musings from the ladies of a day in may events


Top 9 cookbooks for creating the perfect menu!


Can’t decide what to serve at your event? Here are our some of our favorite cookbooks for menu inspiration and development! Whether a multi-course, plated dinner for 200 of your closest friends and family or a chic beach side BBQ, there’s something for everyone in these pages. With an abundance of distinctive flavors and serving styles, each chef and author has their own way of sharing the “culinary love”- get ready for a feast! But above all, don’t forget to infuse your menu with your favorite flavors and with details that excite you!

ADIM Top 9 Books for Menu Inspiration:

  1. America–Farm to Table: Simple, Delicious Recipes Celebrating Local Farmers by Mario Batali (Fun Fact! Our amazing friends at Epicure Catering were featured in this title!)
  2. Bite by Bite: 100 Stylish Little Plates You Can Make for Any Party by Peter Callahan
  3. The Cocktail Party by Mary Giuliani
  4. The Complete Magnolia Bakery Cookbook by Jennifer Appel & Allysa Torey
  5. Tiny Food Party!: Bite-Size Recipes for Miniature Meals by Jenny Park & Teri Lyn Fisher
  6. Martha Stewart’s Appetizers: 200 Recipes for Dips, Spreads, Snacks, Small Plates, and Other Delicious Hors D’Oeuvres
  7. The Little French Bakery Cookbook by Susan M. Holding
  8. Seriously Delish: 150 Recipes for People Who Totally Love Food by Jessica Merchant
  9. Sunday Suppers: Recipes + Gatherings by Karen Mordechai

(Photos courtesy of the links above and Amazon)

Stationery Spotlight: Lakeside Love Story


Stationery design is one of our favorite parts of the event design process, particularly weddings. It’s one of the first strong design elements for your wedding, as it allows you to play with color, texture and tone. Your save the date cards and invitation suite will set the tone for your guests, allowing them to envision the style and feeling of your wedding day. The beautiful printed pieces should evoke excitement and anticipation for the arrival of your nuptials, while also providing useful information that will help your friends and family plan for your big day.

Our beloved clients, Lizzy and Bucky, (to see more from this wedding visit our website!) entrusted us to design their invitation suite for their wedding on the shores of Lake Leelanau. The invitations were letterpressed with a single copper foil on a billowy, double thick stock. The custom handlettering Emily created, paired with the delicate typefaces, truly made the design the perfect canvas for embellishment. Steve Fritz, a local watercolor artist (who also happens to be Alicia’s dad!) handpainted each piece to bring depth to the simplicity of the foil, while also providing a dash of color. Each printed piece was a work of art and represented the sweet, sweet soul of our bride and groom. And without missing a beat, Mother Nature gave us the most perfect cotton candy sunset painted across the sky the evening they said “I do.”  It mirrored the watercolor design beautifully!


Emily’s sketching process is pictured above. It took many iterations to develop a hand lettering style that accurately represented the personality of our couple. Some designs felt too “sketchy,” and some felt too calligraphic in nature.


This is our watercolor work station! The center image depicts the single foil invitations before the artwork. The layout created a defined space so the artistic elements could shine through. The watercolor embellishments and the edge painting process of the Save the Dates took four artists many, many hours to complete!  ‘Abstract floral’ was a large theme throughout the stationery design. We wanted to ‘hint’ that there were flowers in the design without being too literal. Our groom loves fly fishing, so within the Save the Dates, we chose to include green and blue tonalities to softly represent the river bed from his favorite fishing spots. We also opted for orange hues in the watercolors, rather than pinks and yellows, to acknowledge the changing of the seasons for this September wedding. The end result was perfect – each Save the Date card was a piece or art and had its own eccentricities within its design.


The edge painting detail is pictured above.  If there is a color in your palette that is quite bold and packs some punch, Edge Painting is a great way to incorporate vivid hues. Calligraphing your guest’s names in a vibrant color is another fun touch that will add personality to your mailing envelopes. Don’t forget a beautiful stamp!


The final stationery pieces are shown above. We were completely thrilled with the end result, as we felt they were a true reflection of Lizzy & Bucky. The Bride’s favorite piece was the custom map!

As you can see from the detail shots below, Lizzy and Bucky’s stationery pieces truly set the tone for the event. The invitations gave guests a sneak peek into the world they were going to enter at the couple’s wedding.


Keep in mind, your stationery design will also help you create the additional branded elements at your wedding (programs, menus, custom cocktail napkins, place cards and drink stirrers.) Be sure to spend some time on your invitations to ensure they are a true reflection of you and the vision you have for your wedding day!


To see more of Lizzy & Bucky’s wedding, be sure to visit their feature on Martha Stewart Weddings! Also, don’t forget to check out our behind the scenes video of the stationery design process below.

Event Photos by Harwell Photography. Behind the Scenes photos provided by A Day in May Events.

Interior Design Fundamentals

When we begin the design process with our clients and start putting our pens to paper, we develop an abundance of thoughts, plans and ideas. Brainstorming and collecting inspiration helps us develop a mood board that aligns with our client’s vision. Our team relies on a variety of wedding sources for inspiration; however we also turn to sources outside of our industry. Interior design, architecture, fashion, product design and travel heavily influence our overall aesthetic and approach to design. After we compile our various inspiration pieces, we edit and refine our concepts to make sense of our ideas and choose the ones that will work best for our client and the event space. A successful event always incorporates the elements of design. Therefore we rely on the following 6 principles when envisioning and creating an event: Function, Balance, Scale & Proportion, Emphasis, Rhythm and Harmony.


Function. Photo by Kate Krueger Photography


Though it is easy to get carried away with lovely linens and meticulous place settings, the first step to designing a spectacular event is establishing a functional floor plan. Many of our events take place in the Midwest. This means our weather isn’t always consistent (how lucky you West-Coasters are with perfect California weather!). It is essential to have a rain plan. We always prepare for the unexpected by creating a floor plan that is malleable and can transition from the perfect, sunny day to a button down the hatches, stormy afternoon. If the latter should occur, you could have 300+ guests enclosed in the same tented space from the beginning of the ceremony until the band plays the last song of the evening. Sounds like a nightmare, right? Not when you have a functional floor plan that implements the fundamentals of interior design!


Symmetrical Balance. Photo via Geoffrey De Sousa Interior Design


Balance can be defined as an equal distribution of weight. There are three styles of balance: symmetrical, asymmetrical and radial.

The symmetrical floor plan is pleasing and understandable to the eye. It is also the one in which we are most comfortable.  If you drew a line down the center of the room, both sides would be exactly the same.  The plethora of opportunities to create and design in a symmetrical space is abundant. There’s something incredibly dramatic and awe inspiring in a space where everything lines up perfectly and not a single thing is out of place.


Asymmetrical Balance. Photo by Jen Kroll Photography

Asymmetrical balance is more casual in feeling and promotes movement about the space- perfect for a strolling reception! This form of balance is a bit more difficult to achieve. When creating a floor plan with asymmetry, the key is to place differing objects or furniture pieces with similar visual weight across from one another.


Radial Balance. Photo by Jen Kroll Photography

When you envision radial balance, imagine a sunburst where all the rays are extending from a single center point.  Oftentimes in wedding and event design, the stage and dance floor end up being the central point with the guest tables arrayed around.  This allows the dance floor to become the focal point, visible to all guests during important points of the evening such as the couple’s first dance.

all rights reserved. STUDIO 6.23

Scale & Proportion. Photo by Studio 6.23

Scale & Proportion

These two fundamentals of design go hand-in-hand when designing in large ballrooms or tented spaces where it’s not uncommon for the ceiling height to be twenty feet or taller.  With large spaces, it’s important to remember scale- for example a 24-inch diameter chandelier would easily get lost when hung fifteen feet up in a large tent or ballroom. Proportionally, that same 24-inch diameter chandelier, in the same large tent or ballroom, now becomes appropriate when centered over a guest table and hung three feet up from the tabletop.


Emphasis. Photo via Jessica Helgerson Interior Design


Emphasis is your focal point or the spot to which all eyes are drawn.  While we never want to take away from the happy couple (especially the blushing bride!), every good design has intentional focal points.  In a single room reception, this can often be the stage where dancing and entertainment will take place.  The stage is a no brainer and usually calls for something unique, fabulous and eye catching. The focal point should catch everyone’s attention and inspire conversation. Think amazing pieces of art or fabulously constructed custom casework featuring your grandmother’s vintage china! Another great spot of influence is the guest arrival area- making an impact at a first impression is always a good thing!


Rhythm. Photo by Jen Kroll Photography


The best floor plans have rhythm, an ebb and flow. They are functional while also giving room and breathing space for life to happen. No one would be happy at an event if there wasn’t room to move about and mingle with friends, old and new. It would certainly be an uncomfortable experience if the caterer was bumping into chairs and asking guests to scoot in toward their table as they are serving dinner. The rhythm, or flow, of a particular space is number one in our book!


Harmony. Photo by Michael Poehlman Photography


Harmony: Ultimately, this is what the wedding weekend is about! Uniting two people, two families, two groups of friends.  It makes perfect sense that in order to create a great wedding design, one must achieve harmony.  This means that all of your design elements from the very tiny place card to the very large chandelier are all working together to create unity.  This, above all things, is what we strive for in design. We certainly don’t work for the compliments, but when a guest tells our team that the design of the wedding is a true reflection of the couple, we have done our job!  We’ve achieved the ultimate goal and have united two people into a design that is seamless and embraces the unique qualities of our beloved couple.

Press: Vogue

AsSeenVogue v2

(Photo by the incomparable Jen Kroll Photography)

Last week, A Day in May Events received the incredible recognition of being named one of the best planners in the world via Vogue’s prestigious Ultimate Wedding Planner Master List. To be included alongside some of our industries finest really is incredible as we have admired their work for years (some before the inception of ADIM) and what an honor to be in their company.

We are so thankful for our wonderful clients who have entrusted us with their most precious moments in life. We couldn’t have made it here without our incredible team of vendors, colleagues, family and friends who have supported us endlessly! Of course we love beautiful floral, pray for dreamy summer nights and wish the parties would never end but Vogue says it best…”While these moments may (and should) seem as though they occurred by magic to guests, any married couple knows that every element took months of meticulous planning. And that’s saying nothing of the precision and patience required to pull off each detail day of. Throwing a wedding is a herculean task and any couple would be wise to hand off the heavy lifting to the pros.”

Thank you for joining us on this journey. We are thrilled to share this unforgettable (pinch us!) moment with you!

“All you need is your own imagination;
So use it that’s what it’s for (that’s what it’s for);
Go inside, your finest inspiration;
Your dreams will open the door (open up the door)…”

The world is filled with stories, here is (one of) ours…

RPW quote floral 5

Part 1: Kerry

It was the spring of 2012. I had just gotten engaged to the boy next door. Jeff and I were neighbors in college and we couldn’t wait to begin planning our wedding in Northern Michigan.  After buying every wedding magazine available at the newsstands and saving hundreds of images on Pinterest, I was completely overwhelmed. I love design and planning, but I was in need of guidance and someone to hold my hand throughout the process.

Enter A Day in May Events… One fateful morning, my mom and I went to meet Alicia (AKA Lish) for the first time. At a local coffee shop, we sipped our lattes and began to get to know each other. After Lish showed us her portfolio, images of beautiful tented weddings and lush floral centerpieces danced in my head. I was amazed at Alicia’s immense talent. She has incredible vision and a can-do attitude that makes you feel like you can take on the world. Every event she showcased was one of a kind and each detail was tailored perfectly to the couples’ unique story.  I knew she was the person to help us design and plan our wedding. We went home and signed our contract. I was officially an A Day in May Events bride!

It is important to note that my husband and I are quite different. I am a visual person and a dreamer. I was eager to plan an outdoor affair for our wedding day to showcase the beautiful surroundings in Northern Michigan. My husband, being the more practical one, wanted to have the event indoors to ensure our guests would be comfortable. So we compromised… the ceremony would be held at a local vineyard that would allow guests to enjoy the Traverse City scenery, followed by a reception indoors.

Cue the search for an indoor reception venue that would accommodate our guest count… Finding a reception space that will accommodate 200 people and also looks beautiful aesthetically can be a challenge.  Thankfully I had the A Day in May Events team by my side to help me see the potential at the interior spaces we visited. We found an indoor venue that with some help from “Pipe & Drape”, would create the warm, romantic space we dreamed of!  

MDF floral rendering day

During the design process, A Day in May proposed full perimeter draping that would conceal the grey walls of the conference center that felt quite cold and detached.  We added a dreamy pergola structure in the center of the room to create a focal point. Add in lush floral center pieces, long tables toppling with pretty baubles and gold chandeliers…and our plan was in place. The remainder of the planning process moved along seamlessly. We created stunning letterpress stationery, attended a rendering with our amazing floral designer, and enjoyed the most delicious buttercream at our cake tasting. 

Before I knew it, our wedding day arrived! When the ADIM team pulled back the drape and allowed us to step into our reception space for the first time, I was speechless.  The transformation that took place was truly incredible.  It was like stepping into a dream. Everything we had planned and talked about for months was before me and it was better than I ever imagined. To this day, it is one of my favorite moments. My mom, who rarely cries, immediately burst into tears.  It. Was. Awesome.


Kerry and Jeff Wedding Set Up Photos v4


Kerry and Jeff wedding AFTER

That’s the beauty of ADIM…They make the magic happen. Your dreams are transformed into reality. A lack-luster conference room can become the most beautiful space you’ve ever seen. Who would have thought?! When I got engaged, I knew I would get to marry a wonderful man. What I didn’t know was that my amazing team of wedding planners would become beloved friends and that (thank my lucky stars!) I would get to join the team and take part in all the fun! 


Part 2: Alicia (AKA “Lish”- as in fish, delish, relish… hey, I like pickles and needed another word that rhymed with Lish because I like odd numbers better than even numbers!)

When people ask what I do for a living I tell them that I’m in the business of relationships. Each and every day we work to create some of life’s most precious moments for our clients, leaving a mark, a memory, that lasts a lifetime. We get to create new families, celebrate milestones and pay tributes to legacies- in my book, it doesn’t get much better than that! Over the years we have served, worked alongside and played with more than 150 families and there is nothing more special than being a part of their lives.

I am a people person and I love meeting with prospective clients for the first time; especially those we get to meet in person! That discovery process is exhilarating and I love people’s stories. There’s a certain energy in the air- excitement, nerves, enthusiasm, etc. When I met Kerry and her mom for the first time in 2012 I fell in love! These two beautiful ladies were so genuine and all around fun- not to mention their style and sense of fashion was on point! (What do the kids say these days, “on fleek??”) We talked about how Kerry was marrying the man of her dreams and that there was no better place than her hometown to ring in the nuptials. Our mutual love of flowers was evident in between the giggles and I was starting to envision, letting my imagination carry me, what her and Jeff’s wedding day could look like if they chose to work with us.

Flash forward a couple of months and Kerry, her mom Nancy, Tana, Emily and I were knee deep in planning! When we settled on the venue we knew we had our work cut out for us. Kerry loves tents and always envisioned dancing the night away on her wedding night but our location wasn’t an outdoor venue and didn’t quite have that warmth Kerry was picturing. Although the venue was one of a handful located on the water in Traverse City, to achieve the look Kerry and Jeff wanted, Tana and I recommended that we divide the room in two, separate dinner from dancing and cover the water view entirely. For those of you who haven’t been to our ‘city by the bay, ‘ that’s like getting married in Paris and saying you don’t want to see the Eiffel Tower! Bold. We know.

As the guest RSVP’s rolled in, final details confirmed, and Jeff’s recommended song list for our DJ grew to a dangerously high level (hey, what can we say, we love a man who loves to get down!) we were anxiously waiting to bring this vision to life. Thanks to the trust from Kerry, Jeff and their families, along with a great team of vendors and a little luck from Mother Nature, their wedding day went off with only one hitch- the two of them as husband and wife!

The end of a journey is always bittersweet especially one where you have spent so much time and energy with people whom you grow to love- you are sad to see the moment end. At the brunch the day after the wedding we told Kerry’s parents that just because her dad had to give her away the day before doesn’t mean we were going to part with her that easily! Flash forward two years later… we are lucky enough to have Kerry, our bubbly-kind-sweet-beautiful-charming-talented former bride, as a part of our team right here at A Day in May Events!

ADIM Kerry and Jeff Team


Part 3: A Day in May Events

While this is one small story (we promise there will be lots!), it has helped lead us here to this moment. The moment when we decided that it’s about time the world knows a bit more about what we do day in and day out. What inspires us. What motivates us. What our go-to resources are. What we are up to and what makes us, Us. We hope you will join us on this crazy ride we call life! Now… drum roll please. Welcome to “Pipe & Drape,” a blog brought to you by the Ladies of A Day in May Events!!

Contrary to popular belief, we cannot control the weather. But, we can however control what we put out in the universe and how we share it. Enter, the blog. For those of you wondering why we named our blog “Pipe & Drape?” Quite simply, it’s a huge part of our world:

Pipe & Drape creates! It allows the magic to happen and defines an environment filled with beauty and new creations.
Pipe & Drape reveals! That moment of surprise when you pull back the drape, you experience the excitement of the unknown.
Pipe & Drape conceals! It’s the separation between craziness and perfection. It’s what’s necessary behind the scenes and what allows the beauty to unfold. 
Pipe & Drape supports! The pipe supports the drape. And just like our team (that includes our clients, vendors, friends and family), we can’t exist without each other. 

We hope you follow along as we share our story. It’s one whose name is unspoken but told over Time. It’s one of deep delight and shared under starry skies…


Lish, Tana, Emily & Kerry