Wonderland Unveiled (sort of)

One of the most frequently asked questions that I receive from brides is, “Where do you keep all of your stuff?” Long ago, my inventory of large pieces of furniture outgrew the confines of my home. So, there is a storage unit/warehouse around the corner from 2+Hue Central that houses my dressers and buffets and things too cumbersome to place on a shelf. As for all the little details, the exclamation points that really make my heart sing, they do live in my home – specifically, in my office.

It is here where I finalize my mock-ups, develop proposals, brainstorm new design concepts. I love being surrounded by such breakable loveliness. Towers of shelving boast years of devoted hoarding. Put simply, it’s a lot like Wonderland.

 Rows of custom gilded glassware patiently awaits their turn to showcase pretty little blooms.

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A hobnail milk glass goblet takes center stage.

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While I return emails and phone calls, the sunlight streams through my top-shelf collection of colored glassware.

vintage weddings, Orlando, amber glass, hobnail

vintage wedding, Orlando, rentals, amber glass

vintage wedding, Orlando, antiques, blue, green, glass goblets

I am inspired in this quiet little corner of the world. And, that inspiration translates to the real life weddings of my couples. I never dreamed that I would have an office with such an amazing view.

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Petaled Loveliness

vintage wedding, milk glass, peonies, ranunculus, roses, anemones

It was a natural progression, a single step closer toward wedding utopia. The whispers are true. I now offer floral design exclusively to my clients. The truth is, I have been considering taking the plunge for several months. I have lost track of the number of times my brides have pleaded with me to assume complete creative control over their weddings. To not only design all of the fabulous small details of their tablescapes, but to also arrange the perfect flowers to compliment the style of the wedding. To ensure a cohesive approach to the most important day of their lives.

Quietly and behind the scenes, I began dutifully researching florals. I took the necessary scaffolding to heart – the seasons of my favorite blooms, the availability of each, the actual cost of petaled loveliness. And the rest – the traditional approach to “centerpieces”, the rules of floral design, the “do this not that” – well, I threw that out the window.

I know what my brides want in terms of floral design and I know how difficult it is for them to express their style. I know that very few want a traditional centerpiece. That most want the flowers to serve as simple accents, often understated and always, always, organic in appearance. They want the natural charm of a gathering of hand-selected florals reminiscent of having just been plucked from a dreamy meadow. I can appreciate the aesthetic of a three feet tall grand centerpiece festooning and spilling about the confines of a gigantic crystal vase, but that’s really not my bag. And, for the most part, it’s not my brides’ bags either.

milk glass, peonies, hydrangea, anemones, ranunculus, gold flatware, antique place setting

What we love is a scattered tablescape approach to design. Never heard of a scattered tablescape approach to design? There is a reason for that – I just coined the phrase. It is the best way in which to describe how I see florals which, in true 2+Hue fashion, is all about pushing the boundaries of what is customary. Being ever more creative, sprinting toward the end of the dock and swan diving into the water as opposed to dipping a toe in. Rather than one single vessel defining the space at the center of the table, I used 41 individual containers for this particular design. Each piece of milk glass was hand selected. Each piece of gold glass was custom created by – you guessed it -me.

roses, milk glass, peonies, ranunculus, vintage tablescape, pink, white, ivory

It is simply impossible to go wrong with the winning combination of: peonies, ranunculus, spray roses and hydrangea.

anemone flower, white, milk glass, vintage tablescape

Add some anemones to the mix and you have an aesthetic unrivaled.

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Ranunculus in a tiny custom gold goblet.

anemone, peonies, pink, white, hydrangea, milk glass, gold, vintage tablescape

If you could bottle happiness, I think that it would look a whole lot like this.

pink roses, milk glass, hydrangea, vintage tablescape, white

Simplicity is gorgeous. Period.

milk glass, pink rose, vintage tablescape

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To say that I am excited about this next phase in 2+Hue’s magical journey is a vast understatement. I cannot wait to share more of my creations with my brides. They never cease to inspire me and I can only hope that the feeling is mutual. Stay tuned for our next blog post, “Cotton Pickin’ Prettiness!”

It’s pretty much a dream come true.

I was delighted when Brandee Gaar, owner of Blush by Brandee Gaar,  invited me to join the amazing team of vendors who worked hard to make Savannah and Robbie’s wedding perfect. The venue – The Lange Farm in Dade City, Florida – was right up my alley complete with a rustic barn and steeped in southern charm. In addition to several of my dining tables (which were used at the rehearsal dinner) and my antique pink dresser (which served as a stylish display for the pashminas provided for the guests – one of my all-time favorite graces offered by a bride) and crates overflowing with antique silver and milk glass details, Brandee requested some signage and chalkboards to add a personalized touch to the big day.

weddings by 2PlusHue, The Lange Farm, Rustic wedding design, antique pink dresser

*As a side note, this mirror is not original to the dresser. I hunted this baby down and refinished it to match the dresser so that I could write, “Grab a scarf and snuggle up” in lipstick.*

I was given the guidance to create a sign that let the guests know that they were, indeed, on the right path as they made their way down the majestic winding road toward the ceremony. I gathered some scrap reclaimed wood from my ever-growing pile and sprawled out across my living room floor to freehand this:

weddings by 2PlusHue, custom wood wedding sign, rustic, Orlando, The Lange Farm

While this directional chalkboard sign guided the celebrants toward the vow exchange.

weddings by 2PlusHue, The Lange Farm, rustic wood chalkboard sign

And, it seems a 2+Hue wedding is seldom complete without one of my chalkboards reassuring the guests to, “choose a seat, not a side.”

weddings by 2PlusHue, The Lange Farm, Chalkboard, choose a seat not a side

All photos courtesy Andi Mans Photography

It was indeed an honor to have served Savannah and Robbie well on their big day. But, then something supremely amazing happened – we were featured on Southern Weddings Magazine! Since launching 2+Hue Designs one year ago, it has truly been my dream to have my work grace the pages of what I regard as the mecca of all things wedding perfection. I am incredibly blessed, humbled and grateful to Southern Weddings for selecting Savannah and Robbie’s wedding and I will continue to walk on cloud nine until further notice.

Check out the feature here:

http://iloveswmag.com/2013/01/22/romantic-florida-wedding-by-andi-mans-photography/

Words to live by.

Never miss the opportunity to open all of the windows when the temperatures hover between 70 and 76 degrees.

Never pass by a tried and true shop without popping in.

And that is exactly how I found these lovely new tufted additions to the 2+Hue inventory:

tufted velvet chairs, antique, vintage wedding, southern

One of the most frequently asked questions that I am presented with is, “Where do you get all of your stuff?” And, though it may at first pass seem to require a straight-forward reply, it really is not that simple. There is not one go-to honey hole of awesomeness from which I build my inventory. It is more closely described as a lifestyle of hitting every possible antique/thrift/resale store that I come across. Throw in an estate sale here and there and those treasured stores and flea markets near my parent’s home in North Carolina and, oh my stars, I could easily be mistaken for a hoarder. Though it may seem a daunting challenge, I love every minute of tracking down little (and big) pieces of perfection for my brides.

tufted antique chair, vintage wedding, southern

I mean, really, who could not just love this?

That’s just not how I roll. Here’s why.

milk glass, peonies, anenomes, ranunculus, antique china, vintage wedding, mint, pink, gold

Here is just one of my floral and tablescape designs. A perfect example of what happens when one stylist pulls all of the details together.

Every couple of months or so, an inquiry comes across my email that reads a little something like this:

“Hi! I was wondering if I could just rent your _______  (fill in this blank with any one of my large pieces of furniture) for my wedding next month. I can send one of my husband’s groomsmen to pick it up and bring it back to you so you don’t have to worry about delivering it and picking it up. How much would that cost? Thanks!”

Trust me, I get it. I can’t blame a girl for trying; however, I always politely decline such inquiries with an offer of sincere congratulations along with a brief explanation that I operate much differently from all of the other vintage rental companies scattered about the country. Basically, I care too much about my couples to just send them down the road Sanford & Son’s style with antique furniture spewing out of the back of a pick-up truck headed toward the venue of their choosing. Over the months between the initial consult and the moment their feet hit that aisle, I build real relationships with my brides. We talk regularly, email and text sometimes daily, share ideas and secret Pinterest boards and inspiration perfectly tailored for their big day. I create custom watercolor signs just for them, let the chalk fly on personalized chalkboards, and hunt down the most perfect china with accents from their color palette. They are not simply a date or a booking to me, they become friends for whom I work tirelessly to ensure that the idyllic wedding that visits them each night in their dreams becomes a reality.

And, basically, that takes a whole lot more than an antique settee thrown in the corner of a venue.

The heart of my job – my company – lies within wedding design, the comprehensive overview with which cohesiveness reigns supreme. Along the way through my obsession with all things weddings, I have browsed more than my fair share of images where there was a disconnect between the critical design elements. Where the florals failed to compliment the decor (and vice versa), where there was confusion as to exactly how to blend elements from different themes together, where seemingly little was personalized. Stated simply, my brides deserve better and I strive everyday to ensure that they get nothing shy of my very best.

I am, indeed, a designer/stylist/bride’s bestie first and foremost. Brides hire me, not necessarily my furniture or my impressive collection of milk glass. I am that person to whom they share their excitement, the chick who literally sprints across the grand lawn to make certain that each and every thing is perfectly in place for the ceremony, the cocktail hour and the reception.

My huge inventory of hand refinished antique furniture is just the icing on the wedding cake.

Stay tuned for my next post entitled, “Say what?! 2+Hue is offering FLORALS now, too? Yay!”

From 2+Hue with love: Thank you & Happy New Year!

I know that look. I have seen it illuminate the faces of my brides on their wedding day at the first peek of the venue – styled just for them – in all its glory. It is a beautifully blissful expression of disbelief and delight. It is what makes my job worth doing. All the very late nights, the numerous handmade crafts in various stages of completion splayed about my house, the lifting of super heavy pieces of furniture, the agonizing over Every. Last. Detail. It all culminates into one night of perfection.

For me, though, it has been one year of perfection. That same look characteristic of my brides has often made its way to my face as well. Every one of my weddings have a special place in my heart. I get to know and love each of my couples, their families, their own sweet story that lead them to an engagement, and ultimately to me. They make me smile, make me laugh, and make my day when they see what I have designed for them.

I launched 2+Hue Designs on a wing and a prayer and an email from a dear woman named Carrie. Her daughter, Bri, was getting married in July and she encouraged me to rent her some of the antique furniture from my home interior collection. Almost instantly, I fell in love with the idea of vintage wedding rentals and before I knew it, I was getting licensed, insured, and learning how to run a business while standing firm in my own two size eights.

Quickly, that one wedding turned into many more and one year passed in the blink of an eye. So, here I sit on the last day of 2012 prepping new client packages, erecting a massive construction project for Cypress Grove, and creating styling details for my 2013 weddings. I am endlessly grateful for all of the blessings that found their way to 2+Hue this year. So many wonderful people have laced their fingers together and given me a leg up when I needed a boost and I truly adore each of you.

A truly heartfelt thank you to:

Bri & Andrew

Jennifer & Todd

Amanda & Scott

Chelsea & Chris

Ali & Keegan

Lydia & Ben

Samantha & Luigi

and to each and every one of my 2013 couples.

And these precious people:

Typically, I keep my children out of the reach of my website and blog. However, I had to include them in my end-of-the-year shout outs. They have endured endless trips to thrift shops, a home reminiscent of a southern wedding explosion/hoarder, a few very late Saturday nights, and their mother’s seemingly ceaseless explanation of the difference between a wedding stylist and a wedding planner. They are my heart.

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Abby Grace, my precious daughter for whom my packages are named, though you are completely unaware right now, so much of what I did this year was for you. I want, with every fiber of my being, for you to grow up knowing that girls can do anything that they want to do. They can move furniture, drive U-Hauls, sprint across the floor of a venue in high heels, and build a business from the ground up. I love you. Go do awesome things.

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My sweet Bryce, you are quite simply the coolest dude in the world. You are my peace and quiet, my time to exhale. Thank you for exactly who you are. Please never get married. I love you. Go do awesome things. Fine, you can get married, but she had better be amazing.

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To Kevin, my husband –  better known as Mr. Hue and the cheapest labor around. You are my very own love story come true. Thanks for putting up with me and this business of mine which spoke for all of your Friday and Saturday nights. You love me in paint stained shorts with no make up, my Tina Fey glasses and my hair in a bun and I wish that for each of my brides. May they find their very own real life storybook ending. Thanks for sticking with the chick from your high school Spanish class. I told you it’d be worth it. Love yas!

To my parents, all of you. I am the ball of energy you know now because of who raised me. I was blessed with a mom who rarely fell short of perfection. Countless times, I have called her after a consult to exclaim, “The bride and her mom reminded me so much of you and I!” She let me be who I needed to be. She let me run around our little beachside neighborhood in bare feet and mismatched clothes. She knew I’d find my groove someday. She was right. And I love her dearly.

I was lucky to have two amazing men to call dad. One helped create me and gave me a gift of seeing a space for what it can be. He works hard and speaks his mind and feels at home in a hardware store. And so do I. My other dad loved me when he didn’t have to. He always told me I could fly. And he was right. And I love them both dearly.

Carrie and Bri, I simply cannot thank you enough for your belief in a girl with a crazily named company. You were a delight to work with and you have remained two wonderful cheerleaders after that beautiful night on the 20th of July. You are so genuinely kind and I adore you both.

Amalie, your friendship and guidance has meant so much to me. You have helped me along this journey of launching and growing a business while laughing and chugging down Starbucks. Your creativity and talent were and always will be an inspiration to me. Thanks for telling it like it is and for understanding my overuse of the word ‘awesomeness’.

Tamuel and everyone at RW Events and Cypress Grove, to me, you are simply the best. Period. Tamuel, I am humbled that you believe in me, that you trust me to design something awesome, that you take time out of your day to chat with me over some Panera. You are an inspiring force of nature and I declare you to be awesome! Tori, you too, my friend. The entire staff at Cypress Grove, you are the ultimate in venues and professionalism. I love every moment of being there with you. Thank you.

In short, what a year! Thank you to all of my couples from 2012 and I cannot wait to send my delightful couples of 2013 down the aisle in style. Happy New Year.

xoxo,

Sarah

I do all my own stunts!

Yes, it’s true. I do actually refinish every single piece of furniture in my inventory; by hand and by myself. So, when I came across a stunning set of dressers in one of my favorite shops, I simply could not resist. I am enamored by the craftsmanship and attention to detail that defines antique pieces. The delicate wood moulding combined with original wooden casters, oh my. Don’t even get me started on the gorgeous brass hardware that was completely intact – score!

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I knew immediately the direction I wanted to take in transforming these beauties. Staying true to my disdain of anything too “matchy”, I dove headfirst into my paint collection to offer a preview of several of my upcoming 2013 weddings and styled shoots. Remember 2012 when I seemed to arrive at every event armed with cratefuls of Mason jars, antique silver and pink as far as the eye could see? Yeah, me too. And, though I have no plans of abandoning those staples entirely, I will be spreading my wings and exploring new palettes and new metallics in the months ahead.

In 2013, mint green will be featured heavily in several of my original designs. Worry not, there will still be plenty of soft blushes and some hues of blue here and there, but mint is where it’s at here at 2+Hue. To compliment the various shades of green, I will be utilizing a lot of gold this year. Everything from tiny handmade and hand painted details to this sizable statement piece complete with shimmering drawers and a lightly distressed base will fill the pages of my blog – and my portfolio – this year.

I am so excited for where we are headed and ready to push my creativeness toward more ambitious heights. I hope you’ll join me on this most exciting adventure!

xoxo ~ Sarah

Watercolor loveliness

During the past few months, one trend in particular has caught my eye and managed to hold my attention – hand painted watercolor wedding details.

I love them more than any average person should. I have swooned over watercolor menus, escort cards and favor tags. But, perhaps my most favorite hand painted details are created in the form of table number markers and custom signage. I am constantly brainstorming new and exciting ways to personalize a bride and groom’s big day. I tire quickly of anything generic or standard and feel as though I owe it to each of my couples to push myself, and therefore my business, to new heights each time I style a wedding. So, naturally, I decided that:

1. I can totally do this and

2. I should start right about, well, now.

So begin I did and here is a sneak peek of my foray into the world of watercolors.

watercolor table number, pink, blue, garden wedding, four, custom

Always a fan of simplicity, I opted for a dainty vine motif accented with a sampling of florals. My favorite number – four – rests below the swag and just inside the vines while assigning the table. Perfect for a garden themed wedding, I am delighted with what my very first date with an artist’s brush revealed.

I will continue painting as I prep for the bridal shows and weddings of 2013.

Stay tuned!

Steampunk fabulousness

The wedding of Samantha and Luigi was among my very first bookings as I launched 2+Hue in the spring of 2012. During the infancy of my company, I focused heavily on the rentals aspect of the business. At that time, I offered brides the option of styling their weddings themselves and borrowing my furniture pieces rather than requiring that they combine both of my services of rentals and styling as I currently do. That stated, Samantha had her heart set on my rustic aisle entrance wall and one of my dressers. For months, she dreamed of the barn doors parting to reveal her in her gown as she began her journey down the aisle to her beloved.

It would be dreamy. It would be magical. It would be outdoors at a venue in a county in which I do not typically work.

It would be all these things until I received a semi-frantic (and rightfully so) phone call from the mother of the bride on an unassuming weekday just ten days shy of the wedding. As I understood the dilemma, the venue – which shall remain nameless – actually double-booked Samantha’s ceremony site and scheduled a food truck party for the exact same location on the exact same day at the exact same time. Needless to say, this revelation sent Samantha and her mom into a frenzied shuffle toward Plan B.

The entire concept of this unfortunate scheduling misstep truly touched my heart and I vowed to do whatever was in my power to ensure that Samantha and Luigi could still have the wedding of their dreams. Due to the venue switcharoo, my aisle entrance wall was no longer able to be utilized so the bride opted to give me the creative freedom to style the sweetheart table.

I selected my most favorite French Provincial dining table complete with our newly finished matching sweetheart chairs. Having been given the instructions to create a tablescape in keeping with their steampunk theme, I got busy.

handmade pinwheels, copper, steampunk, milk glass, vintage books, antique gold

I am always up for a styling challenge and the opportunity to step outside of my comfort zone of traditional vintage and rustic, so the edginess of a steampunk wedding certainly appealed to me. I immediately knew that I wanted to have two prominent features to anchor the tablescape. After a day of brainstorming, I settled on two large milk glass goblets filled with handmade pinwheels crafted from vintage novel pages.

handmade pinwheels, vintage books, steampunk, copper wire, milk glass

To compliment the vintage paper, I wanted to bring a touch of industrial into the steampunk mix. I opted for a thin copper wire swirl to accent the center of the pinwheels.

steampunk wedding, milk glass, vintage novel pinwheels, copper wire

Never a fan of the confines of precision, I chose a mostly whimsical style of placing the pinwheels into the goblets.

Flanking each side of the milk glass goblets, were small stacks of vintage novels topped by a small ornate frame that I refinished in an antiqued gold. The frames held squares of paper that I stamped with a traditional steampunk pointing finger aimed at either the “Mr” or the “Mrs”. The lettering was scripted by hand without much fanciness, just a pencil.

steampunk, vintage novels, gold frame, calligraphy

The most time consuming detail of Samantha and Luigi’s tablescape came in the form of the nail and copper ampersand. I began with a rectangle of salvaged wood that I painted a soft pink then distressed and antiqued. After designing a template and hammering what seemed like 100 nails into my block of antiqued pink wood, I decided that the nails would provide for a more appealing aesthetic if they were painted then distressed as well. After completing that step, I embarked on the tedious, but rewarding process of threading the copper wire randomly around the nails.

copper and nail art, ampersand, steampunk wedding,

Several spools of wire later, and the ampersand was complete. I have seen my fair share of thread and yarn lettering; but, I have yet to see another copper wire display. I was delighted with how it became the central focal point of the table while staying true to the theme and palette. And, at the end of the big day,

Samantha was happy.

Luigi was happy.

Samantha’s mom was happy.

And they all lived happily ever after in pure steampunk bliss.

Chalktastic

I can count on two things for every wedding that I style.

First, the couple will be awesome.

Second, they will want an abundance of chalkboards.

My inventory of ornate framed chalkboards has grown by leaps and bounds at the request of my savvy brides-to-be. Though the sentiments may vary slightly from wedding to wedding, there are four themes that seem to appear in each of my soirees. I have selected a few sneak peeks from Lydia and Ben’s big day that I styled this past Friday at Cypress Grove to highlight the most popular topics.

#1: Choose a seat, not a side.

Cypress Grove Estate House, vintage wedding rentals, styling, Orlando, ornate chalkboard, choose a seat not a side

The “Choose a seat, not a side” sentiment is by far my most requested chalkboard design. Staged predominantly as the guests enter the ceremony, this signage eases guest anxiety over which side of the aisle to stake their claim.

#2: The Menu

chalkboard, menu, Cypress Grove Estate House, fancy frame, white

Whether a casual buffet style dinner or a more formal plated serving experience, guests love to be reminded of the culinary delight that awaits them. Additionally, having a chalkboard strategically placed near the beginning of the buffet line is often helpful in ensuring an efficient flow to the buffet process.

#3: The Grand Exit

Orlando vintage rental, styling, Cypress Grove Estate House, ornate chalkboard

Whether it includes: tossing lavender buds, enthusiastically waving sparklers or ribbon wands, blowing bubbles, or anything in between, the grand exit at the conclusion of the reception is a tradition not to be overlooked. However, some guests remain unsure of a bride and groom’s expectations when it comes to the fond farewell. With the assistance of a little stylish signage, everyone will know just what that bucket full of sand and foot long sticks are for.

#4: Lawn Games

Orlando vintage rentals, styling, Cypress Grove Estate House, lawn games chalkboard, white

Let’s face it, lawn games are hot right now. Most often introduced during cocktail hour their popularity continues to entice guests all the way through the reception. Who doesn’t like a good game of cornhole or horseshoes?

#5: The Wild Card

Orlando vintage rentals, styling, Cypress Grove Estate House, smitten chalkboard

Of course, despite the above examples that I can practically count on bringing to every wedding, I am all about personalization. Whether it is simply a word that defines both the bride and the groom, a date-by-date summary of their monumental moments together, or a heartfelt thank you from the happy couple, I love to go off script to create a special message just for them. It is, indeed, all it’s chalked up to be.