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Events, Photoshoots

Bright and Bohemian | Stone Oak Ranch


stoneoak-6Lavender, coral, red, blush, tangerine, gray and navy… this color palette is full and vibrant, and I love it!  Using layers of color in your florals can build richness and depth.  And who doesn’t want that?  La Bella Blooms took what was in my mind and ROCKED IT.  Photography by Gema captured it wonderfully, and without a doubt, Stone Oak Ranch’s new pond ceremony cite made this shoot complete.  Many of the elements that made this shoot so detailed and perfect are from Pursuing Eden Rentals.  Working with a talented team makes all the difference in the event industry!stoneoak-50













For the tables I made DIY concrete votives to add a natural yet modern element.  My conclusion… a messy but inexpensive project!  They took about 24 hours from the start until they were dry and ready to come out of their molds.  I used recycled water bottles and cups for an assortment of sizes and styles.









Venue: Stone Oak Ranch

Photographer: Photography by Gema

Florals: La Bella Blooms

Rentals: Pursuing Eden Rentals

Models: Lauren and Nathan Nichols

Styling: me

Events, Photoshoots

The Truth About Why I Split

A question for the dreamers out there- How often do things go exactly the way you envisioned?  Never?  Then to you I say, Congratulations!  I’ve determined one sign of a successful small business is to stay flexible and leave room for growth and change.  Some aspects may be just as you predicted, but usually the areas that end up evolving can be one of your biggest strengths as a business.  In November of last year I launched Kristal Childs as a separate business and focus from Pursuing Eden.  With some direction from friends in the wedding industry, lots of prayer and deep thought I knew it was time.  But I’ve never really told you why… so now you’re about to be in on the truth.

First, you must know I love Pursuing Eden Rentals.  I enjoy meeting a need in my community for specialty rentals, and I enjoy providing a unique collection to inspire local brides and party throwers.  Notice my two key words here- community and local.  Rental companies are made to serve their area, and serve them well!  But after five years, I saw two holes in my business.

1.  I was personally being asked to design weddings, events and photoshoots in non-local areas.  I struggled with how to physically get a truck and trailer of rentals to an event many hours away without the delivery and labor charge getting terribly high.  Pursuing Eden is a very small business and we must charge for hotels for the tear down team, gas for the big rigs, labor expenses for the team’s drive time, wedding wait time, food, and the list goes on.  There is no way around the fact that the farther the PE team travels, the higher these expenses get.  So how do I personally serve interested clients with a local only rental business?

2.  Not every event needs Pursuing Eden Rentals.  I know, you’re thinking, “Wait, did she just admit that?”  But, it’s true!  Pursuing Eden is a SPECIALTY rental company.  We do not carry everything.  We do not want to carry everything.  I couldn’t figure out a way to serve clients who came to me for design help, but who didn’t need what Pursuing Eden carries.  Also, through Pursuing Eden, there wasn’t a logical way for me to schedule one-on-one consults with each client and help them compile a list of regular rental needs outside of Pursuing Eden, like tents, plastic tables, regular linens etc.  How do I personally help those who have needs outside of Pursuing Eden?

So my business, simply titled Kristal Childs, was created.  Now, when I am contacted by non-local clients I can easily use rental companies from their area in my design for their event.  No Pursuing Eden Rentals required.  Separating my event styling services from Pursuing Eden Rentals means I can travel anywhere in the US (and beyond!) to style an event.  All of my local brides who have hired me for my styling services are wanting to use Pursuing Eden Rentals, and that’s great!  But my goal is to use any vendors needed to create the absolute best event.  As a separate styling business, I can offer more suggestions and assistance with the design from beginning to end.

Also, when I am personally involved in photoshoots and events, I can now be tagged as a separate business on social media, so potential clients understand they have options.  We want everyone to know that renting with Pursuing Eden can be as simple as choosing whatever rentals they want, picking them up and returning them.  Or they can hire me for design direction, separately, if needed.

Another plus!  When I launched Kristal Childs, I was able to start offering interior styling as a separate service also.  [Edit: interior design services are now available through Abide Design + Home with interior design partner Kim Whyte.]

Now lets talk about this gorgeous shoot at The White Sparrow Barn with some of the best vendors out there, recently featured on Wedding Sparrow!  I’ll let the images speak for themselves…


Take a look at the list of amazing vendors below:

Photography: Brandi Smyth

Flowers: Mandy Cathey

Rental Props: Pursuing Eden

Cake: Social Bites

Rings: Lollars

MUAH: Meka Bennett

Stationary/Calligraphy: Paper Glaze

Events, Photoshoots

5 Ways to Create a Refined Outdoor Event

The great outdoors can provide a backdrop that no venue or rental collection can compete with; however, the venue and rentals you choose matter beyond measure.  Your venue and rentals can complete (or ruin) the effect of that lovely landscape.  Outdoor events do not have to be low quality or cheesy, but it does take a clear and direct design approach to make an outdoor event feel polished and stylized.


Here are 5 simple ways to create a refined outdoor event:

1.  Lighting!  Hire a professional to hang chandeliers and cafe style string lights.  If possible, choose these types of lighting over generic Christmas lights.  This detail really matters in the overall feel.  Also, when it’s dark, the guests are gone and it’s time to tear down, you will be so glad you’re not tripping on tree roots and beer bottles.

2.  Use real dishes and glassware.  I know, paper plates make a ton of sense when you’re outside.  And they are less expensive!  But they look less expensive, and do nothing to help you create a refined, elegant wedding.  Counteract the outdoors with formal tableware.  I promise the effect will be worth it!

3.  Let your venue work for you!  Find the best walls or areas of impact at your venue and make those be your backdrops for the important spots, like your cake display, sweetheart table and Just Married photos.  Too many times, I’ve seen cakes set up with the DJ in the background, or a sweetheart table with a big red fire extinguisher directly behind the couple.  Y’all, the background is what creates a frame for each space… it is so important that what’s behind looks great!

4.  Layer.  Tone-on-tone neutrals and metallics currently have my heart, so obviously I’m going to advise you to use neutrals and metallics when choosing your linens, chargers, floral containers,  flatware, dishes and all of those fun details.  And when I say neutrals, a washed-out sandy peach or faded gray-blue counts.  But mix it up!  If you’re using an organic natural linen, add a metal floral container.  Now, please don’t be afraid to use bright, rich colors as accents.   But know if all you have is an overabundance of strong accent colors, they lose their effectiveness and your eyes won’t know where to rest.

5.  Let’s talk flowers.  Simply put, you get what you pay for.  But good news, even the most experienced professionals aren’t as expensive as what you may assume.  Call them up and book them!  Outdoor events = heat and humidity = wilting flowers by amatures = ugly bouquet and centerpieces = crying bride = this is not you, because you hired a florist to create and install your lovely blooms.









Ok, surprise No 6. Hire me as your stylist.

Styling this shoot was a wonderful experience!  Wondering who else to hire?  Check out these amazing vendors.

Photography: Brandi Smyth

Rentals: Pursuing Eden Specialty Rentals

Venue: CedarCroft Plantation

Cake: Cakes by Carrie

MUAH: Kendall Morehart

Florals: Brianna Belton Design LLC

Dress: Fabulous Frocks of Charleston

Also seen on Style Me Pretty!!

Events, Interiors

Hello, 2016!

2015 was a wonderful year!  My clients were seriously amazing, and I am eager to ring in 2016 by working diligently to style additional authentic and original shoots, events and spaces.  I just love how each New Year brings new beginnings and the opportunity for a fresh focus!

With the new year, Pantone has selected a pair of colors as the 2016 Color of the Year.  Although each year the Pantone color is considered purely inspirational for the party throwers, designers and brides out there, many choose to base their next event, decor and design on that hue.  Usually Pantone only chooses one shade, but this year we get two!  Introducing Rose Quartz and Serenity.


Watercolor art has been on trend recently and I am loving how these colors tie in so well with the organic natural feel of watercolor.  Hint… 2016 will see some of my original watercolor art and prints become available for purchase!


I stumbled on this great spread by Alter Ego Weddings and love the inspiration they provided by incorporating both Pantone shades in a wedding.  What do you think?

alter ego weddings

I pray 2016 is full of hope and growth, while also giving you the opportunity to focus on family and faith.  Happy New Year, friends!


Photo credit: Pantone and Alter Ego Weddings

Events, Personal

Arden Rose | First Birthday

Christmas is so soon, and here I am sharing some summertime pictures!  But, I think you will want to see these.

Everyone talks about the immeasurable love you have for your children, but I did not understand until God sent this beautiful ray of sunshine into my life.  And to know He loves me as His child… I do not deserve it!  Thank you, Jesus for making a way.

Our sweet girl Arden Rose turned one in July, and we had such a happy party!  I’m honored to say her big day was featured on Kara’s Party Ideas‘ Blog, Facebook and Instagram accounts very recently, and I can’t wait to share it with you now.

© Jill & Kay Photography

It didn’t take long after AR was born for everyone to start asking what her first birthday party theme would be and how we would decorate!  Most importantly, Doug and I wanted the party to be a place for our family and friends to gather together, spend time with those we don’t get to see often, and especially to celebrate Arden Rose’s big day!  My parents, “DeDe and PopPop”, enjoy cultivating their yard and flower gardens, so I decided their beautiful backyard would be the perfect place to party.  Arden Rose’s personality is dainty, soft spoken and reserved, so we thought the design should be girly and organic, with a touch of glam.  The first detail we chose was the fabric for AR’s party dress, which DeDe lovingly made by hand.  With the coral, peach, tangerine and pink color palette selected, we were ready to plan!

To welcome everyone to the party, we set up a display of AR’s month-by-month photos and a time capsule box for guests to write notes, advice or scripture for her to open when she turns 16.  We used a market cart and other props to create the feel of a fresh flower market.

© Jill & Kay Photography

© Jill & Kay Photography

© Jill & Kay Photography

Curved under a grove of trees, we set out mismatched chairs and barnwood benches around a long row of tables with organic loose weave cotton and gold sequin runners which showcased amazing fresh florals.

© Jill & Kay Photography

© Jill & Kay Photography

© Jill & Kay Photography

Since July in Texas is hot and humid, we opted for a morning brunch party and served scones, donuts, fresh fruit, quiche and gluten free muffins made by my sweet friend, Kimberly.  Organic milk and orange juice were offered in the cutest little milk bottles, displayed in a vintage baby bathtub.  I hand-lettered in gold all of the eats and treats signs.

© Jill & Kay Photography

© Jill & Kay Photography


© Jill & Kay Photography

© Jill & Kay Photography

© Jill & Kay Photography

© Jill & Kay Photography

The sweets buffet, cake stands and gold sequin backdrop showcased AR’s smash cake, which was also made with love by her DeDe.

© Jill & Kay Photography

© Jill & Kay Photography

© Jill & Kay Photography

© Jill & Kay Photography

© Jill & Kay Photography

© Jill & Kay Photography

© Jill & Kay Photography

Arden Rose is blessed with the best Aunts, Uncles, Grandparents and friends, who all came to celebrate with us.   I made a backdrop of flowers for AR to open gifts in front of and I think this was my favorite spot at the whole party!  Seeing her precious face light up with each present brought so much joy to us and to our guests.  Arden Rose is one loved little girl.  Her favorite gifts were her books, vintage piano from her great-grandmother “Temah”, and her dolls, especially Polly, handmade by DeDe in a matching party dress.

© Jill & Kay Photography




© Jill & Kay Photography


© Jill & Kay Photography


© Jill & Kay Photography

To thank all of the littles for coming, we made coloring books full of AR’s favorite things, and DeDe made felt crayon caddies, staying in the party’s color palette.  Playtime in the yard consisted of bubbles, foam noodle games and other toddler toys, and it was a big hit too, with quilts ready in the shade for cooling off when needed.

© Jill & Kay Photography


© Jill & Kay Photography

We decided to hire professional photographers to capture the memories for us, and I am so glad we did! I am very thankful we can look back on these photos in years to come and remember all the wonderful details: smiles shared, hugs given, prayers lifted up, and memories made.

Back to December (but still hot down here in Texas at the moment!); I wish your family a very merry Christmas, and pray for Jesus’ unconditional love to be made real in a special way in your life during this season.

Photography:  Jill and Kay Photography

Rentals: Pursuing Eden Rentals

Florals:  La Bella Blooms

Stylist: Me