des moines, iowa and beyond

workflow & systems strategist

Bright Preppy Garden Wedding at Emerald Hills


Storytelling is my favorite way to approach design for anything – weddings, home decor, parties, styling, you name it. Dreaming up details and design elements that speak to your hearts and relationship is the sweet spot and what fires me up like nothing else. Whether it’s an editorial or a wedding, I always take that same approach. I’m so excited to share this stunning story with you today – my version of a Preppy Garden love story at Emerald Hills Events in Promise City, Iowa!

This particular story was one that I wanted to tell for many years. When it came time to personify this new brand for Harper Hadley, it was the perfect opportunity. I hope you’ll see the elements in this design that are pulled from the one of a kind story of Charlotte and Harry. Also that you are inspired to take those principles and examples to put your love story center stage on your day!

Preppy Garden Wedding Emerald Hills Events Promise City, Iowa

Harry and Charlotte met on the Welsh shoreline. He was out for his daily jog and she had stumbled upon the perfect reading spot. They smiled at each other, said hello and ended up chatting over a warm cider as the sun set over the water. Soon thereafter, she was taking afternoon tea in his mother’s not-so-secret garden, falling in love and making holiday trips to visit her family in the US. Their wedding was a blend of their British and Southern preppy style that welcomed family and friends from around the globe and celebrated their shared love of tradition and the gardening world they adore. Enjoy these amazing images by Brooke Pavel Photography!!

Bride & Groom with bright spring bouquet

How amazing is the design of this invitation suite!?! The details that Nicole of Emery Ann Design incorporated are stunning. The monogram and envelope liner are gorgeous and I adore how she thought through every element. Wait until you see how those carried through the other little touches!

Preppy Garden Wedding Invitation Suite; Harper Hadley Events; Emery Ann DesignEmerald Hills Bridal Suite; Modern Dress; Shelly Sarver Bright Colorful Lush Wedding Bridal Bouquet; Spring Wedding Rings, Mocha Rings, Spring, Blush, Mrs Box

While floral abundance might not seem fitting for a groom to enjoy, but Harry feels at home surrounded by lush flowers because his mother was a master gardener. Charlotte feels most loved when smells of lilac or gardenias gracefully waft through the air. Why? Her daddy competed in state-wide horticulture competitions and her Mamaw always had fresh flowers from her garden in the house. So, of course, we had to include a variety of garden blooms!

Shelly Sarver did a spectacular job, as always, designing the floral arrangements. The textures and joyful colors brought the beautiful space and design to life! Can’t you just imagine what a garden with all of those blooms would look and smell like? It’s as if you were sitting on a garden bench!

Bride, Cathedral Veil, Bridal portrait, spring bouquet, colorful bright flowers Groom portrait, grey suit, blue bow tie Groom's anemone boutonniere Bridal portrait, chaise lounge, bright floral, editorial

How gorgeous are these bridal gown and accessories from Modern Dress?! The gown is so elegant and romantic with exquisite beading detail in the bodice and skirt overlay. Seriously swoon-worthy, especially paired with that cathedral length veil!

The menswear from Skeffington’s was such a fun twist on a classic. A fitted tux with a crisp pop of color in the pocket square and bowtie. Of course, I always adore a bowtie for an added touch of tradition!

Since they had family and friends come from all over the globe, they were so intentional to welcome them with personal touches and the utmost hospitality. That meant spoiling their guests with custom welcome gifts, favors, many personal touches, like the handwritten notes as place cards!

Guest welcome box, wood, custom giftCustom wedding guest gift, Grey Ghost Bakery, Snapdragon Floret Flower, Rose Lemonade, Monogram coaster, Magnolia Home Candle

The gals at Gumption & Gleam Gifting helped curate such a personal gift including Charlotte’s favorite Southern Rose Lemonade and Harry’s favorite tea biscuits, as well as some of their favorite Floret flower seeds for guests to plant in their gardens.

We chose to keep their ceremony simple and focused on the architecture of the beautiful venue. Of course, we let the floral designs bring in the color and soften the beautiful stone hearth. Guests certainly felt as if they were in an intimate garden setting as many family gatherings had been over the years.

Wedding Ceremony, x back chair, floral, rug, stone fireplaceWedding ceremony stone fireplace, mantle, large wreath, joyful couple, married

To continue their hospitality throughout their cocktail hour and reception, we asked Nicole to help us create beautiful coasters for guests to use and to take as favors. The way she incorporated Charlotte and Harry’s beautiful monogram crest was perfection!

When it came to selections for the place settings and details for dinner, Charlotte chose to have boxwood wreaths at each seat. They remind her of the daisy bracelets that she made as a child and the beautiful hedges that Harry’s grandmother has lining her garden patio as a backdrop to the most polished planters she’s ever seen. Those were also inspiration for the ceremony floral boxes. They also chose to use china patterns from various family members in shades of blue and white to add texture and honor their families. For an intimate affair, this was such a sentimental touch.

Cocktail hour, custom monogram coasters, wedding, champagne with floral in it Bright Preppy Lush spring floral arrangements blush wedding cake, watercolor, bar cart Preppy wedding reception, married couple in loveBright Preppy Garden wedding, table setting, boxwood wreath, springBright Preppy Garden Wedding head table Bright Preppy Garden Wedding head table place setting, boxwood wreath, centerpiece, spring, blue glassware, gold flatware Bright Preppy Garden Wedding reception, Emerald Hills Events Venue, Harper Hadley Events designHappy couple, spring, wedding, Emerald Hills Venue Bright Preppy Garden Wedding head table and fireplace decorBright Preppy Garden Wedding couple; head table Bright Preppy Garden Wedding couple first dance

As an evening break for the two of them to soak in the day, they took a row around the lake. How stunning are these two!?! Having a lake at their venue was important to Charlotte and Harry, since they opted not to host their wedding at the beach (like where they met). It was a romantic and subtle nod to their many days spent along shorelines relaxing, chasing waves, dreaming and letting their love grow.

Bright Preppy Garden Wedding couple in boatBright Preppy Garden Wedding couple on lake Bright Preppy Garden Wedding couple portrait in water Bright Preppy Garden Wedding couple in boat, lake

This love story and the details that helped bring it to life will always bring me so much joy. There are so many pieces of my heart and those of my dear ones in this story. I hope you’ve been able to take inspiration for your celebration. Not all designs need to be extravagant to be intentional and uniquely sentimental and elegant. For more thoughts on how you can do this too, pop over here and here.



Design, Styling, Coordination: Harper Hadley Events // Venue: Emerald Hills Events // Photography: Brooke Pavel //Floral: Shelly Sarver // Bridal: Modern Dress // Menswear: Skeffington’s Formal Wear // Linen/Rentals: Beyond Elegance //
Rentals: Borrow My Vintage // Invitations & Stationery: Emery Ann Design // Cake: Dawn’s Couture Cakes //
Welcome Gift Box: Gumption & Gleam Gifting // Hair: Kelsey Klein // Makeup: Nadia Allgood // Jewelry: Mocha Rings

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