Natural Beauty Styled Shoot {Jen Wojcik Photography}

Phew! The last month has been building up to what was the biggest wedding of my career so far. I feel like I keep saying that, but the truth is my weddings are getting bigger, more detailed, more awesome, and 100% more complicated. This one was a doozy and I can’t wait to share as much as I possibly can. But for now, let’s talk about this shoot that was featured over on Wedding Sparrow last week. I first talked about this shoot here, so go read that first.

I’ll wait :)

Ok, so now that you are all caught up let’s get into the details. There actually weren’t a ton of details. Which I kind of regret. At the time I had neither the time nor the budget to do a full blown table, cake table, etc, but looking back I love this style so much that I just want to see more. NOW in my defense, nothing went like clockwork this day so maybe it was for the best that we hadn’t planned more. We arrived to Brazos Bend State Park (which is the most beautiful place possibly ever) and started scouting a location- we found an awesome spot with lots of trees and lots of moss and got hair and makeup rolling. The weather looked iffy, but it wasn’t raining- it was actually the perfect amount of overcast. The second our gorg model Kylie was ready and stepped into her dress, the clouds opened up and all hell broke loose. Thank goodness we had umbrellas to get her and all of the florals to the car. Everything that wasn’t a model or flowers got soaked including my husband and child, who had tagged along to play at the park :-/, needless to say that didn’t happen. We then drove around for awhile and our photographer Jen got out and wandered around in the downpour looking for a covered area that wasn’t covered in picnic benches. We lucked out and found a pretty wooden structure right on the water.

Jennifer Laura Design | Jen Wojcik Photography

 

You can quite literally see rain all over the wooden floor. And you can’t tell, but it was still pouring all around us.

 

Jennifer Laura Design | Jen Wojcik Photography

This dress was perfection. Designed by Chloe Dao who I very much remember from season 2 of project runway. She has the cutest little shop in rice village and is oh so talented.

Jennifer Laura Design | Jen Wojcik Photography

One of my old friends from high school did the makeup, she just started her own business (Kylee Nicole Makeup) and she is crazy talented- future brides- go HIRE HER :) We also might have gotten a chuckle out of the fact that our entire team was made up of two Jens (myself and photography) and two Kylees (model and makeup).

http://www.kyleenicole.com/Blog/

http://www.kyleenicole.com/Blog/

http://www.kyleenicole.com/Blog/

Jennifer Laura Design | Jen Wojcik Photography

We were finally able to venture out when it stopped raining about an hour later.

Jennifer Laura Design | Jen Wojcik Photography

Jennifer Laura Design | Jen Wojcik Photography

Jennifer Laura Design | Jen Wojcik Photography

Jennifer Laura Design | Jen Wojcik Photography

Jennifer Laura Design | Jen Wojcik Photography

Jennifer Laura Design | Jen Wojcik Photography

Jennifer Laura Design | Jen Wojcik Photography

You can even see the raindrops here on the plate. By this time we were all soaked and no one even cared anymore.

Jen_Wojcik_Photography-79-580x788

I love the way I styled this paper, but Jen’s lens kept fogging up so she took these later where the Twinkle and Toast’s amazing paper looks about 100% better.

Jennifer Laura Design | Jen Wojcik Photography

Jennifer Laura Design | Jen Wojcik Photography

If I was really clever, I would photoshop the good paper images into the styled photo, but ain’t nobody got time for that. At least not today :) Thanks to everyone involved- it was a really fun day despite the crazy weather. And I just got an entire weekend’s worth of perfect temperature and weather for my wedding, so this girl isn’t complaining.

Photographer: Jen Wojcik Photography | Floral Design: Jennifer Laura Design | Hair and make up: Kylee Nicole |  Dress: Chloe Dao | Paper: Twinkle and Toast | Model: Kylie Day at Neal Hamil Modeling Agency 

Christine and Donnie {Tessa J Photography}

Christine and Donnie. This was a such a fun event. If you are new here here are a few posts to get you caught up- Christine and Donnie sneak peek, Christine and Donnie instagrammed, and Christine and Donnie bridals and engagements.

No worries, I’ll wait :)

So by now you know that this was not a wedding. Christine and Donnie were celebrating their five year anniversary and in doing so decided to celebrate the wedding they weren’t able to have five years ago. It was such a magical day and I can’t wait to break it down for you. Let’s get into it!

So this was definitely a DIY affair. I would say Christine and Donnie did about 50% themselves and they were so fun to brainstorm with. The renewals took place at Christine’s parent’s property which is a magical little property out in Pearland. It is the kind of place I would want to live someday, it felt isolated and in the country, but it wasn’t very far away from anything. It was actually about a 10 minute drive from my parent’s house in Friendswood, which was an extremely nice change of pace since 90% of our weddings have been over an hour away.

gosch_reception_tessaj_121

Christine worked with her friend to design her invitation suite and they were very cool. The RSVPs even included a little sketch her daughter Harley did.

Gosch Vows | Jennifer Laura Design | Tessa J Photography

Gosch Vows | Jennifer Laura Design | Tessa J Photography

Gosch Vows | Jennifer Laura Design | Tessa J Photography

Special little bouts wrapped in gold wire. Which is my new favorite way to wrap things by the way.

Gosch Vows | Jennifer Laura Design | Tessa J Photography

Gosch Vows | Jennifer Laura Design | Tessa J Photography

Here are a couple of the signs that Christine and Donnie made. I love a nice, big, schedule to welcome your guests! And the property was pretty expansive so the direction sign to give people the lay of the land was crucial.

Gosch Vows | Jennifer Laura Design | Tessa J Photography

Gosch Vows | Jennifer Laura Design | Tessa J Photography

Guests exited their cars at the entrance and then chalk arrows led them to the back of the property where we had this little ribbon moment to lead them to the ceremony. Ribbon is such an easy and inexpensive way to get a “wow” moment. I will never get tired of a good ribbon installation.

Gosch Vows | Jennifer Laura Design | Tessa J Photography

This drink station was just beyond the ribbon arch and in front of the most darling chicken coop I’ve ever seen. Behold.

Gosch Vows | Jennifer Laura Design | Tessa J Photography

Gosch Vows | Jennifer Laura Design | Tessa J Photography

Chickens make the perfect wedding accessory, I highly recommend them ;-)

Gosch Vows | Jennifer Laura Design | Tessa J Photography

Gosch Vows | Jennifer Laura Design | Tessa J Photography

Gosch Vows | Jennifer Laura Design | Tessa J Photography

Gosch Vows | Jennifer Laura Design | Tessa J Photography

Christine and Donnie walked down the aisle together which I loved. It was the perfect way to change up the ceremony just a bit to make it a renewal and not a wedding.

Gosch Vows | Jennifer Laura Design | Tessa J Photography

Gosch Vows | Jennifer Laura Design | Tessa J Photography

Gosch Vows | Jennifer Laura Design | Tessa J Photography

Gosch Vows | Jennifer Laura Design | Tessa J Photography

Best moment of the ceremony had to be when their little boy Jude dumped his sister’s flowers out of her basket. I can totally see Phoenix doing something like that. It doesn’t get any cuter than that people.

Gosch Vows | Jennifer Laura Design | Tessa J Photography

One of my favorite backdrop ideas thus far. Golden wood planks strung up and swagged from the trees made for a pretty big impact.

Gosch Vows | Jennifer Laura Design | Tessa J Photography

Gosch Vows | Jennifer Laura Design | Tessa J Photography

Gosch Vows | Jennifer Laura Design | Tessa J Photography

Gosch Vows | Jennifer Laura Design | Tessa J Photography

This was the first event that I did 100% of the florals. It made for a very busy pre-wedding week, but it gave me so much joy! I hate to say that I have been disappointed on more than one occasion when the flowers show up at my weddings- either too plain, too grandma, too this, too that. It was such a good feeling to have complete control over the biggest design element. Flowers really do make or break an event.

Gosch Vows | Jennifer Laura Design | Tessa J Photography

Gosch Vows | Jennifer Laura Design | Tessa J Photography

Gosch Vows | Jennifer Laura Design | Tessa J Photography

Gosch Vows | Jennifer Laura Design | Tessa J Photography

Gosch Vows | Jennifer Laura Design | Tessa J Photography

Gosch Vows | Jennifer Laura Design | Tessa J Photography

I got these little votive cups from Topher for my birthday over two years ago. They have just been sitting in my storage closet waiting to have a moment. They are BHLDN and I love them so much.

Gosch Vows | Jennifer Laura Design | Tessa J Photography

Gosch Vows | Jennifer Laura Design | Tessa J Photography

Gosch Vows | Jennifer Laura Design | Tessa J Photography

Gosch Vows | Jennifer Laura Design | Tessa J Photography 

Gosch Vows | Jennifer Laura Design | Tessa J Photography

What’s a first dance without your little girl twirling in the background?

Gosch Vows | Jennifer Laura Design | Tessa J Photography

Gosch Vows | Jennifer Laura Design | Tessa J Photography

Gosch Vows | Jennifer Laura Design | Tessa J Photography

Gosch Vows | Jennifer Laura Design | Tessa J Photography

These color dipped s’mores were COOL. We used giant ones and followed this tutorial. It was beyond easy and made the s’mores bar just that much more special.

http://www.thekitchn.com/try-this-dip-dyed-marshmallows-idlewife-184658

http://www.thekitchn.com/try-this-dip-dyed-marshmallows-idlewife-184658

Gosch Vows | Jennifer Laura Design | Tessa J Photography

And it wouldn’t be a proper send off without loads and loads of confetti. It’s messy, but probably my favorite type of exit ever. psh. birdseed, I’m over you ;-)

And if you need to see more, head over to 100 Layer Cake today for the full feature and more info from Christine!

{Vendor Credits: Photographer: Tessa J. / Venue: Private Residence (bride’s parent’s property) / Design, Coordination, & Florals: Jennifer Laura Design / Hair & Makeup Artist: Hey Lovely Makeup / Invitation designer:Samantha Aguilera / Cake: Dream Slice Cakes / Catering: Ladybird / Rentals: One Stop Tents and Events / Gold Linen: Aztec Events and Tents / Drink Canister: Bourbon and Bloom / B&G chair signs, head table place cards, and confetti: Darrling Design / Dress: Jenny Yoo from BHLDN / Shoes: Corral Boots}

We’re Hiring!

Hello friends! It’s that time of year again, we are heading into our fall wedding season over here at JLD and things are getting biz-zay. It’s chaotic and wonderful all at the same time. I am tres’ excited to announce that we are hiring again! Last spring I couldn’t have been more blessed with some amazing interns and am hoping to have the same luck this time around.

we're hiring | Jennifer Laura Design

Day of Event Assistants

This is a Houston local position, meaning that you need to live in Houston or be available to travel to Houston for several weekends this fall (we do have a few out of town events in which travel may be necessary). This is going to be a great position if you are looking to get a lot of hands-on event experience. We will be working together on weekends (don’t worry, not every weekend!), Typically only Saturday, possibly some Fridays if needed- setting up events, overseeing installations, and assisting with coordination details. I’m looking for someone who is interested in learning more about the wedding industry and is driven to work her tush off!  I will be hiring 2-3 event assistants and availability on certain weekends will be key. This is a paid part-time position.

Design and Styling Intern

This is a Houston local position, meaning that you need to live in Houston or be available to travel to Houston for several weekends this fall (we do have a few out of town events in which travel may be necessary). I am looking for an intern that wants to gain some event experience. My intern will work with me a bit more closely leading up to the wedding and delve into crafting and prop building. Attention to detail and perfectionism is key! My intern would also ideally accompany me to at least 2-3 events this fall and handle set up details, installations, and timeline management. There will also be plenty of opportunities to get an insight into what all goes into pulling an event together from start to finish. I’m looking for someone who is interested in learning more about the wedding industry and is driven to work her tush off! Knowledge about popular wedding blogs, trends, etc. is a plus. This is an unpaid internship, but can totally be used for college credit in related fields of study.

If you are interested please send a brief e-mail with an attached resume to jennifer@jenniferlauradesign.com. We will be interviewing in the coming weeks and the deadline to apply is September 15th.

I am so hoping to find a few perfect people to join our small team! I can’t wait to hear from you!

Sneak Peek: Kia and Penny

I’m excited to share this sneak peek today! Kia and Penny are two brides that hired me way back when to design and coordinate their wedding. They were pretty loose on what they wanted, jewel tones and glamour were the only big direction they gave me. From there the ball was in my court which was a lot of fun. I feel like they weren’t necessarily my typical client- I get a lot of DIY and crafty girls (which I also love), but this was definitely a nice change of pace. We’re also kind of bucking trends here and going for…let’s call it timeless glamour.
Screen Shot 2014-08-28 at 1.34.22 PM

This is really just the tip of the iceberg as far the design goes…there will be A LOT going on. More is more kind of vibe. Then a couple of weeks ago they also hired me to design and style their bridal portraits. Have I mentioned I love doing small projects like this? I really really do and if you are already a JLD client I’ll discount the heck out of any other sessions you want me to style…just because I really want to make it happen. No one said I was the smartest business person in the world :)

Kia and Penny | Jewel Tone Glam Mood Board | Jennifer Laura Design

For their bridal portraits we wanted to pull elements from the wedding- so the bouquets will be their mock-ups for the wedding day, the furniture is a close cousin to the lounge seating we have going at the reception and gold and jewel toned accents to finish it off. One of the best parts about the whole thing is their photographer- they hired Awake Photography, who I recommended and is none other than my good friend Paige, we have done a handful of styled shoots together as well as her shooting Phoenix’s first birthday and his bedroom. I can’t wait to team up with her again!

Happy Thursday!

The new JLD

So Phoenix went to go spend some time with Topher’s mom on Monday and is coming home this evening (!!). While I have missed his guts, I have also appreciated the time to get caught up on work. I have recently rebranded (sort of) and if you haven’t taken a moment to go look at the new site, you should. It’s dope. It’s something that is a very long time coming. I’ve been talking about making changes since last year…and I didn’t really think it would take me over 9 months to get here, but it did. I could have built a human in that time, so…I’m really slacking.

Here are a few changes that I am most excited about:

We no longer offer partial planning. I have done a lot of package customizing in the past- you don’t need this, let’s add this, etc. etc. This slowly became clunky and confusing and even though a client doesn’t think they want or need this or that (sometimes they have no idea yet!)- being a full service planner, regardless of what they think they need puts ZERO limitations on what I can do for them. When you realize halfway through the planning process that you need more than you thought you did- you are already covered. Well, obviously I may not do your grocery shopping…but that’s neither here nor there :) It’s more expensive yes, but looking back over my three years of business I can say with confidence that the events that have run the smoothest are the ones that I have been in complete control of from day one. This is the level of service that I want to offer, it is what I want my clients to have. My brides can still have as much or as little involvement as they want in the process, but this level of service just works. It’s going to make you feel amazing. And important. All of those things that you are.

Jennifer Laura Design | Jen Wojcik Photography

We’ve raised our prices. I’m beyond tired of my clients spending more money on their photographer than on me. I’m not one to downplay the importance of an amazing photographer- seriously, they will make or break your wedding day memories. Trust me, no one wants beautiful wedding photos more than me, BUT they only spend 1 day plus 2-3 weeks editing your photos (which is in itself a lot of work and why they are worth what they charge). I spend months and months of love and time putting my client’s weddings together and if I don’t do my job properly there isn’t going to be a whole lot that is photograph worthy anyway.

Jennifer Laura Design | Kristen Curette Photography

We offer florals now. I think we all knew this was coming. It’s a big and scary endeavor, but we are ready for it!! I have spent the last two years complaining that Houston had no good florists (funnily enough a few good florists started popping up about six months ago and now I have several that I love) and started really striving about a year and a half ago to learn everything I could about blooms. How to make hand tied bouquets, using oasis foam for organic looking centerpieces, garland building, oh my! It has been a journey that I have enjoyed a lot more than I thought I would. What started out of necessity has grown into a true passion and it’s definitely one of my favorite aspects of designing now. I am still learning and growing and hope that I continue to do so until I’m 80.

Jennifer Laura Design | Tessa J Photography

We officially offer services for small scale projects. This is not really anything new, but I never officially came out and said- we plan parties, we offer singular centerpieces, we offer photo shoot design and styling, etc. So now under the services tab on the new website you can see all of these smaller services that we now officially offer. Small projects/parties actually turn out to be some of my very favorite events ever so I’m more than happy to put it out there that we officially do these things!

Jennifer Laura Design | To Live To Love Photography

There are many other changes happening on the back end to make JLD run smoother and more streamlined and I’m really excited about those as well. Presently, I’m currently booking for Spring 2015 so feel free to contact me and get a welcome packet that will have loads more details and pricing information. Oh the welcome packet is so so pretty, you are going to want to see that :)

Happy Wednesday and thanks for always coming to read here- whether you are one of my current brides (I love you), a future bride, a fellow planner, or someone I have never met, I seriously appreciate that there are some of you out there that read this little blog of mine :)

psst. all the photos in this post are of projects that I just can’t wait to share, more coming soon!

A secretive sneak peek

So I’ve been debating on whether or not to share this sneak peek…it’s for a wedding I have coming up in October for two particularly awesome clients. They are from LA and are sort of kind of a big deal. I’m actually contractually not allowed to share much, the bride and groom want to keep their wedding and identities as private as possible. They don’t want the photos shared on blogs or blasted to the interwebs as we wedding professionals are accustomed to do (ahem). So while I will never be allowed to share this wedding in its entirety or have it featured anywhere I do plan to share as much as I am allowed, which will be details, details, and more details. I mean to be honest…that’s all we want to see anyway amirite? So here is a little sneak peek of the design direction- it’s very much in tune to what I’ve been drawn to lately, so that’s very exciting indeed.

Oxblood Wedding Inspiration

Some key details will include that beautiful deep oxblood color, lush garlands, luxurious velvet ribbon, and the most gorgeous florals possible. We’ve hired Without Wax Katy from Austin and I couldn’t be more excited to see what she comes up with. That girl is pure talent and a real inspiration to my own personal floral/business endeavors. The venue is a private residence (the bride’s father’s home) and quite literally one of the most beautiful ranches I have ever seen. Very exciting on many levels and like I said I plan to share as much as I can…and probably sooner rather than later. Since I won’t be sending it out for a feature, there will be no reason to wait on that front.

Happy Thursday!

Lately I’ve been drawn to…

As of lately my aesthetics are changing. This tends to happen a lot, it’s actually pretty annoying and you can see my crazy insane thought process a bit more here. Lately, I’ve begun to tap into this look of timeless beauty, classic design, and undone elegance. It’s a completely different way of designing and it kind of goes against everything that I have done for the past 3 years. I did a shoot a couple of months back that was an attempt at this…I don’t think it was a complete success, but I’ll share it soon and give more details. Here is a little bit of this new (but really more like old and timeless) style that I am being drawn to.

Snippet and Ink

Taylor Lord

Without Wax Katy

Taylor Lord

Without Wax Katy

Ashley Seawell | Snippet & Ink

Without Wax Katy

Amy Osaba

Amy Osaba

Amy Osaba

I have been scouring the web for images that fit this new aesthetic of mine. I’m not saying I don’t still love all the trendy things and wouldn’t love to design a wedding like that, but this simple and undone look is making me want to change my ways a bit :)

Image Credits: 1 & 7 Ashley Seawall, 2 & 4 Taylor Lord, 3, 6 & 8 Without Wax Katy, 9,10,11 Amy Osaba

a surprise proposal

So earlier this week I hinted that I have a lot of side projects in the works. Well this is a sneak peek of one of them. Late last week my friend Kristen told me about her friend (who shall remain nameless for the moment) who wanted to plan a surprise proposal for his girlfriend. He wanted there to be a special little set-up and he wanted Kristen to hide out and photograph the entire thing. Kristen wanted to get me on board to design it and I was stoked, I mean the whole thing sounded amazing, the only catch was it was going down in one week. Our schedule has ended up looking something like this-meet with client on Sunday, throw together design proposal and quote on Monday, client pays for design proposal on Wednesday, shopping and sourcing on Thursday, buying florals and picking up rentals Friday (today). And I really should have bought my florals on Thursday to give them time to open up, but Phoenix had a minor stomach bug late Wednesday night and early Thursday morning and I just couldn’t bare to leave him.  I actually kind of like quick and fast projects like this so if you ever think it’s too late to hire me for something…it probably isn’t, unless I’m booked up I don’t mind working quickly. Reminds me of last year when I planned a wedding in two weeks. I’ll have to see if I can hunt down some photos of that wedding, it wasn’t overly designed and I don’t think they hired a professional photographer or a florist for that matter, but they were just about the sweetest couple on the planet. The other day I saw a meme on facebook that said I want a marriage more beautiful than my wedding. That’s really cool and I do think I (and everyone really) get wrapped up in the details, the installation ideas, hiring the perfect photographer, yada yada yada…and after your wedding is over all that’s left is you and him and good grief I hope that’s all that matters. The wedding is just stuff…pretty stuff, but stuff nonetheless. Ok what was I talking about??

Oh yes, so this surprise proposal…and yes, we are going to be using a lot of “stuff”…but it’s going to be pretty stuff. And sometimes the stuff is important and can make a moment that is already special become a freaking fairy tale. I mean, I can’t wait to share photos because yes, this is going to be a fairy tale proposal. For now here is the mood board I whipped up for the groom-to-be.

Ron and Tiffany Surprise Proposal Mood Board | Jennifer Laura Design

The groom-to-be wanted something really pretty, but other than colors and this similar shoot that him and Kristen had seen on 100 Layer Cake there was very little direction. This mood board is pretty vague, but we are going to do a fun set-up with a pretty wingback chair, a desk turned dessert table, and of course lots of pretty florals. I know pink and mint are so cliche, but that was the main color direction that I got- I’m hoping I can find some cool florals at the wholesaler today (it was too late to pre-order anything so I’ll just have to see what they have) that will spice up the color palette a bit- maybe some coral charms with yellow centers (I doubt it) or yellow and white icelandic poppies (also doubt it). Regardless, it’s going to be very very pretty and I’m so excited to see this come to life tomorrow. Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Phoenix’s Second Birthday {Kristen Curette Photography}

It has been a really rough couple of days (and weeks really) Topher is working up a storm and I haven’t had my dad to fall back on to watch Phoenix like usual this summer. I’m hoping that will change soon, because I feel like even though I have fewer clients on the books that I have had in years right now, I’m just a little overwhelmed. Very little time and LOTS of side projects (which are exciting, but time consuming) going on right now. I really hate writing about how busy I am because the truth is we’re all busy, so for that I am sorry. The good news is that Kris has a day off today (his first in about 8 days) and I’m playing catch up today. So after a full morning of trying to make it through e-mail (although I still have a ways to go, if you are waiting to hear back from me, you will by the end of the day) I am taking a break to blog about my little guy’s second birthday.

 You might have seen the feature on on 100 Layer Cakelet on Monday. That was so exciting since they featured his first birthday last year. I don’t think I am going to go all out with these cute “twee” parties every year, but I have to say it’s so fun while he’s little and doesn’t care too much about the details just yet. I’m sure in a few years he will be asking for spiderman parties with matching plates and napkins and I am going to be a-ok with that :)

So in case you don’t remember, this is where we started a few months back with a dino-tastic mood board.

Dino Tastic mood board

This was the perfect jumping off point and I think we used all of these ideas, although our fossil cookies were not near as successful, bakers we are not.

Jennifer Laura Design | Phoenix Second Birthday | Kristen Curette Photography

Finding invitations is always one of the tricky parts for me and also So important because it is where the design starts. I don’t love designing invitations and that’s not really my area of expertise at all so I like to find something ready-made that we can just order. I found these dino ones on Paperless Post- we customized them a bit, but nothing crazy. Ironically Paperless Post is made for sending digital invites, but you can order paper too, which is what we did. I’m traditional like that and until P gets older I really enjoy sending an actual piece of mail. One of my favorite parts about this invitation was that we were able to customize the envelope liner- there were so. many. choices. which for a crazy person like me was like…totally a super important decision in my life.

kidding… sortof

Topher’s favorite was the triangle pattern which I really liked too (and what we ended up using) and that ended up being one of the main design elements that ran throughout the entire party. It was a really easy place to come back to if I couldn’t think of a good idea…let’s put triangles on it!

Jennifer Laura Design | Phoenix Second Birthday | Kristen Curette Photography

Here are the invitations styled up another way just for fun.

Jennifer Laura Design | Phoenix Second Birthday | Kristen Curette Photography

Jennifer Laura Design | Phoenix Second Birthday | Kristen Curette Photography

We live in a pretty large apartment complex so one of my concerns was that all of our friends and family could find our place. An address and an apartment number don’t usually cut it, so while I tried to text everyone some more specific instructions I also had my mom pick up some balloons to tie outside of our entrance (there are several entrances) and then Topher and I made a cardboard template for these chalk dinosaur footprints. We just google-imaged a dinosaur footprint, found one we liked, printed it, traced it onto a piece of cardboard, and then cut it out with an exacto knife. Bada bing! We had the perfect template to create dinosaur chalk footprints that led from the entrance to our door. Kind of reminded me of this chalk drawing experience except there was less fence jumping this time :)

Jennifer Laura Design | Phoenix Second Birthday | Kristen Curette Photography

Jennifer Laura Design | Phoenix Second Birthday | Kristen Curette Photography

This table greeted our guests at the door…you know in case the dinosaur footprint trail left any doubt in their mind. Yes, you are in the right place! Yes, Phoenix is two! Yes, please grab a ridiculous party hat and come on it!

Jennifer Laura Design | Phoenix Second Birthday | Kristen Curette Photography

You will see these friendly party dinos sprinkled throughout the day. I was inspired by the party hat dinos in my mood board, but also wanted to incorporate plants in some way. It’s so hard with boys because all I really want to do is create beautiful flowering centerpieces that cascade over the table, but something tells me that’s not very manly. Last year I did succulents and cactuses…and there really aren’t many other options…I had a lightbulb moment when I found these dinosaurs on Etsy. Air plants were of course the perfect solution- still adding that bit of planty goodness, masculine- check, awesome- double check. The ones we found on Etsy were obviously expensive- like $15-$30 per dinosaur, which is a very fair price, but way more than I was willing to spend. Dinosaur figurines aren’t cheap, I scoured several goodwills to collect mine, otherwise I easily could have spent hundreds…no, I’m not exaggerating at all. At hobby lobby- large dinosaur toys are like $10-$30 each. And I needed like 20.  I also found some at the dollar tree, they weren’t huge, but a good size for only a dollar. Anyway, we ended up DIYing the dinosaur planters- I showed Kris my air plants and he just drilled holes big enough for the plants to nest in each dinosaur’s back. Air plants don’t require a water source, they survive off the moisture in the air (what?!?!) so that really is as complicated as it got. Super easy. I also gave all of the dinosaurs a paint job to make them a little more festive and fun looking. Some of them also had the privilege of donning teeny tiny party hats. I made those too (I’m sure you can tell), this was just trial and error figuring out the right template to cut out for them and then burning my fingers together gluing them at the seams.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/166865179/blue-dinosaur-planter-desk-home-and?ref=listing-shop-header-1

These party hats were originally pink, green, and neon yellow. I couldn’t find any even close to the colors that I wanted so they all got a quick paint job, then I just free-handedly drew spikes, cut them out, and hot glued them to the backs right at the seam. Phoenix only wore his for 2.7 seconds, but they were fun and I believe I actually wore mine for the entire party.

Jennifer Laura Design | Phoenix Second Birthday | Kristen Curette Photography

Jennifer Laura Design | Phoenix Second Birthday | Kristen Curette Photography

You can’t really see this triangle table runner I painted very well, but this was my concept of a centerpiece. Runner, dinosaurs wearing party hats, air plants, boom. done.

Jennifer Laura Design | Phoenix Second Birthday | Kristen Curette Photography

Another centerpiece- this happened on our coffee table- notice the dinos down here don’t have any plants in them- that way the kids could play with these (since they were on a table within their reach). Also please note the T-rex chasing the spiky-saureses (not sure of their real name, sorry), this was completely intentional. You can also kind of notice the corner of a minty green pillow in the corner. A super easy way to change up decor to match a party is to change up pillows. And no, I don’t buy new pillows. I just spend a couple dollars on a yard or two of fabric in the right color and stitch up a new pillow cover right over my existing pillows. I don’t even do any proper type of pillow button or envelope closure. I just stitch up three sides, stuff the pillow in, and then stitch the bottom closed with the pillow inside- all with my hello kitty sewing machine. They only take me about 5-10 minutes per pillow. Then after the party I don’t feel one bit guilty about cutting them off and throwing the fabric in my scrap pile.

Jennifer Laura Design | Phoenix Second Birthday | Kristen Curette Photography

We have a pretty large patio off of our dining room and I knew I wanted to utilize it for the party. It was SO disgustingly hot we weren’t out there as much as I would have liked, but the kids did throw sand at each other for about 15 minutes. They unfortunately weren’t interested in finding the fossils Topher buried, but the sand box was a hit nonetheless.

Jennifer Laura Design | Phoenix Second Birthday | Kristen Curette Photography

Jennifer Laura Design | Phoenix Second Birthday | Kristen Curette Photography

Jennifer Laura Design | Phoenix Second Birthday | Kristen Curette Photography

We had this set up on the other side of the patio. Flipping through these the other day my mom asked where this was, she hadn’t even seen it! So while literally no one hung out here because it’s July and we’re in Houston it makes for a pretty photo I suppose.

Jennifer Laura Design | Phoenix Second Birthday | Kristen Curette Photography

Jennifer Laura Design | Phoenix Second Birthday | Kristen Curette Photography

Our food table. I love doing one big table to throw all of the pretty food on and then putting things like chips and dip, sodas, etc. over on a bar or kitchen counter.

Jennifer Laura Design | Phoenix Second Birthday | Kristen Curette Photography

We labeled the food- herbivore, carnivore, and sweetivore and tried to have 2-3 things in each category. For herbivore we did deviled eggs and veggie cups. Kris and I had a very serious discussion on whether or not eggs really and truly fit into the herbivore category, but we went with it since we really wanted to have them. If we had made individual food labels- dino eggs would have been a cute label for these.

Jennifer Laura Design | Phoenix Second Birthday | Kristen Curette Photography

These definitely fit in the herbivore category. We filled those little bathroom drink cups with ranch in the bottom and an assortment of veggies. We had a full blown veggie tray elsewhere, but this was a cute way to display them.

Jennifer Laura Design | Phoenix Second Birthday | Kristen Curette Photography

Our carnivore foods were meatballs and bacon wrapped pineapple.

Jennifer Laura Design | Phoenix Second Birthday | Kristen Curette Photography

Jennifer Laura Design | Phoenix Second Birthday | Kristen Curette Photography

Kris was not happy with how the pineapple ended up looking- he works at a fancy restaurant so the “presentation” of this wasn’t up to par for him. But they were super delicious and they looked fine to me!

Jennifer Laura Design | Phoenix Second Birthday | Kristen Curette Photography

In the sweetivore section we had our dinosaur footprint cookies, cupcakes, and regular chocolate chip cookies.  For the footprint cookies we put the ones that turned out the best on top…so you see what I mean that these didn’t turn out that great. I actually didn’t follow a tutorial just stamped a dinosaur toy (a sanitized one!) in the top of them. I think I could have used some advice and a tutorial on these.

Jennifer Laura Design | Phoenix Second Birthday | Kristen Curette Photography

I cut up airheads to use as dinosaur spikes on the cupcakes- I got the idea from Young House Love. I think our spikes wilted a bit becuase of the humidity, darn you Houston!

Jennifer Laura Design | Phoenix Second Birthday | Kristen Curette Photography

The punch was Topher’s idea. It tasted delicious, but looked disgustingly perfect. We made it with 1 tub of lime sherbert, 1 two liter of ginger ale, and a can of pineapple juice. The color of the punch was really cool with just the sherbert and the ginger ale so I actually didn’t add the entire can of pineapple juice since it was yellowing it out a bit.

Jennifer Laura Design | Phoenix Second Birthday | Kristen Curette Photography

Jennifer Laura Design | Phoenix Second Birthday | Kristen Curette Photography

Jennifer Laura Design | Phoenix Second Birthday | Kristen Curette Photography

Phew! That’s it. I hope you like my overly detailed run-down. Phoenix’s birthday parties are a really fun side project for me to plan and design, and thank goodness I have made some friends who are very talented with a camera otherwise I doubt I would afford the added expense of hiring a photographer. Thanks for looking and happy birthday little Phoenix :)

{Vendor Credits: Photography: Kristen Curette Photography, Design: Jennifer Laura Design, Invitations: Paperless Post, Linens: One Stop Tents and Events}

Paper Perfection instagrammed {brought to you by Heather Darr}

I’ve definitely been taking it easy on the blogging schedule these past few weeks. Any chance I can be outside and enjoying summer with my family I’ve taken it! You should see Phoenix’s tan lines, that boy has been swimming up a storm and tans better than I do #jealousofatwoyearold, Removing blogging from my schedule may only afford me a couple extra hours a week, but I’ll take it!

Sooo, I wasn’t going to post a sneak peek of this shoot because it’s not technically mine, but after seeing a few things pop up on instagram this evening I couldn’t resist. The back story starts with my spring intern Heather (I’ve mentioned her here). She was amazing and worked her butt off for me from February through April. She was everything I needed in an intern and so much more. She ended up even crafting some pretty big details for my biggest wedding to date (April and Trevor, more on that to come). We worked together a couple times a week during my busy season and then she of course accompanied me to all of my events. She was heaven sent I tell you! She mentioned to me a couple times about a styled shoot she was planning, but for one reason or another it had fallen through. Then she showed me her inspiration…

Darrling Design Styled Shoot Inspiration

I immediately knew we had to make this happen. I told her that I would love to help her get all the vendors together after wedding season was over if she was game- she was! We pulled some of my very favorite vendors together for this shoot and I plan to give a nice big rundown (sort of like I did yesterday) once we get all the photos back, but for now I want to share these sneak peeks.

Darrling Design Styled Shoot

Darrling Design Styled Shoot

Darrling Design Styled Shoot

Darrling Design Styled Shoot

That second and third photo are actually from our photographer Ashley’s instagram (to live to love photography), I’ve never worked with her before, but she is AMAZING. We will definitely be collaborating in the future. I need all of my future clients to HIRE HER IMMEDIATELY :) So that’s my little cruel teaser for now, can’t wait to share more soon!

Happy Thursday!

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