*Pantone COLOR OF THE YEAR* – Colorado Wedding Planner

March 31st, 2014

It’s Spring!  And that can only mean one thing  (no, not yard work, although there is that too).  Ladies and gentleman, it is my honor to present the Pantone Color of the Year 2014:

 

**Radiant Orchid**

A Fresh Take on The Bridal Show *Colorado Wedding Planner*

January 4th, 2014

Broderick Lately

November 5th, 2013

I know… I post a lot of pictures of my stinkin’ adorable son.  But wouldn’t you post zillions of pictures of your son if he looked like this?

Exactly.  So here’s what he’s been up to the last couple of months.  He got his first tooth in but there isn’t a picture for that.

He modeled for Janie and Jack (not really).

He took his first airplane ride and saw the ocean for the first time in Miami.

He visited the pumpkin patch and carved his first pumpkin.

He learned how to swing and slide.

He dressed up as an elephant for Halloween and went trick or treating.  No, I didn’t let him eat any candy but even if I had, this blog is a no-judgement zone!  ;)

And hung out with his little cousin, Mary.

 We are all looking forward to his first Thanksgiving and Christmas.  He is a winter baby so it will be nice to return to the season of his roots!

The Toast *Colorado Wedding Planner*

August 20th, 2013

I’ve had several requests to write a post about a widely-dreaded aspect of weddings- the toasts.  Toasting is such a beautiful tradition that has unfortunately acquired a bad rap based of what we see in movies and our own experiences.  It seems they are always too long, too short, or too embarrassing.  So here are a few pointers on giving the perfect toast at a wedding or at any event.

A couple of rules:

Keep it short- Your toast should not be longer than five minutes, and not shorter than one minute.  Longer than five is perceived as droning on and shorter than one is perceived as insincere and unprepared. 

Keep it sweet- Avoid embarrassing stories or any comments that would put the bride, the groom, or their families in a bad light.  Believe it or not, guests are embarrassed listening to your drunken college days stories.  Instead, save those for the bachelor/bachelorette party ;)  

Keep it sincere-  As you’re preparing, think about what the bride or groom means to you, the aspects of their character that you most admire, and a couple of reasons you’re happy that they are marrying the person they are marrying.  A short story of your friendship or the moment when he/she told you that they met their spouse provides special insight into the love that the guests are witnessing at the wedding.  These sentiments complete the picture of love for the guests and brings the celebration full circle.

And of course, raise your glass at the end and toast the bride and groom (you would be surprised how many people forget this icing on the proverbial cake!)

Mike + Samantha *Colorado Wedding Planner*

August 5th, 2013

Venue Spruce Mountain Ranch

Photography Live.Love.Click

Florist The Secret Window

Caterer Cravings

Cake Sugar Plum Cake Shoppe

DJ FUNction Pro DJ Two days after Mike and Samantha graduated from the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, they ventured north to Spruce Mountain Ranch to get married.  In a quaint, intimate, rustic wedding ceremony, Mike and Samantha exchanged vows looking out over the breath-taking view offered by Spruce Mountain Ranch.  Samantha chose sunflowers for the floral decorations and bouquets  complimented perfectly by purple dresses worn by the bridesmaids.  It was an honor to work with these two wonderful people and their friends and family.  Best wishes, Mike and Samantha! If you haven’t considered the Ranch for your wedding venue, I cannot recommend it enough!  Every detail of the property has been rigorously thought through and accounted for.  The staff is amazing and of course the property itself is awe-inspiring.  Check them out here.

 

 

The Modern Man: Broderick’s Nursery

May 2nd, 2013

Those who know me, know I’m not a huge fan of “blue for boys” and “pink for girls” when it comes to clothing, toys, and decor for babies.  I’m also not overly fond of “babyish” stuff scattered around the house.  So when I started planning Broderick’s nursery, I was at a bit of a loss because so  much of what is out there for nurseries are just that: babyish.  So I decided to put “baby” out of my mind and just decorate a room for a stylish, modern little man.

I broke some rules along the way (I’ve never been a big rule follower).  I painted the walls in a dark taupe shade and there is no mobile hanging over the crib, although there were a few that I liked.  There are no toys out in the open other than stuffed animals.  

This was a family project!  The crib was given to us by my parents who found it at a fabulous antique market here in Colorado Springs.  The lion painting was painted by my older sister, Tia.  The silver Tonka truck, in addition to a few others that don’t appear in these photos, was handed down from my father from when he was a little boy.  No wimpy plastic trucks for this little lion! :)  The photos above his crib are of trees from the yards of our family members along with a photo of Dave and I from our maternity shoot.

 

Decorations are from:

Target
West Elm
IKEA

 

 

Color of The Year: Emerald *Colorado Wedding Planner*

April 25th, 2013

Emerald has been dubbed “Pantone Color of the Year” by the color gods!  Endulge yourselves, people.  This is a color that is absolutely stunning on every skin tone.

Mix it in with your wedding palette.

Wear it.

Live in it.

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The Story That Must Be Told *Our Birth Story and Birth Photography*

April 4th, 2013

What an incredible journey- natural childbirth.  It is a journey that I will never forget and feel so thankful for having had experienced.  Though it was the hardest things I’ve ever been through, I’m grateful and profoundly humbled that God would ever allow me to engage in such a pure labor of love to bring forth one of His little treasures.  So here is our story of birth; a story that must be told.

Estimated Due Date: February 16th, 2013

Broderick Michael Springer’s Birthday: February 23rd, 2013.  

At 4:30 a.m. on Friday, February 22nd, I was awoken by very mild contractions.  After timing them for half an hour and realizing they were consistent, I woke Dave and told him I thought this might be something.  We continued to time them for an hour and called our Douala, Katie Johnson, and explained that the contractions were consistent.  She told us that it sounded like we were for sure in labor and to enjoy our morning. We were so excited that this was actually happening!

We got up, made a big breakfast, and sat on our sofa talking about how this was our last morning as a married couple without children.  Our last morning as just the two of us.  It had been snowing that morning and we reminisced about how it had also snowed on our wedding day :)  That quiet morning spent with just the two of us are some of the sweetest moments of my whole life.  They were so full, so meaningful, and so significant. Contractions continued at a very manageable rate.  I showered, did my makeup, and put curlers in my hair.

Katie came over around 3:00 that afternoon to coach and encourage us through labor.  Things continued to go smoothly.  It was calm, peaceful, and intimate.  Just the way we had planned.   Around 8:00 p.m., I became concerned that I had not felt Broderick move much during the day.  Not having a doppler, there was no way to check his heartbeat.  With the added intensity of the contractions, we made the decision that it was time to head to the hospital.

We packed our bags in the car and drove to the hospital to finish labor and finally meet our son. We arrived at the hospital at 9:00 p.m. and went through triage to confirm that labor was well established and to be admitted.  When the nurse placed the doppler on my belly, our little man’s heartbeat was loud and clear and I breathed a huge sigh of relief.  I was 4cm dilated.  But there was a minor complication.  There was maconium in the amniotic fluid, which then required that we do continuous monitoring as opposed to the intermittent monitoring we had in our birth plan.  And this is where things started to get complicated.

We were admitted and settled into our labor and delivery room and got the monitoring going.  It was ridiculous.  They were wireless monitors held on by bands that uncomfortably dug into my sides and back and prevented me from laboring in specific ways that I wanted to.  The nurse had to come in every few minutes and re-adjust the monitor to pick up Broderick’s heartbeat and my contractions simultaneously.  It was extremely distracting, as we were using the Hypnobirthing Method, which calls for deep relaxation exercises.  I ended up doing a lot of the laboring laying in bed. Despite the distracting monitoring, things were progressing smoothly but slowly.

Around 2:00 a.m. on February 23rd, I had progressed to 8cm.  Another hour later, my midwife checked me again and I was still at 8cm.   Another hour later, she checked again.  I was still at 8cm.  Our labor had come to a screeching halt and labor had transitioned from normal labor to back labor (10x more intense than normal labor) because Broderick had shifted his position.  The pain was incredibly intense. Around 5:15 am, my midwife offered a couple alternatives.  She pointed out that I had been at this for over 24 hours, my body was exhausted, and I was unable to relax my pelvis because of the pain.  She suggested that if there was no progress in next 30-45 min, I should take Fentenol or get an epidural so that I could relax and get some rest to gear up for pushing.  I was completely devastated.   I wanted so badly to have a natural birth.  Dave and I had done so much preparation to ensure that we would have a natural, smooth, healthy birth and here I was- stuck at 8 cm in incredible pain with no end in sight, being offered an epidural.

After 45 minutes, my midwife checked me again and I had not progressed.  At that point, I decided to take the Fentenol,  a fast-acting relaxant that does not linger in your system for very long.  They administered the Fentenol a few minutes after 6:00 am.  Within a couple minutes, it seemed to take the edge of slightly and I thought I should get up and try to go to the bathroom to help alleviate some of the pain and help me relax.  With the monitor cords unhooked and wrapped around my neck, and in the middle of a horrible contraction, the nurse and Dave helped me limp to the bathroom.

The moment I sat down, something happened. There was LOTS of pressure.  It was a feeling I had never experienced before.  It was incredibly intense.  I explained the sensation to the nurse and she checked me again and quickly said, “we need to get you back to the bed right now before you have this baby in the toilet.”  As I stood up, I realized I was going to have the opportunity to deliver my baby naturally in the very near future.  The thought was both exciting and terrifying- how was I going to deliver a baby after such an intense several hours?!

After barely making it back to the bed, the nurse checked me once again and then turned to my midwife and exclaimed, “she’s complete!” which meant I had gone from 8cm to 10cm and ready to push in about 5 minutes!  Jana and the nursing staff quickly jumped into action.  There was lots of chaos in the room and I said, “I don’t know how to do this!  I’ve never delivered a baby.  Tell me what to do!”  Katie, my douala, grabbed my face and said, “Listen to your body.  It knows exactly what to do.  You can do this.”

With that, another contraction came and I immediately felt the strongest, most involuntary sensation I’ve ever felt: the urge to push.  So…I pushed!  With each push, I felt our son move further and further down.  With three more pushes, he literally came flying out.  There was no head, then rest, then shoulders and body.  He just came all at once and as soon as he was out…the umbilical cord snapped!  Yes, you read that right.  The cord actually snapped.  My midwife quickly clamped down on the cord.  Of all the medical professionals in the room, no one had ever seen or heard of a cord snapping upon delivery.

Broderick was quickly placed on my chest as Dave and I marveled at our little miracle, crying and embracing him.  It was a moment I will never forget.

The sense of accomplishment when it was all over was great.  And I couldn’t believe he was here!  It was all so surreal and all-consuming at the same time.  Despite the very quick deliver, Broderick was very healthy at birth and is strong and healthy to this day.  He is the greatest thing that has ever happened to Dave and I.  He’s our little Broderick The Brave.

Photos:  Megan Hardre Photography 

Douala:  Katie Johnson, Into Loving Arms

Midwife:  Jana Flesher, CNM, Exceptional Care For Women

*The Motherly Glow* Colorado Maternity Photography

February 2nd, 2013

In full disclosure, and no offense meant to anyone, I’ve never been a fan of most maternity photography.  I’ve often felt that the inner beauty of an expectant mother gets a little lost in most photos.  So when it became my turn to consider maternity photos, I was highly skeptical and dreaded the thought of being photographed standing in a field staring at my baby bump, softly touching tips of wheat.

This is essentially what I told Kathryn Bacalis when I emailed her.  I started the email by listing all the reasons I dislike maternity photography and everything I *didn’t* want them to be…and then I asked her to take my maternity photos.  How is THAT for being the ideal client :)  Luckily, it turned out that Kathryn and I had a very similar vision for what would make an elegant maternity photo.  So we decided we would strike out into uncharted territory for both of us and challenge ourselves to go beyond our comfort zones to make something really beautiful.  

I wanted to feel glamorous, edgy, urban, and elegant.  Kathryn chose the perfect location, The Colorado Springs School.  And by the way, I cannot recommend Kathryn Bacalis Photography enough.  She and her husband, Perry, exercised their artistic eye and talent to make something come to life that I thought didn’t exist.  It *always* pays to work with a professional!

*Kathryn, thank you SO much for making my vision come to life in these photos.  You are so talented and a complete joy to work with*

Répondez, s’il Vous Plaît

January 28th, 2013

We are in the midst of the engagement party season and soon going into the invitation mail-out season for weddings!  I thought this would be a good time to address the frequent frustration of collecting RSVPs for your party and wedding.  Here are a few thoughts…

From the hosts perspective:

If you’ve ever thrown a party or shower for someone, you know how important it is to know how many guests will be attending.  There is the cost for food, drinks (including alcohol), and rentals.  In addition, there is the consideration of venue which is affected by how many people are expected to attend.  When guests do not RSVP by the RSVP date, the host then has to contact all of the guests to collect missing RSVPs at a time when the details for the event are coming together.  For example, cakes are being ordered – what size of cake will you need to order?  Food and alcohol are being purchased and prepared –  how much food and drink will you need to purchase?  Rental orders are being finalized – can you get away with not having a whole extra table, thereby saving a little bit of money?  

This can be mentally, financially, and emotionally taxing on the person throwing the party, and honestly, it compels them to not want to throw parties in the future.

From the guest of honor’s perspective:

If you’ve had a party thrown in your honor, or planned your own wedding, how great does it feel when the host calls you up and needs the phone numbers of 75% of your guests who haven’t RSVPed for your shower yet?  Or what does it feel like when you have to track down RSVPs for 60 of your 100 invited guests for your wedding?  In addition to the major emotional downer, there are also the same (and more) financial aspects to take into account with missing RSVPs.

I cannot tell you how many brides I’ve had to console over this issue and it’s heart breaking every time.  So here are “Ashlee’s Rules For RSVPing”!

1. When you receive the invitation, check your calendar immediately, discuss the plans with those you need to discuss it with, and RSVP right away.  If you can’t stop what you’re doing right then, put a reminder in your phone to handle the RSVP as soon as possible.

2. RSVP regardless of whether you can go or not.  A non-RSVP is NOT the same as a NO RSVP for the host.

3. If you RSVP Yes to an event, go to the event!  Yes, there are exceptions to this.  We all understand that life happens.  But if you must cancel at the last minute, communicate that with the host as soon as possible. 

The only exception to these rules may be bulk invites that we all receive on Facebook.  You know, the happy hour in CA that you’ve been invited to despite the fact that you live in CO :)