Thursday, December 31, 2015

Collection of 2015 Professional Moments

Hi Friends, Family, Clients, Creative Partners, and Internet Peeps,

I have been missing blogging on here so much.  Please forgive me.  I hope to continue consistently blogging more in 2016 ~ who needs sleep right? In all seriousness it was a whirlwind of a year.  I hope to slow the train in this coming year, and really focus on doing less, but doing better, ya feel me?

 It was a BIG promotional year for J.Starr Stylized Weddings...which did amazing things for my business, that I'm incredibly grateful for.  However, this upcoming year is already filled with MORE bookings, therefore I'll be doing less promotional projects, AMEN.

Before I let this new year start....I did want to take a quick moment to reflect on all of the amazing celebrations that happened this year....(note, some are professional photos some as candids as I'm awaiting the professional ones to come in)

2015's Professional Moments:

Styled Phoenix Bride & Groom Magazine Bridal Booth

Styled/Coordinated the Grayhawk Cover Shoot for Arizona's Finest Wedding Sites Magazine

Styled/Coordinated the San Marcos Cover Shoot for Arizona's Finest Wedding Sites Magazine

Assisted Fellow Wedding Planners and Venues with a total 5 Weddings

Styled/Coordinated the Arizona Biltmore Cover + 4 Page Editorial Shoot for Arizona's Finest Wedding Sites Magazine

J.Starr Styled Wedding for: Lacey & Jarred

Styled/Coordinated the Chateau Luxe Venue Styled Photo Shoot

Launched New Website

Styled/Coordinated 3 Covers for Phoenix Bride & Groom's 15 Year Anniversary Magazine

J.Starr Styled Wedding for Ashley & Brian

Styled/Coordinated: Phoenix Bride & Groom Magazine Summer Bridal Booth

Styled/Coordinated:Seville Golf & Country Club Summer Bridal Booth

Served as Co Chair NACE Gala

Served as Event Chair for WIPA Summer Event

J.Starr Styled Wedding for Amanda & Nate

J.Starr Styled Wedding for Taylor & Justin

J.Starr Styled "Great Gatsby Styled" Bridal Shower for Marissa

J.Starr Styled Wedding for Cassy & Vincente

J.Starr Styled Wedding for Marissa & Michael

J.Starr Styled Wedding for Maryrose & Peter

And those my friends were just the professional "highlights"...I also mixed in many networking events, client meetings, vendor meetings, bridal open houses, was a vendor at the I.DO. Wedding Charity Auction, was the Featured Winter Designer for Classic Party Rentals Display Room, and was named "Style Editor" for Arizona's Finest Wedding Sites and Services Magazine Blog. 

In all honesty, creating this post has made me want to take a, for like a long time. 

I'm slightly in shock that this was the year that I lived.. growing babies and growing a business. It was a wild and crazy ride, but I'm so thankful for all the many opportunities, amazing clients and creative partners I got to work with this year.  This just goes to show with the support of family and friends, many things are possible. 

I'm also excited to share at this point in time, I'm 60% of my booking goal for next year.  That means I'm only accepting a small handful of additional clients for the 2016 fall season!  There was honestly a time not that long ago that I worried I would never book a client, thankfully I didn't listen to my inner critic.

At last, but certainly not least.  I don't want this year to end without giving a big shout out, a hug and kiss to my biggest supporter, my best friend, my husband Justin.  Justin you are my "rock steady" I love you more than you'll ever know.  Cheers to an even better year ahead. 

Happy New Year Friends, thank you for allowing me to share my world with you. 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

J. Starr Stylized Cover Shoot at Grayhawk Golf Club

Hi Friends!

It's October, and that means a new issue of Arizona's Finest Wedding Sites Magazine has hit the stands! I was lucky enough to be able to design and style this shoot, and the resulting photos are absolutely stunning. Head out to the store and pick up your copy to see all of the beautiful photos! 

A huge thank you to my Creative Partners who made this amazing shoot possible with all of their hard work and talent. 

Creative Partner Team:

Event Design & Coordination: J.Starr Stylized Weddings & Events
Floral Design: Flowers By Jodi
Photography: StepOnMe Photography
Hair and Makeup: Linda Valenzuela
Groom’s Attire: Mr.Formal

Check out some of the past Editorial Shoots I have done below!

Friday, October 9, 2015

Introducing Mr. & Mrs. Marino

On a warm Saturday in September, Nate & Amanda became husband and wife in front of all of their friends and family.  Amanda is true classic beauty and looked stunning in her lace-backed wedding gown. Nate looked handsome, always a relaxed smile upon his face. He had no doubts... He was ready. 

Together, they married at the lovely San Tan Elegante in Gilbert, Arizona. It was obvious that day that they were surrounded by many friends and family that loved and supported them. 

They said "I do" under an arch of greenery, dripped in soft crystals, candlelight and hanging white blooms.  

 Amanda was all aglow, and her bridesmaids looked striking in their vibrant blue dresses. 

The gentlemen all looked dapper, and made sure to keep the day light and fun as they cracked jokes all day long. 

The whole day was absolutely lovely.  Nate and Amanda had woven in so many personalized touches, including: a puzzle guest book (that represented their love story), personalized table names,  darling Arizona themed party favors (as many of the guests were from out of town). 
The Mother of the Groom made dozens upon dozens of homemade cookies and treats that were elegantly displayed during the reception. Guests were in heaven indulging in "buckeyes", "peanut butter cups",  and"chocolate covered ritz" just to name a few.
Such a bright and beautiful day for an amazing couple.
Congratulations Nate & Amanda!
The Creative Partner Team...
Event Planning: J.Starr Stylized Weddings
Photography: Still Life Studios
DJ Services: AZ Celebrity DJ 
Wedding Cake: Piece of Cake Desserts
Specialty Linens: Southwick Linens
Officiant: Anthony Montana

Thursday, September 24, 2015

3 Biggest Misconceptions About Hiring a Wedding Planner


1.) "I don't think I need a Wedding Planner."
 "I think I'm a fairly organized and creative person...I can plan my wedding and whatever I can't do on my own, I have friends and family to help."

Everyone needs and most importantly deserves a Wedding Planner. A Wedding Planner is the central nucleus of your Wedding Day. Without one, there is no guarantee that your wedding will run as smoothly as it would with a Wedding Planner. Plus, you want to enjoy every minute of that day. You don't want to spend your day answering questions from vendors or family members or guests.  An experienced Wedding Planner has planned hundreds of weddings and that wisdom is invaluable. Your family and friends also deserve to enjoy the day and not running around stressing about every detail.  Let the expert take great care of all of you. 

2.) "I can't afford a Wedding Planner."
"Weddings are expensive enough, why would I spend more money hiring a Wedding Planner?"

While Wedding Planners can be expensive, you will never regret the investment.  Wedding Planners will often times save you immense amounts of money in the long run.  Planners are well aware of the average price of all vendors and all things wedding related.  They can advise you on making wise decisions and educate you and your choices and options along the way.

3.) "I'm afraid a Wedding Planner will take over my Wedding".
"I want our Wedding day to be our vision, not someone else's."

A Wedding Planner will only help to best enhance your vision and serve as a huge resource.  Wedding Planners can help you to funnel through all your many ideas and stay on track so that you don't become buried and overwhelmed in all the details. 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Dear Chase ~ An Open Letter to My Brother on his 25th Birthday


Dear Chase,
Twenty five years ago on this very day, you were born. I had been an only child up until this then. During that time, I would pray all the time for a sibling… I wanted a buddy of my own to have in this world and share life with.  I wanted someone who would have the same Mom and Dad as me and be raised similarly… I simply just wanted to have someone on “my team” in life.  Our parents had been trying for a few years, but worried that they might not be able to have another child until... 
I was so excited.  This was finally happening; I didn’t have to grow up alone as the only “kid” in this family.  I was ecstatic.  You were born and life was great.  It was so fun having a baby in the house, helping you to take your first steps, hearing you say your first words.  You would often get yourself in trouble under my watch…eating plants, chewing on bug repellent packets… We had to keep poison control on speed dial… You were an adventurous child with a loving spirit. 

As the years went on, I entered my teenage years.  I was busy with friends, and active with school activities. I remember physically pushing you out of my room more times than I’d like to remember. You always wanted to be involved with what all the “big kids” were doing.  Often, you would run errands around town with me and we’d blare music and go cruising….I’d drive real fast over speed bumps so you would fly up in the air and laugh and laugh.  Despite our ten year age difference we always remained close.  You are the one person in the entire world that shares my same genetic mix and was raised the same way I was, by the same loving parents. 

The years continued to pass, and I moved away for college.  You would still come up from time to time to stay with me at the dorms, walk the campus, and experience college life.   You began to develop a life of your own… Becoming very active with school activities, elected Student Body President at the same school that I had held the title at ten years prior.  We were pretty similar and many ways.  
Although, there was a time when I started to realize a big difference between us.  It was around your senior year of high school.  You were going through a bit of a rebellious stage, partying harder than I ever did at that age. I remember you got in a bit of trouble by mom for your partying antics …I remember saying to you in an annoying big sister voice “Don’t you care about what other people think? Don’t you want to other people to know how well Mom and Dad raised you?”  I remember you at 18 years old firing back at me... "No, I don’t.  I know Mom and Dad are proud of me and that’s I all care about.  YOU care way too much about what people “think”."

Wow….nailed it.  Where did you get this “bad ass" attitude from anyways?  Certainly not from your "goody two shoes" people pleasing big sister. 

The years went on… full of highs and lows.  You were now a sophomore in college, I was 31 years old.  One day in February of 2011, you came over to hang out for the day to get out of your dorm and work on homework.  Justin was off shooting a wedding. You and I spent the day together... ran a few errands, grabbed some lunch, and just kind of hung out. 

Later that night, in true “big sister” form I started in on bugging you about relationships/dating. I was a little nervous to ask, because at this point you had become more private and seemed a bit annoyed with this topic.  But being a big sister, that’s what I do. 

And that was the night; sitting at my kitchen table, in my tiny apartment… told me that you are gay. 

Those words forever changed me as a person.

I remember early on looking at photos of you from past times and thinking to myself, wait...  you were gay then?  Oh, and that time too?  It just didn’t make sense to me.  Wait “I have a gay brother? Me?”  That was something I saw on cheesy lifetime movies... That was “other peoples’ family's”…not mine.  “How could I have a gay brother?”  You’re the only human on this earth with similar genetic makeup, raised by the same people and you’re GAY?  How is this possible?

I went through many phases following this conversation….shock, disbelief, anger, grief, acceptance, hope and now, I can finally thankfully say peace.

But during that time... it was really really difficult.  I regret the selfishness I displayed to you at times.   As much I as loved and supported you, I was still struggling with how much this affected me and there wasn’t anything I could do about it. 

I think the biggest thing I had to get past was realizing that being gay isn’t a choice, it’s who you are.  I had thought prior to you “telling me” that I already thought this way.  I had had gay friends previously… but I guess I hadn’t really thought much about it because it hadn’t affected me directly.  All of a sudden I was the sister of a gay sibling.  Was I supposed to be one of those people you saw on TV? Marching in the parades with the t shirt on that said “ I love my gay brother?”.

My reaction to you “coming out” at first was fairly good (as it was an out of body experience, and I was in a state of shock)…but as the days, weeks, and months went on….I’m certain there were times when I said all the wrong things to you, and for that I’m incredibly sorry.  Every emotion I had was always coming from a foundation of love.

I had to process this…but ultimately when it came down to it…My fear was about what other people would think... of you, of mom and dad, and of myself.  That was my real struggle.  I was happy that you were so confident, so secure, and knew that you wanted to be yourself and live an authentically real life. 

What would people think when they found out my brother was gay? What about our parents?  That thought weighed heavily on my heart as you didn’t tell them for another nine months after you told me.  I felt like the rest of the world wasn’t going to love you “enough” and until Mom and Dad were aware I had to protect you and love you enough for all of us.  It wasn’t necessarily a healthy way of thinking…but it's how I felt.  I called you all the time, asking you questions…more and more questions.  Every time you answered, sometimes our conversations were filled with tears, sometimes laughs... And a few times even included anger and yelling. 

I became ultra sensitive to life, the world, and the media.  It was as if I was just waiting for someone to say one derogative comment and I feared that I would completely lash out at them.  I became incredibly angry inside at times as I was processing this. Anger wasn’t a familiar feeling to me… it was weird.  But it stemmed from how much I love you. 

I told each of my best friends individually and “in person.”  With each individual conversation I had, I entered into a different phase of acceptance.  And as I began to pull off the layers and let my loved ones in, I soon realized… They were like “Umm Jennifer…it’s not really a big deal, we love Chase.  In fact, this news makes us love him even more.”
You see, that was my biggest struggle worrying about what everyone else would think. But why?  Well mainly because, at the time, it was illegal for gay people to get married.  It was against the law!?  That was the message that the world had been sending, that’s what was causing me so much fear. There I sat, as a Wedding Planner… starting my own business. And it was against the law for you, my brother to get married?  That didn’t make any sense to me.  I even thought about quitting the business.  It just didn’t seem fair. How is it “okay” for me to be married to the person I love but not you? 

Over the next four years I could sense that changes were happening.  My eyes were open and I saw that most Americans believed in love and supported love.  It was also clear to me that there were those that didn’t. Those comments or “likes” on social media jumped out to me like red flags and often times hurt my heart.  I took it as a personal attack, even though these people didn’t even realize how much they were hurting my feelings.  But I know that most everything in life that is unsupported is rooted by “fear”.  So overtime, I learned to let things roll off me a little easier. This was their loss, not mine and definitely not yours.
Then on June 26th of 2015 the Supreme Court ruled that “all states must allow same sex marriages, nationwide.”   I remember tears falling from my face, I had forgotten how deeply rooted this affected me.  I texted you right away.  Life seemed “fair” and I couldn’t be happier. 

Chase, today on your 25th Birthday, I wanted to publicly thank you.  Thank you for having the courage to be you.  You, little brother, are an incredible person with ridiculous amounts of talent, charisma, and smarts.  You have already done, and I’m certain you will continue to do, great things.  I can’t wait to see your future unfold. 

Chase, your courage has changed and inspired me.  I now care lots “less” about what people think of me, and that’s all because of you.  Thank you, you’ve encouraged me to live my life more authentically.

Please know how much your life is impacting others in a positive way.  Keep being you, you have so much to give to world and I’ll forever be your biggest cheerleader. 

Happy Birthday Stinkerbell, I love you. Thank you for always being on “my team” in life. 
Your Proud Sis

Friday, September 11, 2015

Introducing Mr. & Mrs. Mattison

Once upon a spring day on March 14th, 2015, two best friends became husband and wife.

Lacey ~ a fun loving, joke cracking, fun spirited beautiful woman.
  Jarred~ a warm, kind hearted, and caring handsome guy.   

On the day they married their personalities shined through every detail in the wedding.  The most important elements to them were:
1. Everyone have fun!
2. There be lots of surprises!

Lacey chose a dress designed by the famous wedding gown designer: Kitty Chen.  And yes, her dress was a light shade of pink, which she was thrilled about.   Her accessories also included hints of pink hues and sparkle, lots of sparkle
There was a lot of excitement and love in Lacey's hotel suite that afternoon while she was getting ready with her mom and all of her best friends surrounding her... . 
Lacey was nervously excited...she just couldn't wait to see her Groom.  

Entering Jarred's room was comical.  The Best man Tim was hard at work ironing away, another groomsman was in a mad search for his missing bow tie...eventually found at the bottom of his tux bag.  Jarred was concerned...concerned about the timeline, about the missing bow tie...but mostly concerned about his bride.  "Is she okay?" 

Finally it was time for Lacey and Jarred to have their "first meeting."  Lacey was on pins and needles...for as calm of a person as she naturally tends to be...this was a moment of sheer, nervous exhilaration. She had waited for this moment for a long time.   

And then their were two.... A team.  Ready to embrace the most magical moments of their life.  Ready to spend the rest of lives together. 

They were ready.... it was time. 

She was ready for him to continue always sitting next to her (never across) and holding her hand.  She was ready for him to continue telling her that "she's amazing."  He was ready for her to continue to always think about him, more great kisses, and always being together.  These things wont change, they will just mean more as time goes on. 

Their ceremony was "Whimsically Glam" in every sense of the word.  There were pinwheels, balloons, polka dots, and many sparkles.  The guests were happy and excited.  Every member of the Bridal Party truly had immense amounts of love for Lacey and Jarred and it showed. 

And Lacey had her balloon....a giant pink balloon with white polka dots. And Jared had her.  

And on that day, we heard them say.....
"There's nobody else, there's nobody else." ~ Lacey
"Life is good baby, life is good.  I love you." ~ Jarred

Everything in the room had a meaning behind it, each detail.  It was important to Lacey and Jarred that the details were personalized.  Their cake topper included their dog, Wrigley.  Their table signs included photos of them, and each number represented something significant to their relationship. 

Entering the Grand Ballroom guests were awe struck by the sparkly, fun, and quirky details.  The Bridal Party sat at a stunning, long feasting table in the middle of the room draped in blush sequin linens. 
The tables were topped with light, romantic flirty flowers spilling out of bird cages, antique oversized windowed photo frames, with touches of pinwheels throughout the room. 
But there was one thing slightly confusing about the didn't have a dance floor?  Hmm....Lacey and Jarred knew this would be puzzling to their guests. 
Awe... but wait.  Just after their beautiful dinner was completed... which by the way was "breakfast"...yes they served their guests a decedent array of comforting breakfast foods! Why? Well because they love breakfast, and why not?
As dinner ended Lacey and Jarred slipped away... And positioned themselves on the other side of the ballroom (which had been divided by an air wall.)  

And all of a sudden....their six piece band started rocking out, and the dividing wall started magically opening... And their was Lacey and Jarred, SUPRISING all of their guests with an additional room, entirely decorated with a LIVE BAND (The most important element to Jarred) and all of the sudden, Lacey and Jarred began dancing their first dance (choreographed) to the song "You are the Best Thing" by Ray Lamontagne.  The crowd went wild... Circling around them in amazement. 

Pure magic.  The band's talent was truly unbelievable, they brought such energy to the room!

And of course the surprises didn't stop there... There was an additional photo booth, a gourmet donut bar... and endless amounts of fun. 

The party rocked on all night long.  Everyone had a unbelievable time... Great dance moves, flowing libations... And incredible live music.   

And this was their day.  A day that Lacey and Jarred will always have as "theirs".  All that know them well... know that the party and fun for them has only just begun. 

Creative Partners:

Florist: Renata Hodl
Hair & Makeup: Tiffany Moore
Musicians: Lucky Devils Band
Officiant: Marco
Photo Booths: Kylee
Wedding Planner/Designer: J.Starr Stylized Weddings
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