Category Archives: Wedding Decor

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!

A Nonstop Celebration: Vintage Travel Themed Wedding, Sportsmen’s Lodge

By | Ceremony Decor, Christina Logan Design, Continuum Weddings, Curtains, Dream Team Entertainment L.A., Lucky Photobooth, Mawwiage Films, Mulberry Row Floral, Sheila Mae Danielle Keene, Sportsmens Lodge Wedding, Uncategorized, Wedding Consultant, Wedding Coordinator, Wedding Decor, Wedding Planner | No Comments

Gina brought us on board over a year prior to her wedding.  She is detail oriented, creative, and fun – just like her fiance Gasper – and she knew with her crazy work schedule, she’d need a wedding consultant to ensure things stayed on track.  Together, we worked hand in hand to ensure their vision came to life smoothly on the big day.

The couple had something of a long distance romance, with Gina’s travel schedule, and both are extraordinarily creative (he works in post production, she is a professional dancer).  During the planning process, we reviewed decor ideas that encapsulated the vintage, old-Hollywood style of the Sportsmen’s Lodge, and the love-across-the-miles history of their courtship.

We facilitated setup and styling of all elements, including the guest book and gift card tables, with Gina and Gasper’s carefully chosen and crafted decor.  The couple also loved the idea of curtains at the arbor at Sportsmen’s ceremony space; I custom-sewed and installed the curtains, without leaving any damage to the arbor, to create a romantic, high-impact backdrop to their ceremony.

Dream Team Entertainment was incredible, providing a team of top notch MCs and DJs who took an energetic crowd (already swimming with eager dancers!) to the next level. Overall, this was a perfect team to work with, including Danielle Keene of Sheila Mae (some of the best desserts I’ve ever had!), the lovely Alicia of Mulberry Row Floral, and the charming team at Lucky Photobooth.

Special props to Christina Logan of Christina Logan Design for serving as my associate coordinator on the big day; and as always, the outstanding Laura Klein, who works with me day in and day out. The outstanding photography you see here is by the talented team at Continuum Weddings.

It was a true delight and honor to be a part of their wedding. Congratulations again, G&G!

Dessert table: Sheila Mae by Danielle Keene (formerly Bittersweet Treats) / Photobooth:  Lucky Photobooth / Videography:  Mawwiage Films / DJ and MC:  Dreamteam Entertainment /  Lighting:  SEP Entertainment and Lighting / Florals:  Mulberry Row

http://continuumweddings.com/

http://continuumweddings.com/

http://continuumweddings.com/

http://continuumweddings.com/

Love this vintage style photobooth by Lucky Photobooths! http://continuumweddings.com/

A dessert table that tastes as good as it looks...by Sheila Mae. http://continuumweddings.com/

http://continuumweddings.com/

http://continuumweddings.com/

http://continuumweddings.com/

http://continuumweddings.com/

http://continuumweddings.com/

LA River Center Wedding with Handmade Charm

By | David Crane Photography, Wedding Decor | No Comments

When I met Jill and Jeff, we clicked right away.  They are a sweet, sophisticated couple who had recently moved to L.A., and hired me for partial planning services.  They fell in love with the LA River Center, and from there, with Mother Nature as inspiration, their design vision came together.  The mother of the bride, Jennifer, is a landscape architect and wanted to create all the florals.  She and I worked together for about a year, discussing ideas, techniques, and careful strategy so that she could make all the pieces the week of the wedding without the stress or unnecessary worry of doing everything last minute.  I purchased the flowers from a wholesaler I work with, and in the rented house she stayed in the week of the wedding, she whipped up truly stunning florals.  She is a true artist at what she does!  The bride also had a hand in creating  the exquisite programs, escort cards, and many other elements of the wedding.  We assisted on some of the creative elements, including a tree arch for the ceremony made of two ficus trees.  David Crane took the gorgeous photos,  LA River Center served as the venue, and Truly Yours worked like a Swiss watch on the catering end.

The fountain at LARC is one of its architectural highlights

When we work with a client that will create the florals, we almost always factor in their budget an additional day-of assistant.  This person provides support on the wedding day for unloading and installation of the florals, so the client does not have to do the ‘dirty work.’  On this particular event, a former colleague, Heather Hazelwood, was on hand, bringing her talents from her design producer experience working on HGTV programming and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, amongst others. Experience like that is priceless when it comes to implementing creative ideas on a tight timeline!

Our team assisted in the aisle flowers, shaping the petals in curliecues

You may kiss the bride!

Handmade escort cards, with gold and peach elements

Photographer David Crane's photojournalistic experience adds a special perspective to his work.

Design Notes: All About Chairs

By | Chiavari Chairs, event design, Kyoto Grand Hotel, Planning, SmogShoppe, Wedding Decor, Wedding Design, Westin | No Comments

Scintillating post title, no?  But truly, if there’s one thing event designers love, it’s good chairs.  Many times venues will have dated or so-so chairs – a color that clashes with the theme, or a casual wood chair where a dressy event demands more – and clients have to bring in seating. In my book, bringing in chairs (along with lighting) is one of the best ways to transform a setting style-wise, and it’s worth the extra rentals expense.  It’s great when a venue has some that are already gorgeous, I personally love the Westin’s chairs and also the Kyoto Grand‘s.

Another venue with fabulous chairs is SmogShoppe.  Their selection is a carefully curated blend of mostly bistro-style wood chairs, with a vintage feel of being well-loved (yet still in excellent condition).

The variety of SmogShoppe's chairs create interest, yet they form a cohesive look when all used together.

We’re planning a wedding at a Redondo Beach venue this winter, a French-Asian restaurant called Maison Riz that is literally right on the water.  The view is tremendous, and the chairs are so cool – appropriate for a location on the pier, these “captains” chairs  have a 70’s charm with their beige cushion and carved wood back and arms, but they match the dark wood and white tablecloths of the space and fit in easily with the classy-nautical vibe of the space.

The cool Captains Chairs at Maison Riz have character that still blends in with the dark wood and decor of the space.

Most rental companies offer chiavari chairs, folding wooden chairs, and bistro.  Bistro are my faves, but for a dressy event, chiavaris are perfect.  You can interchange the cushions depending on the colors of your wedding; velcro’d cushions have a cleaner look, are a bit more expensive but don’t have the tiebacks interrupting the clean lines of the chair.

These chiavaris have the velcro'ed cushions for a polished look.

Less expensive are folding chairs.  All white are crisp and classic for a daytime outdoor affair (or an indoor one utilizing light colors in the decor).  A good compromise for budget is using dark wood or fruitwood folding chairs – the darker wood has a sophisticated sheen, without the expense of chiavaris.

Handsome wood chairs set up for an outdoors ceremony. Photo by Jeromy Robert Photography.

Yes, I just wrote a blog post about chairs – chairs!!  But trust me, they’re a huge element of any event.  Save room for them in your budget when discussing rentals – pick your battles, and you can have beautiful chairs without spending a fortune.