12 Things We'd Do Again at our Wedding

Back with another wedding related post, since I'm calling this my wedding week series! I hope yesterday's post was helpful. Last year I had some sweet ladies share what they'd keep and change about their wedding day here. But today I wanted to share the things I would do all over again, just the same! These are in no particular order :) 

1. Hire a wedding planner. Allison from Engaged & Inspired (she just sold her company and it's in capable hands but I just loved Allison and Audrey!) are the biggest reason our day went so smoothly. Not only just the day of, but also the 6 weeks leading up to our wedding. I had lots of questions that they answered quickly, they took care of ordering things for me, making sure deliveries would be on time, did our timeline, and set up all of our decor perfectly! I would have been stressed, not to mention my family would have been stressed, had we not had them!!

2. Our timeline. I got tons of questions about our specific timeline, so I'm actually giving our exact timeline to you right here. You can download it and use it for your big day if you want! It's REALLY specific, so beware ;) A few of the biggest things we did in the timeline that I loved were build in extra time for getting ready, giving McCann and me 10 minutes to be together just us two right after the ceremony, being really specific about leaving and arriving times for the bridal party, putting every single detail in the timeline (because it was so comprehensive, I sent it to all family and friends involved in the wedding so they knew exactly what to expect! This also helped my parents be able to visualize and walk through in their mind what the day would be like), we loved being able to join cocktail hour with our guests (more on that below) and I love how we did my dad's speech as a welcome toast at the beginning of the reception and the other two toasts after guests got their dinner.

3. Doing a First Look. This is where the bride and groom see each other before the wedding ceremony, in order to get their portraits taken care of beforehand. The two big reasons I would HIGHLY recommend doing a First Look are 1. You get all of your bridal party pictures done before the ceremony! This saves so.much.time later on in the night. So much so, that you get to join cocktail hour and spend time with your sweet guests who traveled from all over to join you! 2. It really helped calm both of our nerves. Our First Look are some of my favorite memories of the entire day, because we got to talk to each other, he got to spin me in my dress, and we got to be together before the ceremony. I was really nervous about just seeing him at the end of the aisle, so this totally helped relieved those anxieties! You can see our first look here.

4. Getting my hair changed. You'll see in the timeline that we actually scheduled in my hair change, because it was really important to me to have my hair down for the reception. That's how I usually wear my hair, so I knew I'd love pictures of myself with my hair the way I feel most comfortable. (The funny thing is, I actually love our portraits with my hair up! :)) But I'm really glad I did this because it gave me a few different options for our pictures to choose from. We had my hair stylist stay in town until the hair switcharoo, which was super nice of her!! The whole change took about 15 minutes.

5. The Foot Washing Ceremony. When we told people we were doing this at our wedding, we got mixed reactions. We both felt strongly about doing it, so we held our ground and I'm so glad we did. As Christ Followers, it was meant to symbolize serving one another and putting the other above ourselves, humbling ourselves as Christ did for us. Jesus washed his disciples' feet and commanded us to do the same, so it was a meaningful first act as husband and wife to us.

6. A poraroid camera guestbook. We have both pulled this book out multiple times and looked through it, remembering everyone who came to our wedding! So fun! I only wish I had given someone the job of making sure EVERYONE did the guestbook ;)

7. Getting married on a Sunday! I'm not sure why I loved this so much, but I did! It was A TON cheaper and I loved that our ceremony was almost like a church service :) The song we walked out of the ceremony to had the lyrics "Hallelujah, Sunday morning. All I ever needed, wanted..." (an adorable country song by High Valley) I also feel like this is the same concept as a Friday wedding-- your guests will probably need to take a day or two off work, so why not?!

8. Spending a little more on flowers. Let's be honest, I love flowers. I kinda went overboard with our wedding flowers, but I'd absolutely do this just the same all over again!! All of our guests told us this was the most beautiful wedding they've ever been to because of the venue and the gorgeous flowers. The whole day and evening felt like an enchanted garden. My florist Michelle Lywood made all my flower dreams come true and then some! She blew me away. I may have gone over budget on this, but to me (and my mom, maybe not my dad...ha!) it was well worth it.

9. Getting lots of photos. AND hiring an amazing photographer & videographer! These two go hand in hand, because they are the only thing you're really left with after the wedding day is over (other than your new spouse, of course!) Photographers are one of the things I would say to make sure you don't skimp on. Follow along with them for a while and ask to see full wedding collections from them, so you know exactly what to expect for your day. I've known our wedding photographer, Danielle Poff, for years and I loved her style, her timeliness, her casual yet professional demeanor, the fact that she shoots film, and the fact that she blogs full weddings so I could see what her work was truly like. A vendor we decided on a little last minute was our videographer, John of United Media Films. Looking back, I'm not sure why it took us this long to hire him. He was INSANELY talented and our wedding video is so precious to both of us! He also filmed our ceremony and speeches, so we'll have those to watch every year on our anniversary. You can see our video here.

I remember my mom being a little confused as to why we would need to leave the reception during dinner to take more photos. Sorry for calling you out, mom ;) But another thing I'm so glad we did and made a priority because our sunset pictures are some of my favorites! The light is stunning! You couldn't even see all the bugs that were flying around us while taking them. And everyone was eating, so we weren't THAT missed. 

10. No bouquet or garter toss. We both find these things a little awkward and cheesy. At our wedding, it was pretty clear we wouldn't be doing them as we didn't have anyone who would catch either thing! But even if we did, I'm glad we opted out of this "tradition".

Photos: The Poffs

11. Putting time into the special details. From our signature cocktails to our vignette seating on the lawn outside of the dancing barn, to the rosemary at each place setting clipped from my grandma's garden, it was just so special. I loved that we printed photos of each of our parent's wedding days and had those set up at the reception. This was a way to honor them and to remember my husband's father who was already in Heaven at the time of our wedding.

12. Going with an amazing caterer. I'm putting this on here for us + my parents because I know this is one of their favorite elements of our wedding day!! Our food was insanely delicious if I do say so myself. We used Paradise Catering and everything from our tasting to the communication throughout the engagement to the food on our actual wedding day was incredible. We even had an ice cream bar and it was so fun! I think the food is something that people come to a wedding to enjoy and so if you have delicious food, your guests are happy!

Those are a bunch of the major things I'd do just the same on our wedding day! What would YOU do the same if you were to get married again?!


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How to Start Designing Your Wedding: Choosing a Color Palette

With wedding season in full swing, I thought it'd be fun to do a bit of a wedding week series! If you're engaged or know anyone who is, this will hopefully be a really helpful series of posts for you :) Also, any chance I get to talk about weddings (or ours, in particular) I just love!

As a little girl, I'd often dream about what my wedding would one day look like. Of course at that time, Barbie and Ken weddings were a common occurrence (I'd even go so far as to pick wildflowers for Barbie's mock-bouquet). It's memories like this that remind me that even from a young age I've had a relentless passion for celebrations, beautiful and meaningful details, flowers, and love.

It was SO fun to dream up what I really want our big day to look like and feel like. While getting caught up in the inspiration and endless possibilities of decor is fun (sometimes!), I always tried to remind myself what's most important: we wanted to create a marriage more beautiful than our wedding day, because that is what lasts! While we were planning our wedding, somebody actually had the nerve to tell me our "wedding didn't matter" and all the details I was pouring my heart into were literally meaningless and dumb. I was obviously taken aback! First, did he know what I did for a living? Design and details are my joy! Second, who says that to a new bride planning her wedding?! ;) We wanted to have a beautiful wedding day, because thoughtful details and beauty evoke feelings of love, and that's what a marriage is all about. Love. 

And almost two years after our wedding, I still look back on it and am SO happy I spent time pouring into the details, thoughtfully choosing pieces and elements for the day. I see a dahlia or clematis bloom or a piece of mercury glass and immediately am taken back to our wedding day. Countless people who attended our wedding continue to tell us what a romantic evening our wedding was. 

All that to say, I personally think details matter (unless it causes you a ton of stress-- then maybe don't worry about it! But for me, planning our wedding was the best 9 months of my life ha!) Today I'm sharing how you can start the initial dreaming and planning for your big day!

Where to Start? Create a Vision for Your Day!

I had a general idea of the feel I wanted for our wedding. I envisioned it being romantic, a bit eclectic, warm, sophisticated but totally comfortable and inviting. We aren't formal people, so we didn't want anything overly formal. We want our guests to feel loved and experience our love on our big day, so setting the backdrop for that was our goal. Creating this vision is what the foundation was to our design elements.

Here was my inspiration board for our day!

Choosing a Color Palette

Our colors were lavender, blush, navy and a touch of silver (against the grain for a time when gold is still reigning!). When I was choosing a color palette, I wanted something light and airy. I thought lavender and blush would be perfect for that. Initially navy wasn't in the mix, but upon further consideration, I thought adding in a hue with some contrast to make the lighter colors pop would be beautiful, both for the day of and in our pictures. It also added a masculine touch.

Tips on choosing a wedding color palette

  • Go with what you love! This may be obvious, but don't choose colors that aren't your favorite, just because someone else is pushing for them. You need to be happy with the palette. After your initial ideas, maybe run it by someone who will be honest. There are some colors that just don't photograph as well as others, if you're worried about your pictures. Red, bright fuschia and darker colors like that can tend to be trickier, although not out of the question. There are also some colors that just don't work well together (like I recently saw a dark purple and green wedding palette...yikes!) so that's why I'm suggesting to show it to someone first :)

  • Look to your venue for inspiration. This is true for all details of your wedding, but perhaps the colors and feeling of your venue will spark your inspiration for the colors you use. Our venue was outside, so I incorporated a lot of greenery into our centerpieces and bouquets, with pops of our main colors.

  • Take note of the season. If it's an October affair, deep purples, berry colors and gold would be beautiful for fall. Summer? Maybe a sorbet color palette would be nice.

  • Use the color wheel! As a design student in college, I know how helpful of a tool this can be. If you know you want to use pink as a color, but don't know what to pair it with, look to the right, left, and across from pink on the color wheel to find good, complimentary matches. My favorite color palettes are monochromatic, which uses one hue in a variety of tints and shades; analogous, which combines colors that are right next to each other on the color wheel; and complimentary, which is a more bold look using colors directly across from one another on the color wheel.

Determine the Use of Color

Once you land on a palette, I found it was helpful to determine how much and where each color will be used. Here was our break down:

Lavender: Flowers, bridesmaid dresses, envelope liners
Blush: Flowers, bridesmaid dresses, ribbon on bouquets and favors, linens, ribbons on escort board
Navy: Groomsman suits, napkins, and ink on signage
Silver: Vases, votives, and chargers

Once you break it down like that, you can better envision the amount of each color to be sure you like the ratio. I knew we wanted to use navy sparingly, so other than the guy's suits, we reserved navy for small details like signage and napkins. This works really well technically as well, since navy is the darkest color and would need a lot of light colors to balance out the darkness of the navy.

Some of you might be wondering what your style even is. Start by asking these questions.

Find Your Style
  • Where will your wedding be?

  • What are some words to describe your vision?

  • What is your color palette?

  • Where are your favorite places to shop for home decor? (Hey, your home decor style will definitely relate to your wedding style!)

Our style was aided by our venue, Holman Ranch. It's a rustic, yet elegant ranch in the hills of the Carmel Valley. Accented with stone, wood, a refined barn, and sweeping views of the hills, this really helped us find our style. We incorporated wood signs, natural/organic looking arrangements, highlighted the view at the ceremony, and accented with soft linens and upholstered furniture. To keep things fun and interactive, we had a smore station around a fire, cornhole and horseshoes for guests to play at the reception.

Photos: The Poffs 

Hopefully this helps you get the ball rolling if you're engaged or planning a wedding! If I could go back to one day in my whole life, it'd be our wedding day. It was so special!
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The Perfect (Petite!) Gift Idea + My Love Language

Ever since I was little I've loved giving (okay, and receiving!) gifts. When I read the 5 Love Languages book in college there was no doubt in my mind which was my number one love language. It was Gifts, of course! And at first, I was embarrassed by this because I don't want to be greedy ha! But I've learned it's nothing to be embarrassed about; it's simply the way I receive love best and the way I like to give it. You see, the gift doesn't have to be expensive-- handwritten notes are the best types of gifts in my opinion :) I think at the root of the love language of "gifts" is the fact that someone thought of you, took time out of their day to remember you and appreciate you.
My husband and I have different love languages, so trying to love each other in our respective love language is something that's been a little challenging, since we're so used to giving love the way we best receive it. Makes sense, right?! We're learning each other better and better though. Sometimes he'll leave me notes or out of the blue surprise me with something (like once he bought me a sweatshirt with a hood because he said I "didn't own any hoodies", which was true because they're not my favorite typically ;) But this one had lace on it and looked just like something I'd pick out! This made me feel so special!) Enough about us, though.
I love the packaging of a gift almost as much as I love picking out what goes inside. It's the little details that make it extra special and fun. When Greetabl reached out to partner on this post together, I couldn't say no because I think this company and mission is so genius! You know I'm all about creative business ownership, so this is right up my alley. I also love any excuse to celebrate the little and big moments of life. Greetabl makes gift giving super fun and easy by letting you pick out the pattern on the card, which also doubles as the box the gift comes in (which means your gift is so cute and petite to fit in the box!) They have a wide selection of gifts you can choose from while you're building your Greetabl. I was telling my husband about the company and he said he'd like to pick out my Greetabl for me and surprise me with it. How can you turn down such an offer?! ;)

Being the crazy gift-lover that I am, I couldn't wait for the package to arrive.

You just peel the sides to open the adorable box...

And start revealing the card and gift inside! I've gotten a Greetabl before and the friend who sent it also chose this fun pattern. I guess it really says "Michaela"! They have tons of patterns to choose from to make the gift extra custom for your friend or family member.

My husband got me this amazing smelling candle. He knows me so well! The copper jar is so perfect!! And he had me note that the lid was "very pretty so he knew I'd like it" :)

When you're building your Greetabl, you have the option to upload 3 photos on the card. If you choose not to, it'll just fill in with the pattern. But how fun is this to personalize it even further?!

Gotta love a good pun. He gets me ;) If you're thinking this seems a little girly to send one to your husband or dad, you're wrong! Greetabl has tons of patterns that look more manly and lots of gifts that guys would love including toothpicks, bouron candles, a cement shot glass, caramels, spice blend, key ring, and more. You can see them all here! They really are the perfect go-to for a birthday present, Mother's Day, Father's Day, graduation, "thinking of you" gift, or whatever other occasions you can think of. 
If you think you're going to use this gifting option for your friends and family, you should head here to become a Greetabl Insider where you'll get $20 credit to send your first Greetabl, plus free shipping and lots of other perks! Oh, you can also get 15% off with code michaeladesigns at checkout, especially for my sweet readers!
Have you ever sent one of these gifts?! Any others of you also have Gifts as your love language?
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*This post is in partnership with Greetabl. All opinions are my own, as always. I only ever review and share products and companies I actually love and use myself. Thank you for supporting companies and blog posts that keep MND's doors open!

10 Tips for Getting Your House Ready to Sell

Not sure how your market is right now, but ours here in Grand Rapids is a seller's market. Houses can barely stay on the market! One of my hobbies is going to look at open houses and walk through model homes, so I thought I'd share some tips for selling that I've picked up through the years. 

1. I personally think a staged house shows better. Something strange happens when you fill a home with strategically placed items. It looks bigger, people can envision themselves in the home, and it creates visual depth. All good things!
2. Declutter. This should go without saying, but sometimes I'm still shocked! ;)
3. Remove personal photos and names from the house. This just helps generalize the home so the people walking through it can more fully envision THEIR pictures on the wall. Fill in frames and gallery walls with pretty paper instead of photos.
4. Highlight the best features! If you have a fireplace, draw attention to it by hanging art above it, making it look cozy, and decluttering around it. If you have granite or quartz countertops, show them off by clearing the counters and only decorating with a few simple cookbooks and a plant or mixer. Your goal should be to draw the eye to the BEST parts of your home.
5. Make sure it smells nice...or not at all! Smells can be really polarizing and then some can be downright bad like the unwanted pet odors. People associate smells with memories. For example, when I think of Disneyland, I think of walking down Main Street smelling all those churros, freshly baked ice cream cones, and other treats! When I think of my grandma's house in the Sierra Mountains of California, I can immediately smell the fresh pine air, and something cooking in her oven.
For this, I recommend having someone other than people who live in the home or visit often to walk through and make sure the smells are nice. Every family has a scent and you want to make sure yours is a good one ;) You can diffuse citrus oils in a diffuser or even bake chocolate chip cookies before the open house to get people associating the house as their "home".
6. Go neutral on the walls and finishes. If you have the chance to repaint before you show the house, go neutral or keep color to a minimum so people can see the space and not be freaked out by bright colors. I'm always amazed when watching House Hunters on HGTV that the homeowners are so horrified by paint and see it as such a turn-off, but I guess people forget how easy it is to change! So I just suggest going neutral.
7. Highlight the storage in your home! People can't get enough of storage. Have your pantry or cupboards organized so they feel comfortable opening them, clear out your closet or leave a couple things in it showing people how great the storage space is.
8. Make quick fixes like updating cabinet hardware, door knobs, painting cabinets and walls. 
9. Focus on the kitchen! This doesn't mean you need to completely redo it, but usually updating dated countertops and giving cabinets a fresh coat of paint will get you a lot of return on your investment. One thing I see a lot of is overly personalized kitchens with backsplashes that clearly only appeal to certain people and styles. Try going as simple and universal/classic as possible to appeal to the majority of buys.
10. First things first-- the outside matters! When I browse Zillow for fun, I'm guilty of not looking at the inside if the outside isn't updated or cute. 
Hopefully these tips help you if you're going to be selling your house anytime soon! 
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