Finding the Perfect Venue [And How to Transform a Venue into a Perfect Fit]

A couple of months ago two separate lovely Instagram followers (thank you @lexsturdy and @feliciaams21) asked me a couple of really wonderful questions about wedding venues, and it boiled down to this two-part question: "How do we find the perfect venue for us, and if we can't find one that is 'perfect' how do transform a venue to fit our vision?" And so today this blog post is devoted to covering the topic of "Finding the Perfect Venue" in totality, and how to transform a venue that might need some finessing to fit your vision!

 Carly Michelle Photography, The Wequassett Resort

Carly Michelle Photography, The Wequassett Resort

Perhaps the most daunting wedding planning task is finding the perfect venue for your wedding day. As a planner, I help my couples find their venue within one to two months of booking with Always Yours Events and I see firsthand how stressful it can be when there is so much emphasis on finding the perfect venue that checks everything on your list. Some of my brides have described it feeling as though you're sprinting towards a finish line, and you must find your venue with your ideal date and within your agreed upon budget range before another couple does. It can also be a little challenging to envision how your wedding will look in an empty space! But, with a few tips, a little creativity and visualization tricks that I have outlined here, you can find the perfect venue for your wedding day without the stress!

 Carly Michelle Photography, The Wequassett Resort

Carly Michelle Photography, The Wequassett Resort

A little side note -- For couples who are hosting at a private estate or home in a tent (as Sean and I are doing this September), you might be able to go ahead and skip through the next section of this blog post. However, take a peek at the second section entitled "Transforming a Venue Into a Perfect Fit."

Finding the Perfect Venue

I tell my clients the same thing at the beginning of the venue selection process: Set parameters, do your research, listen to your intuition and visit only 2-3 venues at a time. The key is to prevent overwhelm, so try not to visit every single venue you've come across in your search. It is most likely that there are 2-3 truly viable venues that you LOVE for your wedding!

To find your perfect venue, follow these steps I follow myself with my couples when booking their wedding venues:

1. Set parameters. Create criteria that your venue will eventually need to meet. Answer these questions to create your venue criteria:

- How many guests will you need to be able to host at your venue?

- Ideally does your venue need to have a ceremony location, cocktail reception location, and dinner and dancing location?

- What are the most ideal dates for your wedding?

- Are their parking areas and restrooms on site? Does this matter to you?

- Is the venue close by to hotels and/or a town or city? Is this important to you?

- What is your total budget for the venue, catering and beverage itself? 

- What are some additional non-negotiables that your venue must have (ie: dinner and dancing in the same room, must have accommodations on site, etc)?

2. Research. Put together a list of 5-7 venues you are interested in with an aesthetic you love or you feel you can work with! My favorite resources for finding venues are the Venue Report and Style Me Pretty. Style Me Pretty's venue list includes vetted and highly rated venues with a gorgeous aesthetic. And for my brides out there looking for unique venues that are a little bit off the beaten path and outside the box, the Venue Report includes so many unique venues you might not have even thought of! Finally, the Knot is a good resource if you'd like something offering a more broad venue search. Get a little creative with this part as well -- look at venues such as greenhouses, vineyards and historic homes with an option to put up a tent!

3. Make Contact. Email each venue, and follow up with a phone call. Speak with a venue sales manager at each venue, and ask them to send over dates of availability (or check to see if your ideal dates are specifically available), a rate sheet AND sample proposal for your review.

4. Organize Your Thoughts. Sit down with all of your information and begin applying your parameters and venue criteria to each option. Does this venue have your ideal date? Can it hold your guest count? Can it accommodate all aspects of the day necessary (ie: ceremony, cocktail reception, dinner and dancing)? Is it close to nearby hotels where out of town guests will stay? Does fall within budget or very close to it? Can it accommodate all of your non-negotiables?

5. Refine. Which venue(s) meets ALL or almost all of your criteria? Which venues meet the least amount of your criteria? Make a list of the top 2-3 venues that are the best fit, and set the others aside. You can always visit the others later if your top 2-3 don't pan out. Schedule tours with your representatives for all of them, and take notes of what you love and what you don't love as you walk through. Try to visit all options in one day, or over the course of two days.

Tip: Ask any and every question that you can think of during your tour. No question is a silly one, and venue representatives want to answer these questions for you as fully as possible! Being the most educated when making the decision to book a venue will make it that much simpler.

6. Listen to Your Intuition. After your tours, sit down with your fiance and review the options, what you love and what you don't love. Listen to your knee-jerk reactions and intuition. There is most likely one (or two) that you feel the most excited about! If you're deciding between two venues, weigh the pros and cons, and visualize your wedding at the venue. I recommend asking yourself these two questions: Does this venue "feel" like us? Can I envision myself walking down the aisle at this venue or having my first dance at this venue?

Once that venue option just seems to "click" in your head and heart, call your venue sales rep and get your date locked in with a contract and deposit!

Transforming a Venue into a Perfect Fit

For some couples, they find venues that are almost perfect; the venue might be a very blank canvas where everything must be brought in OR the venue might have the right foundation but need some finesse. An example of this is an empty tent, where you have SO much blank space to work with. Another example of this is a venue with an aspect such as carpet you don't love. If you're reading this and feeling this way about your own venue, I know it can be difficult to visualize what can be done to transform your space to fit your vision. But do not fear, there is so much that can be done and ways to visualize to ease your worries!

When Working with a Very Blank Canvas: When you're working with a venue or tent that is very blank, the first thing I recommend doing is having your wedding planner (if having one), venue coordinator, or caterer provide you with an ideal floor plan of the space with your guest count. This will help you see your wedding from a bird's eye view and stop overwhelm in it's tracks! It's like decorating a room in your home -- if you can see all of the pieces outright that you must fit into the room, you can begin visualizing how to make it all fit well and then go about decorating and accessorizing it. Knowing where your dance floor, stage/dj booth, tables, chairs, bars and entryways are going to be allows you to see the space with all of its key components. Expanding your vision from here will be so much easier, less overwhelming and much more successful!

If you wish the venue had something a little more visually interesting, speak with your planner, coordinator or caterer about adding lighting such as chandeliers, add a photobooth, add a backdrop, add statement bars that are focal points or maybe a huge impressive head table. There are endless possibilities so do not be afraid to ASK! From there, start working with your wedding planner, coordinator or caterer piece by piece -- pick your lighting (maybe you want chandeliers or greenery on existing lighting), then select your table shape, then your chair style, then your linen style, then your place setting, then your centerpieces, then your bars and then your entryways (maybe you want flowers, draping or signage by the door for a grand entrance)? Work piece by piece, step back, look at it, finesse, repeat. 

 Carly Michelle Photography

Carly Michelle Photography

When Your Venue Needs Finesse: When you're working with a venue that has elements you aren't completely in love with (ie: heavy drapes, patterned carpeting, colorful walls, ornate light fixtures that do not fit your aesthetic, very dim light, etc), my biggest piece of advice is this: bring in a professional creative vendor for a site visit. If you don't have a wedding planner, bring in your floral designer. Having a creative vendor "walk through" the space with you and your venue coordinator and share with you all the possibilities to "hide" something or transform it is one of my best kept secrets. Trust me on this one. A professional creative can take something you don't love and find ways to make it work within a design.

Something I experience regularly (often in hotel ballrooms) is that my couples don't love the wallpaper and carpeting in the reception space. Chat with your floral designer about her ideas, and then consider calling a local rental company and have them add floor to ceiling white gauzy draping around the room to transform the space into a romantic, luxurious, and airy space. This can also work if you don't like a carpet in a room -- drape the room and add a bit of uplighting to shadow the floor, which will draw your eyes upwards towards the draping and ceiling. Even draping the longest wall in the room can transform the space. And if budget wont allow for draping, feel free to skip the draping but keep your uplighting, adjust your centerpieces to be tall centerpieces on every table and maybe even add some floral or greenery to your overhead light fixtures to draw your guests' eyes up! I promise they will be looking at those impressive florals and ceilings over what is under their feet.

And there you have it! I know that is quite a bit of information to take in, but my hope with these posts is to cover topics as fully as possible and give you detailed responses to your biggest wedding planning questions. When it comes to selecting a venue, it can feel like a such a big decision to make. And I hope that this post will serve you well in finding a venue that is perfect for YOU so that you may celebrate this milestone day to the fullest. 

 Carly Michelle Photography

Carly Michelle Photography

And something quickly to remember before I bring this post to a close -- no matter where you, what color the walls are, what pattern the carpeting is, what the drapes look light, how high the ceilings are, what the light fixtures look like or what the weather is, the most important thing on your wedding day is that you are marrying the love of your life. No matter where you choose to say "I do" the constants are your partner at your side and the incredible marriage you are about to embark on. Wherever you are, it will be remarkable.

Until next week my friends!

xoxo, Keri

Photography by Carly Michelle Photography|| Planning + Design by Always Yours Events || Venue: The Wequassett Resort || Couple: Whitney Bischoff + Ricky Angel || Stationery by Amanda Day Rose || Floral by The Wild Dahlia || Hair by Jennifer Tawa || Makeup by Amanda McCarthy || Band: Boston Common Band || Videography by Brighter Lights Media || Dress by Audrey Grant || Bridesmaids Gowns from Brideside || Calligraphy by Design by Laney || Linens by La Tavola

Five Tips For a Gorgeous Rainy Wedding Day

It's the week of your wedding, and you've just opened your weather app to see that the forecast went from sunshine to showers for your Wedding Day. First, take a deep breath and try not to panic -- please know that everything will work out just fine, believe me. You've come to the right place, and this post is devoted to providing you with steps you can take to ensure that your Wedding Day is just as gorgeous and spectacular despite the rain's inconvenient RSVP.

As a wedding planner and designer based in New England, a region of the US where rain is always a possibility on any given day, I've had to execute a fair share of rain plans over the last nine years. In fact, in the Summer of 2016 alone AYE had to execute three rain plans! Since AYE's specialty is private estate and tented weddings, it's imperative that I create two plans for my couples from the very beginning: a main plan and a rain plan. To ensure that my couples' weddings are just as magical and gorgeous when rain strikes, I've put in place procedures to help a wedding plan adapt to an unfavorable forecast in the days leading up to the wedding. And today I'm sharing with you my top five rain plan tips for hosting a gorgeous wedding when Mother Nature isn't cooperating!

luxury chatham wedding and rainy cape cod wedding

1. Assess Your Umbrella Needs

As soon as you believe rain might show it's face on your Wedding Day, swiftly put that Amazon Prime subscription to work and purchase umbrellas for you, your bridal party and your guests. My biggest tip here is to purchase pretty, large and matching umbrellas for yourself and your bridal party. Dreamy portraits and formal photos can be created even in rainstorms with the right umbrellas! I highly recommend these Totes Clear Bubble Umbrellas (link below) for the bride, groom and bridal party! Or if you would like something solid, consider this classic and sophisticated option with a wooden handle (link below). 

For your guests, consider a smaller, compact umbrella or these white umbrellas (links below). Ask your wedding planner or a friend to place them in large woven baskets at the entrance to your ceremony, cocktail reception, dinner reception (and restrooms if they are accessed from outside) for easy access by all of your guests at all times. This hospitable gesture goes a long way in the eyes of your guests, and will keep them dry and comfortable throughout the evening.

Your Umbrella Shopping List:

For extra comfort, inquire with your rental company to add coat racks and hangers, and have your them placed at the front entrance to the venue or tent.

2. Reconsider Having a First Look

This is sometimes requires some convincing, but I promise you that it will save you quite a bit of anxiety and stress! I LOVE the tradition of the groom not seeing his bride until she walks down the aisle, but this beautiful practice doesn't allow for all formal photos to take place prior to the ceremony. While this might not be a concern on a sunny day, when rain clouds roll in your sunlight diminishes. As you head into the evening on your Wedding Day, it becomes a race to squeeze in all the photos on your list before the sun sets and light is completely lost. On a rainy afternoon/evening, visible sunset will not take place, you will skip over twilight and it will be darker earlier than usual. To streamline your day and ensure that you capture all those gorgeous photos of your family and bridal party, consider having a First Look followed by formal photos about 2 hours prior to the ceremony at a pretty, predetermined location such as an open and airy bridal suite, light filled covered patio, or an indoor space with lots of windows. 

luxury cape cod wedding and chatham beach and tennis club wedding

3. Find a Indoor Location for Ceremony, Cocktail Reception and Formal Photos

If you're getting married at a venue with an indoor space, moving any outdoor aspects of the day such as the ceremony and cocktail reception should be pretty painless -- call your wedding planner and venue coordinator 4-5 days prior to the wedding and request the relocation of these events indoors! If you're hosting a tented wedding, consider calling your tent company and adding an additional rain plan ceremony tent. Many tent companies will recommend you place a deposit on a rain plan ceremony tent upon booking the dinner tent, so you may already have one reserved and at the ready! Then relocate your outdoor cocktail reception to the dinner tent by moving the cocktail tables and placing them around the bars and dance floor in the dinner tent, which will encourage guests to continue mingling until first course is served!

To ensure your Formal Photos aren't compromised by the rain, I would highly recommend finding a light and airy indoor location that you can take pre-ceremony and post ceremony formal photos in. Call your planner and/or bridesmaids and exercise "divide and conquer" for this tip! Have each person call a local space within close proximity to your wedding venue where you can take newlywed photos and formal photos during the Wedding Day.  Look for museums, galleries, public pavilions, greenhouses, hotels, historic homes and even other wedding venues with lots of windows, natural light and simple decor. Some locations may require a minimal fee for wedding photography to take place. In this case I say that if you love the location and it's convenient, pay the fee -- it will be worth the peace of mind! Once you find your Formal Photo Location, update your timeline and contact your photographer as well as the bridal party members and family on the formal photos list and provide them with the address.

dahlia bouquet cape cod wedding and blue toille details
blush and navy and green cape cod chatham wedding

4. Keep Your Vendors In the Loop

This step is key. If you don't have a wedding planner already handling this aspect, contact every vendor on your Wedding Vendor Team to let them know your rain plan, even if the changes are very minor. A simple quick phone call to each to chat through the flow of the day will keep everyone on the same page as well as address any questions ahead of time, and it will allow your vendors to adjust their own plans if need be. Keeping your team informed and working off the same plan as you are will set them up for success, and as a result keep the event seamless even in inclement weather.

5. Embrace the Rain

This final tip might be the most important one. Try not to let the rain dictate your emotions on your big day. Reframe your mind to see rain as "no big deal" and you will be much more likely to enjoy the celebration from start to finish. One of my most magical weddings to date took place in the rain -- with the pitter patter of raindrops overhead the candlelit reception under a clear top tent felt like a little piece of romantic heaven to guests! Some of the BEST newlywed photos have been those taken in rain. When the ceremony is over, grab your pretty umbrellas, hold onto your other half and head for the outdoors for a few minutes with your photographer. Laugh, smile, dance, hug and kiss for some stunning and epic photos of you as newlyweds in the rain.

gorgeous rainy day wedding on cape cod

Bonus Tip: Add Flowers

I couldn't resist adding just one more! Because many of my couples' host at least one part of their wedding outdoors, often times we are moving that piece of the day indoors. And when doing so, sometimes you need to bring the outside in to maintain the aesthetic and keep the design you've worked so hard to create in tact. Flowers can really help to transform a space into a romantic setting and add brightness to an indoor venue. Consider adding more blooms to your ceremony's flower arch to make it more impactful and "wow" guests as they walk into the ceremony space. Soften hard surfaces such as mantels and 

And there you have it! Friends, I hope this post has been helpful and calmed any nerves you might be having about the chance of inclement weather on your wedding day! For anyone who has experienced rain on their wedding day, I would love for you to comment below and share your umbrella photos with me! 

Until next time!

xo, Keri

Photography by Carly Michelle Photography

A Boho Glamour Private Estate Wedding {Weston, Massachusetts}

This wedding was perhaps the private estate wedding to end all private estate weddings. Truly, if there ever was a wedding that combined couture glamour and bohemian flair flawlessly, it would be Laura and Avery's remarkable celebration hosted in Weston, Massachusetts this past July. With the excitement of L+A's wedding feature on Style Me Pretty today, I wanted to be sure to share the beauty of the day here on the AYE Blog as well! I'm thrilled to be able to share with you all this ethereal wedding design and the luxury wedding that it was in all it's glory, captured by the beyond talented Jenny Moloney of Jenny Moloney Photography.

luxury private estate boston wedding with inbal dror

Last Autumn I had the pleasure of meeting Laura and Avery at their gorgeous private estate and restored colonial farmhouse on Love Lane in Weston, Massachusetts to chat about their upcoming wedding over a cup of tea. Sitting in their living room laughing together with their sweet pup, Chance, I immediately felt as though we instantly became friends. L+A shared with me their wedding day vision -- a gorgeous celebration taking place in a huge clear top tent in their backyard at their breathtaking home, filled with details that combine a bohemian vibe with sophisticated elegance and glamour. And I ran with this distinctive and exciting vision, knowing it would be one of the most magical weddings AYE would take part in!

inbal dror luxury wedding in boston massachusetts

Avery proposed to Laura with a stunning emerald engagement ring, so perfectly fitting and sentimental since he had given Laura an emerald "promise" ring when they had first started dating years prior. When they began the planning journey, they both agreed that their home would be the perfect backdrop for this remarkable celebration. The house on Love Lane was originally built in 1850 by Avery's great great grandfather, and Laura and Avery moved back to the home after college to restore the farmhouse together. As they shared with me their family history while we walked out into the expansive meadow just beyond their patio, I could tell that this wedding was not only going to be a beauty, but also magical in more ways than one.

luxury emerald and diamond engagement ring

This sweet couple hosted 260 of their family and friends in their backyard under a clear top tent strewn with bistro lights and stunning foraged privet bush greenery chandeliers. The entire design of the wedding was very much inspired by the couple's farmhouse (which we had drawn and used on all of the stationery) and Laura's stunning, couture Inbal Dror gown. Laura's gown was a showstopper with it's delicate draping sleeves, an open back and plunging illusion neckline. The bride instantly fell in love with the dress at Mark Ingram Atelier during a trip to NYC, as it reminded her of a bit of 1970s glamour, which then inspired the boho chic theme of the wedding design.

boston wedding and inbal dror wedding dress
anthropologie wedding with flowers and macrame
luxury inbal dror wedding dress boston wedding

The color palette for the wedding was comprised of shades of mid tone greens, whites, charcoal gray and matte gold with pops of jewel tones including navy, forest green and mustard. The bridesmaids and flower girls all wore Jenny Yoo floral gowns with delicate floral crowns made of wax flower and smilax and bouquets of wildflowers hand tied by Molly at Fleur Events, which complimented the design of the wedding so beautifully.

jenny yoo bridesmaids dresses boston ma luxury wedding
jenny yoo flower girls and bridesmaids dresses boston wedding
jenny yoo bridesmaids and inbal dror wedding dress boston wedding
navy blue suits with gold custom tie clips
luxury private estate wedding inbal dror boston

Laura and Avery were married under a birch chuppah covered with wildflowers and strewn with smilax vines by Fleur Events, and topped with custom macrame. The ceremony was sweet and sentimental, and filled with the most gorgeous personal touches as every turn, from custom embossed ceremony programs tied with macrame to greenery adorned antique Crossback chairs.

pantone color of the year greenery floral arch with macrame
pantone greenery and embossed ceremony programs
mismatched jenny yoo bridesmaids boho chic luxury wedding
private estate wedding boston ma

Under the clear top, guests danced on a reclaimed wood dance floor and dined at handcrafted farm tables covered in custom macrame runners by Elizabeth at Fiber and Threads, and curated details such Love Lane honey bottle favors filled with the honey Avery cultivated from the beehives on the property. Guests enjoyed the honey signature cocktail bar featuring his and hers cocktails made with Love Lane Honey, to lounge vignettes filled with jewel tone vintage furniture from Kadeema Rentals, to the photobooth wall made entirely of greenery and waxflower (another stunning design by Fleur Events) and complete with white balloons teathered with smilax vines.

wildflower and macrame private estate wedding new england
boston farm table wedding with custom honey bottle wedding favors
rustic farm table wedding in new england
luxury clear top tent boston wedding

The Chaplins were such a pleasure to plan a wedding for, and their wedding planning journey was just as incredible as the wedding day itself. Every moment of Laura and Avery's wedding was dreamy and ethereal, and two months after we are all wishing to go back to that gorgeous day. 

luxury boston private estate wedding with clear top tent and bistro lights

Laura and Avery, you two are forever favorites. Thank you for entrusting AYE with this joyous celebration.

xoxo, Keri

Wedding Planning + Design: Always Yours Events, @alwaysyoursevents || Fine Art Photography: Jenny Moloney Photography, @jennymoloney + @jennymoloneyweddings || Floral Design: Fleur Events, @fleurevent || Venue: The Chaplin Private Estate at Love Lane || Catering: Russell Morin Fine Catering, @morinscatering || Wedding Gown Designer: Inbal Dror, @inbaldrorofficial || Wedding Gown Salon: Mark Ingram Atelier, @markingrambride || Bridesmaids Dresses: Jenny Yoo, @jennyyoonyc || Beauty + Hairstyling: Jennifer Tawa, @jentawahairdesign || Beauty + Makeup Artistry: Natalie Lelless, @nattylmua || Macrame Runners: Fiber and Threads, @fiberandthreads || Honey Favors: Love Lane Honey, @lovelanehoney || Stationery: The Printery, @printeryoysterbay || Entertainment: Red Hook Orchestra || Tent Rental: Chase Canopy, @chasecanopy || Lighting: Lightworks Productions || Rentals: True North Event Rentals, @truenortheventrentals || Rentals: Rentals Unlimited, @rentalsunlimited || Rentals: New England Country Rentals, @necrentals || Lounge Furniture Rentals: Kadeema Rentals, @kadeemarentals || Ceremony Confetti: The Confetti Cone Company, @theconfetticonecompany


Newly Engaged? Here’s How to Start Planning Your Wedding

Hooray, Gorgeous! You're getting married. You've made the announcement, you’ve posted a photo of your beautiful ring on Instagram, and you’re receiving hundreds of phone calls, texts and Facebook notifications with sweet messages from your family and friends congratulating you! And already a curious relative has asked you, "so, when's the wedding?" Cue the planning anxiety. 

 Megan Braemore Photography

Megan Braemore Photography

To get you on the right track towards your big day, I have put together a short guide featuring the “First Six Wedding Planning Steps” to begin your wedding planning journey. And, if you're interested in a little more wedding assistance from Always Yours Events, read through to the bottom of the post for access to another planning tool from AYE!

At AYE, my intention during a couple’s initial consultation is to essentially start them off on the right foot, lay down a good foundation and, most importantly, prevent stress. Many of my brides tell me that the first thing they do after they get engaged is hop onto Google and Pinterest, beginning the endless search for venues, caterers, photographers, stationers, etc.  And every one of them says that within a few days, they are completely overwhelmed. So when a bride books with me, my goal is to skip the overwhelm and get her on the right track towards a gorgeous wedding. Below is my “First Six Wedding Planning Steps” guide, outlining touch points I use during my initial consultations to help my couples start from scratch.

 Megan Braemore Photography

Megan Braemore Photography


You’ve been dreaming about this day since you were seven, so don’t stop now! Have a little reverie about the aspects you hope to incorporate into your Wedding Day. Jot down these ideas and take a good look. I’ll bet my bottom dollar that you will see the makings of a wedding style/theme starting to form. Farm tables, flower crowns and floral garland -- you might be dreaming of a botanical, rustic affair! Pink peonies, gold rimmed glassware, black and white striped linens -- you’re on the Kate Spade chic track!


Do you have a general location in mind? Will you get married in your hometown? Or maybe your fiance’s hometown? What about where you spent the Summer as a child? Or are you are you dreaming about jetsetting for an intimate destination wedding in Bora Bora? You don’t have to specifically pick your venue at this point. Just hone in on your ideal location.


I know, this is the scary conversation. But trust me, you want to do this now. This is going to allow you to set parameters, which, believe it or not, will actually make the journey easier and wedding-related decisions less daunting. If you haven’t already, speak with both sides of the family about whether or not they feel comfortable contributing to your Wedding Day budget. Then sit down together and come up with an estimated figure. Here is one of my favorite resources that will help you generate a budget:


You’re thinking, “this is going to be tough” (cue Steve Martin in Father of the Bride ruthlessly cutting names from his daughter’s guest list). But it doesn’t have to be! Create your list with your fiancé by working from the core outwards. Start in this order: immediate family, close relatives (first aunts, uncles and cousins), best friends, distant relatives, family friends, work friends and colleagues. You can refine later, but at this point you will have a pretty good handle on your estimated guest count.


Now take your dreams, general location, budget and guest count and do a little research. Go to review websites such as or and review venues in your ideal location that will work with your guest count and overall wedding vision. Call all of your venue options and set up a time to chat with your venue representative about potential dates. Set up site visits with each venue that has availability. And once you find one that you love, consider booking immediately so the date you desire is 100% yours!


This step can come before booking a venue OR after. Some brides book a wedding planner before reserving their venue, therefore their wedding planner will be very actively venue scouting with them. When looking for a wedding planner, look for experience, good recommendations and take a gander at his or her portfolio. Most importantly try to find someone that you connect with immediately. A personal connection with you planner will make the experience that much more enjoyable.

 Megan Braemore Photography

Megan Braemore Photography

And there you have it! AYE’s six "next steps" that will help you jumpstart the wedding planning journey and lay down a fantastic foundation for your the big day. I hope you found this guide helpful, and I hope you feel more confident moving forward with this very exciting experience! 

In the comments below, share with me ideas for posts you would like to see in the near future! And for more gorgeous wedding inspiration, design ideas, tips and tricks straight to your inbox each month, sign up for the AYE Monthly Newsletter here!

xoxo, Keri

Photography by Briana Moore Photography

Wedding Planning by Always Yours Events

Caroline + Dave {Classic Cape Cod Wedding by Always Yours Events}

Caroline Ogilvy and Dave Reisler Bruce were married in the garden of Caroline's parents' private estate on one of the prettiest days of Summer 2015. And last week I was honored to see the ethereal film scans by AE Stelzer Photography from this gorgeous AYE wedding featured on Style Me Pretty {SMP feature here)!


When Caroline and Dave approached me with their wedding vision in the winter of 2014, I couldn't wait to begin dreaming up a stunning design for their big day. We met at the Four Seasons Boston for a glass of champagne and dessert and held their initial consultation. And what stood out to me the most was that above everything that Caroline and Dave asked for, their first and foremost priority was ensuring that every single one of their guests had the most remarkable time -- one they would talk about long after the day was over. So when Caroline and Dave booked me for full service planning, we set our focus on creating a unique and wonderful guest experience!

Only July 25th sweet couple was married on the Ogilvy's private estate complete with a garden, a miniature Cape Cod cottage playhouse adorably referred to as the "dollhouse," and a white wash barn sitting upon Siders Pond in the heart of Falmouth, Cape Cod. What I loved so much about this property (other than how gorgeous it was!), was it had meaning as Caroline's parents had been married at the same location 40 years before. In my opinion it's the meaningful details like this that set a celebration apart and make it truly bespoke.

For a color palette, we selected navy, white, coral and blush to invoke the nautical chic vibe, along with a Sperry sailcloth tent that offers that lovely, magical soft glow inside. Caroline chose a breathtaking Monique Lhullier lace gown with a chapel length veil, and Kate Spade wedges adorned with giant white bows for a sassy yet classy touch. The Mother of the Bride's aquamarine solitare ring served as Caroline's "something borrowed," which had everyone swooning. The bridesmaids wore dainty navy chiffon knee length gowns and carried coral, blush and seashell pink blooms tied with navy and white striped ribbons. And the three flower girls (the cutest in the history of weddings, I might add) wore precious coral dresses with flower sashes and giant navy ribbons in their hair, and carried Nantucket baskets tied with navy and white grosgrain ribbon streamers and filled with coral rose petals.

Prior to the wedding, the couple met a Surf Drive Beach for a first look on the ocean. Dave arrived in the Father of the Bride's vintage Mercedes and practiced his vows while waiting for his bride to arrive. And after a sentimental first look, the two enjoyed a drive to Falmouth Harbor for a few photos on the boat, which were straight out of a Cape Cod Lifestyle magazine.


The ceremony was hosted on pond's edge, where Caroline and Dave stood under a white chiffon draped floral arch with coral and blush garden roses and greenery. Guests were greeted with blueberry lemonade, and handed ceremony program fan tied with a navy and white striped grosgrain ribbon bow. As a little extra hospitable touch, all guests received a pair of navy wayfarers inscribed with the couple's favorite saying (and hashtag), Better Together for comfort during the sunset ceremony. For the cocktail reception, we selected a round Sperry tent with a navy and white star big top that housed navy linened cocktail tables tied back with white anchor rope in a square knot.


The reception part of the evening was absolutely magical in every way. The guest tables were set with gold flatware and gold rimmed china and glassware. White nautical lanterns filled with pillar candles and surrounded by lush garden roses and blush blooms at the base served as the centerpieces. Guests were completely blown away by the stellar seven piece band of the evening, The Sultans of Swing, who are a New England favorite. And the evening was filled with surprises, including an introduction by the Father of the Bride who made an entrance on his vintage motorcycle which he drove straight through the tent, past the sweetheart table and onto the dance floor to meet his wife and Mother of the Bride for their toast! After dinner, cake cutting and formal dances, the guests danced the night away under cafe lights in the sailcloth tent to Motown hits and New England favorites (including Sweet Caroline by Neil Diamond for our bride!) performed by the Sultans. 


And for a slam bang finish Caroline and Dave ran off to their after party through a sparkler tunnel down their private lane.


A couple of months back I emailed back and forth with Caroline, and she made a point of telling me that their "guests are still to this day talking about the fabulous wedding." And that my friends, was music to my ears. It truly was the remarkable day Caroline and Dave had so hoped for.

Until next time.

xoxo, Keri

Here's to 2015: A Year in Review

A year from now you will wish you had started today.
— Karen Lamb

There never was a truer quote than this one by Karen Lamb. As I wrote this blog post, I thought back to where I was sitting on New Years Eve 2014. I was in my cubicle at my former employer where I held a position as an Event Producer for one of New England's prestigious catering companies. The silence in the office was deafening, and the only reason that I was there that day was because I had preferred to use my precious vacation days to attend a wedding workshop earlier in the Spring (and then again in the Fall!), which would in return catapult me into the journey of becoming a girlboss in 2015. I sat in my gray cube counting down the hours until I could be home with Sean for our NYE dinner and celebration. Because after all, I had already resolved that 2015 was going to be MY year. It was going to be the year that I said "yes" to Always Yours Events.

Prior to this, I had spent the last two and a half years building my business but never believing in it enough to give it life. Fun fact -- did you know that I purchased the domain and website (and the .net version too because I'm a bit paranoid) the week I graduated from Boston University in June 2012? All the while I held my former position, I couldn't help feeling as though I was cutting myself short. Want to know why? Because I WAS cutting myself short. So when those wedding workshops gave me the inspiration and momentum I needed to pursue the dream of owning and operating my business full time... I let it roll.

(from left: from Trouvaille Workshop 2.0, Trouvaille Workshop 1.0, at my former position running the Emirates Airline Gala in Boston)

In January I went into work on a dreary snowy day, and gave my notice to my boss, who was completely caught off guard. Was I nervous? Nope. I was terrified. I wasn't just saying "yes" to my business, I was also saying "au revior" to my steady income, my security, my peace of mind. Ask anyone who has done this before and they will tell you that their last day was one filled with anxious moments, your heart in your throat and sweaty palms. Even though I had two actual couples booked for 2015 who had learned about me through word of mouth and a free listing on the Knot, I still would need to fill the calendar with at least two more weddings to make it that year. But I had faith and grit. Faith gave me the hope, and grit gave me the results.

From January to March I feverishly began marketing through various wedding blogs and outlets, amping up my Instagram feed, had coffee or Google Hangout dates with least 25 vendors in the area, and I stayed up until almost 4am every day for a week trying to get my website in order. I had my fair share of shut doors during this time, including being excluded by other well-established professionals in the industry, being rejected from listing my business on a blog, not being taken seriously by a caterer. But I just kept plugging away tenaciously, understanding that these were my "dues" to pay. And guess what? That grit paid off. Because I booked not one, not two, but three more couples for 2015, and two more for 2016 in that timeframe. I couldn't believe it! All my efforts was WORKING.

Fast forward to May. In May, my first AYE couple, Brittany and Casey, were married at the Wequassett Resort in Harwichport, Cape Cod. A destination wedding with 55 guests overlooking the ocean was the perfect way to kick off my first season.

Photography by Tico and Red Photography

Then in July came Kristen and Justin's gorgeous nautical Lake Winnepesaukee wedding at the Inn at Mill Falls. When I see the photos from this wedding, I can't help but smile. Kristen and Justin will forever be one of my favorite couples, and they will always be near and dear to my heart. I have developed a friendship with them that has been such a light throughout this journey.

  Photography by Pear Tree Studio

Photography by Pear Tree Studio

Later in July came Caroline and Dave's stunning navy, coral and blush private estate wedding. This wedding was straight out of a Cape Cod lifestyle magazine. And the entertainment? The Sultans of Swing were so incredible that all of the neighbors on a quaint little lane hosted parties in their backyards and enjoyed the free music. I am anxiously awaiting for this wedding to be featured on one of my favorite wedding blogs, so for now this is the only image I can share. Trust me, it will be worth the wait!

  Photography by Ashley Stelzer

Photography by Ashley Stelzer

In August Allie and Dave's mustard, navy and olive green boho chic wedding took place at Wright-Locke Farm, a working farm complete with a white washed barn with weathered blue shutters. Their wedding was one for the books as dinner was served al fresco (unheard of in New England) in a bistro light strewn corral overlooking the rolling hills of Winchester. And it was incredible to see Allie and Dave's big day featured on Cottage Hill Magazine's online journal (see it here) just a few weeks ago! 

Photography by Briana Moore

In September Cate and Skip were married along the coast of Marion, MA, and hosted one of the most effortlessly chic white on white weddings in a field overlooking the beach and the ocean. Our hashtag was #whiteonwhitechicbeachbash, and that it was. 

Photography by Kelly Lorenz

And last but not least came Tori and Blake's nautical chic wedding, which took place at the gorgeous Eastern Yacht Club in Marblehead, MA. This wedding holds a special place in my heart. It was so perfectly curated and incorporated beautiful blue mussel shells (just look at these gorgeous watercolor print envelope liners by the talented Kearsley Lloyd). And the couple? One of the sweetest and classiest couples you'll ever meet. I was completely honored when Style Me Pretty featured this stunning day on the SMP New England Blog (see it here) back in November. 

Photography by Ned Jackson Photography

In November I traveled to London, England to visit with family and refresh after a spectacular wedding season. Sean and I spent Thanksgiving together traveling from our families homes for festivities, eating whole lot of turkey, and enjoying a Christmas tree cutting! See photos from all these trips on my Instagram feed here.

Finally on December 10th I executed a fine art styled shoot at Hardy Farm in Fryeburg, ME that was so incredible and felt so much like "home." I worked with the most talented creatives and friendors on this labor of love, and it was one of the dreamiest days of my life. After a long day of driving (four hours each way) and shooting (six hours), I laid my head down on the pillow and cried tears of joy. This shoot felt like the biggest accomplishment to date because it encapsulated the essence and fine art signature style I had been striving to achieve since I opened AYE. In that day, I had refined my brand, aesthetic and style. When I see the photos from that shoot, I see Always Yours Events.

Christmas was a beautiful whirlwind, but still restful and joyous with Sean and our families. During Christmas we made room for family, friends, love and quality time, which are the things that truly matters. Oh and we also made room for cookies. We ate way too many cookies.

Go back and read the opening paragraph of this post. This time last year I was sitting in a gray cubicle, an Event Producer, non-business owner, counting down the hours until I got to go home. But tonight I'm here in my living room with Sean, with a glass of rose champagne in hand, a wedding planning business with all new clients for 2016 and 2017, two (almost three) published weddings, new friends, new relationships, a whole lot of insight and experience, and so much excitement for the year ahead.

To all the creatives out there reading this who think you don't have the grit and gumption to do the same, I challenge you to take on your dreams in 2016. Don't let another day go by where you don't work towards taking the leap. I'm here to tell you that you can make anything happen. Believe me, so much can happen in 365 days.

Happy New Year's Eve, friends. I'll see you in 2016.








Tori + Blake {A Mussel Themed Seaside Wedding}

Mussel shells, cerulean watercolor, mother of pearl, white garden roses and Dutch hydrangea -- these are the makings of a classically gorgeous New England seaside wedding. 

This past September, AYE had the privilege of planning an incredible wedding alongside chic East Coast gal Tori Snow Cruice, the heart of the lifestyle blog Made by New England. When I met with Tori and Blake at the Taj Lounge in Boston, I felt like I was meeting old friends. Together the three of us sipped champagne and spent a few hours chatting about their wedding vision and plans for a seaside wedding in Marblehead, MA at the Eastern Yacht Club. Between Tori and Blake's impeccable and classic taste and their love for what is sentimental, I knew this wedding would be remarkable.

Tori and Blake selected the Eastern Yacht Club because of it's meaning to Tori and her family. Tori spent her childhood summers sailing in and out of the EYC to Nantucket and along the coast with her family. And even more importantly, it's the venue where Tori's parents were married 30 years ago.

Wedding design inspiration came from the gorgeous coloring of mussel shells. With the help of wedding brand artist and graphic designer Kearsley Lloyd, Tori had a bespoke watercolor wedding brand (complete with a perfectly chic monogram) created, which set the tone for the Cruices' Wedding Day. From the lush and bountiful white blooms (including our favorite dinner plate Dahlias), to a white rose petal toss, a victory lap and champagne toast on the EYC boat, the firing of the cannon at sunset, to the sparkler send off, Tori and Blake's wedding was the perfect seaside fete. And our talented photographer Ned Jackson captured the day with hundreds of ethereal photos of every curated detail.

Tori and Blake, your wedding was filled with so much love, meaning, hospitality and exciting surprises for your guests! Working with you to create a day that speaks volumes about who you are as a couple was such an incredible honor. I am forever grateful for you.

Tori's dress will forever be an AYE favorite. Spoiler alert: the back had everyone swooning! 

This wedding party was one of the BEST I have ever encountered. Lively, hilarious and punctual is a rarity! 

That envelope liner though! 

This unique wedding party parade through the street of Marblehead was hands down my favorite part of Tori and Blake's wedding. Lead trumpeter from the Ward Eights led our bridal party and guests to their transportation; an open air trolley for guests and a gorgeous launch boat for the bridal party!

Every single mussel shell used at this wedding was handpicked by the lovely mother of the bride. Adding them to the guest table centerpieces was the perfect touch, bringing the design full circle.

Tori and Blake lovingly made rosemary local sea salt as escort cards and favors for their guests. Rosemary is a symbol of remembrance, and salt, of course, was a token from the quintessential seaside town.

The back of Tori's dress -- no words.

Friends, I hope you loved the details and design of this wedding as much as I did. I can safely say that this one will always be at the top of my list.

Have a lovely Friday! Cheers to a wonderful weekend! 


Event Planning: Always Yours Events || Photography: Ned Jackson Photography || Venue + Catering: The Eastern Yacht Club || Ceremony: Old North Church, Marblehead || Floral Design: Flowers by Darlene || Wedding Branding: Kearsley Lloyd || Entertainment: The Ward Eights || Transportation: Beantown Trolley and Marblehead Harbor Launch || Calligraphy: Posh and Prep || Invitations: Albertine Press || Wedding Dress: Mikaella from Madeleine's Daughter || Bridesmaids Fashion: Ann Taylor || Groomsmen's Fashion: Men's Warehouse || Bowties: Collard Greens

The {13} Fall Essentials You Need in Your Life

Autumn — The year’s last loveliest smile.
— William Cullen Bryant

Fall is here, friends! And I don't know about you, but I'm merrily trading flip flops for riding boots, beach towels for warm knit blankets and peony scents for pumpkin spice candles. This past Tuesday I opened up the closet and rediscovered some of my favorite Fall must-haves, and so many of these things were too good not to share with my readers!

I have to say, I love the Summer season and I am always sad to see the days grow shorter, the light fading sooner, the beaches here becoming quieter and all the gorgeous blooms slowly disappearing. But Fall this year feels like a safe-haven. Summer 2015 for this girl and AYE was incredible. And busy. And a whirlwind. It was a beautiful combination of all three. This past Monday (coincidentally on the first day of Fall) I crossed the finish line on the last day of my 2015 wedding season. On that cool, crisp morning I woke up and inhaled so deeply for the first time in what seemed like months. Guys, I put an insane amount of pressure on myself and my little business this Summer. More on this to come in another post coming this weekend, but just know... I successfully made it, and I am so overjoyed! I pushed this little business of mine beyond limits I didn't know existed, and it was above and beyond rewarding! But I am happy to say that the change of season is here, and Fall is my respite.

So, enough of the detour and onto the good things the title of this blog post promises! Below are my 13 ride or die Fall loves, friends. From cozy blankets to seasonal beverages, this is what you will find in the new AYE studio this season!

    1.  Tory Burch  Riding Boots ||  2. Walt Disney's Hocus Pocus  DVD  || 3.  Essie's  Chinchilly Nail Polish || 4. Soft Grey  Flannel Sheets  || 5.  Herbivore Botanical's  Coco Rose Lip Conditioner || 6.  Camping Socks  || 7. Fall Reads -  In a Dark, Dark Wood  || 8.  Pumpkin Spice Coffee  || 9. Pumpkin Harvest Candle by  Brooklyn Candle Studio  || 10.  Cozy Knit Blankets and Throws  || 11.  ColourPop  Lipstick in Tootsi || 12. Cowl Neck Running Sweatshirt || 13.  Lauren Conrad  Rose Gold Dipped Geode Necklace


1. Tory Burch Riding Boots ||  2. Walt Disney's Hocus Pocus DVD || 3. Essie's Chinchilly Nail Polish || 4. Soft Grey Flannel Sheets || 5. Herbivore Botanical's Coco Rose Lip Conditioner || 6. Camping Socks || 7. Fall Reads - In a Dark, Dark Wood || 8. Pumpkin Spice Coffee || 9. Pumpkin Harvest Candle by Brooklyn Candle Studio || 10. Cozy Knit Blankets and Throws || 11. ColourPop Lipstick in Tootsi || 12. Cowl Neck Running Sweatshirt || 13. Lauren Conrad Rose Gold Dipped Geode Necklace

Riding Boots - You knew these would be on the list! A pair of black and a pair of brown in your wardrobe are essential from October through the Winter months.

Hocus Pocus - It's not Fall until you've gotten nostalgic and popped this DVD in for a cozy night at home with a glass of wine and Boom Chicka Pop Sea Salt or Kettle Corn Popcorn (and eat most of the bag in one sitting)!

Taupe-y Grey Nail Polish - Definitely run out and pick up a bottle of Essie Chinchilly nail polish. I love that it's a great transitional color from the Summertime pinks and whites to the Wintery oxblood reds and shimmery glitter polishes.

Flannel Sheets - These sheets just take the coziness factor of the season to a whole different level. Flannel sheets fresh from the laundry are basically heavenly warm pajamas for your mattress.

Lip Balm and Conditioner - This Herbivore Botanical Coco Rose lip conditioner has been a product that I haven't been able to live without this past month. At the beginning of September golden rod bloomed here in Massachusetts, and it was completely overgrown at one of my couple's venues. My allergies really kicked in, and with that, my lips almost immediately dried out.  I heard great things about this lip conditioner, so I decided to give it a try.  Between it's moisturizing power and the beautiful scent, I can't stop wearing it. I've even been lining and filling in my lips with a nude lipliner and going over it with this conditioner in lieu of lipstick!

Camping Socks - I found these long socks at J Crew Factory last year and they brought them back again this year! They work for wearing around the house and keeping riding boots tall and structured when on.

Fall Reads - Stop! Put down the self-improvement and business books (I'm talking to you, wedding industry friends)! Pick up a fun novel or a thriller like In a Dark, Dark Wood and truly read for pleasure and some quiet time. Recently, I've been trying to read early in the morning, just to start the day off early and quietly on the right foot.

Pumpkin Spice Flavored Coffee - Am I the only person who isn't a true lover of the Pumpkin Spice Latte at Starbucks? I usually can't finish a whole one. Ground pumpkin spice flavored coffee is simple, easy and has been brewing all this month. I'm really loving it!

Pumpkin Harvest Candles - Brooklyn Candle Studio makes the prettiest white, clean and chic hand poured mason jar candles. This pumpkin scent is nice, fills the house and in no way overwhelming. Plus it looks so pretty on any coffee table or kitchen counter.

Warm Knit Blankets & Throws - I have a problem. I can never have enough of these. I have a whole seagrass basket filled with these while one or two would definitely suffice. I recently bought one of these grey cable knit throws from West Elm for the studio, and it's definitely become my new favorite, especially since it matches.

Greige/Marsala Lipstick - I don't know about you, but I feel like I look ridiculous with a red lip anytime outside of Christmas. Truthfully, I think I keep picking reds that don't have the right undertone. So in the Fall, I typically stick to nude lipstick or lip balm at all times. But this year I found this unique color in a ColourPop Lippie Stick and I fell in love. It's a shade that looks good on every skintone, and it's so versatile. 

Warm Running Attire - Just because it's chillier out doesn't mean I'm allowed to stop running and walking outside. I have a couple of cowl neck workout sweatshirts like this one (the ones I have are years old and unavailable now) and because they are flattering and I enjoy wearing them, I remain motivated and a little more excited exercising in the colder early morning hours.

Geode Necklace - I'm obsessed with this rose gold dipped geode necklace from Lauren Conrad's new Runway Collection at Kohls. I've had my eye on necklaces like these for a while now, so when I saw this budget-friendly option pop up on IG last week, I had to pick it up. It's a little bit edgy and still dainty, and it's perfect when paired with sweaters, faux fur vests and leather jackets.

There you have it! Did you discover anything new within this list? Do you share any of these favorites? I love must-have recommendations, so please feel free to share some of your Fall favorites below! 

Happy Fall, friends! Until next time.

xoxo, Keri


**This post is in no way sponsored by any brand, company, product or service. Everything is just personal favorites and opinions.**

A Nautical Chic AYE Wedding {Brittany and Casey}

Drumroll please. Brittany and Casey's wedding photos have arrived, and guys, they are gorgeous. When Brittany and I had our first consultation, she had plans for a much larger wedding. But as the planning process began, the couple decided that an intimate affair of just close family and close friends on the ocean at Wequasset Resort and Golf Club was truly their cup of tea.

"Subtle Nautical Chic," is how Brittany described her vision for her wedding day. While that might sound a wordy, I knew exactly what she meant. On Cape Cod, couples can sometimes feel like they need to have the quintessential Cape Cod wedding with hurricane lanterns and beachy elements, blue hydrangeas and a beachside ceremony. But Brittany and Casey preferred Cape Cod as the backdrop, and less the central theme.

We selected the Wequasset Resort and Golf Club to host their 60 close family and friends for the rehearsal dinner, ceremony and reception. The weather on May 30th was absolutely gorgeous, with just the appropriate amount of clouds and sun, which were the makings for some truly stunning photos. 

The ceremony was held at the cozy Lawn Cove nestled in the center of Wequasset and against the harbor which served as the most gorgeous backdrop. Brittany and Casey read their own written vows to each other, focusing on the growth of their love throughout the years. 

One of the major focal points of Brittany and Casey's weddings were the florals. With May being the season of peonies, Coral Charms and Tree Peonies made an appearance in all of the bouquets and guest table centerpieces. In an effort to tie in nautical hints throughout the design, we selected navy and white striped ribbon wraps for the bouquets, and pops of creamy white Dutch hydrangea (the iconic Cape Cod bloom). The guest tables featured navy and gold menu cards snuggly tucked into navy napkins and the centerpieces were comprised of hydrangea, peonies and coral roses in hammered gold vessels, which played perfectly into the navy, coral, white and gold color palette.

And the newlyweds spent the rest of their evening dancing the night away with their friends and family on a reclaimed wood dance floor on a deck that overlooked the ocean. You cannot top that!

Congratulations to the newlyweds, and cheers to the Bretts! 


Planning and Design by Always Yours Events, Photography by Tico and Red Photography, Ceremony and Reception Venue is Wequasset Resort and Golf Club, Florals by Jacqueline Albanese Floral, Cake Design by Montilio's Bakery, Hair by Brenda Wilson, Makeup by Mae Michienzie

Meet This AYE Couple || An Engagement Shoot

These two. There are only twenty eight days left until Caroline and Dave say "I do," and in order to celebrate, I wanted to share some of the gorgeous, dreamy photos from their recent engagement shoot with Ashley Stelzer Photography

Bride to Be - Wedding Planner - Engagement Shoot

Caroline and Dave will be tying the knot at the bride's family's property, complete with a navy and white star top sailcloth cocktail tent, a sailcloth dinner tent, one out of this world seven piece band from Boston, floral garlands and greens with pops of white blooms and coral dahlias, lots of sweet surprises for guests, and a sparkler send-of leading the way to the FOB's vintage BMW convertible getaway car!

I hope you all will join me on AYE's Instagram (@alwaysyoursevents) and Periscope (@alwaysyoursevents) for wedding decor prep leading up to Caroline and Dave's navy, coral and gold nautical fete at the end of July! 

A Kentucky Derby Celebration {A Derby Inspired New England Fete}

This is not about going back. This is about life being ahead of you and you run at it! Because you never know how far you can run unless you run.
— Penny Chenery Tweedy, Secretariat

While I am a northern girl, during the Kentucky Derby you might think otherwise. The Kentucky Derby is one of my favorite traditions throughout the year. When I was in my teens, my father introduced his favorite pastime to me; horse racing. Dad grew up during the era of Secretariat, the Triple Crowning winning big red horse with the fiercely passionate female owner. This horse not only won the Triple Crown, but he defied and broke all records in his path doing it, winning the Belmont Stakes by 25 horse lengths! Anyways, each and every year I make a point to sit down and watch all three races with my father. And every year without fail Dad will say to me, "Those are great horses, Keri, but they are no Secretariat."

For this year's 141st Run for the Roses, I decided to design and create a Kentucky Derby celebration at home for our family by combining New England prep with Southern equestrian chic. I chose navy and white stripes as the base (very New England) and mixed in a plethora of gold china and flatware with pops of green within the floral design to create the preppy and chic tablescape. 

Kentucky Derby Table Design
Kentucky Derby Chair Greenery

I contrasted gold hard pieces with softer white blooms in glass and wood vessels, again to combine trends from both New England and the South. I added tall gold tapered candles to provide height to the tablescape. And my favorite element was the ruscus chair garland tied with navy satin ribbon.

And of course a few equestrian details such as horses in colorful bowties and gold trophy vases are a must for a Kentucky Derby celebration. 

No Kentucky Derby would be complete without with the traditional cocktail: The Mint Julep. Take a look at our favorite Lavender Mint Julep in commemorative julep Derby glasses from over the years. You can purchase these online at the Kentucky Derby online store here! And for those still looking for a mint julep recipe for your own Derby celebration, I definitely suggest you try our Lavender Mint Julep recipe below!

Derby Mint Julep Recipe


Serves 4

Julep Ingredients

  • 8 ounces of Kentucky Bourbon (Maker's Mark or Basil Hayden are great options)
  • Fresh Mint, plus full sprigs for garnish
  • 8 tbsp Lavender simple syrup (recipe included)
  • Crushed Ice

Lavender Simple Syrup Ingredients

  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 2 cups of water
  • Lavender Sprigs (make sure they are food grade)


  • Wooden muddler 
  • Silver mint julep cups or glasses
  • Striped paper straw

Start by making your lavender simple syrup by boiling water and sugar for five minutes. Add in your lavender sprigs then cover and refrigerate for three hours (if you have time, let it steep overnight). When ready, pour one tablespoon (or more if you like it quite sweet!) of the lavender simple syrup into each glass. Add mint leaves from one sprig to the bottom of each glass. Muddle the simple syrup and mint with your wooden muddler to release mint oil. Fill your julep cups or glasses to the top with crushed ice. This is key. Mint juleps are very strong, so lots of ice is necessary to keep the bourbon incredibly cold and delicious. Finally, top with your Kentucky bourbon of choice. Stir to combine everything with a tablespoon, which will also create the frost on the glass. Garnish with a mint sprig and a paper straw. 

Kentucky Derby Party

Has this inspired any of you to host your own Derby event this Saturday? I hope so! If you do, make sure to post a few pictures of what you create on Instagram with the hashtag #ayederby, as I would love to see. And if you have any Derby traditions that you would like to share, please comment below! 

Enjoy the Run for the Roses tomorrow!



Design and Styling by Always Yours Events || Florals by Always Yours Events || Rentals by Peterson Party Center || Hosted at ShoreWay Acres Inn & Resort

Photographs by Always Yours Events -- Sometimes when plans fall through, you have to just go with the flow and improvise! Thank you for the support!



Anthropologie Inspired Wedding {Wedding Design Inspiration}

Do not quench your inspiration and imagination; do not become the slave of your model.
— Vincent van Gogh

In the recent few weeks, I have had the pleasure of delving into Anthroplogie-inspired designs for some of AYE's upcoming 2015 weddings, and I have to say that I am over the moon incorporating the gorgeous look and feel into the scope of these weddings. Vintage mismatched china, gold dipped accents, soft shades punctuated with bold colors, watercolor, lots of textures including velvet and natural linen, reclaimed wood, indie upholstery and a plethora of unique pieces that complete the big picture. As a creative wedding designer, what I love so much about the Anthropologie-look is that every little mismatched, unconventional piece actually impeccably contributes to a perfectly chic overall look and design.

Brides, once you establish that this is the wedding style and aesthetic you are leaning towards, a great way to start on the right foot is by defining a color palette. For an Anthropologie-inspired wedding, you will want to pick approximately four to five colors that range from soft hues to eye-catching colors. Substitute stark and true white shades with ivory, cream, ecru or even champagne. Add in a soft hue such as mauve, blush, butter, taupe, etc. Add one or two colors that pack an impact, such as indigo, burnt orange, emerald, marigold or even fuchsia. Finally, add a metallic accent, such as gold, antique gold, platinum, etc. This color palette will create a guide for you to continually use as you place your rental orders, work with your floral designer to create floral recipes, select china, silver, glassware, linens, and purchase additional decor and accent pieces.

The overall aesthetic for an Anthropologie-inspired wedding is a combination of al fresco, vintage, a touch of boho chic and whimsy. When speaking with your floral designer, consider designs that have a "wave" to the shape of the arrangement, featuring greens and big colorful blooms with some whimsical blooms "popping out" of the arrangement in certain areas. Think of hand-tied bouquets filled with natural greens and statement blooms with textured wraps such as velvet, lace, raw silk, etc (think opposite of grosgrain). For table decor, consider skipping the linen and selecting a rustic walnut farm table with cross back napa chairs. Think mismatched china or china rimmed with the metallic you have selected for your color palette. Selecting a napkin in the bold hue from your color palette can create an statement and pull all of the elements of the table together. For place cards and escort cards, consider watercolor in the softer shades of your color palette.

Finally, no Anthropologie-inspired wedding would be complete without a chic, completely styled lounge area that feels like that "spot" where everyone wants to relax with a fun cocktail. Think vintage rental furniture such as tufted couches and chairs, colorful moroccan poufs, an indie tapestry rug or even a white shag area rug, a wide and long wood coffee table, lots of votives in various styles, a plethora of textured, colorful throw pillows and fun metallic accent pieces for the table. 

What do you think, lovelies? Are you feeling inspired to begin applying some of these ideas to your wedding design plans? If you do, I would LOVE to see what you create. Upload your photograph on IG and tag @alwaysyoursevents so that we can see all the prettiness you have created! 

XOXO, Keri

Photo Sources: Colin Cowie Weddings, Style Me Pretty, Burnett's Boards, Casa de Perrin