What is it that you do? Jacksonville, FL Wedding and Event Designer

My job description

Let's face it, what I do isn't easy to understand. I spend a lot of time explaining to people what services I offer because it's not a traditional job. I am ok with that. I hope to give you a better idea. 

Let me start by saying I am an artist. I always have been. According to my good friend Google, art is:

"The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power. 

Art isn't just paint on a canvas. I love creating events. I love taking a special moment in time and celebrating it by making it beautiful. For weddings, I love really listening to my couple's love story and creating details that represent them at their wedding. I love making the events that I work fun and inviting by creating beautiful interactive vignettes like a hot chocolate station or a unique photobackdrop. I will write another blog post about my process but this is a big picture idea of what I do. 

I handle the aesthetics of an event. If it has something to do with the way the event looks then I decide what to include. This would include creating an overall concept for the event and how to execute it. It also entails helping you decide what vendors to hire, what elements to incorporate, what color palette to create, what paper goods to choose and the perfect venue to have the event. I work with vendors to create the perfect details or in most cases I create those details myself or with my team just for you. This helps to create an event that is stylish, cohesive and represents the guest of honor. Of course each event is different and may need all of my help or just a little. 

In addition to designing events I absolutely love to style photo shoots too. This could be to help promote your business or a product, to have special, out of the ordinary engagement photos, or provide inspiration for event design. I like to style these because I can really get creative, most of the time the shoots I style don't have as many specifications as an event might have. 

If you have thought about hiring me to design or style please contact me, I would love to help create an event that best represents you. 

Jennifer Blair Photography

Jennifer Blair Photography

Welcome Nikki & Mike!

I am so excited to officially welcome Nikki & Mike to AVD. I have designed their event and I can't wait to style it and see it all come together with the great team of vendors that will be involved. They will be getting married in my favorite city, St. Augustine, Florida at the one and only Casa Monica Hotel. 

Nikki and Mike are absolutely smitten and adorable together. You can tell by their gorgeous engagement photos by one of my favs, West House Photography. You can check out the rest of their photos here.

 

Brody is here!

I m sorry I have been quiet around here. We have been enjoying our name baby boy, Brody Parker. He is as sweet as ever and the perfect addition to our family. 

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Photography by Robert Max Photography

Photography by Robert Max Photography

Featured | Green Garden Wedding Inspiration

I'm so excited to announce that we were featured on the Weddings Unveiled Blog. I had an incredible time designing and styling (along with Ivory and Beau) this wedding inspiration at Sanchez House in St. Augustine. I got to work with some amazing vendors including Andi Mans Photography of Orlando, Ivory and Beau of Savannah, Shea Hopely Flowers, Inc., Sweet N' Flour, Small Bites, Amanda Hopcraft, Simply Bridal, Chirp PaperieBeachview Event Rentals, Dishie Rentals and that gorgeous farm house table was made by my husband and is available for rent! You can find the full feature here.

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Our Wedding

I have had a lot of people ask me about the details of my wedding and I really wanted to take today to share a little bit with you. Today my husband and I celebrate three years of marriage and I would love to share one of the best days of my life. 

Planning this wedding changed my life. We set a date to get married 11/12/10 and I dove head first into wedding planning. I helped friends with their weddings and fell in love with weddings when I was a flower girl for the first time at age 4. I knew I would enjoy the process but I never imagined I would love it this much. I planned the wedding entirely by myself (BEFORE PINTEREST!) and put as much of My husband and I's personality into as possible. 

What we wanted: We wanted a laid back wedding where we could really celebrate with our closest friends and family . We aren't too big on tradition. In my head I kept imaging a beautifully backyard wedding that was elegant but still fun and not too stiff. But, I didn't think I would really be able to pull off a wedding in a backyard somewhere. When I was about twelve, we visited my aunt and uncle in St. Augustine, Florida and I fell in love with the city. Call me silly but I decided on that trip that one day I would get married there! Fast forward and I ended up moving there to go to college and find the man of my dreams, how convienent. I did a lot of research and found  Llambia's House. It is a National Historic Landmark, a house built in the 1700s and the event space is the gorgeous backyard of the antique home. We looked no further and booked right away. 

I was constantly on wedding websites and blogs and was bombarded by complaining brides and I didn't get it. Yes, planning a wedding is incredibly stressful. There are so many big decisions to make but I just loved every minute of the process. I made as much as I possibly could and when it was all done with the help of my lovely mother-in-law and bridesmaids we ended up making the table linens, table runners, programs, cake topper, cupcake toppers, candy buffet labels, welcome bags, flower girl bouquet, boutonnieres and all the wooden signs. 

Just months before our wedding, in May my mom was diagnosed with brain cancer and given two months to live and she passed away on July 3rd. Our wedding day was the first time that our families were all together and happy since then.  Weddings and marriage hold an even more special place in my heart since our wedding because of it. Before my mom passed away I would call her and tell her the wedding projects I was working on and she was always so amazed with my abillity and creativity. She encouraged me after each conversation to do something with these talents and after our wedding when I started having "wedding planning withdrawl" I decided to persue a career in the wedding industry.  

Being married has been the best experience for me. I still get excited when I spontaneously remember that I get to spend the rest of my life beside Kyle. He is the perfect partner for me and nothing makes me prouder to be his wife. That is my hope for everyone. That I can help you start your forever with your partner by creating an event that truly showcases you as a couple. Getting married is so much to celebrate and that is why I love being a part of this industry.  

Happy anniversary, Kyle!  

Getting ready location: Casa Monica Hotel First look location: Flagler College Wedding Venue: Llambia's House Photography: Jess Cumbie Photography Day of Stylist: Portia Gibbs Catering: Mai Oui Gourmet Flowers, cake, cupcakes: Whole Foods, Jacksonville Groom's Cake: Wendy Schwab Rentals: Taylor Rentals Lighting: St. John's Illuminations Linens: Handmade by mother of the groom Lawn games, signs, programs and event design by the bride and groom. 

 

This picture is one of the most important ones. I was so nervous that I would get emotional when it was time to put on the dress because I would have my mom to help. Without even asking my maid of honor and two year old daughter hopped up and helped me out. That means more than they will ever know.

This picture is one of the most important ones. I was so nervous that I would get emotional when it was time to put on the dress because I would have my mom to help. Without even asking my maid of honor and two year old daughter hopped up and helped me out. That means more than they will ever know.

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I will treasure this picture forever!

I will treasure this picture forever!

These girls will always hold a special place in my heart.

These girls will always hold a special place in my heart.

I highly recommend a first look to everyone.

I highly recommend a first look to everyone.

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Madilyn practiced being the flower girl for almost a year. At this moment she quit her job and decided to walk me down the aisle. It is one of the best memories of my entire life. 

Madilyn practiced being the flower girl for almost a year. At this moment she quit her job and decided to walk me down the aisle. It is one of the best memories of my entire life. 

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Kyle is a big fan of the movie Ghostbusters. For his groom's cake I asked an incredibly talented friend, Wendy Schwab to make him a proton pack groom's cake. Needless to say he was blown away. 

Kyle is a big fan of the movie Ghostbusters. For his groom's cake I asked an incredibly talented friend, Wendy Schwab to make him a proton pack groom's cake. Needless to say he was blown away. 

Noah Grant's Baby Shower

A few weeks ago I had the honor of throwing my sister-in-law a baby shower. She is due to have a little boy a few weeks after us, yay! I wanted to share the design I came up with for Noah Grant's baby shower. 

We had the shower at Jana's favorite restaurant, Square One Burgers in there private dining room. It was an elegant red and gray room and the restaurant had hints of cow print fabric. So I took that and ran with it.  

I love incorporating some sort sweets table so I decided on a milk and cookies bar. I made labels for the cookies and milk and a banner. I also made a really simple cake topper with washi. I chose the inviations from Etsy and purchased gray envelopes to mail them in. I created a bingo card for guests to fill out and cross off as Jana opened the baby gifts. It was a great time and we can't wait to meet Noah Grant!

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Welcome Jenn & Joe

I want to officially welcome Jenn and Joe to the AVD family even though we have been working on their wedding for a year now. Jenn and Joe are a great couple and I think they truly bring out the best in each other including true happiness. They are a wonderful team and I am honored that they picked me to design, style and coordinate their wedding. 

It started with a text message from Jenn early in the morning the day after she got engaged to tell me the exciting news. I was so excited for them as I have known them for over five years. Jenn and I may or may not have discussed her wedding plans a few time before the official proposal so we were so ready to get the planning started. 

They booked one of my favorite venues, Nocatee at Crosswater Hall for the ceremony and reception. They will have a pink and gray color palette and their wedding will be classy, elegant but still a lot of fun for their guests. I am so excited for Jenn and Joe and I can't wait for March to finally get here!  Here is an inspiration board from Revel-Blog that gives you a good idea of the look we are going for. 

Jenn asked me to make a few paper goods for their engagement session. I hope you enjoy their adorable pictures.  

 

 

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Photography: Lilipop Photography

Election Gender Reveal

My husband and I are expecting a new little one in mid November. Naturally, when I found out I was pregnant one of the first things I thought of was that I just had to have a gender reveal party. I love the concept of getting together with dear friends and sharing your exciting news. I wanted something a little different and finally decided on a gender reveal election theme. It was a fun way to incorporate voting for the gender our friends thought that we would be having.  

For the reveal I wanted something very visual and fun.  My friend Johnna helped me make red confetti for a girl and blue confetti for a boy. We decorated a wine box and Johnna was given the honor of stuffing it with the proper confetti color. We had our sonogram earlier in the day and we had the sonogram technician write down the gender on a piece of paper to give to Johnna. I had to wait a whole 4 hours to find out and it was very difficult for me, ha! 

I made several red, white and blue treats and displayed them on the farmhouse table my husband made. Above the treats table I decorated with a fringe garland that was so perfect made by Sparkle Motion Decor. The invitations and all of the graphic design was made by  Invitation to Mars and the paper bags we put popcorn in were purchased from Worthy Party. All of these talented ladies can be found on Etsy and they are amazing to work with. I made the bunting above the voting station and the ballot box. 

 

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The Just for Grins Foundation event

A few weeks ago I had the honor of contributing my time and talent toward such an amazing cause, The Just for Grins Foundation annual 4G event.  

Amanda Adams is the founder of the event. She has a fabulous salon in San Marco called San Marco Strands and also offers on site hairstyling for weddings and special events. I heard she was having this event and I offered to help. I absolutely love Mandi's heart and respect the amazing work that she does. 

Mandi started the Just for Grins Foundation to give girls who have a cleft lip and palete a chance to meet other girls who might face the same struggles. She wanted to have a fun event to pamper these girls with hair and makeup and give them the confidence and support they might need. My nephew was born with a cleft palete so I can understand just a little bit the challenges that these girls face and it was a cause that hit close to home for me.  

The event was held at The Paul Mitchell School at the St. Johns Town Center. The students pampered the girls with hair and makeup. Next, the girls were able to pick from a selection of dresses and then get photos taken of them. One of the photo options was the open photo booth and custom props I created for them. I think it's safe to say we all enjoyed ourselves being silly in the booth. Mandi also offered breakout sessions for the girls to talk with her and each other for support and encouragement. Everyone involved had so much fun mostly in part to the great music played by DJ Jacob Towe 

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I enjoyed contributing the little bit that I did. If there is something that I can do to help an organization that you belong to please email me and let me know. I probably can't help everyone but nothing makes me happier than being able to give back. 

Venue: Paul Mitchell School DJ: DJ Jacob Towe Professional Photography (watermarked) Dana Fontaine Photography Open photobooth and custom props: Amber Veatch Designs 

You can see a video of the event from Channel 4 News here

Madilyn is 5!

We decided this year to host a pool party at our pool for Madilyn's fifth birthday. Madilyn chose green and blue for the color palette and we agreed on ordering watercolor invitations (that I am still in love with) by Art Types on Etsy. I consulted with Madi on most of the party decisions. She sees all the time I put into events and loves being included in the process. She also has no problem expressing her opinion. The party wasn't as detailed as I normal make it but I knew everyone would be swimming most of the. All in all I love how it came out and Madilyn had a great time with her friends. 

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For the food we made turkey and cheese subs and wrapped them in parchment paper and turquoise baker's twine. We made pasta and fruit salads in individual cups. We also offered "pool water" (blue gatorade), lemonade and sweet tea to drink. Dessert tables are probably my favorite to incorporate in an event. The treats that are hung on the favor holder my husband made are vanilla fish. There was water taffy and blue rock candy and of course cupcakes and cake. I made the cupcake and cake toppers along with the cake garland. After I made them I painted them with watercolor. In the sand bucket treats we included goggles, a water gun and individually packaged water balloons. I made the names and placed them on the buckets. My husband built the farmhouse table, favor table and favor holder.

As always, a big thanks to my husband and his parents for all of their help. It takes a village. 

Happy Birthday Madilyn!

It is that time of the year again, my sweet little girl's birthday! I wanted to share last year's birthday party with you.

Every mom says it but seriously, I can't believe she will be five! Madilyn is such a joy to parent. She is full of personality and spunk and it is never a dull moment with her. Because of my husband's work schedule I get a lot of one on one time with Madi and I can honestly say I love every bit of time we spend together. Madi is a girl who knows what she wants and always has, I love that about her. When Madilyn wants something it goes like this..."Mom can I have some water with three ice cubes in my Justin Beiber cup please?" Mom, I want a new bathing suit. I would like it to be blue with polka dots and green sharks." I think you get the idea. She is very specific with everything. In January when I start planning her birthday parties we brainstorm and like everything else she tells me EXACTLY what she wants and does not hold back. She is my most challenging client every single year but I love the way she forces me to think outside the box and make it work so it is a day that celebrates her life and she fully enjoys.

Last year her requests were the following for her fourth birthday. "I want school bus, police car, fireman, Dora, gymnastics, cupcakes and candy and I want to make the cupcakes." See what I am working with here people?! The color palette she chose is not anything I want to even talk about because it was impossible and exactly what you might expect from a three and a half year old. So I went with the making cupcake idea and the bake shop party was born. I chose a soft pastel color palette of mint green, pink and blue mostly because I love those colors and I didn't want it to be super girly because that's not Madi's style.

My amazing husband built me a bake shop stand and painted it pink and white. It was perfect for the party and better than I envisioned. For her birthday, he also built her a replica Pottery Barn Kids bed from scratch and that is where his love of building began. I made the chef hats and had the kids start the party by putting alphabet stickers on their hats. Each chair had a white apron and a little rolling pin for the kids to dress the part. I used sprinkles and cupcake liners in apothecary jars as centerpieces and frosting in piping bags to encourage the kids to get involved. I ordered plain vanilla cupcakes and sugar cookies and had the kids decorate one to eat. The kid's all did great and there were no messes on my floors!  There were other treats for everyone to fill pink bakery boxes up with treats to-go. 

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Next week I will share Madilyn's fifth birthday with you. 

Photography: Jess Cumbie Photography Event Designer and stylist: Amber Veatch Designs Bake shop stand Kyle Veatch Chair rental: Jax Chair Boutique Invitations and food labels: Katie-Did Digital Designs

Happy Anniversary Mark & Johnna

I want to officially wish Mark and Johnna a very happy one year anniversary. Three years ago Mark and my husband met when they went through a 9 month training class together for their new job. We got together a lot with Mark, Johnna and a lot of their other coworkers and spouses and they have truly become our family away from home. Johnna wanted to be very hands on throughout the wedding planning process and I didn’t blame her, I was the same way. There were several craft nights at my house making all of the details for their beautiful wedding and through those craft nights I made a new best friend.

A little bit about the couple. Mark grew up in Boston and Johnna grew up in Cincinnati. They both have a love for public service and the law and decided to attend an internship in Washington D.C. That is where they met and spent a lot of their free time touring the historic city and getting a lot of great experience. That is why they chose to use historic landmarks of D.C. for their table names. Mark applied for jobs in several different cities and Johnna applied for law schools in several cities and they weren’t really sure where they would end up. They both ended up with opportunities in Jacksonville, Florida and they continued their relationship.

One of my favorite parts if not my favorite is that all the friends and family that love and support you as a couple all get together. I love meeting the bride and groom’s friends and family and this time I was blown away. Mark and Johnna both have amazing friends and family, I mean AMAZING! They are the sweetest, most helpful and most fun group of people I have ever been around. I really got to know them because I had the honor of attending Johnna’s bachelorette party in Nashville, Tennessee (so much fun!) and Mark’s army of friends showed up at the venue bright and early just to make sure I had all the help I could use. The entire day they all asked ME if I was okay and if they could do anything to help ME. I can honestly say that I genuinely miss their friends and ask how they are doing to keep up with them. Ultimately they love Mark and Johnna so much that they would have done anything to help me make their day perfect and that says a lot about the character of Mark and Johnna too. I hope you enjoy their beautiful wedding photos and here is to many, many more years you two! 

Photography: Jeannie Capellan Photography, Second shooter: West House Photography, Venue: Nocatee at Crosswater Hall, Planning and Design: Amber Veatch Designs, Flowers: Anything Plants and Flowers, Linens: Connie Duglin Linen Rental, Catering: EFS Catering, DJ: Feedback Entertainment

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Valentines Day Elopement {Featured Styled Shoot}

A few weeks ago I had the chance to collaborate with several amazing vendors in the wedding industry. I know it isn't nice to play favorites but I have to say that Shea Hopely Flowers and J.Lane Photography definitely are a few of my favorites. Shea is a true artist when it comes to floral design. She thinks outside the box and stays on trend but still classy. Her flowers always blow me away and she is as sweet as can be too. Chelsi and Justin are the owners of J.Layne photography. They are an adorable couple and their work compliments each other. They both have a great vision and their photographs are beautiful. They were a lot of fun to work with and if you are looking for a florist or photographers for your big day you can stop looking now.

Chelsi came up with the idea for the shoot to be a valentine's day elopement. She used an adorable engaged couple, Stephanie and Cody who are really getting married next year. They are gorgeous together and so evidently in love. I had an amazing time working with everyone and I hope you enjoy the photos!

Concept and Photography: J.Layne Photography

Flowers : Shea Hopely, Shea Hopely Flowers

Hair and Makeup: Amanda Hopcraft

Sweets, love letters, tassle garland and styling: Amber Veatch Designs 

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This shoot was featured on Grey Likes Weddings, also one of my favorites and you can see the post also on J.Layne Photography.

Camp Bridal Shower by AVD

Last fall I had the honor of hosting a shower for one of my dearest childhood friends Erika. I put my heart into every one of my events but this one had to be extra special. I decided on a camp theme for the shower because my favorite memory of Erika and two of the other bridesmaids was our annual trip to summer camp every year. We anticipated and planned for that trip every year and it never disappointed.

Another reason I decided on a camp theme is that Erika and her now husband Jason love the outdoors. They are always out canoeing, hiking and enjoying nature at a park. It is important to me that I cater each event to bring out the guest of honor's true personality. For this particular event I did everything with the help of my fabulous mother in law. She helped me prepare the backyard barbecue food and I hand crafted every detail and styled it. I would love to hear what your favorite detail is.

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Details: Invitations and paper goods Nellie Designs, Kraft bags and bamboo utensils Shop Sweet Lulu, Paper placemats and cloth napkins Anthropologie, Concept, Design, Styling, Custom details and packaging by Amber Veatch Designs

Inspiration {Food Trucks!}

So today's inspiration isn't for everyone. You will find (I hope) after reading this blog, looking at my work and really get to know me that I don't like traditional. Some things yes, but I love to think outside the box. In fact it excites me. I love to do things a little different but most importantly, I love to do things that I love. I think as a couple you should never compromise your style or wedding details because it isn't traditional or what Great Aunt Bev would want. All that to say I would have LOVED to have a food truck at my wedding.  They are fun, laid back and in most cases just so very delicious!

You could use a food truck for your main meal, a midnight snack or for dessert! Instead of having your guest pick fish, chicken and beef what if you had multiple food trucks lined up for them to decide?! It would be almost like a food court for your guests! I love the idea of having nice feasting tables al fresco for you to comfortably eat under the stars with your guests. You could also style the area like a picnic with large blankets and matching pillows. Another option, have a dessert truck come after your traditional dinner to deliver ice cream, snow cones or even cupcakes! All of those food vendors exist and they all sound amazing. A popular trend for the last few years has been midnight snacks at a wedding. You have danced all night on the dance floor and you are ready to eat again. Cue food truck for midnight snack. It could be something simple like sliders, grilled cheese, fries, you name it.

It is all about presentation, right? So I would definitely get with the food truck company and decide how the food will be presented to your guests. There are a lot of great ways to present the food to match your wedding décor. My favorite websites for amazing packaging ideas is www.ShopSweetLulu.com and www.ThinkGarnish.com  I would also suggest a nice sign for the menu in front of the food truck, like a chalkboard so the guests can stylishly see the food options. You could also get custom items made like stickers to label the containers or color coordinating picks, possibilities are endless to make it custom.

Menu can be found on Etsy by AMGDesignCo

Menu can be found on Etsy by AMGDesignCo

Locally, there is a group called Jax Truckies that can be found here www.facebook.com/jaxtruckies/info. They will update you on where in the town they are. I recently checked them out and took a few iPhone pics of my experience. If you are looking for a local food truck for your event their Facebook page has a lot of local food trucks listed.

iPhone pics of Jax Truckies event in Jacksonville,FL

iPhone pics of Jax Truckies event in Jacksonville,FL

What do you think? Would you enjoy this as a guest? Would you ever have a food truck at your wedding for dinner, dessert or a midnight snack?

Inspiration {Ceremony Backdrops}

Hello there! A portion of my blog will be used to provide inspiration. The first bit of inspiration I have for you is ceremony backdrops. There are so many incredible ideas out there. The ceremony is a way for you to be creative and bring in your personality too-not just the reception. To be honest I was going to include ceremony décor as a whole but I found so many amazing ideas I can't wait to share with you, so stay tuned! I will be covering ceremony seating, programs and aisle décor. If there are other pieces of ceremony décor you need inspiration for let me know.  I searched my favorite wedding blogs for ceremony backdrop inspiration and am sharing my favorites with you. I will also be blogging about wedding blogs that I highly recommend later on too. Enjoy and tell me which one you would pick!

 

Paper Flowers-I absolutely love this one. It's a regular metal arch with a whole lot of beautiful paper flowers in different colors and designs. It is such a fun and vibrant focal point.

Antique Doors- You will quickly learn that I am a big fan of rustic antique furniture and accessories full of character. This look would be very simple to achieve. You can find old doors at antique stores, architectural salvage yards or better yet at a ReStore which is run by Habitat for Humanity. It is full of household items and it is for a good cause. Check if you have one in your area.

Antique Ladders- I'm a big fan of this too. It's so different than the usual. You could really style each shelf however you wanted. You could add candles, flower arrangements, framed photos whatever your pretty little heart desires.

This Modern Romance via  Southern Weddings

This Modern Romance via Southern Weddings

Ribbons- This makes such a fun statement. This one is very colorful but if that's not your style I have seen gorgeous ones elegantly done with all white. I wonder how it would look with strips of lace or even strips of fabric.

Hay Bales- I love an outdoor ceremony on a farm (huge understatement) especially if it is under a cascading oak tree. I love that a beautiful floral wreath was added to the hay bales to give it the perfect little touch of color. The hanging picture frames hung from the oak tree finish off the look.

Chalkboard-This is a trend I really can't get enough of. Especially when it's so well designed and executed like this one. I think I will be creating a blog post dedicated to all things chalkboard. There are some amazing vendors out there that can write calligraphy on chalk. If you want to replicate this you could buy a room divider or two old doors and paint it with chalkboard paint (It doesn't have to be black-any color!) and hire a calligrapher or someone with great handwriting (I'm not too shabby if I do say so myself) to write whatever your heart desires. It could serve as the wedding program. Important quotes about love or favorite parts of your wedding vows.

Receipt Paper- That's right-receipt paper! My favorite medium, hands is down paper and here is why. It is incredibly versatile and inexpensive. I think it is so romantic looking and it makes such a statement.

I hope that these ceremony backdrops were inspiring to you. I hope you also see how great adding these pieces to the ceremony décor are. It doesn't have to be extravagant or expensive most of the materials are inexpensive and I would love to create a draw dropping and unique focal point to your ceremony space.