Monday, December 31, 2007

2007: A Very Blissful Year

Well, after reading Danielle's post below, the waterworks turned on and I am overwhelmed with gratitude! Let me just tell you a little bit about Mrs. Danielle Flowers Atkinson... I still remember the first time I spoke to her. I knew from that moment, talking to her on the phone, hearing her beautiful southern drawl and positive attitude that affects everything she touches, that Danielle would create unforgettable weddings for so many lucky brides. But, I really am the lucky one. I am so honored to call Danielle a friend and now business partner. I too, don't know how we got here except through a lot of prayer and God's amazing grace. What a year! It would have been enough to just have a year full of fabulous weddings, but this year the Bliss women witnessed so many beautiful personal moments too. Danielle got married to a wonderful man (who now shares an unspoken bond with my husband... being married to a wedding planner is... well, unique!). There was a moment in Danielle's ceremony that I will never forget. She was standing under the stunning stained glass window at Old Christ Church with Kenneth, looking like a classic movie star- like Audrey Hepburn or Grace Kelly- and a male soloist was singing a soaring operatic piece. It was so moving and so perfect. We all teared up as we witnessed them exchange vows. I knew at that moment that Danielle's life was about to change and she was launching herself into a new and phenomenal time in her life. Bliss has been blissful this year, to say the least. I am so grateful to know you, Danielle, and to get to talk weddings, life, and love with you every day. You amaze me daily with your creativity, zest for your work, and true compassion and love for your brides. You make their dreams a reality. 2008 is already so exciting in my mind- so many exciting things ahead and I'm sure so many big surprises in store for us. Oprah, here we come!

My year in review....

On a personal note, this past Sunday was one of the most memorable days of my life. My entire family was together to celebrate my grandmother Celeste's 90th birthday. Her mother was a floral designer who passed the gift through three generations onto me. I am so grateful. She woke up yesterday morning and sat with me as she drank her coffee. She spoke softly to me "Lara, I just feel so blessed. I pray all the time that our family will be close and get together often and the Lord answered my prayers. I feel such a great peace." She smiled as I reflected on my year. God answered all my prayers too and so many more.... This year my husband returned safely from serving in Iraq, my father who is 74 survived two knee surgeries and even went skiing with us over Christmas, my mom threw my grandmother the most amazing 90th birthday party ever (yes, I get it from her!!), my grandmother is 90 and still lives by herself, works 2 volunteer jobs, and is the funniest and spunkiest woman I know, my brother - who broke his spine less than 2 years ago and was unable to walk- got back on his snowboard last week and was zooming down black diamonds with ease and a renewed confidence (what a miracle!), and Ari and I just found out we will be moving to Chapel Hill in less than 6 months to begin his radiology residency there. Bliss is opening in North Carolina this fall!!! I am humbled, grateful, overjoyed, and overwhelmed with thanks. To God, my wonderful and brave husband, my phenomenally strong family, my friends, to all of the Bliss Women and interns of 2007 - Amanda, Kirstin, Stefanie, Brittany, Jessie, Samantha, Kim, and Sam, all of our beautiful brides and their families, and to Danielle.... thank you for a very Blissful 2007.

Enjoy the following images: just a sampling of "The Best of 2007"
Danielle- the stunning bride and phenomenal Wedding Producer.

This wedding will be featured in The Knot Wedding Magazine this spring.

The Bride and Groom of the year for Southern Wedding Style Magazine, Natalie and Beau!

A gorgeous ring pillow made of green orchid petals courtesy of the gifted Kebbie Hollingsworth.
Beautiful Brides at our Southern Wedding Style Magazine cover shoot.
Danielle putting the finishing touches on the Babikow's 50th wedding anniversary event.
The New Year is looking Blissful!

Where has a year gone?

The image above is me, my precious, and my husband.
They put up with my crazy life on the weekends and provide so much support.
I couldn't write this post without a "Thank you" to them!

As I sit here at my computer in my little office, I am truly amazed what has happened in one year's time. Last year, I was working for Bliss as an Event Producer, but had no idea how much this business would come to mean to me. Throughout 2007 I have been a part of so many wedding days that you would think I could never remember them all...but I do. Please indulge me as I reminisce...Erin and John make me want to plan a trip to New York City...Natalie and Beau will forever be the hot pink/leopard print wedding...Nikki and Rob still make me smile every time I think about Nikki's friends calling us to go out on the town at 2:00 in the morning after the wedding...Laura and Matt first introduced us to the Babikows and their grace and class shine through the entire family...Summer and Gregg, I'm definitely looking you up when I make it to San Diego...Kelly and Jake, congratulations on your upcoming addition and I will always remember the sweetest lady I've ever met, Mrs. Nancy Hart (and I'm so proud of her for not bringing ferns to the wedding!)...Jessica and Tim, it may have rained all day but you two were troopers and showed what it means to remember what the wedding day is all about...Danielle and Len are so in love and I've honestly never seen a groom look at his new wife the way he looks at her...Becky and Jeremy truly know how to throw the BEST party...Christine and Joe have the most amazing family and let me experience my first family sing-a-long at a wedding (Sweet Caroline..da, da ,da!)...The Babikows blessed us again with a 50th anniversary party honoring Dave and Wyona...Mark and Lori wrapped up the year in style and I cannot think of a better ending for 2007.

Reflecting on the past makes me excited for the year to come. Tomorrow I will put away my Christmas decorations (including the hot pink tree in my office...yes, the TREE is pink) and prepare for the year ahead. There are already so many fascinating plans on the horizon, I cannot wait to see what else will pop up. To my partners in crime (aka, all the other wedding vendors) how lucky are we? This is the most amazing and rewarding business that we are a part of and so many people will never love their "work" as much as we do.

Lastly, to Mrs. Lara Casey...where in the world would I be without you? How did we even get here? Thank you for taking a chance on me and trusting me with something that you poured your heart and soul into. I know that there is not another person in this world other than you who can understand how I feel on a day like yesterday. The sense of accomplishment, pride, exhaustion and relief all mixed together is indescribable to someone who has not been there. You've taught me the importance of trusting your instincts, always putting the bride first, and never allowing yourself to lose focus of the business. You are a remarkable woman and we are going to be on Oprah. I don't know what will happen next, but whatever it is, I think we're ready.

God bless you all in the upcoming year and may you find your peace.

Danielle Flowers Atkinson

Congratulations Mark and Lori!

I have to start this post by revealing a little bit of my vulnerable side. I have a huge heart when it comes to family and soft spot for romance (go figure!) and this couple definitely tapped into both of those aspects of me. This is the third event I have been involved with for this family (the fourth is coming next June) and I am always honored when they return to me each time, placing their trust in me whole-heartedly. **View the FIRST BABIKOW WEDDING here** and another fabulous blog post of **Laura and Matt's wedding HERE** Mark and Lori are a truly remarkable couple (as put so eloquently by the brother of the groom in one of the finest toasts I've ever heard) and deserve nothing but happiness in their life together. On November 3rd of this year, I was coordinating Mark's parents 50th wedding anniversary and it just happened that he and Lori had gotten engaged the previous evening. Within two days, we were hard at work planning their December 29th wedding. Nature and the outdoors were a very important element to this couple and I hope you will agree that we were able to bring those outdoor elements into a tent during the middle of winter. The evening was purely magical and we were blessed to have the impending rain storms skip right over us so that everyone stayed dry and warm.

I want to thank the amazing team of Bliss ladies who truly made it possible. Without Susanna, Erica, and Leah this never would have run as smoothly as it did. After designing all of the lighting for tents with me, Craig and Henry from Showbiz Lighting brought it to life and went above and beyond what I had dreamed it to be. The food for the evening was produced in the highest style by Chef Robert Pride, the new owner of MySpayce. He and his team received numerous compliments on the food as well as their impeccable service. As always, Betty Weber produced and amazing cake and there was almost none left! They truly ate it up. All of the images you see below are the fantastic photographic stylings of Rae and Wesley Leytham. There are so many more to thank and I could write pages upon pages. If you see something you like, give us a call!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


Three days ago I made a mental note that we should have an old fashioned radio-esque contest where the 40,000th visitor to the Bliss Website would win something fabulous. Three days ago we were at about 39,775 visitors. And like magic today I looked and we have had 40,445 visitors! Brides, thank you for taking the time to visit our site and learn more about us. We are truly honored to have such a following and an interest. Sorry I missed the boat on doing the contest this time- I had no idea we would get that much traffic so fast. SO, I am putting it out there now- the 50,000th Bliss Bride to visit our site will win any T-shirt they want from our new Bliss Line! Thank you, Brides, moms, dads, fiances, and vendors for taking the time to get to know us : )

Monday, December 17, 2007

Shop Bliss!

Danielle and I have come up with some pretty funny sayings over the years. After so many weddings, you develop a sense of humor and fun about the stresses a wedding can bring! CLICK HERE for the Official Bliss Bride Store. THREE DAYS LEFT to order for delivery by Christmas! Have an idea for a funny t-shirt? Post it here and we might add your design to the Bliss Line! Here are a few of our favorites....

Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Best First Dance EVER!

Start your marriage off right with this ....

Watch a Bliss Wedding from Start to Finish...

This may take a moment to load, but it's worth the wait. What a gorgeous family and a very Blissful couple!


Courtesy of Rae Leytham Photography

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Happy Holidays from Bliss!

It's been a log while since we updated you on the happenings of the Bliss Women... in short, we are BUSY! I, Lara, am hard at work on Southern Wedding Style Magazine with Amanda. My hubby is safely back from Iraq and we have been on a second honeymoon ever since. Danielle, is - to put it lightly - the busiest bee of all the Bliss babes! We have a gorgeous wedding coming up in a couple weeks that will surely end our year in STYLE! Look for us in Bella Magazine in the new year. Crystal Quarles is doing a fabulous spread on wedding planning that we feel will be very helpful for all of you brides-to-be. Also... look for some BIG BLISS NEWS coming shortly. We have just launched a new fun clothing line and some other fabulous goodies. We are so excited about them and have been getting a lot of orders- even before officially launching! Wishing you a Blissful holiday season~ Lara