Happy Anniversary Alex + Allen!

Oh my goodness, this is EXTREMELY belated!!!  I thought I’d hit “schedule” on my post (to post on November 19th) but apparently I didn’t…  So this is a month and a half belated!  Alex + Allen, I still wish you both a lifetime of happiness and love!

It’s yet another anniversary around here… Last fall I was SO BUSY…  The week before this gorgeous wedding I had a baby shower and a 1st birthday party; the day after, I participated in a bridal show! 🙂

I met Alex + Allen through a referral; a friend of mine worked with Alex across campus from my day job.  We joked it was the official University wedding, since both Alex + Allen work on campus, as does Jason Almazan, their photographer.  The music at the ceremony was provided by one of the campus’ a capella groups, and the sound equipment was provided by another one of the couple’s coworkers.

Alex + Allen are SUCH a joyful, loving couple.  They’re both very reserved and quiet, although I wouldn’t say “shy” is the right word to describe them.  Both were extremely open, warm, and caring.  I’d never done a wedding without dancing before, but none of their guests missed it – they were having too much fun in the photo booth area and giggling and telling stories!

You’ll definitely recognize some of their photos from my website too…  Love the energy these two had and this picture of them giggling at their ceremony is still one of my top photos I’ve ever seen of one of my couples.  SO much love!!!

http://www.jasonalmazanphotography.com/

Check out more photos from Alex + Allen’s wedding on my blog and website, and while you’re there, look at the amazing review Alex wrote!

Alex + Allen’s Modern Rustic Wedding at Olivenhain Meeting Hall, 11*19*2011 Vendor Details:

Advertisements

Aidan’s Teddy Bear First Birthday Party in San Marcos, 02*18*2012

I have been doing a lot of talk about weddings lately, but it’s not all I do!  I also design and plan social events (birthdays, showers, and other parties and galas).  Today’s event is a birthday party!!

Aidan’s mom Jennie e-mailed me in mid-January, asking for planning and design help with his first birthday party.  She had a pretty clear idea of what she wanted, but needed assistance tying everything together and making it happen.  The challenge was getting the sweets buffet to look elegant and beautiful without it looking girly, and to keep Jennie’s fantastic ideas under budget. 🙂

I think that the result was a great balance of whimsy, elegance, and boyish fun, tying together the themes of teddy bears and milk and cookies.  We featured a sweets buffet in the center of the backyard and a build-a-bear vendor on the patio, along with bunting handmade by Aidan’s dad Sal.  Jennie got in on the handcrafting too, making all the tablecloths and runners as well as all the savory items and some of the cookies and cupcakes!

Jennie purchased printables online at Pink Pickle Studios, including hats, water bottle labels, and a banner:

And Jennie used Aidan’s red wagon as a focal point.

The younger guests had so much fun with Fabbiola of My Beary Best Friend, choosing their animals and watching them be stuffed:

Of course we had to have teddy bears (with individual cookie jars at each table, inside and out!).

Aidan’s parents designed an extra special birthday cake for him, which was brought to life by the amazing Stevi at Hey There, Cupcake!

And now…  The showpiece of the party.  The fabulous sweets table!  I had waaaay too much fun styling this, using my pieces and Jennie’s.  And at her request I made the fantastic fabric flowers from some tutorials I pinned on Pinterest (whew!  Try saying that three times fast!).  I LOVE them SO much!

Yes I know.  They’re just fabric flowers.  But I adore them.

Anyway, on to the rest of the sweet table!

And of course you can’t have a first birthday party without a smash cake!

Aidan’s Teddy Bear First Birthday Party in San Marcos, CA 02*18*2012 Details:

Alex + Allen’s Modern Rustic Wedding at Olivenhain Meeting Hall, 11*19*2011

Alex was referred to me by my old coworker Tanya.  She had worked alongside me for over a year back in my former life as a gala planner, and she now works in the same office as Alex.  It turned out that over half of the vendors involved in her modern rustic wedding (held in a building over 100 years old!) are connected to my alma mater (which also happens to be where Alex and Allen both work)!  Go Tritons!

Alex is gentle and graceful.  She moves softly, like a cat, but has a sparkling smile.  And she brought all her vendor contracts, plus a layout of the venue, to our initial meeting!  Mind you, there was only a month to go before the wedding, but I was super impressed!

Jason Almazan took some great photos of the day (especially in the challenging lighting conditions of the century-old meeting hall), including one of my favorite photos of any of my clients (which we’ll get to in a bit).  Organic Elements created the most amazing sculptural pieces from driftwood and flowers, and Classic Party Rentals provided the backbone – tables, chairs, linens, and lighting (I *heart* festival lights!).

I think after last week’s especially long-winded post, I’d rather let the photos of this elegant, modern rustic wedding speak for themselves…  So without (much) further chatter…  The pretty photos!!!

OMG – look at that SMILE!  And Alex made that brooch bouquet herself! 🙂

Alex and Allen wanted to incorporate seven traditions for marriage (from different cultures) into their wedding, so they drank wine together and smashed a glass, among other things.

And the bridesmaids surprised Alex by coming to the venue early the morning of the wedding to decorate the ceremony space with chalk!

 

Can I just pause for a second and say how much I adore these two?  And how absolutely the two of them together radiate love?  They are so open, so giving, and so generous.  I didn’t even meet Allen until the day of the wedding (they chose to go rehearsal-less), and by the end of the night he gave me a huge bear hug.  Just seeing these photos makes me so happy.

And this next photo?  This is one of my favorites.  Ever.  Of any of my couples.  I just adore the expression.  The pure happiness.  The couple who is so at ease with each other.  Bliss.

The ceremony was over – and now it was time to party!  This reception was pretty relaxed, since the venue won’t allow dancing on its antique floors.  But we did set up a DIY photo booth using my props.  Everyone enjoyed it!

A beautiful reception it was, too.  It’s an incredibly small venue, but Alex and Allen made great use of the space available, including the benches along the walls, for seating.  Each table was decorated with flower-dotted driftwood and battery-operated candles (open flames aren’t permitted inside the old structure either).

What a great group of guests this was – they didn’t mind not dancing one bit…  Instead, it felt like a party at someone’s house, with everyone talking and laughing until long after the official party “ended.”

One of my favorite things that Jason did was take photos of the vendors.  So instead of my usual vendor roundup, I present you with photographs!

Alex + Allen’s Modern Rustic Wedding at Olivenhain Meeting Hall, 11*19*2011 Vendor Details:

(not pictured; they only dropped off!)

Any Ideas – When and Where?

When and Where?

This question may also sound like an obvious one, especially if you’ve already chosen a time, date, and place.  But any themed ideas you come up with should have as much to do with the timing and location of your event as with the type of event.

For example, if I were planning a wedding and needed to come up with a theme, I’d first want to know the season in which the wedding will be taking place.  This will help determine what flowers are seasonally available, what decorative elements will easily be accessible, and what the bridal party should wear.  Then I’d want to know the basic characteristics of the location where the wedding was taking place.  If I’m planning an outdoor wedding in the dead of winter in a snowy locale, it’s not very practical to put my bridesmaids in yellow cotton shifts and give them bouquets of rannunculus and lily of the valley.  But that very same bridesmaid dress-and-flower combination would be perfect at a summery outdoor ceremony.  And a fur wrap with a long burgundy brocade and a bouquet of roses and mistletoe – or pinecones! – would look a little strange on an eighty-degree day.

Sometimes it’s all about the details – the same color of bridesmaid dress might be just as perfect during the winter as the summer, but you’d pair it with different accessories.  For example, both of these weddings (one summer, one winter) use gray bridesmaid dresses – but the winter one pairs the dress up with a white fur while the summer one uses a pop of bright yellow.

Winter Bridesmaids in Gray from The Knot

Winter Bridesmaids in Gray from The Knot

Summer Bridesmaids in Gray from Snippet and Ink

Summer Bridesmaids in Gray from Snippet & Ink

Likewise, the time of day of a wedding plays a big part in the planning.  A sunset ceremony and candlelit dinner will have a distinctly different feeling than a morning ceremony followed by an informal bunch on the lawn.  You’ll want to have different food, different fashion, and different decor.

 

Even for non-wedding events, such as showers and birthday parties, timing plays a huge part.  A bridal shower brunch will serve different food than a bridal shower tea or a bridal shower dinner (think quiche and mimosas, versus cucumber sandwiches and iced tea, versus a pasta dish with wine).  You may be planning your party in a different locale based on the time of day (that patch of lawn might be lovely in the morning but without some shade may be wiltingly hot at 2 pm; likewise, the seaside bluff may be perfect midday but have a chilly breeze in the evening).

Think about the basic when and where of your event before finalizing thematic details and you’ll be able to ensure that all the elements work together.