Friday, August 30, 2013

Bottoms Up: Signature Cocktails!

Good morning y'all! TGIF, right?! It's about time we get the weekend started right with some of our favorite specialty cocktails! We love when our Sweetgrass Social couples include a specialty cocktail that well represents either them as individuals or them as a newly-wed couple. Have you considered including a specialty cocktail in your wedding bar package? If not, we warn you - these recipes may convince you to!

The Sicilian Sour
This cocktail is perfect for a summer wedding - Italian island location optional!

Ingredients
20 ml premium vodka
20 ml limoncello
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
Sugar syrup or gomme to taste
5 strawberries
A dash of organic egg white (for froth)
Organic edible flowers

Directions
Muddle the strawberries, lemon juice, vodka, limoncello and sugar syrup together in a cocktail shaker.
Add the dash of egg white and shake vigorously.
Strain the contents into a chilled martini glass and garnish with some edible pansies or halved strawberries, and voila!


Next up, we have Watermelon Margaritas - a fun spin on this tequila favorite.

Ingredients
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
3 wide strips orange zest
12 ounces watermelon cubes (about 2 cups)
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
3/4 cup white or silver tequila
Lime wedges

Directions
In a small saucepan, bring sugar, water and orange zest to a boil over high.
Reduce to a simmer and cook until sugar dissolves, 3 minutes.
Let syrup cool in a bowl.
In a blender, puree watermelon cubes until smooth.
Strain through a fine-mesh sieve, pressing on solids, into a pitcher.
Stir in syrup, lime juice and tequila.
Fill salt-rimmed glasses with ice, then pour margarita mixture over top.
Garnish with lime wedges... yum!


The bold Southern man (and woman) love a good Kentucky bourbon. This Bourbon Fizz of the hard liquor is softened up with amaretto, OJ, club soda and a dash of anise-flavored liqueur.

Ingredients
Sugar for coating glass rims
12 ounces bourbon
3 ounces amaretto (almond liqueur)
1/2 ounce pastis (licorice aperitif)
6 ounces freshly squeezed orange juice
4 ounces club soda

Directions
Moisten rims of 4 Champagne coupes and dip in sugar to coat.
Combine bourbon, amaretto, pastis, and orange juice in a cocktail shaker.
Add ice; shake to chill well.
Strain into glasses; top each with 1 ounce soda.

Lastly, we're doing something a little different with whiskey. The Lavender Whiskey Sour puts a lighter and flowery spin on the classic drink.

Ingredients
Ice cubes
2 ounces whiskey
1 tbsp Lavender Sour Syrup
Fresh lavender sprig, for garnish

Directions
Fill an 8-ounce glass with ice; pour over whiskey.
Fill with lavender sour syrup; stir to combine.
Garnish with lavender sprig and enjoy!

Not convinced? Let The Knot's Ultimate Signature Cocktail Finder help you!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Thursday Date Night: Gluten Free Edition

It's Thursday again y'all and you know what that means! Grab your hubby and head over the grocery store and pick up these yummy ingredients to make these delicious Caramel Apple Pork Chops! But heres the great part about these: they are gluten free! So this is for all of our gluten free Sweetgrass couples and friends and even those who aren't gluten free. Enjoy it y'all! 

Ingredients (makes 4 servings) 

~ 4 (3/4 in thick) pork chops

~ 1 teaspoon vegetable oil

~ 2 tablespoons brown sugar

~ Salt and pepper to taste

~ 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon 

~ 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

~ 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

~ 2 tart apples peeled, cored, and sliced

~ 3 tablespoons pecans (optional)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 175 degrees. Place a medium dish in the oven to warm.

2. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Brush chops lightly with oil and place in a hot pan. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes, turning occasionally, or until done. Transfer to the warm dish, and keep warm in the preheated oven. 

3. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, salt and pepper, nutmeg and cinnamon. Add butter to the skillet, and stir in brown sugar mixture and apples. Cover and cook until apples are just tender. Remove apples with a slotted spoon and arrange on top of chops. Keep warm in the preheated oven.

4. Continue cooking sauce in uncovered skillet, until it thickens. Spoon sauce over apples and chops. Sprinkle with pecans. 


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The best part about being a Sweetgrass Social Gal is...

The best part about being a Sweetgrass Social gal is watching not only our bride and groom enjoy themselves on their special day, but also watching their families. Watching your children take this next, big step in their lives can't be easy, but the ladies of Sweetgrass Social do everything we can to make it one of the most enjoyable and memorable experiences possible.

We absolutely love hearing from our brides and grooms as they embark on an exciting new chapter of their lives. Sometimes, we are lucky enough to also hear from their family members! After Stacey & Patrick's beautiful June wedding, the parents' of the bride wrote us a truly beautiful note, thanking us for everything we had done.

Stacey told her parents that it was "a dream come true wedding;" it was a perfect representation of all that Stacey & Patrick wanted it to be. Many aspects contributed to this dream come true: "the delightfully friendly and personal ambiance of the reception, the meaningful and personal touches evident at every turn, and the magical nighttime lighting."

Stacey's parents were highly complimentary of our lead planner that day, Jacqueline as well. The triumphs of planning a wedding from 600 miles away can never be easy but "enter Jacqueline Volz. You listened very carefully, shared some ideas, offered viable options, helped them make good choices (within budget), and ensured that all of the pieces came together in one seamless, joyous celebration" on the wedding day.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

If It Doesn't Move, Monogram It!

Here at Sweetgrass Social, we love the Southern tradition of using monograms in our weddings. What a special way to personalize the day and show off your newly changed last name! The best part about it is that you and your maids can wear monograms! Everything from veils to napkins, to the inside of your wedding dress can be monogrammed, but it is important to keep in mind these rules of thumb. 

1. When a bride monograms her day of attire, it should be monogrammed with her maiden last name because she has yet to be married. This includes day of robes, button downs, sweatshirts, and most importantly the veil and gown! Check out Elyse and her gorgeous maids donning the monogrammed robes. 




2.  A married or joint monogram of the husband and wife is generally laid out with the wife's first initial on the left of the monogram, the husband's first initial on the right, with their married last name in the center. This monogram is used once the couple has been officially married, yay! One of our own Sweetgrass Social couples, Shelley and Greg, used their monogram on their fun and colorful gift bags they gave to the guests. 



Here are some other ways Sweetgrass Social brides incorporated their monograms into their big day!






Monday, August 26, 2013

Tips & Tricks for a Stress Free Wedding Day

Today's blog is all about a few little tips and tricks to make your wedding day free of stress!

When rain plans come into play with our Sweetgrass Social weddings, the wet and muddy grass becomes a concern for all of our brides. Not only is it hard to walk through the grass in heels, but even the rough pavement can cause wear and tear on our shoes. A great fix for this is SoleMates - a great way to avoid stains, tripping and damage to our lovely wedding day shoes. These little caps fit snugly on every type of heel without damaging them. The increased surface area on the base of the heel reduces the overall pressure on this part of the shoe in addition to preventing the heel from falling through the cracks or digging into the grass.


At Sweetgrass Social, we have our day-of scheduling down to a science! Bridal party timelines are essential for keeping our day running smooth and our guests of honor stress-free. If the bride and groom want an individualized and unique way to keep their bridal party punctual, making your own timelines are a fun and smart way to make sure everyone is on track. You can make one for the bridesmaids, one for the groomsmen and even one for the older family members that are part of the ceremony.


Because you are yet to wear your wedding dress for an extended period of time, it's important to realize that these dresses have a lot of fabric and it's inevitable that at one point during the night, you will get hot! Whether you are preparing for photographs or dancing the night away, your wedding dress will keep your body temperature up so make sure to use these tips and tricks to stay cool and fresh. Make sure to have a small bottle of baby powder, antiperspirant, body glide or anti-chaffing gel nearby. It can be useful to lightly coat your inner thighs with, or the sides of your body where the dress may be very tight-fitting and has the potential to rub.

 

Say no to puffy eyes on your wedding day! The frozen spoon trick is a keeper - put two metal teaspoons in the freezer and let them hang out there for 15-20 minutes. Once the spoons are frosty, lay them on your eyelids face up, with the rounded part in full contact with your lid. Keep them in place for a few minutes. Don't have teaspoons? Wrap ice cubes in a paper towel and use them!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Flowers In Her Hair

Whether you are having a bohemian chic wedding or a elegant soiree, a flower crown or simply flowers in the hair, can be a gorgeous touch to any wedding. They can be simple or bold, whichever your heart desires. You have a few options for materials to use. They can be made from real flowers, artificial flowers, or silk flowers. When it comes to creating your ideal flower crown there are a few options. You can have your florist professionally create one for you or you can create one with your own crafty hands. Below are some gorgeous photos of real flower crowns that can inspire yours for your special day. It is perfect for brides, bridal parties and even the flower girls! One of our own Sweetgrass Social Couples, Casey and Andrew, had their darling flower girl wear one. Below are some helpful hints for creating yours! They can be simple or bold, whichever your heart desires. Have fun!

 


Tips for the Flower Crown 
~ They work with most hair types, but they look great when hair is wavy and flowing.
~ Decide on whether you want your crown to match your bouquet, or rather pick a few color and flowers out and accent it with them. 
~ Make sure you decide on the size of floral crown you want and the types of flowers you want to use. 
~The season of your wedding plays an important part also. 
~Decide whether or not everyone in your bridal party will be wearing them, or just you. 
~Decide how long you want to wear the crown for. The whole time, or just for the ceremony and pictures, or just for the reception. It is up to you! 

~Secure them properly! Bobby pins are a girls best friend! 

~Most importantly: Have fun with it! 

Above is the darling flower girl from Casey and Andrew's wedding. 


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Date Night at Home: Brick Oven Pizza

The best Sweetgrass Social Date Night at Home you and your groom-to-be/hubby can enjoy together is one where you cook together! This week, we are all about pizza and decorating it with all your favorite toppings! You can either buy your own pre-made pizza dough or here's a recipe below for making your own! Include whatever toppings you enjoy - and as many as you like too - this is your creation! This week's recipe is inspired by one of our very own Sweetgrass Social couple's, Jacqueline and Derek, who enjoyed brick oven pizzas on their special day with us!

Make Your Own Pizza Dough
Ingredients
1 tsp active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 cup cold water
1 tsp salt
3 cups bread flour
6 oz. low moisture mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
1/2 cup no salt added canned crushed tomatoes
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp dried oregano
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
6 leaves fresh basil, torn

Directions
Sprinkle yeast over warm water in large bowl. Let stand for 5 minutes to proof. Stir in salt and cold water, then stir in the flour about 1 cup at a time.
When the dough is ready to remove from the bowl, knead on a floured surface until smooth, about 10 minutes.
Divides into two pieces, and form each one into a tight ball.
Coat the dough balls with olive oil and refrigerate in a sealed container for at least 16 hours.
Use a big enough container to allow the dough to rise. Remove the dough from the fridge one hour prior to using.
Preheat the oven, with a pizza stone on the lowest rack, to 550 degrees F. Lightly dust a pizza peel with flour.
Using one ball of dough at a time, lightly dust the dough with flour, and stretch gradually until it is about 14 inches in diameter, or about as big around as the pizza stone.
Place on the floured peel.
Place thin slices of mozzarella over the crust, then grind a liberal amount of black pepper over it.
Sprinkle with dried oregano.
Randomly arranged crushed tomatoes and any other toppings you like. Drizzle olive oil over the top.
With a quick back and forth jerk, make sure the dough will release from the peel easily.
Place the tip of the peel at the back of the preheated pizza stone, and remove peel so that the pizza is left on the stone.
Bake for 4-6 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the crust begins to brown.
Remove from the oven by sliding the peel beneath the pizza. Sprinkle a few basil leaves randomly over the pizza. Cut into wedges and serve!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

New Vendor Spotlight: Aaron Nicholas Photography



Sweetgrass Social would like to extend a warm welcome to Jill & Aaron of Aaron Nicholas Photography as the newest members of our vendors family! We are so excited to see more of their "natural, personal and journalistic" work this upcoming wedding season and want to share some of our favorite details about this newlywed, dynamic duo with y'all!


When asked what the most important advice they could give to a bride and groom as they approach/plan their special day, Jill and Aaron both insisted that it is most important to personalize, personalize and personalize some more! They wanted their wedding to represent who they are as a couple and encourage others to do the same. "It's the little, handmade, personal details that people always remember when our wedding comes up in conversation!" Jill and Aaron met, dated and got engaged while living in South Korea, so having elements that represent this time in their life was very important on their special day. They had a Korean taco truck cater the reception, laid beautiful Asian fans on the ceremony chairs, and included other small touches such as paper lanterns and chopsticks to represent them as a couple.


When planning their own wedding, their photography eyes helped them to prepare in ways different than most. Lighting was a huge factor for the couple; for example, it was very important that they booked a hotel room with lots of natural light for the getting-ready shots. They studied their venue a few days before the ceremony as well to see how the light hit at certain times of the evening. The couple wanted their photographers to know the best angles and the best lighting for the ceremony photographs. They purchased 12 strands of giant white bulb lights to string around the site to bring more ambient light as well. They didn't want the photographer to rely on flash the entire evening, and having bulbs helps to capture the feel of the venue!


Jill insists that the best thing about her job is getting to work with the person she loves, ALL the time! "Aaron is such a huge part of why we're successful"; he is not only a photographer but also the company's photo editor. Jill admires the eye he has for composition and lighting. She also enjoys his laid back personality which balances her out. Aaron also insists that working with his best friend is "a dream come true!" He labels her as the most dedicated and hard working person he's ever met, who genuinely cares about her clients and wants to know them on a more personal level in order to best perform her job. Jill serves as a daily inspiration for Aaron and having her on his team is an "absolute blessing."


Jill & Aaron have only lived in Charleston for 4 weeks but are already "head over heels" for the Holy City! They love the year-round beautiful weather, the stunning beaches, plantation homes and charm of downtown Charleston. "It's one of those places you fall in love with on your first visit and start planning your return trip as soon as you leave! It's no wonder it's one of the top wedding destinations in the U.S.!"


The photographs posted throughout this blog entry and below 
are some of Sweetgrass Social's favorite shots!








































Date Night at Home: Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Brown Butter & Sage

Just like every Thursday, today is Sweetgrass Social's Date Night at Home! This week we are featuring a Sweet Potato Gnocchi recipe from Epicurious. When made with sweet potatoes, these gnocchi dumplings have a much lighter texture. The fresh ricotta also contributes to this light and flavorful dish.

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Brown Sugar & Sage

Ingredients
2 1-lb red-skinned sweet potatoes (yams), rinsed, patted dry, pierced all over with a fork
1 12-ounce container fresh ricotta cheese, drained in sieve 2 hours beforehand
1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese (about 3 ounces)
2 tbsp (packed) golden brown sugar
2 tsp plus 2 tbsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
2 3/4 cups (about) all purpose flour
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
6 tbsp chopped fresh sage plus whole leaves for garnish

Directions
Line large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place sweet potatoes on plate; microwave on high until tender, about 5 minutes per side. Cut in half and cool. Scrape sweet potato flesh into medium bowl and mash; transfer 3 cups to large bowl.
Add ricotta cheese; blend well. Add Parmesan cheese, brown sugar, 2 tsp salt, and nutmeg; mash to blend.
Mix in flour, about 1/2 cup at a time, until soft dough forms.
Turn dough out onto floured surface; divide into 6 equal pieces.
Rolling between palms and floured work surface, form each piece into 20-inch-long rope (about 1 inch in diameter), sprinkling with flour as needed if sticky.
Cut each rope into 20 pieces. Roll each piece over tines of fork to indent. Transfer to baking sheet.
Bring large pot of water to boil; add 2 tbsp salt and return to boil. Working in batches, boil gnocchi until tender, 5 to 6 minutes.
Transfer gnocchi to clean rimmed baking sheet. Cool completely (can be made 4 hours ahead... let stand at room temperature).
Preheat oven to 300°F.
Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook until butter solids are brown and have toasty aroma, swirling pan occasionally, about 5 minutes.
Add chopped sage (mixture will bubble up). Turn off heat. Season sage butter generously with salt and pepper.
Transfer half of sage butter to large skillet set over medium-high heat. Add half of gnocchi. Saute until gnocchi are heated through, about 6 minutes.
Empty skillet onto rimmed baking sheet; place in oven to keep warm. Repeat with remaining sage butter and gnocchi.
Divide gnocchi and sauce among shallow bowls. Garnish with sage leaves.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Wedding Up-Do's!

Whether you're a Sweetgrass Social bride, bridesmaid or guest, you can't go wrong with these five up-do's! To beat this Charleston summer heat, sometimes it's best to get your hair off your neck and into an up-do. Check out these five styles and pick which is best for you!


The Bohemian Twist is a gorgeous way and simple way to give your hair an up-do. Its twists and curls look complicated, but its surprisingly simple to create.

Step 1: Taking 2-inch sections, curl all your hair with a 1-inch curling wand to create a smooth, thicker texture. Then, part it in the middle and divide each side into three sections (top to bottom).
Step 2: Lift the top layer of hair (it should rest just above ear level), tease and twist. Pull it across the back of your head, securing it with bobby pins. Repeat on the other side, and tuck in the ends.
Step 3: Keep going until all six sections are twisted, crisscrossed, and pinned in place. When finished, spritz with firm-hold spray.


The smooth and sophisticated Sleek Tuck is easy-to-master and is perfect for a warm-weather wedding.

Step 1: Apply a pea-sized drop of nourishing hair oil before you blow-dry (always) to give strands extra shine. Once hair is completely dry, create a deep side part and comb it straight.
Step 2: Place hair in a low ponytail using a no-snag band, but don't pull it all the way through the last loop of the elastic; instead, leave a bit out.
Step 3: Smooth the loose hair with a little extra oil, then wrap it around the elastic. Secure it underneath with a few bobby pins, tucking in any stray strands. Set the whole style with hair spray.


This fresh, easy Side Chignon is just as modern as it is timeless. Low-swept curls symbolize the classic chignon while the asymmetrical silhouette lends a more modern, flirty vibe.

Step 1: Using a round brush, blow-dry hair smooth and straight, focusing on the top sections.
Step 2: Once dry, use a large-barrel curling iron to create waves from the ears down.
Step 3: Build height and volume at the crown by teasing hair gently with a fine-tooth comb.
Step 4: Gather hair into a low ponytail. Twist it along the nape of your neck, pinning as you go.
Step 5: Once you reach your ear, shape the remaining hair into curls, and pin them back over the twist.
Step 6: Spritz strands in place. To add texture, gently curl and scrunch the wispy ends with your fingertips.


The Top Know is a formal version of your basic bun without compromising any elegance. Hair is completely swept off the face so it's really quite perfect for an outdoor, summer wedding.

Step 1: Blow-dry hair straight. For a super sleep look, use a flat iron to smooth out the ends.
Step 2: Part your hair on the side. Leaving out a piece in the front, gather it into a high ponytail. Pull the front piece back along your ear and around the ponytail. Pin it around the elastic.
Step 3: Divide the pony into four sections. Twist one section, wrap it around the base and pin.
Step 4: Repeat the process with the remaining three sections until a bun forms. If your hair is layered and spiky pieces pop up here and there, simply pin them into place.


The romantic Half and Half, is an elegant way to do your hair without putting it all up, or slicking it back!

Step 1: Use a large-barrel curling iron to create loose curls all around your head, from the ears down.
Step 2: Part your hair in the middle, and use your fingers to loosen and separate the curls.
Step 3: Starting halfway down the part, begin spritzing your roots with hairspray. Continue to the crown. To create height and volume, tease the sprayed hair with a fine-tooth comb. 
Step 4: Use a brush to gently smooth the teased hair, and gather the sides up into a half ponytail.
Step 5: Secure the sides with pins, then use your fingers to gently shape the curls into place. End with shine spray.

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