Hill City Bride | Virginia Wedding Blog » a wedding blog to inspire brides

Have you heard? We are giving away a wedding. An entire wedding, that’s right!! For more information click here to go to the I Dream of a Wedding site. 

Of course I often search the web for all things wedding related, and I recently came across this wonderful book by Lia Fagan. Many couples struggle with expressing their own personal style in their home … especially when blending already owned items and specific tastes. Well, here Lia comes to the rescue with her wonderful book, When “Me” Becomes “We”.

The best thing is that you can purchase it (or win it!!) no matter where you are from and have the instant gratification of downloading and being able to read it as soon as it reaches your inbox … no shipping required. How wonderful is that? Great information instantly! Many thanks to Lia for writing a little synopsis of her book and for letting one of HCB’s readers win this giveaway (instructions follow the book summary). 

You and your partner bring out the best in each other. Your home should reflect the best of both of you, but sometimes, creating a home that reflects both you simultaneously can be tricky. Luckily, it’s totally possible. All you need is a solid plan, some mutual respect and a little flexibility.

Drawing from my own personal experience and my work with clients, I created When “Me” Becomes “We” as a manual that arms couples with the tools they need to cleverly blend their individual styles into one cohesive look. Your friends and family should walk into your home for the first time and have no doubt about who lives there. It should be so clear from the way you’ve expressed your personality in your décor that this home couldn’t possibly belong to anyone other than the two of you.

Here’s what you’ll learn in each chapter:

Chapter One: Assess The Situation – Getting a clear understanding about where you’re coming from, where you’re going and how much “stuff” will be tagging along are key pieces to consider when couples are planning their first home together. In this chapter, you’ll find questions that you can answer together to help clue in to what the right answer is for you.

Chapter Two: Discovering Your Style – This is a fun one! I delve deep into a number of different ways that you can spend time together while getting clear about what your joint decorating style might look like.

Chapter Three: Interpret Your Findings – Figuring out your joint style doesn’t have to be frustrating. I’ll teach you how to use visual aids, based one what you discovered in Chapter Two, to create a picture that you’ll be able to reference (and alter) again and again during the decorating & design process.

Chapter Four: Wish Lists – This one is all about making sure that everyone winds up happy! I think it’s totally possible for each of you to make every wish on your list a reality. Here, you’ll learn all about smart space planning and maximizing each and every square foot.

Chapter Five: Bumps Along The Road – This is an important one because, as we all know, there are always going to be bumps along the road. Learn how to overcome obstacles and ultimately make space for each other, physically and emotionally. In this chapter, I also explain my thoughts on compromise vs. flexibility, and why one is better than the other.

Start your marriage out on the right foot by creating a home that accurately reflects each of you as individuals and brings out the best of both of you as a couple!

Now for the fun part … the giveaway!! You can enter multiple times if you follow the guidelines below (be sure to post separate comments each time you do one of the instructions):

1. What is one decorating challenge that you (and/or your spouse to be) struggle with? Post a comment here.

2. Tweet the link to this post.

3. Follow Hill City Bride on Twitter.

4. Put the link to this post on facebook.

5. Like HCB on Facebook.

6. If you have a blog, blog about this post, and then come back and comment along with leaving the link to your blog post.

7. Subscribe to the RSS feed.

8. Subscribe to HCB via email.

9. Click on one of HCB’s wonderful vendors, and come back to tell me who you clicked on and why … fun!!

10. If you have another cool way to get the word out about this post, feel free to do so!

You have until 11:59 pm on Tuesday, August 2nd to enter. Do you have to be a bride to enter? NO!! Anyone is welcomed to enter … have fun.

Again, a big thanks goes out to Lia for hosting this great giveaway. Have fun!!


  • Brittney Shelton - My fiance and I have both had a couple of our own apartments, and there is definitely a discrepancy with color scheme! haha! While we were at one of the stores for our wedding registry, we looked through bed sheets/comforters. I tried not to laugh when he proudly held up a comforter set that looked identical to the bedspread he had his sophomore year! I simply patted his shoulder and said I’d rather our bedroom not look like a guy’s dorm room. 🙂

  • Brittney Shelton - PS: I clicked on SCarter Studios link and absolutely fell in love with the talent of the photography.

  • Cortney Jenkins - We just got married and are *hopefully* going to move into our new home next Monday, so this would be perfect! Our decorating challenge is going to be using small space wisely. We are going to be renting a one bedroom log cabin and it is small on space.

Your guests travel near and far and take time out of their day to celebrate you and your love! What a special day filled with memories that you share with your closest friends and family. It is fun to have a record of who is there that day, and a traditional guest book will do just that … but there are so many alternatives to guest books out there! Enjoy this post on a few of the ideas that I found.

This is such a cute idea … why not have guests write down a little tried and true advice? It is a great way to have a wedding keepsake, a record of who was there and some sage things to read. I can imagine a couple getting back from their honeymoon and having a great time reading through the anecdotes.

This one is somewhat common, but a large frame with a lot of white space can be picked up fairly inexpensively (Michael’s and AC Moore often have 40% off sales, or you can at least use your 40% off coupon from the Sunday paper on a full priced frame). Pop in a wedding photo, and you have a visual reminder of your day and those who were there with you to celebrate.

If you know someone who sews, why not have each guest sign a fabric square which can be turned into a quilt to cuddle up with? Interesting to say the least!

Who says that “families” need to be related? A cute “wedding family” tree can be designed as a wall hanging. I love how the bride and groom are two cute little birds on the branch together. Darling!

Photo booths add a lot of fun to a reception, so why not capture those memories into a signable book? It will provide laughter and entertainment for years to come! Click here to find out more about renting a photo booth.

Yes, a guitar may be an odd choice, but why not think about purchasing something that you can display in your home that can be signed? Maybe there is something meaningful to you as a couple that guests can sign to commemorate your wedding. Either way the piece will decorate your home and have you thinking fondly of those who attended your wedding.

You need to read the instructions, but this couple purchased origami paper. Once the guests wrote a note, they put the paper into a vase, and then the couple took the papers and folded them into origami. I can picture the origami figures and such hanging as a mobile in a stunning array of color in the home of the new Mr and Mrs. Fun!

 *Photos are all from Flickr, and just hover over the photo for crediting.*

  • Linda Hall - Love Is In The Air - Decor, Cakes & Catering - Love all these ideas! Love Is In The Air does have a crystal wish tree that our brides can use. Afterwards, the cards can be removed and placed on a ribbon for the bride and groom.

  • Caren - Great Ideas!!

  • Jessica - The wedding quilt idea is awesome. I love it!

  • Amanda - I love these ideas! First one is fabulously delightful and of course I am in love with the photo booth idea!!

  • Breanna - Those are cute! I love the oragami, and the quilt! So creative.

    Have you seen… http://www.guestbookstore.com?
    I got my guestbook from there, its really neat and different. But not really DIY. :\ lol

    Your blog is so great Jen!

  • Jennifer - Awww … thanks SO much, Breanna!!

  • Jessie-Lee - I used a nautical map of the area where we were married in Maryland. It was hanging on my wall before the wedding, and now it has a ton of lovely signatures!

You will notice a little change with “Newly Wed” this month … a change in author! I greatly appreciate all of the time and effort that Rachael Eberle put into this column (she did an amazing job, and just click here to view her articles), but it was time to hand it over to another newlywed. I met Shelby at the Bridal Expo, then she attended Bliss, a fine wedding fair (her husband’s name is Bliss!). I have had the opportunity to get to know Shelby, and she is such a sweetie. I know you will enjoy getting to know her, too!

Shelby has been married for less than two months, and I am looking forward to hearing about her journey and experiences as a newlywed through “Newly Wed”. Welcome aboard, Shelby!!

Hey everyone! My name is Shelby Spillar and a little over a month ago I had the privilege of marrying the greatest man I know. Bliss is an excellent husband, charming, intelligent, and a total stud. What more could a girl ask for? Being married to him is wonderful, but living with a man is much different than any thing else I have experienced.  Here are a few stories from our first month and some lessons I have learned along the way.

No toilet paper, no fun. No woman likes to be left stranded without toilet paper. It’s especially no fun at 3:30 am. I let out a big (loud) sigh as I thought “how hard is it to replace the roll of toilet paper”. I climbed back in bed still slightly frustrated about what had happened minutes earlier. My husband rolled over, kissed my forehead and said “I forgot to put the toilet paper back on the roll didn’t I?” Apparently my frustrated sigh gave it away. He apologized, and I realized it was an honest mistake. We laugh about it often. Be gracious in the little things, you never know when you may need him to be gracious too.

Nesting is just not as important to him as it is to you. If your man is anything like mine he has no clue what you are talking about when you use the words: Duvet, Euro Sham, or Valance. All of which were important elements to me as we decorated our bedroom. Blue paint was blue paint to him, but to me it was “Stonewashed” or “Distressed Denim”. I saw the bedroom as a place we would share some of our most intimate moments, discussions, and even fights. I wanted the room to be pleasing to the eye, as well as, relaxing. Once I communicated my vision he was more enthusiastic in helping me capture my vision for the room.

Be patient, he isn’t going to know what bugs you unless you communicate it. My husband had a funny habit of placing his dirty clothes on top of the hamper and not inside the hamper. I was frustrated every time I walked by and opened the lid and placed the clothes inside. I mentioned it to him, and ever since the clothes have been in the hamper. As I look back, his room while we were dating indicated he had no idea what a hamper was. So I guess having the clothes at least on the hamper was progress.

Quantity vs Quality. A honeymoon is a wonderful way to start your marriage together. I loved having a week with just my husband sharing plenty of quality time with none of the distractions of “real life”.  Going back to work certainly cut back on the amount of time we were able to spend together. I realized that when we were together, we had to make good use of it.  Living in the same house did not change our need for intimate time together. We are sure to set aside time to take walks together, have coffee dates, and meet for lunch.  We put it on the calendar, and it gives us both something to look forward to.  It has helped us to continue deepen our marriage and friendship.

Yes, that IS an actual photo of Bliss and Shelby on their honeymoon!!

Well, I hope you enjoyed our funny stories and took to heart the lessons we have learned. I look forward to sharing more newlywed stories and lessons with you over the next year.

See you in August!

Photo credits from top to bottom: Capture It Photography and Events, Flickr by Roel, Flickr by labkdesign/fergusandme, Flickr by Crashmaster007 and Shelby’s own collection of honeymoon photos.

  • Michael Newman - Great article! My poor wife had to go (and is still going) through some things learning to “live with a boy.” Part of it’s our personalities as well. 🙂

  • Jennifer - I am sure we girls have some things for you guys to get used to, too! It’s all part of the fun. Thanks, Michael for stopping by!!

  • Jeremiah Stone Blue Productions - So glad you’re writing for HCB. Great article.

  • Sammye Baker - The article is very well written. Thought the humor was really fun. Proud of Shelby. Marriage is worth all the effort.

  • Jennifer - I am glad to have Shelby on board. Thanks, Sammye!

  • Alison Howard - Great article! So well written and such high quality pictures too! I’d love to see more pictures of Shelby’s house and real life adventures with Bliss. Can’t wait to read more!

  • Jennifer - That is wonderful to hear, Alison! I am looking forward to more with Shelby, too … she is such a great person.

  • Rachel Go - Shelbs, I cracked up with the toilet paper story! I love you and am so proud of you for becoming an author of a column! Brilliant work my dear friend!

I adore the fact that our HCB family is full of wedding expertise, and who better to give you guidance on what to wear to your engagement session than Crystal George of Crystal George Studios? I hope you have fun reading her ideas and making them your own!

One of the questions I most often receive is, what do I wear? A photographer’s job description can encompass many things, and styling is definitely one of them. Styling is also one of my very FAVORITE things to do, so here are a few ideas for you ladies (and gentlemen).

The most important thing is that you want you to look and feel like a million bucks, and a million bucks doesn’t happen by accident… there has to be some planning involved. The first thing to decide is what kind of look are you going for? Coordinating with your photographer on what your final product will be is important. Are you going for modern, vintage, funky, grunge, or urban? Or is your style a combination of a few of those? Personally, I like a classic look. Whether you are going for vintage or modern, I think that simplicity allows you and your love story to shine through. And, after all, you and your fiance shining is what it’s all about.

There are a ton of great resources out there: blogs, online magazines, and websites (like www.etsy.com) to help you browse and find ideas. I also recommend www.pinterest.com. It’s a great way to organize those ideas and come back to them to help you make a decision.

Another important thing is to find a color story. Color is very important because it plays into the direction you are going. Here is an inspiration board for a modern style with a bright green and yellow color story. I love bright color for modern engagement sessions, especially ones shot in a city or urban location. Color pops off the grays of the cityscapes and looks fantastic with the clean lines of a modern style. I heart Sarah Jessica’s dress here. Yes, please! If you are not that adventurous, it’s easy to bring that modern color feel with just a pop in your shoes or your jewelry.

For the vintage look, it’s really important to choose a color story a little more toned down, close to the neutral family. Especially when you are throwing back to an era bear in mind the spirit of that era, and look for things that express it without being too old fashioned. For example, I love that Anthropologie dress with a chunky cameo necklace and a hair piece. Done. Beautiful. Vintage can be done almost anywhere… city or country… so it’s super versatile and super fun.

Last, but certainly not least, let’s talk about the boys. If your man doesn’t feel good, he’s not going to look good. That’s the truth. You want your fiance to feel amazing in what he is wearing! I’m a huge fan of the J Crew looks for men. Classic. They can transition easily from modern to vintage.  Layering looks amazing on most guys. Whether you put a sweater over a tie and a button down (YES!) or you go for simplicity with a sweater/shirt combo, layering always works. A classic t-shirt and jeans combo is a great option too.

Have fun with your E session!  Be who you guys are, and feel good and look good. Your pictures will reflect that, no matter what color, style or direction you go in. Happy styling!

Thank you again, Crystal! If you would like to visit the blog of Crystal George Studios, just click here to view Crystal’s amazing work.


  • Crystal - Can I comment on my own article? Haha! Thx Jen! 🙂

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