Attitude is everything ~ surrounded by love!

Trash The Dress (Elizabeth Hoard Photography) (119 of 319)We’ve been in search of the ultimate Bridechilla ~ finding out that most gals are pretty cool, grounded and easy going on their wedding day with an occasional “lose it” moment here and there.  Miss Shelby Swink is the total exception to the rule ~ No Freak Outs!  No Stress!  Just Smiles and going with the flow!  Given her circumstance, even the savviest bridechilla may not have been able to maintain her cool, but Shelby is testament that making lemonade from lemons, even if it’s spiked with tequila, is the best way to handle the worst situations.


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Yes, Attitude is everything when you’re in the middle of planning your dream wedding.  Stress can take over quickly causing the most easy going bride to completely lose it!  But what happens when you hear that the love of your life doesn’t want to get married 5 DAYS BEFORE THE WEDDING??

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Shelby’s Dad, Douglas Swink and photographer, Lizz Hoard of, suggested a trash the dress session to help Shelby work through what would have been her wedding day but instead was the day she would start the next chapter in her life.  Shelby was all for it and so were her amazing parents and bridesmaids who met her in a Memphis park to CELEBRATE Shelby!

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Not sure how many brides would handle this news ~ Shelby Swink says that her options were to sit around with ice cream and Netflix, but she chose to CELEBRATE the newest chapter in her life on the day that would have been her wedding day.

Trash The Dress (Elizabeth Hoard Photography) (50 of 319)   Trash The Dress (Elizabeth Hoard Photography) (104 of 319)  Dressed in their wedding attire, The Swinks, friends and bridemaids came out to “trash the dress”  ~ it started with the girls … paint, glitter and feathers!  Shelby said she was a little nervous at first, that it was so surreal when the first paint hit her gorgeous gown, then she realized that it was only material – that the marriage was so much more than that!


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These gals didn’t hold back and the whole vibe of the day turned into fun, fun, fun!  The goal to surround Shelby with the love and support that she ironically would have had if she’d been walking down the aisle.  Does it get any better than that?  Isn’t that what we’d all hope for?  Shelby ~ the Ultimate Bridechilla

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Shelby attributes her response to her strong Mom, supportive, fun loving Dad and amazing family and friends!  All we can say is WOW ~ Way to go Swink family!Trash The Dress (Elizabeth Hoard Photography) (266 of 319) Trash The Dress (Elizabeth Hoard Photography) (275 of 319) Wrapping up the photo shoot with champagne toasts and cigars and a few choice fingers for the groom sums up the upbeat attitude of the the day!  Here’s to Shelby Swink and her kick ass attitude!

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In hopes of inspiring others, The Barefoot Bride,, in Memphis, TN asked Shelby if she’d be willing to share her gown in order to help brides-to-be to keep their Bridechilla attitude in check during their wedding planning process.  After all, if Shelby could keep it together in her circumstances then shouldn’t grace, style and thoughtfulness be easy for other brides?

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Of course Shelby agreed and brought in her amazing smile, oh yeah and gown to share with other brides.  Of course Mom and bridesmaids were in tow to support and cheer her on.  To be honest, Shelby was the one doing the cheering.  Trash the Dress, Part Two (37 of 124)Trash the Dress, Part Two (73 of 124)


Sarah Bleau from Channel 13 found out about Shelby’s story so she’ll be getting a lot more press being featured on TV!  In addition,  The Barefoot Bride will be donating a portion of every gown sold from now until January 1st to Be Free Revolution,, a local charity that focuses on helping women in Kenya.

More on that interview here:

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Big big CHEERS and love to Shelby!  We know you’re gonna rock your life with your positive vibes!  So glad to be a part of your celebration!

Photographs courtesy of

Check out Shelby’s Youtube video here:


PART TWO: Interview with a blogging Bridechilla™

julia and tom

One month shy of marrying her hubby-to-be, our Off The Beaten Path Weddings Bridechilla™ Julia Bayard was blogging away about her planning experience as well as everything “preppy and fabulous”. From Wedding Planning 101 to stylish adventures with her now husband, Tom, this Bridechilla™ has been inspiring us to encourage all brides to start a blog on their journey to the aisle. One month before her wedding, we interviewed Julia about her experience with Off The Beaten Path Weddings and how blogging has kept her chill throughout the experience. Find more about Julia’s pre-wedding journey here, and read below for our interview with her on the DAY OF her wedding! All photos from the #juliaandtom Instagram feed.


So, how are you feeling today Julia?

I’m in a good mood! Here I am, sitting in full hair and make-up, in my wedding dress… it’s kind of surreal. Is this really happening? I am so happy to have everyone I love here with me today.

There are so many things to be excited about right now, what are you looking forward to the most today?

For over a whole year I have been so consumed in this day; making sure everything will come together and finally it is my turn to just relax. I am excited to simply enjoy myself with everyone I love and care about.

Tell us about your experience with Off The Beaten Path Weddings.

It was great. Mary Ellen was a real expert and helped streamline the wedding planning process. She got our vision right away and was able to make many decisions without our involvement, which was amazing considering how many decisions we needed to make otherwise.

How has blogging about your wedding planning experience helped this process as a whole? Did you ever get any great advice from fellow bloggers and readers?

Oh absolutely- everything from what to register for “don’t register for like life you life now, register for the life you will lead” to getting ready tips “begin hair and makeup before you think you need to because you will for sure run late.” It was helpful to both be able to vent/get advice from a large network and also share any great resources we found.

How have you kept the anti-zilla attitude through this whole experience?

Mary Ellen did a wonderful job working with vendors and partners to provide us with the best options possible. That really helped reduce the stress because we knew we were in good hands 🙂

It’s been 1 month since our first interview with you. What are some things you think all brides should remember in the final month of planning?

The end is in sight! The final push is usually the most challenging but it’s so worth it when you can relax on your big day!

Side note: check out how Julia & Tom’s reception grew even more beautiful as the night went on… talk about lighting love!

Lighting love

Are you a Bridechilla™ sharing your step-by-step, month-by-month experience with the world? Please send your link to us so we can stay in tune with your planning experience and be on hand with any chill advice you might need for this experience!


Find Julia Bayard’s Blog, Tartan & Sequins by clicking here be on the look out as she begins sharing the official photos from her wedding by Onelove Photography. Find Tartans & Sequins on Facebook and Twitter. Congratulations to Julia and Tom!


Bridechilla™ Tip #38

Tip #38 – How to be a BRIDECHILLA™ – Remember the key behind a chill day is a chill team.

lily ann page - otbpw team

Lily Ann Page Photography

Anyone else up to their ears in weddings right now? Wedding season has reached it’s peak and we’re realizing how amazing it is to be working with such a chill team, that we have to share with our Bridechilla’s how much we value the staff behind Off The Beaten Path Weddings.

in action

So far, we have celebrated one anniversary, one rehearsal dinner, five weddings, and plenty more to come. And there is not an event that goes by that we don’t feel thankful for our staff, and we must recommend this tip to our readers: having a strong, reliable, chill team will maximize the chillness of your wedding day. Make sure you have vendors you can trust with your wedding and creatives that you can connect with. Whether your wedding is designed, planned, and catered by Off The Beaten Path Weddings or another company, be sure to have a team behind the company that will deliver the chill day you deserve. Below, we have a few questions for Mary Ellen Murphy, Chief Inspiration Officer and Owner of Off The Beaten Path Weddings about having a chill team and how to find one.


What kind of qualities should a strong team have to execute an Off The Beaten Path Wedding?
Passion, a strong work ethic and desire to truly please, and a supportive attitude towards others on the team. The willingness to do whatever it takes with a smile on your face and pride in seeing the end result.  I focus on the key passion and talent of each individual team member and put them in roles where they excel..which ultimately leads to an amazing experience for the bride and groom, their families and their guests.

What advice would you offer to a Bridechilla-to-be searching for the ideal vendors?
I so strongly believe in the Team approach, that I have created my brand around that. For others putting their own team together, I would focus on putting vendors together who consistently work together. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of that.

Tell us about your favorite OTBP event so far this season and why it was so successful.
Well, hard to play favorites because you would never ask a parent who their favorite child is 🙂 Every wedding and couple is so different. However, as I am answering your question, I am still coming off of the “high” of last Saturday’s wedding in Healdsburg. My Off the Beaten Path Team-both Culinary and service were AMAZING. I often jokingly say to them, I will never give a 10 but shhhhh, they were at 10 🙂  And the wedding was a visual stunner – all because my team working together are a inspirational force!

fooooood and dessert

Thank you to Mary Ellen and the OTBPW Team, we’re so grateful
for all of your hard work!

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PART ONE: Interview with a blogging Bridechilla™-to-be


One month shy of marrying her hubby-to-be, our Off The Beaten Path Bridechilla™ Julia Bayard is blogging away about her planning experience as well as everything “preppy and fabulous”. From Wedding Planning 101 to stylish adventures with her fiance, Tom, this Bridechilla™ is inspiring us to encourage all brides to start a blog on her journey to the aisle. Find more about Julia’s journey so far with this interview below and stay tuned for our PART TWO interview with Julia on her wedding day!

120812KP736Photo by onelove photography

Tell us a little about your blog, Tartans & Sequins.

I describe Tartan & Sequins as a home for all things preppy and fabulous. I navigate party planning, style my bad self, play beauty parlor, and share my latest obsessions. It’s all the stuff you talk about with your girlfriends over wine, accessible anytime!

What made you decide to take a step in to the blogging world?

I have always had a love for all things preppy and fabulous. While stuck in a job I didn’t love, I was searching for a creative outlet. Turns out, Allison McDonald, my former blog partner was looking for the same thing. After months of texting/emailing/calling/liking/etc, I proposed the idea of us starting a blog together, and Tartan & Sequins was born. Allison recently left the blog to pursue other opportunities so I am now solely responsible for Tartan & Sequins. It’s an exciting new chapter for me!

We looove that you share details about your planning experience with your readers. How has blogging about your upcoming wedding helped you stay chill?

I think the thing about wedding planning is that no one realllllly tells you what to expect. Sure, people say that it’s hard and stressful, but no one really explains how or why. Sharing my experiences has allowed me to get support and guidance at a time when I really needed it!

How did you hear about Off The Beaten Path Weddings?

As soon as I got engaged and started planning out wedding, I felt overwhelmed with all of the details. I had given up on being able to afford a wedding planner until a friend suggested OTBPW. She had used OTBPW and said Mary Ellen was amazing at managing her budget and delivered a wonderful wedding. After meeting with Mary Ellen and visiting our now venue, I was sold! I would not be able to have the wedding we’re having without OTBPW!

So, only 1 more month left until your Off The Beaten Path Wedding! Is there any advice you can offer our Bridechilla’s that have just begun their planning?

Learn how to delegate. Whether it be to a wedding planner, your fiancé, parents, Maid of Honor, or all of the above, learn how to delegate! Whenever I get that glazed look on my eyes for too many days in a row, my fiancé sits me down and makes me go through my to-do list. He forces me to assign him items on my list. While I am resistant to give things up, ultimately, it is the key to surviving wedding planning!

julias picksAre you a Bridechilla™ sharing your step-by-step, month-by-month experience with the world? Please send your link to us so we can stay in tune with your planning experience and be on hand with any chill advice you might need for this experience!


Find Julia Bayard’s Blog, Tartan & Sequins by clicking here and also stay up to date with her planning via Facebook and Twitter.


Bridechilla™ Interview with Renée Calder Design

hello hello

Our guess is that you’ve seen the magnificent chalk masterpieces, or “chalk photo booths” as our friend, Renée Calder of Renée Calder Design & Creatives names them. We instantly fell in love with these hand-lettered beauties and only wanted to explore more in to one of the chill creators behind this beautiful art. Many couples have been using these gigantic chalk drawn photo booths at their wedding, as they create an extra-ordinary backdrop for photos while sharing a beautiful message. Not only does Renee specialize in these pieces, but she also carries talent in wedding stationary and other types of custom typography. Find out more about her creative process and inspiration below.


Describe your artistic style.
I absolutely LOVE hand lettered typography, so most of my work is hand made. I’m probably most commonly seen with either chalk or an ink pen in hand, I get so much enjoyment out of working with these basics! And that’s what’s so great about my job – being titled a graphic designer doesn’t necessarily mean I am restricted to only crafting pieces on the computer. I certainly like working with both mediums, but it’s the really beautiful techniques from the past that I am most passionate about, and is is not how we designers got here in the first place? By putting pen to paper? Why not continue to embrace these styles!

We fell in love with the gigantic chalkboard piece you did for a wedding. How long did it take you to create this beautiful chalk work?
My large chalk board photo booth was a piece I spent about 30 odd hours working on, created using a combination of cheap regular chalk, and chalk pastels. I managed to complete only with good coffee and good tunes!

take a moment


What inspires you?
My inspiration definitely comes from personal experiences. I have kept hand written journals for many years, and I find looking back upon them is always such a great place to start. I carry one with me everywhere, and I record anything and everything that comes to mind. I also find a great deal of creative thought comes from getting out and about with my camera. You can get so much out of one pure moment.

couple menu stationary
What is your favorite part about weddings?
Gosh, my favourite part about weddings! That’s so hard as I love everything about them. Its such a creative process, and so many talented designers are involved in this ‘one day’. It’s awesome to see all of them working together to make something so completely unique and beautiful. Most importantly though, I think its seeing two people who are so incredibly happy to be together, that is what makes it all
worth while.

If you were a Bridechilla-to-be, what would be your must-have Bridechilla™ wear?
If I was a bridechilla-to-be, I would most definietly be the proud owner of ‘The Ryan’. You can never have too many comfy hoodies!

What do you do to chill when there seems to be just too much going on?
When I’m a little bit stressed, (and I must admit I often am) I find writing lists really helpful. I like to leave a notebook beside my bed, so I can record all my thoughts before sleep. It shuts the mind down quite effectively, and then when I wake up I have an awesome list of creativeness to get on with for the day. My other method for ‘chilling’ is exercising, I love getting outside for a run or heading to the gym. Works a charm every time.
just breathe
Do you have any more chalk inspired art pieces coming out soon?
Yes! I have a few pieces on the cards in the near future, but I am currently REALLY excited about a photoshoot I am styling with a really talented photographer/good friend of mine from ‘The Love Collective’ There’s going to be plenty of chalk board and hand lettered goodness, plus lots of fabulous wedding inspiration! Watch
this space:)
what we seek


Renee Calder Design & Creatives is a boutique graphic design studio based in the beautiful Nelson, New Zealand. Renee Calder specializes in hand-lettering and custom typography for weddings, editorial, food and lifestyle design. Please visit her Facebook & Website to see more of her talent.