spend forever with him! Our wedding saw quite the rollercoaster – you know this broad spent HOURS folding individual tissues + tying them with a bow for all 300 guests not to mention my wedding dress was ruined 2 weeks before our day, on wedding morning I was abandoned at the hair salon + Minnesota brought a giant snowstorm the night before – but every day since has been full of love and joy! Happy Anniversary, my love!!
Mama D. + Papa 12.30.50
Okay, last one! My grandparents are celebrating 70 years of love this month!! 70 years!! Papa had the most romantic honeymoon planned for them for the week after their wedding, but Mama D just wasn’t ready to leave her mom so poor Papa went on the honeymoon alone while Mama D moved back in with her mom! But she had her bags all packed after 3 days because she missed her new hubby so much + was ready to start their lives together!
Wanna know Mama D’s new favorite wedding trend?? The mismatching bridesmaids’ dresses! She had to borrow her wedding dress + the attendants dresses from a friend, but they could only find 2 matching dresses. She had her sister + Papa’s oldest sister stand with her, but if she could have had a 3rd bridesmaid, it would have been her best friend + cousin Eileen.
YOU GUYSSSS!! OUR BLAIR-BEAR & ALEX TIED THE KNOT!! & you know when you’re an SSD couple, we get all. of. the. bragging. rights.
Blair + Alex began their journey to their happily ever after with a proposal on this beautiful dock on Alex’s family farm! (swoon!)
2020 has been a year for everyone, but we are so inspired by Blair + Alex’s never-ending perseverance so we have to give them loads & loads of kudos!
We were going to get them hitched on March 20th at Blair’s family church with a giant partayyy at Neo on Locust, but we had to postpone.
So we tried again for May 29th! Postponed again. (ughhhhh!)
Blair + Alex decided they wanted a small family affair in the mountains of Tennessee the first weekend of June! Mama Bear Janet had her hiking boots & wedding wedges ready for this adventure! Postponed. AGAIN. (insert cringe & crabby face here!)
Friday, July 31st, Blair + Alex decided to return to their dock on Alex’s family farm, exchanged vows + began their happily ever after!
AND. IT. RAINED. BUT WAIT. THERE’S A SILVER LINING! Look at the magic our photographer Kerri Carlquist worked!
Plus! Blair got to rock her jean jacket in Missouri in July!!
The Cup made the cake and individually wrapped cupcakes for the guests.
& Blair + Alex brought all of the love, joy & excitement – can you just hear Blair’s giggle in this pic??
We can’t wait to hit the dance floor to celebrate with them + their Mama Bear Janet in March 2021!!
Y’all have probably heard of No Shave November + No Nuance November + isn’t there a Movember??
We want to make LOVEMBER a thing!!
November brings a chill to St. Louis that rings in the beginning of the holiday season, snow showers, + evenings in front of the fireplace.
It also brings our team all of the memories from our past LOVEMBER couples!
Mary + Bryan
Mary + Bryan are celebrating their 3rd anniversary this year!! They started their happily ever after in 2017 at Hidden Lake Winery with a romantic horse drawn carriage ride through the spectacular fall colors!! & you know Mary was all ready to enjoy her time with the horse in her bridal cowgirl boots!!
Ashley + Jamaal
Ashley + Jamaal are ringing in their 6th wedding anniversary this year!! Ashley’s cascading bouquet still gives us all of the happy chills, but this dress-swooshing-newlywed-giggles picture brings us back to November 12th every single time we look at it!!
Chrissy + John
Chrissy + John started their happily ever after in 2016 dancing the night away at the Missouri Athletic club! We just LOVE first dance pics! A few minutes to yourselves to just enjoy your new forever partner!
Lori + Steve
Lori + Steve’s best day ever sure didn’t feel like November!! They exchanged vows in Florida with their 2 puppies & even visited the beach for a few pics! That’s our kind of LOVEMBER wedding, am I right??
Ashton + Alan
Ashton + Alan are our classic wedding with a touch of sparkle & you know sparkles are our favorite color! & aren’t her sparkly sleeves the perfect cherry on top finish to her dress?? Well, to let you in on a little secret, a few hours before this pic was taken, Ashton went to give her PapaBear a hug + her strap snapped right off! Talk about a bear hug, right? Her Nan stitched it right back on + it was the perfect reminder to always carry a sewing kit on wedding day (or have a planner with a suitcase full of emergency magic!)
Megan + Gabe
Megan + Gabe have been married for 2 years already?! Time sure flies when you’re spending it with your best friend! Their day was pure magic from start to finish! & look at these LOVEMBER colors in the background! I know, you probably almost missed them because it’s so hard to take your eyes off of these two beautiful lovebirds!
Holly + John
Holly + John celebrated their wedding day with soft serve ice cream + the perfect LOVEMBER day! We brought in heaters for their outdoor ceremony but barely needed them because the sun & their love kept us all so warm! Their pups Maizie + Millie had to make room for a new addition to their family last winter – a beautiful baby girl! + we simply couldn’t be happier for this family of 5!
Chelsea + Derek
Chelsea + Derek are our LOVEMBER grand finale! Chelsea is Ashlee’s sis so you know we’re all a little biased when it comes to our feelings about this spectacular 2015 day!! Not a single detail went unthought of (I mean can we all just take a moment to swoon over this bouquet + Derek’s sharp bowtie!!) + my heart is overwhelming with smiles when I look at this pic of Derek giving Chelsea a twirl!
“I want a Pinterest wedding but I want it to be unique.” Sounds contradicting, I know, but hear me out.
You’ve been building these boards + dog earring bridal magazines for months… ok let’s be honest, years.
If you are anything like me, you had so much envisioned before you had a fiancé. A song list of first dances, recessionals, cake cutting, heck you even had cocktail hour covered. You knew your bridal party. Your flower girls. Depending on the season, a color palatte and decor theme to match. After all, once you met the person of your dreams, you would give them a few options to choose from right? No shame in that game friend!
So heres the thing. Seasons have come and gone and so have the trends, yet you are still hopelessly devoted to nuetral shades and fluffy cream and blush flowers, accented by mixed metals and loads of candle light (or insert whatever your heart desires here). Amiright?
You’ve attended weddings that had that feel. You’ve been in weddings with that same look. It’s like those couples hijacked your best day ever before you had a chance to make it happen.
There is nothing wrong with wanting something that’s already been done. In fact you drew your inspiration from somewhere and so did they. It’s a sign of flattery that those beautiful designs get to live over and over again.
So how can you take a classic, already done wedding and make it your own? There are plenty of ways to do this. We suggest telling your love story.
Where you met. How long you’ve been together. Your fave foods. Places you’ve traveled. Weekend hobbies.
Starting with your invitations. Be clever. Inject your personalities into them. Carry that feel throughout the day with welcome bags, programs, cocktail napkins, menus, seating charts, signature cocktails, pet themed favors.
Have interactive experiences for your guests. Sundae bars and snowcone stations. Salsa lessons, caricature artists, karaoke, magicians disguised as guests.
Create a menu that screams these are our fave foods: build your own pizzas, fruit sushi, barbecue stuffed ravioli, champagne popsicles. Culinary crews love to customize your menu from flavors to presentation. All you gotta do is ask!
Have unique seating layouts. Long harvest tables, big squares, high ball tables and stools. Incorporate a lounge area with love seats and poofs for your guests to take a break from the dance floor.
Floral and plant installations make a jaw-dropping welcoming impact, not to mention photo op! Whether it’s a ceremony altar, staircase, entrance to your reception, seating chart, dance floor centerpiece or suspended arrangements that hang above guest tables, the sky is the limit (or ceiling rather).
The options are endless. Need some guidance or not sure how to get that wow, that personality, that punch incorporated into your day?
Ask your planner, florist, stationery creative, and/or event designer team how to add some sass, fluff, mod, flash, even drama to your event. Something that will make it memorable and still flow with some of your favorite pins. They’ve got you. They’re picking up what you’re throwing down. And trust me, they have some cool ideas up their sleeves.
So if you want that Pinterest wedding, you get that Pinterest wedding!
On the flip side, if you don’t want a Pinterest wedding and you want something completely out of the ordinary, with a talk of the town guest experience, again, consult your wedding day pros, they love to create the unexpected and they are dang good at it!
The important thing is that you love it. That when you look back on your wedding day, it makes you happy. After all, in 5, 10, 25 years, will it matter to you if you picked a popular or classic or trendy or out of the box wedding? Probably not. I’m 3 years out and let me tell you, proteas are still a showstopper in bouquets, people are still cutting the cake as a traditional event at their reception and hearing my dad’s voice on my wedding film is one of the best parts of having a videographer. Bottom line is, you will look back on this day as the day you said I do forever and ever amen to your best friend. The color of the bridesmaids dresses won’t matter. What will matter is that you are looking back on that day and celebrating your relationship!
YOU GUYS!! We just got the sneak peek from Chosen Photography of Allie & Matt’s wedding day & it is giving us ALL. THE. FALL. WEDDING. FEELS.
So OF COURSE we have to post a little #throwbackthursday to all of our past October SSD couples because October creates the most beautiful backdrop here in St. Louis for our most beautiful couples (because you know all SSD couples are the most beautiful!)
PS Allie + Matt’s wedding was our 1st & LAST wedding of 2020 *insert sad face here* & you know we haven’t forgotten about Bri & Tyler’s magical day back in June (captured by Vasva & Co.), but our Lead Planner Sarah came into their planning process 10 days prior to their wedding day so they fall into the SURPRISE Wedding category while Allie + Matt have been with us for months! (& Allie’s sis Gail has been with us for over a year as a weekend warrior!! Stay tuned in with our social media as we introduce our team in the coming weeks to meet her!)
ANYWHO! (shoutout to our SSD couples & mamabears who receive my wordy emails on the regular while y’all only have to put up with my wordy blogs a couple times per month!) Let’s walk through our month of October Anniversary memories together!! (& to avoid a wildly wordy blog again, I’m going to try to stick with a caption of our couple & their photographer & let the pics speak for themselves BUT sometimes you know I just can’t help myself!!)
Jill + Todd- 10.3.15
Jill + Todd are the most darling of duos + their vineyard wedding will always be one of my favorites. Y’all know I don’t hide my Disney love + neither do these two! They had a Mickey Mouse hidden on their wedding cake! Such a fun thing for guests.
Manda + Rudy- 10.6.18
Eek! Manda + Rudy got married on the Allen Family Farm up in Quincy, IL & it will go down in SSD history as one of my all time favorite first reactions! Y’all have probably seen us post Rudy seeing Manda walking down the aisle for the first time BUT look at these 2 right after they became Mr + Mrs! #JOYJOYJOY
Laura + Tyler- 10.6.18
Laura + Tyler are expecting baby number two! Wow does time sure fly! They partied all night long with all their besties at the Clayton Plaza Hotel on a perfect fall day. This was wedding número dos for this fam + we just love getting the opportunity to work with the same families again!
Rachel + Jonathan – 10.8.16
Spoiler alert!! Matt TOTLLY dipped Allie on their wedding day & our team couldn’t help reminiscing about Rachel dipping Jonathan during their First Dance 4 years ago!! Soooo cute!!!
Allison + Devin- 10.12.19
Ugh we can’t say enough about this gorgeous wedding day which was a DIY boho dream complete with pampas grass + loads + loads of candles! Best part is they served pizza from Pastaria at their reception!
Jamie + Chris – 10.15.17
Jamie + her daughter danced to Bruno Mars’ 24k Magic in glittery sneakers + to this day I want to be just like them every time that song comes on the radio in my own glittery sneakers!!
Jess + Mike- 10.17.15
Confession time! During my initial internship interview with Ashlee at our old office, this pic was hanging above her desk & I might’ve gotten a teensy bit distracted by all of the LOVE & JOY in this pic!! Still one of my faves to date!!
Dana & Brandon- 10.20.17
You guys. do you know how hard it was for me to go through their album to find ONE pic where they aren’t gazing into each others’ eyes?! literally impossible!! so we’re posting this pic full of love for each other!!
Stacey + Taylor- 10.22.16
Stacey + Taylor were our very first full planning client! We had a ball walking them through the whole planning process! Stacey + her dad’s first dance song was She Don’t Know She’s Beautiful because they used to sing it in the car on the way to school in the mornings. And let me tell you, that dance floor really heated up when the Magic Mike soundtrack came on! Never a dull moment in this job I tell ya!
Sarah + Mark- 10.24.14
Sarah + Mark are my babes from the easy years + I can never thank those families that gave SSD Events a chance enough. This was an all family on deck to help decorate this outdoor barn wedding at Willoughby Farms complete with quilt covered hay bails as ceremony seating + twinkle lights laced with ribbon + hand cut stairs hanging from all the trees. Every time I hear Keeper of the Stars, I think of these two angels + their baby girl Emmy Lou!
Allie + Matt – 10.24.20
Quick shoutout to Chris Johnson at CJ’s DJ’s for live streaming their ceremony AND First Dance AND Speeches for all of us who couldn’t attend their day in person!! I got to tune in from Sunny California to toast the new Mr + Mrs!
Molly + Jason- 10.26.19
Molly + Jason + their pup Bear are expecting a baby girl soon!! We are so over the moon happy for them & LOVE that they’ve kept in touch with us!
Alicia + Justin- 10.26.13
Alicia was one of the first people to call me when I started SSD Events! She also rode to school with me + my sister in a little red wagon because we were neighbors growing up! So basically she + her sis, my childhood bestie have been around for all our firsts! Alicia + Justin celebrated 7 years this year! Holy cow! They have the cutest babes: Adriana + Jaxton!
Lindsey + Anthony- 10.28.17
Oh this wedding, truthfully, always brings a happy tear to my eyes! Lindsey’s family is one of the warmest and kindest families I’ve ever gotten to meet. Her sis (the MOH!) braided Disney songs into her toast & their First Dance had not ONE dry eye in the house (including our whole team!)
Can’t wait for our November Anniversaries blog post?? Head on over to our Instagram for more about our team, our couples + all things wedding!! @ssdevents