Neva + Rob “The McAwesome Wedding” 07*24*2011

It’s not every day that one of your best friends gets married.

And it’s not every day that you get to be in the wedding.

But when one of your best friends gets married, asks you to be in the wedding, and asks for your help designing and coordinating it?  Epic.

McAwesome.

As Neva says, “McAwesome isn’t a last name, it’s an unconventional conventional way of living.”  And Neva and Rob are anything but conventional!

Their wedding day was one year to the day after their first date.  Their wedding decor was inspired by the 1960s Peter Sellers classic The Party.  Their colors were “the colors of the sunset.”  The groom wore orange pajamas, a Chinese-patterned smoking jacket, and a fez.  Their wedding feast was cooked entirely by their family and friends.

Oh yes, and they got married by a robot.

Father Emiglio, the Robot Officiant!

Friends, meet Father Emiglio, robot officiant extraordinaire.  He started life as an Italian child’s toy.  Neva found him in a thrift store and brought him home.  Rob made him…

Well, McAwesome of course.

With a fresh coat of paint and an incredibly complex and hilariously funny program, Father Emilgio moved, spoke, lit up, and played “The Final Countdown.”  He interacted with the bride and groom.  There were incredible extras like R2D2’s beeps.  This robot was amazing.

Of course it’s not legal in California to get married by a robot, so he had a little help from a minister friend of the couple’s, minister Eric Sherman.  But really?  They were married by a robot.

Married by a Robot.  Oh yes.

If YOU want to get married by a robot (or emceed, or bar-mizvahed), or just to get better acquainted with Father Emiglio, check out this video made by the bride and groom!

That’s not the only thing I loved about this incredibly personal wedding, by any means.  For one thing every single vendor was a friend of the bride and groom, except for the girls at Classy Covers (who are friends with me!).  That meant cupcakes, decor, officiating, and photography by friends.  Who all happen to be professionals.  Love it!

Erin of Paw Prints Portraiture hard at work on the couple's formal portaits!

Now, I have one special request.  Please look at the content of these photos, and not the fact that most of them were taken in Auto mode by myself or my husband (and de facto assistant for the day).  I will eventually learn how to properly use my camera – but in the mean time, unless there’s a professional photographer capturing every moment (and our professional was IN the wedding party!), you might have to make do.  But this wedding was so unique, so fun, and so pretty…  I think it’s totally worth showing off my poor photography skills in this incredibly photo-heavy post!

I adored the string of yellow and blue elephant Chinese lanterns, and the matching damask patterned ones we hung in the trees.

Chinese Lanterns!

Chinese lanterns!

I loved all the fun ceramic, ivory, and wooden elephants that Neva and I found at thrift stores, swap meets, and discount stores!

Elephants!

Elephants!

I think the elephant in a birdcage (a special request by the bride) was my favorite, though.

Yes, an elephant in a birdcage!

I drooled over the delectable vegan cupcakes by Courtesan Cupcakes.  No really, vegan cupcakes can be AMAZING.  At least, these were.  YUM.

Vegan Cupcakes by Courtesan Cupcakes!

Vegan Cupcakes by Courtesan Cupcakes!

And the cupcake table looked so pretty with my vintage serving pieces!

Cupcake Table by Events by Elisa and Courtesan Cupcakes!

I was so proud of the florals, primarily white mums and daisies with green billy balls and peacock feathers, wrapped in leather cords, that Neva and I created, seen here in a photo by Erin of Paw Prints Pet Portraiture (also one of the bridesmaids!).  Erin usually specializes in pet portraits, but was happy to photograph the “wild things” at this wedding!

Florals with Peacock Feathers by Events by Elisa, Photo by Paw Prints Portraiture

I thought that my vintage suitcases and books, and my Moroccan lamps, helped make the buffet table beautiful!

A buffet can be beautiful, no matter what is being served!

That food, by the way?  Seriously delectable.  I have been the guest at other weddings, weddings where a caterer or venue was paid thousands of dollars, where the food did not taste this good.  Or look this pretty!

Mushroom appetizers!

The secret?  I think it’s lots of love for the couple on the part of the cooks (the groom’s dad and grandfather, both moms and grandmas, and several of the couple’s friends!).

And of course, I am thrilled that I could bring in the beautiful handmade elements that I did, including this pair of elephants.  I wish I’d been able to make these more perfect, but the idea came to me less than a week before the big day.  I still think that they’re super adorable and they were a fun surprise for the bride and groom!

Handmade Elephant cake toppers by Events by Elisa

And the hand-drawn welcome sign, on the cabinet door chalkboard I created for E+D’s wedding!

Welcome to the McAwesome Wedding hand drawn sign by Events by Elisa

And of course these two fifteen-foot paper table runners (one for each of two feasting tables), and the pieces we used on the two smaller tables.

Handcrafted rice paper circle "sculpture" table runners by Events by Elisa

Neva and Rob hand made all of their wedding invitations using a beautiful sunflower-patterned rice paper and the elephant motif that was carried on as cupcake toppers.

Elephant-topped cupcakes by Courtesan Cupcakes!

So when Neva and I went shopping together for elephants to decorate the tables, we brainstormed other ideas for the table decor, and I came up with the idea for these runners, using primarily the rice paper from their invitations, with pops of solid color.

Handcrafted rice paper centerpiece for the family's round table by Events by Elisa

Sweetheart Table Sign!

Handcrafted rice paper runner by Events by Elisa!

I know I made them, so I should probably be a little bit more humble.  But I can’t help it.  I think they’re amazing.  I wish I’d gotten more photos of them, since they really were sculptural hand-made works of art.  Every inch of the runner was different from every other inch, and together they included over 300 individually hand-cut rice paper circles in various sizes, from 1/2″ to 6″ in diameter.

Using white cloths from Classy Covers as a backdrop, we were able to decorate the tables with these…  McAwesome (heh!) runners, and pillar candles and flowers and elephants.  The runners brought it all together.  I love this photo by Erin of  Paw Prints Pet Portraiture (although I wish the wax wasn’t so drippy!).

Closeup of the family table by Erin of Paw Prints Portraiture

Back to the McAwesomes.  Don’t they look happy and in love?  This was their first look.

McAwesomes!

And their first kiss as husband and wife.

First kiss!

And a formal, shot by Erin of Paw Prints Pet Portraiture.

The McAwesomes, shot by Erin of Paw Prints Portraiture

SO. adorable!

And of course Neva looked STUNNING.

GORGEOUS bride!

That first photo is by me (so you can see her pretty dress too), but the ones Erin took are so much nicer!

Gorgeous! Mrs. McAwesome by Erin of Paw Prints Portraiture

Smiling Mrs. McAwesome by Erin of Paw Prints Portraiture

It was fun and creative and fit the couple perfectly.  Neva + Rob are anything but traditional.  And I was so happy to be a part of their McAwesome day.  This wedding is a great reminder that you can have a beautiful wedding with any budget – it’s all about making the right choices for the couple and the budget.  And these were the perfect choices for this couple.  Actually, for all of these people.  Aren’t we a colorful, fun bridal party?

The bridal party!

Neva+Rob 07*24*2011 Wedding Details:

Advertisements

The Amazing Desmond’s First Birthday Party!!!

Sometimes you meet people and you just know you’re going to be excellent friends with them.  It was that way the first time I met Desiree of Penny Blooms Floral Design.  I can hardly believe it was just two months before this incredible party!  This is a very photo-heavy post…  But it’s worth it because these photos by Lindsey Gage of Eyelet Images are totally worth drooling over!!!!

Circus Birthday Party, Photo by Lindsey Gage

Desiree’s son Desmond celebrated his first birthday at the end of August.  When you’re the son of an event professional, your birthday party is sure to be a blast!  Sure enough, Desiree’s amazing creativity shone through each and every bit of this gorgeously styled outdoor event, from the handpainted circus elephant cupcake tower topper to the multicolored fabric streamers decorating the tents to the popcorn box “vases.”  I was honored to be print materials designer and to assist Desiree with setup, coordination, and styling!

The Birthday Boy!

It all started with the circus idea.  When Desiree approached me about doing invitations for the party, I asked her if she’d rather have a cutesy or modern/edgy vibe.  She chose modern/edgy, so I worked on a text-heavy invitation that captured perfectly the whimsy and creativity we were going for (if I do say so myself!).  Designers are always cautioned to stick to no more than 2 to 3 fonts in a single page, but I had far too much fun mixing and matching, and threw caution to the wind.  I love it!

"Come One, Come All, for One Night Only, the Amazing Desmond Will Astound and Mystify You!"

The Amazing Desmond!

Of course the party wouldn’t have been as stunning without thoughtful details provided by Penny Blooms Floral Design!  She even had a ball pit and a mini big top, along with a photo booth area for the grownups!

Handpainted elephant by Penny Blooms Floral Design

Peanut boxes

Popcorn box

Handmade PLAY blanket

"Popcorn" Floral Arrangement by Penny Blooms

Ringmaster Suit in the Ball Pit

Favors in Pop Corn Bags

Photo Booth (can you spot my piece?)

I couldn’t resist bringing along a few of my favorite items too:

Vintage Brass Carousel Music Box (in my inventory at Events by Elisa!)

Handmade Photo Booth Props from Events by Elisa's Etsy Shop!

The food was provided by the incredible Jason.  He’s currently working on his catering business name (I’ll post it when it’s official!) but I’ve got to tell you that this guy is worth checking out.  I can’t wait to share when he’s ready to take on clients, because  in addition to being a really nice guy, his food was fabulous!

Pasta Salad with Printed Materials by Events by Elisa

Cupcakes and cake pops were provided by Nikki at Calculated Whisk.  She even made gluten-free flourless cupcakes (which totally made my day)!  And they were soooo good.

Cupcakes by Calculated Whisk

Cupcakes by Calculated Whisk

Lion and Popcorn Cake Pops by Calculated Whisk

Nicki also made a spectacular smash cake just for Desmond!

Elephant Smash Cake by Calculated Whisk

In addition to designing the invitations, I designed a bunch of additional signage for the party.  Like these:

The Amazing Desmond sign for his high chair

High Chair sign by Events by Elisa

Soda Sign by Events by Elisa

And this was probably my favorite sign to design:

Thank You Sign by Events by Elisa

Of course I can’t have a first birthday post without some cake smashing photos!

Cake Smashing Begins!

This is FUN!

Tasting the Fondant Elephant

Tiny Fingers!

YUM!

THANK YOU Desiree for letting me be a part of your handsome son’s special day, and thank you to all the amazing vendors we worked with!

Thank You!

Get This Hat Offa Me! :)

Vendors:

E+D Wedding Invitation

A long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, I promised you that I’d be showing you E+D’s wedding invitation in a future post.  I’ll admit that it took me longer than I’d expected, and I wish that I could show you more of it.  I hate blurring things out because you lose some of the effect.  But I understand the lovely E’s request for privacy!

Before I get to the pretty photos, I want to share the love that she sent me about my last post:

OMG, Elisa!  What a super, super sweet feature!  Such kind, generous, happy, warm thoughts and words — thank you so much!!!  And, thank you so much for getting us and what we were going for — and for helping making it happen!  And, you made it look easy and no stress, how do you do that?  I miss collaborating, talking and thinking with you!  You were always so receptive and supportive of all the crazy ideas from the start, being excited with me about the million cute and creative ideas out there, and talking me through just about all of them.  At the end, the day was so much more than I could ask for — all I could be was happy and overwhelmed.  :o)

E + D, every time I see the photos from your wedding I end up with a big dopey smile on my face.  You guys rock!

And now on to the pretty things!

E wanted a very handmade look to her wedding invitations, so she asked her friend R to make a papercut background for us to use!

R worked magic with her scissors and her scanner, and sent me this.  Seriously, isn’t it gorgeous?

E+DInviteDraft

She even cut out E+D’s names and “hung” them from the banner between the two trees, but obviously that’s been blurred.

The only thing was – construction paper is a different size and shape than invitations.   So I worked with E for about 8 hours, playing with drafts and sending ideas back and forth from San Diego to Los Angeles (thank goodness for the internet!).  It was a marathon session, since E+D weren’t sure until a few days before whether they were actually going to send out paper invitations, and wanted to get them sent out a month in advance of the big day.  But I’m really really proud of what we came up with.

E+D Wedding Invitation

I know it might not mean a lot to anyone who’s not a computer design nerd.  But the original invitation background was made from construction paper.  Working with it digitally involved painstakingly cutting out pieces of the original invitation and blending colors (since construction paper has natural variations).  And since we changed the aspect ratio (landscape to portrait) entirely, I found I needed to create some pieces of the picture that weren’t there, including lower tree trunks, grass, and flowers.  I conjured up tiny shadows to mimic a scanned construction paper page.  In addition (and I know it’s hard to see in the photo), I worked with E to find a font that looked like it, too, was cut from paper.  I also created a reply card and a map to match, taking little elements of the invitation and recoloring and editing them in the style of the original.  This was a true labor of love, but when it was done it was truly beautiful.

But the gorgeousness didn’t stop there.  You’ve already seen the front cover of E+D’s program, but in case you need a reminder, here’s the photo taken by Heidi Ryder:

E+D Wedding Program

This photo isn’t nearly as gorgeous (since I took it), but here’s the cute bird detail we added to the back of the kraft paper program (we wanted it to look like they were stamped, the look we went for on the front too):

E+D Program Back

And inside was a beautiful “medallion” that R designed.  This art was used on the COOLHAUS wrappers too!  Photo by Heidi Ryder (yes, sorry, I blurred out names too).

E+D Program Inside

And R came through during the reception too, creating the gorgeous custom guestbook to match (photo by Heidi Ryder):

Beautiful Handmade Guestbook

Of course I had to get in on the act, adding birds to my chalk welcome sign (photo by Heidi Ryder):

Welcome Chalkboard

E had tons and tons of ideas.  And I love how we were able to in tie many of them – even ones that didn’t seem to go together – using a single motif!  The handmade birds really made the details of this gorgeous wedding!

Custom Animal Cake Toppers Available in my Etsy Shop!

I’m super excited to announce the arrival of a Cake Topper section in my Etsy shop today!  Currently I have only one listing – the “Custom Cake Topper.”  Eventually I’ll get to the point where I have some “standard” pieces as well, but for the moment I’m simply looking forward to working on some custom cake toppers for clients!

I currently have a photo up that was taken at my friend Neva’s wedding last weekend (more photos of the fete are on my Facebook page, and even more will be posted here on the blog over the next few weeks!).  I created these elephants as gifts to Neva and her new husband Rob and, while they weren’t perfect (hey, they were my very first attempt and a last-second addition that was wedged between projects she needed me to complete; also they only took me a total of about 6 hours…  part of the reason I’ve indicated a 6-8 week turnaround window for these custom projects is to give me plenty of time to sculpt and set aside before tweaking and baking), they were the hit of the party.

These custom cake toppers are made almost entirely of polymer clay but may include wood supports and may include pieces that are glued on.  I am totally excited to work on my first orders!  If you’re interested in custom cake toppers please send me an e-mail or an Etsy convo!

Smile Power Day

I have not one, not two, not three, but FOUR posts in the works.  I swear I haven’t forgotten my blog.  But I had to share this, quickly, today.

I got an Etsy message this morning from blog owner Nichole, saying that my smile was helping her celebrate today.

It’s Super Smile Day!

Super Smile Photo Prop by Events by Elisa

Thanks Nichole!  Sending you a big smile today too!

Vintage Children’s Book/English Garden Baby Shower!

I loved designing this gorgeous Vintage Children’s Book/English Garden-themed Baby Shower!  The hostess and I worked on the details for about two months and I’m really pleased with how it all turned out!

This party featured lots of lovely details and used LOTS of my event inventory, including my new beverage dispensers and thirty mason jars.  In addition to some of the hostess’ own serving pieces and my event inventory, I used lots of pieces from local thrift stores and the swap meet, some handmade goodies like bunting and poms, and flowers from Trader Joe’s!

Sweet Table with Homemade Bunting - Events by Elisa

Sweet Table with Homemade Bunting - Events by Elisa

Themed Cupcakes by Sweeter by the Dozen - Events by Elisa

Themed Cupcakes by Sweeter by the Dozen - Events by Elisa

Scones Table - Events by Elisa

Scones Table - Events by Elisa

Savories Table - Events by Elisa

Savories Table - Events by Elisa

Homemade Tissue Pom - Events by Elisa

Homemade Tissue Pom - Events by Elisa

Garden Box Display - Events by Elisa

Garden Box Display - Events by Elisa

For more photos, check out my Facebook page!

Events by Elisa’s Etsy Shop!

I’ve had an Etsy account for a while – I positively lived on that site while I was planning my own wedding – and have had in the back of my mind that I might put a few of my designs up for sale.  Well, two nights ago I was playing around with Sculpey.  I’d planned to do moustaches and other photo booth props for my May bride’s wedding and was looking for cardboard, but the craft store I had didn’t have stiff enough paper, so I got Sculpey instead (yeah, I know, even to me that logic doesn’t really make that much sense).

All I can say is I’m so glad!

I opened up my Etsy shop this morning with a few paper designs (I’ll be adding more as I make them, but the ones on this shop will be easily customizable and pretty standard, as opposed to the completely custom ones I’ll be creating for you if you contact me directly) and a handful of the 20-ish props I have finished.  I have a few more that need to be made, but I had to go back to the store for a Sculpey run!

My favorite is this one, a handmade Rolling Stones tongue:

Rolling Stones Tongue Photo Booth Prop - Events by Elisa

Rolling Stones Tongue Photo Booth Prop - Events by Elisa

I’ll be updating the whole shop within the next few weeks, including all of my props and some fabric bunting.  I can custom-make orders for you, too.  Of course anyone who rents my photobooth props for their wedding or event will actually get the use of all of my props included in the price tag!

To stay on top of all the great things in my shop, check out http://www.etsy.com/shop/EventsbyElisa.  While you’re there, “favorite” me! 🙂

Cinderella-Inspired Vintage Concept Table

The invitation

The invitation I created for the "wedding" concept, featuring hand-drawn artwork!

I am so, SO proud of this design.  Seriously I’m in love with it.  And I’m so excited to share with you!  I realize I owe several blogs (including the end of my “Any Ideas?” series, which I promise is coming!) but I finally had a few minutes to check over my photos from the last week and I am thrilled with the results!

Today’s post is dedicated to the Cinderella-Inspired Vintage Concept Table I put together for Alfred Angelo’s “Girls’ Night Out” event.  It was a small evening where vendors were invited to showcase their talents, and I’m so very glad I could be a part of it!  The store’s assistant manager and I go way back (he helped my sister find her Maid of Honor dress for my wedding three years ago!) and I was so excited to be able to participate in this event with him and his excellent staff!

As for the table…

I saw this fantastic brown metal “birdcage” while browsing around at Ross a couple of months back.  It’s in the shape of a pumpkin carriage, but it’s not frilly or overly princessy.  I fell in love with it and, despite putting it down and walking away three separate times, finally had to buy it and bring it home.  Seriously.  Love.

I actually had been planning a pretty concept shoot or two around it, but when this opportunity came up at Alfred Angelo I jumped at the chance to have an “excuse” to create my table.  I was lucky enough to get connected up with the incredible Melissa at Pow Wow Vintage Rentals, whose incredible finds have me drooling.  When I mentioned the event (and the manager’s suggestion to bring a “small round” table) to her, she suggested instead a beautiful rustic dark wood piece.  I immediately said “YES!” without even seeing a photo (I saw it later on her site and was giddy about it!).   What an incredible combination with my pumpkin carriage!

Then my good friend Jessica from Sweeter by the Dozen created the adorable cake for me.  I just said my colors were pink and white and she came up with the design.  I love the beautiful fondant rose!  And the flavor?  SO amazing!

I was originally planning to skew a little less pink and a little less frilly than I actually went with this event (despite the Cinderella theme, I didn’t want it to scream “princess”, but as I was picking out pieces to use (almost everything on my table is from my inventory – I’m so behind updating my event rentals catalog!) I kept being drawn to frosted glass and milk glass, and lots and lots of pink.  I just decided to go with it (and bring in some pretty browns and greens to help create that vintage feel) – after all, Cinderella is a princess!

I tried, in this table, to demonstrate what I do.  I included a printed invitation, a card “box” with tag, a sweet table setup, some pretty florals, and some fun details, so that you can get the “flavor” of what such an event would look like.  Obviously this particular table is nothing you’d actually have at an event – no one would be eating dinner at your sweet table, and your cards would likely be elsewhere – but I think it’s a great demonstration of what I can do.  I even made about six yards of bunting by hand for the event.

This event is a great example of why I say that I prefer having a long lead time for event design – especially if I’ll be shopping for new pieces – because I had just over a week to plan it out and it was a major marathon at the end (I wanted a small table to complete the look and went to every thrift store within 25 miles, only to find the one I did at a shop less than a mile from my house).  I love ordering items online and just barely received the glass slipper with hours to spare before the event.  And because good design takes time, I was making changes to my table up until setup (which is normal), including buying ivy at the store less than an hour before leaving my house (not normal).  I also wish I’d have had more prep time because the taffy were really supposed to be pink French macaroons that I simply ran out of time to make or order.

I really was wishing I had another few days to prep!

But despite the short prep time, I’m seriously seriously adoring this whole table.  I sort of want to create one for each fairy tale princess now (someone hire me to do that for their wedding, please?).  I love the whimsical and unexpected details (like the mouse – people couldn’t get over him!) and the fun vintage feel.  I can definitely see Snow White’s table with a big dish full of apples and bunting made with antique blue fabric with little red flowers.  And a mirror of course.

But I digress.  And I should just post the photos already and let you see what I’m so very proud of!  I hope you like it just as much as I do!  Oh – and obviously I’m no photographer – so some of these may be lacking in composition points.  Please don’t hold it against me! 🙂  And for more photographs, visit my Facebook page!

My pumpkin carriage

My pumpkin carriage, which inspired it all!

A last minute detail

A last minute detail - ivy in frosted glass!

Pink rock candy in milk glass

Pink rock candy in milk glass

A mouse!

A mouse! 🙂

More ivy and Cinderella's shoe!

More ivy and Cinderella's shoe! (this was the ivy I was buying at the store just before the event!)

The full display, including table and place setting by Pow Wow and cake by Sweeter by the Dozen

The gorgeous full display, including table, lace cloth, and place setting by Pow Wow Vintage and cake by Sweeter by the Dozen