a wedding full of heart!

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016

Katie and Max’s May wedding at home on the Northern Neck was truly full of heart. From the brightly colored heart confetti that accompanied their letterpress invitations, to the hearts throughout the reception — along the walkway to the ceremony on the waterfront, handmade muslin hearts on each place setting, brightly patterned hearts on escort card tags. So much love was put into this celebration.

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photography by jodi miller

Mimi and Clarke’s winter wedding featured in Virginia Living

Tuesday, January 5th, 2016

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Designed around the idea of “golden glow,” Mimi and Clarke’s winter wedding was a bright light last February. From the long stemmed hurricanes, embellished with gilded poet’s laurel that maids carried during the ceremony in place of traditional bouquets; to the Rosa Clara beaded wedding gown Mimi wore; to their grand entrance into the Rotunda at the Jefferson to 300 adoring friends and family; to their getaway in their treasured 1979 Volkswagen Westfalia van, Mimi and Clarke’s wedding was so classically elegant but very fresh and original. We feel so fortunate to have been a part of it. Thank you to all of the people who expertly brought Mimi and Clarke’s ideas to life, most especially Jeanette McKittrick Floral Design, La Tavola (who despite some of the worst winter weather in the middle of the country got our linens to us on time! thank you!), Jimmy Harris at The Jefferson Hotel, Jen Fariello Photography, Amanda Robinson at Sweet Fix, Ms. Mo of Mo’Soul (represented by Sam Hill), Jimmy Oliver Event Technologies, Parrot Design Studio, Ave 42, and, most especially, my team. Please rush and get a copy of Virginia Living Magazine to see this wedding and many others that took place in the Commonwealth.

 

Merriment Events - Jen Fariello

Christina and Tom’s film by Josh Gooden

Wednesday, November 18th, 2015

There’s just nothing quite as wonderful as seeing film from a client’s wedding day, but Christina and Tom’s film by Josh Gooden completely blew us away. Josh told their story so beautifully, in a way that augmented the story captured in still pictures. We’re such firm believers in videography and always tell clients its one investment you’ll be so, so glad you made.

Party timeline for kids’ parties

Wednesday, October 14th, 2015

Birdie turned four this weekend, and the party was a success! I’ve learned many lessons in the four short years we’ve been fete-ing the bird, and I’d love to share some tips with you to keep your kids’ parties sane and relatively stress-free.

It’s probably obvious, given my profession, that I find sanity in organization, and I think you will too! Going into a party with a written plan will make your life so. much. better. Promise.

Merriment Events | Kids birthday party timelineMost kids’ parties fall into a standard two-hour rental period, which gives you thirty minutes to set up and an hour-and-a-half to party.

10:00 AM – set up, 30 minutes: Since you have such a short amount of time to set up, as much prep work as possible should be finished before the party. For instance, if you’re serving lunch, boxed lunch is best. Bonus points if the lunch can also double as decor (e.g. gable boxes tied with balloons). The idea is to arrive and put things in place.

The two essential components necessary for setting up a party in a limited time frame are 1) many helping hands and  2) simple, easy decor.

10:30 AM – Invitation time*: The invitation says 10:30 to noon, but most guests won’t arrive until 10:40. Turn on some background music, offer parents a bottle of water or something to drink, and mingle until all of your littles have arrived.

10:40 AM – Party Activities begin: Start party activities about ten minutes after your invitation time or when all of your guests have arrived. At Birdie’s fourth birthday party, we scheduled a thirty-minute dance lesson. It’s always nice to give kids an activity that will burn energy first before you move to a seated activity or lunch.

10:45 AM – The photographer arrived. After putting so much work into a party, I really love to have someone there to capture it because, let’s be honest, I don’t have the time or expertise to do it myself. Ali Williamson was AMAZING. Cannot recommend her enough. We’ve also worked with Nikki Sawulski in the past, whom I also adore.

11:10 AM – lunch**: I found sweet kraft paper gable boxes at If It’s Paper. They doubled as decoration (see here) and also served a practical purpose: the boxes held juice, a clementine with a celery stalk (like this) and a small bag of grapes. We also ordered pizza. In total, we dedicated twenty minutes to lunch and that timed out to be just enough on the big day!

11:30 AM – Rapunzel arrived: Near the end of lunch, Rapunzel, much anticipated and widely adored, arrived. After crowning the birthday girl, Rapunzel read a story, then, we moved along to cake.

11:40/11:45 – Sing, cut cake and take pictures with Rapunzel

12:00 PM – Party concludes

Who should get a copy of the party timeline? All those helping to set up the party; anyone making deliveries; anyone who is providing services (e.g. the costumed character making an appearance); the venue that is hosting the party.

*In my four short years of experience giving my daughter parties, I have found that 10:30 AM is a really wonderful time of day for parties. Some four-year-olds still nap, while others may not. A morning party accommodates nappers and non-nappers alike.

**We chose to serve lunch before serving cake. I just never feel right about serving cake to children at a party if I haven’t given them something nutritious first. They may not eat it, but at least I tried! If you are not offering lunch, it’s kind to give parents a head’s up on the invitation so they can be prepared. It’s also nice to let parents know (via the invitation) if the party is a drop off/drop off optional party.

Birdie’s 4th birthday party!

Tuesday, October 13th, 2015

Birdie's Ballerina Party! Merriment Events & Ali Williamson PhotographyBirdie's Ballerina Birthday! | Merriment Events & Ali Williamson PhotographyBirdie's Ballerina Birthday! | Merriment Events & Ali Williamson PhotographyBirdie's Ballerina Birthday! | Merriment Events & Ali Williamson PhotographyBirdie's Ballerina Birthday! | Merriment Events & Ali Williamson PhotographyBirdie's Ballerina Birthday! | Merriment Events & Ali Williamson PhotographyBirdie's Ballerina Birthday! | Merriment Events & Ali Williamson PhotographyBirdie's Ballerina Birthday! | Merriment Events & Ali Williamson PhotographyBirdie's Ballerina Birthday! | Merriment Events & Ali Williamson Photography

If only every party were this fun to plan! There’s nothing quite as wonderful as seeing a group of four year olds enjoying a ballet lesson and a special visit from the “real” Rapunzel, “visiting all the way from Disney World.” Special thanks to Amanda Robinson of Sweet Fix for the beautiful birthday cake. The design was inspired by Phrosné Ras’ first festival invitation at Minted. I ordered the invitations way back in July, and had to do an emergency party location switch after they’d been printed. I had twenty beautiful invitations on hand and nothing to do with them, until I saw the most adorable kraft paper gable boxes at heaven on earth If It’s Paper. I used my trusty Martha Stewart large circle cutter to cut the number four design from the invitations for the lunch box decoration. We tied an iridescent aqua balloon to each gabled lunch box. I just love the way everything came together! Thanks to all of our dear family and friends who made Birdie’s birthday so very special.

 

 

 

Sources: invitation from Minted; gable boxes, balloons, plates, napkins, forks from If It’s Paper; custom ballerina cake topper by Sarah of The Small Object; cake by Amanda Robinson of Sweet Fix; pink table linens from La Tavola Linen; Rapunzel from Princess Parties RVA; photography by Ali Williamson of Alisandra Photography

Christina & Tom’s Charlottesville Wedding

Friday, October 9th, 2015



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patricia lyons photography

meet brittany!

Monday, August 3rd, 2015

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You may have seen Brittany’s wedding on Martha Stewart Weddings recently, so I thought there’d be no better time than now to introduce her here! Brittany has been with Merriment since nearly the beginning, starting first as an intern, then moving on to become a planning assistant. Now she’s moving into a new role — lead production manager, where she will take a more active role in install and weekend coordination. Brittany is my right hand, and we just couldn’t do what we do without her calm spirit, gracious disposition and years of experience. She’s the best! Without further ado, more about Brittany, in her own words:

Favorite part of a wedding? I adore watching the bride walk down the aisle. There are so many aspects of that one moment I love — the mix of nerves and giddy excitement, anticipation. When the bride makes her entrance, I love to keep an eye on the groom. Such a sweet moment.

Best piece of advice for a bride? On the day of your wedding, be intentional. Be present with your girls as you prepare and get ready for the day. Take a moment before you walk down the aisle to look at everyone in the congregation. Spend some time with your husband before you join the reception. Then just enjoy! It will go by so quickly!

Most beloved item in our emergency kit? Pins! Of any kind. Bobby pins, straight pins, safety pins — they are all important to have on the day of the wedding. Also a seamstress kit. Have I told you about the time Courtney and I sewed a bridesmaid into her torn gown after a dance floor mishap (!) ?

Biggest mistake a couple can make on their wedding day? Getting hung up on little details; not being able to roll with the punches if there are slight glitches in the plan. While this is definitely easier said than done, especially coming from a Type A bride like myself, it’s your wedding day! Enjoy! You don’t get a do over.

One detail a couple should never forgo in order to save money? Aside from a planner, a good caterer! Hire one that is experienced with the type of party you’re hosting and one that has a reputation for providing great service.

What do you do on weekends when you’re not at a wedding? I love to spend free weekends with my family and friends. I might grab drinks with the girls on Friday evening. On Saturday you’ll probably spot me grabbing donuts (Sugar Shack – can’t resist!) after yoga or a run. My favorite way to spend a Saturday afternoon is shopping with my mom or running errands with my husband — we love a good date to Homegoods. Throw in dinner at a new restaurant in town, a good concert or movie and that’s pretty much the perfect weekend!

 

photo by katie stoops

Fall wedding at Tuckahoe Plantation

Monday, July 27th, 2015

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photos by katie stoops 

floral design by janie medley 

planning + design by merriment

 

Brittany and Andrew featured on Martha Stewart Weddings

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015

 

Fall Wedding Inspiration

 

It was such a joy to help one of our nearest and dearest plan her wedding, which took place on a chilly day last November at Tuckahoe Plantation. Brittany has worked with me for more than five years as my lead production assistant, and as you might expect we’ve been planning her wedding for some time. (Maybe before she found the groom? shhh!) To see more of the details and get the full scoop, pop over to Martha Stewart Weddings!

{photo by Katie Stoops; Invitation Design by Parrott Design Studio}

Kelley-Harris wedding featured in the Summer issue of Martha Stewart Weddings

Sunday, June 14th, 2015

purple wedding inspiration

 

A year ago today, we celebrated the wedding of our dear friends and clients. We’re celebrating again as their beautiful wedding is featured in the summer issue of Martha Stewart Weddings! We were fortunate to work with a great group of talent, including Janie Medley and Katie Stoops, who both did so much to bring the bride’s vision to life and capture it beautifully. It’s always a treat to work with creative, fun-loving clients and talented wedding friends. xoxo