Richelle + Matthew’s Modern Whimsical Balloon-Filled Wedding (11*18*12)

Yet another 2012 wedding I have yet to share…  But I can’t just skip over it.  It’s so delicious.  So much fun!

I met Richelle for the first time at her venue; she said she was pretty convinced she wanted to hire me, so if it was ok with me we should meet there so we could brainstorm.  I think we talked for three hours (my normal “first meetings” are usually about one)!  She had some big ideas –  I mean, BIG ideas…  Balloons cascading down the side of the wall ideas.  But in the end we created just the wedding to make both Richelle and her husband Matthew smile, while interpreting some of her big ideas in a way that wouldn’t put too big a dent in their new home fund!

Richelle is, probably above everything else, FUN!  She loved the idea of incorporating balloons into her day, in a way that wouldn’t look cheesy, but would make a big impact.  She also insisted on having a cake, a doughnut cake, a chocolate fountain, and a sweets table.  If you follow my Pinterest, you’ll see that she’s my kind of girl. 😉

So we played.  And we played and we played.  I designed a custom stationery suite for her based on a rabbit figurine she loved.  We created an I Spy game.  We made a cocktail area inside the venue with sweets galore, comfy couches, and a photo booth.  Outside in the courtyard we decorated with twinkling lights and hung an installation under the pergola.

I will admit it: balloons are not my favorite wedding accessory.  They can look amazing.  They can also look tacky and strange.  I am pleased to say that despite the wind wrecking our first plan, I felt like the balloons we used at Richelle and Matt’s wedding were elegant, fun pops – get it? – of whimsy, just as they were intended to be. 🙂

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Richelle + Matthew’s Modern Whimsical Balloon-Filled Wedding (11*18*12):

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Ana + Gina’s Colorful Rustic Handcrafted Wedding (07*14*12)

As you can see by the date in the blog title, I’m just slightly behind in sharing the weddings I’ve been working on. 😉  But in truth, I realized that I’d started this blog post a while back.  I was encouraged to publish it finally after last week’s marriage equality ruling.  And see?  I’m trying to keep my promise for moar!blogging!

Ana and Gina are one of my favorite couples.  They have such wonderful energy and chemistry, and I immediately liked them.  Mind you, I have a LOT of incredible couples that I like immediately – it’s something I am proud that I can say about just about everyone – but I still remember our first phone call.  Ana had just e-mailed me and set up a time to talk.  They lived in the Bay Area and couldn’t meet in person.  She hadn’t mentioned anything about Gina at all.  “My fiancé is here and wants to meet you too!” she said, as we were introducing ourselves on the phone.  I heard Gina’s voice, and my heart leapt.  It seems a bit silly now, but in 2011 marriage equality was still such an uphill battle.  I’d always wanted to do weddings for everyone, but you can’t really pick and choose your clients.  So I had to wait for someone to choose me.  I remember getting off that phone call and dancing around.  They liked me!  They really liked me!  And I liked them!  This was happening!

Over the next several months, we worked together on decor plans for their wedding.  We always had the most fun when we were together; it felt comfortable, like we had been friends for a long time.  The venue, Hidden Valley Retreat and Spa (which is no longer), was one where literally everything was do-it-yourself.  It was lovely, but challenging, especially given their tight budget, so we had to get creative!  You can see the results in the photos – lots of paper and streamers…  But it was so very lovely.  I’m so proud of the way their whole day looked!  I loved how colorful it was (they were inspired by a painting they loved), and how many fun details we were able to bring in.

On the wedding day, I had a team of four working from 10 am to 7:30 pm (when the reception was already starting, we were still finishing up the cake table that was, thankfully, in the other room), hanging lights and lanterns, setting up tables and chairs, doing table settings, putting together a DIY Photo Booth, and so much more.  We’d have been there sooner to get started, but we were running last-second errands for the wedding!  It is actually because of this wedding that I require additional assistants for venues that aren’t “set up” for weddings, since simply placing, setting up, and dressing tables for 60 guests took two of my staff several hours to complete!

At any rate, the wedding itself was incredible.  Happy and gorgeous couple, happy friends and family, heartfelt vows, beautiful decor, and a great party!  Kaysha Weiner took the most stunning photographs (more on my website).  It’s no wonder that Ana and Gina were featured on Equally Wed!

Ana and Gina's Wedding, image by Kaysha Weiner Photography Ana and Gina's Wedding, image by Kaysha Weiner Photography Ana and Gina's Wedding, image by Kaysha Weiner Photography Ana and Gina's Wedding, image by Kaysha Weiner Photography Ana and Gina's Wedding, image by Kaysha Weiner Photography Ana and Gina's Wedding, image by Kaysha Weiner Photography Ana and Gina's Wedding, image by Kaysha Weiner Photography Ana and Gina's Wedding, image by Kaysha Weiner Photography Ana and Gina's Wedding, image by Kaysha Weiner Photography Ana and Gina's Wedding, image by Kaysha Weiner Photography Ana and Gina's Wedding, image by Kaysha Weiner Photography Ana and Gina's Wedding, image by Kaysha Weiner Photography Ana and Gina's Wedding, image by Kaysha Weiner Photography Ana and Gina's Wedding, image by Kaysha Weiner Photography Ana and Gina's Wedding, image by Kaysha Weiner Photography Ana and Gina's Wedding, image by Kaysha Weiner Photography Ana and Gina's Wedding, image by Kaysha Weiner Photography Ana and Gina's Wedding, image by Kaysha Weiner Photography Ana and Gina's Wedding, image by Kaysha Weiner Photography Ana and Gina's Wedding, image by Kaysha Weiner Photography Ana and Gina's Wedding, image by Kaysha Weiner Photography Ana and Gina's Wedding, image by Kaysha Weiner Photography Ana and Gina's Wedding, image by Kaysha Weiner Photography Ana and Gina's Wedding, image by Kaysha Weiner Photography Ana and Gina's Wedding, image by Kaysha Weiner Photography Ana and Gina's Wedding, image by Kaysha Weiner Photography Ana and Gina's Wedding, image by Kaysha Weiner Photography Ana and Gina's Wedding, image by Kaysha Weiner Photography Ana and Gina's Wedding, image by Kaysha Weiner Photography Ana and Gina's Wedding, image by Kaysha Weiner Photography Ana and Gina's Wedding, image by Kaysha Weiner Photography Ana and Gina's Wedding, image by Kaysha Weiner PhotographyAna + Gina’s Colorful Rustic Handcrafted Wedding (07*14*12)

Happy Anniversary Emily + Jeremy!

I can hardly believe it’s time for another anniversary post (one day late)…  It seems like such a short time ago that we were hanging the lanterns in the pool house at The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe!  Emily + Jeremy’s day was chic, whimsical, and romantic, and the photos are to die for!  You might recognize these two as being all over my website, blog, and Facebook page…  I can’t help it – they’re just so gorgeous!

Wishing you two the sweetest of anniversaries and another year of happy marriage! 🙂

See the full gallery of photos from Emily + Jeremy’s wedding on my website!  And read the blogs about their ceremony and reception!

Emily + Jeremy’s Modern Handcrafted Inn at Rancho Santa Fe Wedding Details:

Happy McAwesome First Anniversary Neva + Rob!!!!

These two get around, at least on my blog.  The photos aren’t always the highest quality (since I took them and I’m decidedly not a photographer)  but it hasn’t stopped me.  I love them and always will.

Elephants!

Actually I love this whole wedding.  I’m SO glad I got to be a part of it.

Elephant-topped cupcakes by Courtesan Cupcakes!If there were ever a wedding that was a testament to the statement that you can have a wedding on any budget, this was it.  Spending under $4000 for a fabulous day full of love and personality and celebrating with your 60 closest friends?  Yes please.

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

Of course it helps when you have a couple that is completely laid-back with no real expectations aside from having a good time.  And that particular couple happens to have a lot of talents.  And talented friends.

Cupcake Table by Events by Elisa and Courtesan Cupcakes!Also?  A fun theme rocks it every time.  This is the first time I’ve ever seen a wedding inspired by the movie The Party, but that didn’t stop them.  In fact, they took the basic inspiration and ran with it.  So this is also a great example of not letting the inspiration for a wedding or party limit you.

Yes, an elephant in a birdcage!It’s also a great reminder to let your personalities shine.  After all, not many people would get married by a robot.  But these two?  This was the perfect officiant for them.

Father Emiglio, the Robot Officiant!Of course if Father Emiglio is the perfect officiant for you, don’t hesitate to contact the couple.  They’d love to program him to marry you too.  No, really.  They made a video about it.

Married by a Robot. Oh yes.

It’s hard to believe that this wedding took place on the couple’s one year anniversary of knowing each other – and only three months after they got engaged.  Neva + Rob, you two truly are McAwesome and I love you both to bits.

The McAwesomes, shot by Erin of Paw Prints Portraiture

I am so proud to have been a part of your wedding and I’m wishing you the happiest of first anniversaries, with many, many more to come!!!

The bridal party!

Neva + Rob’s McAwesome Backyard Wedding has been featured on RogueBride!  To read Neva’s fabulous review and see more photos of the day, check out my website!

Neva+Rob’s McAwesome Backyard Wedding Inspired by The Party 07*24*2011 Wedding Details:

Emily + Jeremy’s Modern Handcrafted Wedding at the Inn at Rancho Santa Fe, 11*05*2011 (Part 2)

When last I posted, I gave you the ceremony portion from Emily + Jeremy’s gorgeous wedding in Rancho Santa Fe last November.  Today I’m sharing the reception with you!

But first…  One more photo of the couple, in a quiet moment between the ceremony and the reception. I love the relaxed, ecstatic expressions on their faces!

For starters, here are some shots of the setup, featuring table runners by Classy Covers and florals by Suzan M Florals.

I’m a huge fan of rectangular tables at weddings.  I’m not really sure why.  I just like them.  Feasting tables too.  I also love mix-and-matching table shapes/sizes so that each one is a little different.  Emily did just that, mixing circles with rectangles and creating an extra-extra long head table!  Being flexible with table shapes and sizes helps accommodate guests with different sized groups.

Remember how I said this dessert table was one of my favorites?  Here’s a shot of the whole thing, including the “Sweet Love” banner Emily made!

And more pictures of my mini bunting.  🙂  Each piece was less than an inch high.

YUM.  My mouth is watering!

My assistant Rachael makes the most gorgeously perfect escort card setups.

We also added some fun touches from the Events by Elisa inventory, including this gorgeous card cage:

And our guestbook tree.  Complete with one of my favorite pieces, the little metal bird.

I love these photos of Emily and Jeremy’s first dance:

And their “cake cutting” (really clinking together cake pops):

And let’s not forget the garter!

Of course I said before that the Chinese lanterns were some of the biggest parts of the decor at this wedding.  I do love a good lanternfest.  Here’s the archway near the dance floor – this is where we used up the extra few that we had.  It just made the whole thing festive, and was a nice surprise for the bride!

And my Chinese lantern sculpture.  Seriously, this took three people FOUR hours working together (perched on ladders!) just to put it together.  But it turned out so amazingly.  I could have stared at it all night.

It looks relatively small in that big photo, but it really made a huge impact on the entrance to the reception.  And that GIANT lantern?  Fabulous.  Especially after dark.

The guests were such fun, too.  Not all weddings end up having a breakdancing party on the middle of the dance floor!  Of course YES Productions kept the tunes coming.  🙂

My assistant Rachael and I got a chance to have a quick photo with the bride and groom. 🙂

It was such a stunningly beautiful, fun wedding, with such an incredible team!!!  I just have to leave you with another of my favorite photos from the day.  🙂

Emily + Jeremy’s Modern Handcrafted Inn at Rancho Santa Fe Wedding Details:

Emily + Jeremy’s Modern Handcrafted Wedding at the Inn at Rancho Santa Fe, 11*05*2011 (Part 1)

Now that I’ve finished up my website (finally!) I can get back to blogging!  And I’ve got quite the backlog of gorgeousness to show you!

I’m starting off with a wedding that probably looks pretty familiar to you, if you’ve visited my Facebook page, or my new website, recently. It’s Emily and Jeremy!  Just a word of warning: this post is EXTREMELY picture-heavy.  I couldn’t pare it down to just a handful.  There is just so much to show you!  And because I didn’t want to explode your computer…  I decided I had to split it into two posts.  🙂

Their beautiful wedding took place on a perfect day in November; the sun was shining but it was just overcast enough not to create shadows in their photos!  And considering that the day before their wedding, it was pouring down buckets of rain, we were all pretty excited to see it looking so fantastic!  It was a bit cool, but that just encouraged everyone to get on the dance floor and boogie!!!

Emily approached me last June, wanting the service that I now call Design+.  She is a graphic designer herself, but wanted another eye to help keep her wedding vision on track.  I loved her ideas from the start, of course, and we had an excellent time shopping together for lanterns to decorate the entry way to the reception (I’ll get to that in a minute)!

It’s obvious when you see the two of them together how much love Emily and Jeremy have for each other.  There was so much joy in the air!  And SO many gorgeous photos.  Emily had assembled a fantastic team of vendors, from Chaz Cruz Photography to YES Productions and Suzan M Florals to Tailored Sweets…  Really every part of the day was more fabulous than the next.

The couple decided that they didn’t want a traditional wedding cake, and opted instead for a dessert display by Tailored Sweets.  Sarah and my assistant Rachael and I styled the table together, and I have to say it’s one of my favorites so far.

Of course, it might have something to do with the super sweet mini bunting I hand made for the occasion.

Or perhaps the tissue pouf/lantern display we created to hang above it (this photo was taken by Chaz as well; I just realized that his logo isn’t on it!).

Those weren’t the only lanterns we used either.  In fact, when Emily and I went shopping, we purchased 35 white lanterns in sizes from 6 inches to four feet wide.  Yes, four FEET.  Add that number to the lanterns I already owned…  And we had a party!

In fact, we used most of those 35 lanterns in the pool house, which served as the entry way into the reception.  Since it was a jarring orange red (not exactly within the color palate of purple and pink!), Emily wanted something beautiful to draw the eye.  My assistants and I worked for almost three hours to hang each lantern perfectly and I am SO pleased with the results.  Our 35 lanterns turned into a single lantern sculpture.  It looked truly stunning, especially as it got dark and the light (just above the largest lantern) lit the entire piece.

But I guess I’m getting ahead of myself again (I tend to do that with details I adore!).  So I should start over.  From the beginning this time.  First, the dress and shoes.

And our beautiful bride.

And her flowers by Suzan M Florals.  Wowza!

First looks are one of my favorite things about today’s weddings – I wish I’d thought of doing one when I got married in 2008, but they just weren’t as common!  This one is simply adorable.

Look at how happy they are!

Bridal Party photos.  Love them!

And then there’s the wedding ceremony.  LOOK at that backdrop (hanging orchids by Suzan M Florals!).  I officially am in love with ceremonies under trees.

It was officiated by a friend of the bride and groom.  One of my favorite parts of it was the wine box.  The bride and groom sealed three bottles of wine into the custom-made box, each one to be drunk on an upcoming anniversary (1 year, 5 years, and 10 years) along with love letters to be read on each of those years.  Feel free to “awwwww!”  I did.

I can’t handle this level of cuteness.

Because of where I stand during wedding ceremonies (I direct people to walk up the aisle and then am at the back), I don’t usually get to see expressions on either the bride’s face or the groom’s.  I love seeing photos like this!

Stunning!

Sealing up the box!

MARRIED!

And of course this next photo will be super recognizable, since I’m totally enamored of the moment.  The bubbles!  The expressions!  The framing!  Chaz, you did an amaaaaaazing job on this one.

With that expression of ultimate joy, I’ll leave you until next week, when I’ll post Part 2 of this beautiful wedding!!!

Emily + Jeremy’s Modern Handcrafted Inn at Rancho Santa Fe Wedding Details:

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: