Intimate Family Session with Rylee Hitchner

Intimate and organically styled family photography sessions are such a precious way to capture a budding family, and Rylee Hitchner has a gift for capturing a family as they truly are. Emily, Brett, and Lily are all so sweet together, and Rylee has been beautifully photographing their journey as a family over the years.

From Once Wed’s own, Emily Newman:

The wonderfully talented Rylee Hitchner recently took some family photos for us and I couldn’t resist sharing them on Once Wed. We’ve been so fortunate to have Rylee documenting our family from the very beginning when I was still pregnant with Lily.

When I look at these photos, I love how perfectly they capture this sweet time in our lives with Lily. Every day I am greeted with “Momma, I need to give you a kiss” and the affection doesn’t stop until bedtime. I’m amazed at how compassionate and loving she is at such a young age, and I treasure these moments because I know how quick these younger years fly by. Lily is almost three, and fills our life with so much laughter, love, and fun. Thank you to my gracious friend, Rylee, for gracing the walls of our home with such beautiful memories.

Photography: Rylee Hitchner 

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12.05.14 / Featured

DIY Unique Gift Wrapping Tutorial

It’s finally the holiday season, and with Christmas just a few weeks away, it’s time to start thinking about presents and wrapping! We loved working with Simone LeBlanc and Nancy Neil to create this elegant and unique DIY wrapping tutorial for you. Keep reading to find out more about Simone’s inspiration and for the full supply list and step-by-step tutorial!
From Simone LeBlanc:

I was inspired by old-world flora etchings and watercolors for this holiday DIY wrapping project. By using simple hand-made details such as a color printer, a touch of holiday shine and a few finishing touches, we turned the basic, ready-made kraft box into an elevated, elegant holiday wrapping collection.


1. Flora Fauna Images: Choose seasonal images with an antique feel in both black and white and color. I selected these greenery and flower images from Dover Pictur.
2. Kraft Label Paper: Paper Bag from Paper Source is the perfect kraft color. I love the full sheet label size as it’s so easy to print.
3. Kraft Boxes: Choose a few different sizes depending on the size of your various gifts. I like these from Paper Mart as they are affordable and versatile.
4. Sumi Paint: This paint is a more natural metallic and gives a beautiful luminescence when it’s painted on kraft. I bought this set at my local Blick.
5. Flat Paintbrush: Any kind of small brush will do.
6. Hemp Twine: For tying around your boxes (found here).
7. Wax Seal and Sealing Wax: Use a pre-designed seal or create your own. You can do both at Letter Seals. Bronze or copper sealing wax pairs really nicely with this color palette.


1. Print your flora and fauna images in different sizes on the kraft label paper.
2. Trim them to your box sizes and adhere to box tops, making sure to not seal the boxes shut when you do.
3. For an added touch of holiday sparkle, paint the edges of the box lightly with sumi paint. Don’t worry about being perfect here, just give it enough coverage to add some shine.
4. Pack up your box with it’s intended gift and when you’re ready to seal it up simply wrap your hemp twine around the box, twice in each direction.
5. Then seal at the cross point with your wax seal. Your gift is ready for giving!

Tutorial by: Simone LeBlanc | Photography: Nancy Neil 

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12.04.14 / DIY Wedding Blog, DIY Weddings, Featured

How to Shop for Engagement Rings

Shopping for an engagement ring isn’t quite as easy as for your other accessory splurges. This is an undeniably special piece to be loved and cherished for the rest of your life, much like the person you’re about to marry. With such expectations, it’s easy to get caught up in the stress and pressure that comes with picking the perfect ring for you; one that matches your personal style and reflects not just you as a person, but also the most important relationship in your life.

These days, engagement rings go far beyond the classic, simple band with a centered diamond. While that’s still an option, we’re seeing countless new trends in bridal jewelry, from bold gemstones and cocktail-style rings, to more embellished bands with geometric diamond shapes and patterns.

To make engagement ring shopping an enjoyable experience for the both of you, we’ve compiled some key tips below to help you narrow in on the best style for you. Making sure all of the bases are covered, we’ve enlisted some help from the engagement ring experts at the leading e-retailer of ethically sourced fine bridal jewelry, Brilliant Earth.

Step One: Drop Some Hints! 

Once we’re ready to take that step with your future partner, it’s imminent that “the talk” occurs, just like it did when you decided to officially date. Whether you bring up the topic by way of a couple you know that has recently gotten engaged/married or by “accidentally” stopping the channel surfing on “Say Yes to the Dress,” the topic needs to come up and you need to affirm your stance on the engagement ring you want. It can be as simple as saying “Did you see the ring Dave gave to Ashley? I sure love that round shape with a halo of diamonds around it” (hint hint), or by delving deep into a conversation that allows you to express your values in finding the perfect ring together, hints and conversations are your best friend when it comes time to discuss the next step in your relationship.

Step Two: Consider Your Personal Style

Now that you’ve happily jumped that hurdle and are ready to make it official, it’s time to consider the engagement ring. The engagement ring reflects our personal style more so than our clothing choices, as it’s a little more permanent than that time you dyed your hair blonde for a summer test drive.

“All the adjectives that might pop into your head when you think of yourself, such as traditional, unconventional, socially conscious, unique, glamorous, artistic, or refined, will come in handy while searching for the perfect ring. The words that describe you as a person should guide your choice of carat size, gemstone, precious metal, and setting style,” say the experts at Brilliant Earth.

Step Three: Pick Your Gemstone

Although engagement rings have traditionally featured diamonds, other gemstones have also begun to catch brides’ eyes. “About 90 percent of engagement rings feature diamonds, but sapphires are the second-most popular gemstone,” says Brilliant Earth. If you’re looking to stand out, a colored gemstone can be a beautiful and elegant way to reflect your personal tastes and convey a more unconventional look. Many brides-to-be are surprised to learn that sapphires aren’t available only in shades of deep blue, but also can be found in yellow, pink, and many more hues. Since the center stone is the main focus of the ring, play around with different looks to really make sure you’re casting the perfect lead for your stunning setting. 

Step Four: Decide on a Metal

When we think of engagement rings, we mostly think of a gold or silver band. However, we’d be doing ourselves a serious disservice if we didn’t consider platinum, yellow gold, rose gold, and white gold. All are absolutely stunning, but be sure to keep in mind the jewelry you usually wear and consider if you want the ring to contrast or blend in with your everyday pieces. Of course, you’ll also need to consider budget.  

Step Five: Pinpoint Any Specific Details

This may be the hardest part, but the details are the final touch to bringing your ring to fruition. From personalized engraving to gemstone-encrusted bands, the options to add that last little magic touch to your most coveted piece are endless. With so many options, it’s good to note maybe one or two key details at most that are important to you so you can eliminate a lot of choices from the beginning.

Even if you are still on Step One (or haven’t quite found your future engagement ring shopping partner yet), having an idea of the options available will make finding the perfect ring all the easier when it comes time to say, “I do.” 

To help you figure out which style might fit you best, peruse the collections on Brilliant Earth and feel free to “create your own ring” too, a trend that has become more popular than ever before, making the options just that much more diverse. 

Article by: Brilliant Earth | Photo: Rylee Hitchner

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12.04.14 / Featured, Wedding Ideas, Wedding Ideas Blog

Organic Outdoor Mountainside Wedding

These two are just too cute for words, together since High School, Jacob and Annie wed held their organic mountainside wedding in one of their favorite spots. Keep reading for more from Annie:

From the Bride:

After our love survived two last years of high school, a year of long distance dating, several near death encounters upon mountain tops, two crazy summers filled with insane work schedules, and a school year spent in Denver, Nate proposed atop the same mountain where he asked me to be his girlfriend. Our post-wedding happily-ever-after includes plans for a cross country road trip, many early morning coffee dates, revamping our tiny apartment, spur of the moment city park picnics, mountain climbing adventures, late night popcorn binges, and lots of quality family and friend time. You can find the entire proposal story where Nate lost the ring on my personal blog:

Photographer: Jacob Brooks of Brumley And Wells | Designer/Creative Director/ Stylist: Elsa Jagniecki of Heirlooms Durango | Florals: April Albert of Blossoms Durango  | Paper Goods: Annie Brooks of The Wells Makery | Calligraphy: Annie Brooks of The Wells Makery | Venue: Kairalla Residence | Cake Design: Flour Sack Durango  | Rentals: Flour Sack Durango | Catering: Cynthia Stewart of Harvest Grill And Greens  | Favors: Animas Chocolate Company | Wedding Dress: JCrew  – Manuela | Wedding Shoes: Madewell – The Criss Cross Sightseer Sandal


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12.03.14 / Featured, Real Weddings, Real Weddings Blog