Hues of Blues Sunset Ranch Wedding- Fredericksburg, Texas

This was the perfect day! Victoria and Jonathan had a few unexpected roller coasters thrown at them during the planning process (which included a venue change and the beginning of Covid) and they absolutely deserved a perfect day. Sunset Ranch ultimately ended up being just the right fit for them and their team was such a breath of fresh air; they are such lovely folks to work with and the space is gorgeous!

Pulling together Victoria’s vision and coming up with the mood board was so much fun. She loved getting into the details- notice her perfectly coordinated maids getting ready outfits- all the way down to their socks! I also discovered that she shares my affinity for pillows and tea towels (even at the dismay of our husbands). Ha!

Lori Blythe Photography did such an amazing job (as usual) with these photos and even hand painted the blue styling board to photograph the details. I really love when a photographer can photograph the details well! Reiley and Rose Floral brought the best of the best and added the blue larkspur flowers (those blue stalk type flowers) to the ceremony arrangements at the last minute. They coordinated so perfectly with the sky and the dresses and brought it all together!

So rarely are the ceremony pictures my favorite from a wedding, but its not hard to believe at Sunset Ranch’s beautiful site. It was picturesque. We couldn’t have asked for better weather; the cloud cover made the temperature comfortable and the photos amazing. The blue hues in the dresses and the flowers just highlighted the blues in the water fountain and the landscape. Sometimes it comes together not only envisioned, but EVEN better. This was one of those times!

Hands down my favorite shot of the wedding is the photo above with the flower petals. This shot is one of Lori’s signature shots and is so unique and priceless!

We did a cocktail style reception inspired by Jonathan’s New Orleans heritage. Victoria envisioned styled lounge areas with unique furniture pieces and Bee Lavish Vintage Rentals had everything we needed to bring her vision to life. She hand picked the pillows and all of the beautiful candles.

I love cocktail style receptions. It’s like having a dreamy house party. It reminds me of the parties you see in the movies of the 1950’s where people are eating and dancing and someone is playing the piano. When cigarettes and champagne saucers were stylish. Anyone else know what I’m talking about here? Think Breakfast and Tiffany’s and White Christmas. Also, the food is so fun for cocktail style events. Cartewheels brought their A-game with Shrimp and Grits and Chicken and Waffles stations- YUM.

Another fun detail was that this wedding was on 3.14 – PI Day! Victoria is a teacher so we had to geek out on this one, just a little bit. We served mini pies at dessert and as the late night snack (Sophie’s Bakery).

The neon light was kind of a last minute addition. We had the perfect spot for it at Sunset Ranch and with a great name like “Bacon” it was just so fun!

The band was unbelievable. Matchmaker always brings down the house and they were no disappointment this time. We ended the night with a New Orlean’s style 2nd line out to the romantic car brought by Circle J Vintage Cars. It really was a perfect night!

Thanks to all of the vendors that helped Victoria’s dream come to life!
Venue: Sunset Ranch 
Planning & Design: Emily Burgess with Hill Country Bride
Photography: Lori Blythe Photography
Videographer: Gamm Films
Florals: Reiley & Rose
Cake: Sophie’s Bakery
Transportation: Fredericksburg Trolleys 
Vintage Car: Circle J Ranch Vintage Cars 
Table Linen: La Tavola Linen
Vintage Rentals: Bee Lavish Vintage Rentals
Stage Rental: Whim Hospitality
Band: Matchmaker

My Review of The Bloom Bash Austin Workshop

I’m a winner!!!
Anyone else feel like they never win ANYTHING? Like they always apply for the sweepstakes and are present for the announcement ceremony, but NEVER win… Well for once I WON SOMETHING! In an Instagram sweepstakes I won admission to the Bloom Bash Austin Workshop hosted by Michaela Noelle & Ashley Slater photography.
It was such a pleasure to be able to attend and in case you happen to be a female creative (any industry!) and are interested in going, I thought I’d share with you my five favorite things from the workshop! I’ll do another post with all of the lovely images from the shoots with Sami Kathryn Photography, probably in the spring!

Things I loved about the Bloom Workshop (with photos by Shalyn Nelson): 1. Cute coffee man… Ha ha, just kidding! But really… It was so fun to walk in on the first day and have a lovely British man serving me a great cup of fancy pour over coffee. In general all of the goodies (food, gifts, setups) were impressive and the environment (Mercury Hall) made lovely by Bee Lavish was a really inspiring space. This totally matters. I can’t be inspired in an underwhelming environment. They did great at ALL THE PRETTY THINGS.2. Confidence in handling flowers. Initially I wasn’t that excited about the floral arranging class, but I feel like getting my hands a little dirty and practicing myself, I was able to get a more intimate relationship and appreciation for the floral designers I work with. An added bonus was that I learned some great tips for making my personal arrangements look more intentional! Thanks to The Heirloom Table for patiently teaching us some skills!  3. Practice with flat lay styling. This was a big one for me! ALL THE PRETTY THINGS! Its so rare that I have several ring boxes, several back grounds, multiple sets of invitations, stamps, ribbon etc. in a range of colors and styles to play with. It was nice to have some guidance and all of the supplies handy to just play! On a wedding day, I sometimes have a hard time switching from my left brained duties (details and logistics) to right brained creative tasks. Flat lay styling is one of those things I’m learning to 1) do the night before the wedding 2) understand that practice makes it come more naturally. Simply Jessica Marie brought these stunning paper pieces!4. Challenge to Set Goals. I’m a person who really likes to keep my promises. Like really. I have a hard time setting goals because I fear if I don’t execute it perfectly, I’ll let someone, or myself down. Being in a space with other girls, who aren’t perfect (like it looks on Instagram) but just trying their best, helped me get a more realistic picture of how I can set goals without the burden of not meeting expectations. Michaela actually said that her most read blog posts are consistently her goal posts. After reading a couple, I really appreciated that she shared honestly, how sometimes she didn’t meet them! And that’s ok! Here’s the thing, if I never set goals, I’ll never have the satisfaction of achieving them!5. Relationships with other REAL entrepreneurial girls who are struggling and succeeding, just like me. Anyone ever feel like they are always losing in the competition of Instagram perfection? My sweet friend calls this comparing my insides to other’s outsides. It’s unfair, unrealistic and will always leave me feeling not good enough. If I would have looked up any of these gals (teachers and students) on instagram, I would have sized them up, and sized up myself against them. But meeting them in person FIRST and just seeing that they were REAL people made me INSTAntly feel (see what I did there) safer. I wanted to get to know them, to get know about their business and gleam inspiration from them. The struggle of working with ME, MYSELF, and I ALL DAY is REAL. I have to try to build a network, it’s not just there for me when I show up to work every day. It’s so empowering to be with other women learning together, instead of in competition with them. I also really liked that it was not just my narrow subset of vendors (planners), it was nice to gleam ideas off of photographers, calligraphers, florists, bloggers, cake ladies, etc. I suppose a lot of workshops might give you this, but I really feel Michaela and the other teachers were really great about never putting themselves above us, just sharing with us their successful experience and suggestions in lots of things.

The topical things of the workshop were great too (Social Media, Client expectations, calligraphy, etc.). These were just my major takeaways. I would highly encourage you to sign up for one if you are looking for a workshop next year! They will only be hosting one, in November, but I’m sure it will be awesome!

Florals: The Heirloom Table | @theheirloomtable
Invitation Suite: Simply Jessica Marie | @simplyjessicamarie
Rentals: Bee Lavish | @beelavishvintage
Cakes: Feathers & Frosting | @feathersandfrostingatx
Hair & Makeup: Erica Gray Beauty | @ericagraybeauty
Ribbon: Adorn Company | @adorncompany
Wedding Dress: BHLDN | @bhldn
Rings: PVJ | @providencevintagejewelry
Ring Boxes: VoeuDuCoeur | @voeu_du_coeur
Suit: The Black Tux | @theblacktux
Event Concept + Design: Michaela Noelle Designs & Ashley Slater Photography

Robin & Stu’s Boho Chic Hill Country Wedding & Featured Caterer

Robin is flat out one of the sweetest people I have ever met. She is a genuinely beautiful person, inside and out! It was such a pleasure to be part of her and Stu’s wedding at the lovely Hoffman Haus. It was really cool to see Robin’s personal style reflected in her wedding, through rugs at the ceremony from her home, to rocks from Stu’s family ranch as the place card and table numbers. Check out how these two pulled of a chic hill country wedding, with just a touch of boho elements and the hill country wedding catering vendor reveal below!

Shout out here to Cartewheels Catering! The first to make the catering vendor list and my absolute favorite local catering company. The staff are always kind, responsive and professional. They come with shirts tucked in, and smiles on! The food is always a 10 in the taste department, and the presentation gets an 11 out of 10. I’ve seen them make flowers out of cabbages for charcuterie and fill tiny droppers with homemade rosemary maple syrup for their mini chicken and waffle appetizer. Need I say more? They put a sign on everything that is typed and cute, and I never see ugly chaffing dishes, just beautiful serving pieces that I want to steal for my house.  They are always on time and follow the schedule to a tee. They go above and beyond to serve the bride and groom in the planning process and on the day of. Cartewheels is definitely the best of the best when it comes to food! Check out their vendor profile here.

Talented Hill Country Vendors here:

Event Planner: Hill Country Bride, Photographer: The Nichols, Catering: Cartewheels, Venue: Hoffman Haus, Flowers: Wendee Sawran, Cake: Sophie’s, Invites: Minted, Linens: La Tavola Nuovo Champagne, Hair & Makeup: Weddings by Celissa Rae 

Hill Country Wedding Photographer Feature & Edgy Enchanted Rock Editorial

The first photographer to make my list of amazing Hill Country wedding vendors is Lori Blythe! Known for her clean, airy and flirty photography style, Lori is a sweet soul and a talented hill country wedding photographer. Her clients rave about her professionalism and creativity. Her warm personality and posing techniques make her clients feel comfortable allowing her to capture natural magical moments. You’ll see her work popping up all over my website, but I’d though I’d share our most recent shoot we did this past spring at Enchanted Rock. Check out the post below for Lori’s pretty photos and my inspiration narrative for the shoot, featured on Adorn!

My inspiration for this shoot came when Lori and I were taking a hike out at the beautiful Enchanted Rock State Park, and noticing how the islands of Greenery (Pantone’s 2017 color of the year) made up of cactus, yucca and wild grasses stood out so dramatically against the pink granite landscape. The wanderlust-inducing scenery inspired this edgy, modern, southwest shoot with romantic and feminine details.

The Green Room floral put together the perfect bouquet to add a feminine touch to the harsh landscape. She used air plants and succulents, suited to a desert shoot, and popped in just a few white ranunculus to soften the feel. I chose an elegantly minimalist Sarah Seven gown for our model. The simple, clean lines of the dress supported the modern feel of the shoot.

The Kendra Scott earrings in rose gold mimicked the pink granite rock, and the rough shape and texture fit well with the natural rock surroundings. The Pendleton blanket we used was an early inspiration, as the colors and feel of the shoot developed. This blanket, the “Harding”, gets its name from a story when President Warren Harding and his wife came west to dedicate a portion of the old Oregon Trail.  At the ceremony, local Cayuse and Umatilla chiefs presented the first lady with a shawl similar to this blanket. We brought it along to adorn our model with, and the feel worked out so beautifully! Enchanted Rock gets its name from Native American legend, so it seemed appropriate.

Celissa Rae did an excellent job conveying our natural, but modern look with the model’s hair and makeup. The up-do was appropriate to the neckline of the dress, and she styled her hair to the perfect balance between edgy and romantic. The quote from Emily Bronte, beautifully drawn by artist Hillary Petit, was another early inspiration for this shoot. Her words of “whatever our souls are made of” next to the textures of linen, rocks, and greenery become all the more tangible. Lori Blythe Photography captured the vision of the shoot entirely in the frames of greenery against the pink granite, the dress and the ribbons caught in the wind, and the rim light around the figure of the model between the boulders! Check out her vendor profile on my featured vendors page!

Hill Country Wedding Venue

Hill Country Wedding Venue Feature: Hoffman Haus Fredericksburg, Texas

As a part of my brand spankin’ new snazzy website I now have a vendor referral page, in the hopes that you will bring a long the best of the best Hill Country Wedding vendors to make your day PERFECT (or as close to it as possible). I’ll be debuting my personal favorites on the blog weekly, then they will get added to the vendor page with contact info and all the important deets. Photo above thanks to Two Pair Photography.

And the first Hill Country Wedding venue feature goes to…. drum roll please… Hoffman Haus in Fredericksburg, Texas! It is one of my most favoritest (yes, I know, not a word) venues ever to work with for so many reasons. Here is the simplified list below:

1)It’s pretty. Actually beautiful. Pottery Barn furniture, marble top bar, antique mirrors, stage with silk dupioni draping, beautiful accent pieces like farmhouse tables and pine tables for your buffet. I could go on for a long time. See for yourself. Photos thanks to Breanna McKendrick Photography. Hill Country Wedding Venue Photo

Hill Country Wedding Venue Photo

Breanna McKendrick Photography

2)The staff and owners are fantastic people. They care about their clients and do what it takes to make things go really smooth. They treat their guests like family. The kind you choose, not the kind you are stuck with. ha ha. Photos thanks to Benjamin Garrett Photography & Sarah Goss Photography.

Hill Country Wedding Venue Photo

Benjamin Garrett Photography

Benjamin Garrett Photography

3)Location. In the heart of amazing, lively, downtown Fredericksburg. Need I say more? If you are reading this and you haven’t been to Fredericksburg, continue reading, then book your stay immediately for a girls weekend or romantic retreat to our lovely town. Don’t forget to stop by and say “Hi”, I’m likely hanging at a winery, shopping main street, working on my porch with a view of the hills, or watching live music and eating yummy food at one of our amazing restaurants…. Do I sense jealousy?? Yes, I live in the most amazing town ever.
Hill Country Wedding Venue Photo Hill Country Wedding Venue Photo 4)Logistics. They provide tables and chairs and pretty furniture, you get the property mostly to yourself for the weekend, and the guests can leave the reception and walk back to their rooms or some close by hotels, or to a local dive bar for late night shenanigans.

Hill Country Wedding Venue

Sarah Goss Photography

5)It really is just lovely here. They pay attention to the details. The art hanging, how the ivy crawls along the stone, the beautiful bathtubs in the rooms, and the amazing breakfast delivered to your door every morning (seriously, they do that). There are so many reasons why this place is just plain awesome. Visit them and discover for yourself! Photos thanks to Sarah Goss Photography.

Hill Country Wedding Venue

Sarah Goss Photography

Hill Country Wedding Editorial Featured on Green Wedding Shoes & Brides of Austin!

Hello? Are you still out there? Emily?……. I’m Here! You haven’t seen me in a while because life has been crazy! Crazy awesome, but still crazy. It has been a season of amazing clients, workshop styling, building a house and lots of other fun things I intend to fill you in on.  My website has been getting a serious overhaul while I’ve been away (take a look around!). I’m going to be putting blogging at the forefront of my site now and sharing my Hill Country Wedding expertise with the world. I’ll be talking about Hill Country Wedding venues, debuting the best of the best Hill Country Wedding vendors, sharing tips and stories that are relevant to you, Hill Country Brides. Hopefully you’ll hear from some other amazing and experienced vendors and walk away feeling a little more confident as you journey in planning your wedding! Keep coming back and sign up for our newsletter for updates!

One of the amazing things I got to do this past November was style a photography workshop working with some of the best vendors around! It was a great opportunity to show off my talent, learn from other amazing wedding people and PLAY! Styling for fun (PLAYING) is such a hugely important thing for me as a stylist. It’s the way I study, experiment and learn new ways that colors, textures, etc. work together. It was stressful (yeah, like lots of people are expecting me to be awesome) but invigorating. The workshop was called Cedar and Stone (you can check out my sneak peek of the mood boards and inspiration here) and was hosted by the talented Sarah Goss Photography and Al Gawlik Photography.

Our first shoot was at Montesino Ranch in Wimberley, Texas. Lovely little REAL FARM that happens to host weddings as well. They are legit. There are chickens, kittys and of course horses (scroll all the way to the bottom for those pretty photos). The owners are sweet as pie, and the property is just lovely! The models are a real couple, photographers actually, that performed so well and were really amazing to work with. The Black Tux (I highly forever recommend them) provided that snazzy groom outfit, and Serendipity Bridal in Austin (shop for your wedding dress here for sure) provided that stunning gown. Celissa Rae (hands down my favorite hairstylist and forever buddy) did the do’s and faces.

Gypsy Floral out of Austin (literally the most talented florist I have EVER worked with) did those amazing florals. Plus of the two gals that run it, one of them is named Emily, so we were meant to work together. He he. Bee Lavish provided the glassware and bistro chairs. The place cards and invitation suite were provided by Jenna at Paper and Posies, she did amazing job of matching the style and incorporating an organic element to the table. Kendra provided the jewels. Yeah, Kendra and I are kind of on a first name basis (totally kidding I’ve never met her, but I’m so sure we’d be friends!). La Tavola provided the pretty linen napkins from their Tuscany collection. Whim event rentals provided the pretty copper flatware. I picked up those wood chargers, copper candlesticks, and gray plates at World Market (not practical for a whole wedding, but maybe a head table display- we will talk about this in future posts).

Sarah Goss shot the photos for this post and my portfolio wouldn’t be the same without her. I am obsessed with the film images she shoots, but equally obsessed with her ability to make digital have the richness of film. She is hilarious and super easy to get along with, beyond talented and I’m pretty sure she is going to grow up to be some super famous photographer that I can’t work with anymore. Huge sad face.

Dum, da, da, dum…. Drumroll please… My favorite vendor and pride and joy of this shoot was PENDLETON ! Yes, Pendleton Woolen Mills, American made wool blankets graciously sponsored us and loaned us those amazing wool blankets for use on the table and snuggling. Everyone was super jealous of all the pretties and wanted to take the blankets home. We got socks from them for the gift bags, it was darling, really. If you aren’t familiar with Pendleton, stop reading and visit their website. Fall in love and return to thank me.

Anyway, it was just so much fun. All these amazing vendors… Can you see why it was amazing and stressful at the same time?? It was Featured on Green Wedding Shoes & Brides of Austin!

Well this is just one of the shoots that happened at the retreat. I’ll be sharing the other images in a later post. For now, eat up all the pretties and be INSPIRED! Outtakes below. The horse eating the beautiful flowers, and proof of the kitty cat. Y’all I’m your friend that grows up to be the crazy cat lady… Just so you know. 

Mary Kate & Chad’s Classy Hoffman Haus Wedding in Fredericksburg, Texas

Mary Kate and Chad were such a fun couple to work with this past summer. They have a brand new baby girl, Katherine, who attended most of our meetings and was the center of attention! Mary Kate is the Spa Director at the Four Seasons in Austin and Chad is the Executive director of the Hill Country Film Festival. They have thrown and attended a lot of parties and wanted their wedding to be an elegant affair. They envisioned a classy, well styled party, in the intimate destination setting of Fredericksburg, and chose all of the best vendors to make it happen.

The Venue
As soon as they got engaged they knew the perfect place to host their wedding would be Hoffman Haus in Fredericksburg. They had the pleasure of hosting several Hill Country Film Festival events with Hoffman Haus in the past and knew the quaint charm, dedicated staff, and downtown location was the ideal setting for their wedding weekend.

In the tradition of the Bride’s family, the ceremony was held at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church. Candles adorned the aisle as 4 flower girls carried fresh garlands to the altar.
Stephanie Nash of A Heavenly Harp provided the elegant and romantic ceremony music.

The Fashion
Mary Kate wore Badgley Mischka and looked stunning. The subtle elegance suited her perfectly. Those sassy shoes are Jimmy Choo, of course! Her bridesmaids also wore Badgley Mischka sequined dresses, rented through Rent the Runway. The gents wore this great combo (that I’ll take the credit for suggesting) of navy suits and black ties, rented through The Black Tux. Hair and makeup thanks to Brandy Pate and a talented friend.

The Florals
The couple chose the amazing Sprout Floral for the arrangements and centerpieces and they did not disappoint! The girls carried olive branch inspired lush greenery bouquets to keep the gold dresses from being too formal. The greenery runner and clear vases on the head table gave it a really organic feel.

The Color Story
We chose a neutral classic pallet of gray and navy, with hints of blush, and pops of gold. Chad wasn’t crazy about the idea of golds and sequins, but I think he liked it after seeing it all come together so elegantly. Mary Kate really liked these gold pillows, they were a little surprise I added in at the last minute.

The Paper Designs
Mary Kate picked a great suite from Minted for her invitations. A slightly more modern font, with blue lettering and a white background. The font of these almost reminds me a little of the movies… how appropriate!


The Eats
Cartewheels Catering provided their usual outstanding service and presentation. The chicken and waffle bites were my favorite! They are sooo tasty and equally adorable. Yes, that’s an individual sprig of rosemary and dropper of maple syrup ON. EACH. ONE. Whoa, the details.

Sophie’s did an excellent job on the tasty cakes. Mary Kate and Chad designed that TCU cake themselves!

The Favors
I was so psyched when Mary Kate decided to use Quintessential Chocolates for her favors. I found this amazing chocolate place not too long before her wedding and suggested it. Once you have them, you will never eat regular boxed chocolates again! They are made right here in Fredericksburg, so it was great local treat.
The other item was these adorable koozies. They so badly wanted to include their one eyed dog Billy in the wedding, but it wasn’t practical for the weekend (having to manage a dog and a kid). So they had his face put on the koozies and his name became the hashtag for the weekend! #billyapproved

My Favorite Moments
Benjamin Garrett did a great job with these photos and captured some of my favorite moments on camera. One of them is the photo directly below. While he was shooting he almost fell into the coy pond and his assistant captured their faces. It’s was hilarious!

Amy (Sister of the Groom) gets the winning award for being most dramatic.

My second favorite part of the evening was when Benjamin took them out for some photos in this lovely evening light. It was a little break from the crowd where they got to be sweet on each other and absorb the moment. Plus, Chad emphatically explained his gratitude for me keeping his gin and tonic constantly refilled. Ha ha. He had a few of them by this point.

She said Yes! Fredericksburg, Texas Proposal Story

The Proposal. So many important moments lead up to it… the first date, the first kiss, meeting the parents, surviving the first fight… I think most of us have already decided long before he pops the question, that we will marry him. But it’s not until that moment, when he gets down on one knee (hopefully) and asks “will you marry me?” that we can announce it to the world! It’s where the adventure of wedding planning begins.

I recently started planning proposals with one of my favorite photographers (and close friends) Lori Blythe. Here is the story of the most recent one we did together.

Paul, Musician and Talent Manager, contacted us to help him plan his proposal weekend in Fredericksburg about 2 months prior to the date. Andrea, his girlfriend and DA in Houston, as you might guess, would not be fooled easily. He wanted so badly to completely surprise her when he popped the question.


He told her that he wanted to meet up with a friend of his in Fredericksburg, so why not spend the weekend there! They put it on the calendar. He set up fake phone calls and emails to stage the meeting with this friend of his. They were to meet this friend at a park in Fredericksburg and to “have dinner” the night they arrived.

Paul picked the park story because he really wanted to propose in a gazebo. “Gazebo’s are her thing” he told us, “she just loves them.” We discussed some ways to make it special and landed on a million candles and flowers (okay, maybe not a million). Lori guided him to pick a great place to stay (The Cotton Gin) and I setup the dinner reservation (The Cabernet Grill).


The day was here. I was so excited. Paul was secretly sending us emails with updates on timing and such. One of his emails said, “I think I’m going to puke”. I died. How stinking adorable. Insert high pitched giggles and girlish squeals here.

After I setup the million candles and flowers that day, Lori arrived and we waited expectantly. We were sitting in a nearby car watching when he pulled up. We watched him get out of the car and he looked like he was making a call… we were all like “what’s he doing?” Later we found out this was a fake call to his fake friend. Ha ha!

They walked up to the gazebo and talked for a bit, he told her the candles and flowers were for her. Obviously. Then he got down on one knee, pulled out his handwritten notes, and popped the question. Their faces were covered in tears. Lots of hugging and sweet words. And she said yes!


When we walked up to introduce ourselves they were both glowing. I mean glowing. I totally recommend proposal photos over engagement photos. They are soooo genuine.

Lori did a great job on the photos! After the proposal, the crying and the photos, they headed off to dinner. But that wasn’t the end of surprises for the evening.

Paul and I arranged for me to secretly sneak into their room and setup a romantic end to the night. I scattered candle lit luminaries and rose petals throughout the room. He said she loved everything! It was so much fun to plan this special evening for them!

Contact myself or Lori Blythe Photography about setting up a unique proposal surprise in Fredericksburg, Texas!


Whimsical Baby Shower Featured on Style Me Pretty Living

It was so exciting to see this baby shower I styled for a dear friend published to Style Me Pretty Living.  What’s even cooler was that they published it on her birthday! Happy Birthday Jen!  Here’s what they said about me: “Three things: children’s books, a gender neutral theme and friend chicken. That is what this mama-to-be wanted and Emily Burgess of Hill Country Bride so delivered. Playing off the theme of Alice in Wonderland, she incorporated whimsical garden details, a beautiful gray and white neutral palette, a cake bar and yes, fried chicken. Sounds like the perfect combo.” Ahhh, how cool. 200,000 instagram followers saw my work. Proud moment y’all! And so grateful to Lori Blythe Photography from Fredericksburg for the amazing photos!


Even without knowing it would get published, it was such an honor to be asked to style this baby shower for Jennifer and her coming little one. When we started planning this shower we asked the mom to be if she had any specific requests. She mentioned three things: she would love to have baby books with personalized inscriptions instead of cards, she would like it to be gender neutral as they were waiting to find out the gender of the baby, and fried chicken. Yep, fried chicken. That was her pregnancy craving food that she couldn’t get enough of!

With these three requests in mind, we had a lot of freedom to design, but a good starting place to give us direction. Since she mentioned the baby books, we found out that her own favorite children’s book was Alice in Wonderland. As we explored these elements, we came up with a design theme of an Alice inspired tea party, in neutral color tones (gray and white) and an evening of comfort food.


The Color Story

We chose neutrals, because of the unknown gender of the baby. From there we narrowed it down to black, white, and gray, to honor the original printing of Alice illustrations that were in black and white. We also snuck in just a couple of robin egg’s blue details reminiscent of Alice’s blue dress in the first movie version. We asked all of the guests to wear white/gray to include the attendees as a part of the design of the evening, and asked the momma to wear a bright pop of color as the center of attention and affection!


The Venue

Another friend’s garden backyard in the heart of historical Fredericksburg, Texas was the perfect setting for this event. It even came with a garden door that was like a real life door into wonderland!


The Linens

We really wanted to use a fun linen on the table, something that felt like Wonderland. When we came across a gray on gray roses, we were sold! It so reminded us of “Paint the roses!…” in the Queen’s garden. It was perfect!


The Favors

When considering guest favors, we came up with tea cup potted plants. The tea cup after the Mad Hatter’s tea party, of course, and the plants as a symbolic inspiration of new life. Jennifer is also a lover of nature and totally appreciated the incorporation of a gift that keeps giving life!


The Florals

The Flower Pail (a Fredericksburg florist) did a great job of executing our vision for the florals. She made a whimsical arrangement using white roses (referring to the white roses in the Queen’s garden again!) and untamed greens in white milk glass. Thanks to Sister’s Vintage for the milk glass, candlesticks, beautiful gold rimmed plates and gold flatware!


The Eats

We did a family style meal of comfort food, just as our Momma to be requested! This was a crowd pleaser for sure! We also had a variety of tea party style desserts served on a restored 1950’s vanity (this is when the first theatrical version came out) and incorporated our story through little “eat me” signs! Restored Fredericksburg found this beautiful vanity piece for us!


The Paper Products

Our paper designer brought her own unique touch to our inspiration! She had lovely whimsical mommy and baby rabbit graphic for the menu and used a floral robin’s egg blue envelope liner for the invite. She used a gold metal clip to incorporate the menu with a prayer card for the guests to send prayers with the Mommy to be. Lara at Bobo Workshop in Fredericksburg, Texas did an amazing job!


The Charm

Since literature is so special to Jennifer, we really wanted to make this evident in the story of the evening. We pulled inspiring quotes from the Alice in Wonderland book and posted them about the party. These quotes were the perfect fit for the magical celebration of a little one! We found these lovely white funky chairs and mix-matched chairs, including a big high-backed chair for the guest of honor, just like the original illustrations of the Mad Hatter’s tea party.


From New Mama, Jennifer Phillips… Two years ago my husband and I moved from Dallas back to a small Texas town and I didn’t dare dream we would find such a marvelous group of friends to share our life with here. But after less than a year we had fallen in with a great group of people and when the ladies of said group banded together to throw me a baby shower, I knew it would be a dream come true. When I arrived I was completely enchanted. It really was the kind of idyllic soire you see in magazines or read about in a Fitzgerald novel. To celebrate the arrival of our sweet baby, these talented women had created a stunning evening filled with candlelight, laughter, a thousand beautiful details, my favorite foods, and–best of all–friends. Hosted by Katie Turpin, Sarah Dale, Sara Harding, Emily Burgess

Photography: Lori Blythe Photography | Floral Design: The Flower Pail | Invitations: Bobo Workshop | Furniture & Styling: Restored Fredericksburg | Rentals: Sisters Vintage Party | Stylist: Hill Country Bride



The Guy’s Eyes- A word from Brent to the Groom


I am the husband of a wedding professional.  There is some power in the admission.  For any of you out there who are husbands, you were at least the husband of a wedding professional once in your life.  Why?  Because most brides love planning their weddings.  Not all, but most.  And for most of us, during the time of our engagement, our brides lived and breathed weddings; decorations, guest lists, invites, attire…oh my, the list could go on and on!  Don’t you dare roll your eyes though, gentlemen!  The unattended details were best left with her I assure you.  Had she not lived out her passion with such reckless abandon, you might have been the one picking out the color of icing on your cake.  So for her passion, be grateful!

Truth is, however, I have more to admit than just being the husband of a wedding nut.  This one is a little more difficult, so give me a moment to take a deep breath of courage…

I enjoyed helping in the planning of our wedding.

Okay, that one wasn’t easy.  But it had to be said.  Why? Because I care about my wife’s passion for weddings. And what’s more, I care about your future as a husband, and your present moment as a wedding planner, whether you wanted the role or not. I did enjoy helping with the planning.  And if you think it is a compromise of my so-called man card, I assure you I can likely ride a horse better than most of you, have thrown my share of hay bales, have fired a few rounds from my 30-30 Winchester, and have done enough to earn the right to not be a “girly man”.  But honestly, I don’t care whether you’re a guy who likes to knit sweaters or you make a part-time occupation out of beating up hippies.  I care about one thing as I’m writing this blog. I want you to love your wedding. Live in this moment in a way that you will never forget, and love your bride for the rest of your life.  To that purpose I make my contribution to Hill Country Bride.

Now, that being said, it is also true that there were many conversations during our wedding planning where I felt like I was listening to the eighteenth verse of a twenty-verse song, and I had the melody in my head but was no longer aware of the words.   This was especially true regarding the small details of our table decorations. Each table was custom designed by my wife with various candlesticks, books, antique items, and other retro décor.  They looked amazing.  But really, being asked to have an opinion on the matter was like being asked to count the blades of grass in our yard.

On the other hand, there were aspects of our wedding that I thoroughly enjoyed.  I am a musical person, and I have a deep love for music.  So I gladly took on the responsibility to put together the DJ, set up the playlist, take requests from the guests, and make sure the dancing and music were on point.  I managed to get one of my lifelong best friends to write a song telling our story, to perform it at the wedding and the reception, and to have another best friend accompany him on a guitar that I once owned. It was beautiful.

In one of my pre-wedding bright shining moments, I had this genius idea to order an array of cupcakes for display at our reception instead of a traditional wedding cake.  I truly thought I had created an original idea that would forever change the annals of wedding tradition.  Little did I know, Pinterest thought otherwise.  Yes, my idea must have been conjured by countless other brides and grooms who were happy to post their pinterestolosophy for all to see.  But if you ask me, I thought of it first.

There were some shaky moments in our wedding planning.  At one point I thought we might lose our engagement over port-a-potties.  I’m not kidding.  You see, our wedding location was on a piece of ranch land owned by my parents. The house was on septic, and my family was terrified the system would overflow if guests used the house facilities.  They insisted on having a portable toilet.  What did I care?  Us guys will gladly free the pee anywhere there is some grass and a shrub for privacy, and even those are open to compromise.  My bride, on the other hand, was equally insistent that her guests adorned in elegant attire would not climb into a port-a-john in the Texas heat.  I was soon the diplomat in a nuclear arms race between parents and bride.  I wasn’t sure whether to go to war or flee to Canada.

But here is the deal to all of you brothers in bridal battle, you can love your wedding. Why? Because there are things that you love to do. Maybe you love leadership and management.  Take the initiative to be the facilitator of the wedding volunteers.  Perhaps you enjoy manual labor.  Come up with an item you can build for the wedding décor, or help out with the landscaping of the wedding site.  Have an artsy edge to you?  Come up with a creative location for guest photos. Some parts of a wedding tend to feel boring to us guys. Instead of griping, come up with a plan to make them exciting.  For example, I think that a guestbook full of signatures is a complete waste of ink and bookshelf space.  Why do I need the autographs of my wedding guests?  Now, what I would love to have is pictures of everyone that I’ll look back at and laugh at their goofy haircuts and outdated styles.  So instead of a guest book, we had a friend photograph our guests with a Polaroid, and then they wrote us a note next to their photo in an album.  Much cooler than a boring old autograph book!  But I came up with that idea because I wanted to make the wedding fun for me. Turned out the ideas was fun for everyone.

You might be surprised at your capabilities.  There are characteristics in you that your bride absolutely loves, otherwise she wouldn’t have said “yes”.  What are they?  Now ask yourself how you can use those characteristics to help make your wedding unforgettable, and uniquely suited to you and your bride.  Don’t make the mistake of seeing your wedding day as “her deal”.  Instead, think of it as the one party in your life where you get to invite all of your favorite people on the planet and do whatever the heck you want to do.  Trust me, you won’t get many more opportunities like that.  Don’t miss it.