Signature Drink Saturday: Skinny Beer-Garitas

These Beer-Garitas would be a new and interesting twist on a Signature drink from  Beer + margaritas = sounds like a pretty fun drink! This drink looks easy to make and really tasty!

Signature Drink Saturday: Watermelon Lemonade

This watermelon lemonade is always a big hit during the summer and could be great for any summer wedding (or warm March event!) It’s easy to make and is very refreshing. You can easily vary this recipe by adding other fruits and berries!

You'll need: 

  • 6 cups 1-inch cubes seedless watermelon
  • 1 (10 oz) bottle organic lemon juice (or same amount of juice squeezed from fresh lemons)
  • 6 cups of water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • crushed ice
  • mint sprigs, for garnish
What You'll Do:
Working in batches, puree watermelon and lemon juice in a blender until smooth. Transfer to a large bowl and add water and sugar. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Pour over ice in tall glasses and garnish with mint or a wedge of watermelon perched on the edge of the glass.

Wedding Pros Wed! Ashley Barnett and Jeremy Mitchell

Today's post is a little different...Today I am going to share with you a fun video of two dear friends of mine, Jeremy Mitchell and Ashley Barnett. Both of these amazing vendors are friends of mine outside of the wedding world and dear colleagues inside of our little wedding bubble. A few weeks back when Ashley and Jeremy were at their annual photography conference in Las Vegas I saw a random status on Facebook from Jen (Ashley's partner) about being a bridesmaid...and I immediately knew that something amazing was going to happen. I knew that Jeremy had popped the question to Ashley and they were going to be married...boy was I ever right! Within 36 hours at this world renowned photography conference two of my dearest friends would be engaged and married (at the cutest pop up chapel ever!). The text messages between Ashley and I immediately started, and while I am sad that I was not able to be there in person, I feel blessed that they were surrounded by some of the most amazing photography and cinematography minds in our nation and around the else would we have received this awesome video? Thank You Stillmotion!

Ashley and Jeremy, Thank you for sharing this day with us...and for allowing us to help guide you through planning "the big wedding" in 2013! Team ACE Loves you both!

a pop-up wedding // Ashley + Jeremy in Vegas from stillmotion on Vimeo.

Monday Meeting: Ava Clara Bridal

Happy Monday! Only one more day until spring, and you know what that means, time to pull out your sandals and sundresses (and "wedding season" is right around the corner!) This week in our Meeting Monday, we are featuring Ava Clara Couture Bridal, one of our favorite unique bridal shops in the Hampton Roads area! You can't officially kick off "the season" without your perfect dress! Ava Clara is owned by Karen Tilley and Alex today's post is a bit different! You get to hear two perspectives into the bridal wear business.

When and how was Ava Clara Couture Bridal established?
Ava Clara opened in June of 2010, after a whirlwind of brainstorming, big dreaming, and some late, late nights!
Karen: I started working in an Atlanta bridal shop after college, in 1996 (so…forever ago!), and the bug never left! Having managed other bridal shops, there was a lot of time to figure out what I would like to do differently, given the opportunity. Alex and I met while Alex was planning her own wedding.
Alex: Frustrated with the options and resources I found during my own wedding planning, I knew there had to be a better way! Why should brides have to be overcharged and pushed through like cattle? This is supposed to be fun! I left my job in the finance industry and started over.

How does a bride’s experience at Ava Clara Couture Bridal differ from other bridal shops in Hampton Roads or around the country?
Karen-First and foremost, we want everyone to have fun. There will be so many other stressors over the course of wedding planning; finding your bridal gown should never be one of them! We've heard so many stories about pushy salespeople, snobby environments…that is so not our speed. I'm proud to think that Alex and I have been able to provide a lighthearted, happy experience without sacrificing the style, quality, or integrity that matters.
Alex- I agree. I love knowing that so many of our clients are not just Ava Clara brides, but have become our friends. That speaks volumes to me about what we seem to be doing right. We also work very hard to offer different designers and styles from any other shop locally. Why should a bride have to leave Hampton Roads for a dress? Why can't we offer the same fashion that they'd find in D.C. or New York? Many of our designers are exclusive to Ava Clara, so brides really get to see some unique styles and fashion.

What are your favorite current wedding trends?
Karen-I love that there aren't as many trends anymore! There isn't one overwhelming style out there right now, so brides can really make it their own style! That being said, I love the whole retro, Audrey Hepburn-esque vibe, and I love subtle color and texture (pale pink Swiss dot makes me a happy girl!).
Alex-Lace! And deep, low backs-I love that classic look mixed with a dash of sex appeal! I also really love the sashes and belts we have. They are the perfect way for a bride to customize her look. The right belt takes a pretty dress and pushes it to perfect!

What tips would you give a bride looking for the perfect dress?
Karen-Don't shop with too many people-one or two at most. That flurry of opinions can be confusing. Be open minded. Bridal gowns fit differently than other clothes, and definitely look different than they do in those photo-shopped magazine ads!
Alex-I think it's important, too, to shop when you're ready to buy. If you're idea shopping or getting your feet wet, you don't approach the experience in the same way. If you find a gown you love but aren't ready to order it, it can be a letdown. Who wants to leave without their dress? Not to mention that prices can change, as can styles. You often end up having to start from scratch later down the line.

Here are a couple ACE clients in their Ava Clara Gowns!
Bridal Gown and Bridesmaid dresses from Ava Clara: Images from Dustin Lewis
Bridal Gown from Ava Clara: Images by David Schwartz
Images Courtesy Tracey Sanders
Image Courtesy David Abel
We love gowns so much we always have an Ava Clara gown in our studio. Image Courtesy Ashley Barnett

Signature Drink Saturday: Strawberry Mojitos

Strawberries are one of my favorite summer fruits so this twist on the classic mojito looks refreshing and pretty too! This strawberry mojito would be a great Signature Drink at any spring or summer wedding!

For each mojito, you will need:
4-5 fresh strawberries, depending on size
Small handful of fresh mint leaves
3 oz simple syrup (even amounts of sugar and water, heated until the sugar melts, and cooled to room temperature)
2 oz rum
1 1/2 tsp fresh lime juice
Club soda
Lime slices

Place strawberries, mint, and some ice (crushed ice works best) in a tall glass. Mix the ingredients together with the back of a spoon! Add simple syrup, rum, and lime juice. Pour in enough club soda to fill the glass. Give the mixture a stir, and garnish with fresh strawberries and lime slices.

Monday Meeting: Jeremy Mitchell Cinema

Ahhh...Cinema! Here's the funny thing about wedding videography or cinematography...It's kind of a big deal! Throughout our years of business we have seem many peaks and valley's in terms of wedding videos. The video trend used to be really big and then it kind of went into extinction (probably because the amount of "stereotypes around cheesy wedding videographers and their more cheesy product")...but now thanks to companies like Jeremy Mitchell Cinema who take a backseat approach to creating a truly gorgeous product we are glad to say the trend is back and in full swing ( is going no where soon!) 

Ladies of Gentlemen: Meet Jeremy Mitchell! 

Image Copyright: Justin and Mary (who the way i can't wait to work with at special wedding celebration October 2013!) 
How did Jeremy Mitchell Cinema get started?
Jeremy Mitchell Cinema got started in an odd series of coincidental events that just happened to work out. I used to film and edit skateboarding videos back in high school and my first few years in college. Nothing I ever really took seriously. As I slowly got out of it and focused on my career and in that timeframe I made friends with my partner Nick Godsell. He was working at the mall with a friend of mine and we had in common a huge love for music. Fast forward a decade later and my girlfriend (now wife) Ashley is having me tag along with her to help photograph weddings. At the same time Nick had been videoing his world travels for fun. I somehow got the notion to shoot weddings but with utilizing my film background and called upon Nick and the dynamic just worked!

How do you describe your style?
As far as style would go I would best describe it as honest. We shoot the day as it happens, with as little directing as possible. As lame as it sounds we capture the moments as they happen and won't interfere unless absolutely necessary. We also try to capture all the details and style of the day, almost from a photographer viewpoint. 

What is your favorite thing about videoing a wedding? 
If I had to pinpoint my favorite thing about shooting a wedding it would just be being involved in the insane amount of fun that is happening that day. A wedding is the best day of two peoples lives and I love that we get to share that and call it a "job." I mean seriously, have you ever met anyone that does't think weddings are an awesome time?

What is your biggest advice of couples looking for a wedding videographer?
The best advice I can give to a couple looking for a videographer is to make sure that they like the videographer(s) as people as well as the product they produce. A wedding is an intimate affair and you're really allowing the videographer into your lives so you should be able to trust them and enjoy the experience. There's so many people and studios out there that can make a great product but you should be able to enjoy yourself and your time with them throughout the whole process.

Here's a link to film I rather love. Also, I heard the planner of this one was pretty alright!

Jesse and Brandon from jeremy mitchell on Vimeo.

Signature Drink Saturday: Skinny Girl Sangria

This version of sangria is simple and without the added sugar it is the perfect cocktail. This drink tastes good, makes you feel good, and it’s good for your physique, what’s not to like?! Also this drink is gorgeous making it an immediate show stopper at any wedding or event!

Venues to Love!: Sweetwater Cuisine

I thought i'd share a little gem of an event venue in Virginia Beach with you all... I often hear from my clients that they can't find a rehearsal dinner venue that will hold their larger guest count or we even smaller wedding venue that is quaint and reasonably priced. So, to those clients I say, check out Sweetwater Cuisine!

Sweetwater Cuisine started as a well known catering company in Hampton Roads and the Region surrounding that recently opened a delicious restaurant that is open to the public for lunch during the week and to private events during the evening and weekends. The venue holds 80 guests comfortably for a seated dinner and larger groups can be accommodate with cocktail style events. Check out a few images below and contact Sweetwater Cuisine for all of your on and offsite catering needs!

Thank you Ramone for these gorgeous venue image and Waterford Event Rentals for the linens pictured. 

Monday Meeting: Dustin Lewis Images

I am a believer! (well sometimes!). I am the first to tell you that I do not recommend friends or loved ones working on your wedding day...Unless of course, they do the task at hand in their "professional life!". I have a million and one horror stories I can tell you...but thankfully, this story is not one of them. Last year, I had the blessing of planning the wedding celebrations for the Doucette Sisters. Both girls I have come to know and love, but both also brought new photographers into the forefront of my mind. The photographer I am going to share with you today is Dustin Lewis. He is an acquaintance of Jesse (the second sister to get married) and a fabulous photographer. I knew of his work before the wedding but wasn't sold when Jesse and Brandon told me that their friend was shooting the wedding. Thank goodness I bit my tongue because I absolutely ADORED their wedding images. Dustin is definitely making a name for himself in the wedding world. Here is a little Q&A Dustin answered for us:

How did you get started?
As a visually motivated person photography has always allowed me to express my artistic vision by providing lasting images for clients. In 2004 I received formal training and earned a commercial photography degree from the Visual Arts Center in Portsmouth, Virginia. The knowledge I gained through my college courses helped me refine my photography skills as well as prepare myself for entering the small business world. I have had my business license in the City of Virginia Beach since 2005. Currently I shoot 25-30 weddings a year regionally and I also maintain several commercial client accounts. 

What is your favorite moment to capture at a wedding?
I love using my images to document the entire flow of the day, from the nervous anticipation, through the ceremony and reception, finishing with the send off. If I had to pick one moment, it would have to be the short period of time following the ceremony that I usually get to spend alone with the newlyweds. I feel truly honored to be part of such a special moment where the couple has their first chance to share some private time as a married couple. The raw emotions they display create compelling and emotional images.

What is your style of photography?
My style is best described as a mix of classic portraiture and candid moments that capture the unique spirit of weddings. I use my photojournalistic background to tell stories and create timeless memories. My commercial photography experience allows me to provide extreme attention to all details.

What are some words of advice for couples seeking a photographer? !!!! (Kidding!)

I recommend that couples take time to do the research when hiring a photographer and make sure that they are comfortable and mesh with the photographer's style and personality. I always prefer to meet each couple in person prior to booking in order to discuss the details of their wedding day and more importantly hear the story of how they met as well as the proposal.  I then use my creativity to showcase each couples personality in their engagement sessions.
Oh and lastly, please make sure the photographer is passionate about their work and takes pride in what they do. Trust me, you will thank yourself when you have beautiful images to cherish for years to come.

Signature Drink Saturday:Pineapple and Mango Rum Cocktails

This Pineapple and Mango Rum Cocktail is super easy to make and looks and taste refreshing! This cocktail would will be a hit at any summer wedding! 


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