Category Archives: Flowers

Rustic Wedding: Beautiful Hues at Mountain Mermaid

By | Fantasy Frostings, Flowers, Uncategorized, Wedding Ceremony, Wedding Consultant, Wedding Coordinator | No Comments

We’ve worked a lot at Mountain Mermaid, and for good reason – it’s a stunning venue, conveniently located in Los Angeles.  It’s also a very streamlined space logistically considering how unique it is! A perfect place for a rustic wedding. We were fortunate to meet up with a wonderful couple that booked their wedding there that had a really cool perspective on their rustic decor. They wanted artful compositions instead of messy clusters, for a rustic look with a modern execution.  We were happy to be on board as wedding consultants and coordinators, and provide the design and florals as well.

For example, the bride was from the coast and wanted to bring in seashells and driftwood into the mix, without being over the top, so we painted some of the shells and added fern greenery to a shell display for her escort card table.  River rocks, moss, and other natural details were very carefully placed with artistic detail so they looked more like set pieces than randomly placed items.

A soft-hued but no less vibrant palette of peach, lavender, gold, and yellows offset the deep shades of the Mermaid so beautifully. Wood slices from Tire Swing Woodworks added to the look. We also found glass bottles, ceramic goblets, and other unique glassware for the centerpieces and accent pieces.

Our associate Laura Klein has beautiful handwriting and created the custom chalkboard wedding signage, as well, something that also goes well with the rustic wedding aesthetic.  We loved how creative the couple were with their signature cocktails, which were perfectly crafted by their caterer, Huntington Catering Company.

Other vendors included Jillian Rose Photography, who took all of the gorgeous photos you see here; Fantasy Frostings; music by Red Shoe LA; video by Luma House; hair and makeup by Kari Cottom; and lighting by Stage Labs.

Boutonnieres peach greenery silver tray

Gold Shell Wedding Ring Box Holder

escort card table conch shell rustic wedding fern greenery

escort card mermaid shell fern display

vase shell coral ranunculus

sweetheart table fern rocks coral lavendar lisianthus

banquet tables ivory linen napkin place setting wedding

kiss on stairs mountain mermaid los angeles wedding

dancing mountain mermaid

December Wedding at Mountain Mermaid

By | December Wedding, event design, Flowers, Mountain Mermaid, Red Roses Wedding Flowers | No Comments

We loved coordinating and providing florals for this beautiful December wedding. It was a relaxed, warm event with an intimate guest count. The rich ambiance of the Mountain Mermaid helped set off the combination of greenery and rich red roses.  Don Norris of Norris Photo captures all of the goodness.

What I love about this palette is that it is not afraid to go deep and rich, with vivid greenery such as sword ferns and eucalyptus. We still provided a light touch with the soft pink roses; but the couple were not afraid of using rich red roses as well.  Anchoring the centerpieces were black vessels that echoed the black favors on the tables.  Rustic tables by Found Rentals completed the look.

Delicious catering was provided by Evil Pig BBQ, and the gorgeous wedding cake was by Jamaica’s Cakes.

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Rustic ring box lace mr mrs wedding roses

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Real Wedding: Moroccan touches at Cliff’s Edge

By | event design, Flowers, Moroccan Design Weddings, Uncategorized, Wedding Decor, Wedding Design, wedding flowers | No Comments

Collaboration is the key to cohesive, personalized design for every client’s wedding. For this beautiful celebration last October, our couple provided us Buddha statues, lanterns, and handmade runners and we provided the floral decor and a few other cool touches.  Guests were delighted by the spiritual, zen elements that went so well with the lush, hideaway atmosphere of the restaurant Cliff’s Edge.  Photos by Jenna Rose Photography.

Other awesome vendors:

Cake: Auntie Ems

DJ: Jack from VOX DJS

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Grazing Tables for Weddings

By | Dessert Table for Weddings, event design, Event Design Tips for Weddings, Event Planner, Flowers, Grazing Table for Weddings, wedding flowers | No Comments

I am fortunate enough to work with a variety of cultures.  Many of them are focused on displays of abundance – to graciously offer delicious food and thus show hospitality to their guests.

My take on this is what is known as a Grazing Table.  I played with some ideas based on this ‘greige’ colored tablecloth by Luxe Linen, which triggered a design of earthy foods like nuts and whole fruit, classic crisp colors, and vintage serveware (crystal cut bowls, slightly tarnished silver pieces).  Our florals featured white hydrangeas and drapes of seeded eucalyptus, as well as sweet bud vases with vendella and sahara roses. (Photos kindly provided by the awesome Jillian Rose Kling of Jillian Rose Photography.)

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Not only does a beautifully styled table of food serve as a conversation starter, it also absorbs alcohol throughout the night (!) and offers a chance to display heirloom serveware, utilize a design theme, or otherwise show off your personality.

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Food can be customized to the couples’ taste or season – tea biscuits and pastries for a bride who loves to take her tea every afternoon, or perhaps luscious whole fruits and spa water for a summer wedding.

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When planning the table, it’s best to ensure your caterer handles the setup and refilling for health and safety purposes. Cheese and meats can only be set out for so long; these may be ideal for the cocktail hour, and then switched out for more temperature-stable foods for the rest of the night.

Regardless of what you do, grazing tables are another great opportunity for brides and grooms to show off their style, and please their guests. For more ideas about design, style, and wedding planning, sign up for our monthly newsletter here.  Happy planning!

Top 3 Design Mistakes: Event Design Basics

By | event design, Event Design Tips for Weddings, Flowers, Rustic Wedding | No Comments

Time after time, we meet with couples who use the web, magazines, and Pinterest to inspire the look of the event.  As event designers, we love to help them take these ideas, weave in their specific ideas and tastes, and fulfill their vision on their wedding day.  There are three key mistakes that are easy to make as you build the design of your event:

1.  Ignoring the design of the venue.  The rustic wedding has been huge in recent years.  We have run into brides and grooms wanting to have the rustic look in a ballroom setting; the mason jars and twine don’t typically work in an upscale environment of wallpapered walls and elegant carpeting.  Instead, work in elements of your desired look – such as linen runners with a slightly burlap look, without the rough texture; or lean on lush greenery in your centerpiece but use a dressy glass vase, versus a mason jar. This photo below, by Brian Leahy, shows an excellent blend of rustic, yet elegant touches that work well with the wood and brick textures of Carondelet House. We combined neutral linen runners with the bride’s vibrant color palette.  Florals by Peony and Plum.

Rustic Runner and main room Deidrie Douglas copy

2.  Being afraid to stand out. It’s easy to go with the current trend, but don’t be afraid to do something a little different. Take the trend you like the most, and then shake it up – is there a style you are drawn to with home decor? For example, if your centerpieces are super simple and classic in clear glass vases (as many are), but you love collecting white porcelain china, ask your florist to source opaque white vessels instead of the clear vase.  You’ll add a twist to the look and make it uniquely your own.

3. Ignoring the power of lighting.  Always bring in lighting whenever possible. Uplights can be packaged in with many DJ services and do wonders adding ambiance to a room.  It’s a cost effective way to change the space significantly.  Colors from ‘moonlight’ to ‘champagne’ offer a spectrum of options. This picture below features the work of TMM Pro, lighting specialists who are familiar with a variety of local venues. Photo by Brady Puryear.

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Trust your instincts, and don’t be afraid to reflect your true personalities, but remember to let the surroundings guide your look.  Happy planning!

Paris: Third Time’s a “Charmant”

By | Cakes, Ceremony Decor, Estelle Preston Florist, Event Planner, Flowers, Lifestories Wedding Photography, Los Angeles Wedding Planner, Paris, Paris Destination Weddings, Paris Wedding Photography, Paris Wedding Planner, Wedding Decor, Wedding Design, Wedding Planner, Yann Audic | No Comments

As one of the very few event planners that specialize in Paris destination weddings, I count my blessings every time I land in CDG, inhale the scent of fresh baked bread from a boulangier, and most of all, send our American-in-Paris couples down the aisle.  It’s enchanting in Paris, and to work there is a dream.  After a long day of work and research, I usually grab a drink with a local friend, then buy a baguette, slather it with the stick of butter I keep in my rented flat, and eat and sip wine while checking email and watching funny French TV (they even have their own Real Housewives franchise!).  No, there is no partying at clubs or lingering at cafes all night – I’m on the clock nearly every moment I’m there – but I love what has become my routine, as well as catching up with my local friends and colleagues. It’s become almost a home away from home.

The bride and groom, Michelle and Adam, reached me several months before their projected wedding date of late Spring 2014, and one of the first things she told me was she already had her dress.  The picture she sent was stunning – but once she stepped into it the day of the wedding, my reaction was beyond words.  Now listen – I work with dresses all the time.  This one, a Vera Wang, was one in a million.  The photos of the ceremony, with that stunning train behind her, and her handsome groom next to her, are simply gorgeous.

Photo by Yann Audic / www.Lifestorieswedding.com

Photo by Yann Audic / www.Lifestorieswedding.com

 

Photo by Yann Audic / www.Lifestorieswedding.com, flowers by Estelle Preston - www.estellepreston.com

Photo by Yann Audic / www.Lifestorieswedding.com, flowers by Estelle Preston – www.estellepreston.com

We corresponded completely by phone – since the couple lived in the Midwest – and met in person for the first time in Paris, but after the hours of phone calls and hundreds (thousands?) of emails, we felt like we knew each other.  I also sent multiple emails to their guests, as well as updated their website with current information to ensure everyone’s stay was enjoyable.

While in Paris, we met a dear friend and colleague, Laurel Sanderson of Treize: A Baker’s Dozen, a small nook of a cafe that feels like the “Cheers” of Paris.  Off of a charming courtyard, away from the main street in an elegant area south of the Seine, you walk in and are immediately bellying up to the counter, downing some wine, and talking to Laurel, her servers, and her regulars, as if you knew them forever.  It’s like going into some sort of wormhole where you are as comfortable as an American on your native city, but tasting the best wine, tea, desserts, and cuisine Paris has to offer.

Laurel prepared the American-style wedding cake for Michelle and Adam, and for the tasting, we met at her shop and tasted the fresh berries and filing she was going to incorporate into the recipe. The berries – fresh as can be – were like none other we ever tasted – no exaggeration.  Luscious at room temperature, with an odd oblong shape that now makes me scared of the hyber-bred, “perfect,” hard, crisp, bright crimson berries we have here, they were addictive.

Those amazing strawberries...

Those amazing strawberries…

We visited the local florist around the corner from Laurel to pick out fresh flowers for the cake.  The peonies were gigantic – when it’s spring in Paris, peonies are omnipresent, and practically as big as your head – these fluffy stunners can be seen in buckets outside of floral shops, displays in stores – just about everywhere.

The day of the wedding, the bride, groom, and close friends and family took photos near the Trocadero and Eiffel Tower with the talented and punctual Yann Audic of Lifestories Weddings, then the ceremony and reception took place at Fontaine Gaillon, a perfect example of classic French dining, with velvet banquettes and a spacious patio with a stunning fountain that oversees the dining space.

Estelle Preston, a florist who is as talented as she is kind, produced the gorgeous peony centerpieces.  We filled in the decor with a guest sign-in table consisting of vintage Parisian postcards bought off the shore of the Seine (yours truly bargained for the best price), with a feather pen for signing; pillar candles on antique pedestals and candlesticks; and napkins dressed with wide, elegant lace.  Candles we added to Estelle’s glass bowls, also trimmed with lace, as well as lace fabric throughout the space, brought a softness and femininity to the handsome, old-world room.

 

Photo by Yann Audic / http://lifestorieswedding.com/, Florals by Estelle Preston:  http://www.estellepreston.com/

Photo by Yann Audic / http://lifestorieswedding.com/, Florals by Estelle Preston: http://www.estellepreston.com/

Photo by Yann Audic / Lifestorieswedding.com.  Florals by http://www.estellepreston.com/.  Wine corks held seating cards; a personalized wine key proved a fitting favor for guests.

Photo by Yann Audic / Lifestorieswedding.com. Florals by http://www.estellepreston.com/. Wine corks held seating cards; a personalized wine key proved a fitting favor for guests.

Photo by Yann Audic / Lifestorieswedding.com.  Florals by http://www.estellepreston.com/, utilizing the bride's key color, bright fuschia.

Photo by Yann Audic / Lifestorieswedding.com. Florals by http://www.estellepreston.com/, utilizing the bride’s key color, bright fuschia.

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Photo by Yann Audic / Lifestorieswedding.com.

Photo by Yann Audic / Lifestorieswedding.com.

We styled a guest book table with a custom painted, vintage frame, vintage mail holder, candlesticks, and florals by Estelle Preston.  Photo by Yann Audic / Lifestorieswedding.com.  Florals by http://www.estellepreston.com/.

We styled a guest book table with a custom painted, vintage frame, vintage mail holder, candlesticks, and florals by Estelle Preston. Photo by Yann Audic / Lifestorieswedding.com. Florals by http://www.estellepreston.com/.

Laurel Sanderson of Treize - a Baker's Dozen created the cake; flowers by 360Degrees florist - http://www.flower.fr/. We placed lace brought over from the States over the dessert table and antiqued pillars and candles added a romantic glow.

Laurel Sanderson of Treize – a Baker’s Dozen created the cake; flowers by 360Degrees florist – http://www.flower.fr/. We placed lace brought over from the States over the dessert table and antiqued pillars and candles added a romantic glow.

Photo by Yann Audic / www.Lifestorieswedding.com, flowers by Estelle Preston - www.estellepreston.com

Photo by Yann Audic / www.Lifestorieswedding.com, flowers by Estelle Preston – www.estellepreston.com

My phenomenal associate Noemie Alison assisted in negotiating and fine tuning the elements of the event, and also flew in from her new home in the States to assist.  Talented photographer Krystal Kenney assisted as well that day; with her prior background in event production, she was vital to ensuring all was setup properly.

As expected in Paris, the food and wine were delicious, and the guests shared toasts, laughter, sweets, and even a little dancing thanks to a mini boom box the family brought from the States.  Like all weddings – whether in Paris or in the States – it was a night to remember.  “Merci” again to this wonderful couple for bringing me along for the ride!

Aaaaand we’re back: From Palm Springs, Anyway

By | Acqua Pazza, Cakes, Destination Wedding, DIY, Flowers, Korakia Pensione, Palm Springs, Red Lantern Photography, Signature Party Rentals, Succulents, Sylvia Weinstock Cakes | No Comments

Wow. It’s been ages since I blogged! As a mom / house cleaner/ cook / event professional / laundry-doer, honey, there just isn’t a lot of spare time.  I love the whole mad rush of life, don’t get me wrong; it’s just, social media tends to drop down a bit on the ‘ol to do list, as much as I love going viral as often as possible.  My routine is getting more and more Swiss-Watch-like as time goes on, and soon I plan to blog 2 – 3xs a week. Fingers crossed.

And now.  Palm Springs.  Ladies and gentlemen, I love Palm Springs. I’m planning on making it one of my two destination wedding specialties (the other one being Paris – I’ll be there next month for a wedding).  The tranquilizing heat, the festive nightlife, the stunning mid-century vibe and architecture…it calls to me. I’ve been there many times, and each time I hop on the 111, I get a little smile of anticipation.

It was my good luck to meet a couple last year who wanted to wed at Korakia.  They booked the space – a gorgeous getaway with both Moroccan and Mediterranean elements – and we were off and running.

Korakia's signature: The front door in front of where couples stand to exchange vows.

One of the planning elements, the cake, had an unusual spin:  A dear family friend of the bride’s happens to be related to the great Sylvia Weinstock, and the cake was a gift.  I was on call throughout the week leading up to the wedding, tracking the logistics of shipping and driving the cake out to the desert.  Continental and Action Messenger did the delicate work of getting the showstopping cake to Korakia, safe and sound.

Buttercream morrocan-tile design...

Nader and Donna from Red Lantern Photography were so hard working and easy going; they’ve recently moved to L.A. from Palm Springs, and I look forward to working with them in both cities.  Soon their pics will be up too – can’t wait to see his pro images from the big day.  Acqua Pazza is a popular restaurant in P.S., and they cooked up fresh, delicious Mediterannean-style fare; the staff were warm and friendly (and rustled up some cranberry juice when yours truly got, shall we say, a mild heatstroke and needed a little sugar before cocktail hour).  DJ Chase Martinez kept the party going; Tom Laliberte and his team from Signature Party Rentals were so on top of it, so fun to work with, and Tom gave me some great inside scoop about the best of Palm Springs event venues and vendors. Lastly, my girl Mary Phelan assisted me from start to finish, and was amazing, as always.

Succulents and boxes stained by the groom himself

Eagerly awaiting the bride and groom...

This wedding was so much about friends and family coming together, from the groom’s family friend creating all the flowers, to the maid of honor writing the table assignments, to so much more.  When the sun set and the refreshing desert breeze set in, not only was the setting beautiful, but the atmosphere of love and generosity was palpable. I hope to have more weddings in the desert, and I’ll be lucky if they are with as sweet and fun a couple as this one.

Succulents are here to stay

By | Flowers, Pretty Stuff, Succulents, Vendors | No Comments

You can’t open a wedding mag or click on a bridal blog, without seeing quirky, cute, fresh and modern succulents.  They come in all shapes and sizes – to the point of being mind boggling:  There are even Flickr groups, forums, and websites devoted to succulent identification.

Succulents from my father in law's garden...set in water, they just keep growing!

Whatever the type or species, they are here to stay – adding texture and style to bouquets, boutonnieres, and centerpieces.  They need to be worked with differently than flowers- wired for bouquets and many centerpieces, and some are fragile and shed ‘fingers’ if you’re not careful.

A client is researching succulents for her Palm Springs wedding; I combined Lisianthus and succulents together for an asymmetrical centerpiece.

On the other hand, they’re super hardy and you can plant them when you bring your bouquet home! They are naturals in our Mediterranean-esque climate and are so drought-tolerant, even little ol’ me can grow them.

Sweet little succulent - with bridal-white blooms - at the London West Hollywood rooftop.

Some vendors who work well with succulents:  Flower Duet, Gilly Flowers, and Tend.

And drool-worthy photos and spectacular inspiration here, here, and here!

Getting Hitched in Palm Springs: Off to the Ace, with a detour at Korakia

By | DIY, Flowers, Hitched, Planning, Pretty Stuff, Succulents | No Comments

Last night, coordinator/bride to be Dani and I headed to Palm Springs for the second bridal bash Hitched, this time in the desert (last year it was at Smog Shoppe).  This is a very fun, hip showcase of the latest and greatest contemporary event professionals in SoCal.

Along the way, we stopped at Korakia Pensione to take some scout pics for our upcoming P.S. wedding in May. I was introduced to Korakia many moons ago by a friend who lives part time in P.S., and fell in love. I’m abosolutely thrilled to be working there this spring.

The entrance to Korakia. Doors close, and it becomes the ceremony setting.

Then we headed to the Ace, another busy spot in Palm Springs with a hipster vibe that is as friendly as it is…well, hipster. (Sometimes the two don’t mix!).  Hitched was at the Commune, the part-desert, part-industrial-esque event space in the center of the hotel complex.  Lit fireplaces and twinkle lights set the mood for a crisp, festive evening.

Cozy outdoor lounges are sprinkled throughout the Ace.

Dani snapped up a hairpiece by Ban Do, a fantastical line of gems, poufs, and clips for hair, shoes, and dresses.  Ban Do featured heavily in the fashion show, and I thought it was clever that their pieces helped individualize the simplest of dresses.

Megan from Mae Mae Paperie (an invitation designer Dani met with for her own wedding) was in attendance, showing off her creative wares.  Save the dates, bridal shower invites, table number cards – nowadays the sky’s the limit for one’s stationary needs. While email has flourished, there’s been a new resurgence of old-fashioned snail-mail communication and elegant hand-crafted paper decor.  I, for one, am happy about this. (As long as recycling is involved, of course!  Yeah, yeah, I’m a hippie.)

I love succulents (and a blog post about them is forthcoming), but a little weary of dry grass, sticks, cacti, and billy buttons festooned about for weddings – if not used wisely, they look like a bunch of detritus and/or weeds.  So it was lovely to see this table, full of color, whimsy, and romance by Carter and Cook.

That said, there was some amazing stuff with cacti, like this table by Sugar and Fluff. The succulent driftwood piece is amazing, and the wood-stemmed silverware works so well with this rustic/modern look.

Setting these rustic elements ontop of a clear tabletop keeps the design organic and fresh.

We drove home in some rain and wind, but made it back to L.A. safe and sound, gossiping about this-and-that while Dani poked through the gift bag.  The fact that I get to go to these kinds of events for work and research?  Gotta love it.

Pretty Stuff: “Still Life”s from Fabulous Photographers

By | Don't Smile Now, Flowers, Karen Leah Photography, Katie Robertson Photography, Pretty Stuff, Rings, Shirvan Design, Stephanie Yantz Photography, Still Life Shots | No Comments

Ah, the ‘ring shot.’ No, it’s not a last-minute 3-pointer from Derek Fisher, but rather, the posing and lighting of the rings that photographers do so well.

I had started to blog about city noise ordinances, and it was so doggone boring that I decided to just put up pictures of pretty stuff. And the stuff I find so pretty are these gorgeous ‘still lives’ of the meaningful symbols of the wedding day.  Enjoy.

Flowers! Rings! Photo by Karen Leah Photography.

Callas by Shirvan Design, photo by Karen Leah Photography.

Close up of the bling by Stephanie Yantz Photography.

Capturing ring, flowers, and stationary design. Stephanie Yantz Photography.

Flowers by Jackie Combs Floral Design, photo by Katie Robertson Photography.

Escort cards look light and pretty. Shani Barel/Don't Smile Now Photography.

A nice spin on the 'shoe shot'. Karen Leah Photography.

I love the texture of the wood. Photo by Shani Barel of Don't Smile Now Photography.