Saturday, January 21, 2012

Jessica and Michael: Sparkle, Pattern and Shine

When I met Jessica near her office in Philadelphia just three months before her wedding, she didn't ask me a lot of questions or show me a binder of ideas. She just simply said "I know that I want something special and different, but I don't know what it is or how to make it." She had no color palette in mind and no specific elements she had to have. She was a totally and completely blank slate. One might think that this is a designer's dream, but I must admit it is sometimes a little intimidating to hold all the power of the pretty! But, I do believe that this scenario represents the true essence of what my team and I do in our quest to create beautiful events... we dig as deep as we can to get to know and understand our clients.

Jessica and Michael's wedding was held at the Scranton Cultural Center. If you've been snooping around my blog before, you'll know that this was not my first time at this beautiful small-town venue. In fact, this wedding at the SCC marked my fifth event in the same venue in two years - which means I had done more events there than any other single venue in my career of more than 200 events! (If you like LLE trivia, TriBeCa Rooftop in NYC was recently tied with five, but over the course of seven years).

Now... here is why that is interesting... in New York, there are dozens of amazing venues for large, formal weddings. In Scranton, there are two. Yes, just two. So, that means, if you are getting married in the Scranton area, the pickings are slim and as a result, if you are going to or have been to a wedding in the this area, you have likely been to one, or even ten, at the SCC. Therefore, Jessica and I were feeling the same kind of pressure: she didn't want her wedding to look or feel like any other wedding that her guests had been to at this venue and I didn't want to create a wedding that looked like others I had done there. And that is how the design was born.

I decided to throw two ideas out to Jessica that I hadn't previously employed at this venue to see what stuck... the first was using a pattern throughout the event to add some interest and to give us the opportunity to do some detail work. The second was to use glitter. Yes, glitter. Everyone does gold in that room because there is a lot of gold in the building itself, and since Jessica had already committed to renting gold chairs before hiring me, I figured I would try and take that gold to the next level. After the initial shock of my two batty ideas, Jessica said the magic words: I want them both.

I love to do something new at every wedding for the escort card display. It is my very favorite decor element at a party because it is often the first thing that guests see when they arrive and it is really the only element that they are required to interact with. For this wedding, I opted to create something entirely non-floral and to build a custom table.

This was the idea for my design - cards on two sides of the tiered table, and rows of candles on the other two.

And... this is how it turned out!

The venue has an enormous stage, but Jessica and Michael had decided on having a DJ instead of a band so I wanted to create a focal point to avoid the DJ getting lost in the vast space. This is one of the places where the pattern came in...

First the rendering:

And the real thing!

We carried the customized trellis pattern through on the bars, menus and table numbers as well.

Ready for the glitter? The tall centerpieces were created with a very lush base of dark pink flowers including dahlias, roses, mokara and cymbidium orchids, calla lilies and hydrangea surrounding a four foot tall hand painted and glittered manzanita branch detailed with flowers and candles. Surrounding all of the centerpieces were gold glitter candle holders.

The vision:

And the finished product!

When the pattern was too much, I went back to the simplicity of a monogram to carry personalization through to all of the wedding details.

I have a monogrammed chair cap addiction. I am seeking professional help, so have no fear.

Photos by Gustavo Campos

We had lots more gold glitter in the lounge area and on the wedding cake as well as throughout cocktail hour, but alas no great photos. You'll just have to trust me that it was there and it looked amazing!

Another hometown wedding in the books... and this one was a treat. Because the couple was not tied to specific design elements prior to our work together and because they entered the process with a totally open mind, they were truly surprised and "wowed" by each of the elements in a rare and special way. It was so much fun to watch and it never, ever gets old.

Do you like seeing my renderings? Let me know if I should continue to share them!

Monday, January 2, 2012

The party girl throws a party

While I usually show you the pretty parties I design for other people, I thought I'd give you a little peak into a lovely little dinner I designed for myself and my husband to celebrate our tenth wedding anniversary. Surrounded by eighteen of our closest friends, we enjoyed a cozy wine dinner surrounded by hundreds of bottles of Italian vino at Valbella New York.

I definitely got a whole lot of quizzical looks from the restaurant staff when I asked for the room to be entirely empty (except for the wine, of course) so that I could bring in all of the materials I wanted. I've really been loving this great juxtaposition of rustic and modern, so I had to have these gorgeous farm tables from Party Rental Ltd so that I could pair them with my all-time favorite material... everything and anything black and shiny! Black plates and glassware, also from Party Rental, and the super-awesome black Victoria ghost chairs from Luxe Event Rental.

I had some white trough-like vases from a summer wedding, so I took out my handy high-gloss black paint and transformed them to fit the bill for this tablescape. I filled the four black vases with burnt fall-toned roses, dahlias, calla lilies, cymbidium and vanda orchids. To keep the look whimsical, I added small twists of black wire amidst the flowers.

The candles were wrapped with bands of champagne ribbon to add warmth, and my friend Ana Dolan created beautiful wine and dinner menus edged in black and detailed with a linked circle design at the top (I can't believe I forgot to photograph the AMAZING invitations Ana made... ugh!). Lovely calligraphy by Michael Weinstein marked each guest's seat.

Since my own wedding ten years ago, I have planned and designed hundreds of celebrations for clients, family and friends, but this is the first time that I was my own guest of honor. It was a little bit of indulgent fun and I enjoyed every minute of it... especially because I could share it with my partner-in-crime and world's most supportive husband.

A million thanks to my friend and talented photographer Allan Zepeda for these gorgeous pix!

Wishing you a year of celebration and style,