Sweet Designs by Amy Atlas + A GIVEAWAY! | Style Me Pretty

Everyone knows Amy Atlas. She’s the pretty blonde genius behind the the dessert buffet craze that has literally changed the wedding industry. For the far more delicious of course. Well, not everyone knows that aside from crafting some of the loveliest sweets a girl could ever imagine, she is also one of the loveliest of women who just happened to write one of the loveliest of books I’ve ever seen. And she’s chosen SMP to debut this inside peek at one of her (and my) favorite chapters! Oh and did I mention there is a recipe involved? And a GIVEAWAY? Sigh.

The book, Sweet Designs, takes you behind the scenes and gives you a front row seat to Amy’s crazy skills. She shares recipes, design and presentation ideas and seriously steal-worthy concepts for planning and executing your own Amy-inspired dessert table. It’s every dessert lover’s dream come true and quite honestly, I can’t believe that Amy is spilling all of her too good to be true secrets. Like the recipe for lemon bars, so good, that just might make you cry.

all photos by Johnny Miller

“I’ve served these gorgeous squares with and without the powdered sugar, as the perfect ending to any?dinner that calls for a zesty dessert. They maylook fragile but they hold up well when transporting.” –Amy Atlas

Makes 16 bars.

? cup all-purpose flour
? cup confectioners’ sugar plus extra for dusting
teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into ?-inch pieces

1? cups granulated sugar
? cup flour
2 teaspoons cornstarch
? cup fresh lemon juice
4 large eggs

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and pre-heat oven to 350°F. Prepare an 8- × 8-inch baking pan?with nonstick cooking spray. Place a piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil in the bottom of the pan,?allowing excess foil to hang over the sides. Spray the foil with non-stick cooking spray.

2. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar, salt, and?butter and mix on medium-low speed until the mixture resembles coarse wet sand. Don’t overmix or let?mixture come together into a dough.

3. Firmly press the dough into the bottom of the pan, using the bottom of a measuring cup to firmly?press the mixture down. Chill dough in the freezer for 15 minutes.

4. Bake until light golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the crust from the oven and set aside.?Reduce oven temperature to 300°F.

5. Meanwhile, make the filling. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, and cornstarch until?combined. Add the lemon juice and eggs and whisk until combined. Strain the mixture into a bowl.

6. Pour the filling over the baked crust and bake 30 minutes more, or until the filling does not jiggle?when tapped. Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then refrigerate at least 2 hours to set.

7. Cut the lemon bars into 16 equal squares. Use a small offset spatula to remove them from the pan.?Tap a bit of confectioners’ sugar through a sieve over the top of the bars. Arrange 5 or so on an oval?platter and set on the table. Replenish as necessary. The lemon bars will keep, tightly covered, in the?refrigerator up to 1 week.

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Wrap It Up Pretty Little Black Book! | Style Me Pretty

We’ve had quite the love filled week here at SMP. Valentine’s Day is a big day for those of us who love Love as much as we do. And on top of the bid Day o’ Love, we had ELEVEN beautiful weddings to spend our days with. Before we leave you for your weekend, we’ve got a little preview of what is coming Monday Morning – believe me, you won’t want to delay getting back here nice and early! Until then, LBBers. xoxo

Photography courtesy of?Holland Photo Arts.

All the lovely, lovely soirees in case you need to revisit a few:

a South Carolina highlight film at the most romantic beach club
a wedding of two of our favorite Michigan photographers, by two of our fave Indiana photographers
a perfect Sonoma soiree featuring sunflowers + the most beautiful blue
a vintage affair in San Francisco with a perfect V-Day color palette
a beautiful fête?in the breathtaking Pennsylvania autumn
a classic Connecticut wedding with the perfect amount of modern in the mix
a rustic chic winery wedding with a couple we’d get along with in California
a fun peak at some fab New Jersey Shore nautical nuptials
a most stunning Philadelphia ballroom soiree
a pretty, pretty fête in East Hampton by the beach
a very gorgeous Maine Destination wedding we just can’t get enough of

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Wilmington Country Club Army Wedding from mk Photography …

It’s no secret that military weddings hold a special place in my heart, and when this Army wedding landed in my lap, I was obviously smitten. Captured by mk Photography, the Delaware affair is perfectly chic – with darling details done by the bride and her loved ones, a fantastic neutral color palette, and a couple tying the knot in uniform. You won’t want to miss all there is in the full image gallery, so make sure to pop over there when you’re ready!

John and I first met in the bleachers overlooking an intramural soccer game, where my floor mates and I were cheering on our “brother floor” during the first few weeks of freshman year at Wheaton College. What followed were two years of college experiences that led us to develop a deep friendship. We had the same friends, were in the same classes, went on the same road trips, and studied at various coffee shops together.

Our dating relationship actually began one spring evening in 2009 as we sat on a bench on the Riverwalk in Naperville enjoying some Red Mango frozen yogurt. About two years later, on February 25, 2011, John asked me to marry him at the same exact place. After dinner at our first date spot, a hole-in-the-wall Senegalese restaurant in Chicago, and after seeing Les Miserables at the Cadillac Palace Theatre, we took a short walk through snow flurries, ending up at “the bench” where our relationship had begun and where so many important conversations had happened. Our favorite frozen yogurt was there waiting for us (Thank you, Chicago weather, it was still very frozen). John got down on his knee and said some wonderful things and asked me to marry him – and the rest is history!

Due to John’s pending Army career, we had limited options when setting a wedding date. We settled on Labor Day weekend of the same year, leaving us about five months to graduate from college and plan a wedding. Because John grew up in Costa Rica, we planned to get married in Delaware, where I grew up.

Spending the summer running around to countless venues and vendors with my mom was a blast! After looking at several beautiful potential wedding sites throughout Delaware and Pennsylvania, we decided it would be most meaningful and special to have our wedding right in the Delaware Valley. Our ceremony and reception venues were both specially chosen. Old Swedes Church, dating from 1699, is a cool, old, stone historic building in downtown Wilmington. It’s not the church my family attends on a regular basis, but it seemed like the perfect place due to my Swedish heritage and its fun setting. We also liked that it was in Wilmington because of our passion for urban culture and development. From there, our guests drove about fifteen minutes to Wilmington Country Club in Greenville, the site of my parents’ reception twenty-eight years earlier.

I’ve never been a fan of bright colors because I change my mind so easily, so our goal was to create an elegant evening by choosing more neutral and classic colors with a few unique elements that would add some modern flair. John and his groomsmen who are also in the military wore their army service uniforms and capped off the ceremony with the saber arch. The rest of the groomsmen wore traditional black tuxes, and the bridesmaids wore long grey dresses from Priscilla of Boston that were flattering on everyone.

Our flowers were natural whites and greens; mine were primarily whites while the girls’ had more greens. The simple yet sophisticated centerpieces of dendrobium orchids and willow branches, set off by beautiful grey linens and enhanced with hanging votives, added a wow-factor upon entering the ballroom.

My long-time friend and bridesmaid who studied design in college spent many long days and nights over the summer helping us with the fun diy elements. She created a monogram for John and me that was at the top of our menus, sewed pennant flags made out of various grey fabrics that were strung around the country club, and designed chalkboard menus for the bars, and we worked together to create our eight foot tall seating boards. A family friend sewed a unique ring bearer pillow, we displayed family wedding photos for a personal touch, we assembled our programs ourselves with the help of some friends, and we made our table numbers out of slate tiles from Home Depot with green ribbon tied around them.

One of our desires for the evening was that people would have lots of fun celebrating one of the most important days of our lives with us, and also that there would be opportunities for guests to catch up and talk and enjoy each other. Wilmington Country Club was the perfect place to accomplish this because it allowed for fabulous dancing and entertainment by the Vincent James Band in the ballroom while the candlelit patio, which was still open to the ballroom, provided a quieter setting for relaxing conversation.

We added some special touches with a dessert bar (cake was served as dessert, but John and I aren’t big cake people, so the dessert bar on the patio featured some of our favorites like peanut butter truffles and mini apple pies). I am known for my love for coffee, so we also splurged to hire a barista for the night; she set up on the patio as well and created custom espresso drinks for our guests.

John and I have never wanted to be doing so many different things at the same time! There just weren’t enough hours in the evening to spend sufficient time dancing with friends, catching up with two hundred of the most influential people in our lives, sipping coffee on the patio, and enjoying our favorite foods. Everything came together so much more beautifully and perfectly than we could have hoped, and fun, special moments from the day continue to be topics of conversation. We are now living in Hawaii where John is stationed, and we are enjoying exploring all that Oahu has to offer. We are loving life as a Mr. and Mrs. and can’t wait to see what the coming years will hold!

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Seattle Wedding by Abbey Hepner Photography | Style Me Pretty

As a fellow detail-obsessed DIYer, I am?positively?falling down in adoration for this handcrafted Seattle wedding. ?Each pretty little detail you see below was made with lots of love by the adorable bride from the fabric rosettes and paper flower centerpieces to the home-baked cookies! ?Of course, as amazing as she is, she couldn’t do everything by herself. ?All of her hard work and months of crafting were captured so delightfully by?Abbey Hepner Photography. ?Click here to see all the images in the full gallery!

Click here for the FULL wedding!

From the bride… Please excuse me for being cliché, but my favorite memory of the day was the ceremony. The entire room disappeared and it was just the three of us. I knew my friends and family were there, but all my attention was focused on Chris and his daughter. The comment that I hear the most often is how great it was that we were able to incorporate Chris’ daughter into the ceremony. It’s her family, too, and we wanted to make sure she was a part of our vows and our commitment to each other. It was lovely.

The details — oh, the details! Yes, I was obsessed with them. I’ve loved milk glass for years, so I knew that my centerpieces had to be in milk glass. I really found lots of my ideas for details from searching wedding blogs. It was a fun time, and I almost miss having an excuse to read through the blogs all the time. (Though maybe I still do. Don’t tell!) I made fabric flowers for the tables, tissue paper flowers for the centerpieces, and hanging fabric poms for the ceiling. I also baked the cookies and made the Rice Krispie treats and rock candy. (I could not have done all this without the help from my family and friends!) However, I think the most important thing to know about the details is how little they really mattered on my wedding day. Don’t get me wrong — I noticed them and I was happy my little crafty things were there, but I was at my wedding with the man I love, all my family and friends, and an amazing band! The food was great, and there were donuts — really, what more do you need!?

My advice to brides isn’t necessarily to start early and DIY everything, unless you love that kind of thing (which I do, and if you are going to DIY a lot of your wedding, do start early). My advice is to make your day your own. Of course, take into account the comfort and enjoyment of your guests, but don’t sweat the small stuff. They’ll like vegan donuts if that’s what you serve. In fact, they’ll eat them even before you and your groom have your “donut cutting” and rave about them for weeks to come. Don’t overdo it either. I had planned to do all my own flowers (the dahlias were grown by my uncle!), but a few days before the wedding, I realized that I was overwhelmed. I was lucky enough to hire Finch and Thistle to do my flowers and it was the best last-minute decision I made. Also, make sure you have a detailed schedule for the day. Provide copies to your photographer,? your venue and anyone else you think might need one, and then let the day unfold. I did not worry about time at all on that day. It was the best way to let go and enjoy my guests and my wedding day! My last bit of advice: choose all your vendors well, especially your photographer. The photos will live on forever! (Thank you from the bottom of my heart, Abbey!) It was such a fun, love-filled day. And you know what? If something went wrong, no one told me about it, which was brilliant. Enjoy it — it will be over in a flash!

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Gladwin DIY Wedding from Kelly Sweet Photography

For those of you lucky enough to have experienced a Michigan summer, you are about to be so excited when see this September wedding captured by Kelly Sweet Photography. For those of you who have yet to experience summer time in the Great Lakes State – this is going to make you crave Michigan’s sweet summer time. It’s a perfectly relaxed affair that incorporated so much of who this couple is and what they love that we are totally obsessed. So obsessed, we’ll be spending all day in the full image gallery!

Bridal Bouquet By / Noaki Jewelry And Bouquets Photography By / Kelly Sweet Photography

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