FIRST LOOK: YES OR NO?

When it comes to your wedding day, it's all about you and your significant other! In recent years, it has become more common for the bride and groom to share a "first look" alone before the ceremony. We understand it can be difficult to decide between including this special moment or traditionally saving the surprise for your walk down the aisle, so we put together a few points for you to consider!

 Bow Tie Co Photo

Bow Tie Co Photo

Including a first look allows you to spend more time with your significant other. Wedding days are packed full of photos, speeches, dances and so much more. Your planner is doing everything in their power to make sure each event follows the timeline as closely as possible, leaving it easy to get wrapped up in the craziness of the schedule and greeting guests. Seeing each other before the ceremony allows you to connect in private and spend more time together.

Calm your nerves. If the thought of seeing your other half for the first time in front of all of your guests makes you shake, a first look might be a good option for you. Getting the chance to squeeze your best friend and talk to them is sure to help with any anxiety. 

Consider the pictures. We've all seen the amazing and emotional groom pictures when he first sees his bride walking down the aisle. Amazing! If you choose to have a first look instead, the photographer will be the only other person in the room and cancapture those intimate, emotional moments. Both are beautiful, and you can best predict how you will react to each other!

 Casey Rose Photography

Casey Rose Photography

Timeline. Being open to seeing each other before the ceremony allows much more time for portraits and wedding party photos! This takes some pressure off from cramming them in between cocktail hour and the reception. 

To wrap things up, including a first look is a personal choice that each couple should make together! If you have your heart set on not seeing each other until the ceremony, stick with that. If not, talk to your vendor team to educate yourself on your options and most importantly enjoy your day!!!

 

 Jagg Photography

Jagg Photography

 Jagg Photography

Jagg Photography

Dancing Feet

In recent weddings many brides have had two different pairs of shoes for their special days. Many brides have a formal pair of shoes for their ceremony and a comfy pair of dancing shoes for the reception. The ceremony is considered to be the more formal part of the event, so most brides opt for a heel, wedge or formal sandal. The reception an exciting part of the ceremony and most brides want to be able to move around freely and easily. Brides have chosen sparkly keds, less formal sandals, flowery slip ons and even no shoes at all. A reception for the bride and groom is the time they can spend together celebrating with their friends and family. For many the reception includes dancing. As many of us ladies know, dancing in heels can be difficult and painful, so brides often opt for a more comfortable but still cute shoe option.

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 @treebirdphoto

@treebirdphoto

 @bowtiecophoto

@bowtiecophoto

 @bleststudios

@bleststudios

Open House Recap: Revealing Our New Ceremony Space!

Today we are taking the time to reflect on our June 2018 Open House and share some of our favorite photos by Martha Manning Photography with you! We were honored to host so many unique, talented vendors. Guests toured the house while enjoying delicious food, great music, and connecting with some of our favorite creatives. 

DESIGN

One highlight of the night was debuting our new ceremony space in front of the house with future brides! This wider grass space allows couples and planners to be creative, considering a variety of different seating arrangements and backdrops for their ceremony. Brides who choose this space will exit from the front door of The Bradford and descend down the stairs, showcasing the venue they fell in love with to their guests. Another advantage of using this new space is having the side garden readily available with tables for cocktail hour! We are so excited to finally share, and make our venue more versatile for all of our special Bradford couples!

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We were very lucky to have the talented Amanda Honeycutt of Amanda Blair by Design  and Amy Plant-Perdue of Plume Events work together on design and florals to create such a beautiful first look! These ladies were in charge of design for the entire event and we can't thank them enough for making our venue look so beautiful! Here's a closer look at their amazing work:

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Amanda and Amy both incorporated their own rental pieces, along with lounge sets from Cottage Luxe and a tent from CE rental to create a comfortable, yet classy space. We love how bright and fresh everything looks! 

FOOD

Our caterers were a huge success! 39 West Catering, Happy Cadinal Catering, and HL Catering Company all provided great hopsitality with their beautiful displays. In addition to the bartop with drinks and samples, caterers walked around offering food to guests touring the venue.

There was definitely no shortage of sweet treats! Sweetwater Ice provided Italian Ice in the ballroom, along with Southern Sugar Bakery cookies and Slice Pie Company individual pies.  There was something to please everyone's taste buds!!

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Vendors

Wink Hair and Makeup had a super fun and interactive booth. Guests could sit down at the braid + buns bar and get their hair done for free while learning all about their services for weddings and  portraits!

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Meredith from Oaks and Gray Paper had all things calligraphy, watercolor, and paper on display! From bride-to-bes to wedding day details, she has something to make your day more memorable and special for you! Simply stunning! 

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It wouldn't have been a party without Ones DJ! They kept guests entertained all night by providing music in the ballroom, and provided information on their different packages! How cool is this customized wall display?

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Last but certainly not least, Martha from Martha Manning Photography was there to capture all of these wonderful shots, plus more! We can't thank her enough for getting all the details and sharing them with this awesome group of vendors. 

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Thank you so much to everyone who came out, and all vendors who participated! We hope you had as much fun as we did and left with helpful information, design inspiration, and a full stomach!

Unique Guest Books Ideas

We love seeing unique ideas that couples have when planning their weddings! Guest books are a great way for couples to incorporate their own ideas and have something to keep after their event. Couples can opt to go with a standard guest book, or choose a more unique design for guests to sign.

 Live Light Photography

Live Light Photography

 Carolina Lima Photography

Carolina Lima Photography

 Blest Studios

Blest Studios

 Richard Barlow Photography

Richard Barlow Photography

 Kayla Coleman Photography     Different couples opt to have guest books that mean something to them. A guest book can be a great decoration in a couple’s home. Picking a type of guest book is often personal preference. All the pictures above showcase different types of guest books. These couples chose a picture book, a shadow box, messages in a bottle and a picture frame. The interactive guest books where a guest does a little more than just sign is memorable for both the couple and the guest. These unique guest books are a great daily reminder for couples to remember their wedding by.   

Kayla Coleman Photography

 

Different couples opt to have guest books that mean something to them. A guest book can be a great decoration in a couple’s home. Picking a type of guest book is often personal preference. All the pictures above showcase different types of guest books. These couples chose a picture book, a shadow box, messages in a bottle and a picture frame. The interactive guest books where a guest does a little more than just sign is memorable for both the couple and the guest. These unique guest books are a great daily reminder for couples to remember their wedding by.   

Brittney's Big Day

Brittney and Morgan tied the knot on Saturday March 31st with lots of style. Brittney is our in house Yoga Instructor, so if a bridal party wants to do yoga on the morning of the wedding Brittney will come in and teach a yoga class. Brittney wore a stunning two-piece dress, making her look extra trendy for her wedding.

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Brittney and her dad are very close, so she thought it would be a nice moment to do a first look with her dad. This special moment for both of them was captured by Val Smith, who she knows personally, which added an extra layer of intimacy to her wedding. You can see how touched Brittney was as she walked down the stairs to see her dad, and as she waited for him to turn around. The last picture sums up their emotion perfectly; they were both so excited to see each other and her dad was excited for her on her special day.  

 

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Jesse Johnson from Willow Event Designs, an event design, planning and floral design company based in South Carolina, designed Brittney’s special day. Jesse is the mother of Savannah, Brittney’s Best friend and Maid of Honor. Jesse made these beautiful flower arrangements for bouquets and designed many of the other elements of Brittney’s wedding.  

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Brittney had a family style dinner at her wedding, to create an extra level of intimacy for her guests. Her guests had a great time dining together and dancing later on in the evening. Some of Brittney’s initial hopes for her wedding were to have guests to enjoy themselves, lots of dancing and fun food and drinks and she did just that and more.

 

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Photos: @valliesmith

Event Design Company: Willow Event Designs

Check out the gallery to see more photos from Brittney’s wedding.

WEDDING PREP: HOW TO GROOM THE GROOM

Grooms, this post is for you. We know getting ready for the big day can be stressful for everyone involved. Although there's no doubt your beautiful bride will steal the show, you can guarantee your picture will be taken A LOT! This is just as much a life-changing day for you, so it's important for you to look your best. 

 Photo: Casey Rose

Photo: Casey Rose

We've put together some helpful guidelines to ensure even the most low-maintenance grooms look and feel their best for their special day:

1. The Perfect Haircut: Keep in mind when you get your hair cut. You know if you prefer how it looks the day of or a couple days after. Don't try anything new or crazy until after the wedding. Stick with what makes you comfortable and schedule an appointment even if you usually don't to ensure your hair is cut by someone you trust. If you want to try something new, make sure you do it at least a couple months in advance. 

2. Facial Hair: If you have a beard, awesome! Make sure facial hair maintenance is part of your wedding prep.  Use a good razor to avoid any irritation. Also, consider cleaning up and trimming your eyebrows to sharpen the rest of your facial features.

3. Skincare: Wash your face regularly and try to maintain a simple, consistent skin care regime. Make sure you are moisturizing and drinking tons of water leading up to the day of so your skin looks bright and healthy.

4. Man-icure: This might seem silly, but your hands will be on display all night! Everyone wants to see that ring. 

5. Fresh Smile: You want to have a confident smile since it's one of the happiest days of your life and you'll have photographs to cherish it forever! Practice good oral hygiene to ensure you have fresh breath and if you want, use teeth-whitening remedies to brighten up your smile.

6. Scent: It will be a long day so make sure any product you use will last and keep you fresh. Your scent will be a major memory trigger of this special day for years to come. Choose something both you and your bride-to-be love!

7. Massage: This is such a special time in your life that is meant to be ENJOYED! Take time to do something special for yourself and make sure you are feeling your best on the big day.

 

We love all of our handsome grooms here at the Bradford! Below you can view some our current favorite moments with a couple of them: 

 

 Photo: Casey Rose

Photo: Casey Rose

 Photo: Casey Rose

Photo: Casey Rose

 Photo: Casey Rose

Photo: Casey Rose

 Photo: Jagg Photography

Photo: Jagg Photography

 Photo: Jagg Photography

Photo: Jagg Photography

 Photo: Jagg Photography

Photo: Jagg Photography

 Photo: Blest Studios

Photo: Blest Studios

 Photo: Blest Studios

Photo: Blest Studios

 Photo: Blest Studios

Photo: Blest Studios

Vendor Spotlight: Greenhouse Picker Sisters

We absolutely adore our vendors that make each wedding unique and personal at the Bradford.  From caterers to photographers to florists, there are so many great ones to choose from.  This month we are delighted to brag on Greenhouse Picker Sisters, Holly and Amanda!  

Greenhouse Picker Sisters provides specialty rentals, decor, and event styling for weddings, styled shoots, and more. Holly and Amanda are fifth generation pickers with a love for all things vintage and unique. Greenhouse Lane is their family's street name and hosts some of their dearest memories: ones of love and southern tradition. They have spent many hours among their family's collections, dreaming, playing house, winding up classic toys, and of course, drinking cokes from the bottle. Their love for genuine and classic finds led to the start of the specialty rental company. It is such a joy to see all of their family's finds come back to life in a special way. When Holly and Amanda are not on the hunt for the next amazing find, they are spending time with their wonderful husbands and five awesome kiddos. 

Located out of Raleigh, they specialize in styling, design and specialty rentals.  We have had the pleasure of working with these wonderful ladies and can say that they really are amazing!  Here are just a few beautiful designs that they have done at The Bradford!

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Wedding Colors that Correspond with the Season

When planning your wedding, it is likely that you'll want to have it during the season you like best; or the one that calls for the least amount of rain! Either way, you want to make sure that the color schemes blend nicely with your setting, and the setting sometimes includes the weather. Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter all have very distinct characteristics that you can use to create your dream wedding!

SPRING

Spring allows you to have bright and colorful weddings colors or soft, elegant color schemes. Mint green, dusty blue, blush pink, and chiffon yellow all fit both bold and soft color palettes. 

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 Photos:  Blue Barn Photography

Photos: Blue Barn Photography

SUMMER

During the summer, you can really play with bold and adventurous color schemes. Bright yellows, pink, orange, and lavnder are great colors for a summer wedding.

 Photo:  Annie Watts Photography

Photo: Annie Watts Photography

FALL

Other than the beautiful changing leaves and warm apple cider, Fall is a great season to have many different bright and warm tones! Burgundy, burnt orange, and yellow are great to coordinate with this season.

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 Photos:  J. Christina Photography

Photos: J. Christina Photography

WINTER

Last but certainly not least, Winter! While it may not be a wonderland for those who dislike the cold, it serves as a great theme for a wedding. Winter weddings usually have a cozy, soft, and elegant setting, therefore it is easy to use almost any color, but with a softer tone. Colors like champagne, ivory, pale pink, and navy are great for Winter weddings. 

 

 Photo:  Caroline Lima Photography

Photo: Caroline Lima Photography

  Photo:  Pinterest

Photo: Pinterest

 

 

Green is the New Black!

 

Its Spring and everything outside is starting to turn green.  Adding greenery is a great way to add something special to your wedding, keeping things fresh and bright!  There are so many creative ways that you can incorporate it into your wedding whether you use it to line the aisle or embellish your centerpieces, it is sure to be stunning!     

These green tablescapes are both simple and fresh.  The leaves really add dimension and fill up the space beautifully.  Some common greenery fillers are eucalyptus, leather leaf and olive branches.

 
 These potted plants were a unique way to frame the seating display and can also be used after the wedding in your own home!

These potted plants were a unique way to frame the seating display and can also be used after the wedding in your own home!

 
 This hairpiece is so unique, it is not too large or overwhelming, but the perfect detail to this low bun.

This hairpiece is so unique, it is not too large or overwhelming, but the perfect detail to this low bun.

It's All in the Details!

One of the best ways to show your personality on your wedding day is through the little details. The colors, the flowers, the jewelry... Sometimes it's hard to decide just how you want to show who you are to your guests! If this is you, here are a few detail shots we have loved seeing at The Bradford!  

(Photographer: Caroline Lima Photography)

1. The Invitation set

 With the invitation set, you can give your guests a preview of what your day will look like. You can use florals, greenery or any print with your wedding color. This is a fun way to give your guests a little sneak peek!

With the invitation set, you can give your guests a preview of what your day will look like. You can use florals, greenery or any print with your wedding color. This is a fun way to give your guests a little sneak peek!

2. The shoes

 Shoes are fun and can add a little 'pop' of color! 

Shoes are fun and can add a little 'pop' of color! 

3. The aisle decor

 There are so many ways to decorate your aisle... You can use flowers, wooden signs, candles; all of these have been done at The Bradford!

There are so many ways to decorate your aisle... You can use flowers, wooden signs, candles; all of these have been done at The Bradford!

4. The boutonnieres 

 Boutonnieres are fun because you can make them match with the bridesmaids bouquets and use them to bring out fun accent colors of your color scheme.

Boutonnieres are fun because you can make them match with the bridesmaids bouquets and use them to bring out fun accent colors of your color scheme.

5. The alter

 The alter is very important because it is the focal point of your ceremony! This is where you and your soon-to-be husband will become one... make it speak love!!!

The alter is very important because it is the focal point of your ceremony! This is where you and your soon-to-be husband will become one... make it speak love!!!

Each of these details can add their own unique look your wedding day! Feel the freedom to create and inspire to make your day embody you and your significant other's relationship, big or small!

|Dana|

New interns

Hello!  My name is Kristen Biddle and I am from High Point, North Carolina.  I am currently a junior at NC State majoring in Parks, Recreation and Tourism management with a concentration in program management.

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Here are 3 fun facts:

  • I was born in China!
  • I love crafting and creating things (mostly calligraphy and knitting)
  • Dance parties are my jam

I am so excited to be interning with the Bradford because...

  • Weddings are the best kinds of celebrations; I cannot think of anything better that eating cake with 100 of your closest friends and family!
  • I have always wanted to see what work looks like in the wedding industry and how everything comes together.
  • The venue is beautiful and working with Bailey and the other interns is going to be so much fun!

Hi! My name is Dana Beadle and I am a senior at NC State majoring in Communication-Public Relations with a minor in Business Administration.

Fun Facts:

  • I love hanging out with friends at a local coffee shop or watching Gilmore Girls (or the Titanic but no one seems to shares the same love for it as me).
  • I love long weekends in the mountains or at the beach with my friends
  • I cherish sweet moments when all of my family is able to get together
  • I am engaged and getting MARRIED in September of 2018!! Woohoo!! 

I am super excited to be working at The Bradford because...

I love planning and executing events as well as working with people! I am excited to learn the background work in organizing events at The Bradford!


Hi there! My name is Megan Harding and I am a Business Administration major with an Entrepreneurship minor at Meredith College. I will be graduating in the fall and could not be more excited! 

A few fun facts about me are:

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  • I love to dance!
  • Doing makeup is a hobby of mine
  • I secretly enjoy making lists, ha!
  • Girls nights are my favorite

Why am I thrilled to be interning at The Bradford?

  • I mean, who doesn't want to help make the most important day of peoples lives happen!
  • I have always had a passion for planning and executing any type of event, especially weddings, so I'm excited to experience more of the behind the scenes aspects that make these events possible.
  • Being a business major, communication is key to getting things done. I feel as though The Bradford will really push me to work on those skills.
  • Also, geting to see this beautiful venue everyweek is a bonus!

Fall/Winter To Do List

It's December!

With Thanksgiving over and Christmas quickly approaching, as well as the year coming to an end we all get caught up in the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives and forget to reward ourselves. It's important to take a deep breath (or a few) and appreciate how amazing you are. Here are a few things you can do to take a step back and enjoy the simple things this season while with friends and family. 

1. Visit The Farmer's Market  

The farmers market is a great place to support your local community while getting some great fruit, vegetables, and plants for your home this season. The Farmers market is full of color and plenty of items to get you in the Fall/Winter spirit. 

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Photo: weddingdash

2. Get a Fall or Christmas Scented Candle

Beautiful scents filling your home always make the holidays better. I mean come on, we all know we secretly could spend hours in Bath & Body Works smelling candles. There's so many different seasonal one's to choose from, take your pick! 

3. S'mores

We never get too old for s'mores right?

This is a great way to socialize with friends without having to make a bunch of dishes or prepare too much. You can do s'more by the candlelight indoors or outside by a fire pit. There's nothing like a chilly night with some chocolate and marshmallows :) 

 Photo:  Pinterest  

Photo: Pinterest 

4. Enjoy a Scenic Fall or Winter Drive

There's nothing quite like the outdoors when the leaves are full of color or the ground is full of beautiful white snow. Whether it's fall or winter it's nice to get outdoors and be one with nature. Put your phone down, take your loved ones, and experience the fresh air. 

5. Bake an Apple Pie

Okay what is better sweet treat this season than a freshly made apple pie? There's so many simply recipes you can find online to leave you and your guests tastebuds fully satisfied. Not only is this dessert fun to make, smell, and eat; but it's beautiful as well! Preheat that oven and let's get to baking. YUM! 

Happy Holidays!!

 

 

Cozy Signature Drinks

With Fall in full swing, and winter quickly approaching the weather is much cooler and it's time to sip on a drink that tastes like fall! Whether you are getting married, throwing a holiday party, or just are in the mood for something festive these drinks will be the perfect option for you throughout these next few months! Here are some fun inspirations of holiday drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) that will be perfect for any event during this festive season!

Warm Apple Cider

 Pinterest  Apples, spices, cinnamon, and more! You could even add some alcohol for a jazzed up version of this delicious drink!

Pinterest

Apples, spices, cinnamon, and more! You could even add some alcohol for a jazzed up version of this delicious drink!


Hot Chocolate

 Pinterest  Warm milk and chocolate with marshmallows and whipped cream. YUM!Hot Chocolate can easily be jazzed up with Nutella, peppermint, caramel, or any of your favorite flavors to make this classic drink even more delicious! 

Pinterest

Warm milk and chocolate with marshmallows and whipped cream. YUM!Hot Chocolate can easily be jazzed up with Nutella, peppermint, caramel, or any of your favorite flavors to make this classic drink even more delicious! 


Harvest Fall Sangria

 Pinterest  Apples, pears, oranges, cinnamon, cider, club soda, vodka, white wine, and cranberries. All you need to make this delicious spin on a cool refreshing drink!

Pinterest

Apples, pears, oranges, cinnamon, cider, club soda, vodka, white wine, and cranberries. All you need to make this delicious spin on a cool refreshing drink!


Spiced Pear Margarita 

 Pinterest  If you want a little more kick in your drink this one is for you! This tasty cocktail is comprised of tequila, pear brandy, lime juice, and simple syrup. Served frozen or on the rocks!

Pinterest

If you want a little more kick in your drink this one is for you! This tasty cocktail is comprised of tequila, pear brandy, lime juice, and simple syrup. Served frozen or on the rocks!


Pumpkin Pie Moscow Mule

 Pinterest  A tasty fall treat that would be perfect for a crisp autumn wedding or for Friendsgiving!   Vodka, Pumpkin Ginger Syrup, lime juice, club soda, and happiness is what all that goes into this fun cocktail!    

Pinterest

A tasty fall treat that would be perfect for a crisp autumn wedding or for Friendsgiving! 

Vodka, Pumpkin Ginger Syrup, lime juice, club soda, and happiness is what all that goes into this fun cocktail! 

 

|| Carrie ||

 

Thanksgiving Table Styles

Okay now that Halloween is over can we all admit how excited we are for Thanksgiving? Bring on the yummy food and family gatherings. One of my favorite parts about Thanksgiving is not just the food but the music, the love, and the DECOR. Whether you are having a small get together, or a huge party, there are plenty of simple ways to decorate and set your table that leaves you and your guests smiling when the day is over. 

This table just screams Happy Thanksgiving! The linen, the plates, and the centerpieces are perfect for that warm and cozy charm. And look at those cute corn on the cobs as a decor piece! 

I absolutely adore this modern twist on thanksgiving decor. Succulents are really popular right now and this is a great way to incorporate them into your holiday spirit. The plate setting is so simple and elegant with the napkin flowing perfectly with the green succulents in the center. 

This pumpkin is definitely an eye catching centerpiece. You can pick up all the supplies at your local craft store and tie them together the way you want. All you'll need is a pumpkin! 

This is a very fun and simple way to add a little spice to your place settings at the table. The colors are perfect for the fall season and keeps all the silverware together. 

 Photo: etsy.com 

Photo: etsy.com 

How unique and awesome are these apple candles?? You will be sure to charm your guests with this table setting. All you need is some apples, little candles, and wood bases! Maybe an apple pie too :) 

Holiday Pop-Up Market

MARK YOUR CALENDARS!!! 

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On December 3rd, The Bradford is hosting a holiday pop-up market from 1:00pm to 5:00pm! This will be a great opportunity to come out with your friends and have a fun day of shopping at a beautiful location! We will have beverages (beer and coffee) available for purchase during the event while you are shopping among many of the wonderful vendors that will be out here during the event!

Some of the wonderful vendors include: 

Shop Wind Blown - handmade jewelry
Ten Acre Paper - art prints, stationary 
Greenhouse Picker Sisters - vintage decor
Caballorojo Coffee - coffee beans 
Naturally Chic Gifts - customized wine glasses, champagne flutes, etc.
Shop Stevie - women's clothing
ViaUrban - pillows and baskets
Posh Soap Co. - handmade soaps and candles 
Southern France - French macarons
Bea + Company - refinished decor/furniture

AND MANY MORE!!!!

We can't wait to see you all out here for this fun evening! 

|| Carrie ||