Fine Art Photographer » Photography, art & design studio in Overland Park, Kansas


Spring wedding season has begun and it began with a wedding that I will always remember fondly. It was a beautiful Spring day, with overcast skies that threatened, but only released a few drops of rain.. here & there.  Because it rained when BOTH of her sisters got married, it seemed normal that our bride, Sarah, would expect a little rain!

Now, I want to say a couple of things about this wedding before we get started.  There are a couple of reasons why this wedding, in particular, is very special to me.  The first reason is that our darling girl, Emmaline, was the flower girl. She turned four in March, so she was the perfect age to play to part! Miss Sarah called Emmaline one night last fall to ask if she would be her flower girl.

At the time, Emmaline had only attended one wedding and she had no idea what being a ‘flower girl’ actually meant.  What she did understand was that she would be going to a party!!  To that, she excepted & immediately declared, ‘I will wear my kitty cat sweatshirt!’ We convicted her otherwise, of course!

The other reason that this wedding is so special to me is because Sarah is my husband’s cousin.  I also photographed her sister’s wedding last Fall.  Throughout the wedding process, I’ve become closer to both girls and Emmaline in turn.  This was something totally unexpected when I accepted the job & something for which I am now, forever grateful.

I found myself a little emotional while selecting the images for this sneak peak…  The day of the wedding, I had to be ‘Adrienne the photographer’ & push aside my motherly need to ‘manage’ my daughter.  The result was a barefooted flower girl who had the run of the place!  She happily danced around all day chasing the ring bearer & starting conversations with everyone she met. She danced until the end of the night and remained in happy spirits until I told her it was time to go home.

As I am looked through the photographs, I couldn’t help becoming the mother of the flower girl.  Smiling with pride at her pleasant disposition, cringing when I see her blackened-bare feet, and shedding a tear when I see her adoration for the bride.   This will always be a special day in my family & the beginning of a special relationship that my daughter will have for Sarah.  And I can’t imagine another women better suited for Emmaline to admire!!  So thank you Sarah for being a classy vision of beauty, perfection & grace that I can only hope my daughter will live up to.  I love you both.  XoXo










A special thanks to the vendor team that made this wedding day a success.  I must say I was especially thankful for the help the staff provided me at the country club.  Entertainment: Jeff & Carlos of Two Guys, A Girl, & some speakers, Floral: Final Touch Studios, Wedding Cake: Take the Cake by Kay Benjamin, and of course photography by yours truly & Ashlee.

Thank you for helping make this day wonderful for Sarah & Nick!!

Wedding Professionals

Reception: Hallbrook Country Club  (This link is to the The Knot page that lists details about the club)

Bouquets & Centerpieces:  Final Touch Studios

Entertainment: Two Guys, A girl & Some Speakers (Jeff & Carlos)

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  • Thank you Paula! You are too kind 🙂

  • mom

    Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous! You have an amazing talent!

  • mom

    Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous! You are so talented.

  • Aww thanks Ashley! That was so wonderful! Thank you for sharing 🙂

  • Such beautiful photos! And now I want to go home and pull out my wedding album. 🙂 Congrats to the couple!


SUMMER GIVEAWAY!  Just leave comments on our blog & YOU could be our winner!


The Summer Giveaway { Some lucky person will win a PlayShoot with Adrienne, a 20×24 canvas, a blow out from Flatiron, custom jewelry from Meadowbelle Market & more!!}

From now until AUGUST 1st we will be posting 1-2 blogs every week.  The person who comments & shares the MOST during this time period will win a 20×24 Museum quality canvas AND a custom photo session.  The top runner ups will be rewarded as well with gift cards to Starbucks & iTunes.  Here are the rules:

  1. From now until 8/1/2015 we will share lots of new announcements, articles & other fun stuff on our blog.
  2. You get points for every comment on our blog.  Get additional points for sharing the post on social media (but remember to tag us so we can keep count!)
  3. The person who shares & comments the MOST during this period will win a 20×24 Museum quality canvas AND a custom photo session with Adrienne!
  4. We will also be giving out a GIFT CARDS for the 2nd & 3rd place runner ups!

The prizes:  Jewelry from Meadowbelle Market, a blow out from Flatiron District!  You could win custom designer jewelry, a free blow-out, gift cards & MORE!

Get started today by sharing this comment contest!  Everyone who shares this post (remember to tag us!),  will automatically be entered into our random drawing for a free gift!

Winners will be announced the week of AUGUST 1st.  We will send a newsletter to announce the winners as well as post on social media.

(when you leave a comment, please be sure to leave an email address where we can reach you!)


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  • Can’t wait to see all of you- especially little JOHHNY!!!

  • Thank you Sarah! I appreciate your comment 🙂

  • Sarah Sparks

    your photos are beautiful!!

  • Thanks ladies!! So far all of you are in the running & standing unopposed. Thanks for the love, the sharing & helping me improve my SEO!

    I’m excited to see you too Erika 🙂

  • Alicia Kane

    So exciting!! Thanks for the opportunity, Adrienne!

  • Emily

    We need new pics!! Thanks for the contest and giveaway-love all you do!

  • Erika

    I’m looking forward to seeing your smiling face next week! Maybe I can win some stuff, so we can fill our house with even more of your beautiful photos!!!

  • You know I’m going to have lots of walls to fill, and a baby that will need pictures taken. I better get to sharing!!

Here I am, behind the scenes reflecting on the last 12 years.  It’s been an amazing honor to work with all of you over the last decade.  I love all of your children & take pride in capturing a lifetime of memories for each of you. I am excited to see what we capture over the next ten years!

Wow! It’s hard being on the other side of the camera!  My friend & colleague, Maura with Creative Films, agreed to create a fresh one for me. Why am I surprised, you ask? The truth is that I am a bit of a perfectionist and therefore a VERY difficult client to please!

In this latest video, I talk about how I fell in love with photography & the joy it brings me now that I have been documenting families throughout the years. If you like the video, please SHARE & give a THUMBS UP!

Please share & spread the word about your favorite photographer 🙂

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  • Donna!! Yes, of course- I photograph families of all ages, celebrating life in all different stages! I’ll reach out to you via email to see if there is a time I can fit you in for this wonderful celebration.

  • Donna Henderson

    Do you do many senior citizen pictures? I will be turning 70 in June. My husband is 72. We will also be celebrating our 40th anniversary in July. So, kind of a biggie year for us. Would like individual and single shots. All our kids and grands will be here June 11th. A family photo would be so fun. Ages of the kids is from 55 to the twins, 15 months.
    I am also on Facebook where snapshots of us ate posted.


The Spring is here & with it means more time outdoors playing in the sunshine!  My little one returned from school the other day with bright red cheeks & a sun rash.  It reminded me that I need to restock this year’s sunscreen arsenal. But after all of the controversy I’ve heard lately regarding sunscreens, I needed to do a some research for myself.  I am fully grown (yes it’s true, insert your short person joke here) therefore I am not less concerned for myself.  However my daughter is still growing and I want to be certain that I am not coating her in a substance that might impede her development.

BUT… and this is HUGE!!!  Before we talk about ‘potentially’ harmful ingredients, I would like address the fact that UV rays are harmful!  We know the deadly out come of sun damage. Even one instance of a bad sunburn and you can be well on your way to the beginnings of skin cancer.  That’s been enough for this fair-skinned redhead to take precautions anytime I will be in the sun.

What we do not yet know is the long term cumulative effects of the ingredients in sunscreens.   We need to protect ourselves & our children.  The best way to do that ‘should be a package of protection. A hat, staying out of the sun, avoiding the hottest part of the day and covering up are all part of the whole story. It’s not just the sunscreen.” (Dr. Morrison via

emmaline-running-with-peteI started my search with to learn what ‘safer’ options were out there.  Most of these options are a combination of zinc & titanium (careful of the nano sized particles) but the problem for consumers is that they typically leave a white, sticky residue.

Two major Ingredients in question:

  • Oxybenzone.  This is a photostabilizer  that absorbs UVB and short UVA rays & can cause allergic reactions after sun exposure.  The debate around oxybenzone focuses on it’s potential to be an endocrine disruptor.   Several researchers say that this is a theoretical concern and that no such effect has been shown in humans.  According to, ‘As a photocarcinogen, it has demonstrated an increase in the production of harmful free radicals and an ability to attack DNA cells; for this reason, it is believed to be a contributing factor in the recent rise of Melanoma cases with sunscreen users. Some studies have shown it to behave similarly to the hormone estrogen, suggesting that it may cause breast cancer.  It has also been linked to contact eczema and allergies.’ Oxybenzone was approved for use in the US by the FDA in the early 1980s. Revised as of April 1, 2013, the FDA allows oxybenzone in cosmetic products up to 6%
  • Titanium Dioxide ‘is one of the top fifty chemicals produced worldwide. It is a white, opaque and naturally- occurring mineral.’ (Organic Makeup).  There is controversy regarding the use of titanium dioxide nanoparticles in cosmetics. One study (as referenced on Organic Makeup), ‘concluded that cytotoxicity (danger to the cell) was dependent on the particle size of titanium dioxide. The smaller the particle size, the more toxic it is. We have seen, however, that if titanium dioxide particles used to act as a sunscreen are small enough, they can penetrate the cells, leading to photocatalysis within the cell, causing DNA damage after exposure to sunlight .’  It was recently classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as ”possibly carcinogen to humans” however this refers to very specific findings surrounding titanium dioxide powder when inhaled.  ‘This evidence showed that high concentrations of pigment-grade (powdered) and ultrafine titanium dioxide dust caused respiratory tract cancer in rats exposed by inhalation‘ (CCOHS) Recent studies suggest titanium dioxide nanoparticles may be toxic, although further research is needed.


IN CONCLUSION: There is not enough scientific evidence to prove or disprove that these chemical agents are harmful to humans. We know they are harmful in animal testing.  We do know that tiny nano particles are much easier to absorb, so I would avoid ANY cosmetics with micronized minerals.

For more Truth on SPF’s, Sunscreen Types & Protection please visit the Skin Cancer Foundation article here.


lovingnaturals_sunscreenWhat did I choose? Loving Naturals (I’m eagerly waiting for it to arrive).

Active Ingredient: Non-Nano Zinc Oxide – 24.7%

Ingredients: Grape Seed Oil, Organic Sunflower Oil, Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides (from Coconut Oil), Organic Beeswax, Organic Cocoa Butter, Organic Shea Butter, Stearic Acid (from Palm Oil), Purified Water



What sunscreens how you found the most effective?  What are your concerns with what I have addressed or other ingredients of concern?  We welcome your comments below!

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Q::      How did you first meet?

Nick and I met at the hospital where we both work. Apparently he’d seen me around and finally caught up to me one day. He politely introduced himself, and then promptly asked for my expert opinion on what a physical therapist would do for a broken pinky toe. What a pick-up line! (I told him to buddy-tape it, and toughen up!) 🙂 For the next few weeks I desperately tried to figure out how to “bump” into him at work…which was quite a challenge! Every chance encounter we had gave me butterflies and left me giddy, anticipating the next surprise conversation. When he finally asked me out to dinner a few weeks later, I couldn’t contain my excitement! Even now, I still get butterflies when we see each other at work! 🙂

Q::      When did you first know that he was THE ONE?!

Things were so easy and natural, right from the start. From our first date, we were nearly inseparable. When we finally got to the dreaded Three Month Mark (in my opinion, the make-or-break time when things either get serious or simmer down…) I realized… I’m in this for the long haul!

One evening when I was leaving to go home, after a hug and kiss goodbye, those 3 little words automatically slipped out… of his mouth! We both looked shocked, and he muttered something about just being used to saying that to his dog… But I knew. Wow, this guy just accidentally told me he loves me. And I love him too!

Q::      How long did you date before he popped the question? Did you have any idea that it was coming?

We had been dating for about 2 1/2 years. I was ready, and he was too. It wasn’t a question of “IF”, but only “WHEN”. My little sister was recently engaged, and Nick was honest with me that no engagement would happen for us until after my sister was married. It was her special time, and he didn’t want to take away from that. I am still amazed at his thoughtfulness. It speaks to the kind of gentleman he has always been.

I never dreamed that a mere 5 days… 5 days!!!… after her wedding, he would propose!

Nick surprised me with a birthday trip to Vail, Colorado. They had a fun Octoberfest weekend going on, and we love being in the mountains. I secretly hoped a proposal would happen that weekend, but he had convinced me it wasn’t even a possibility. I put it out of my mind, and didn’t give it another thought. Boy did he have me fooled! His planned proposal was disguised as a birthday getaway!


Q::      Tell me about the night he finally proposed…

It was a rainy day in Vail. Nick had planned a gondola ride to the top of Vail Mountain, where he hoped to propose with a breathtaking view. But the weather didn’t cooperate. We bopped around town for a while despite the cold and drizzle, and then decided to relax in the hot tub at the resort for a while.

Before I knew it, he was down on one knee… “Hoffmeister, I have something to ask you…” Which is usually followed by something like “Can we get a cupcake for dessert?” or “Will you rub my shoulders?”… Nick is very rarely serious!

So naturally, I laughed it off like he was joking.  When he pulled out a ring, and asked me to marry him!?! It was all a blur.  I did the happy laughing/crying at the same time, instantly trying to solidify everything about that moment in my memory.

Later that evening he planned a spectacular dinner, followed by cocktails in the lounge, where the band played Tequila Sunrise (one of our favorites!) just for us. Every time we hear it, we think back to that amazing rainy evening in Vail!

Q::      How long have you been planning your wedding? When is the big day?

Our wedding is almost 8 months to-the-day from when we got engaged. Not too short, not too long, just right! We started planning right away, and it’s been pretty smooth so far! May 2nd will be here before we know it!

Q::      So far, what do you feel have been the best decisions you’ve made, other than your photographer, of course!

My very best decision… The groom, of course! 🙂

Second best decision: the venue.  I think our Hallbrook Country Club wedding will be absolutely perfect for us, and our guests.


Q::      What has been the most difficult decision?

Like everyone says, the guest list is a challenge. It’s so difficult deciding which friends and family to include, especially when there’s a limit. You have to draw the line somewhere. Of course we all want EVERYONE to be there, but reality sets in and those tough decisions have to be made.

Besides that, I thought looking through those massive invitation books was incredibly daunting! Endless possibilities and they all start running together. Picking an invitation was definitely more difficult than finding the dress!

Q::      Tell us the range of emotions you’re feeling now that it’s almost here?!

Believe it or not, I’m incredibly calm. I’ve tried to maintain a low-key, low-stress attitude throughout the whole planning process. Not sweating the little stuff has been my goal. And it’s working pretty well! Every now and then I have a panic-moment, when I’m reminded of little details I haven’t taken care of yet (programs, menus, place cards, etc). But for the most part, my emotions are purely excitement, joy, and anticipation of a special day…and the lifetime that will follow!

Q::      What are you most looking forward to? 

My favorite moment of every wedding isn’t watching the bride walk down the aisle… it’s watching the look on the groom’s face when he sees his future wife walking towards him. I can’t wait to look into Nick’s eyes during that moment. Plus, I’m looking forward to seeing that wedding ring on Nick’s finger, and knowing that everyone who sees it will know… that he’s MY HUSBAND!


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Not just known for wedding gowns, Altar Bridal, is the place to look for accessories for any special occasion.  This week we are learning more about the shopping experience you can expect with Dede of Altar Bridal.  Just last year, the shop was voted the best place to find a wedding gown in Kansas City by KC Magazine’s Best Awards!  And I have had a number of very happy brides who have found the perfect gown with Dede.

I remember it being a bit nerve racking when I went into a bridal shop for the first time.  Lots of expensive gowns & I wasn’t sure what I could really afford.  It makes a huge difference being in a shop with someone who WANTS to help you find the perfect gown & Altar Bridal does just that.

Photo below courtesy of KC Magazine.


Q::      For readers that are not familiar with your company, Altar Bridal, can you describe & tell a little more about it?

Altar Bridal was created for brides who want to shop for fresh and fashionable designer dresses in a relaxed and personal atmosphere.  The boutique focuses on designer wedding gowns and wedding day accessories.

Altar Bridal brings a different shopping experience to Kansas City brides in many ways.  The store itself is open and modern. Dig deeper and brides will experience fresh designers not carried at any other store in the Kansas City area, a fully educated and experienced staff in gown fit and fine fabrics, and service that strives to be the best anywhere.

Altar Bridal is focused on bringing new designer names to Kansas City as well as supporting those designers that are right here in Kansas City.  We are proud to say that two of the store’s gown collections are designed and constructed in Overland Park.  The store also carries seven accessory lines all made here by local aspiring designers.

Q::      The wedding gown is PARAMOUNT!!!  When do you usually see brides in the process of planning their wedding?

I would say that the majority of brides, not all, are most excited to start wedding gown shopping when they get engaged.  We are not necessarily the first thing they do but we come quick on the list after setting the date and booking a venue. So we see brides pretty early in the process – usually 9 months to a year before their wedding day (some a lot further out). Our recommendation when it comes to shopping is to try and have your gown ordered no less than 6-9 months before your wedding.  This gives a bride plenty of time for the gown to arrive and still leave time for the alterations process to be done at a stress-free pace.

Q::       How long have you been helping brides find the perfect gown?

Informally I’ve been helping friends pick THE gown for many, many years. But formally, Altar Bridal will celebrate 5 years of being open in June.

Q::       I’ve worked with a number of brides that LOVED working with you Dede!!  One bride in particular told me it ‘felt like heaven’ when she walked into your shop & met you.   Can you tell me a little bit about how it works- ‘getting a gown from Dede’?  For brides that might be intimidated by their first visit to a bridal shop?

Well first off, I’m totally flattered and proud that a bride would have such awesome things to say about Altar Bridal and shopping with me specifically.  When we opened 5 years ago, our #1 goal was to have a bride’s referral when she walked out the door.  We don’t have every bride’s dress but we can treat everyone with respect and try to make, what for some is a stressful time, more fun!

Our approach when going into each appointment is to listen first to what the bride thinks she is looking for.  That doesn’t always end up being what she wears, but it’s important to listen to their vision, their likes and dislikes and get a feel for their personal style. From there we insert our knowledge of gown designers, fabrics, and fit to really guide a bride to what is going to fulfill her vision and have her looking her best for the big day.

I’m also very blessed to have such a great team to work with at the store.  All of our brides adore our store manager, Sara, and our new team member Kristin is receiving rave reviews as well. They both bring sweet smiles and a great energy to the store.


Q::      Do you have a favorite ‘hero’ story that you are most proud of?  Come on, we all want to hear about ‘the dress that almost wasn’t  or the cRaZy bride who wants a million last minute changes.

Haha! We do often get asked if we have to deal with a lot of bridezillas. And honestly we can say that we have had very few encounters of that kind.  The bride that buys from us typically enjoys the personality of our store. We are laid back, pretty chill girls that truly just want to help brides find a gown they LOVE.  Of course we know that brides do a lot of shopping but there is something to be said for finding a store you click with and know will have your best interest at heart from purchase to the aisle.  We like to think we are one of those stores.

Yes of course we have had our share of “bridal emergencies” but we approach each issue knowing that there is a solution. And we make sure that there is a Plan A, B and/or C before we even bring a bride into said situation.  Making sure there are options, back-up plans, and our calm demeanor really make all the difference in an issue being just something to make right and total freak-out mode.  Staying away from total freak-out mode is key in every situation and taking the stress out of a situation works wonders more than you can imagine.

Ok, stories.  I’ll just montage a few for you…yes, I did drive to a bride’s house mid-Saturday because we received a call that they couldn’t get the dress zipped.  Luckily it was down the street from the store and really all they needed was someone with a zipper callus! Zipped right up. Freak-out mode averted.

Yes, we have given a wedding planner a veil off the floor less than an hour before the bride was walking down the aisle. Note: Do NOT let the groomsmen be in charge of any part of taking your wedding gown or accessories to the church! Freak-out mode averted.

And YES, I have had our tailor cut a dress in half and merge with the bottom of our stock piece less than 12 hours before a bride was getting on a plane because the fabric took an unfortunate turn for the worse when steamed.  Ok, I was in freak-out mode on the inside, but the bride was quite possibly the most gracious bride I’ve ever worked with.  She ended up with a beautiful gown and looked amazing on her wedding day. Whew! Major freak-out catastrophe averted.

5O5A4595Q::      Tell us about your selection of gowns?

Our selection of gowns range from funky to traditional, flirty to sophisticated, and understated to over the top wow! We keep the collection smaller and well curated unlike most bridal shops, but this allows us to focus more on having a larger variety of styles and unique designers versus just a lot of dresses that might all look alike. Hands down, we pick quality over quantity when it comes to our collection any day! Most of all we like to think our collection of gowns are well-constructed, good quality gowns. The majority are made in North America versus overseas. A bonus that allows for more modification on a gown and shorter delivery timeframes.

Since our collection of gowns are not carried in any other store (with the exception of one line) we know that brides will see something different when they shop with us. In fact, we have brides travel from the surrounding 5 state area to see gowns by some of the designers we carry as no one else in the region does. We are always researching and seeking out new designers that are bringing something new to bridal fashion. This keeps our store fresh and on trend. So, if you are looking for something you haven’t seen walk down the aisle 5 times already…we are definitely your kind of store.

Q::      What’s the best advice you can give brides who are searching for the perfect gown but are on a budget?

First off, everyone is on a budget when planning their wedding.  Just everyone has a different amount they are trying to stick with.  And when it comes to the dress, each bride ranks the importance of it differently.  Side note: We of course think the gown is extremely important. You may only wear it once but it’s in all your pictures, it’s what everyone talks about before, during, and after the wedding and well, it’s one of the few things you still have after the wedding is over…just sayin’.

We think it is very important to have a general idea of how much you want to spend before you head out. It is also important to research the stores you think you want to shop at. Not all shops are the same and even if you would love to shop with them, if they don’t have anything close to what you are looking for, it’s not going to be the best experience or use of your time. Sure, I get it, trying on gowns is fun, but it can become not so fun if you do too much of it at stores that don’t carry what you are looking for.

wedding-classic-homestyle-kansas-city-photography236_5218Q::       Anything exciting in the works that we should know about!?!

I always have ideas swirling around, I just wish there was more time in a day! Since our move to the Leawood area last summer, we have been getting settled and the store put together. We are always brainstorming things we can do to continually improve the shopping experience and our communication with brides after they purchase a gown from us. But yes, there are a few other fun things in the works.

We head to NYC for Bridal Market in April and we have a list of new designers we are going to check out. I’m also headed to LA to see an exclusive presentation for one particular designer we have really had our eye on! So stay tuned for those fun updates. And now that we are finally feeling settled in our new home, get ready for some fun events that we hope to host.  We turn 5 in June and certainly can’t let that milestone pass without some sort of fun celebration!

Altar-Bridal-logo-labelCONNECT WITH Dede & Altar Bridal:

Altar Bridal: 913.451.GOWN (4696)

5220 West 116th Place

Leawood, KS 66211

Email us:

Make an appointment:



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Q::      For readers that are just learning about your company, Simple Elegance, can you tell us a little more about your philosophy to planning a wedding?

We believe in offering an uncompromised level of service.  We understand the urgency a client feels when planning their wedding. We rise to meet that with them so they know their wedding is just as important to us as it is to them.  We believe in walking beside them to provide creativity, support, compassion, empathy, organization and enthusiasm for this special time in their life.  Most importantly we LISTEN to them and then work with them to make a plan that works for THEIR wedding.  At SE, we don’t believe in a signature “Simple Elegance” wedding in that very sense, we believe in creating the client’s wedding with the Simple Elegance expertise behind them.

Q::       Since we met almost 12 years ago, I’ve watched you consistently grow your business and add great planners to your staff.  What is your secret to running a successful business?  

Let me first say, that I am truly humbled to be surrounded by the women on my team every day. They all bring different strengths and insights to Simple Elegance.  I am lucky that I get to lead and work with them and I am very lucky for what they teach me too.  I have a pretty good sense of understanding what it takes to be in this profession.  It isn’t easy, by any means, but it is very rewarding.  A person has to have a strong sense of intuitiveness to be able to navigate through a wedding and all the details, bumps, emotions that come with it. I typically put people to the test fairly early to understand if they have this intuition and can work under pressure with grace and empathy. If they can do this, they will probably be great for my team.

Q::      Do you have any particular wedding of which you are the most proud?  

This is hard one especially after 2014. It was such an amazing year for me with the most wonderful clients.  I am really proud of all of them over all the years to be honest because I get to help them start their journey of marriage with a beautiful wedding.  I love the quote that states, “ I want my marriage to be as beautiful as my wedding.”  I am the luckiest girl on earth that I get to help provide the beauty for them at their wedding and know that they will look back with fond memories of their wedding celebration.


Q::      Okay, I understand not wanting to choose favorite.. it’s hard for me after all of the weddings I’ve been a part of.. so then let’s talk about one of MY favorites: Annie & Mike. (The photo above is from the moment that Kindra showed Annie & Mike their reception at Union Station.  She was talking with her hands!)  This was a full service wedding, can you address what this means & how it worked out for Annie?

Annie and Mike were great!!! Wendy, Annie’s mom came to me right in the beginning and all they knew was that they wanted the reception in Union Station. So, we booked that and since it is full service, they needed vendor recommendations for the rest of the wedding. I literally told Wendy who I recommended and she booked all of them for Annie without question. It is so nice to have this kind of trust with clients because I know how to the build the right team for a wedding.

The beauty of my company is that we don’t get vendor kick backs so our clients are always guaranteed that we find who is RIGHT for them. The intention is never for us to line our pockets. I also love full service because I get to work closely each month with monthly meetings, design and logistic meetings with the vendors and I am the integral part of making it all come together. The couples and family get to relax during the entire process because they are in my hands.  There is a lot of pressure in that but when you have clients like Annie, Mike and a fantastic mother of the bride like Wendy, it makes all of it so worth it!!!

(below: Ashlee & Kindra tying a bow tie for the father of the bride)

amaples-photographer-wedding-planning- tie-bow-tie
Q::     You’ve been in business for 19 years now,  what types of things still inspire you?  How has this changed for you in the last 2 decades you’ve been planning events?

As cheesy as it may sound, love still inspires me. I am the warm, mushy one who loves simple romance. (not trashy love novels) I am MOSTLY inspired by the couples I meet.  I love that I get to hear their story of how they meant, help them determine the vision for and plan the wedding. I love that even though the word “wedding” is common, every couple is different; therefore, every wedding is different and that is inspiring!

Q::    I love asking this question, especially for a mom of 3 kiddos… I wonder what moment of the wedding day is the most special for you?  Has this changed over the years?

My absolute most favorite part of the wedding is when I send the bride and her father down the aisle.  It gets me almost every time because it represents such a huge moment in this journey we are on. All I can picture is what she must have looked like as a little girl dancing around the living room with her dad and now she is a young woman starting her journey of marriage. She still has her father but now she has a new man to share her life with.  For the groom, I feel excitement that he is now the man by her side as they build their own dreams and family together.  I have had weddings where the father has been deceased or not able to walk for some reason and it still gets me when the bride goes down because she is walking to a new covenant, commitment in her life and I love getting seeing the groom’s face when he sees her coming to him.  From being a mom of 3, well I picture my husband walking our daughter down the aisle one day and then I picture seeing my son’s faces when they see their bride for the first time and that can easily bring tears to my eyes.

family-portraits-kindraQ::     What’s the best advice you can give brides who are in the early stages of planning their wedding?

Seriously, HIRE A WEDDING PLANNER!!!!  We can work with all budgets, help you streamline ideas and refer an excellent team for you. We really do bring a lot to the table because we live and breath it every day.  We will think of things that a bride, groom or parents may  not even know existed because we are consistently working on weddings.

Anything exciting you want to talk about!?!

We just re-branded our business and it is so exciting!! We love our new logo, website and blog. Please go check it all out!!!  We will have new offices coming soon too. So 2015 is an exciting year for sure. The new Simple Elegance Website:



Here is how to contact Kindra Browne & hire her team to plan your next event:


Office: 913-397-9932


Get Inspired via their Pinterest page: Simple Elegance on Pinterest



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Q:: For readers that are just hearing about Private Stock, can you describe & tell us a little more about your band & the kind of music and atmosphere they can expect?

Private Stock is a six-piece band specializing in dance music for all age groups. The playlist includes everything from today’s hits, favorites from the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, plus songs by Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Etta James and more.

Our clients can expect an energetic, fun atmosphere and we’ll keep it classy too. The dance floor will be full all night long!


Q:: I’ve had the fortune of working with your band many times over the last decade. How long have you been working the Kansas City scene? What’s your ideal performing location?

Private Stock has been around for a long time. As we say in the website, we’ve seen it all and done most of it. Our band is a perfect mix of younger and older members that allow us to keep it edgy but still knowing what is appropriate for the event and what is not.

We’ve played the smallest to the largest venues so the band is comfortable in any situation. Our sound and light system is incredible and our sound engineer makes sure the music sounds great and stays at a good volume.
Picking an ideal performing location is a difficult question to answer. There’s nothing better than playing outside on a beautiful KC night, and playing smaller, more intimate venues allows the band to really connect with the audience! But the rush of a huge audience in a huge space is great too!!

We love putting on the Tuxedos and playing the most formal events, but dressing down for a more casual evening is always fun. The members of the band will always be dressed appropriately for your reception.


Q:: Do you have a memorable wedding that could go down in the record books?

There have been so many memories from weddings we’ve played. It’s so flattering when someone will come up to Lisa or I and mentions that we played their wedding and tells us about the great memories they have from that day. It really makes it all worthwhile.

If I had to pick one that really stands out it would be a wedding we played the weekend after 9/11. We didn’t want to take away any of the joy from the bride and grooms day but the events that happened were so enormous that we felt they had to somehow be acknowledged.

After consulting with the bride and groom we decided to do something right before the dancing. Our sax player walked to the center of the dance floor and played a solo rendition of America The Beautiful. Without prompting, everyone in the room stood up, started singing…I get goose bumps still when I think about it. When the song was finished the party began and the night was incredible.


Q:: What types of things inspire you? Where do you get your fresh ideas?

Seeing the audience go crazy on the dance floor…when you play the first few notes of a song and you feel the energy and excitement level explode in the room. Or when the band plays a beautiful slow song and you see how it really connects with people. It’s a great feeling when you can do something to help people forget about their troubles and worries even if it’s just for a little while. We love that.

Ideas can come from anywhere anytime. They happen in the middle of the night lying in bed, riding my bike, cruising down the street with the windows down. You’re doing something totally unrelated to music then an idea comes out of nowhere and you think “whoa” we should try this!!

Private Stock is on stage having fun, not trying to change the world. We absolutely love what we do, we have a blast doing it and that that carries over to our audiences.

private-stock-entertainmentQ:: What is typically your favorite moment during the reception?

For me it’s the father daughter dance and the father of the bride toast. Lisa and I have two daughters and I always think of them. I know it will be me someday. (I’m always taking notes!)

Q:: What’s the best advice you can give brides who are in the early stages of planning their wedding?

Music is such an important part of the reception. Some would say it’s what your guests will remember most. Your wedding night isn’t just another night out at the club. It’s one of the few most important nights in your life. You’re only going to do this once so make it special. Second, having the type of music you want is obviously important but remember you’ll have guests there from all demographics so consider their tastes too.

Third, the guests often take their cue from the bride and groom. If the bride and groom are dancing everyone will be dancing. If the bride and groom are not on the dance floor it’s more challenging to get everyone up. So the message here is…get on the dance floor!

Q:: Anything exciting you want to talk about?

Yes. For many years Private Stock has been a five-piece band. We still have our drummer, keyboard, bass/vocalist, myself on guitar/vocals and Lisa our lead singer. Recently we’ve added a saxophone player to the band. He adds so much musically and visually. When he ventures onto the dance floor to play a crazy sax solo along side the dancers, they love it!
We’ve recently updated our website. There are new videos, pictures plus a lot more. Also we can now provide a DJ to go along with the live band. You can still have the band by itself, but now you have the option of having the band and DJ alternate sets so you’ve got the best of both worlds.

Private Stock is the same professional and experienced band that it’s always been, but it’s also a brand new Private Stock full of enthusiasm, energy and excitement. We are ready to help make your event classy, sophisticated, and then party all night long!

Here is how to contact Private Stock & book the band for your next event:

Check out “An evening with the band!” on Vimeo at

Website address:
Call: Mark Marek 816-392-8669 or Lisa Marek 913-645-9577


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Social media has become a tremendous part of our lives & hashtags are everywhere.  EVERYWHERE!!  We are always connected.. our phones itch in the palms of our hands.  We are constantly online, sharing photos of our kids on Instagram, swapping parenting advice on Facebook, or having a conversation on Twitter.  When planning your wedding, you must decide exactly how ‘socially connected’ you want to be throughout the process.

please-hashtag-our-weddingSo Why Instagram #hashtag Your Wedding?

The quick answer: it’s fun letting everyone share their point of view from the wedding!  Your hired photographer will be paying attention to all of the details, the relationships & telling the primary stories of the day.  It can get pretty darn interesting to see what everyone else was doing while you were getting ready or cutting the cake!

You can wake up the next morning {with your spouse!} quickly search for your unique hashtag and see all of the photos everyone took.  This is a great way to capture the crazy moments that you would have otherwise missed.


It’s important to make this decision early in the planning process so you can add your hashtag to all of your wedding materials.  Let your friends know early by including your hashtag on your save-the-dates & remember to use it when you are sharing fun stuff about the wedding.   Make it fun for your guests so they will be encouraged to share!


  1. Make your hashtag signage prominent throughout your wedding day & keep a consistent design.  Place a sign alongside your guest book when guests arrive at the ceremony.
  2. Design your own card & hand them out. These can be sent with your invitations, put at place settings, or left beside your guest book.  Design them to match your wedding design.
  3. Make your hashtag unique, personal & fun!  Some good ones I’ve seen over the last year #SamekSweethearts, #MilliganGetsHitched, #Smitherson
  4. I found some great advice on Wedding Hashtag Wall about how to create your own unique hashtag.  They even have a template builder where you can create & print your own Instagram Wedding Sign.  GO HERE to make your own!

What to Do & Don’t Do when creating your Wedding Hashtag


  • Be specific so all your guests know which hashtag to use.
  • Make it easy to remember so nobody gets it wrong.
  • Make it unique: test search for the #hashtag you use and see if others are using it. Double check right before the wedding.
  • Be open for some trial and error. Find out a couple used it before? You might wanna rethink your choice.
  • Add a “wedding word” like “hitch”, “love”, “weds”, “happilyever” or “newlyweds” to appeal to your guests.
  • Make your hashtag funny or a little bit bizarre, this will add to the appeal factor. Time to get creative!


  • Add symbols, dashes or spaces, this will cut the hashtag. A good hashtag only consists of alphabetic characters (a-z, no special accents) and numbers.
  • Just use initials and dates. Weddings tend to have these in common.
  • #Useaverylonghashtagwithoutcapitalletterstodescribeyourwholewedding, because… You can see why.
  • #WOJAAWSID, would you know what that says? No you don’t… It doesn’t make any sense because it’s the abbreviation of Wedding Of John And Amy Who Say I Do.

for more visit: 



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meadowbelle-headerQ::        For readers that are not already familiar with your company, Meadowbelle Market Jewelry & Meadowbelle Fashion Accessories can you describe & tell a little more about it?

We create handmade jewelry and wedding accessories.

Erin specializes in working with sterling silver, gold filled and solid gold to create meaningful, delicate, wearable designs.  Aundrea has such an eye for style; she designs unique hand sewn headpieces, veils, sashes, and accessories perfect for weddings, special occasions, portraits, and any other time you mind find an excuse to require a little something distinct that makes you feel extraordinary.

Q::      How would you describe your style(s)?  I think all of your pieces look & feel like they could be made by the same person?! 

To put our styles quickly into perspective, Erin’s style is more whimsical and Aundrea’s is more clean and classic. Together, we combine our styles as well as our love of anything vintage and romantic to create beautiful modern designs that will stand the test of time.



Q::      Okay, let’s go ahead & put this out there.  You are identical twins (duh!!) tell us a little about some fun/freaky twin experiences?  (perhaps knowing when the other was going into labor?)  We all want to know!

ERIN:     Aundrea.  Halp!  IDK!  It’s all fun but what is freaky fun?  We tried some mind reading techniques as kids which kind of sort of panned out.  One time I had a dream that my hands were super swollen.  I told Aundrea about it and she happened to be on some medication that were making her hands swell up.  Weird and not really that fun to know about….I’m sure I’ll wake up in the middle of the night a month from now with the perfect story.  That one time in college Aundrea was walking across campus and a classmate of Erin’s (who did not know she had a twin) told Aundrea she was headed the wrong way to get to class?


AUNDREA: What about that time we both went to the same store, at the same time (far outside of our ordinary routine) but didn’t realize it, only to discover that had been the case when we both showed up (unplanned) at the same restaurant at the same time, hours later? That was good. There are probably more stories like this. Erin, if we wake up in the middle of the night with the perfect story, it will probably be the same story, at the same time!!

Seriously though, people think we must be exactly the same, and in so many ways we are. But fortunately, we have differences too that really enhance our creative and practical ability we bring to the table when we’re working together. We’re like one person, only better because we fill in any gaps where we might be opposite. Most notably, Aundrea is a detail oriented planner, Erin is a visionary who can see an idea and run with it.

Q::       What inspires your designs?

ERIN:   Even though I make jewelry for a living, I’ve never actually worn a lot of jewelry.  Sure, I love it as much as the next gal, but you’d think I would be more obsessed considering my chosen path.  I’ve always gravitated towards creating dainty jewelry.  Maybe because I am kind of a small person myself.  Maybe because I just adore wearing beautiful, understated little pieces that hold special meaning – like a secret only I know – be it a birthstone or initial as a constant reminder of the ones I love.  My current passion is for rings, which I started wearing and creating a lot of when my son was born since necklaces and earrings weren’t as practical for the time being (no way I’m loosing an earlobe at the curious little hands of an infant, thank you very much!).

meadowbelle-ringsAUNDREA:   My inspirations come from many different things all around me. I make mostly bridal pieces so I work in lots of shades of white, ivory, and pastel. To add interest, I am always inspired by new textures & am constantly searching for them. I love many fabrics, from cotton to satin, organza, silks, and lace. I also do lots of hand sewing, beading, and working with metal. When I’m looking for supplies I often find inspiration in vintage clothing or jewelry, and I love using such pieces for a new purpose in my designs. I buy pieces I love, not always knowing what they will become.

I’m also inspired by my customers. I love when a bride who wants something unique and personalized brings me her ideas. Working together on a custom piece that reflects an individual’s personality and style results in something with beauty and meaning, which is always inspiring.


Q::      What is your favorite thing to design?

ERIN:  Guess I just answered this one!  Rings, right now!  I love coming up with a new way to incorporate personalized elements and special symbols into my jewelry.  For example, I recently put a twist on my Love Letters necklace (two initials connected by a heart) with the option to further personalize the center of the heart with a short word.  Thus was born my “sisters” or “besties” necklace.  The customer becomes part designer as well because they select the special custom elements that will be included in their personal piece.   I LOVE being able to mix-and-match my designs.  When I create new pieces, more often than not, they can be worn not only alone but also matched with existing designs in my shop for a fun layering effect – also great when adding new babies or other members to the family!

AUNDREA:  Items for weddings. I imagine a bride’s veil or hairpiece taking a special place on her wedding day, and perhaps one day being passed on to a daughter or granddaughter. I especially love incorporating heirloom wedding items from a bride’s own collection. For my best friends’s wedding day, I used fabric flower elements from her mother’s wedding veil to make a hairpiece, then created a new veil for her. The piece from her mother’s veil took on a whole new life.

Another time, a bride sent me her mother’s wedding dress so that I could incorporate lace and fabric into a custom hairpiece for her. She sent me the entire dress, so I had to take it apart myself to retrieve elements and fabric for the hairpiece. My most nerve wracking moment was when I found myself sitting in front of her mother’s wedding dress, pair of scissors in hand, waiting to take the first snip.


Q::      Anything exciting in the works that we should know about!?!

ERIN:    OMG I’m so lame there is nothing exciting about me!

Okay, if I HAVE to brag- let’s throw out this little tidbit since it relates to jewelry making:  To date, two famous singers (one is also an actress) have purchased my jewelry.  Sorry I can’t say who – client confidentiality (it’s killing me)!  I’m still looking for an accidental shot of one of them wearing my design in the tabloids or something.   Also, my gold dual birthstone ring was purchased a couple of years ago by the wardrobe stylist for The Young and the Restless.  I would LOVE to make a free ring for the first person to tell me in which episode the rings appear!

AUNDREA:   Yes! Our photo shoot with Adrienne! We’re excited for our new website too–we can’t wait to have everything we love and create in one place.  I have so many beautiful vintage materials just waiting to be used….  be on the look-out for more one-of-a kind bridal pieces to appear!



Shop for your own personalized accessories at Meadowbelle Market HERE!

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  • Erin

    Thanks for the feature! Couldn’t be more excited and pleased with the images!! It was an all around fun and wonderful experience.

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