Monday, March 21, 2011

A look back: Remembering a beautiful bride and a beautiful wedding

I was heartbroken to learn of the devastatingly untimely passing of one of our beautiful brides, Holly Kensicki Lind on March 1, 2011. We planned and designed Holly and Keith's wedding in September 2007 just as Holly was recovering from a series of surgeries and treatments to fight the cancer with which she was diagnosed shortly before her engagement to her grade school sweetheart Keith. It was a pleasure to work with her and her lovely family and I always marveled at her strength, fortitude and positivity throughout the planning process. On her wedding day, Holly was beaming, healthy and strong and my team and I loved being part of an amazing celebration.

I am so lucky that part of my job is to get to know my clients intimately and personally, to know their families and their stories, to share a time of excitement and joy and to be a partner in creating one of the most significant days in their lives. As much relief as I feel when we have successfully completed a beautiful wedding, I truly miss the daily interactions with my brides and grooms. They are as much a part of my life as I am a part of theirs.

In the years since Holly and Keith's wedding, I have shown examples of their menus, programs, flowers, cake and lighting to dozens of clients. I have told the story of how Holly's sister's invitation was tampered with somewhere in the post office and instead of receiving the beautiful invite inside, she received an envelope full of magazine clippings and fraudulent credit cards. I have altered the way I order chocolate covered pretzels for a candy station since the 8 pounds of pretzels we ordered for their wedding was so much that it came in a garbage bag!

I remember their wedding, and all of my clients' weddings, much like I remember my own - a blur of excitement, a whirlwind of activity, a rush of joy and, when it is over, a satisfying sigh of relief. I remember Holly as a beautiful bride on her first day of being someone's wife, as she basked in the glow of her own happiness and the happiness of others. I wanted to share these photos with you so that you, too, can know her [or remember her] just the same.

My thoughts and prayers go out to Keith and to their daughter Avery.

Thanks to Sarah Merians for retrieving these photos from her archives for this post.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

"Dinner by Design" Signature Tabletop

Over the course of the past few years, it has been so much fun to bring a little taste of what I do in New York and around the globe back to my small Pennsylvania hometown. I have been able to design some truly spectacular weddings in and around the Scranton area and work for and with people I have known my entire life, but in a very different context. So, it was truly an honor when I was asked to create a design to display at the Lackawanna Historical Society's inaugural "Dinner by Design" event at the beautiful Scranton Cultural Center. Twenty event industry pros created tabletops to feast and fete and I was truly blown away by my fellow exhibitors' creativity and ingenuity.

As you know, I just adore black, so naturally I used it as the basis for my tabletop. I chose yellow as my accent color because the event organizers had asked me to talk about my design inspiration, and something in my mind brought me back to one of the first events I ever created... it was an art opening for a young experiential artist who created a sculpture out of opaque yellow acrylic and displayed it in front of the Flatiron Building. The piece required you to stand inside of it and allow the sculpture to transform the way in which you view the world (specifically the intersection of 23rd Street and Broadway/Fifth Avenue) from within it. The interactive nature of it speaks so profoundly to the interactive nature of event design as it is not beauty that you look at, but that you interact with as you eat, drink, dance and celebrate.

To me, this is the keystone principle of event design and what makes it a unique art form - we create beautiful environments for living, but unlike interior design where the goal is to provide an environment that can be enjoyed over an extended period of time, event environments must be experienced in their entirety within a matter of hours, but leave you with a feeling that will resonate for a lifetime. Many years after that art exhibit closed, I remember the feeling of standing inside that yellow acrylic box and marveling at how the cuts and angles made it look like the Flatiron Building disappeared and like 5th Avenue and Broadway went on forever.

Are you sorry you asked about the yellow? Oh, wait, you didn't ask. :-)

Anyway... some fun details: I wanted to create a branded table setting without ordering custom china, so I used a vinyl transfer with the flower from my logo to accent the salad plates. Since I am totally hot for the vinyl transfers and couldn't stop myself, I also used the vinyl on shiny black bellini chairs from Taylor Creative to create "placecards" for some of my imaginary dinner guests (do you think that Demi, Ashton, Brad and Angie would actually have dinner together?? Probably not.). Instead of a runner to add color to the black cloth, I designed a tablecloth with inverse pleats and then carried the yellow fabric through on the napkins and accent pillows. Finally, I created intimacy around the table with a custom built glossy black frame and netted curtain panels - since the color scheme and design components are graphic and bold, a softer environment around the table made it a bit more inviting.

Many thanks to Julie Jordan for many of these photos and to Party Rental, Ltd. for the china, glassware and silverware.