Not sure about you, but I can’t believe it’s already May! (Feel like I said that last month, too. And in March…I’m seeing a pattern here.) One of my goals before we hit the summer months is to get better about blogging, or at least come up with a better schedule than erratic sporadic once a month posts. Definitely have some fun updates to share along with details about what I’ve been up to and have planned.

In the meantime though, pulling another one out of the archives to share with you today…a little something bright and bold, perfect for a Cinco de Mayo or anytime de Mayo wedding or fiesta! Ole!

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There’s really nothing more personal than getting married at your childhood home. (Cue scenes from Father of the Bride, right?!) Or maybe you or your beloved have a family member or close friend that has a spectacular home or amazing property with unbelievable views. Either way, there are definitely some wonderful advantages to having your wedding at a private residence or property.

For starters, the sentimental value clearly is through the roof. It’d be unique and personal. Depending on where the home is, it could also be very private. And within reason, you can kind of do whatever your little heart desires and have a seriously awesome party.

But while this is indeed a fab idea, there are some big things to consider before you set anything in stone…

  • Rental Needs: Chances are the home or private residence that you’re considering for your big day isn’t equipped with enough tables, chairs, linens, dinnerware, barware…you see where I’m going? Unless you’re having a very intimate affair with only a small guest list, you will have to work with a rental company. You’ll most likely also have to rent a tent or two (or more!). (Hello, rain plan.)
  • Bathrooms: This could probably be looped into the point above, but I think important enough to have it’s own bullet point. So you’re ok with having to bring in all the rentals, but what’s the bathroom situation? Are they easy to get to? Do you really want guests traipsing through your home or through parts of the property to get to them? Thankfully, most rental companies have nice restroom trailers or portable bathroom options that are definitely decent alternatives to the good ol’ porta-potties and better than drunk guests meandering through your home.
  • Water + Electricity: While these two don’t go hand-in-hand, they’re two key things to your wedding day. Catering will need access to water and power to serve you and your guests. The band or DJ will definitely need power to run their equipment. And that nice restroom trailer you’ve rented? It will need electricity, too, and maybe even access to water. If it’s a small enough affair that you don’t mind a little higher utility bill and have the water and electricity capabilities, you should be just fine. But if your event is taking place somewhere on the property away from the home or just need more water and power in general, you’ll need to add generators to your list of needs. (And then they’ll need enough gas to power everything for the duration of your wedding.)
  • Parking: Whether you’re expecting a large crowd or have planned for an ultra low-key affair, there will be an increase in traffic and cars where the home or property is located. Remember that scene in Father of the Bride where the cops show up? (Here’s a little refresher for you.) You will need to come up with a good parking plan and most likely enlist the help of a valet company or hire parking attendants to ensure it’s a smooth process for your guests. That should also help keep the local law enforcement and the neighbors happy, too. And if you’re getting married at a ranch or a farm with ample space, I definitely recommend having excellent signage directing guests where to park, as well as having parking attendants to help make it smooth for all involved and perhaps even a way to shuttle guests to and from if necessary.
  • Vendor Logistics: There are so many things to think through from a logistics standpoint when hosting a wedding at your home or a private residence that otherwise you wouldn’t have to think of if you were getting married in a church or venue. Is the property big? Will the ceremony take place away from where the bride is getting dressed? Speaking of, is there a good place to get dressed? Or will you have to get dressed somewhere else? How will the bride get to the ceremony location without all the guests seeing her? Can the vehicles that will deliver the rental equipment get in and out easily? Is there space for generators to hook up? Can the kitchen handle all the catering needs and staff? Or what about the tent that catering will require if the event is all outside? Is there room for that? What if the vendors can’t pick up rental equipment after the wedding is over? Are you prepared to have it sitting there until Monday and be there for when they do?

In the end, getting married at a private residence can be wonderful…as long as you’re prepared and know what you’re getting into! And if you are considering getting married at home or have any questions about getting married at a private residence, I’d love to hear from you!


Truth be told, I have a giant sweet tooth. And ever since I attended my first wedding as a little girl, I get a little giddy over sweet, delicious wedding cake.

But I shocked myself a little when we started to plan our 2013 wedding. We almost went with a dessert bar instead of a cake. (My husband says he “doesn’t have a sweet tooth”…oh my love, you’re funny.) We envisioned a spread of various desserts we both loved, and an ice cream bar featuring Blue Bell ice cream, a little nod to my Texas upbringing. But when discussing the idea with my mom, she expressed her love for a good old-fashioned wedding cake, and her love for the tradition of having one. I gave it some thought and in the end, we opted for a cake. (AND the ice cream bar.) Our wedding cake, prepared by Tiffany’s Baking Co. in Asheville where we got married, was five tiers of amazingness and I’m glad we had it.

All that said, cake isn’t for everyone. And some wedding traditions aren’t for everyone, too. There are so many options out there for every aspect of your wedding these days, including cakes and desserts. So if you’re on the fence about having a wedding cake or aren’t strongly tied to the idea of it, here are some fun alternatives to consider:

  • Dessert Bars: What’s not to love about this idea? Who doesn’t love to just sample tons of little desserts?! Offering a sampling of desserts and sweets isn’t a bad way to go. If your venue allows outside catering, it’s a great way to feature a fave dessert spot you have in town and to show off to your guests some of the local fare.If say ice cream is more your thing, do an ice cream bar. Offer a couple of flavors of ice cream and a small selection of toppings. Boom. Ice cream bar.
  • A Childhood Favorite: When one of my sister-in-laws got married two years ago, guests were all served small, individual strawberry shortcakes. This was a special treat she enjoyed with her dad when she was a little girl and she took a moment when it was served to share that special tie to her childhood with the guests. So not only was it tasty, it added a real personal touch.
  • Pie, Pretty Please: Once I had a bride who was originally from the northeast. Pie was more of a common dessert to her than cake. So, they served up pie at their reception. I loved it. She and her groom cut a little pie slice for them just as a couple would cut a cake. Then guests enjoyed various types of pie. Delicious.
  • Donuts…Not Just For Breakfast: There are some really amazing donut makers here in the Charlotte area, like Joe’s Doughs. I incorporated some of his donut amazingness into a styled shoot last year and it was a fun element to feature. (And we might have sampled all the goods after we were done shooting…) Go with a creative display of donuts instead of a cake. Or toward the end of the evening, serve up some donuts and a little coffee bar to go with it.
  • Piece of Cake:  This really isn’t a cake alternative per se. But I want to mention, that with all of these options, if having that picture of you and your new spouse cutting cake and serving it to each other is something that’s important to you, it’s still totally doable. You can always have a small cake that’s just for you and that purpose.

What do you think? Cake? No cake? Desserts?! So many options. And if the thought of all the options and decision making makes your head spin, give me a call. Hart & Co. is here to help and take the stress out of the planning process. It should be fun and you should enjoy it!


Unplugging…disconnecting from technology or limiting your use. I feel like it’s a topic growing in popularity these days, and it (re)surfaced again recently in terms of unplugging at weddings. I’ve heard/seen many photographers and other industry peers weigh in on this sorta hot topic, but thought I’d throw my two cents in because, 1. I made the decision as a bride to ask guests to unplug, and 2. I haven’t really blogged since I launched this thing and thought it was a little overdue!

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