For my sister, I love you.

Yesterday my sister Francesca boarded a plane bound for Australia, and I didn’t get to say goodbye to her. I had prior commitments, got the day she was leaving mixed up, and I missed saying goodbye to my favorite person. She bought a one way ticket, without a solid plan or an idea of what she is going to do once she gets there. I admire that most about her…the fact that she is completely unconventional, lives life according to nobody’s plan, and just let’s things happen, unfolding before her and just going with it. She is one of the very few people I know who actually LIVES, and enjoys every moment of life. I think everyone should take a lesson from her. 

Anyone who has been lucky enough to have ever come in contact with Francesca knows what a special person she is. She is unlike anyone I have ever met in my life. She is beautiful and bright and happy and shiny. She is kind, and loving, and sweet, and always looks at the bright side….of absolutely everything. She is the favorite of everyone in our family, and none of us try to hide it. She is the center of everyone’s universe, and when people ask me to describe her role in our family…I tell them she is like Sweden..neutral. (I know…it’s Switzerland that’s neutral, but geography isn’t my strong suit and I’ve always gotten the two mixed up, so it kind of stuck…besides…who doesn’t love IKEA and Swedish Fish?) I love all my sisters, obviously, but Francesca is different. Francesca is special. 

Francesca is always the one to make everyone laugh, whether we are embroiled in a heated argument, or crying over lifes latest devastation. She is compassionate and caring, as anyone on the receiving end of her selflessness will be able to tell you. She has volunteered with countless organizations, the most important ones to her being the ones that help kids. Kids love Francesca, and Francesca loves kids, because she is still one at heart. People say that kids are pure and are the ones we should listen to for life advice, since they are unaffected and know how to truly enjoy themselves. Francesca is exactly that. She just lives purely and passionately, and is completely and authentically herself. She sees the good in everyone and everything. She is truly just an incredible, beautiful person. 

She is four years younger than me but she gives me the best advice. She has been there for me at some of the lowest points of my life, and has always believed in me and encouraged me. She spent the last year living in Savannah, and before that was away at school in North Carolina. That was different. She was still close enough to make a long drive or a quick flight. Now she might as well be on a different planet. She is literally an entire day away. To get to her, I would have to be on a plane for literally an ENTIRE DAY. And I just don’t know how to deal with that. 

The way I have been dealing with it is not good. For the past couple of months, I have been moody and emotional, and I haven’t talked about what was really bothering me. I didn’t hang out with my sister as much as I should have, because I thought it would make it harder to say goodbye if I got too used to spending a lot of time with her. So I did what any nut job would do, I threw myself into anything and everything that did not involve my sister, because it was too painful to face the fact that she was leaving. And now I regret it. Over the past couple of months, we have fought and argued more than we have in 24 years. We argued over who called who last, or who was being short and snippy via text messaging. We fought about who’s responsibility it was to make the effort to hang out. I’m pretty sure at one point we were fighting over the color of the sky. We spent so much time fighting that we didn’t spend time with each other. 

Now I’m sitting here, on a rainy, windy, miserable day regretting pretty much every moment of the last few months. I haven’t been able to stop crying for the past few hours.  I wish I had been a little less selfish, and had spent more time with her, and had the foresight to realize just how empty I would feel with her gone. I’m going to miss drinking mimosa’s on the dock in my parents neighborhood on Easter Sunday. I’m going to miss plucking her eyebrows for her. I’m going to miss playing dress up with her and telling her what to wear…she was my real live barbie doll when we were kids, and she still is. She says she hates it when I try and tell her what to wear, but I know she actually loves it. 

This feeling of emptiness is unreal. The fact that I can’t just drive to her and give her a hug for the next YEAR is impossible to comprehend. The fact that I won’t be able to snuggle with her and watch The Kardashians is heartbreaking. I was not prepared for this feeling. Not in the least. I don’t know how people handle their loved ones being off at war. I REALLY don’t know how people handle their loved one’s dying, because I am fairly certain I would actually die from that kind of pain. At least I know it’s temporary, and that she will be back eventually.

Even though I am absolutely devastated and heartbroken, I am so incredibly proud of my sister. I could not be prouder of anyone. She is living life in a way that I wish I could. She is going off on an adventure, and is going to have the best experience ever. She is going to have the most amazing stories, just like our mom does. She is so much like our mom it’s scary. My mom travelled all over the world and lived in so many different places before settling down, getting married, and having kids, which is one of the things I admired most about my mom my whole life. My mother truly LIVED, she didn’t just graduate college, get married, and start popping out kids. She had a LIFE, and Francesca will too. Francesca is our mom’s mini-me. And I am so happy for her.

 

Image Here’s to this great adventure gaga, I LOVE YOU!

 

The Sunniest Calm After the Storm

With the warm days of summer far behind, we here at Charlotte Jarrett Events want to warm you up with the fabulous vintage boardwalk-inspired nuptials of Charlie & Theresa!  As a dangerous storm barreled up the east coast in the days leading up to June 30, 2012, you wouldn’t have known it by the calm demeanor of this super cool couple.  With winds up to 80 miles per hour and power outages stretching across multiple states, the morning of June 30th was straight out of a wedding planner’s nightmare.  As we arrived at Shore House Gardens in Edgewater, Md. for the venue’s inaugural event, decor setup was put on the back burner as we scrambled to find power for the caterers, DJ, band, etc.  One hour later and with five generators up and running, Sarah and Melissa of Intrigue Design and Decor arrived to turn the calm after the storm into a stunning, sunny scene, complete with gorgeous yellow sunflowers, roses and chrysanthemums.  Incorporating the vintage books, lanterns, watering cans, shutters, pinwheels, and windows that the incredibly creative Theresa collected and DIYed and this retro wedding was well on it’s way to being a knock-out.  

However, this wedding wasn’t always a walk on the boardwalk.  With four months to go until the big day, Charlie and Theresa realized that the venue they had booked wasn’t the right place for them to exchange their “I Do’s.”  That’s when they decided to call for help and contacted us to save their vision.  With the help of Intrigue, we secured the sought-after spot as the first ever event held at Shore House Gardens, an incredible waterfront venue just minutes away from Downtown Annapolis.  And, to top it all off, we were lucky enough to book the talented Felicia Gannacone of Felicia Gwen Photography. 

Flash forward back to the big day and Shore House Gardens was the picture of perfection as Theresa (with peacock feather in hair) walked towards the water to meet her groom to the beat of local steel drum band, Caiso.  After the ceremony and the celebratory beach ball toss, guests enjoyed a cocktail hour full of lawn games, music, and a DIY photo booth before moving into the tent for a boardwalk-inspired meal created by Relysh Catering. 

With a couple as fun and down-to-earth as Theresa and Charlie, it was no wonder that their guests had personalities as original and vibrant as the celebration itself.  Even with temperatures well into the 90s, guests were more than happy to break a sweat on the dance floor to the musical stylings to DJ Veritas.  And if that, coupled with the welcome lemonade, pug ring bearer, and goofy sunglass photos, isn’t enough to convince you, then the “leap of faith” into the bay by members of the bridal party should definitely do the trick. 

All jokes aside, the love shared by this adorable Elon-alum couple and their quirky family and friends could have made even the worst weather seem sunny.  So the moral of the story? When life hands you a hurricane, Charlotte Jarrett Events will turn it into a bright walk on the boardwalk.

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Vendors:

Photographer: Felicia Gwen Photography

Venue: Shore House Gardens

Catering: Relysh Catering

Florist: Intrigue Decor & Design  

Rentals: Rentals To Remember 

Baker: Select Confections

Hair: Up-Do’s For I Do’s

Make-Up: Lauren Gehrig

DJ: DJ Veritas

 

Tie It Up Pretty!

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The bow. The ultimate girly statement. And thanks to Kate Spade, Lady Gaga, and Vera Wang, bows have gone from girly and cute to chic and fashionable!  Now don’t get me wrong, no wedding or event should look like an early 90’s nightmare (you know what I’m talking about–bows & taffeta EVERYWHERE), but bows put in the right place look absolutely fabulous! So bring on the bows!!

On the dress…

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On the girls…Image

On the shoes…

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At the reception…

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In the hair…Image

As accessories…

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(All images via Pinterest, Google Images & The Knot)

Back in the Day Bakery: Red Velvet TO DIE FOR!

Who doesn’t love cupcakes? More specifically, who doesn’t love RED VELVET cupcakes? This southern staple is a favorite of many…and when it came time for me to plan my besties tea party baby shower, I knew that red velvet cupcakes would be on the menu. 

My beautiful, amazing sisters Bryony and Francesca moved to Savannah almost a year ago, and Bryony came across a sweet little bakery around the corner from their house, fell in love with it, and started working there. Little did she know that the bakery was not only a Savannah favorite, but FAMOUS! They have appeared on the Food Network and The Martha Stewart Show, and Paula Deen wrote the foreword in their AMAZING cookbook! I was lucky enough to receive my very own autographed copy of the cookbook, and I just knew that I had to try their recipe for red velvet cupcakes…one word? FAB. Everyone loved them, and now you can try them too! Thanks so much to Cheryl and Griffith Day for sharing this recipe with us….make sure you “like” them on facebook!

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Red Velvet Cake
serves 10 to 12
 

3 cups cake flour (not self-rising)

1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons Dutch-processed cocoa powder, sifted
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
One 1-ounce bottle red food coloring
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
1 recipe Cream Cheese Frosting
 
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350* F. Butter two 9-by-2-inch round cake pans, then line the bottoms with parchment and butter it as well. Lightly dust the pans with flour, tapping the pans on the counter to shake out the excess.
 
Sift together the cake flour, baking soda, and cocoa; set aside.
 
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large mixing bowl, using a handheld mixer), cream the butter, oil, and sugar together on medium-low to medium speed for 5 to 7 minutes, until very pale and thick. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla and mix for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the sifted dry ingredients in thirds, alternating with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Mix for another 1 to 2 minutes. 
 
Remove the bowl from the mixer and, using a rubber spatula, incorporate any ingredients hiding at the bottom of the bowl, making sure the batter is completely mixed. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans and gently smooth the tops with a spatula. Tap the pans firmly on the countertop to remove any air bubbles from the batter.
 
Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the center of a cake comes out clean. Let the cakes cool for 15 minutes, then remove from the pans and cool completely on a wire rack.
 
To assemble the cake: Level the top of one of the cake layers with a serrated knife so it is flat, then place it cut side down on a serving plate (you can keep the edges of the plate clean by sliding strips of parchment underneath the cake while you frost it). Using an offset spatula, spread the layer with a big dollop of frosting.
 
Place the other cake layer top side up on the first layer and frost the top and sides with the remaining frosting, making big swirls with an offset spatula or a butter knife. The cake can be stored wrapped in plastic wrap in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
 
 
Cream Cheese Frosting    Makes about 5 cups
 
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into chunks, at room temperature
Two 8-ounce packages cream cheese, cut into chunks, at room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
5 to 6 cups confectioners’ sugar
 
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large mixing bowl, using a handheld mixer), beat the butter, cream cheese, and vanilla until smooth and creamy, 3 to 5 minutes. Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar, beating until light and fluffy, 5 to 7 minutes. The frosting can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.
 

Party Before Baby!

With the most recent celebrity baby boom in Hollywood (Jessica Simpson, Kristin Cavallari, Hilary Duff, Reese Witherspoon…the list goes on and on), fabulous baby showers are all the rage. Gone are the days of pink and blue diaper decor– these days women are stepping up their game and making these parties more about the adorable mommy-to-be and her amazingly supportive friends.  And why not? That little bundle of joy hasn’t arrived just yet, so there’s still time to throw a stylish soiree for your girls (and maybe invite the hubby to the festivities, too)!

(Images via Pinterest)

Take a look at the GORG celebrity baby showers!

(Images via Life & Style Magazine)

(Images via Mindy Weiss)

(Images via Pinterest)

Baby shower for my bestie, Erin!

(Images via Charlotte Jarrett Events)

Ruffle Me Up

Shabby Chic rooms are all the rage these days, but how about a Shabby Chic wedding?  Ruffles and pastels galore!  I know, I know this sounds like your grandma’s curtains, but just wait until you see how chic it can be…

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See? How FAB are little touches of ruffles?  They have such a delicate feel to them and using them as accents throughout your reception decor enhances that romantic vibe.

(images via Pinterest)

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Literally there are endless options with ruffle cakes and each one is to die for!

(images via Pinterest)

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Gone are the days of ruffly 80’s dresses!  Gorgeous chiffon ruffles are super romantic and girly, and the best part is they don’t overshadow the beautiful bride!

(images via Pinterest)

Trend I love-petal bouquet

Something that I have started seeing lately and just cannot get enough of…..

….a huge bouquet made of rose petals to create the look of just one GIANT rose. LOVE.

 

This fabulous petal bouquet designed by Bill Enright of DC based Edge Flowers.
image via Engaged! Magazine

I love this sassy little pink petal bouquet!

 

Just Lounging Around

Chiavari chairs may be the quintessential wedding reception staple, but they’re definitely not known for their comfort.  No one wants to be sitting in that plastic thing all night, especially when they’re worn out from being all over the dance floor.  Adding a lounge to the reception gives guests a place to get away from all the action, mingle with old friends and family, and just plain relax.  Plus, lounges are super chic no matter what color or theme you choose.

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ImageLove the idea of putting a lounge in the center of it all– guests can be comfortable and still watch all the festivities!

ImageHow fab is the lighting under the tables?!

ImageLiterally a chic little living room in the middle of it all!

ImageImageOMG.  I even want these for my house.

ImageImageImageLove that the lounge area can be closed off with flowly white curtains if need be.

All images via Pinterest

Black & White (& Please NO Red) All Over

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When I think of black and white, I think of old movies, Audrey Hepburn, classiness, and, above all, Paris. Unfortunately, most black and white weddings don’t turn out to be very reminiscent of these things. Instead, most weddings that host this color scheme turn out to be overdone, gothic and/or just plain tacky (i.e. black and white with red accents–my biggest pet peeve!)  So, I’ve looked high and low for some more chic options to the black and white color scheme and put together my version of B&W– think Paris and Audrey and chicness galore!

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 images via pinterest

So classic & so timeless, no matter where or what your venue.

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images via pinterest

OBSESSED with long black gowns for the B&W theme.  They pull the whole “luxurious and classy” theme together without outshining the bride in identical white gowns (cough, cough Kim Kardashian wedding).  I love the added touch of bling, too.

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images via pinterest

If you want to stick the B&W color scheme without incorporating another color, there is definitely a way to do it, regardless of if your taste is more classic or modern.  I love the idea of a black vase with tons and tons of white flowers flowing out of it.  It helps to balance the colors so there is no overkill of either color. PS- how amazing is that lounge?!

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images via pinterest

I know I said I hate the black, white & red color scheme but that doesn’t mean I’m opposed to throwing some other colors into the mix (the B&W&R just reminds me of vampires, the opposite of what you want people to think of when they walk into your reception).  Adding lighter shades of green is a trend that I really don’t see ending anytime soon.  It adds a fresh element to the strict B&W and makes the color scheme a little more romantic.  I also love adding some silver, beiges, neutral colors.  It breaks up the black and white, but still blends into the classic theme.  And how cute are the metallic gourds?!?

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images via pinterest

Obvi you need a black & white dance floor to go with your theme.  Also, love the bulb lights above the floor, super romantic.

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If you’re bold enough go for!  Definition of chic right there.

Let your hair down (literally!)

Gone are the days of over-sprayed updos and tacky ringlets (THANK GOD!)  Your wedding day is supposed to be about how beautiful you look and the wrong hair can totally distract from that.  And with wedding gowns getting more and more gorgeous and elaborate every year, why not let keep your hair relaxed and simple?  I have taken a cue from the red carpet and found some B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L hairstyles that will make you look more like yourself and less like you belong in an ’80’s wedding album.

Messy Bun

Your hubby fell in love with you for you and he’ll love it if he sees you walking down the aisle towards him looking like yourself.  A messy bun is elegant, yet still simple and enables you to show off the rest of your incredible ensemble.

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Loose messy, beachy waves

As goes with the messy bun, long waves shows off the bride’s beauty without being overkill.  It is also PERFECT for summer weddings and has the most relaxed look.  You really can’t go wrong.

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Little Touches

Another great thing about messy and casual styles is that you can throw some flowers or sparkle in your hair and it will look totally chic and natural.  Sidenote– I am LOVING simple white flowers incorporated into bridal hair this season!

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image via pinterest

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High Bun

I am SUCH a fan of this style.  I think it is so chic and stylish, without being too tight.  It shows off the brides face in the best way possible and allows for a gorgeous veil!

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