What a trial run is and why you can’t skip it

Thursday, October 20th, 2016


When you draft your month-by-month wedding planning timeline, be sure to dedicate an afternoon to a hair and makeup trial. A trial is a dry run for your wedding day hair and makeup. It should be booked about six to eight weeks prior to your wedding date. This is the best time to talk about the styles you like and to collaborate with your stylist; it also gives the stylist an opportunity to learn about your hair and skin type, to discuss any concerns you might have, to try on any hair accessories you may be wearing, and for the stylist to pass along any tips and tricks she may have.

After hair and makeup are complete, get thyself to the dressing room! This is the best time to stage a dress rehearsal and your chance (sans wedding day jitters) to see how everything works (or does not work) together: how your veil looks with your hairstyle, how your undergarments are fitting with your gown, how your shoes feel when they’re worn more than a few minutes, and how your accessories look with the ensemble. Better to discover any issues prior to your wedding day while there’s still plenty of time to make adjustments! If your maid of honor and your mother can be there, practice bustling.

If you’re doing a bridal portrait with your photographer, this is the day to schedule it. It’s a great opportunity to break the ice and to get comfortable in front of the camera in your wedding gown. Be sure to order a mock up of your wedding day bouquet!




photo Jen Fariello

Skip to the loo my darling

Wednesday, October 19th, 2016

tuckahoe plantation_katie stoops_merriment events

Not all things wedding are inherently glamorous: the loo for instance. If you’re having an outdoor or an at home wedding like many Merriment brides do, you’ll likely need to engage in potty talk during wedding planning, and by potty talk I mean securing a restroom trailer.

If you’re just starting your search, there are a few questions you must ask: How many stalls are in each unit? How large are the stalls? How many sinks are in each unit? Will the unit play music? Does the unit have heat and air? Running water? What type of flooring is in the unit? And now for the cliff notes:

Generally you need one stall for every 75 guests.

The unit will need to be installed on level ground near a water spigot and power. Be sure the location you identify for RR trailer installation is easily accessible by truck and that the truck can easily pull in and out. Also think strategically about the location of the trailer. How far will your guests have to walk from ceremony, cocktail and dinner to facilities? Golf carts are always nice for guests with limited mobility.

Make sure the loo is easy to find: consider signage. Lighting is a must — always light the path and always uplight the trailer! Depending on your budget, you may consider decorative elements to conceal/enhance the look of the trailer. I’ve even seen trailers draped to look like a tent!

Inside: consider embroidered hand towels, monogramed paper hand towels, candies or mints in your colors, scented oil diffusers (my favorite), hand cream for the ladies room, and liquid hand soaps in pretty containers. In my opinion a few of these little treats go much further than bathroom baskets loaded up with bandaids, mouthwash, etc.



photo katie stoops

Happy First Day of Fall!

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

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photos by katie stoops 

floral design by janie medley 

planning + design by merriment


martha stewart weddings summer issue

Monday, September 19th, 2016


Martha Stewart Weddings Summer 2016

It’s always such an honor to contribute to Martha Stewart Weddings. In the summer issue, we answered a reader’s question about discussing dress code and attire with your vendors. While most vendors follow the industry standard (black), not all do. We offered some tips on navigating that conversation. Here’s a little insta snap of the article.  xoxo

How to kickoff wedding planning

Monday, September 12th, 2016


classic virginia wedding ceremony

One of the most important things to do once a budget has been established and blessed by everyone contributing is to map out a wedding agenda — as much of one as is possible at the beginning of planning. The agenda will give you answers to the basic questions you’ll need to answer as you enter the next phase of planning: hiring vendors. Do I need a photographer for eight hours or ten? How long should my band contract be? How much time should I allocate for photographs? Should I take photographs before the ceremony or after or both? When should hair and makeup begin? What time should the bus pick up my guests? etc.

But how do you start crafting a wedding agenda — where do you start? The ceremony time is generally a good starting point. Ideally your ceremony will begin just before “golden hour,” which is the time of day just before sunset when the light is dreamy and photographs look their best. Once you’ve determined what time your ceremony will begin and how long it will last, you can move on to thinking about how to structure photography before and after your ceremony.

In my experience, the trickiest part of crafting an agenda is in finding consensus around the photo/shot list. Since the posed photographs before and after the ceremony are driving timing to such a large extent, I would recommend tackling this first. Your photographer will most likely provide a suggested list of photographs.

Most couples schedule about an hour of photographs prior to the ceremony. This allows the photographer time to photograph the bride, bridesmaids and her family, as well as the groom, groomsmen and the groom’s family unhurried before vows are exchanged. You can decide if you’d like to do a first look then, too.

Once you’ve developed a list of pre-ceremony photographs, you’ll develop a list that will be taken after the ceremony. Then, you can easily back out time earlier in the day for hair, make-up, getting ready, transportation, and later in the day for your reception.

At the beginning of planning the most important items to work out on your agenda are: ceremony start and end time, posed photos before and after your ceremony, cocktail hour start and end time, reception start and end time. Once you’ve penciled in these significant time stamps, you’ll be in a great place to move forward hiring vendors and scheduling transportation!


photo katie stoops

happy national dog day!

Friday, August 26th, 2016

We’ve named signature cocktails after them; dressed them in bow ties and floral collars; their likeness has even been printed on fabric. Cheers to our beloved pooches!

Boho wedding inspiration Richmond Virginia

Brittany and Andrew’s dog Henry inspired the signature cocktails (the “Henry” and “Henrietta”) at their fall wedding at Tuckahoe Plantation. One of our favorite printers created gold foil stamped drink stirrers in Henry’s likeness to dress up the (incredibly yummy) signature cocktails created by our go-to local caterer.


tuckahoe plantation wedding richmond, virginia tuckahoe plantation wedding richmond, virginia

Megan and Will’s labs joined us for cocktail hour. We hired a professional dog handler to help us that evening — always a good idea to have a professional on hand dedicated exclusively to the bride and groom’s pups.


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A Virginia artist hand illustrated a custom monogram for Katie and Joel, which included their pooch — you can see him just below the shield that surrounds the couples initials. So beloved was this pup that he made it onto Joel’s cummerbund and bow tie, both of which were custom-made by a local designer.

Cheers to our clients’ sweet pups and the fun they bring to celebrations! xoxo

crystal clear

Tuesday, July 12th, 2016

alison events_acrylic wedding signage acrylic ghost chairs weddingrachael ellen events_acrylic wedding signageTwinkle Toast_acrylic escort table cards weddingsouthern fried paper_acrylic laser cut wedding invitation

We love how these chic acrylic accents add a quick dose of glamour to parties!



1- Alison Events; 2- KT Merry + Strawberry Milk Events; 3- Rachel Ellen Events + Jessica Kettle Photography; 4- Table cards designed by Twinkle & Toast via Exquisite Weddings Magazine; 5- Southern Fried Paper + Thisbe Grace Photography

totally knotical!

Friday, July 8th, 2016

Laura Kinsey Photography Nautical Wedding Inspirationnautical wedding inspiration Nautical Wedding_Ingalls Photographynautical wedding inspirationlauren kinsey photography_nautical wedding inspiration

It’s all smooth sailing with these “knotical” details!




1 & 5  invitation suite designed by holly hollon and photographed by lauren kinsey; 2 – table number; 3 – nautical bunting Ingalls Photography; 4 –  table designed by Alison Events and photographed by Mel Barlow

Tie one on

Thursday, July 7th, 2016

tassel table cards wedding_photo liz banfieldtassel wedding inspiration_merriment events katie stoopstassel_hotel key_stitch design companytassel wedding inspiration_a bryan photo calder clark tassel_stitch design company

Nothing quite as charming as these playful and fun tassels!



table cards photographed by liz banfield; 2 tassel bunting merriment events + katie stoops; 3+ 5 stitch design company; 4 calder clark & a bryan photo

Patriotic Pattern Play

Thursday, June 30th, 2016

red, white, blue wedding inspiration red, white and blue wedding inspiration red, white and blue wedding inspiration sunglasses, wedding favor | JILLIAN MITCHELL PHOTOGRAPHYred, white, blue wedding inspiration

There’s nothing I love more than a good dose of playful pattern, especially in red, white and blue!

Pictures 1 + 2 Mariliana Arvelo; #4 sunglasses Jillian Mitchell3 + 5 Jose Villa