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Styled; A Look into mStarr Event Styling + Design

Posted by Becca Olcott April 26, 2013 08:00 AM

Last week Casey and I had the pleasure of oo'ing and ahh'ing over the details and thoughtfulness that go into everything mStarr Event Styling + Design touches. As Emily defined what styling weddings really means to her, we began to grasp the reach of her incredible service. If you’re a bride who loves great accents (like we do), whether you need a little guidance or soup-to-nuts support, Em’s your gal. Check her website out here.


BI: How did you get your start?

MS: Frankly, I got married...isn’t that the only way? I’ve always had a creative outlet, and helping friends plan parties, showers, etc was just second nature to me.

BI: So what took you from bride to the full time plunge into the industry?

MS: I really became my own planner throughout my wedding. I found that when I got back from my honeymoon, and after the holidays, I was still browsing Style Me Pretty and connecting with the vendors I had cultivated relationships with. I just couldn’t shake it. So, I started a website, and the rest is history.

BI: What inspires you?

MS: What doesn’t inspire me?

BI: Touché Ms. Starr. Okay here’s a fun one, what three colors are your IT colors right now?

MS: teal, gold, mint.


BI: And just for good measure, if we bump into you in a coffee shop what will you always have by your side?

MS: My laptop with Illustrator, Photoshop, Evernote, and Bloglovin’ set up. And for my non-technological accompaniments I’ll have my Rifle notebook, a paper cutter and ribbon.


BI: Can you explain a little more about what styling entails?

MS: Styling to me is multifaceted---the design of a wedding takes shape when all of the details cohere and become more than the sum of their parts. It’s my job as a stylist to oversee those details.

BI: What is your favorite part of styling a wedding or event?

MS: I love the combination of personal and pretty. When I first meet a potential client I try to get their full story, how they met, how they fell in love, and with each memory I try to incorporate of little of them into each detail. I will always go the extra mile!


Images by Casey of Hello Love Photography and Instagram Pics by Em Herself...isn't she a Starr?

Do or Don't: Skipping the cake

Posted by Casey Harrison April 24, 2013 12:37 PM

If you were stranded on a desert island and could only have one dessert every day, what would it be? If the answer is not cake (and for most people, it's not), then skipping the wedding cake is a DO! I appreciate the tradition of a wedding cake, but there's no need to serve a dessert at your wedding that you don't actually love. There are so many options: pies! cupcakes! candy! macarons! Don't deny your guests a little something sweet, but do feel free to choose something that you love to eat!

At our wedding, we hired a gelato cart to come serve gelato to our guests. As ice cream lovers, we felt like it was the perfect finishing touch to our dinner. So, what's your favorite sweet? Are you considering a non-traditional dessert at your wedding?


Stay safe, Boston.

Posted by Casey Harrison April 19, 2013 11:16 AM

It's been a rough week for our beloved city. It's been amazing to see how Boston has pulled together to help those in need, and I have no doubt that we will continue to do so. Let's all cross our fingers that Boston will be back to normal in the very near future, and keep those affected by the recent events in our hearts. Stay safe this weekend, Boston friends.


Do or Don't: A Social Media Free Wedding

Posted by Becca Olcott April 17, 2013 09:20 AM

This past weekend my husband and I were in Vermont with friends for a site visit. Being that this particular wedding is to celebrate said friends, we got to tag along for a whole weekend of fun activities. Over our dinner Saturday night the bride-to-be posed an interesting question that sparked some good discourse. How to cordially ask guests to not post pictures on Facebook or Instagram during the wedding or even the week after? In this day and age, is it possible to limit the intimacy of a wedding to just the close family and friends who are present? A way to not invite our myriad other, digital "friends" into the sacred occasion?

It's a sensitive subject. But take solace in the fact that you are grappling with this issue alongside every other modern bride. If presented in the correct, respectful way, I think it's fine to be direct with your guests. This can be accomplished as they arrive with a sign, or maybe a note in the program simply stating something like, " We are here today to celebrate our union with our closest friends and family and would like to ask you to preserve and celebrate this moment without the use of social media."

I've wavered in thinking if this is a good idea or not, mostly because it feels a little funny to even mention these services at your wedding, but the truth is social media is a part of our lives now. Furthermore, because we are the first generation to use it, the nuances of social media etiquette aren't well defined or understood at this point. Thus, in order to achieve an intimate day without modern intrusions, you may have to be prepared with a little old-fashioned bluntness.

Dear Inspired: How do I deal with the "plus-one" issue?

Posted by Casey Harrison April 15, 2013 11:11 AM

Hello Ladies!

We are inviting about 250 guests to our wedding this year, and are paying for most of the wedding ourselves. Over much debate, we made a financial decision to invite our guests without a + 1 (unless they are engaged/married or we are close friends with both parties).

In good intentions, some of the guests we invited have brought up in conversation: "Hey guys! Your wedding is going to be awesome! My boyfriend/ girlfriend ______ is super excited to come!" Although, on the save the date/invitation, their +1 was not listed. This happens quite often in social settings recently, and to not hurt feelings, our guest list keeps growing.

Is there a tactful way to express that we are not inviting +1's to our wedding when someone brings it up in conversation? Or, should we let more love surround us that day, and move around our budget to accommodate unexpected +1s?

Plus-One Perplexed

Dear Perplexed,

This is a great question - the "and guest" debate can get pretty heated! The standard etiquette is that spouses, fiances, and live-in partners should be invited to attend the wedding. From there, it is up to the discretion of the bride and groom. Long-term boyfriends or girlfriends are up to you, but it's usually a good idea to make one rule and stick with it to keep things fair.

Since it is your wedding (and your budget), you are definitely not being unfair by mentioning it to them. It's possible that they just didn't look closely at the invitation and didn't realize that they weren't asked to bring a date. Anna Post says in the famous Emily Post guidelines, "It's not okay for guests to ask you to make exceptions, so it won't be rude in the least to stand by your guest list." Of course you can do this as politely as possible, simply by letting them know that you wish you could accommodate their date, but your budget simply won't allow for it. As friends of yours, they should understand!

Best of luck!

P.S. It's not an official rule, but I always think it's kind to make an exception for someone who won't know anyone else at the wedding. Receptions can be lonely without a dance partner! :)

Do or Don't: Receiving lines

Posted by Casey Harrison April 10, 2013 11:24 AM

While receiving lines can be a bit long and tedious, I have to say that they are still a major DO. You may want to spend the time taking photos or doing something else, but it's important to remember that you are the host of your wedding and it is your responsibility to greet each guest and thank them for coming to celebrate with you. Guests may not remember the place card display or your first dance song, but they will remember the time they got to spend chatting with you on your big day. Some guests may have traveled from far away to attend the wedding, and it can be a disappointment to not have any time to speak with the bride and groom they came to see.

While you don't have to do a traditional receiving line after the ceremony, it can be the most efficient way to be sure to greet everyone. Some brides and grooms choose to do their rounds later in the night, but that can often lead to the happy couple missing their dinner. However you choose to do it, be sure to make room in your wedding day schedule to greet your lovely guests and thank them for showing their support!


Dear Becca and Casey...Detailed in Boston

Posted by Becca Olcott April 8, 2013 10:40 AM

Dear Becca and Casey,

I'm one of last of my friends to take the plunge, and it seems there are SO many more outlets now for inspiration even than just 3 years ago. Between my daily check-ins to SMP, Once Wed and Pinterest, I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed with details and projects. Do you know if this is something I can hire a planner to take care of?

Thanks, Detailed in Boston

Oh, not to fret Ms. Detailed in Boston,

As a recent bride myself, and being in the industry, I can remember clearly just how overwhelming the planning process can be. Do we have the right container for the iced lemonade with a cute enough saying on the label? Are the cocktail straws the right shade of grey to compliment the napkins? These little things can keep your head spinning in a details abyss if you're not careful!

Don't get me wrong, I love the unbelievable creativity that pours through my Pinterest feed every hour, but it's also super easy to lose track of what the wedding is all about in the first place.

If details get you in a tizzy, then I highly recommend two steps: 1. You do hire a planner to help you organize your details---there are plenty of planners and wedding stylists/designers in the area that specialize in organizing all the odds and ends. And 2. Start the tradition of iPhone and wedding-talk free date nights; full of romance and your daily sharing of stress free moments with your love. I truly believe that getting intimate about the details of you two while ditching the wedding for a night is key to remaining sane throughout the planning process. After all, it may be hard to see in the planning stages, but the marriage only begins once the wedding's over.

Best of Luck,

Have a wonderful spring weekend!

Posted by Casey Harrison April 5, 2013 09:23 AM

I don't know about you all, but I am DONE with cold weather. It seems to me that we may finally be out of the woods! It should be a perfect weekend to be outside - do you have wedding errands to run? Venues to visit, tents to choose, cakes to taste?

Hope you get to spend time outside this weekend! We'll be back next week with lots more wedding fun, including another interview with a great local vendor.

Until then, here is some spring inspiration. This is a photo I took of the magnolia trees along Commonwealth Avenue last year. Becca says they should be blooming again really soon - woo hoo!

Do or Don't: Picking a Unique Wedding Song

Posted by Becca Olcott April 3, 2013 07:27 AM

What?! Were you thinking of clutching each other close for "Lady In Red"? I say do do do! Pick a song that's special to you as a couple but also that has a little spark to it. You don't need to show off for any of your guests, or feel pressure to pick a "hot" song, just be totally true to the nature of the two of you for your first dance. One of my favorites was my friend Lindsay and her husband Luke, last year when they danced to a Jack Johnson and Paula Fuga song, "Country Road". They swayed to every end of the dance floor, she jumped into his arms, they took "the dip" to a whole new level, and it was just SO them! Every guest was ready for a celebration after that! So, whether your song is NKOTB, CCR, or Marky Mark, seize the moment and set the tone for the party to follow!
Thumbnail image for Stacey Hedman Photography_First Dance
photo by Stacey Hedman Photogrpahy

Dear Inspired: Should I do an engagement session?

Posted by Casey Harrison April 1, 2013 11:31 AM

Dear Becca and Casey,

I just booked my wedding for next summer (July 2014), and now I am booking a photographer. I am trying to decide whether or not I need engagement photos taken. What are some of the pros and cons? My fiance is really not into the idea, but I think it might be nice. What do you think? Do most couples get engagement photos taken?

Thanks in advance for your words of wisdom!

Engaged and Confused

Dear Engaged and Confused,

I get this question from pretty much every single one of my couples! Engagement photos are totally optional (at least with my packages they are - but some photographers include them with every package). Some couples want photos to use for their save-the-dates or for their wedding website, and some couples just want to have some nice photos of themselves dressed in non-wedding attire. All of those are great reasons to have engagement photos taken!

Personally, I think the best reason to take engagement photos is to get comfortable with having your photo taken. For most people, their wedding is the first time that they are being professionally photographed. Some people don't realize that it can be a little uncomfortable! Even I, as a photographer, can forget how strange it feels to look into a camera and smile. Engagement photos are a great, low-pressure way to get used to the idea of being posed and having your photo taken. It's a great chance to get more comfortable with your photographer as well, and to get to know the way they work and shoot. It can make all the difference on the wedding day!

Another thing to consider is that engagement photos can be a good opportunity to capture a place that is special to you two that you might not be able to access on the wedding day. I've done engagement shoots on boats, in parks, in coffee shops, and lots of other places that might not be easily accessible to a bride in a big white dress. You can also use engagement photos to capture a season you love (maybe you're getting married in July but you love fall in New England)!

Best of luck, and congratulations!



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