With Love Vintage Rental

4 Feb

Hi my casual wedding readers,

I have some exciting news to share with you. I have officially opened a vintage plate rental business!

I’ve always been an entertainer — from singing and acting in high school to being social chair for my sorority and a writer of stories for as long as I can remember.  I WILL publish a novel some day! I’ve always enjoyed making others feel happy and warm with my ideas and ability to create and edit. I live to make others happy. It makes me happy, myself.
So, it’s only natural that when it came to designing my own wedding I wanted it to be the most fun, most unique wedding my guests had ever experienced. I was completely blown away by the many wonderful ideas I came across from blogs, Twitter, magazines and Pinterest. It was overwhelming. Eventually, though, I was able to narrow down my own vision and ideas. With the help of my dear friends and family, we styled a fabulous event, created many homemade pieces, collected hundreds of pieces of vintage china and transformed a corrugated tin building into a whimsical, country chic wedding reception. It took many hours, a few late nights and A LOT of help last-minute help from my closest friends, family and wedding party to pull it all off.
Now I have nearly 300 pieces of vintage china that I want to share with anyone and everyone who wants to add a vintage touch to their own wedding or event. I’d love to meet you, so please head on over to my new blog and website: WithLoveDesignandRental.com and contact me to share your beautiful wedding and event ideas. I’d love to provide lovely vintage place settings for any event you’re planning.

With love,



Colors and Inspiration Boards

8 Mar

The wedding is six months away! And I couldn’t be a happier person. It is finally starting to feel real for me. Matt and I have completed our Catholic marriage prep and have, therefore, talked about a LOT of things! I feel like we’re closer and happier than ever. We’re spending a lot of time together registering for items that will be in OUR new home. This weekend we picked out the dinnerware that we will eat from every night for the rest of our lives, and we purchased our wedding bands! We’re picking out towels and pots and paella pans (yes, you can register for those these days). I’m so excited to return from our honeymoon to start our life together.

The best part of being a bride is having these realizations. The moments you realize that you are actually doing many of the things you always dreamt you’d do. I have to admit, I was one of those girls who planned her wedding long before it was even close. Although, I haven’t done anything that I planned all those years ago. One of the things I never expected was what colors I’d end up choosing for my wedding. One of my high school assignments was to plan my wedding. I chose yellow and pink for my colors. I look back at the binder now and wonder how I could have changed so much! There is nothing in that book that I like now. Our real wedding colors are yellow and gray — the perfect combination for a late summer, casual wedding.

Choosing Your Own Colors

For those of you picking your own wedding colors, I suggest picking a few color combos that you like. Pull as many pictures of those color combinations as you can find. Search wedding  blogs and website, wedding magazines and even catalogs from some of your favorite stores for inspiration. Look at how the colors interact. Find examples of wedding parties in those color schemes, and find pictures of flowers and linens in those colors. Think about what accessories would match. And then sit on it for a few weeks.

Creating an Inspiration Board

Finally, create an inspiration board of your favorite pictures in each color scheme. It wasn’t until I put my inspiration boards together that I could really envision what my colors would look like at my wedding. You can print and cut out your pictures and put them on poster board or place them all in a binder. Wedding websites like TheKnot and Style Me Pretty offer great tools for creating your own virtual inspiration boards.

Here is an inspiration board I put together at Style Me Pretty.

Your inspiration board should include photos of ideas you like and examples of your colors in action at all of the most photographed details of the wedding: wedding party, flowers, bride & groom accessories, favors, table settings, etc. You can use these photos as inspiration for details of your own wedding.

Once you’ve chosen your colors, don’t feel like you HAVE to use only those two or three colors. You can use a complimentary color here or there if you want something to pop. Choosing your colors is one of the first things you should do after your big items, like ceremony and reception venues, are booked. The colors may help you to define everything else.

Happy wedding planning!

Our Engagement Photos

23 Jan

At long last I have our e-session photos in hand! Matt and I both took the beautiful fall day off of work and then went for a fun date afterward.

During the initial consultation with our photographer, Janine, she suggested that we juxtapose our small-town, rural wedding with urban, chic engagement photos. I LOVED that idea! So, our plan was to get shots with an urban vibe downtown and some really dressy shots. We also love to go on romantic picnics, so we set up a lovely picnic scene, as well. My good friend, Natalie, helped style our outfits.

We plan to place one of the photos on our Save-the-Dates and create our wedding guest book on Shutterfly with the rest of the photos.

Photos by Janine McClintock

The Wedding Quilt

17 Jan
wedding quilt

Photo by Aneela Hoey

One of my goals for the wedding is to include every person who’s special to me in some part of the day or planning. I knew right away how I wanted to include my Grandma G. She is a professional quilter. As a young mother and grandmother, she hand-tied beautiful quilts for her family. At some point, though, she got serious enough about her hobby that she purchased a big quilting machine. Now she completes hundreds of quilts every year.

I think quilts are so lovely. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve grown up cuddling with some very special homemade ones or if it’s their vintage appeal, but I just think they’re gorgeous. So, I decided that it would be special to make one with Grandma G. to display at the wedding reception and then on our newlywed bed. My home decorating style is very “Anthropologie,” so a quilt will be the perfect centerpiece in our master bedroom.

I picked out the most delightful fabrics from Moda Fabrics for my quilt. Moda’s fabrics are so fun and vibrant. I just love them! What’s also great about the fabrics I found is that Moda combines groups of fabrics that look good together. They cut the collection of fabrics into quilt squares and bound them together for you! Here are two of the collections I chose:

Getting Started on Your Own Wedding Quilt

If you like the idea of displaying a homemade quilt at your wedding or creating one that has the date of your wedding on it, here are some tips:

Step 1:  Research

Visit a local quilt store and ask for assistance or research ideas online. Moda has a good blog. Here are a few other helpful sites:

Quilting Supplies Store

Quilter’s Cache

Step 2: Find a Pattern

You’ll need to decide on a pattern first. It is somewhat difficult to visualize your quilt when looking at the pattern because the fabrics you use will look different. Just search for shapes and patterns that appeal to you. Don’t worry about the colors or fabrics in the picture or sample quilt.

Once the pattern is chosen, you will find instructions inside, including how much fabric to purchase.

Step 3: Find Your Fabric

You can choose bolts of fabric that appeal to you and ask for the number of yards you need or find quilt fabric collections, which include a grouping of fabrics that go well together. That way to don’t have to scour the store to find every fabric you like.

Step 4: Gather Supplies

Here are a few supplies you’ll need to get started:

  • rotary cutter
  • cutting mat
  • gridded ruler
  • batting
  • thread
  • bobbin
  • straight pins
  • pinking shears

Once you have everything you need, read through the instructions carefully. If you’re still nervous, take a quilting class from a local quilt shop or ask a sales associate for help. I’ve found the sales associates at quilt shops are very excited to pass their love of quilting on. And, finally have fun making your one-of-a-kind heirloom quilt!

I’m Still Here!

14 Jan

Hello world. I’m back! I’m so sorry that I left you hanging for weeks. My life has been in a bit of a shambles lately. Don’t worry the wedding is still ON! What has changed, though, is that I have a new full-time job. The whole process of figuring out that I needed a change, and searching for a job, and applying, and interviewing took a lot of my time and attention over the past few months. And now I’m adjusting to a new work schedule, but the good news is I am VERY happy with my decision and new place of work. I’m committed to continuing my blog, and I have a lot to tell you about because the wedding is only seven months away now!

Anyway, enough about me. Let’s get down to business. Over the next two weeks I plan to tell you about my rehearsal dinner ideas and a quilt that I’m making for the wedding. I’ll also give you an update on the vintage plates, etc., that we’re collecting for the wedding.

Stay tuned and thanks for reading!

Details, Details, Details — Why to Hire a Day of Wedding Coordinator

15 Dec
casual wedding

Photo by tramod

casual wedding

Photo by tramod

There are so many people, songs, ideas, flowers, pictures, cars, vendors…details…that go into pulling off a fabulous wedding. Not only does every bride want those details to happen flawlessly on her big day, but she also doesn’t want to have to worry about them on her big day. That’s where a Day of Coordinator (DOC) comes in handy.

Day of Coordinator Responsibilities

The DOC is usually hired for just the wedding day. I, personally, like the idea of this because my wedding designer (who is a good friend and guest at the wedding) and I will still have full control over every detail of the wedding, but on the day of the wedding, we won’t have to worry about coordination. We can just enjoy the day. I’ll meet with my DOC a few months prior to the wedding to give her the contact information for all of my vendors and a detailed timeline for the day. On the wedding day she will:

  • Work with my wedding designer to set out every DIY detail.
  • Watch the tent during the ceremony.
  • Check in with vendors as they arrive to make sure their needs are met.
  • Ensure that the timeline is followed.
  • Deal with any crisis that might occur.

I’m sure there will be things that don’t go according to plan on my wedding day. I don’t want to worry about those things and I don’t want my family and guests to have to worry about them. I’d rather have a trusted individual who knows my plan and vision and who isn’t there as a guest to handle any problems.

Day of Coordinators & DIY Weddings

I think a DOC is especially important for a DIY wedding. There are so many details to pull off that I can imagine the day before the wedding and the day of could be very hectic. Also, I’m a bit uptight when it comes to event planning and I obviously have a lot of planning and thought put into the wedding, so I can imagine myself getting very stressed out on the big day. I’d rather leave as much stress as possible on the shoulders of a paid professional! If you are the same way, I’d recommend hiring a DOC.

Day of Coordinator Costs

You may be thinking, “Wow, this girl is trying to pull off an affordable, casual wedding. Why would she even consider PAYING someone to coordinate her wedding day?” Well, another great thing about DOCs is that they’re very affordable! I never considered a wedding planner because I thought they’d be too expensive. I’ve since learned that there are pro’s to hiring a planner — one being that they can actually help you SAVE money. But a DOC is significantly more affordable. My DOC cost is barely a percentage of my overall wedding budget. Also there are many wedding planners that offer DOC services. So you can get the benefit of a wedding planner on the day of your wedding, but for less cost.

Food for Thought

Check out this article about DOCs on one of my favorite wedding websites, Weddingbee.com.

This isn’t a DOC post, but helpful tips for DIY brides from the 100LayerCake.com blog: Guest Blogger: Heart of Light, DIY details.

Sustainable Food at a Wedding, Is It Doable?

10 Nov
casual wedding dinner

Photo by thebittenword.com

For years I’ve been a supporter of the sustainable food movement. As a farmer’s daughter, I find it to be very important to eat food grown by local producers. I’m not only supporting my local economy, but also local farm families. This is such an important topic to me that I want to incorporate it into my wedding meals. Here’s how we’re doing it.

Getting started

Before we even met with caterers, I asked my mom to find out if local farmers produce some of the types of ingredients I knew we’d need: potatoes, vegetables, greens, chicken. I come from a cattle buying and raising family, so I knew there would be no shortage of beef!

After that, along with our parents, Matt and I began working with our caterers to develop menus full of fresh and locally grown produce, things like: roast beef from cattle raised by my dad and his family, green beans, potatoes and sweet corn from local farmers, local chicken and homemade egg noodles (my dad loves our caterers chicken & noodles), and homegrown spinach. We’re also considering asking a local BBQ champion to prepare the meat for our rehearsal dinner as a way to feature local BBQ masters.

How to develop your own sustainable wedding meal

If you’re trying to develop your own fresh, locally produced wedding meal, remember that rather than you dictating the menu, it will be the availability of produce that dictates the meal. Also, some caterers are not open to this technique. When you meet with your caterer ask if he or she is open to the idea and if he or she knows what produce will be available at the time of your wedding. Many brides and grooms who go this route get creative by playing matchmaker between caterer and farmer if their caterer does not already have relationships with local farmers. Also, if you’re planning a late fall, winter or early spring wedding in a colder climate, you may have limited options.

Finding a sustainable caterer

Start by looking up local caterers’ websites to see if they offer sustainable or organic meal options. You can also talk to local farmers to see if they’ve worked with any sustainable caterers. Look for an association in your area that promotes local or organic restaurants and caterers. Here are some caterers who are open to using local, seasonal produce:

Organic caterers (in the UK)

Daniel Gourmet Kosher Catering, Inc. (on the US East coast)

The Atrium at Montgomery Park (in Portland, OR)

Catering Consciously (in Denver, CO)

Attitude on Food (in Omaha, NE)

The challenges

It is challenging to include only local produce into all of our wedding meals. We won’t be able to use local ingredients in every dish, but we’re incorporating them into as many as we can. And while the area I’m from is a farm community, most of the produce grown there is actually shipped out to be used in processed goods or is used to feed cattle. This makes it a bit challenging to find enough local producers for our wedding dish ingredients.

You will inevitably face challenges, as well, but you don’t have to go all out with finding local products for every aspect of your wedding. Choose just one and let your guests know about it so they can appreciate it.

The payoff

The thing I’m loving about this small town, country wedding is my ability to showcase the traditions, products and scenery of the area. Although I don’t live there anymore, I still have pride in the community and have the urge to promote the best aspects of it to out-of-towners and locals, alike.

When planning your own wedding, you might want to consider doing the same. What local flavor can you showcase in your wedding? Is there a local vineyard that’s well-known in the area or a local farmer who is willing to provide fresh, healthy produce for your meals? It may seem like a daunting task, but if you have the time and passion to seek out local flare for your wedding, it will make it all the more special for your guests.

Happy Honeymoon

1 Nov
riviera maya honeymoon

Photo by ground.zero

Oh, how I’ve missed you all! I was little sidetracked last week, but I’m back at it now with a post about one of my favorites parts of the wedding: the honeymoon!

Awwww….the honeymoon. I cannot wait for relaxing massages, yoga on the beach, frolicking in the crystal clear water, margaritas and quality time with my new hubby! We’re going to an all inclusive resort for some R & R after our big day.

Honeymoon Planning Tips

I found some great articles for determining how and where to go on your honeymoon. If you’re planning your honeymoon, here some places to get started:

All Inclusive Resorts

We chose to go the all inclusive resort route because we wanted total relaxation after the wedding. We’ve looked into resorts in Jamaica and Riviera Maya and are working with a travel agent who can hook us up with fab deals and good advice. At this point, we have two that we’re choosing between, and I think we’ll probably pull the trigger this week!

Here are some of the resorts we considered in Riviera Maya:

Eldorado Royale

The Royal Playa del Carmen

Excellence Riviera Maya

Mexico, Jamaica, Hawaii, we’ll be happy anywhere because we’ll be newlyweds…and very tired.

The Hunt for Creative, Casual Place Settings

18 Oct

casual weddingAfter deciding to have my wedding reception in a tent, one of the first things I concluded was that I did not want to use plastic or paper dinnerware. I don’t like the trash, I don’t like the waste and I don’t like flimsy plates! Real china is definitely more my style. I’ll admit, using plates and cups that I don’t have to transport from the tent to a nearby kitchen for cleaning would be much easier, but they won’t be nearly as pretty or environmentally friendly.

Finding our China and Stemware

I knew that I could rent plates from a number of vendors, but I wasn’t happy with the styles I was seeing. The place settings offered to me were OK, but they weren’t anything special. And I realized that if they were too matchy or elegant looking then my casual theme would go out the door. I’d heard of brides shopping for vintage decorations at auctions  and thrift stores, so I decided to explore that idea. I’m very lucky to have a great aunt whose weekend hobby is “garage saling.” I was thrilled when she agreed to embark on the journey of collecting 300 plates and glasses for our event!

That was five months ago. At this point we’re up to more than 200 unique and vintage plates, an uncounted amount of silverware and around 100 glasses. Here are a few of my favorites, so far.

casual weddingcasual weddingcasual wedding

The Plan

My plan is to have my wedding designer create unique and individual place settings at each and every table the day of the wedding. Our guests will enter the tent to simple table cloths; vases and mason jars filled with flowers grown by my family members; and colorful, vintage place settings — no two will be exactly alike.

After the wedding, we’ll keep some of the plates for my sisters’ future weddings, use the ones we like in our own house, and sell the rest online or at garage sales or consignment shops.

Where to Find Your Own

If you’re interested in creating unique, vintage place settings for your own wedding, there are plenty of places to find china and stemware. I’d start with the following:

Finding your own stemware and plates will not only make your wedding more unique, but it will also create a lovely vintage atmosphere for your guests.

My Casual Wedding Photographer

14 Oct


wedding photography

Photo by Janine McClintock


Searching for a Photographer

When I started my search, I remembered a note I made to myself way back in 2007, before I was even dating my groom to be. I noted back then that I LOVED the photojournalistic style of Janine McClintock. I thought the photo displayed at the top of this post was so neat, and I decided back then that I should seek her out when it came time.

Before seeking her out, I researched the various wedding photography styles to determine if I would be interested in any of the others. There are three styles:

  • Wedding photojournalists whose aim is to capture spontaneous, candid shots that document the emotions of the big day.
  • Traditional wedding photographers who capture classic, posed shots.
  • Contemporary/fashion photographers who capture candid photos and posed images inspired by glossy fashion magazine spreads.

I also visited SnapKnot.com where I could search for photographers in local cities within my price range. The photo below is the one that inspired me the most. It’s a photo by the wonderful and talented Kristy Rowe of Moodeous Photography.


casual wedding

Photo by Moodeous Photography


Interviewing Photographers

My fiance and I ended up interviewing four photographers for our wedding. It is important that both you AND your groom participate in the interview because you both need to feel comfortable on your big day. We interviewed two from the town we live in and two from out of town, so we had to Skype with them. We asked:

  1. Do you offer any special effects photography?
  2. Are you open to a list of must-take photos?
  3. How do you determine price?
  4. When will we be able to view our prints online?
  5. How long will the prints take after they’ve been ordered
  6. May we have a list of references?
  7. May we see pictures of other weddings from the same time of day as our wedding?
  8. Do you offer special deals if we ask you to do both the wedding and engagement photos?
  9. Will you have an assistant?
  10. Make sure that you feel comfortable and at ease with the photographer. He or she will be there to catch every special moment, so you will need to be comfortable around him/her.

In the end, we chose Janine McClintock. We are so excited to work with her on our big day!