Post-Wedding Blues

Weddings usually invoke images of their dazzling components. It’s enough to fill you with warm feelings and picture every detail from the way the tulle falls on the bride’s gown to how the cake melts in your mouth. Experiencing it, whether you’re the bride, groom, a member of the bridal party, or a guest, is a surefire way to understand the accompanying bliss. But when the day ends, the dresses are put away, and the cake has been eaten, many brides begin to transition into a phase of overwhelming sadness.

This isn’t the bittersweet wish of wanting to relive the day, but rather a deeper sadness that rarely gets recognition. A Vanity Affair bride who chose to remain anonymous shared her experience with us and we were grateful to hear a real-life account of a common feeling that is seldom mentioned, much less talked about.

“I wasn’t very attached to my wedding. I would just kind of pick things and call it good. I hated the process and it wasn’t something that I would consider ‘the best thing ever.’ I just wanted to get to the wedding day,” she said. When the day rolled around she loved it. She reveled in every emotion and moment, experiencing a high she’d hadn't felt before. Being the middle of winter, it's typically uncommon to be that ecstatic.

“I continued to ride that high wave through the honeymoon, and then I got home and found out that my mom was feeling really low, but I was still up on that wave. And since I’m a hair dresser I got to relive that experience for about a month and a half after. Then after my clients started coming back I couldn’t talk about it again and it was over. I hit this really intense low. I didn’t want to see anything bridal; I unfollowed all of the bridal stuff on Instagram. I didn’t want to look at my own wedding pictures or communicate with anyone about my wedding.” The complicated feelings she dealt with are common, but how do you confide in someone without sounding ungrateful or indifferent about such an important day? This guilt seems to be a main reason why post-wedding blues isn’t often talked about among brides and bride-to-bes. ABC News even reported on it, and speaking with a psychologist they found that post-wedding blues is very real. Similar to postpartum depression, when you crash after such an intense period of planning, stress, and excitement the aftermath can be emotionally draining.

“People don’t really talk about it. They ask you how life is as a newlywed, but I’m mourning this loss of planning a wedding and losing the identity of being a bride. No one really warned me of how I’d feel after,” she said. She also admits that she’s not quite sure what she’d tell other brides to help them conquer it. “Maybe that they should beware, and it’s okay if you don’t want to look at your pictures and it’s okay if you don’t want to write your thank you cards.”

She emphasized the importance of reaching out to your bridesmaids and other members of your wedding. If you continue to go out and plan things for after your big day it makes it easier to take your mind off the wedding. Refraining from hyperactivity on social media is helpful too. Bombarding yourself with pictures of weddings and even your own wedding can result in comparison, what-ifs, and negative thinking. Take a social media detox and spend time as a newlywed couple doing things that don’t require phones. 

Remember too that you have a support system, and the feelings will pass. “It’s real, it’s hard, but you're gonna make it through.” 


A Mini Farewell to Danielle

Our lovely production director Danielle De Marco Smith is about to start an exciting new chapter in her life. She and her husband have a new baby on the way and she’ll be focused on lots of play time, sleep, and maneuvering the new mazes of parenthood. We’ll undoubtedly miss her while she is gone, so we discussed her work at Vanity Affair and her incoming bundle of joy before she’s off on maternity leave. 

What are you most excited about for the new baby?
To find out the gender (we didn't find out, so it will be a big surprise!), to hug it and squeeze it, and to put little baby clothes on it! 

What are you most excited about for maternity leave?
I am taking 3 months off–I’ve never had three months off of work in my entire life! That's pretty rad in itself. My husband works for Nike and he gets two months of leave. Having leave in general and having it with my husband so we can learn to be new parents together is the most amazing thing. In my head I picture us taking long fall walks, grabbing coffee, going wine tasting and having lots of family and friends, but I'm sure in reality it’s going to be us lying on our couch in sweats with dirty hair, hungry and tired. That will still be OK though!

What are you going to miss most about your time away from Vanity Affair?
There is no greater joy than expanding your family and watching a baby grow inside of you, but when you absolutely love your job it is so hard to step away. The biggest challenge has been planning our fall weddings and not being able to physically be there on the day of. As a wedding planner, you build personal relationships with clients and the best part of the planning is seeing it all come together for their big day. I am very sad to miss these weddings. 

What is one or two things you’ve learned while working as a production director that you didn’t expect?
Coming into this career I didn't think that what one client needs would differ so greatly from another. Every client is so different and their needs from their planner are as well. You have to cater to many different types of people and it’s our job to meet those needs (and even figure out what they are at times).  

What advice do you have for couples as more engagements occur and they start planning their weddings?
Don't wait until summer to get married! Summer is beautiful, but so is winter and spring. Those months get left out and guests love to attend weddings in the off season when they have little planned. You'll be surprised at how ready people are to party in May vs. September!!  

What is your favorite part of helping during the wedding day? Most complicated?
My favorite part is truly watching a couple and their guests enjoy the day. Nothing fills me with greater joy than seeing the love that surrounds a couple on their wedding day–the happiness and love is palpable. And of course seeing the design come together. The most complicated is managing all the requests (maybe this is good practice for being a mom!). People are coming at you from all angles and you are supposed to know the answer to everything from bridesmaids to guests to every single vendor on-site! 

What are you looking forward to most upon your return? 
I am just excited to get into our weddings for 2018! We have some incredible ones on the books and I'll be excited to meet those clients and start planning their day!

What are you most hesitant about returning to work after a baby?
Daycare is a huge stress. I’m sure all new parents feel this way, but it’s so scary to think about being away from your little one. You worry, you try to plan the best you can, but in the end it’s just going to be sad to leave this person to go to work. I think it makes it much more doable when you love your job though so I'm really grateful for that!  

We’ll miss you Danielle, but we can’t wait to see you and the new baby in a few short months!


Introducing Laura Hooper & Our Portland Calligraphy Workshop

Calligraphy is no longer an antiquated art form. In fact, it’s coming back with full force and being delicately applied to everything from wedding invitations to coffeeshop signs. It’s a simple, yet stunning way to add detail, personality, and craftsmanship to anything in need of words or a title. 

This coming October 21st, talented calligrapher Laura Hooper will be gracing Portland with her presence in collaboration with Vanity Affair for a modern calligraphy workshop at Studio 1904. But before we grab our nibs and ink, we spoke with Laura about what we can expect from this creative Saturday event and how she got her start. Make sure you nab your tickets from this link or the one below before it’s sold out!


How did you first get started with calligraphy? 
My mom taught me broad edge calligraphy when I was around 11 years old. I’ve always been artistic and had a weekend job personalizing caricatures with the broad edge calligraphy. Around age 21, my best friend was getting married, and I offered to address her envelopes. I wanted to do this in pointed pen calligraphy, so I just started experimenting on my way and went from there!

Why is this such an important art form in your opinion? What about calligraphy is special to you? 
Calligraphy is such a beautiful art. The rhythmic movements of the pen, the idea of writing with a dip pen and ink, it’s all pretty romantic and the outcome is just stunning once you get really comfortable with the art. There is something special about physical mail and the written word and calligraphy just brings it all together.


What was your biggest mistake? What about your greatest victory?
While I appreciate the path I took because it helped me to develop very strong troubleshooting skills with the art, I’d say my biggest mistake was jumping straight into writing words. I didn’t take the time to really work on my skills - improving letter consistency, smoothing out my lines, learning about letter connections. I just skipped ahead to the fun part of addressing envelopes and because of that it took me longer to improve. That was over 15 years ago though! I think my greatest victory has been taking advantage of the opportunity to share the art through our workshops and at-home learning. Sharing the art with so many individuals through our in-person classes as well as starter kits that have shipped all around the world means so much to me. When I first started, there was very little interest in the art of calligraphy, so experiencing this resurgence has been really special.

What has been your favorite part about being a calligrapher, and why did you decide to focus strongly on the wedding industry?
I love being the very first impression that a guest has for a couple’s wedding. When someone receives a beautifully hand-addressed envelope for the save the date or wedding invitation, it really does set the tone for the whole celebration. I sort of fell into the wedding industry since that’s how I initially got started, but as the industry grew, my business and I evolved right along with it. If I could address envelopes all day long, I really would. There’s quite a bit more to running a business, though!


What can students look forward to at the upcoming workshop in Portland?
In our beginner session we start by covering the tools themselves–the oblique pen holder, grid paper, nibs & ink–before getting started with practice strokes. Once we have a chance to get everyone semi-comfortable with the pen (it takes a bit of time to get really comfortable), we move into a beginner alphabet and cover the full alphabet, upper and lower case. During class we talk about tips for practicing, more recommended supplies, next steps and more, and once we wrap up the alphabet we will talk about cleaning and pen care. 

What is your biggest piece of advice for calligraphers who want to make something out of their work?
Don’t give up. Calligraphy is a skill that takes practice, dedication and repetition over time to develop. Having tools that work well together will make it a more enjoyable learning experience too. We share our top tips for new calligraphers here

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Laura Hooper’s workshops have been held across the states and many attendees have praised her for her and her sister’s patience, passion, and teaching skills. “I’ve been wanting to dive into calligraphy for so long, and your workshop helped me address some of the main issues I’ve had in my first attempts,” said Julie. And Melissa L. drove four hours to Toronto to get her fill of technique and application. Don’t miss out on the chance to learn or enhance your artistic abilities and be inspired. To buy your tickets follow this link. We look forward to seeing you there!


Photos courtesy of Anne Kim


Meet Melissa

I am so thrilled to be writing this post and to be coming on as the newest team member at Vanity Affair Events. My name is Melissa and I’m lucky enough to be working as the new Communications Manager. Talking about yourself is always an intimidating feat, so I’ve decided to break my story down into five pieces.

1. Where am I from? I was born on the East Coast in the tiny little state of Connecticut. For seven years I was able to experience the surreal autumn leaves, history-laden towns, snow-packed winters, and incredible Italian food. A cross-country move with my mom and sister brought me out to Oregon where I’ve now lived for 14 years.

2. What is my background? My seven-year old self would probably be disappointed to find out that I went to school not to become a paleontologist, but a writer. I attended the University of Oregon, and after three years graduated with a Bachelor of Science in journalism. I’ve written for several magazines and companies and I’m excited to transfer my words and ideas over to Vanity Affair.

3. Why do I write? I used to write wild fictional stories when I was little and realized later that writing wasn’t only fun, but with it you could move and entertain people. My stories worked their way from places brimming with unicorns to nonfiction pieces for publications. Creativity can take you so far no matter how you decide to use it. I believe my writing not only helps me express myself, but connect with others. 

4. What are my passions? Buying books and convincing myself I have time to read all of them, trying to read all of those books, eating my way around Portland, planning vacations years in advance, pinning on Pinterest, and occasionally doing Pilates or Zumba if it means an acaí bowl comes after.

5. Why weddings? While weddings always inspired me, it took me a while to realize what my role could be in them. I’m not a professional photographer or a florist, cooking certainly isn’t my forte, and I’ve never been a bride myself, but being part of someone’s special day, witnessing it, and helping them somehow capture it is important to me. When I was given the chance to write about weddings and interview couples I knew I found my place. The world can feel really chaotic and overwhelming, so sharing love, excitement, and all the wonderful (and not-so-wonderful) things that go into weddings can be so refreshing and help us all remember how important love is.


Honeymoon High: Palm Springs Post-Wedding Shoot

It’s a familiar feeling, yet entirely new at the same time. You last felt it when the two of you first met: the jittery nerves, fumbling words, and excitement of a new fling. Now you have rings on your fingers, last names may have been swapped, and a weekend filled with flowers and food has passed. But the excitement certainly hasn’t stopped.

To capture this subsequent wedding “high” Sarah and Austin’s destination wedding in Palm Springs was followed by a photo shoot. It was an adventure-filled day with our very own Kelsey styling and photographer Olivia Strohm who captured the fun. The Californian oasis was nearly as stunning as the newlyweds themselves, and the sunbaked desert backdrop was accentuated by the pops of color and personalities of Sarah and Austin.

The shoot embodied and intensified all the nostalgic feelings from when you’re young and falling hard: sugary milkshakes, spontaneous pool parties, carefree bike rides, lingering gazes, and dancing down the sidewalk. Each snap was fun and free, with an edgy leather jacket here and a mod high-cut swimsuit there. Kelsey and Olivia’s vision was focused on proving that although you’re married, the freedom and enthusiasm continues. Sarah and Austin’s contagious smiles and adoration for one another kept the mood light all the way until their final evening splashes into the pool.


Happy Mother's Day

To all the mothers out there- we love you, we honor you and we hope you have a fabulous Mother's Day. Know that you make the world a better a place and fill our hearts with comfort and joy. 

With love,

Vanity Affair Events

Aubree Lynn Photography

Aubree Lynn Photography

Olivia Strohm Photography 

Olivia Strohm Photography 

Josh Neff Photography

Josh Neff Photography

Colleen Amelia Photography 

Colleen Amelia Photography 

Robby Cavanaugh Photography 

Robby Cavanaugh Photography 

Melissa Mcclure Photography 

Melissa Mcclure Photography 

Ideas Worth Spreading

TedxPortland put on its seventh annual event this past Saturday at the Keller Auditorium, and I was lucky enough to be the attendee to represent Vanity Affair Events. As I walked up to the doors of the Auditorium, I felt an overwhelming sense of excitement as I was about to be granted access to the minds of some of Portland’s most creative thinkers. I had no expectations as I organized my personal belongings and got comfortable in my seat. I figured I would listen to this group of chosen individuals talk about their hard earned success and well deserved accomplishments, and maybe find the motivation to tackle some of my own projects; that I would leave the event more knowledgeable than I had been before I sat down. And maybe, just maybe, I would hear an idea worth spreading. What I did not realize at the time, was that it would not be an idea worth spreading, but perhaps a deeper discovery I would like to share with all of you.

Photography by Connor Meyer

Photography by Connor Meyer

“Travel more, spend less.” “If you can dream it, you can build it.” “Stop chasing. Start doing.” These were the kind of messages that were conveyed throughout the day. Speaker after speaker, the audience was built up to leave the Keller Auditorium with enough confidence and inspiration to tackle the world’s biggest problems. So why could I not stop thinking about LOVE? Of all things – LOVE! 

As each speaker stood on stage and spoke about vastly different topics – robotics, virtual reality, the 9th planet, travel, knitting (yes you heard me, knitting) there was one common denominator. Love. As each speaker told their story, the story that had gotten them to this very stage, they unfolded this beautiful underlying message of love and support. Sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, partners, friends, family, and colleagues provided the support that eventually carried each person to their highest achievement. And it was clear, not a single speaker made it to that stage alone. As I sat in my seat, alone, I could not help but think about how I too had made it here. I thought about the overwhelming love and support I have received from those around me. I thought about the relationships I had built, the friendships I helped form, and the everlasting bonds that were a result of all of this. And then I thought about us – Vanity Affair Events. How what we call “work”, isn’t work at all. It’s a gift. A gift we have been given to help spread the love. Every single day, we get to take part in events that only exist because of the love shared between family and friends. Even the world’s greatest minds and most intellectual beings NEED the support of those around them to even consider their work to be of value.

Let the summary of my first contribution to this blog be a truth: While we may not have ideas worth spreading, we know love is worth spreading.