Emma & Joe’s Rustic, Lydia Mountain Barn Wedding in Virginia

Images: Ashley Vanley Photography

Let’s escape to the mountains for today, shall we? A gorgeous, rustic wedding tucked away in the Blue Ridge Mountains sounds like exactly where I’d like to be today.

The bride wanted a place that reminded her of being back home in Montana. Cabins and views over looking the mountains gave an amazing backdrop to the ceremony. Folk music, games, and a camp fire made the evening so relaxing and fun! Guests were invited to bring their dogs to come and join in the festivities!

The groom played a song for the bride on the banjo and everyone danced late into the night some songs included was “Take me Home, Country Roads” by John Denver and “September” by Earth, Wind, & Fire. They were perfect songs for a Blue Ridge Mountain wedding in September! Joe & Emma are world travelers and for their honeymoon they are having their first adventure as husband and wife in Iceland.

Vendors ->

Photographer: Ashley Vanley Photography | Event Venue: Lydia Mountain Barn at Evermore Farm | DJ: Party Masters | Caterer: Scrumptious Suppers | Floral Designer: The Faded Poppy | Submitted via Two Bright Lights

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DIY Tutorial: How to Make a DIY Hanging Airplant Terrarium

Images & Tutorial: Jenn Heller Design Co

You guys! DIY WEDNESDAYS ARE BACK! Who is excited? I am excited and we’re kicking it off in STYLE. Jenn & her amazing skills are on display today, bringing you the awesome with her DIY Hanging Airplant Terrarium Planter. Step by step instructions with images, coming at you:

Hanging Terrarium Planter DIY Tutorial | By Jenn Heller Design Co

Are you seeing a theme here for my DIYs?  I love plants, and I especially love keeping them away from my scavenging jerk cats. In a cruel twist of fate (or poor judgement, you decide!) our home has both low ceilings and very little natural light, so keeping elevated plants alive in the house is difficult. We also have this strange beam running across our living room, and for a long time I thought it could use some sprucing up.

Enter, the hanging terrarium in the corner of our living room.  Full disclosure, I made this with real beautiful air plants the first time.  And within three months of my total neglect, the shriveled and died, and now my terrariums contain lovely faux air plants.

Time: 30 minutes + paint drying time

Difficulty level: Easy peasy

Cost: This cost will vary a lot based on the hanging globes you use, how patiently you wait for deals, and what you put inside them.  Many of these supplies can be found at your local craft store if you have one near you!

What you’ll need:

  • Hanging glass globes – Amazon has a great deal on this set of three.  They are a little smaller than the ones I used but you could use even more of them for an amazing effect!
  • Wooden plaque for mounting
  • Small brass screw eyes, one for each hanging globe plus any you might need to install the finished group. Mine came with this handy hanging kit.
  • Invisible thread or fishing line
  • Terrarium filler – mine came from my local Michaels. I’d highly recommend that you get the fill locally, so you can see the quality before you buy.


  • Spray paint or wood stain (optional)
  • Awl or small Phillips head screwdriver
  • Scissors

Let’s get started!

Step 1. Mark the wooden plaque with the location of your screw eyes.  If you’re making the same three-globe terrarium I am, you’ll want to make sure your screw eyes are spaced evenly, and far enough apart so your globes won’t hit each-other.

Step 2. Use your awl, or screwdriver, to start the screw eye holes on your pencil marks – this will help you see the marks after you stain or paint your plaque!

Step 3. Stain or paint the plaque your choice of colors! Make sure you do this in a well-ventilated area (your brain cells will thank you!)

Step 4. Once your plaque is dry, drive the screw eye into the wood at your marks using firm and even pressure.  Once the screw eye is started into the wood, you can thread your awl through it and use that leverage to more easily turn the eye until it is firmly attached to the plaque and screwed all the way in. Repeat with your remaining screw eyes.

Step 5. Don’t forget to attach something to the top to help you hang the finished piece! It’s harder to do this after you attach the globes.  This depends a little on what you’re attaching the terrarium to, but I used two brass cup hooks since I was attaching them directly to wood.  To hang from a ceiling, you might want to consider a cup hook combined with a ceiling hook designed for drywall. 

Step 6. Time to attach the globes.  I used doubled-up invisible thread to make sure it could handle the weight, but fishing line would also work really well and wouldn’t need to be doubled.

Tie the twine onto the terrarium globe using a double half hitch knot.  This is what that knot looks like! Then use the same knot technique to attach the globe to the plaque.  

You might want to attach all the globes to the hanging thread first, so that you can easily compare the lengths from the plaque for a staggered effect.

Now for the fun part: hang, and decorate!  For my fill, I used faux mossy pebbles, real moss, and eventually faux air plants. I also placed small rocks in each of my globes to make sure the hanging thread would stay taut and looking nice – depending on the weight of your glass globes and strength/stiffness of your hanging thread, you may need to do this as well.


Let us know if you try this project – how will you fill your terrarium globes?  Though impractical because of how delicate it would be to make in advance and transport, I am sure this would make a killer wedding backdrop, or sweetheart table hanging chandelier!

Let’s Get Personal: What’s In a Name?

Image: Maggie Gaudean

When I was planning my wedding with Andy, there were plenty of wedding traditions that I was adamant about throwing out the window. I had no interest in wearing a veil (the history behind them wasn’t for me), I didn’t care much for rounding up our single friends onto the dance floor for a bouquet or garter toss, and the titles of Maid of Honor and Best Man, just didn’t fit our family & friend (un-even numbered) wedding party. So we cast them aside without ever looking back.

Now that I’ve been working in the wedding industry for 6+ years (how!?), there is one wedding tradition that I often find myself wondering about: taking my husband’s last name. Maybe I was young? Maybe I didn’t research the history behind why women traditionally took their husband’s last names. Maybe there just wasn’t something that personally affected or troubled me about taking Ryback and leaving Harrison aside. I don’t know why – but for some reason, I never even considered not taking Andy’s last name.

So what’s really in a name? This blog post could go a few ways, but there are two points of reflection I’d like to transition to with this post. One came from a conversation I was having recently at a work happy hour with a co-worker. A conversation that has stuck with me since we had it. The privilege some races have with the thought process behind the names they give their children and the implicit bias that arises when some people hear or read a name.

When we decided to have children, Andy and I were both on board with a family name. Personally I wanted names that could be shortened, and names that were easily pronounced. Growing up with the name “Brianne” – I was often called Brian (until the 90s, then I got Brianna). As a young girl, I got upset that I was often called a boys name (once even having a letter from a vacation rental pen pal program addressed to Mr. Brian Harrison) and so I swore I would name my kids something easy to pronounce.

What I didn’t consider in the least – was what OTHER people might think when they read the name Evelyn – something I am now learning is likely attributed to the privilege I have as a white person. My coworker shared that the names of the siblings in her family are diverse – and she asked her parents if they made those decisions specifically so that implicit bias might not play a part at their chance to be given an interview, picked for a role, etc. If you read Becky vs Aaliyah, what do YOU automatically assume and might you act differently (consciously or not) based on reading names alone.

The weight of names were recently in the spotlight at the national level on Sunday night at the Oscars. Yes, most people are still talking about the crazy mix-up of Best Picture, but one of the articles I read pointed out that Jimmy Kimmel made at least 2 jokes about Best Supporting Actor winner, Mahershala Ali. Why? Because his name isn’t super White & “American” sounding like Jimmy, it has to be the brunt of a joke? Mahershala Ali was reduced to a punchline about his name when he should have been celebrated for the historic win he just achieved. Making fun of his name was a constant reminder that Mahershala is different than the Jimmys of the world (source).

So what’s in a name? Maybe a bit more to you now after reading this post and considering these two situations that have also given me pause about what a name carries. While I still haven’t found the reason why I was so willing to take my husband’s last name, I have found greater appreciation for names in general and what they presume or maybe you implicitly assume. And what I will try and do is use this as a learning experience – for my own bias when I read a name, to a greater awareness of the full picture if I have future children to assign names to.


DC Wedding Weekend Idea for Wedding Guests: Book them a Tour

Image: Lauren Love Photography

The weekend was anything but restful. Being a single parent to a toddler is HARD and I really don’t know how full-time single parents do it, because I am dying after 4 days. I caught up best I could on emails & CapRo things, but would lie if I didn’t say I spent a chunk on the couch catching up on Jane the Virgin (MICHAEL O.M.G.). Attempting to get back into the routine this week, and we have a guest post today to help!

Our bride to be blogger, Becca, is back sharing tips on hiring/using a Washington DC Tour Guide! We def thought this might be something worth checking out for you couples that aren’t from here and have a boat-load of relatives & friends coming in for the weekend. DC is a great place for tourism, and having a guide only makes it better. Check out Becca’s tip below!

Tips for Hiring a Washington, D.C. Tour Guide (for your wedding weekend!) | By: Becca

Before I joined the wonderful world of wedding planning, I often worked with couples who wanted to integrate our nation’s capital into their wedding weekend.  If you’re getting married in the D.C.-area, there’s a good chance you’ll want to show off our incredible city.  As a DC tour guide, I have a few tips for making a sightseeing tour of D.C. part of your wedding weekend.

  1. Book early – Peak tourist season aligns pretty closely with peak wedding season in the D.C. area.  This means – just like any other vendor for your wedding weekend – if you want a quality tour guide/bus company/tickets to popular sights, you’re going to want to plan this in advance.  This is especially true if you’re getting married on a holiday weekend or during cherry blossom season!
  2. Know your audience – A tour of D.C. is a great way to entertain wedding guests and show off the fact you live in the best city in the country.  However, we’re a big city with a LOT to see and you likely only have so many hours to spare out of your wedding events.  Think about who is likely to attend the tour and what would appeal to them.  Lots of grandparents or folks bringing along small children?  A bus tour makes sure your Great Aunt Sally doesn’t have to hike ten miles or your future-sister-in-law isn’t hauling two double strollers up and down the National Mall.  Do you have more locals attending?  Consider a tour specializing in a particular neighborhood, like Georgetown, Eastern Market, or Dupont Circle. Want something that appeals to a wide range of guests?  You can never go wrong with a ghost tour through a haunted D.C. neighborhood or a food tour that highlights some of our best eats!
  3. Be realistic with your event schedule – While you may jog the National Mall every morning in less than an hour, most of your wedding guests probably don’t.  An average walking tour of the Mall takes about 2-3 hours to see the major sights, especially with folks stopping for photos, restrooms, snacks, etc.  An average bus tour around the region is usually 3-4 hours (please don’t try to do this during rush hour!)  Make sure whatever you schedule, you have given your guests enough time to get back to the event hotel and shower/change/primp for the next event.
  4. Think off the National Mall – If most of your guests have seen the Lincoln Memorial and the White House, there are still a ton of great D.C. landmarks to share.  Consider visiting a lesser-known museum, like the Belmont-Paul National Monument for Women’s Equality on Capitol Hill or the Woodrow Wilson House in Dupont Circle.  A walking tour that highlights Embassy Row or U Street is a nice change from the regular tourist sites.
  5. Follow the rules, especially for party buses.  A fun option for a wedding weekend is to book a party bus to take your guests around the city while also socializing and imbibing safely.  BUT – not to be Becca Buzzkill – be sure to read the fine print in advance and make sure your guests are aware of the rules.  Most private hire vehicles will have clear policies for alcohol (whether it must be bought through the company or brought on by guests) as well as making sure things stay safe.  Don’t let your wedding fun be ruined by guests getting kicked off your tour bus (I’ve seen it happen multiple times), a bus driver refusing to depart hotel because alcohol policies were violated (yep, that too), or with an arrest.  Good rule of thumb – leave open containers on your bus to avoid an uncomfortable confrontation with National Park Police or a DC police officer.
  6. Be creative!  There are some really fun ways to make your tour special.  Have your guests take photos at different sites and add them to your reception slide show – they can bring along cardboard versions of the happy couple if they aren’t joining the tour.  One group I worked with filmed special messages and wishes for the couple during the tour and surprised them by airing the video at the rehearsal dinner.  Don’t be afraid to use your tour to make your wedding weekend unique and make your guests part of the fun!


Organizing a tour or event is a great way to make your wedding weekend special and share our incredible city with your guests.  Feel free to leave questions or anecdotes in the comments and I’ll do my best to help if you’re considering adding a tour to your wedding!

Julia & Jon’s Virginia Themed, Monday Wedding at Columbia Firehouse Restaurant

Images: Angel Kidwell Photography

I had all intentions of blogging this yesterday, and of COURSE life got in the way (it usually does). I guess a day later really isn’t the worst, though I am interested to see how blogging on a Saturday goes (I think this is actually the first time I’ve ever done it!). I am home all weekend with E doing the single parent dance, while Andy is working the Oscars (I know, let’s not talk about how cool his job is, especially while I sit at some kid’s music hall, covered in milk & crackers), but at least I’ll catch up on emails and CapRo things … right!? Ok fine, I am really just going to watch Jane the Virgin. Here’s a super rad Virginia wedding for you all to enjoy though!

We are getting married at a historic home in Alexandria, VA (the city where we live). Julia is from Virginia and BIG into Virginia stuff (see her Virginia tattoos…) and Jon digs history (um, George Washington is from Alexandria…well that’s sort of a big deal) so it seemed like a reasonable fit. Julia has three members on her side of the bridal party (all friends); Jon has four (his brother, his cousin, Julia’s brother, and a friend.) A friend of Julia’s from her high school will be officiating the ceremony; it will be on the shorter side and very secular. Jon’s father will do a reading. The reception will be at the Columbia Firehouse restaurant, also in old town. The restaurant is gorgeous with lots of brick and dark wood. The food is going to be delicious!

Julia and Jon were married on a Monday –  yes a Monday! They had a very low stress day with plenty of time to enjoy their family and friends. They had an early afternoon ceremony with an evening heavy hors d’oeuvre reception. That left us with lots of time to explore Old Town for photos.

A really cute part of the day, when Julia stepped out of the Lloyd House to walk down the aisle, her heel got stuck in the brick walkway. She did recover quickly, but it was a nice bit of comic relief.

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