Category Archives: Wedding Design

Real Wedding: Trump Ballroom Glamour

By | Flower Duet, Planning, Uncategorized, Wedding Coordinator, Wedding Design, Wedding Planner | No Comments

For as long as I can remember, I always wanted to move to L.A. and be by the beach.  Now, as a ‘grownup,’ I get to work by the ocean all the time.  Last year, I worked with a stylish, sophisticated couple that wanted to be married by the beach, and fell in love with the Trump National Golf Club.

Working with a soft palette of gold, pink, and ivory, with a counterpoint of handsome navy, we worked together to build an atmosphere of romantic glamour – by the sea.

All of these stunning photos are by Sam Lim Studio.

 

Champagne Jello Shots, by Cake Goodness

Champagne Jello Shots, by Cake Goodness

Chaps Centerpiece and stable estting

Chaps firepalce

Charger chaps

Cake and dessert table by Cake Goodness

Cake and dessert table by Cake Goodness

I_0626

I_1046

Invitation and Menu by Plurabelle Calligraphy and Kate Allen

Invitation and Menu by Plurabelle Calligraphy and Kate Allen

I_1488

Charger by LM Event Productions; menu (and invitations) by Plurabelle Calligraphy and Kate Allen

Charger by LM Event Productions; menu (and invitations) by Plurabelle Calligraphy and Kate Allen

I_1519 Kiss Ceremony Chaps

Maestro Hughes, a phenomenal violinist flown in by bride and groom

Maestro Hughes, a phenomenal violinist flown in by bride and groom

A shabby-chic-meets-gilded-gold table number created by No Worries; flowers by Flower Duet

A shabby-chic-meets-gilded-gold table number created by No Worries; flowers by Flower Duet

Flowers by Flower Duet; lighting and draping by LM Event Productions

Flowers by Flower Duet; lighting and draping by LM Event Productions

Cake by Cake Goodness, set off my draping and lighting by LM Event Productions

Cake by Cake Goodness, set off my draping and lighting by LM Event Productions

 

VenueTrump National Golf Club, Palos Verdes

Vendors:

Florist: Flower Duet

Cake and Dessert: CakeGoodness

Lighting, Draping, and Specialty Rentals:  LM Event Productions

Photography and Videography (featuring a same day edit): Sam Lim Studio

Menus and Invitations: Plurabelle Calligraphy and Kate Allen

 

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.

0884_lifestories_wedding__elopement_paris_M&A_IMG_2985

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!

Pinterest: Tips for Pinnin’

By | pinterest, Uncategorized, Wedding Design, Wedding Planner | No Comments

Ahh, Pinterest. The first day you discover it, it’s almost like a new boyfriend – you spend hours together and can’t get enough of each other! Late nights staring at the computer screen, waking up exhausted the next day…quite a thrilling romance.

But Pinterest can cause sensory overload for a bride faced with far too many options. Here are a few tips to use it as efficiently and creatively as possible.

1. Create a board for every element of the wedding. Attire, florals, tabletop decor, ceremony, etc. Go crazy – pin like a looney. But try not to throw all ideas on one board at first.

Snapshot of a board showcasing rich natural elements for a wedding last fall

2. Pin photos of your venue on all decor boards for easy reference and to see if your ideas jive with the space. For example, if you are getting married in a formal ballroom but choosing rustic floral arrangements, pretty soon you’ll see they start to clash.

3. When you feel you’ve reached critical mass and have as many ideas as you can handle for each element, pick your favorite 3 to 5 ideas from each board and create a new board. Also be sure to add those photos of the venue.

4. On this new ‘master’ board, analyze carefully: Are there recurring themes? Do some elements clash – for example, are your ‘maid dress ideas in red but your decor in lavender? Perhaps it’s time to start pinning plum or purple dresses. By seeing your favorite ideas focused on to one board, you can start working to make them cohere together.

Black, white, and glamorous...a board playing with ideas for a chic Paris wedding

It’s so easy to pin like crazy, and don’t censor yourself – but be sure to winnow down your ideas to identify common themes. It will focus your design planning, control your budget, and overall, fine tune the vision for the big day. Happy pinning!

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.