Lynn’s Peter Rabbit Tea Party Baby Shower, 01*21*2012

This baby shower was a very special one for me to plan.  It was for a very special momma.  My friend Lynn, also known as the bridal half of Lynn + David, my very first clients!

Lynn’s sister in law Leita called me at the very beginning of January asking for my help planning Lynn’s shower for her baby boy.  Typically parties like these take 2-3 months to plan, but Leita gave me free reign to let my creativity run wild (within our very modest budget!).  My only words to go on were “Peter Rabbit” and “tea party.”  So I threw Lynn a Peter Rabbit Tea Party, of course! 🙂

Lynn and her family are British; they moved to the states when Lynn was quite young, but she still considers England “home.”  So I knew that the “tea” portion of the shower had to be spot on.  I contracted with Shakespeare’s Corner Shoppe to provide us with an authentic taste of the UK.  The provided us with delicious scones and tea sandwiches, and the three hosts provided lots of varieties of tea, cream, sugar, honey, and lemon.  I got a beautiful hand-painted Peter Rabbit cake from Sweeter by the Dozen Cakes and carrot-shaped cake pop favors from Calculated Whisk too!

Of course this was a small affair (with total decor and food budget of approximately $450), so we didn’t have a professional photographer or a big spread.  I’m going to have to start taking photography classes for things like this, but in the mean time I don’t want to not share an event just because my photography skills are sub-par.  After all, I’m a designer, not a photographer! 🙂  I just have to share the darling details with you, starting with our “MacGregor’s Garden.”  We had planned to hang Peter’s jacket above the hand-lettered garden sign, but had to move to Plan B when it didn’t work out:

And the buffet, complete with hand-lettered chalk signs (I love these so much – I wish I’d bought more when they were on sale at Michael’s because they were so cute!):

We used real mismatched serving plates, teacups, and silverware from my collection, which made the party feel more elegant and special than using paper cups and plastic silverware:

And of course no baby shower would be complete without sweets…  Specifically this gorgeous hand-painted cake (the fondant apparently didn’t like the rainy weather much, but you can see the detail that Jessica put into it!):

And the adorable cake pop favors!  I had a little too much fun cramming them into my wooden wheelbarrow like they were vegetables going to market:

This was one happy momma (despite my out of focus photography job…  yowch!)…  And back in February, she and David welcomed a healthy baby, Simon, into the world! <3!

Lynn’s Peter Rabbit Baby Shower Details:

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Under The Sea Baby Shower 11*12*2011

I created this “Under the Sea” baby shower theme for a very special momma – my cousin Natalie!  She wanted a big affair – 70 people, including kids and men – so it had to be anything but ordinary!

Wishing Tree

This shower was originally scheduled – and styled – for outdoors in a pretty, terraced backyard.  But a week before the shower was to take place, we found out that our Southern California sun wasn’t going to behave.  Instead of having a beautiful relaxing sun-soaked November day, we’d have soaking of a different sort.  Rain.  Buckets of rain.

I can’t lie – it was a bit of a shocker, since no one counted on rain during what was supposed to be a very dry November in San Diego.  What was worse was that the home where we’d planned to hold the shower couldn’t accommodate 70 people indoors.  So, thanks to a very generous coworker, we moved on to Plan B: the gourmet kitchen and bar areas of a private clubhouse (the rest of which was already rented out that day for a bridal shower!).

Luckily it was an absolutely gorgeous venue, and luckily even the rain didn’t keep away the throngs of guests.  We showered this Mama in style!

We created some really fun touches, from GORGEOUS sea urchin vases custom made by the insanely creative Desiree of Penny Blooms to cascading bubble chandeliers made from clear glass ornaments provided by the mom-to-be to a wishing tree made from driftwood.

Sea urchin vases by Penny Blooms!

Sea Urchin vases custom made by Penny Blooms

Bubble Chandelier

Driftwood Wishing Tree

Driftwood Wishing Tree

Driftwood Wishing Tree

Natalie and Tony decided that they didn’t want to know the gender of their unborn baby, so we threw a completely gender-neutral party (complete with coloring pages asking if the kids in attendance thought the baby was a Stella – girl – or Brayden – boy, and a single game asking adults in attendance to fill in their guesses for birth stats and gender).  I have to admit, it was kind of tough staying firmly in the “cute and gender neutral” category, but it was helpful that Natalie chose such an adorable “Under the Sea” theme, inspired by a set of scrapbooking stickers she found when she found out she was first pregnant!

I created a set of printed pieces including an invitation featuring original artwork (inspired by the stickers) an original poem by Practically Perfect Poetry, Prose, and Proofreading – I just love how much personality there was in that sweet little turtle!

Invitation featuring original artwork by Events by Elisa and and original poetry by Practically Perfect Poetry, Prose, and Proofreading

Food tags by Events by Elisa

Sweet Table Tags by Events by Elisa

Custom Thank You cards by Events by Elisa

Then of course there was my personal favorite feature of the party – a huge ocean-themed sweets buffet featuring a gorgeous “wave” backdrop of fabric that my amazing assistant found at Joann’s Fabric, hand-assembled clamshell cookies (made by me!), a sculpted sandcastle cake by Hey There, Cupcake!, and the most adorable sea creature cake pops by Calculated Whisk!  The “sand” was actually brown sugar, and the rocks and shells were candy – and every kid there (and some of the adults) loved that they could eat every bit they wanted!  Plus brown sugar was inexpensive, non-toxic, and looked and smelled amazing!

Sweet Table by Events by Elisa, featuring Hey There, Cupcake and Calculated Whisk

Clamshell cookies, assembled by Events by Elisa

Sweet Table by Events by Elisa, with brown sugar "sand"

Gummy fish and Godiva Gems on the Under the Sea Sweets Table created by Events by Elisa

Turtle cake pops by Calculated Whisk!

Gorgeous sand castle cake by Hey There, Cupcake!

A sand castle made of cake, by Hey There, Cupcake!

I can’t help but throw in one extra shot of those cookies…  I just love them so much!

One more shot of

And of course I’m happy to report that Natalie gave birth to Baby Boy Brayden last month and he’s beautiful!

Natalie’s Under the Sea Baby Shower 11*12*2011 Party Details:

Monica and Bradford’s Engagement Session Featured at Iliana Morton Photography’s Blog!

Happy Monday everyone!  I have wanted to share this with you ever since Friday but it’s  my first opportunity right now.  My good friend Iliana Morton took these gorgeous shots of our mutual friends Monica and Bradford.  Iliana is an amazing photographer (she did my own Christmas photos, and worked this weekend with myself and several other vendors to create an amaaaaaazing styled shoot, which I’ll share as soon as I can!), not to mention one of the sweetest people I know.  Monica is one half of the dynamic duo of owners at Classy Covers, and she and Bradford are absolutely adorably in love.  They are some of my favorite people and I am so honored to be coordinating their wedding!

We do!

I wish I could have made it to their engagement photos, but at least I was able to provide some super cute props!

I had to include this last photo, even though I didn’t (obviously) include props for it, because it’s my favorite!!!

I asked, and she said "Duh"!

Check out the rest of this beautiful sunny engagement session (including Monica in a va-va-voom red dress, playing on a railroad track!) over at Iliana’s blog!

What Sets You Apart From Other Planners?

Two weeks ago I had a phone consultation with a potential (now, a new) client.  They live 2,000 miles away, so meeting in person was out of the question.  It’s always nerve-wracking trying to figure out how to ask the right questions of one another so that you feel comfortable with each other (both as potential planner and as potential client).  I asked the couple a bunch of questions (why they were having their wedding here, for example, and what they wanted the day to look like…  My favorite answer was to my question of what they wanted their guests to walk away thinking: “That was the best wedding ever!”  But I digress…).  Then it was their turn to ask me.

The groom had obviously prepared, because his first question was a doozy.  “What sets you apart from other planners?”

I have to admit, I said out loud that he was asking the hard questions!  It’s so difficult to compare one planner to another.  But I really liked my response, and I wanted to share.

There are three things that make me unique among planners in San Diego.  Some planners share one or two of these with me.  But I think the combination of all three is what makes me special.

  1. I believe in exceptional service.  I take on a maximum of two weddings per month, and never schedule two on the same weekend.  This is by design, for a number of different reasons, including that I want to have enough energy to really make your wedding day amazing.  But it also means that you will be my only client for the week of your wedding.  That entire week leading up to your wedding day I’ll be able to focus on your wedding (I may still be talking and meeting with other brides and grooms, but as yours is the only wedding I’ll have for that whole week, you’ll be able to get almost all of my attention!).
  2. I am realistic about costs.  I’d never, never tell a couple that they couldn’t have a wedding for their budget.  It’s all about prioritizing and making alternate arrangements, but I’ve seen beautiful weddings at every price point.  I’d also never tell a couple that they could have a wedding for X amount, while knowing that it will cost them X+.  If I’m given a budget, I’ll do everything in my power to stick to it.  You’ll also be heavily involved in any budget changes, if they do arise.  I will work every bit of magic to get you the best wedding day possible within your means, and I am realistic with my pricing.  I may not be the cheapest wedding planner out there, but I work hard to give all of my brides and grooms the best value, and the benefit of my years as a nonprofit gala planner.
  3. I’m not just a coordinator.  I’m an Event Designer.  This means that I do more than just tell people what to do on your wedding day (seriously!).  I can help you conceptualize your wedding style, find pieces that will fit within your overall look, feel, and budget, and tie it all together.  I also own boxes and boxes of unique and vintage decor (as well as some standard pieces) to help my couples make their vision come to life without breaking the bank.  And don’t forget that I design event-related paper goods, too!
In addition to these traits, I really do care about my brides and grooms, and work as hard as I can to make sure that they have the best wedding day they possibly can.  That is the number one reason why I do this job.  And I love my job!

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:

Pretty Peacock Bridal Shower!

You may remember this post, where I shared the original artwork that went into my friend’s bridal shower invitation.

Well, the bridal shower was last weekend, and it turned out beautifully, and I wanted to share some photographs with you!

A very blue sweet table!

A very blue sweet table! - Events by Elisa

Love is Sweet! tags, Events by Elisa

Love is Sweet! tags, Events by Elisa

A peacock wishing tree with custom tags - Events by Elisa

A peacock wishing tree with custom tags - Events by Elisa

Peacock Wishing Tree with tags - Events by Elisa

Peacock Wishing Tree with tags - Events by Elisa

All of the jars, the wishing tree, the crystals, and the large peacock are all available for rent through Events by Elisa, too!

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! 🙂

Event Rentals for Clients!

I’m so pleased to announce the availability of rental products at rock-bottom prices for Events by Elisa clients!

Download the Events by Elisa Unique and Vintage Event Rental Catalog .pdf here!

I love adding vintage and other special elements to the events I design, and I know that it’s not always a smart option for the event host to purchase, care for, and store these elements.  I make it simple by finding great pieces (some beautiful, some functional) and offering them to my clients at excellent prices – typically a fraction of retail and other rental companies.  I don’t have a catalog that’s hundreds of pages long, but I do offer an excellent value for the pieces I have acquired.  And I’m constantly adding more.

Vintage Metal Candy Dish

Like this vintage metal candy dish.  Wouldn’t it look perfect on a sweet table?  It’s only $1.50 per day.

I also have some incredible finds for sale – like this awesome vintage photo album.  I have my heart set on selling it to a bride and groom for their photo guestbook at a vintage wedding – and it’s only $25!

Vintage Photo Album

These deals are only available to Events by Elisa clients and are subject to a separate rental contract.  E-mail me for more details!