One Sweet Spotlight. Dogwood Brides.

 Hi guys!

Yesterday the very first One Sweet Spotlight finally debuted and I thought for the first week, let's go big or go home! So here's another!

Today's spotlight is on Dogwood Brides , a website/blog that is going to be HUGE for the Richmond bride! I was so excited to celebrate with co-founders Anna Young and Bonnie Graham last Sunday at their fabulous launch party (I'll show you some pics a little later) and got a moment to ask them a few questions! We even got in a few fun ones at the end. 

 Photos of Anna and Bonnie by Natalie Jayne Photography

Photos of Anna and Bonnie by Natalie Jayne Photography

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Here is their beautiful new logo designed by Evelyn Henson. 

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OSDIM- Tell us a little bit about what Dogwood Brides is. 

 DB-Dogwood Brides is a local wedding blog and resource for the Richmond, VA area--but we're not your typical wedding blog! We also provide information on local vendors and will be adding a venue resource soon. Rather than providing contact information and link to their website, our Vendor Listings are more like getting to sit down and have coffee to learn about their services. You get to learn about the heart behind their business and why they love what they do. You won't just find traditional weddings on DB but a variety of styles and aesthetics, because every couple is different and needs unique inspiration for their big day. 

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OSDIM- What inspired you to create Dogwood Brides and what gave you the courage to go for it? 

 DB-There are quite a few different stories here! Since we met, both of us have loved weddings. When we used to have offices next to each other in our day-jobs you could find us getting mushy over wedding videos during our lunch break--yes we were those girls. While I was planning my wedding in Richmond I really noticed a lack in local resources that provided comprehensive and genuine information. Planning was hard and I wanted to change that for brides coming along after me. Bonnie did day-of coordination for my wedding and then we joked around for a while about starting some type of wedding business. When we sat down to exchange ideas and think about how to fill a need in the Richmond industry, Dogwood Brides was born! 

It's certainly been a huge undertaking, but knowing how much it will help brides-to-be and create community among vendors has kept us motivated to keep working hard. 

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OSDIM- What can brides expect from Dogwood Brides? And what can vendors expect?

DB-Brides can expect almost everything they will need when planning a wedding! We are featuring real weddings and styled shoots for inspiration and vision on how to use local venues. Our Vendor Listing allows brides to learn more about local vendors and their services, and also connects them to see the Vendor's work that has been featured on the site. In addition we share basic planning posts on everything from budgets to etiquette and even DIY tutorials for the crafty bride. Most of all, brides can expect trusted and genuine information about wedding planning. 

Vendors can expect more than just a place to be listed, but a community. While getting the blog up and running is our biggest focus at the moment, we're already working on plans for happy hours to bring local vendors together. We want to foster a place for vendors to meet each other, connect, and collaborate. After we're able to get a venue section up and running, we also may have some exclusive venue information available for those vendors who are listed on the site! Of course we're also a publication, so we are another great place for vendors to have their work featured to a niche target audience. 

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OSDIM- Can you tell us a little bit about the process of starting the blog? 

 DB-It was an absolute whirlwind! We officially rolled up our sleeves and started working the first week of January and spent just about every minute outside of our jobs working on it until our launch this past weekend. Knowing that we want Dogwood Brides to make a lasting impact in the Richmond wedding industry and be around well into the future, we did a lot of big picture brainstorming before making decisions. We were really strategic with the type of site we should use and what layout would be best in order to best share the information that we want to curate for brides. From the beginning we knew we didn't want it to just look like a standard blog, but more of the "magazine" layout that it is which really lets you immediately browse through a variety of our content. And we've learned more than we ever thought we would about html and coding!

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OSDIM- Any words of wisdom for current brides? 

 DB-Be patient with your planning! It's easy to want to quickly check things off your list, but before you start truly spend some time with your partner thinking about the day. What do you want it to look like? Feel like? Are there important personal touches to include? Certain vendors that you really want to have involved? As you look for vendors check out as much of their previous work as possible to give you a feel for what they can provide. Meet them in person to see if you would work well together--especially for photographers, coordinators, and anyone else who you will spend a lot of time with on the day-of. And budget, sit down and figure that bad boy out in the beginning and the whole process will be much easier moving forward! 

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OSDIM- I know both of you also have full-time jobs, any advice on creating work/life balance? 

 DB-Balance? What's that? Just kidding! It's certainly a big undertaking to start a small business when you're working full-time. We've sort of carved out a schedule for ourselves but still have a ways to go. Since we're a team it's important to keep up with what we're doing so we use Asana to efficiently manage all of our work and we hold the same evening every week on our calendars to meet and touch base in person. Finding a rhythm for when we can do work each day (a bit before the work day, utilizing our lunch breaks, and finishing things in the evening) is the most important, so this is something that is different for each of us. At the end of the day we know we also need our sanity, but this might mean that we're working extra hard for a few days to have some more free time in our schedule. This will certainly change and get better as we get into our groove with running a small business!

 

And here's some fun questions!  

 If you could have lunch with anyone who would it be? 

 A: Mindy Kaling! Don't have to think twice about this one. I love her style, her book, her show, her sense of humor. Spending an hour (or probably longer because she'd show up late) with her over lunch would be the highlight of my life! 

B:  My grandaddy, John Litton. He was the absolute best man in the whole world. So much has happened in my life since he passed away and I would love to chat with him about where I've been, where I'm headed, and get his advice on how to get there!

 

2. What item can you not leave home without? 

 A: Like most people in the 21st century, I freak out if I don't have my iPhone. So I guess a more original answer would be chapstick, specifically my EOS lip balm!  My lips seem to always be chapped and I put it on like crazy. 

 B: A comb or brush! I let my hair "air-dry" most days and I definitely need a quick brush-through before meetings or lunch dates!

 

3. Favorite vacation spot?

 A: Any beach that's warm and sunny works for me! I grew up vacationing in Ocean City, MD and then went to college in Wilmington, NC  near Wrightsville Beach so those are two of my favorites. 

 B:  I LOVE Charleston (and, well... any Southern beach town)! The food, atmosphere, shopping, and BEACH make Charleston the perfect getaway for me - all of my favorite things!

 

4. Perfect date?

 A: Something active! My husband, Greg, and I will go for walks, or we also like indoor rock climbing, bowling, etc. Things that get us up and moving and force us to put our phones away and spend quality time together. Then followed by a meal, coffee, or our favorite ice cream--Gelati Celesti! 

 B:  Ahhhh something romantic! I would say making dinner together and enjoying it by candlelight followed by dancing in the kitchen to some smooth jazz. 

 

5. Life motto? 

 A: I'm going to have to go with my favorite quote for this "I get up every morning determined to both change the world and have one hell of a good time. Sometimes this makes planning my day difficult." -E.B. White

 

B: This is a tough one. I find daily inspiration in a lot of quotes and memories of things my parents taught me while growing up. But, if I had to choose one "theme" for a life motto it would be honesty. I've learned that always being honest in every situation (no matter how difficult) always ALWAYS turns out better in the end.

 

 6. Favorite spot in Richmond? 

A: Yikes, tough question--I love everything about this city! This is not a typical answer, but I'd have to say Grove Avenue. I love to run and have spent countless hours running Grove from Libbie all the way down to VCU. I can't get enough of the beautiful houses, shady trees and scenery. Taking a tour through the West End, Museum District, and The Fan all on foot is incredible and I'd recommend it to everyone, whether you run, walk, or bike!

 

B: I absolutely love driving down Monument Avenue. Or any street in The Fan, really. I always say it "feels like I'm in a movie"! I can't imagine a more beautiful neighborhood to live in during the prime of my life--it's so Richmond and it's so perfect!  

 

A huge thank you to Anna and Bonnie for taking the time to tell us all about Dogwood Brides! 

Like I said before, Dogwood Brides had it's launch party on Sunday put on by the lovely ladies of The Darling Event and I wanted to share a few snaps from it!  

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Mmm mmmm mmmm! Β 

 Cake by the Buttercream Bee. Β 

Cake by the Buttercream Bee. Β 

This cake by The Buttercream Bee was so delicious!! One of the best I've ever had! 

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Bonnie and Anna thanking everyone. Photo by @tarteventco 

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And you know my flower loving heart was obsessed with this floral wall by The Proper Petal. This picture by @annayoung doesn't do it justice. It was gorgeous. 

Congrats again ladies!! Can't wait to see you do big things for Richmond brides and vendors!  

And guys, have a wonderful weekend with your loved ones and what matters most. I am looking forward to a somewhat quiet weekend before a few busy ones in the weeks ahead. Talk to you next week! 

Love,  

Michelle.