Welcome to the Merrily Wed® Blog!
Dazzling images from our own Merrily Wed® weddings as well as others that capture our heart from Lake Tahoe and beyond. Along with wedding design ideas, fresh trends and helpful wedding planning tips. Get comfy, take a look around and stay awhile!
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October 10, 2014

This waterfront Lake Tahoe wedding is like a pure breath of fresh air. Take one look and then all you want is more… And we are more than happy to oblige!

Between Style Me Pretty’s feature of Emily and Joe’s Lake Tahoe wedding back in hot, summery August and our original debut in July, you should feel rejuvenated and revived with wedding inspiration! If you happened to miss this white modern classic lakefront wedding due to summer vacation or hanging out at the beach, you can catch it again right here!




If you still can’t catch your breath, there are more photos of this exquisite private lakefront wedding in our Lake Tahoe Wedding Gallery! Congratulations to Emily and Joe!

Tahoe Signature of Style,









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November 7, 2011

Back to the basics.

In this challenging economic time when friends can lose their jobs with no warning, homes taken for granted are anything but, and filling your car with gas can result in reshuffling your whole paycheck…  the wedding world seems a little behind.  Jonas Peterson, an Australian photographer, eloquently summarizes why two people choose to make a public commitment and reminds us about the real reason for the day.  Hint – it is not for the details (even though we love them)… 

I think his post, also copied right below, is a worthwhile read for everyone.











October 27, 2011

The Mason Jar Manifesto

It’s 4.47am when I sit down to write this. I woke up 30 minutes ago and couldn’t go back to sleep. I’ve been thinking about this for so long, but a couple of things lately have reinforced what I already knew.

The wedding train has derailed.

Put down those mason jars, store away that vintage typewriter and fairy lights and sit down because you need to listen. This is an intervention. The whole wedding industry has gone detail bananas and we need to clear a few things up.

– You! Over there! Step away from the hay bales and the Vintage Navajo rugs and come over here. Sit! Down! No, you don’t have to put lavender on the plates, you need to wake up!

We’re getting lost in details. The whole wedding industry is drifting away from what weddings are about and we’re all part of the problem – bloggers, photographers, planners and vendors – all hypocrites feeding the detail beast.

Strip it back.

Peel the layers off.

And start again.

At the center of every wedding we have a girl. Who fell in love with a boy. Or a girl who fell in love with a girl. Or a boy who fell in l… you get my point.

The rest is fluff.

If you read magazines and wedding blogs today, you’d think it’s all about the dress, the decorations, invitations or a million other things.


It’s not.

It’s about celebrating love, a manifestation of commitment, a gathering of friends and family.

Because you’re in love.

But if you visit many of the blogs today, you’d think it’s about other things. Heck, there are even themed shoots with no people. As if candles and old LP players on a blanket in a clearing in a forest make a wedding. Just add people. And maybe a groom. Or actually don’t, the wedding is about the details, remember? Details, details, details.

Strip it back.

Peel the layers off.

And start again.

Weddings are about people, it’s about commitment and celebrating love. It’s about you. Build on that and everything else will follow.

I am a detail person, so it’s not that I don’t like details. I love details. Details, details, details. Love them. I honestly do. I’ve worked with some of the best planners in the business and they’ve styled weddings to perfection, made details stand out and it’s always been great, because they’ve built on the couples, starting with who they are. And I actually like shooting details. A lot.

When I was younger I used to record mix tapes and give to girls I liked.

Every detail was thought out, every letter, every scribble, every word on that tape had meaning. I love me some details. I grew up in a house with vintage bottles and mason jars everywhere. That and rocks collected from oceans and fields. So I get the jar and bottle thing, I truly do. Throw in some rocks and I’m there. But remember what the wedding is about, why you’re doing this, that’s all you really need. Don’t stress out about building a fairytale wedding, perfectly crafted, every detail borrowed from somewhere else.

Look away from the blogs and magazines.

And look within.

Why are you doing this? What does it mean to you? Do you really need all that…stuff? And if you want stuff, are you adding stuff that actually means something to you? What do you want to remember from your day? The cake, the flowers, the dress from Hoya de la Poopy?

Or do you want to focus on that moment between you two? The boy? Who fell in love with a girl?

Strip it back.

Peel the layers off.

And start again.

Last night Rachel sent me this email after I posted their wedding. I’ll leave you with that.


I want you to picture Jeff and I squeezed in to our round chair, we don’t really fit and our dogs have been asleep at our feet for hours. It is very chilly here and the leaves are falling but we are reluctant to put on our heat yet. I say to Jeff, “let’s check your unemployed wife’s email, maybe we are about to get wealthy.” When I saw “it’s up” I stopped breathing. You reminded me that all that matters  is squeezed in that chair next to me.

This is the moment I have been craving and dreading all at the same time. It feels like a final celebration in a way to me. Like our last chance for you, nirav and us to take what we created together, between all of our hearts, and say to the world this is love, this is what’s important, this is the power of photography.

I am sitting here with this feeling inside that I felt before. I felt it when we sent that email off into thin air hoping to create something with you. I felt this when Jeff and I woke up in the middle of the night on our honeymoon in our little cabin (Jeff would be the first to tell you if you didn’t already have your ticket back to Australia I would have brought you on our honeymoon too) but picture us there and we are on an island in the middle of the ocean in the rain in a little cabin and i press my iphone on and it reloads your website and “One” is there. Jeff and I held each other and cried and cried and cried. You have healed parts of me. If that is not the measure of your success, I don’t know what is.

I love you.


Least we forget and here is a gentle reminder that LOVE is the meaning and reason behind it all.






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April 7, 2011

This cream, light blue and blush colored vintage inspiration board created by our intern Alex, instills a very romantic feel with hints of Spring.  We fell head over heels for the illustrous fantasy mood evoked by the hanging votive light bulbs, lounge area and wedding dress.  The vintage Save the Date handkerchief makes an unforgettable stylish and lingering impression for guests in anticipation of the wedding day.  Soft, feminine and most certainly lovely.


Photo Credits:
Top row: Once Wed, WM Events and Ruffled
Second row: Style Me Pretty, Style Me Pretty, Ruffled, Jim Hjelm and Junebug Weddings
Bottom row: Ruffled, Pink Stilletos, Wedding Chicks and La Tavola Linen

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March 1, 2011

Having a few nerves about looking and feeling your best on your wedding day?  Or interested in stepping up your current workout with some pro fitness tips?  Do I have something special for you!  

I feel so fortunate to have had the chance to chat and catch up with one of my former brides – the super busy, gorgeous and talented Karen Mullarkey – IFBB pro figure competitor.  Think of Mr. Universe, and Arnold Schwarzenegger, competitions for the level she competes at. 

Karen shares some fabulous fitness and diet tips with us – just like having your own online personal trainer!   Read up and buckle down for your own bridal boot camp to tone your arms and upper body and your veil will be the only thing swaying in the breeze…

How did you achieve your current position as an IFBB Pro?
I earned my IFBB (International Federation of Bodybuilders) pro card in July of 2007.  I began competing in figure as an amateur in 2004. I did my first 2 local shows here in Arizona and qualified by placing third and second to compete at the National level.  I spent 2.5 years traveling the country, competing at the National level and consistently placing in the top 6.  Finally in July of 2007, I earned my IFBB pro card in New York City by placing second in my class.  That was one of the happiest days of my life because all of those years of hard work and sacrifice had finally paid off.  Needless to say, we had a great time in the city that night:)

What is it like competing on a stage?
Competing on stage is a pure adrenaline rush!  I still get a little nervous stepping on stage in 5 inch heels, but I think I am more taken over by adrenaline.  There is something to be said for strutting around on stage showing off your hours of time spent in the gym not to mention, all the sacrifice I had made with my diet.  When I step on stage, I make it a point to show off my hard work.  I tell my clients who are prepping for a show that it is all about ATTITUDE.  If you are not confident, it will show!

What motivates you on days that you just don’t feel like working out?
I actually have a trainer, Ernie Villegas, who has been training me for the past 7 years.  Yes, trainers need trainers too!  It helps because I have an appointment with him 5 days a week to weight train, so I have to be there.  For those of you that are looking to get back into the gym, you should definitely consider hiring a trainer so you are forced to show up.  Trainers don’t like it when our clients cancel, plus we are going to push you much harder than you will push yourself!

What are your Top Exercises for brides so they can look and feel fabulous in their wedding dresses?
I have trained several gals that wanted to get into shape before the BIG DAY!  They all wanted to drop weight and to tone their upper bodies.  Here are a few exercises that work great to tone your arms, back and shoulders……

1)  Dips

2)  Dumbbell Bicep Curls

3)  Tricep Pushdowns

4)  Lat Pull Downs

5)  Seated Rows

6)  Cable Curls

7)  Overhead Tricep Extensions

8)  Dumbbell Shoulder Press

9)  Dumbbell Side Laterals

10)  Dumbbell Front Raises

Try doing each exercise for a total of 3 sets for 15 repetitions.  Don’t forget to combine your workout program with cardio and clean eating.  Diet is 80%!



What is your favorite snack that fills the void so you don’t feel like cheating on your diet?
My favorite snack is a tablespoon of peanut or almond butter and 2 rice cakes.  Nut butters are loaded with “good” fats and will keep you full longer.  Rice cakes are packed with complex carbs and a touch of sweetness!

As a bride, what was your favorite thing about planning your wedding?
As a bride, I really enjoyed putting all of the colors together.  Thank the lord I found Merrily, because she was able to help me put it all together.  My husband is Scottish and wanted to wear his family tartan (kilt).  I complemented the colors of the kilt with wine colored bridesmaids dresses.  I have to say the guys in their kilts and the gals in their gorgeous dresses made for amazing pictures.  It was certainly overwhelming in the beginning, but Merrily guided me through it.

What memory or moment on your wedding day still makes you giggle?
My favorite memory was pushing a piece of cake in my husbands face.  Ladies, don’t be afraid to go for it…..it made for some amazing pics.  Yes, he did get me back and it was certainly worth the laugh!

If you could pass on one last piece of advice to a bride, what would it be?
My advice would be to hire a wedding coordinator that knows her stuff.  I found Merrily by chance by doing a google search for wedding coordinators in the Tahoe area.  Out of all the ones I had contacted, she was the very 1st to call me back.  That showed me that she was on top of her game and reliable, not to mention our personalities clicked immediately.  She was able to take so much stress off my back throughout the process.  I did not have a care in the world come our wedding day because I knew she had it handled.

What is next for Karen Mullarkey?

Funny you should ask!   I just announced that I am leaving the IFBB and crossing over into another federation as a pro.  I am now a WBFF (World Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation) pro and will competing in my 1st competition with them in Quebec, Canada this April.  I am currently dieting for my competition and hitting the gym hard. 

I am also working very hard at my fitness modeling career.  My goal this year is to land my very 1st cover.  It would be a dream come true to grace the cover of Oxygen Magazine in the near future…..only time will tell.

Lastly, I am working hard at building my personal training business “No Mullarkey” Personal Training!  I absolutely love working with my clients and helping them reach their full fitness potential.  It is so neat to watch my clients self-esteem increase and their body fat decrease!  If you don’t live in the Scottsdale, AZ area, I also do virtual training as well and you can find more info at www.karenmullarkey.com.  I would love to help you ladies get ready for your BIG DAY!

Remember…..”No Excuses and that’s No Mullarkey”!




Thanks Karen!  Don’t know about you, but I sure am motivated to hit the weights!

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February 8, 2011

The word amazing has been bugging me lately and become sort of a pet peeve.  I cringe whenever I hear it or read it.

This is the most excessively used word in the English language.  Really it is – last tested on 9.30.10.  Do you seriously take notice or believe when someone says “That was amazing” or “What an amazing time”?  It’s completely lost any credibility and descriptive powers.

If it’s not too late, I would like to add this to my New Year’s resolutions – to stop using the word amazing!

This word has been used so much on this season’s The Bachelor, a late-night TV-show host couldn’t resist to make a drinking game out of the number of times it is said during an episode (hear amazing, drink – you get it).  You feel your IQ shrink a little after watching this show.

I am sure I am guilty as well for overusing this word in describing past weddings (and probably even on this blog) but now that I am consciously aware of it, I am striking this word from my vocabulary.  You will not see or hear it in any of my correspondence with my clients and colleagues – email or phone.

Let’s use our noodles a little and think of suitable synonyms for this word.  Dust off that thesaurus or download an app – whatever you favor.  Our English teachers will love us for it!

Feel free to comment about your opinion on this word, but please, try not to use the word amazing.


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January 7, 2011



Thinking about an engagement party?  Read up on this Engagement Party 101…  As a nice follow-up to our earlier post on “Announcing Your Engagement” and with so many engagements around the holiday season, we thought we would clear up the etiquette around engagement parties. 

An engagement party is a time to celebrate the engagement of the bride and groom while spending time with close family and friends.  Who wouldn’t want to do that??  I always think it is a perfect time to get everyone excited about the trip for the destination wedding (if they aren’t already!) as well as introduce possible single travel buddies to each other. 

To clear up any confusion about the proper engagement party etiquette, here are 5 simple tips to help you….


1. When should the engagement party be held?

There is not an exact proper time to have an engagement party but it should fall sometime after the couple is officially engaged and before the wedding.  The engagement party should be closer to the beginning of the engagement than to the date of the wedding.

2. Who should host the engagement party?

Traditionally the parents of the bride host the engagement party.  It is not uncommon anymore for the groom’s parents, siblings or friends of the couple to host the party.  The bride and groom should not ask someone to host the party for them nor host the party themselves.

3. Where should the engagement party be held?

Engagement parties can range from being formal to very informal depending on the venue – a house or a restaurant are the most popular.  Guests should not travel to the party, especially if  having a destination wedding.  Therefore having multiple parties are common when hosted in different towns or by different groups of family/friends.

4. Who should be invited?

Engagement parties are usually small and intimate affairs but can also be quite large.  Generally close family and friends are invited to celebrate the engagement.  Only guests attending the wedding should be invited to the engagement party.

5. Should guests bring gifts to an engagement party?

The couple should not expect any guests to bring gifts.  BUT some guests may bring a gift so it is important to have a gift registry started before the engagement party.


Here’s to all the newly engaged couples as they revel in this special time in their lives!

Live, Love and Laugh…

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December 30, 2010

With all the gifts given this Holiday Season, chances are a few were a shiny engagement ring.  The Holidays and New Year’s Eve are the most popular times of the year to become engaged (well, right behind Valentine’s Day…). 

Once you are engaged then what?  Who and how do you tell the big news?  We know you are probably wanting to tweet it to the world but here are a few more practical PC ways for spreading the exciting news!




Your parents should be the first to hear the big news!  Traditionally the bride’s parents are told first (if the groom didn’t already ask dad for her hand in marriage beforehand – very traditional etiquette) and then the groom’s parents.  If both parents live nearby then you could tell them at the same time if you choose and if not, just make sure they are both told within a close timeframe so there are no hurt feelings.

If you have children, then they should be the first to know.  If the child is from a previous relationship it might take them a little while to get adjusted to the big change.  If they are from your current relationship, you will want to have your child hear it from you first and not from someone else. 

Close Relatives:
After you tell your parents you should tell your close relatives.  These should be any siblings, grandparents, and other relatives you are particularly close to.  A great time to share the big news with these family members can be over the holidays when many of these family members will be together (if they didn’t happen to be present during the proposal!).

Finally you can share the news with your friends!  This might be hard for many of you to keep from your best friends and closest confidants.  If you absolutely cannot wait, you can slip it to a few BFFs but make sure they keep it a secret until you have time to tell your immediate family.



Formal Announcement:
The most traditional way to announce your engagement is by mailing a formal announcement.  Be careful who you send this announcement – everyone who is sent an engagement announcement should also be invited to the wedding.  This can double as a save-the-date if you have already set your wedding date.

Newspaper Announcement:
Announce your engagement in the society section of your hometown newspaper.  Chances are you might not live in the same location as when you grew up and this is a great way to let all the people back home know of the wonderful news. 

At A Party:
By announcing your engagement at a party you can tell a lot of people at once.  This party is not to be confused with your engagement party when all of your friends are invited to celebrate during your engagement.  If you are engaged around the holidays then a holiday gathering is another great time to let your family know.  Please make sure not to announce it at someone else’s event so they do not feel upstaged by your big news.

A more creative way to announce your engagement is to have an engagement photo shoot with your new fiancé.  Take one of your favorite photos from the shoot and turn it into a post card.  You can do this on virtually any online photo service or where you locally get your pictures developed.  On the postcard you can add a quick announcement or a more elaborate quote about love, the engagement and, if known, a wedding date.  These postcards are a fun and easy way to announce your news and are now more commonly doubling as a Save the Date!


We raise our glasses to all the newly engaged couples as they begin this magical and exciting time of planning a wedding!  Happy Engagement!

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December 23, 2010


With plenty of white snow glittering and dancing as it drifts down from the sky in Tahoe these days, we found inspiration everywhere for a sparkling winter wedding!

This winter white wedding inspiration board, fashioned by our fabulous intern Alex, creates a very luxurious and glamorous winter style.  The all white affair is complimented with a few platinum accents.  From layers of pearl beading to dangling crystal prisms to frosted ornaments, the key is in making the most of the minute details.

A winter wedding in the mountains would not be complete without a white cashmere bridal hoodie to wear and a few gorgeous outdoor pictures of the couple playing in the fresh snow.  Of course in Tahoe a ski lift photo shoot is a must! 

We wish you and yours a very merry Holiday Season!

Photos Courtesy of:
Top row: Jim Hjelm, Style Me Pretty and Tiki Lounge
Second Row: The Knot, Tastefully Entertaining and Zinke Designs
Third Row: Tastefully Entertaining, The Knot and Tidy Flowers
Bottom Row: Blavish, Elizabeth Anne Designs and Rock n Roll Bride

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