Trying Harder vs. Surrendering More

Confession time- I had a pretty real week with God last week. I started reading Lara Casey’s “Make It Happen” book and my life literally changed overnight. That sounds insane and drastic, especially since I started reading the book the week in came out last January and then put it down and didn’t pick it up again until last week. I think my heart needed to be in the right place to hear certain things and really get the most out of it. I had sunk so low the day before I picked up that book for the second time… it was almost as if God was like- “ok, now it’s time”. I have been a christian for a couple of years now, but I still felt unworthy. Like ugh, I forgot to read my bible today or darn, it’s 9pm and I haven’t even prayed or acknowledged God in any way today….I would go to bed so often feeling like I hadn’t been a good christian that day. I need to try harder or DO BETTER. How silly is that? Last week it all became so clear to me…

It's not about trying harder. It's about surrendering more.

In the book “Make It Happen” Lara said she prayed a simple prayer of surrender- “God, please show me the way”. This struck home for me so hard. My prayers had always been about- God, help me do this, or help me make this happen. But something about taking a step back from myself deciding what needed to happen and putting it into God’s hands. It was a powerful moment that had me on knees with tears streaming down my face. He is SO good. I have been living my christian life so differently. I find myself wanting to read the bible, searching for more quiet time to pray, and even memorizing scripture in my car instead of listening to podcasts like I typically do. Not because I am “trying” to be a good christian, but simply because I want to. If you find yourself in that middle of the road christian life, man…I feel you. You are saved and you love God, but you just feel stuck…surrender your life. Give it all to him, ask God to lead you.

photo by: Korie Lynn Photography

Rose Gold Modern | Kristen Curette Photography

Kristen and I like to collaborate on a big shoot about once a year, that’s the going rate for us. You can see our shoot last year right here, it was this glam vineyard thing. Kristen and I always have a lot of fun when we get together. I mean, she is this total BA with a camera and brings this team of talent with her. I never know who is doing what- there are a schlew of photographers, stylists, and people that just bring their A-game. So when I say this shoot was a total team effort, I really mean that. Kristen came to me last Christmas (it always boggles my mind how loooong the process is from conception to shooting- to actually GETTING TO SHARE THE IMAGES…sometimes it feels like absolute torture sitting on all this prettiness just waiting for the feature to happen) with the idea to do rose gold. She sent me some inspiration photos that were a little more along the lines of rose gold glam and sparkle. But after spending an entire year (2014) learning the ins and outs of the sequined table cloth (pretty sure I used one in every wedding that year) I was ready to move on to using rose gold in a different way. I wanted to do something that was more modern and edgy. This shoot slowly began to take shape and when I met Natalie of Damsel White Label at an open house with one of my brides in early February I knew that we had our dress. The dress kind of stole the show in this shoot. It didn’t hurt that Natalie was on hand to make sure that the draping of the train was INSANE in each shot.

Rose Gold Modern | Jennifer Laura Design | Kristen Curette Photography

We also added this chain to accent the dress and it was subtle, but kind of the perfect extra touch. Not that this dress needs an extra touch…but in a styled shoot, we went there.

Rose Gold Modern | Jennifer Laura Design | Kristen Curette PhotographyRose Gold Modern | Jennifer Laura Design | Kristen Curette Photography

We shot everything in the Studio Houston, it’s above Tout Suite in downtown and such an awesome event space.

Rose Gold Modern | Jennifer Laura Design | Kristen Curette PhotographyRose Gold Modern | Jennifer Laura Design | Kristen Curette PhotographyRose Gold Modern | Jennifer Laura Design | Kristen Curette PhotographyRose Gold Modern | Jennifer Laura Design | Kristen Curette PhotographyRose Gold Modern | Jennifer Laura Design | Kristen Curette PhotographyRose Gold Modern | Jennifer Laura Design | Kristen Curette PhotographyRose Gold Modern | Jennifer Laura Design | Kristen Curette PhotographyRose Gold Modern | Jennifer Laura Design | Kristen Curette PhotographyRose Gold Modern | Jennifer Laura Design | Kristen Curette Photography

My goal for this shoot was to do something simple and modern. I wanted everything to be extremely clean lines to contrast against the organic nature of the florals. I tried to veer away from anything too trendy, although you could make the argument that rose gold is trendy. I’m really not sure what we are going to do with metallics though. Silver has been in for so long and then gold made a HUGE comeback, but I think people are getting tired of it. So right now rose gold and copper are having a moment, but trends don’t seem to have any staying power anymore, we are over them before they have made a full comeback. Are we going to have to invent new metallics to satisfy us? Are we going to circle back to silver? HA. In one of my shoots I did last spring (closely following this one) I did actually veto any and all gold and just go completely silver, so maybe I’ve already answered my own question.

Rose Gold Modern | Jennifer Laura Design | Kristen Curette PhotographyRose Gold Modern | Jennifer Laura Design | Kristen Curette Photographyhttp://www.nastygal.com/accessories/heart-of-gold-body-chain?currency_code=US&country_code=US&gclid=Cj0KEQjwmNuuBRDTu5rDjr2kxJsBEiQAWlm6UmFX5T_Qj2opV-vSvXch64ebzrKTburGy4iHh4Xk9ncaAqhT8P8HAQ

We also did a floral wall- now this isn’t a new idea by any means, but Kristen really wanted to do it. It’s a cute way to accent a wall for sure. Such a ridiculously easy DIY- if you are looking for something simple, easy, and cheap with a high impact this is it! It probably took me about 15 minutes to tape all the flowers to the wall, I just used washi tape, be careful not to use any tape with a crazy strong adhesive, you don’t want to damage the wall. Washi tape is a pretty weak tape, but it did the trick just fine. I had budgeted about $100 of flowers for this wall, but it took FAR LESS.

Rose Gold Modern | Jennifer Laura Design | Kristen Curette Photography

The male model Zach also had his dog on set that day, so Kristen and I of course took full advantage. Poor fella, for this shot I believe I was holding cheese crackers to persuade him to stay sitting on that table. Which is my son’s nightstand BTW (don’t worry Phoenix, I cleaned it). I had made him that cute little impromptu flower collar moments before. BUUUUT don’t feel too bad for this guy- while we were breaking down, the cake- which was in fact a dummy cake but covered in real icing, was left on the floor for some reason and this guy got into it. The entire backside was licked completely  CLEAN. Thank goodness we had already photographed it.

Thank you times a million to everyone that was a part of this shoot- such an amazing group! If you want to see more you can head over to 100 Layer Cake to see the full feature.

Photographer: Kristen Curette Photography / Venue: The Studio Houston / Design & Florals: Jennifer Laura Design / Hair: Abby Speaks Hair / Makeup: Kim Clark Artistry / Paper: Nib and Pixel / Cake: Dream Slice Cakes / Rentals: Swift and Co. / Wardrobe Stylist: David Rochez / Dress: Damsel White Label / Models: Erika Rodger & Zack Flores

DIY ombre stamped napkins

I am really excited to share the process of how we ended up with these napkin menus at one of my weddings a couple of weeks ago.

DIY napkin menus | Jennifer Laura Design

These have been such a labor of love that the bride Catye, her mother Tracye, and I have been working on/brainstorming/dreaming of for several months. I know what you are thinking…they are just napkins- get over it. But I can’t. So I’m dragging you along with us for the ride- I even made a point to photograph (with my real camera, yes- I have a real DSLR camera now!) some process shots so you too can be insane and make some ridiculously gorgeous napkins too.

But first, let’s go back in time to where this idea started. Catye pinned an image of a menu printed on a napkin and knew this was something she wanted to have at her wedding. While working on her design presentation I knew that I wanted the napkin to be a blush pink to play off the white chargers and the natural wood tables. I started hunting down the perfect blush napkins to purchase. That was the tricky part- I have a million and one sources for renting napkins, but buying…notsomuch. And we obviously were going to need to buy them since we were going to be stamping the menu onto them. After a lot of searching I found these on Etsy.

Etsy | House of KA

They looked like a really pretty and light blush pink. However, when they arrived they were a bit on the fleshy side, which  was majorly dissappointing. I brought the sample to show them, hoping I was maybe being too picky, but Catye and her mom thought the exact same thing. We were back to the drawing board. I was bummed we had to keep looking…but the thing is, when me and my clients put our heads together to make a good idea even better, that’s usually when things get real good. A few weeks later, after I had ordered every swatch imaginable from every linen wholesaler and their “blush pink” swatches all looked like bubblegum pink (I kid you not), Tracye texted me an image of some linen hemstitch napkins she had ordered through amazon. She said she loved the texture of them and thought that we could find someone to dye them the exact right shade of pink. Ding ding. A lightbulb went off in my mind and I immediately thought of Shelly, a gal I had just found on Etsy who was making some dip dyed napkins for an editorial shoot I had coming up. I immediately had her start whipping up a sample for me to show Catye at our next meeting. They arrived just in the knick of time and were SO pretty.

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They were a bit too “pink” for us though, especially when we compared them to everything else we had going on.

Catye and Trey | Jennifer Laura DesignAnd Tracye still loved the texture of the linen hemstitch napkins she had ordered. I think we all agreed that something about the linen hemstitch felt so elegant. So we ended up ordering the linen hemstitch napkins and had them shipped to Shelly for her to dip dye. We also requested the napkins be lighter in color than the sample she originally sent us. So that was where we started 3 weeks ago when a box of 300 of the prettiest  dip dyed napkins I have ever seen arrived on my porch. They look almost white in this photo below, but you can see more of the true color in that first image of the final place setting. They were just all kinds of perfect. Now to the part where we DIY’d our little hearts out. Here are all the other supplies we needed.

DIY Ombre Stamped Napkins | Jennifer Laura Design

a large ink pad, you could use a smaller one, but the stamp for the menu needs to be large so this made our lives easier since we were going to be stamping so many

– the menu stamp- we had our graphic designer (who designed the invitations, signage, etc.), Allie Ruth,  create this menu for us, but you could easily work up the graphics yourself with some pretty fonts and then order a custom stamp from rubberstamps.net, I would recommend ordering a stamp approximately 7″x 5″ or something similar to fill up the folded napkin nicely

– an exacto knife- we found that our stamp needed some major trimming, I’ll show you what I mean in a second

– napkin- we won all the prizes (saved us hours and hours) by having Shelly fold the napkins for us in advance, but if yours aren’t go ahead and fold them before you start stamping

– also not pictured here are wet wipes- but we kept some handy to keep our fingers clean while we handled both the stamp and the napkins, inky fingerprints on clean napkins is NOT cute.

DIY Ombre Stamped Napkins | Jennifer Laura Design

This photo was taken after Kris had already trimmed up the stamp, but you can see that black outline of where the rubber ended, on our first few trial runs that line showed up very clearly and looked terrible.

DIY Ombre Stamped Napkins | Jennifer Laura Design

Kris went in with an exacto and  trimmed out most of the rubber that didn’t have text on it. This made for no random ink lines, we tested and trimmed, tested and trimmed. Order an extra napkin or two for this testing process. We kept trimming until we had a clean print.

DIY Ombre Stamped Napkins | Jennifer Laura Design

Then came the inking. You can see that random streak of white in the above photo and that was where we ripped the ink pad out of it’s holder and then set it inside it’s lid. Since our stamp was larger than the ink pad this was necessary so we could get a good amount of ink on the stamp without having to worry about the ledge of the ink pad getting in the way.

DIY Ombre Stamped Napkins | Jennifer Laura Design

Once our stamp was completely coated in ink, we pressed it into the napkin. We tried a variety ways of pressing, holding it down for 10 seconds, rocking back and forth, etc. But after awhile I realized that one hard press down and coming right back up yielded the best results and was obviously faster too.

DIY Ombre Stamped Napkins | Jennifer Laura Design

And here is the finished product! They turned out so great and we were all so excited about these guys! This was also one of those projects that I built up in my mind- thinking it would take me DAYS to finish stamping them, but Kris and I knocked them out in one three hour session (we did 300, so about 100 per hour would be a good rule of thumb). It wasn’t so bad at all and really a pretty fantastic DIY project that I would recommend if you are looking to do something creative with your place settings.

DIY Ombre Stamped Napkins | Jennifer Laura Design

Thanks for looking and let me know if you end up trying this or something similar, would love to know how it turns out!

DIY napkin menus | Jennifer Laura Design

Nubia and Ryan | Korie Lynn Photography

I have been so insanely blessed this year to have some really amazing clients. Nubia and Ryan are no exception and have been so fun to work with. Their wedding is coming up this fall and I can’t wait- we have some really amazing vendors on board, my friend Korie Lynn being one of them, who happened to snap these gorgeous engagements.

Nubia + Ryan | Korie Lynn PhotographyNubia + Ryan | Korie Lynn PhotographyNubia + Ryan | Korie Lynn PhotographyNubia + Ryan | Korie Lynn PhotographyNubia + Ryan | Korie Lynn PhotographyNubia + Ryan | Korie Lynn PhotographyNubia + Ryan | Korie Lynn Photography

I Love the effortlessness of these. Just so pretty and timeless! Hope you all are having a great week, happy Wednesday!

Photos by | Korie Lynn Photography

Equality

As a christian I believe in the bible wholeheartedly. As a christian I know what the bible says about sin. So I know that most christians feel a certain way about what happened last week in the supreme court. I have been struggling with how I feel because I know that I am “supposed” to feel a certain way. After struggling with my emotions over the past week, crying tears of frustration, and even wondering whether or not to share my opinion because I’m not sure it really matters, I decided that I want to share my opinion and I need to get this off my heart.

I can’t help but feel happiness, happy that so many of my friends now get the same rights and privileges that I do, happy to see all of the joy on people’s faces whose lives have truly been changed for the better by this decision. I know that living a gay lifestyle is a sin, but I also know that as a christian I sin everyday and I have peace in knowing that it will never be my job to place judgement. My job is to love. I hope that other christians can follow suit and just love. This place is not our home and I have faith in a GOD that is a much higher power than the supreme court. Have faith in him with me. Let’s love our brothers and sisters fiercely because that’s what we were put here to do.

Kia and Penny | Awake Photography | Jennifer Laura Design

And to the beautiful couple who can now be seen as a real marriage, congratulations Kia and Penny!!

photo credit: Awake Photography

transitioning

Hello there. Life has been quite different around here lately. Kris quit his job about a month ago. We had been talking about it a lot, and while we hadn’t really planned for it- mentally or financially it just sort of happened. It has been such a good thing and Phoenix and I are really enjoying having him home. Ultimately, we think Kris will work full time with me. It’s something he has always wanted and something I’ve been hesitant about. I don’t see myself as a boss. I have my comfort zone of what I have been doing for the last 3 and a half years, so to take things to the next level is frightening. It has also been head scratching…I am not sure what I want out of this business. I do know that I don’t want weddings every weekend. I know that seems silly and counter- productive to say, but I like only having a handful of really special clients. We are going to start doing some different things, but me offering a high-end full service only client experience…that’s not going to change. I have enjoyed that so much this year. Kris is sort of looking for another job. We have been open to the idea, something where he isn’t gone every weekend like he was at his last job. BUT we’re also staying open to the idea of him staying at home and working with me. We are kind of giving it to God and seeing where he takes us. So in that aspect everything really is in the most capable hands….even though sometimes I forget and put on my boss hat and try to run things…this always ends with me getting frustrated. God usually has a very gentle way of reminding me to take a step down. Take a chill pill. But anyways, say some prayers for us in this life transition we are taking on- just pray that God does his thing. In the meantime, Kris and I have been praying every night together for the first time in our marriage and it has been really special. We would love to pray for you or someone you know if you would let me know in the comments :) Happy Thursday! Jennifer Laura Design | Feather and Twine Photography

Vivian and Kevin | Feather and Twine Photography

I am really excited to share these engagements. Two of my good friends- Kelsey and Talon with Feather and Twine shot the images and will also be shooting the wedding come December. Vivian and Kevin are the kind of clients I dream about. They have a really strong vision and know what they want, they look to me for creativity and direction, but they also push me outside of my comfort zone to do better. That happens you know, I get nestled into this safe zone- design wise, vendor wise, and creativity wise- and sometimes I need a little shove to go beyond what I think we can do. And from there things only get better. Vivian and Kevin are getting married on New Year’s Eve which I am really excited about, something about the magic of NYE feels really special. I’m SO ready. In the meantime, here are their completely adorable engagements to tide us over. A phrase we have been using a lot in the design process with them is “child-like wonder” and I think these engagements sum that up pretty perfectly. Vivian + Kevin | Feather and Twine PhotographyVivian + Kevin | Feather and Twine PhotographyVivian + Kevin | Feather and Twine PhotographyVivian + Kevin | Feather and Twine PhotographyVivian + Kevin | Feather and Twine PhotographyVivian + Kevin | Feather and Twine PhotographyVivian + Kevin | Feather and Twine PhotographyVivian + Kevin | Feather and Twine PhotographyVivian + Kevin | Feather and Twine PhotographyVivian + Kevin | Feather and Twine PhotographyVivian + Kevin | Feather and Twine PhotographyVivian + Kevin | Feather and Twine PhotographyVivian + Kevin | Feather and Twine PhotographyVivian + Kevin | Feather and Twine PhotographyVivian + Kevin | Feather and Twine PhotographyVivian + Kevin | Feather and Twine Photography

The Kemah Boardwalk has never looked so good amirite? Happy Thursday!

Photo Credits: Feather and Twine Photography

designing a wedding with purpose

When I first started planning and designing weddings I was ALL about the wedding trends. A balloon wall, rustic elegance, ombre everything, string art. I’m pretty certain we did it all. I still love those weddings very much and from time to time a trendy item is just pretty freaking cool and I’m not going to swear it off just because it’s trendy. But…for the most part I’m over trying to stay with the latest and greatest. I’m over hanging rock candy as a backdrop (yes we did). This is not to say you won’t see original and fresh ideas from me anymore, but in the future my events will have more purpose and a direction. They will have more thought behind each design decision. Because hanging rock candy as a backdrop could be a cool idea…as long as it has purpose and makes sense.

I write all of this as a warning to brides because I think trendy weddings are very in right now (um…trendy weddings are trendy?), possibly more so than ever. I think Pinterest feeds on itself and wedding blogs share new content everyday. Compare this to ten years ago when we only saw a handful of weddings in magazines once a month. Now we see multiple weddings shared on multiple blogs everyday. By the time one trend has come out, we see the idea duplicated on 17 other wedding blogs and all over Pinterest that by the time we use the idea in our own wedding it’s beyond OLD NEWS and may already look dated. Chevron, sequined linens, stripes, chalkboard art (yes, I’m admitting my own hobby to be old and stale), one need only look at pinterest for five minutes to see these ideas executed at various degrees at a handful of weddings. I’m just starting to worry that in twenty years we are going to look back at our weddings and say what on earth were we thinking? Kind of like how gals that got married in the seventies laugh about their rainbow pastel dresses and colorful and ruffled menswear. But we’ve taken it to another level, because we aren’t just using these trends to dress people anymore. We’re using these trends in our ceremony, at our reception tables, and anywhere else we can think of and afford. Spaghetti jars and tin cans seem like a cool idea to use as a centerpiece- free vases! But at the end of the day you are still putting spaghetti jars and tin cans on your wedding tables. When you look back at that idea in twenty years you won’t remember that it was trendy to be thrifty, you will see it for what it is. Spaghetti jars and tin cans with flowers inside. It’s ok to be different and use things in different ways, but make sure there is purpose behind the decisions. Design your wedding with you and your fiancee in mind. Design your wedding with purpose and meaning. Choose things because they mean something to you or you truly truly love it. Not because it was the best idea that popped into your pinterest feed that day.

Korie Lynn Photography | Jennifer Laura Design | The Weekend Type

Catye and Trey | Giddy and Gold

You guys, I am so excited about this wedding coming up in August. I seriously can’t wait to show you everything we have planned! But for now take a peek at the cute couple that will be tying the knot, Catye and Trey.
Fun Outdoorsy Engagements | Giggy and Gold Fun Outdoorsy Engagements | Giggy and Gold Fun Outdoorsy Engagements | Giggy and Gold Fun Outdoorsy Engagements | Giggy and Gold Fun Outdoorsy Engagements | Giggy and Gold  Fun Outdoorsy Engagements | Giggy and Gold Fun Outdoorsy Engagements | Giggy and Gold Fun Outdoorsy Engagements | Giggy and Gold
p.s. You can see some fun sneak peeks of wedding prep leading up to the big day by checking out #dunawaywithsinglelife on instagram

Photos by: Giddy and Gold 

Simple and Timeless with Korie Lynn

Korie Lynn and I did this shoot last October. I was knee deep in weddings, but I had never worked with Korie before (who also happens to be the amazingly talented The Weekend Type) and I just couldn’t say no. We agreed to do something small scale so my brain didn’t boggle and this shoot was born. You can see our inspiration and a sneak peek here. This is the first shoot that I did that felt like I was finally moving in the right direction. It was a really good feeling. Let’s get into it shall we?

Korie Lynn Photography | Jennifer Laura Design | Olde Dobbin StationKorie Lynn Photography | Jennifer Laura Design | Olde Dobbin StationKorie Lynn Photography | Jennifer Laura Design | Olde Dobbin Station

I styled the paper two different ways- but the gold box from West Elm has my heart. It was all kinds of perfect for shooting the paper. I love trying out a few different things though because you just never know what will turn out better or what blogs/magazines will want to see. Plus…I could play with paper and style it all day long, so it’s not exactly difficult :)

Korie Lynn Photography | Jennifer Laura Design | Olde Dobbin Station

Hair and makeup was by Erica of Hey Lovely. I don’t talk about her enough, but I’ve used Erica for almost every shoot I’ve ever done, obviously there are exceptions, but seriously her work is just so beautiful and she doesn’t overdo it or do too much, just lets the natural beauty shine through.

Korie Lynn Photography | Jennifer Laura Design | Olde Dobbin StationKorie Lynn Photography | Jennifer Laura Design | Olde Dobbin StationKorie Lynn Photography | Jennifer Laura Design | Olde Dobbin StationKorie Lynn Photography | Jennifer Laura Design | Olde Dobbin Station

I found this marbled ribbon that Natalie Stopka makes. It was so pretty in every way, I want to find a million more reasons to use it, it was GORGEOUS.

Korie Lynn Photography | Jennifer Laura Design | Olde Dobbin StationKorie Lynn Photography | Jennifer Laura Design | Olde Dobbin StationKorie Lynn Photography | Jennifer Laura Design | Olde Dobbin StationKorie Lynn Photography | Jennifer Laura Design | Olde Dobbin StationKorie Lynn Photography | Jennifer Laura Design | Olde Dobbin StationKorie Lynn Photography | Jennifer Laura Design | Olde Dobbin StationKorie Lynn Photography | Jennifer Laura Design | Olde Dobbin StationKorie Lynn Photography | Jennifer Laura Design | Olde Dobbin Station

We shot everything in the old train station at Olde Dobbin Station. It was such an insanely pretty spot and just filled with the perfect filtered light. Even my crappy Iphone photos were starting to look magical in there which is a very rare occurrence indeed.

Korie Lynn Photography | Jennifer Laura Design | Olde Dobbin StationKorie Lynn Photography | Jennifer Laura Design | Olde Dobbin Station

This centerpiece likely weighed around thirty pounds, our model looks chilled out, but I promise you she was struggling not to drop it. I had built it on a 12″ cake pedestal and was planning to transplant it into a vase which was a rental and why I didn’t originally build it in there in the first place, but low and behold it looked pretty great on the cake stand…it just meant that it was enormous in a good way I think.

Korie Lynn Photography | Jennifer Laura Design | Olde Dobbin StationKorie Lynn Photography | Jennifer Laura Design | Olde Dobbin StationKorie Lynn Photography | Jennifer Laura Design | Olde Dobbin Station

I styled this cake a couple of different ways, but the simple clean lines of the pretty cake were my favorite and won out. This cake didn’t need a thing.

Korie Lynn Photography | Jennifer Laura Design | Olde Dobbin Station

A close up shot of Korie’s amazing calligraphy and that insane ribbon.

Korie Lynn Photography | Jennifer Laura Design | Olde Dobbin Station

Happy Tuesday! What’s your favorite part? I think mine is that marbled ribbon!!

Vendor Credits:  Styling & Design and Flowers by Jennifer Laura Design | Photography by Korie Lynn Photography | Calligraphy by The Weekend Type | Hair and Makeup by Hey Lovely Makeup | Cake by Buttercup Bakery | Rentals by Bourbon & Bloom and Darryl and Co.  | Dress and Earrings from BHLDN | Venue, Olde Dobbin Station | Silk Ribbon by Frou Frou Chic | Marbled Ribbon by Natalie Stopka