At Home With Veronica Sheaffer


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Chicago photographer Roberta Smi spent the day with wedding gown designer Veronica Sheaffer and her family documenting life at home with this successful entrepreneur. We love the moments with her daughter Poppy and the feminine, French-inspired style throughout her home. We also loved getting to know here more in the brief Q & A below - enjoy!

What inspires you?

I’m so fascinated by the past – how it felt to live in another time – and that’s been such a part of me for as long as I can remember. It carries into my bridal and lingerie designs and my decorating at home. My eye is always going to be drawn towards a gorgeous thing from history – something of quality that was beautifully made. That’s what I try to achieve in my own work.

How did becoming a mother change how you work?

It changed me in every way, of course, not just in my work. Because there’s no longer extra time in our lives, everything we do has a purpose. Everything I wear, everything I purchase, anything I make has to be “worth it.” The biggest struggle is not having time to explore and experiment with all of the ideas I have in my head, but that has also forced me to only focus on creating things that are really of value. And I can no longer be “on” at all hours. If I’m with my daughter, I’m focused on her. I’m still getting used to the adjustment, of course – it’s difficult not being able to do everything, but it’s absolutely worth it.

What is your business philosophy?

If you’re going to do it, do it well. And be good to people, always.

What do you hope to make brides feel when wearing one of your gowns on their wedding day?

Of course I want them to feel beautiful, but beyond that, I want them to feel loved. My job is to make sure their gown is not only gorgeous, but also supporting them and allowing them to forget all about what’s happening behind the scenes. They should feel effortless and taken care of, so that they can take in all of the love coming at them on such an amazing day.

How would you describe your home?

A work in progress - haha! We bought our condo two years ago (when our daughter was just a few months old), and again, I’ve had to be much more strategic with my projects than I would have been in the past. And because I’m so thoroughly rooted in the history of a place, I’ve tried to push myself to think of fresh, new ways to update it. Our building was built in the late 20’s, and we’re so lucky to have many of the original details, which I love, but the fun of it is in making things a little more modern with new hardware and adding a bit of humor to the place in the artwork. It’s the first home I’ve decorated without a lot of paint on the walls, but I love how open and light it feels here. 

What matters most to you?

Family, without question. Integrity. Quality. Beauty and design. And evenings out!

Artist Profile: Love Letters from Iceland, Tour Guide Included, from Radian Photography

Silver Cup Artist Sponsor and photographer Radhika of Radian Photography recently visited Iceland with her husband. She shared with us not only her beautiful scans from the trip but also a unique tradition she and her husband share on their travels. She shares, “Two of the things that have been the foundation of my relationship with Ian is seeing the world together and writing each other letters. After each trip, we write a letter to each other about our memories from the trip.”

They shared their letters below—keeping them anonymous so you can only guess who wrote which letter. But first, here is her guide to traveling in Iceland. 

Travel Guide to Iceland

We just returned from the land of fire and ice, where we have been yearning to visit for quite a while. Seeing the northern lights has been a bucket list item for years, and we finally decided to make Reykjavik our annual travel spot because we were captivated by its opposing extremes. Here volcanoes and glaciers co-exist (sometimes right next to each other!), and while water falls from great heights, steam rises out of the depths of the earth. During our trip, we saw the most beautiful of sights and learned the most unexpected of facts that we will absolutely keep in mind when we return!

Do rent a car.

Driving in Iceland is an absolute dream, and renting a car was, by far, one of the best decisions we made. Not only did it allow us to quickly get to and from our Airbnb to downtown Reykjavik, but allowed us to drive along the southern shore to Vik, home of black sand beaches, and on even further to Jökulsárlón, the glacial lagoon in southeast Iceland. Route 1, better known as the Ring Road, is a two-lane highway that circles the entire country, leaving active volcanoes, glacial plains, and black sand deserts in its center. On our drives, we were able to see some of the most beautiful and popular stops: the Golden Circle, waterfalls, glaciers, and all of the moss-covered rocks our hearts could ever desire.

Don’t call them ponies.

The Icelandic countryside is dotted with all types of animals: we saw so many cows, sheep, and horses. We even explored some of the areas surrounding Reykjavik on horseback! The Icelandic horse is smaller than its American counterpart and has a special gait called the tölt, but that didn’t make the rides any smoother! Cows produce the majority of the milk in Iceland, much of which is used to make skyr, a yogurt that tasted like a slightly more sour version of Greek yogurt. The sheep in Iceland produce wool that is used in all types of products, and Icelanders swear by its ability to keep them warm in the harsh winters; we bought a blanket. We cannot wait to use it when the temperatures drop!

Do enjoy grown-up kid food.

The meal we ate more than any other in Iceland? Hot dogs. In Iceland, hot dogs are made of mostly lamb meat, and they are delicious. If you are a big hot dog aficionado, that reason alone might be why you should plan a trip to Iceland! We didn’t only eat hot dogs, though. Iceland is also known for its amazing seafood, and in the rainy and windy weather, we enjoyed many a warm stew. It is safe to say that we left Iceland with our stomachs as full as our hearts!

Don’t mess with the moss.

Icelanders are serious about their environment, and it is clear why. From geysers to glaciers, there are so many stunning natural wonders there. While Icelanders are careful to protect all of these beautiful resources, even making sure to instruct tourists not to remove moss or build cairns, there is one human mark on their terrain that they actively embrace. The Sólheimasandur beach outside of Vik is home to a plane crash that has been left relatively untouched for the past four decades. This other-worldly site was equally haunting and beautiful. Since local landowners have closed the road to cars, we had to walk five miles to get there and back, but it was well worth it to see yet another of Iceland’s reminders about the fragility of life.

Do drink the water.

The water in Iceland, whether it came from a faucet or the sky, was unexpected. We were not ready for the smell of sulfur in our shower or when we washed our hands, but we embraced the geothermal energy that powers Iceland anyway. As for the rain, though a constant guest on our travels, our Airbnb host quickly reframed our view of it when she asked us, “But isn’t it a refreshing change from the heat of North Carolina?” Undoubtedly, our favorite part of the trip was when the skies finally cooperated with us: on a clear night, we drove out of Reykjavik to escape the city lights and watched as the aurora put on a quick but unforgettable show for us. As we cross one more item off of our bucket list, we feel thankful to have witnessed the breathtaking beauty of Iceland. We cannot wait for the day that we can return.

Love Letters from “the Smoky Bay”

Dear you,

When I first mentioned traveling to Iceland, you already knew it was going to happen. You recognized the spark in my eye, and as faithfully as ever, you fanned it. You recognize that my fascination with the world and all of its secret wonders cannot be subdued, because you feel the same way. We learned about all of the places we would be able to see, and our hearts beat faster at the thought of volcanoes and glaciers and the sea and mountains existing in the same place. You said, so long ago, that we are cosmic twins. I never know that to be true more than when I get to experience the world with you.

Just after landing in Reykjavik, we drove around the rainy city, stopping to eat an amazing breakfast and wander into the little shops filled to the brim with sheep’s wool products. The fact that your first meal included the famed Icelandic hot dog surprised no one, least of all me. But what I was truly excited about was exploring the amazing natural sites outside of Reykjavik. As we toured the Golden Circle, we drove by endless stretches of moss-covered rocks, ones that the Earth cast from within itself as molten and flowing lava, ones that hardened over time to provide a surface for the green carpet that spread as far as our eyes could see. We watched the Geysir erupt, walked between two tectonic plates, felt the mist of Gulfoss Waterfall, and soaked in the heated waters of the Secret Lagoon. All the while, we learned about the science behind the Earth’s playgrounds. And as the world grew larger before me and I felt smaller as a result, you met my “what ifs” with “if it happens, it happens,” reassuring me, as always, that we will face them together.

We decided to try our luck and find the northern lights. Bundled up and filled with hot cocoa, we set out hoping to see what textbooks explained to be a phenomenon occurring due to charged particles from the sun striking our own planet’s atmosphere. We drove far out of the city to escape the lights and find a place dark enough for small particles to dance freely. But when I saw the lights of the aurora swaying in the Icelandic sky and I looked at you, and you looked at me, and we both knew to put our cameras away and stand hand in hand, I knew there was only one word to describe the show. Magic.

Love,

Your cosmic twin

Dear you,

Adventures are our safe space—seeing new places, eating new foods, collecting new experiences, all along the way towards living lives well-lived. I have always loved doing new things in new places, but since I have known you it has been the constants—you and your smiles and your car naps and your gasps of excitement—that truly make it special. Sharing the world with you has been the unending highlight of our time together.

We just added another adventure to our list, Iceland. We rode horses, swam in hot springs, peered down waterfalls, and saw the elusive northern lights, but I really cherished the last two days, spent driving across the southern coast from Reykjavik to Jökulsárlón, stopping whenever and wherever, eagerly collecting the sights and sounds of our final hours in Iceland. Being in that car with you was so familiar (how many hours have we spent driving together?), but at the same time so new.

Outside our windows were miles and miles (kilometers and kilometers?) of deep green moss blanketing the rounded remnants of volcanic eruptions centuries old. In the distance, and sometimes too close for comfort, we saw hills and mountains that came seemingly out of nowhere to tower over us, their sides dotted with sheep and lined with lava flows. We walked along black sand, enveloped in a cool, eerie mist, as waves crashed against the rocks that decorated the coast, just off the shore. We walked hours to see the infamous shell of that crashed plane, frozen in time before our eyes. We stood on the edge of the world, awed by the sheer magnitude of time and space so perfectly embodied by such a small, but truly otherworldly, country. We did it all side-by-side, eyes forward, but always together.

I wish I could say that I will always remember everything we saw and everything we did, that years from now I will remember the blue glow of the glaciers floating off the shore or the green streaks of the northern lights flowing across the night sky. But the truth is that what I will probably remember most clearly is the excited gleam in your eyes when those lights started dancing for us and the way you tugged at my sleeve before you asked me to take a picture of you holding the piece of glacier that washed up on shore and the warmth I felt in my soul when you snuggled up on my arm to sleep on the plane ride home, both of hearts full to bursting with the time we had spent together discovering a new corner of the Earth. My world is so much bigger with you in it.

Love,

Your faithful companion

To see more from Radian Photography follow the links below. You can also find her beautiful work in The Grace Issue debuting on newsstands Monday, November 14th!

Website | Facebook | Instagram

Finding Inspiration, by Sarah Orman of My Modern Diary
Find Inspiration

Defined as “the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something,” inspiration has a terrible habit of evading us when we need it most. Writer’s block, photographer’s rut, painter’s standstill, call it what you will, there is no mistaking its unwelcome presence when it halts an artist’s rhythm, lingering like a fog that refuses to be evaporated by the winter sun.  

During a time where creativity is both respected and encouraged as a real career pursuit, I often find it difficult to continually remain at my most productive self and to banish the despondent thoughts that creep into one's daily life as a result of being uninspired.

There are days filled with excitable enthusiasm as I begin to pursue an idea that entered my crowded mind just minutes before turning out the light the evening prior. Equally, however, there are moments of self doubt and times filled with despair as my creative ability wanes in favor of a more fatalistic perspective. It's honestly a constant struggle.

One of the biggest conflicts I contend with when I’m feeling uninspired is the simple idea of being novel. Despite a touch of pessimism when inspiration eludes me, I sincerely believe it is one of life's greatest accomplishments to possess originality in its purest form. It is unarguably a trait we would all like to be blessed with from time to time. With that being said, however, I can't help but question what it means to truly be original.

My battle with the idea of originality began when I joined the sector of people we refer to as creatives; a thriving industry segment defined as those with the ability to create for a living. Used forcibly in an attempt to emphasize the message that his or her creation was the first of its kind, "original" became a common adjective used repeatedly in every day dialogue and I soon began to associate it with its lesser desired opposite, unbeknownst to the excitable claimant. And while I realize my words may seem a little cruel, I beg you to look beyond my cynical facade and delve deeper into the very idea of originality for yourself.

Take the great Monet for example. Undeniably one of the most renowned painters of the 19th century impressionism movement, it was the ethereal beauty of the French landscape and the way in which the light fell on his many subjects that inspired Claude Oscar Monet during his stride. Today we stand in awe before his famed Water Lily series, perfectly embodying the movement’s dreamy aesthetic. Yet prior to the breathtaking depictions of his gardens in Giverny, it was fellow artist and friend, Eugene Boudin, who admittedly inspired Monet to begin exploring landscapes. With this in mind, one could argue that even the most famed original works of art were born out of influence.

Beyond the obvious visual craftsmanship of painting, influence and inspiration is perhaps most notably evident and celebrated without question in the art of cuisine. The sequential history of cooking unquestionably paved the way for many of today’s highly acclaimed chefs, most of whom are proud to pay homage to the famed culinary professionals who inspired them. Thomas Keller for example, often referred to as America’s greatest chef, makes no secret of the people and places that have influenced his food. Furthermore, he speaks openly about channeling his envy of others in the industry and how he uses it to establish personal goals.

In short, inspiration lies everywhere. In its most obvious form today, it is an image shared via social media. Subconsciously, it is a familiar smell that conjures up memories of a time or a place gone by or simply pausing to appreciate one's surroundings. For Monet it was the heart-stirring French scenery combined with the appreciation of another’s work that led to the creation of his most beloved, iconic landscapes.  For Thomas Keller and his treasured Napa Valley restaurant, The French Laundry, it was the illustrious chefs from the gastronomic capital of the world united with Keller’s own culinary experiences as he traveled through the French countryside that influenced such monumental success.

When I'm feeling overly ponderous, I intentionally turn to some of my favorite artists in search of an awakening, seeking inspiration by choosing to flick through a cherished magazine or read the latest on an influential blog. For the most part, I am able to uncover the incentive I need to continue my creativity and while the end result may not be immediately apparent, I know that the words and images I happened upon during my quest are stored subconsciously in my memory for a future spell of stalemate brainstorming.

At the very core of my opinion is the simple notion and understanding that every idea, every thought, every inventive conception is inspired by someone or something. The theory of originality has admittedly become much harder for me to accept in a world filled with creatives, in its place, however, is the ability to recognize who and what motivates my own artistry and to be honest in both accepting and acknowledging it, just like Monet or Keller.

And so the next time I’m feeling unimaginative, I will pause to recall that there is zero shame in turning to your comrades to reignite that spark. Rather than dwell in our own uninspired self pity or worse still, frown upon those who appear to have drawn inspiration from someone else’s brilliance, we ought to put more energy into acknowledging and celebrating where one’s revelation might have come from. Credible creations are and will continue to be formed by seeking the inspiration that is indeed all around us, and whether they are truly authentic or not is quite irrelevant, after all; perhaps even Monet and Keller were not wholeheartedly original in their excellence.

Written by Sarah Orman Photograph by Jodi & Kurt Photography

Katie O. SelvidgeComment
Home, by Sarah Orman of My Modern Diary

She had bid farewell to England several years ago. With her planned departure from the motherland, she had fearlessly chosen to say goodbye to her immediate family in favor of spending the rest of her life with the man she loved. It hadn’t been an easy decision to make back then, especially given the close bond she shared with her tightly woven circle of family and friends, yet she had known there was no other way.

As she sat at the desk contemplating her situation one gray November afternoon, a solitary tear escaped from her sad, swollen eyes and dissipated on the ink stained paper, a letter to her parents across the ocean. The ache of absence magnified as the words of affection blurred behind the salty spot. No one told her how trying the distance would be she thought, no one mentioned the cruel longing with every birthday, anniversary or family get together.

She pulled a carefully folded sweater from the closet and drew it close to her tear stained face. She inhaled deeply, the familiar smell of home from her last visit to England beginning to fade. It had been almost five years since she’d waved goodbye at the airport, the conflicting moment etched on her memory for eternity. The anticipation of waking up next to her best friend every day had been overwhelmingly arresting, equally, the sorrow that had tugged aggressively at the corners of her excitement left her robbed of truly feeling anything. An unwelcome equilibrium she had tiptoed between every day since.

When the scale was tipped heavily in the direction of despair, troublesome thoughts linked with her inability to have a physical presence in the lives of her loved ones back home would cloud her capacity to think beyond the immediate grief of being lonely. The harsh realities of an absence with no end in sight were sometimes viciously debilitating, and it often took all of her strength and determination not to crawl beneath the soft blankets of her bed to seek comfort and solace in the only place she knew it existed when she felt so low; sleep.

She missed the fells, sporadically decorated according to the season with grazing cattle or sheep. She longed for bucolic sunsets and star strewn skies, for the peace and quiet of her parent’s household and the comfort of home cooked delights. Her mind would often wander to times gone by, recalling evenings filled with much merriment as her parents and siblings gathered around the dining table, feasting, rejoicing. There were so many things she ached for, yet nothing was quite as compelling as the desire to be surrounded by her family when the wistful effects of homesickness gripped her.

With each melancholic episode there was a sinking feeling of remorse as her husband looked on in helpless incredulity. She couldn’t predict where or when the agony of missing England would choke her current disposition, although she had learned to avoid many of the catalysts she had discovered since Virginia had become her place of permanent residence.

She folded the note and slipped it inside the neatly addressed envelope. With it she tried to bury the oppressive vacancy that was sure to sadden her partner on his return from a hard day at the office. Without warning, however, a quiet smile began to grace the scene as her mind wandered to the very reason she had left her family behind almost five years ago. She had chosen without hesitation to end the one distance her heart could no longer bear in favor of the many separations she battled now. And although she missed her homeland and her family more than ever, she knew she had made the right choice.

She stood forcefully, moving with a newfound purpose to sit by the window, where she patiently watched and waited; for tonight there was comfort in a place she had momentarily forgotten as the painful reality of the distance between today and her former life England had almost begun to consume her. He would hold her and all would be well, because home was now here with him.

Written by Sarah Orman Photograph by Jodi & Kurt Photography

Katie O. SelvidgeComment
A Simple, Intimate Desert Wedding
a + k elopement 240.jpg

The desire for small, intimate weddings or elopements seems to be increasing in popularity with our newly engaged readers. And, we love it. We love when couples choose unique and authentic ways to express the most sacred vows they take whether it be in a luxurious ballroom or the beautiful desert—choosing what is most meaningful to them. Here is what photographer Gaby Jeter had to share with us regarding Kitaro and Alexa's desert ceremony:

Kitaro and Alexa, from Switzerland, always wanted to get married in Vegas, as they both don't like big flashy and traditional weddings where everything is according to a fixed plan and everyone is stressed (they've attended a few of those, and it's not their style). 
Instead, they opted for an intimate, simple and beautiful ceremony in the desert. They wanted their day to be about love, friendship, laughter and overall FUN. They wanted to make sure that celebrating their special moment of becoming husband and wife was joyful with those they feel closest to.

Photography by Gaby J Photography  Pop Up Ceremony + Flowers, Flora Pop Hair & Makeup by Ruby Finch Salon dress by BHLDN Getting Ready Location, Palms Place

Natalie and Tim's Charleston Wedding

We love Southern weddings for many reasons—the charm, the style, the brides and grooms head-over-heels for each other. And Natalie and Tim's wedding in Charleston is no exception. From the romantic and weeping Spanish Moss to the bourbon and cigars bar, every piece of their wedding spoke to that beautiful Southern Charm. Here is what their photographer Clay Austin had to share with us about their special day:

I am extremely excited to share one of my more recent weddings with you!! This swoon-worthy love fest took place at Fenwick Hall (my now, favorite wedding venue on the planet) right outside downtown Charleston, SC, and is chock full of classic Southern elegance! Everything from the bourbon and cigar bar down to the embroidered flatware was carefully curated to absolute perfection. The beautiful couple chose had a chemistry that was magnetic and made getting those extremely intimate moments on film, incredibly easy! While the actual planning took place over the course of a year, it started long before in Natalie’s imagination and was executed perfectly!

Photography by Clay Austin Photography  Event Planning & Design by YOJ Events Floral Design by Branch Studio Videographer, Life In Rewind Hair by Serendipity Salon and Boutique Catering by Cru Catering Cake by Wild Flour Pastry 

Katie O. SelvidgeComment
Intimate Anniversary on Oregon Coast
Intimate Anniversary on Oregon Coast on Cottage Hill
Intimate Anniversary on Oregon Coast on Cottage Hill
Intimate Anniversary on Oregon Coast on Cottage Hill
Intimate Anniversary on Oregon Coast on Cottage Hill
Intimate Anniversary on Oregon Coast on Cottage Hill
Intimate Anniversary on Oregon Coast on Cottage Hill
Intimate Anniversary on Oregon Coast on Cottage Hill
Intimate Anniversary on Oregon Coast on Cottage Hill
Intimate Anniversary on Oregon Coast on Cottage Hill
Intimate Anniversary on Oregon Coast on Cottage Hill
Intimate Anniversary on Oregon Coast on Cottage Hill
Intimate Anniversary on Oregon Coast on Cottage Hill
Intimate Anniversary on Oregon Coast on Cottage Hill

So often after the wedding, couples forget to document life afterwards. It's not until children come into the picture that being photographed becomes important again. But, we like to think that those early newlywed years--as short or long they may be--still matter and should be treasured with visual documentation.

That is why we love anniversary sessions. And, we love when photographer Jake Anderson shares the stories behind them as well:

Josh and Karrah have an affinity for adventure, and, in our discussions surrounding their session, wanted to display this aspect of their relationship as effectively as possible. We chose the coast of Washington to depict just that, and we so delighted to have such an incredible sunset with which to enjoy our time. As we moved up and down the coast, it was plain to see the caring nuances of their relationship: the way he always would reach for her hand, the way she settled into his embrace.

Katie O. SelvidgeComment
Romantic Engagement Session in Banff
Romantic Engagement Session in Banff
Romantic Engagement Session in Banff
Romantic Engagement Session in Banff
Romantic Engagement Session in Banff
Romantic Engagement Session in Banff
Romantic Engagement Session in Banff
Romantic Engagement Session in Banff
Romantic Engagement Session in Banff
Romantic Engagement Session in Banff
Romantic Engagement Session in Banff
Romantic Engagement Session in Banff
Romantic Engagement Session in Banff
Romantic Engagement Session in Banff
Romantic Engagement Session in Banff
Romantic Engagement Session in Banff

Today's engagement session is perhaps the most picturesque we've ever seen. The water and the mountains of Banff are not only captivating but set a romantic backdrop to showcase the love between Isabelle and David. Here is what Isabelle had to share with us below:

It was an unlikely romance. We first met at an internship about six years ago. We quickly grew close because we held many common values and interests. But soon after, I set off to the UK to pursue my undergraduate studies, while he remained in Singapore to pursue his.

We kept in touch occasionally during the three years apart, but we were never really in each other's lives. It didn't help that there was little overlap in our social circles.

Fast forward three years later, we reconnected when David asked me out to catch up after I returned to Singapore. Before long, “catch up” sessions became dinner dates, and occasional texting grew to hour long phone calls about anything and everything. It was the simple things in life - the conversations, the being there for each other, the resolve to serve one another above ourself - that grew our relationship to what we have today. Two years into our relationship, he proposed, and I gladly accepted to walk this journey of life together with him.

Why Banff?

David and I are similar in that we love to travel and immerse ourselves in other cultures. However, we differ on our ideal vacation. David loves the cities - the bright lights, the energy, the dynamism. I, on the other hand, prefer the countryside - the nature, the serenity, the rest.

Banff represented for us the 'countryside' element in our relationship. We wanted a location that could capture nature in its full glory - from the stillness of the lakes to the rugged mountain ranges. When we heard that David's family was planning a trip up to Calgary to attend a wedding, we knew we had to take our engagement shots in Banff.

Photography by Justine Milton Photography Scans by Photovision Prints Hair and Makeup by SimplyMe Dress by Zara Isabelle's Shoes by Salvatore Ferragamo David's Shoes by Opus Two
 

Katie O. SelvidgeComment
Time to Escape
Take an Escape, Cottage Hill
Take an Escape, Cottage Hill
Take an Escape, Cottage Hill
Take an Escape, Cottage Hill
Take an Escape, Cottage Hill
Take an Escape, Cottage Hill
Take an Escape, Cottage Hill
Take an Escape, Cottage Hill
Take an Escape, Cottage Hill
Take an Escape, Cottage Hill
Take an Escape, Cottage Hill
Take an Escape, Cottage Hill
Take an Escape, Cottage Hill
Take an Escape, Cottage Hill

Sometimes, you need to break away. You need to escape. I'm not talking about a vacation or weekend with the girlfriends. Sometimes, you need time alone, away. Here is what photographer Betsy had to share about the shoot:

I am so inspired by those who lead their life with deliberateness…who acknowledge the individual moments that make up each beautiful day. My purpose behind this Oregon Summer Reflection shoot was simply to acknowledge the fact that life moves so quickly. Summers are too short. And how we spend our moments, is how we spend our life. 

Micalah is a dear friend who leads her life with purpose and makes each moment more beautiful by just being aware of it’s passing. We both adore the beauty around us and relish moments where we can take the time to revel in that beauty. This summer afternoon in Oregon, I simply wanted to capture that feeling with such a kindred spirit modeling for me…I ached to capture the feeling of enjoying all the beauty around us. 

Together we breathed in the sweet, Oregon mountain air. We ran our hands over all the endless hedges of green and soft flower petals stretching up to meet us. I had
Micalah don some of her company's vintage clothing, aiming for a resort-feel with a bit of old romance to it. Running through the fresh green vines, dipping our toes in the koi-filled pond, and enjoying the affection a wandering feline lavished upon us…the afternoon was more blessed and beautiful than we had imagined. What a wonderful world we live in…so filled with God’s beautiful creation!

Photography by Betsy Blue Photography Model, Micalah Wilson Wardrobe by Gold Banana Vintage Fedora Hat by San Diego Hat Company Escape Bag from ForestBound Venue, Lithia Springs Resort  Film Lab, Photo Vision Prints 

Katie O. SelvidgeComment
Romantic Coastal Elopement in Charleston
Romantic Coastal Charleston Elopement now on Cottage Hill
Romantic Coastal Charleston Elopement now on Cottage Hill
Romantic Coastal Charleston Elopement now on Cottage Hill
Romantic Coastal Charleston Elopement now on Cottage Hill
Romantic Coastal Charleston Elopement now on Cottage Hill
Romantic Coastal Charleston Elopement now on Cottage Hill
Romantic Coastal Charleston Elopement now on Cottage Hill
Romantic Coastal Charleston Elopement now on Cottage Hill
Romantic Coastal Charleston Elopement now on Cottage Hill
Romantic Coastal Charleston Elopement now on Cottage Hill
Romantic Coastal Charleston Elopement now on Cottage Hill
Romantic Coastal Charleston Elopement now on Cottage Hill
Romantic Coastal Charleston Elopement now on Cottage Hill
Romantic Coastal Charleston Elopement now on Cottage Hill
Romantic Coastal Charleston Elopement now on Cottage Hill
Romantic Coastal Charleston Elopement now on Cottage Hill
Romantic Coastal Charleston Elopement now on Cottage Hill
Romantic Coastal Charleston Elopement now on Cottage Hill
Romantic Coastal Charleston Elopement now on Cottage Hill
Romantic Coastal Charleston Elopement now on Cottage Hill
Romantic Coastal Charleston Elopement now on Cottage Hill
Romantic Coastal Charleston Elopement now on Cottage Hill
Romantic Coastal Charleston Elopement now on Cottage Hill
Romantic Coastal Charleston Elopement now on Cottage Hill

I'll never forget when my newlywed husband and I visited Charleston together for the first time. We spent some time in Savannah first, then drove to Palmetto Bluff to stay for a few days before exploring the city. It was February in the South, so early morning bike rides were crisp, but by the time we finished breakfast the sun had warmed our handles as we meandered around our cottage and along the coast.

There's something peaceful and romantic about Lowcountry. The water, the Spanish moss, the food--oh, Lord, the food!--all create this perfect setting for new adventures. Or, as we are sharing today, new love with an elopement-inspired shoot.

This elopement shoot combines simplicity with Southern charm. It is an intimate setting, yet still, respects traditional style. And, one of our favorite details, other than this beautiful real couple, is the celebration of color in the details.

Design & Coordination by Cayleigh with Sage Innovations Photography by Emily Ann Hughes Photography Venue, Runnymede Events Florals by Branch Design Studio Wedding Dress by Emily Kotarski Bridal Rentals from Snyder Events Hair Piece by Emma Katzka Bridal Makeup Artist, Charleston Makeup Hair Stylist, Hand Crafted Hair & Makeup Runner from Silk & Willow Invitation Suite by The Silver Starfish Water Color Crest by Sweet Magnolia Paper Cake by ABCD Cakes Sign by Paper Birch Designs Calligraphy by Hooked Calligraphy Models, Joe & Jenna Semsar

Las Vegas Desert Elopement
Las Vegas Desert Elopement, Cottage Hill
Las Vegas Desert Elopement, Cottage Hill
Las Vegas Desert Elopement, Cottage Hill
Las Vegas Desert Elopement, Cottage Hill
Las Vegas Desert Elopement, Cottage Hill
Las Vegas Desert Elopement, Cottage Hill
Las Vegas Desert Elopement, Cottage Hill
Las Vegas Desert Elopement, Cottage Hill
Las Vegas Desert Elopement, Cottage Hill
Las Vegas Desert Elopement, Cottage Hill
Las Vegas Desert Elopement, Cottage Hill
Las Vegas Desert Elopement, Cottage Hill
Las Vegas Desert Elopement, Cottage Hill
Las Vegas Desert Elopement, Cottage Hill
Las Vegas Desert Elopement, Cottage Hill
Las Vegas Desert Elopement, Cottage Hill

From the photographer: Bea + Ray, from the UK, have been dating for 12 years. Bea, being a wedding photographer herself, enjoys documenting over the top weddings but never felt that it suited both her and Ray's personalities. They wanted something short and sweet, and just the two of them alone. In a couple of months after shortly being engaged, they booked their tickets to Las Vegas, NV. They both were wed in the vastness of the Mojave desert with the strip faded in the background.

Photography by Gaby J Photography  | Officiant,  Peachy Keen Unions | Dress by Ghost London | Film Lab, Goodman Film Lab

Behind the Scenes of The Grace Issue, Meet Ballet Photographer Karolina Kuras

The curtains open and the spotlights turn on. You sit there in the theater and watch as ballet dancers glide across the stage, a frenzy of tutus and pirouettes. With each jump and turn, you feel the vibrations echo throughout the theater, the momentum stirring your soul. This is where you will find Karolina Kuras, a dance photographer in Toronto, Ontario, who waits for just the right moment before clicking the shutter on her camera.

With abstract dance poses and layers of rippling wardrobe, Karolina’s dance portraits are moody and provocative. As the photographer for the National Ballet of Canada, her work showcases the heart and soul of dancers, rather than simple ballet poses. The energy in her photographs make you feel as if you might be sucked in; if the dancer moves to the right, you feel yourself moving along with them.

Karolina Kuras for Cottage Hill

Karolina’s early years were spent living in a Buddhist commune in the mountains of Poland. Surrounded by artists, she found herself helping out with bake sales, making jewelry, or dancing with others in the open meditation studios. She laughed, recalling how she “pretty much had a flower crown on [her] head every day. [She] was a total flower child.” Poland was socialist at the time, and despite food rations, her community grew their food together. Each family had one bedroom to themselves in a home that everyone shared together. Her memories of this time are only positives ones, and it was here that her creative desires were born.

It was an isolating change when her family packed up and moved to a small town outside of Toronto, Canada. Karolina’s family found themselves in a quiet apartment, quite the opposite to their life prior. Her memories here aren’t nearly as vivid as Poland, but with her mother as a painter and her father as a musician, art and photography books filled their home. She loved looking through the books and how the images could transport you into a particular emotion, which would later become a huge source of inspiration for her photography work. Her creative drive led her to take dance classes, and soon she also received her very first camera, a Polaroid cool cam. The two hobbies consumed her.

While she absolutely loved dancing, Karolina was also painfully shy, and found dance performances to be quite difficult. She preferred photographing her dancer friends and capturing their moving bodies on film, something a little more behind the scenes from being on stage herself. In high school, she began working as a darkroom tech and by the time she was 19, had successfully started her own photography business. She was taking photos of everything from engagements to weddings to babies.

Soon, she was photographing over 30 weddings a year, all of them piled into Ontario’s short summer months. Though she loved what she did and was grateful to share such special moments with so many couples, she became burnt out by her busy schedule and knew her heart was elsewhere. She missed her community with dancers, and being able to photograph them as well.

Karolina took the leap and moved to Toronto, where she started her 52-week passion project. Not knowing anyone, she reached out to a few dancers to see if she could photograph them. Her plan was to photograph one new dancer each week for an entire year. While it took some time for her to break into the dance scene, eventually her work began spreading like wildfire, and she was working with new dancers each week. By week 6 of her project, the National Ballet of Canada noticed her work and contacted her to start working for them. She’s been with them ever since.

Karolina Kuras for Cottage Hill

What’s unique about Karolina’s work comes from her background as a dancer. For photographers who are not dancers, they rely heavily on the dancer striking the correct pose that they can then photograph. The result of this can often leave the photos looking stagnant, two-dimensional or flat. Being a dancer herself, she already knows the correct moves. This allows the ballerinas to do what they do best (dance), and Karolina can then photograph them at just the right moment. This process allows her to capture not only the dancer’s pose but the heart, soul, and emotion of the movements they are doing. When looking at her photographs, it is almost as if you can feel the wind of the dancer come out of the picture and brush across your face.

When Karolina isn’t taking photos, you will find her dancing at a dance class, or perhaps cooking with friends, where it is inevitable a kitchen dance party will occur. You might be seated next to her at the ballet amongst hundreds of others, getting lost in the performance. It is experiencing something so grand that fuels Karolina’s desire to continue taking photos. Those around her inspire her, and much like her childhood in Poland, she finds comfort in being surrounded by so many creative individuals.

To see more of Karolina's work, preorder your copy of The Grace Issue here. Story written by summer editorial intern Kim Kimberlin. Intro video by The Creative Class.

Katie O. SelvidgeComment
Morning at Home Newlywed Session
Morning at Home Engagement Session
Morning at Home Engagement Session
Morning at Home Engagement Session
Morning at Home Engagement Session
Morning at Home Engagement Session
Morning at Home Engagement Session
Morning at Home Engagement Session
Morning at Home Engagement Session
Morning at Home Engagement Session
Morning at Home Engagement Session
Morning at Home Engagement Session

We love this lifestyle shoot featuring two newly-married, head over heels, beautiful people. A shoot to capture the essence of newlywed life on a slow Saturday morning. We wanted to incorporate the idea of family heirlooms adopted by newlyweds starting their own lives together and creating new traditions, like baking Grandma’s Scone Recipe and a passed down through the generations vintage recipe book! 

Photography by Cottonwood Road Photography Rentals/Stylist by Unique Unique Design 
Paper Goods by Fig & Flourish Make Up & Hair by WZ Beauty Studio Couple, Alex & Stephen Hunter 

Katie O. SelvidgeComment
Elegant Lloret del Mar Wedding Inspiration
Elegant Lloret del Mar Wedding Inspiration
Elegant Lloret del Mar Wedding Inspiration
Elegant Lloret del Mar Wedding Inspiration
Elegant Lloret del Mar Wedding Inspiration
Elegant Lloret del Mar Wedding Inspiration
Elegant Lloret del Mar Wedding Inspiration
Elegant Lloret del Mar Wedding Inspiration
Elegant Lloret del Mar Wedding Inspiration
Elegant Lloret del Mar Wedding Inspiration
Elegant Lloret del Mar Wedding Inspiration
Elegant Lloret del Mar Wedding Inspiration
Elegant Lloret del Mar Wedding Inspiration
Elegant Lloret del Mar Wedding Inspiration
Elegant Lloret del Mar Wedding Inspiration
Elegant Lloret del Mar Wedding Inspiration
Elegant Lloret del Mar Wedding Inspiration
Elegant Lloret del Mar Wedding Inspiration
Elegant Lloret del Mar Wedding Inspiration
Elegant Lloret del Mar Wedding Inspiration
Elegant Lloret del Mar Wedding Inspiration
Elegant Lloret del Mar Wedding Inspiration
Elegant Lloret del Mar Wedding Inspiration
Elegant Lloret del Mar Wedding Inspiration
Elegant Lloret del Mar Wedding Inspiration
Elegant Lloret del Mar Wedding Inspiration
Elegant Lloret del Mar Wedding Inspiration
Elegant Lloret del Mar Wedding Inspiration
Elegant Lloret del Mar Wedding Inspiration
Elegant Lloret del Mar Wedding Inspiration
Elegant Lloret del Mar Wedding Inspiration
Elegant Lloret del Mar Wedding Inspiration
Elegant Lloret del Mar Wedding Inspiration
Elegant Lloret del Mar Wedding Inspiration

Looking for dreamy, elegant European wedding inspiration? We found it. Like something out of a fairytale, this shoot reminds us that even the grandest dreams for your wedding can be meaningful and special. Our favorite part? The models are a real couple.

Photographer Svetlana Strizhakova Concept and planning by Marina Muravnik Concept, styling, decor and florals by Sweet William Scanning by Carmen Cita Lab Florals by @florateliechalaya
MUAH by Hair Look Style Calligraphy by Nikolietta Calligraphy Silk ribbons and table cloth by @silkyrivers_ Antique tableware by @bonrenom Jewelry from @artjewellerbarcelona Boudoir dress by @lingerie_white_chic Wedding gown by @cathytelle from @eleganceallure

Katie O. SelvidgeComment
Introducing The Grace Issue
The Grace Issue by Cottage Hill

Welcome to The Grace Issue!

In The Grace Issue, we celebrate and observe the impact grace has on our lives through three chapters that cover lifestyle, wellness, career, love, travel and the legacy we are creating.

Enjoy 140+ luxurious pages, printed in the USA, featuring original stories about grace in both the details and the most ultimate sense. Stories about overcoming cancer, embracing your unique style, resting without guilt, community over competition, the struggle of infertility as well as profiles on some of our favorite makers and inspiration from real weddings, real marriages, and of course, more. 

As you know, Cottage Hill is more than a magazine. We are a life-giving publication that declares your life is enough, just as it is. Our stories inspire action, not comparison; our imagery inspires hope, not inadequacy. 

Want to be part of something different, something meaningful? Join our story, and preorder #thegraceissue now here!

Featuring Floret Flowers Photographed by Heather Payne

Creating a Meaningful Anniversary Session
Creating a Meaningful Anniversary Session now on Cottage Hill
Creating a Meaningful Anniversary Session now on Cottage Hill
Creating a Meaningful Anniversary Session now on Cottage Hill
Creating a Meaningful Anniversary Session now on Cottage Hill
Creating a Meaningful Anniversary Session now on Cottage Hill
Creating a Meaningful Anniversary Session now on Cottage Hill
Creating a Meaningful Anniversary Session now on Cottage Hill
Creating a Meaningful Anniversary Session now on Cottage Hill
Creating a Meaningful Anniversary Session now on Cottage Hill
Creating a Meaningful Anniversary Session now on Cottage Hill
Creating a Meaningful Anniversary Session now on Cottage Hill
Creating a Meaningful Anniversary Session now on Cottage Hill
Creating a Meaningful Anniversary Session now on Cottage Hill
Creating a Meaningful Anniversary Session now on Cottage Hill
Creating a Meaningful Anniversary Session now on Cottage Hill
Creating a Meaningful Anniversary Session now on Cottage Hill
Creating a Meaningful Anniversary Session now on Cottage Hill
Creating a Meaningful Anniversary Session now on Cottage Hill
Creating a Meaningful Anniversary Session now on Cottage Hill
Creating a Meaningful Anniversary Session now on Cottage Hill
Creating a Meaningful Anniversary Session now on Cottage Hill
Creating a Meaningful Anniversary Session now on Cottage Hill
Creating a Meaningful Anniversary Session now on Cottage Hill
Creating a Meaningful Anniversary Session now on Cottage Hill
Creating a Meaningful Anniversary Session now on Cottage Hill
Creating a Meaningful Anniversary Session now on Cottage Hill
Creating a Meaningful Anniversary Session now on Cottage Hill

Celebrating the first year, or any year of marriage, can be special with simple documentation. We love the couple's session with photographer Mary Doughtery. Our favorite details include eating the top layer of their wedding cake, from Scratch Bake Shop, and donning their wedding dress and suit for a few romantic moments. Here is what Mary had to share with us:

An anniversary session was something they knew they wanted to do, for reasons important to them, and you would likely have your own reasons to take the time for photos – anniversary session or not. It was not just a chance to get in front of the camera, but a chance to celebrate where they had been in the last year. Life was different and yet very much the same. As high school sweethearts, they had a long history. Their lives were connected and intertwined in a beautiful way. To love someone and be loved in return is one of the greatest parts of the human experience.

Ali + Zach's anniversary session was split into two parts : one that was relaxed and at home and the second part of the shoot was dressed up with Ali in her gorgeous Sarah Janks gown and Zach in a linen suit.

Romantic South Carolina Wedding
Romantic South Carolina Wedding now on Cottage Hill
Romantic South Carolina Wedding now on Cottage Hill
Romantic South Carolina Wedding now on Cottage Hill
Romantic South Carolina Wedding now on Cottage Hill
Romantic South Carolina Wedding now on Cottage Hill
Romantic South Carolina Wedding now on Cottage Hill
Romantic South Carolina Wedding now on Cottage Hill
Romantic South Carolina Wedding now on Cottage Hill
Romantic South Carolina Wedding now on Cottage Hill
Romantic South Carolina Wedding now on Cottage Hill
Romantic South Carolina Wedding now on Cottage Hill
Romantic South Carolina Wedding now on Cottage Hill
Romantic South Carolina Wedding now on Cottage Hill
Romantic South Carolina Wedding now on Cottage Hill
Romantic South Carolina Wedding now on Cottage Hill
Romantic South Carolina Wedding now on Cottage Hill
Romantic South Carolina Wedding now on Cottage Hill
Romantic South Carolina Wedding now on Cottage Hill
Romantic South Carolina Wedding now on Cottage Hill
Romantic South Carolina Wedding now on Cottage Hill
Romantic South Carolina Wedding now on Cottage Hill
Romantic South Carolina Wedding now on Cottage Hill
Romantic South Carolina Wedding now on Cottage Hill
Romantic South Carolina Wedding now on Cottage Hill
Romantic South Carolina Wedding now on Cottage Hill

If you've been reading Cottage Hill, even for a short time, you know we treasure meaningful details. This sweet Southern wedding cherishes both. We love the combination of grand and simple details of Lewis and Kate's wedding. Here is what their photographer Josie Derrick had to share with us:

This beautiful South Carolina wedding took place in the bride's hometown. Old Cokesbury College was the perfect backdrop for this romantic garden wedding. Nestled in the tiny town of Hodges, Lewis and Kate each said 'I Do' in front of their closest family and friends. Their beautiful, laid back day was followed by a reception at beautiful Sundance Gallery in downtown Greenwood, SC. Both the ceremony and reception were filled with heirlooms including a sterling silver wine bottle cooler included in previous weddings in the groom's family. Their day was full of love, joy, and the most beautiful emphasis on what weddings truly are, the start of a new family.

The bride's dress is by Paloma Blanca with hair by Kelly Stowe and Makeup by Shantel the Artist. The bridesmaid's dresses are by Lulu Kate from Bella Bridesmaids. Floral Design is by Ellen Courtney, Catering by Inn on the Square and the Harpist is Emily Waggoner and Band is Fantasy Band

Happy October! Enjoy 50% Off Past Issues Until 6:00 pm CST Today!
Flowers by Amy Osaba for Cottage Hill | Beautiful fall or Thanksgiving arrangement now on Cottage Hill | cottagehillmag.com

Happy October! To celebrate fall, we are offering 50% off all past issues for 24 hours! Hurry now to snag your favorite Cottage Hill issue to complete your collection before this offer closes tomorrow at 6:00 pm CST!

And yes, you guessed it, we're making room for The Grace Issue! Pre-orders and cover reveal for The Grace Issue coming later this week!

Grab you Homecoming or Captivated issues here!

Use code :: OCTOBER50
 

Sunday Kind of Love
Sunday Kind of Love featuring Ginny Au of Loom Curated, now on Cottage Hill
Sunday Kind of Love featuring Ginny Au of Loom Curated, now on Cottage Hill
Sunday Kind of Love featuring Ginny Au of Loom Curated, now on Cottage Hill
Sunday Kind of Love featuring Ginny Au of Loom Curated, now on Cottage Hill
Sunday Kind of Love featuring Ginny Au of Loom Curated, now on Cottage Hill
Sunday Kind of Love featuring Ginny Au of Loom Curated, now on Cottage Hill
Sunday Kind of Love featuring Ginny Au of Loom Curated, now on Cottage Hill
Sunday Kind of Love featuring Ginny Au of Loom Curated, now on Cottage Hill
Sunday Kind of Love featuring Ginny Au of Loom Curated, now on Cottage Hill
Sunday Kind of Love featuring Ginny Au of Loom Curated, now on Cottage Hill
Sunday Kind of Love featuring Ginny Au of Loom Curated, now on Cottage Hill
Sunday Kind of Love featuring Ginny Au of Loom Curated, now on Cottage Hill

Let's take this beautiful fall weekend nice and slow, like this beautiful morning captured by photographer Elaine Chang. These moments were captured at a special photography workshop called Loom Curated by Ginny Au. Here is what Elaine had to say about the experience:

This session took place at the Loom Curated workshop in Catskills, NY, and I got a chance to photograph this pair, who have been together for around a decade. Ginny’s neutral, minimal styling created the perfect relaxed, organic setting, and according to the philosophy of Loom, we gave very little direction and simply allowed the couple to interact in their own natural way, which allowed me to capture their love in its honest and authentic state. Their tender affection and the way they touched spoke of a knowledge and an ease that only comes from that kind of lived-in love.

For this session, hair and makeup was by Amy McVey and Kaela Rawson. Ginny's creative assistants included Emily Michaels King and Tess Comrie. You can find the featured linens and pottery at Farmhouse Linens. This session was at Table on Ten.

Katie O. SelvidgeComment
A Simple Summer Minnesota Wedding
Wedding at American Swedish Institute, now on Cottage Hill
Simple and Bright Wedding Ceremony Program, now on Cottage Hill
American Swedish Institute, now on Cottage Hill
JCrew Bride, now on Cottage Hill
Grooms getting ready, now on Cottage Hill
Simple and beautiful JCrew bride, now on Cottage Hill
First look with JCrew bride, now on Cottage Hill
First look with JCrew bride, now on Cottage Hill
First look with JCrew bride, now on Cottage Hill
First look with JCrew bride, now on Cottage Hill
Wedding at American Swedish Institute, now on Cottage Hill
JCrew bride, now on Cottage Hill
First look with JCrew bride, now on Cottage Hill
Walking down the aisle at American Swedish Institute, now on Cottage Hill
First look with JCrew bride, now on Cottage Hill
Simple wedding at American Swedish Institute, now on Cottage Hill
JCrew bride, now on Cottage Hill
JCrew bride, now on Cottage Hill
JCrew bride, now on Cottage Hill
American Swedish Institute, now on Cottage Hill
Simple outdoor Minnesota wedding, now on Cottage Hill
American Swedish Institute wedding, now on Cottage Hill
Wedding guests in excited anticipation, now on Cottage Hill
True love, now on Cottage Hill

Classic seems to be the best word to describe Kathleen and Phil's wedding. We fell in love with the architecture of their wedding venue, the American Swedish Institute. Kathleen chose a gown from J.Crew securing the idea of a classic, timeless and secretly comfortable style for a bride. And the tenderness shared during their first look had us eager to share their entire day captured by Jaimee Morse with you!

Their wedding planned by Rosetree Events featured flowers by Spruce with catering by Slate and Stone. The groom wore Bonobos and the bride wore jewelry purchased at A and B Boutique by Sara Gabriel with hair and makeup by Creative Beauty Agency. The couple's paper goods were by Paper Rock Scissor, engagement and wedding band by RF Moeller and Cake Toppers by Love Bird Goods.

Katie O. SelvidgeComment