What are you up to this weekend? My mom and I are heading to Denver this weekend to visit my sister and help her with some wedding planning (if she’ll let us), so I’m keeping my fingers crossed for warm enough weather to justify a scoop of Fior di Latte. How good does that look?! I’m also craving a perfect Parisian baguette with butter and jam, but that’s probably just my pregnant self hoping for something I could only really satisfy with a trip across an ocean…

In love with the Johnny Cash stamp (release date not yet announced).

I wish my house house was as nice as this guest house.

Looking for a totally unique ring? via coco + kelley.

Gotta get that group shot.

Now that I have babies on my radar… these cards are a darling gift idea!

Would you get married at Aynhoe Park?


Have a happy weekend everyone!

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Today’s wedding is full of sweet vintage details, special musical elements, all at a beautiful location. Lovely photos by Katie Stoops.

The bride wore her mother’s dress and veil.

DIY details included fans for during the ceremony and customized tambourine favors.

The musical bride and groom sang “If I Were a Carpenter” before cutting their pie at the reception. Pies included pecan, apple, apple berry, strawberry rhubarb, and peach. Signature drinks were The Mavis (lavender gin spritzer) and The Otis (old-fashioned).

Says Lauren about their band: “Because of how much we worried and schemed about the challenge of putting a 10-piece brass band in a fairly small barn building, the fact that the dancing piece of our reception felt so festive and not overly-crowded was a lovely surprise!”

Why did you choose this location for your wedding?  My sister and I grew up playing with one of the daughters of the family who operates Tuckahoe, so we were familiar with it in an informal way. My sister and her husband were married there in October of 2010, which was my first chance to see the property as a fine outdoor venue. What I loved most about Tuckahoe was the freedom to decorate very little to large effect, because the grounds of Tuckahoe are already so lovingly maintained. I love the mix of formal and functional gardening spaces.

What inspired you when you were planning your wedding?  I enjoyed the chance to learn more about my mom and dad’s early married years together, by going through some of my parents’ rustic decor pieces. I was also jazzed when Nate suggested we include Johnny Cash’s “Flesh and Blood” in the ceremony music, because it really nailed down the “return to Eden” hopefulness of our commitment to one another (and the visible decor of the wedding day).

What was your favorite moment or part of the day?  I will always remember the determination with which Nate took on arranging “Gimme Some” by Nina Simone – as soon as I got it in my head that it would make for a fun first dance. The fact that our wedding band ended up being a 10-piece brass band didn’t slow him down – Nate write lines for all of the members of the band!

What was the best advice you received as a bride?  Don’t try to please everyone! You can’t even guess what would please someone else, so just step away and figure out what your preferences are. Also, I was thankful for Pinterest, but only in moderation!


See more of Lauren and Nate’s simple vintage wedding in the gallery.

Photographer: Katie Stoops / Venue: Tuckahoe Plantation in Richmond, Virginia / Officiant: Erik Bonkovsky / Bride’s Dress, Veil: vintage / Bride’s Shoes: Camper / Groom’s Vintage Suit: Bygone’s Vintage / Bridesmaid Dresses: Carol Hannah / Floral Design: Hannah Warfield / Tent Rental: Skyline Tent Company / Ceremony and Cocktail Hour Music: The Bird & Her Consort / Reception Music: No BS! Brass Band / Caterer, Rentals: Harvest Moon / Pies: Well-Made Pastry Alliance
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With all of our focus on how to make your wedding special, we thought it was time to highlight some ways to make your marriage awesome, too. Introducing “Snapshot of a Marriage,” a new series from contributor Emily Westbrooks, who interviews couples on some of their secrets for a strong and successful marriage.

One of the many lessons Pam and Larry have learned in their 36 years of marriage? “How differently we react and respond to most things,” says Pam. “I remember after the birth of our first baby, every young mom on our maternity floor received beautiful flowers. I too desired that my husband go out and purchase a dozen or so red roses for my bedside – after all I had just delivered him this beautiful brand new baby boy! Well, much to my dismay, he comes skipping into my room the next day with a house plant.”

Larry thought the houseplant was more practical than flowers, but Pam wasn’t looking for practical. Pam explains she learned a lot from that experience about the need to communicate. “Your partner cannot read your mind,” she says. Larry echoes this with another lesson he might have learned the hard way: “Never, I repeat never, buy her a kitchen appliance for an anniversary or birthday.”

Joking aside, Pam and Larry have worked hard to make their marriage work over the years. They instituted a weekly date night each Friday and found it helped them sustain their relationship while their kids were young. Pam explains, “It was our chance to reconnect as a couple without children or distractions.” They kept the date night so sacred that friends and family knew not to bother inviting them anywhere on a Friday evening!

Now that Larry and Pam work together producing weddings and events, they’ve had to learn new lessons. Larry says, “We were about ready to kill each other after about two years because we each wanted to be in charge and tell the other what to do. It was a very trying time in our relationship. We had to sit down and evaluate what our strengths were and let each of us put them to use in the business.”

Pam and Larry have scaled the steep learning curve of owning a business together. Pam sums it up, “We now allow each other to fulfill the side of our business where we shine. We don’t walk over each other but hand in hand, supporting each other all the way. It’s the most wonderful adventure we have been on.”

SNAPSHOT SUBMISSIONS  Do you know a married couple whose relationship you admire? Or maybe you’re married and want to share your words of wisdom! We’re now accepting submissions from couples who have been married for ten years or longer. Email Emily at emily@fromchinavillage.com with your first names, how long you’ve been married, and a few sentences about why you’d like to be interviewed for our Snapshot of a Marriage series.
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When wedding planning starts to get stressful, what’s a bride to do? Start planning her honeymoon, of course! And if she uses Traveler’s Joy, there’s no reason honeymoon planning can’t be completely stress-free.  For couples who want an alternative to the traditional wedding registry, Traveler’s Joy makes it super easy to set up your honeymoon registry with their pre-made theme-based (think safari or cruise) or location specific (think Italy or Bermuda) registries.

Whether you dream of traveling Europe by train, seeing the wonders of Egypt, or relaxing on the beach in Bora Bora, Traveler’s Joy gives your loved ones the chance to contribute to the trip of a lifetime. And because you can register for any portion of your honeymoon, you’re not limited to flights or hotel stays – you can register for experiences like scuba lessons or horseback rides, or even for items like items luggage or a video camera.

Not only has Traveler’s Joy streamlined the registry set-up process, their system also makes it a cinch to divide the cost of expensive items into manageable gift portions. Dreaming of a private sunset sailboat excursion that costs $500? Split it into 5 gifts of $100, making it possible for friends and family to contribute to more expensive items and experiences.

What if you’ve picked your destination but are unsure about activities and accommodations? Enter the Honeymoon Tipster, a one-on-one consulting service that can help you figure out all the details. And of course, there’s always the thousands of real honeymoon stories and real registries from Traveler’s Joy members to inspire you!

And how about this! Right now, Traveler’s Joy is giving away $5,000 toward a honeymoon or first anniversary trip to one lucky couple that signs up between January 1, 2013 and April 30, 2013. The winner will be notified on May 8, 2013.


This post sponsored by Traveler’s Joy.

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