Elegant Barcelona Destination Castle Wedding

Jose Luis and I met in graduate school in 2007 and although it wasn’t a standard “storybook romance,” it was crazy and fun and full of travels all over the world. After graduating, we headed in different directions, Jose Luis to India and I to NY, unable to merge our career pursuits and our relationship. We stayed in touch though and after several years apart, we decided to give it another shot, embarking on a challenging, but lovely long distance relationship between NY and São Paulo.

After proposing and my transfer to Brazil, we started to think about the wedding and what we wanted: a lively Persian Spanish celebration filled with food, alcohol, and lots of dancing.

We chose Barcelona because it is where Jose Luis lived for many years and a perfect destination location for our international guests with delicious food and wine. When visiting venues, we fell in love with the Castell de Sant Marçal for it’s old world beauty, the stunning façade, and beautiful grounds. It was a true “this is the one” moment for both of us!

I stumbled upon Joy Thigpen’s portfolio very early and fell in love with her work instantly. I decided to hire her before I even had the venue and a date set. It felt a bit unorthodox but we really connected on our approach to style and design, and most importantly, the concept of creating understated elegance. With a sea of endless inspiration, Joy served as my anchor, pulling together my ideas into a cohesive vision, plan, and action, and steered me to excellent vendors, like Bryce Covey, for our photos.

After our site visit and plan in place, we moved onto the dress. Joy introduced me to the most charming dressmaker in Atlanta, Cheryl Taylor. Bursting with creativity, Cheryl was excited to do something totally different for me. Armed with inspiration of Spanish olive branches and jasmine vines, sample designs from Joy, and images of silhouettes I liked, she designed and created the most exquisite custom dress with hand painted silk screens and imported French lace. She ran with our concept independently, creating a matching hand stitched veil that took hours and hours to sew, as well as lingerie pieces and robe which I was able to use for a boudoir session. I looked forward to our creative and collaborative visits all together in Atlanta and highly recommend for other creative brides to design custom dresses – worth every penny!

The ceremony was held just before dusk in front of the castle. I loved looking out at our family and friends smiling up at us. My husband teared up during the ceremony, which moved me tremendously as he does not show emotions often.

Photography: Bryce Covey // Creative Direction, Styling, and Production: Joy Thigpen Environments // Custom dress, veil, headpiece, and dressing gown: Cheryl Taylor // Custom earrings and ring: Shahrzad Vasseghi of Royal Designs Atlanta // Shoes: Valentino // Groom’s attire: Carolina Herrera // Venue: Castell de Sant Marsal // Florals: Joy Thigpen with assistance by Kelly Lenard and Covadonga de Eguilior // Hair & Makeup: Salon Bigudi // Venue Coordinator: Samantha Hellsman // Vintage Car: Grupo Limousines // Spanish trio of guitars: Javier Van Velthoven

01.15.14 / Featured, Real Weddings, Real Weddings Blog

Barcelona Engagement Session

From Joy:

I just have to say…this engagement session (and the wedding you’ll see tomorrow, for that matter) really was as magic as it appears. Possibly even more so in real life. As we wandered through the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona, somehow we ended up with the place almost entirely to ourselves, save for a few passersby and the occasional street musician, whose disembodied sounds reverberated through the stone corridors long before we ever encountered it’s source(rers). It was hauntingly enchanting. I have a video on my phone if you want to hear the music. :)
Photography by Bryce Covey // Creative Direction + Styling by Joy Thigpen

01.14.14 / Featured, Real Weddings, Real Weddings Blog

Find your Dream Dress with Impression Bridal


Are you looking for the gown that will make you feel your best on your wedding day? Since 1986, Impression Bridal has been creating memorable wedding gowns that flatter and delight, displaying true value.Impression’s designer bridal gowns are made with the most luxurious material to ensure that your wedding dress feels as sensational as it looks. Impression Bridal crafts bespoke pieces by focusing on the details of each gorgeous design, including exclusive couture quality micro beading that truly stands out from any other designers. With top quality fabrics and embellishments, skillful needlework, and technology that highlights the shape of a woman’s body, each dress is a work of art! Impression Bridal’s newest collection features intricate construction methods and meticulous attention to detail, offering bridal gowns with unmatched quality, value, comfort and fit. Your wedding dress is one of the most important purchases of your life, and we love that Impression Bridal focuses so intently on creating pieces that will last a lifetime.

All brides are looking for something different in their dress, but every bride wants her dream dress to fit like a glove. Every one of Impression’s wedding dresses is crafted to make the bride feel her best with a unique construction technique called “Magic Fit” that trims the waist while supporting the bust, helping to create a more hourglass figure.  Magic Fit by Impression is designed to enhance your natural figure while also lessening the amount of alterations you need, and in turn, saving you money!

Impression Bridal gowns connect personally with brides by echoing timeless classic style and including modern trends that reflect your personal taste. Impression Bridal leads the industry with fashion-forward designs while creating affordable wedding dresses that cater to a wide variety of brides’ personal styles. From rustic and understated to opulent and glamorous, we’re sure you can find a wedding dress style to fit your style and personality!

Impression Bridal’s commitment to quality and craftsmanship makes a difference that you have to see to believe. Visit www.impressionbridal.com today to find your perfect dress and locate your nearest retailer!

01.14.14 / Featured, New Sponsor Blog

Intimate Clifton Inn Wedding

Kendall and I are opposites in practically every way thinkable, so planning a wedding we would both be happy with was an extreme challenge. He likes detailed to-do lists and grand get-togethers, and I prefer spontaneity and intimate gatherings.  On top of that, we had considerable cultural differences. Needless to say, we contemplated eloping!  Kendall likes things to get done fast, and I like things to be simple, so it seemed like the perfect option for us. That’s how we came across the Clifton Inn. They offer elopement and petite wedding packages, and we were immediately won over by its charm.

The wedding day itself surpassed all of my expectations. Between waking up to Kendall’s handmade donuts and being surrounded by my mom and sister in the time leading up to the ceremony, I could not have asked for more precious moments.  Even my dad, who had passed away unexpectedly only eight months before, was able to walk with me down the aisle as his wedding band was attached to my bouquet. Feeling the heat of the fireplace blanket my skin as we said our vows mirrored the overwhelming love that Kendall covers me in daily, and my eyes were filled with grateful tears in that instant.

Our ceremony was followed by a cozy brunch, complete with pancakes and mimosas. Cherishing the words spoken in toasts given by our family members, we dined on cake and drank champagne. Finally, we retreated to the Fleetwood Cadillac which awaited us, and we rode around the city of Charlottesville treasuring our first few moments together as Mr. & Mrs. Nicholson.

Allison + Kendall {Clifton Inn} from Shaking Hands Productions on Vimeo.


Photography: Laura Gordon Photography | Gown: Sarah Seven | Shoes: Gucci | Venue: Clifton Inn | Cake: Clifton Inn | Florals: Pat’s Floral Designs | Car service: Albemarle Limousine | Groom’s suit: Polo Ralph Lauren (custom tailored with gold buttons) | Groom’s bow tie: Mrs. Bow Tie | Video: Shaking Hands Productions

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01.13.14 / Featured, Real Weddings, Real Weddings Blog