The Ultimate Tailgate Party

After months and months of waiting, the wait finally over. Football season is here! If you’re from the South you know just how big of a deal college football is. As most of you know, I could care less about football. I still don’t fully understand how the game is played. But that doesn’t matter. It doesn’t stop me from throwing one heck of a tailgate party.

Last week I was invited on WSFA’s Alabama Live for a quick segment on how to plan the Ultimate Tailgate Party. If you missed it, you can watch it HERE. We could talk all day long about how to throw a party, but some many people are visual learners like myself, so I decided to style a mock tailgate party. I called my friend Lauren at Milly Photography to capture it all.  2016-09-25_0007 When planning any event, wedding or party there are always a few MUST-HAVES. A tailgate party is no exception. We’ve come up with 3 things that are essential for any tailgate party. The first, You can’t have the proper tailgate party without Entertainment. Wether that’s a game of corn hole, tossing the football on the lawn or cranking up the music. It’s a must! 2016-09-26_0001 Next, you can’t have a tailgate party without you team spirit. Bring you shakers, table clothes, flags and foam fingers. It certainly adds to the festive table decor.  2016-09-25_0002 2016-09-25_0016 2016-09-25_0001 I’m the type of person that will spend extra money on fancy paper plates or cute striped straws, but I’ll buy a cheap lawn chair to save a few bucks. I’m a party planner, don’t judge me! That’s exactly what I did here– We picked up a $6.00 chair from Wal-Mart instead of purchasing one of those fancy $50.00 legit team chairs. I found these inexpensive pillows from the “Dollar Spot” at Target and with a little iron on transfer, I created a custom pillow for under $10.00. Super easy! ANYONE can do it.  2016-09-25_0014 Last but not least. It’s IMPOSSIBLE to throw a tailgate party without the proper food and drink. BBQ sliders, wings and chicken fingers are a few of my favorite easy pick-up foods. But I was recently introduced to a quick and easy sausage dip that is TO DIE FOR. You HAVE to try it. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Sausage Dip

(2) 8 Ounce Cream Cheese | 1 Cup Sour Cream | 2 Cups grated cheddar cheese | 1lb of Ground Sausage | 1 can of Diced Green Chiles

*Brown and drain sausage. Mix with all other ingredients. Bake at 350 for 1 hour.

If you choose to wash it down with a cocktail, we suggest doing it with a little team spirit, of course. Our friend and one of our favorite past brides, Jean helped us round up a few recipes that are sure to impress your tailgating guests. For the Auburn Fan….

Aubie Palmer Cocktail:

1.5 Old Forester Bourbon  | 1.5 Lemonade | Top off w/ Milos Sweet Tea

2016-09-26_0002 and of course, we can’t leave the Alabama fan out. A yummy fruity drink fits them properly, I think.

Yellowhammer Cocktail:

3/4 oz. White Rum | 3/4 oz. Coconut Rum | 1/2 oz. amaretto | 2 oz. orange juice | 2 oz. pineapple juice

2016-09-26_0003 and for those that choose to have a classic game soda, barqs glass bottle root beer will hit the spot.  2016-09-25_0008 2016-09-25_0005 After all those yummy eats and drinks, you have to have a quick sweet treat before entering the stadium. We stopped by Liger’s bakery for those. You can’t go wrong with THE BEST petite fours in town. Their also famous for those mint thumbprint cookies, too, but my personal fave….the Iced Sugar Cookies.  2016-09-25_0012 2016-09-26_0004 As promised on WSFA’s Alabama Live, I’m giving away a pair of tickets to the AUBURN vs. ALABAMA A&M Homecoming game. It’s super easy to win– all you have to do is comment this post. We’ll select a winner Saturday, October 8th. Thanks to Mr. and Mrs. A for making this giveaway possible.  2016-09-25_0009 HUGE thanks to Joyce Hubbard for letting us borrow her Auburn Orange truck. It was PERFECT! And of course, my Granny. Those Liger’s goodies wouldn’t have brought themselves. You’re the BEST!

Meet Victoria

Summer is here. We’re are in full wedding mode and couldn’t be busier. When summer arrives it usually means one thing…. INTERNS. Meet Victoria, one of our adorable summer interns. She wrote a little about her journey with Evan and Company thus far.  2015-06-12_0001 I contacted Evan back in early spring about an internship opportunity for the summer; I am a Public Relations major and wanted more experience in my field and also a better idea of what I might want to do in the future.

Coming in I had some experience with event planning; my sorority’s formals/socials and with Auburn Donor Relations events, but compares to my first weekend as an intern for a wedding planner.

With the wedding being on a Sunday, prepping flowers started Friday morning. Walking in to the office full of big beautiful flowers certainly made me smile, but my love for these flowers faded after the first hour of clipping, stripping, and green fingers. It took a full day to prepare the flowers and create arrangements the bride was sure to love.  2015-06-12_0005 2015-06-12_0002 Saturday was neither hectic nor stressful. Although we were crunched for time, the wedding party knew their cues and positions within the hour time slot we were allotted.

For me, the night before the wedding was like the night before a big test I studied really hard for, I was full of anxiety, excitement and dreams of being late (being late to a test is one of my biggest fears and I guess being late to wedding setup is on that list now too.) I arrived to the office on time and ready to load up the van only to unload it 20 minutes later at the venue.

Because of Evan’s vision and Laura’s guidance, setup, from my point of view, was stress free and fast paced. The worst part about set up was definitely the heat and the bugs. (Note to self: do not have my wedding outdoors between the months of May and September because I burn, sweat and lots of bugs bite).   2015-06-12_0003 The wedding was fabulous and the bride and groom seemed truly pleased with how everything turned out, but I expected nothing less from Evan and Company. There might have been a few hiccups throughout the day, but that’s normal and nothing that couldn’t be fixed.  2015-06-12_0004 I know not all weddings/brides will be as laid back and easy going as this one, but I am excited to gain experience in the hectic world of event planning as well as to work for and learn from the master himself, Evan G. Cooper.

Why Do Wedding Flowers Cost So Much?

The most common question I get is: “Why Do Weddings cost so much?”. There are certainly a lot of factors that play into the cost of a wedding. Though I’ve never been married, I remember my parents asking the exact question when my sister got married. There are lots of things that are needed to make a wedding happen. Linens, catering, rentals and flowers, just to name a few.

As a floral designer first, wedding planner second, we work with budgets of all types.  Most know, some don’t, but I worked with Kim Box Photography for 4 years before I ventured out into the wedding world on my own. I saw low budget weddings and over the top, extravagant weddings too. Shooting different types of weddings made me realize that yes, having a fantastic photographer was great, but have pretty details, flowers and design plan was even better. It gives the photographer a cohesive story to tell.

Flowers are one my favorite design elements of a wedding. They add so much life, color and texture to a bride and grooms special day. Though they are beautiful, they can also come with a pretty price tag. After meeting with a potential client last week(who asked many of questions regarding floral costs), I felt it was very important to educate brides to be on why wedding florals cost what they do.

This past weekend we were able to be a part of a very special wedding for Taylor and Adam. While prepping flowers, I told my team to stop what they were doing. I went and grabbed my camera. I wanted to document the process it takes to get to the end result.

Though a wedding is only one day for 12 hours, our works starts days in advance. Thursday, we started prepping flowers. First, clean buckets. TONS of them. Every wedding and/ or event that involves flowers starts with a full day of processing. 2015-03-30_0004 Every flower that comes through our studio is wrapped and packaged individually. We spend more time undoing rubber bands and cutting off plastic wrap than we do prepping.  2015-03-30_0002 2015-03-30_0006 Don’t those ranunculus make you happy? They’re one of my all-time FAVORITE flowers. 2015-03-30_0008 You probably thought I was joking, but every hydrangea comes individually wrapped, and tubed. It takes hours to process and unpack each box of blooms.  2015-03-30_0003 Rubbermaid’s aren’t just for Christmas garlands and baby clothes.  2015-03-30_0012 We stripped, de-thorn and process every bloom. Wether it’s thousands of roses, hundreds of hydrangeas or bundles of greenery nothing goes untouched.  2015-03-30_0005 2015-03-30_0007 Oh and somewhere in the midst of processing flowers, we manage to find time to prep our containers too.  2015-03-30_0013 Once all the flowers have been processed and the containers have been prepped, let the designing begin. We start every arrangement with greening. Sharon is the greening queen. After it’s been greened it’s past off to receive the pretties.  2015-03-30_0011 Table arrangements, bouquets and hard work. After we finish a full day of flowering, it’s time to load the van and head out. There is only one rule when packing the van: pack until you can’t pack any more.  2015-03-30_0009 My intentions behind this post were to give you a more behind the scenes look at what exactly goes into prepping flowers for a wedding. Most people think a wedding planner snaps their fingers and POOF, everything is in place. That’s certainly not the case. We spend between and 8 and 12 hours on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday prepping flowers and most Saturdays come in around 16 hour days. It’s not just the day of. It’s the months of planning, days before and even the Monday and Tuesdays after the event spent unpacking vans, cleaning out buckets and returning table linens. It’s not the cost of the flowers, it’s the labor and time invested into each bouquet and arrangement you are untimely paying for.

We can’t wait to see the beautiful images Kim Box Photography captured from Taylor and Adam’s special day. Stay tuned to see what all these gorgeous blooms were turned into.

 

Cookies, Uno, Wildcats and Friendship

Putting yourself out there on a public forum doesn’t often lead to meeting sincere people, but Melissa and Jeremy are one of the exceptions. Melissa has been following me for a couple of years now on Instagram and it wasn’t until just recently we were introduced and I realized her and her husband were local.

Melissa makes some of the most adorable and yummy cakes and cookies. Simply Sugared is something that Mel has been pursuing for the last couple a years as a hobby. It actually was birthed out of wanting to make cakes for her boys and of course with the power of social media business has grown tremendously in the last year and she’s working like a mad women to keep up.

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I think it safe to say Melissa is a pretty hardcore #EGCfan. The Wrights were kind enough to invite me over for dinner. Well it was more than just dinner… they declared the entire week #EGCweek and dinner was just the icing on the cake. When I arrived Gage (6) wanted to make sure I was greeted properly. What wedding planner does love a good chalk board?!

2015-03-15_0001  My Momma taught me well,  NEVER go to someone’s house empty handed. Always take a gift, it’s the southern thing to do. I took a few things, but the hit of the night was Uno Attack. It was one of my FAVORITE games as a kiddo. Gage is obsessed with Uno, so I figured if he loved that, he would love uno attack. Come to find out, Gunner(18 months) might have liked it a bit more. Look at that smile. #bestillmyheart 2015-03-15_0009 After the yummy dinner J prepared, we decided it was time to get out hands a little messy. I LOVE sugar cookies and order them for most of my events and parties so I thought it was about time I actually see the work that goes into them.

Who knew rolling out dough takes some serious bicep muscles….  2015-03-15_0002 ….and so does the royal icing. You have to get that food color distributed perfectly. It a tough job. Though, I could eat it with a spoon. 2015-03-15_0003 As if baking with Melissa wasn’t enough Jeremy is crazy talented and serenaded us with a couple of acoustic John Legend and Ed Sheeran jams while we got our bake on. He knows the way to my heart. 2015-03-15_0004 Us guys put our decorating skills to the test. Though we’re not as good as Mrs. Simply Sugared herself, I thought we did pretty well, of course my skill level being the worst.  2015-03-15_0006 Don’t mess with us. We’re in the zone. #focusedfaces 2015-03-15_0005 I must admit, I thought my finished products turned out pretty nice, especially for my first time EVER. Those doughnuts are just too cute. I can’t stop staring at them. Maybe it’s because I made them from start to finish. #snapsforEGC 2015-03-15_0007 After we wrapped our cookie decorating party, we chatted like we’d be friends for years. Cookies, business, Wildcats and everything in between. We covered it. I didn’t leave Casa de Wright until 2am. I’m not lying when I say they are some of the sweetest people I’ve EVER met. Jeremy believes in Melissa like I’ve never seen anyone believe in someone before. Always pushing her to be the best she can be and supporting her to chase after her goals and dreams. Melissa is a FANTASTIC mother, wife and baker. But to me, she’s a fantastic, loyal friend. The cakes and cookies are a plus, but I would trade them in a heart beat it came down to friendship or baked goods. Our friendship is one that will be lasting no matter where life takes us and I am thankful the Lord has allowed our paths to cross. I’m still trying to figure out why I ignored her email for years. #oops  2015-03-15_0008 Thanks again for opening your home to me and also believing in me, and cheering me on. But most importantly #GoCats.