Style Me Pretty

When it comes to inspiring wedding blogs, we instantly think of Style Me Pretty, known to those in the blogosphere as SMP. Creator Abby Larson's ultra-chic sense of style is evident in every post on SMP, from gorgeous real wedding features to each DIY project. Style Me Pretty is packed with wedding day goodies of all kinds, but we especially love the latest feature, called From Inspiration to Reality. In this popular seriese of posts, top industry professionals collaborate to create a mini-wedding photo shoot based on reader inspiration boards. Read on to learn more about Abby Larson, the creative mind behind Style Me Pretty.

Weddings Unveiled: Tell us a bit about Style Me Pretty.

Abby Larson: Style Me Pretty is a style savvy wedding resource developed to the modern bride. We cover everything from gorgeous real weddings to up and coming vendors and seasoned pros in the invitation, floral, fashion and photography industries. We feature only the most chic and style centric wedding related content, continually discovering new and brilliantly talented vendors, brides with an eye for all things gorgeous and the personal loves of yours truly.

WU: How did you decide to start a blog? How did Style Me Pretty develop?

AL: After selling my wedding invitation design company, I wanted to figure out a way to stay connected to the industry - to devour all of the incredible wedding goodness that was out there and to keep my pulse firmly on the trends. I was actually interviewing for jobs, setting up a new home and trying to navigate a brand new city during the very early stages of Style Me Pretty. It was a really fun distraction from my somewhat chaotic life and I poured all of my energy into making it a fun space for brides. Word got out and I started to see real growth, really fast. About three months after I started, I began looking for ways to monetize the site and make this my full time gig. A few creative weeks later, I jumped in head first and began the adventure of turning my little blog into a little business.

WU: Describe your average work day.

AL: My average work day is not nearly as glamorous as I would like to admit. I get up around 7 with our daughter and have mommy and me time until the nanny gets there, around 8. I begin the day by sifting through emails, making sure there is nothing urgent that needs my attention, then I start writing. To see a blog post to fruition, you need to hunt and gather a ton of information, from vendor lists to details from the bride, from photos that are sized perfectly to inspiration from the florist, the event designer and anyone else who contributed. I generally prep each feature the day before it goes live to ensure that we are ready to go in the morning. I am writing and setting up blog posts from about 8AM until about 1PM and checking emails kind of obsessively every five minutes. After I wrap up writing, I work on our editorial calender. There are a million little things that need to be done every day and although I generally tackle them with glee, it's the latter part of my day that really reminds me to approach Style Me Pretty as a business. It's the little things that keep my head glued on straight and prevent me from spending hours upon hours surfing the web for wedding eye candy.

WU: How do you keep Style Me Pretty's content fresh for your readers?

AL: We work with vendors that have made it their life's work to innovate. To continue to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to design. And I am just the lucky girl that gets to share it with the world. For Style Me Pretty, we know that we are nothing without content that is not only fresh, it's also beautiful, exciting and most of all, inspiring. So it has become our mission to put content above all else, to always seek out the best of the best.

WU: Describe your style.

AL: My personal style is a little bit eclectic. I like to call it mismatched elegance. I love layers upon layers of white, green textures, vintage finds paired with really modern accents. I love the juxtaposition of two totally mismatched styles...the old with the new, the girly with the masculine, the sweet with the fierce.

WU: What inspires you?

AL: Our vendors. They are amazing and constantly blow me away with their style and innovation. The web. It's probably the place that I visit most in the world and the amount of incredible blogs, websites, artists and designers that are cranking out amazing work is beyond. A quaint little store, my grandfather's artwork, my home. My daughter inspires me everyday with the crazy way that she looks at the world. My husband, my father, my mom - all are incredible sources of inspiration. I am inspired by success, by creativity and by hard work. Inspiration is all around us and I soak it up every single day.

WU: What do you look for in a real wedding feature?

AL: Details, details, details. Picture perfect details that are not only swoon-worthy, but also approachable. We look for a glowy bride and groom, a chic sense of style and a beautiful color palette. More than anything, we look for an approach to wedding design with a thoughtfulness and an understanding of style, whether it's a DIY wedding that the bride crafted with her own hands or a fabulous, over-the-top affair by the world's best designers. We simply want to see style.

WU: What was your favorite real wedding feature and why?

AL: It is impossible for me to choose a favorite wedding. It's a bit like asking to choose a favorite kid. I've loved them all, each and every one, with their wild differences and brilliant approach to design. A few of my favorites include, Jessica Claire's wedding that Jose Villa shot. A complete fairytale. Cara and Spencer's wedding shot by Carrie Patterson, which was featured on our first Martha Stewart Post. It was DIY elegance like I had never seen before. Anything that Lisa Vorce designs, that Aaron Delesie shoots and that Mindy Rice designs flowers for is beyond perfect in my book. Oh, I could go on and on and on.

WU: What are the most important elements for a great wedding design?

AL: The very first thing that you should remember when planning a great wedding is that personality is key. A wedding can only be really beautiful if it perfectly suits the couple behind the day. If style is forced, a wedding will never seem fluid, cohesive or fun. The personality of the bride and groom should decide what venue that is chosen, the color palette that is selected, the details that are crafted. To design the perfect wedding...personality is everything.

WU: Tell us three things you can't live without.

AL: The three daughter, my husband, my home. The three, french fries, and Bravo.

WU: What are some of your favorite online shopping and resource sites for brides?

AL: Piperlime and Zappos are great resources to find the perfect shoe. Bluefly is fabulous for finding mismatched but adorable bridesmaid dresses (my new favorite trend). Franklin + Gower is the coolest spot to find custom groom and groomsmen attire. I heart Franklin + Gower a lot. Crate and Barrel is a registry must-have as they make the online portion so easy. Minted sells a gorgeous collection of luxury invitations and paper goods. Estilo Weddings has a great selection of wedding favors and details. We love Jamali Garden for vases and interesting vessels. There are so many great online finds. We could probably plan an entire wedding without leaving our sofa!

WU: What is the best advice anyone has ever give you?

AL: "Know what you do and do it well." -- Haile McCollum, owner of Fontaine Maury

WU: What is the best advice you can give to an engaged couple?

AL: The best weddings are those that truly reflect the style and personality of the bride and groom. Before you get into the wedding planning hoopla, sit down over a bottle of wine and write down the ten things you love the most as a couple. Perhaps it's family and friends. Perhaps it's the small town you grew up in. Perhaps it's going to the movies, sharing a cozy meal, having a cup of hot cocoa. Whatever those little things are that help to define you as a couple, write them down. And make the words on the piece of paper your focus throughout the entire process. Design a wedding that is about you as a couple, about what makes you love, laugh and smile. Mark my words, you can't go wrong if you take this approach.

WU: Tell us about some of the biggest moments of your career.

AL: I've had a lot of career highs while working with Style Me Pretty. So many that I can hardly believe my luck. We've been mentioned in pretty much every major bridal magazine, we got a nod in the Wall Street Journal, we've been on TV shows and even radio programs and it never gets old. I still rush to the newsstands when I know that we are going to be featured, picking up 5 copies so that I can send a few to my mom and dad. But if I had to pin down a few of the biggest moments...
  • Speaking at Engage '09 on a panel with Randy Fenoli from Say Yes to the Dress and one of my idols, Michelle Rago.
  • Partnering with Martha Stewart (I mean...come on!!) on editorial for their blog.
  • The day, nearly two years ago, when my Stanford grad of a husband quit his job in Silicon Valley to work for SMP.
  • Our first From Inspiration to Reality shoot.
  • Launching our super cool Inspiration Board Builder tool.
  • Watching our traffic climb to a point where we knew we could really compete with some of the most well known publications out there.

WU: What does the future hold for Abby Larson? Are you working on any upcoming projects?

AL: Work, work, work! I am keeping my head down and staying focused on our forever goal of making Style Me Pretty the most beautiful place a bride could ever find. Filled to the brim with gorgeous content, with the best vendors, with the most innovative and chic ideas. We want to make SMP a place where brides can find more inspiration than they had ever hoped. We want to get rid of the wedding clutter and prove that a super chic, super inspired affair can be had no matter what your budget, no matter what your style.

We do have some fun projects in the works. We are working on improving the layout and design of our site so that it is super fluid, easy to use and easy to get lost in. We are partnering up with some major names in the wedding industry to make luxury wedding design more approachable and doable. We're also work on adding some new voices to the site and putting out really edited local content. It's a fun but focused year ahead of us and we couldn't be more excited!

{inspiration to reality shoot} Photography: Aruna B. Photography. Rentals: Special Events Rentals. Flowers, Table Design and Dessert Buffet: Dooby Design Group. Stationery: Paisley Quill. Calligraphy: Penned & Pretty. Videography: Epic Motion. Venue: The Royal Park Hotel. Hair & Makeup: Salon U2. Cake: La Sala Banquet. Dress: Amsale donated by V2V. Model: Andrea Walker.


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