Creative Tip: Drink Stations

There are many ways to quench your guests' thirst other than (or in addition to!) a standard bar. Perhaps the most common way is a simple table set up at the wedding ceremony. Especially if your ceremony is running late, your guests will thank you!

Offering a slightly unique beverage will spice things up a bit and is the perfect way to incorporate local fare ~ such as the Hawaiian drink below! If you want to keep things traditional, consider a lavender lemonade or cucumber water. These are basics drinks that will leave everyone refreshed, not bored!

Bins provide another opportunity for self-serve drinks and can range from simple to chic!

You can also create a self-serve bar for soirees that won't include a bartender.

Use these ideas plus your own to create the perfect beverage station that fits your party, shower or wedding!


Maps: Southampton

We always see in movies and TV shows, and read in books, about all the New Yorkers who buzz off to "The Hamptons" during the muggy summer months, so it was just delightful to work on this Southampton map for a 2010 wedding ~ and the couple kept things simple going for an all black and white look.

Without using color to tell the story, we had to show the shoreline using star fish, seashells, umbrellas and sandy "dots" to exude the shore. The couple also included the Village, Southampton Inn and the private home at which the wedding was held.


Adventures of a Bride-to-Be

Adventures of a (Second Time) Bride-to-Be

March 8, 2011

Ah, I’m still around, so the change in venue didn’t kill me…it must have just made me stronger. I think.

Key West was a not-so-distant memory, but now I wanted new memories. I had come to terms with the change (and I am not so great about dealing with change!); now I had to come up with a new plan and then work it.

Go back to my third (?) post as a Second Time Bride-to-Be and you’ll see I’m back at Step 1. The IMPORTANT LIST had to begin anew. The first time, I was excited; this time, I wasn’t all that happy about it. Really, hotels and catering and cakes AGAIN?!

With Chicago as my hometown (well, it adopted me when I moved here after college), venues are plentiful, but planning and scheduling usually are months (if not years) out. Certain locations are not large enough for both the ceremony and the reception to be held in one area, others had minimum headcounts that I did not intend to invite. Many have weekends booked 12+ months in advance. I was not looking forward to this; the work had to be done by me and I did not have a vendor list from a friend that I could use as my own personal Rolodex. I was already exhausted and I hadn’t even started yet…

Racking my brain for ideas, I spoke with a few potential places, but none excited me. A boat on the Chicago River would be great, but what if guests are prone to seasickness? A ballroom overlooking Lake Michigan would be extraordinary, but I didn’t want the formality that type of setting required. My visions had been around an outdoor ceremony on the Gulf of Mexico; I wanted to recreate that somehow. Finally, it came to me.

Chicago has a beautiful outdoor garden that was created specifically to cultivate many different kinds of flora (flowers and plants ). Certain flora are located outdoors, others in hothouses, still others just inside buildings. It is a stunning display, and very large at that, but I had no idea if they also hosted weddings.

I thanked God once again for the Internet, went out to Yahoo!, and quickly found what I was looking for. I called the events coordinator at the garden the following morning; Connie and “clicked” instantly. I told her the story about Key West, the need for a new venue, that I knew the garden was beautiful, and inquired about a summertime wedding I mentioned the information from the website; in turn, she gave me a whole lot more, and I scheduled a weekend afternoon to come look at it in person.

Between that telephone conversation and the actual visit, Connie emailed me a lot of paperwork, pictures, and ideas. A garden viewing during a Chicago winter wasn’t going to be the best representation of what it would be like in the summer months, so she made sure to send me as many pictures as she could so I had something to look at…yes, THAT truly did wonders for me…if the venue was half as perfect as the photos, and they do many events at the garden (not just weddings), it would be *perfect*.

Lawrence and I made plans visit one of their onsite locations, an outdoor pavilion, that Saturday and then would go to dinner afterwards. Saturday came and we were running errands all day, so we didn’t get there until after sunset. It was COLD (so VERY cold!), but decorated for Christmas with all the lights, and a nice clear night. We walked to the pavilion, through the hothouses to warm up at the suggestion of a nice tour guide, and came out into the structure like a grand entrance. It faced a small lake that, in the summer, had a fountain in the center (at least from the pictures Connie sent me it did!).

It was all open, floors of large brick, a solid structure that would have a white tent beneath it in the summer, and the water I’d been looking for. We walked around a bit, talked very little, and walked back out with smiles on our faces (frozen in place by the time we made it to the car!).

Most importantly, we agreed that this was our place…I’d found it, a floral paradise in my urban setting…the Chicago Botanic Garden. I would have all the flowers I could wish for and then some. I would have the water I envisioned being married in front of. We would have the evening sun to warm our faces as our vows warmed our souls.

Yes, this wedding was going to be magnificent!

Even better, as we warmed up in the car, we were headed into the city for dinner at one of my favorite places. If you are not from Chicago and enjoy fondue, you MUST go to Geja’s CafĂ©. It’s romantic, aromatic (!), and has a wonderful wine list. It’s also fun, has a great atmosphere, and people are truly enjoying themselves when they are there…it’s infectious. I have been there an untold number of times and I go back as often as I can. It is always fun and is something I never tire of doing…

We found our wedding venue and were going to my favorite place for dinner that Saturday. It didn’t get much better, in my mind, given where I’d been a few short weeks earlier when I had to cancel my Key West plans. I was ready to spend a few hours relaxing with wine and various foods cooked in hot oil, fabulous cheese, and melted chocolate. Fantastic. I felt like it was a celebration!
And, until next time…

“The Earth laughs in flowers.”
~e.e. cummings



Real Wedding: Santa Barbara, CA

The lovely couple from today's real wedding travelled all the way from London to celebrate their wedding in the beautiful coastal town of Santa Barbara.

We worked on reception pieces featuring our Sloop script and Quatrefoil design on blue shimmer paper. The print materials included fan programs, menus with belly bands, table and other signs and the ultimate world map!

The large map displayed all the travels of the couple ~ so much fun and such a sweet personal touch!


Creative Tip: Tea-Length Invites

Do you love elegant invitations but want to do something just a tad bit different? Tea-length invitations may be just the thing for you!

Nearly any of our invitation styles can be done in a tea-length suite, and this is also the perfect medium for a formal, all calligraphy invitation as well.

You can still include a custom map, and not all of your pieces need to be in the tea-length size!

And can carry the concept into your reception pieces {such as the program shown below}.

Let us know if tea-length is a concept you'd like to consider!


Maps: New York, NY ~ Save the Date

Today's Save the Date map features the wonderful New York City and comes complete will the Times Square ball drop! In addition to the wedding locales (church & reception), the couple also includes the beautiful flowers of Central Park, a horse-drawn carriage and even a simple tribute to New York City Firefighters with a couple small hydrant icons and the NYC Fire Museum.

We especially love the throwback to the old subway coins!


Adventures of a Bride-to-Be

Adventures of a (Second Time) Bride-to-Be
March 1, 2011

So, as of now, I have my dress chosen, Laura and I are working on the invitaiton suite, booking of vendors is going along perfectly and I was going to have the pretty wedding in the tropics I had a vision of in my head…I could almost taste the salt of the seaspray as I said my vows, I was that absorbed in the whole process.

It’s early December now and I received my Save the Dates from Laura. So adorable, “slithers of shiny” (as my Australian friend have deemd my wedding papers!), and perfect. Except, I am me an can never leave well-enough alone, so I always like to add a bit of glitter to just about everything I mail out. Knowing I had to get these to the post office pretty quickly, I had been laborously glittering my trifolds, double-checking labels, lining envelopes, and cutting handmade papers. I love when things I send (Christmas cards, inviations, thank you notes, etc.) really “wow” people, and this was not the time to do anything other than that… So, I carefully folded my cards, stamped the envelopes waiting for all my cards to be done, cut the handmade papers, and adhered the address labels. They were going to go in the mail just after the first of the year and I was just about done…

In the meantime, Laura & I were working on proofs of the other little slithers of shiny, many pieces for a destination wedding, all in a gorgeous thermography that actually gleamed on the shimmer paper. We finalized everything, I received my flatprinted maps, magnets, and my larger signs that I’d ordered…I waited to see the final product of our collective hard work on the invitations…and it was close. I knew I’d have them soon, give or take, depending on the printer’s schedule for the holidays.

Then…then…IT happened. It did. I should have predicted it if only because I say I live “The Murphy’s Law Life”. Nothing ever truly serious happens, but IF “it” is going to happen, it happens to me. It’s been this way my whole life and you’d thing I’d just get used ot it. But I haven’t and I still get disappointed. So, “it” happened and “disappointed” would be an understatement.

My venue had to change. Through circumstances beyond our control, we were unable to marry in Key West in April. Yes, a bride’s worst nightmare.

Details are truly uninteresting, but I have to say, the people we worked with down there were AMAZING. We’d put down deposits, signed guarantees, and consumed hours of time with people that gave us one-on-one attention since we were from out-of-town. As soon as Lawrence & I made the decisoin, I called each vendor personally or emailed my contact and explained the situation. It is very humbling to have to ask somoene you don’t know for a favor, but each vendor was overly accommodating to our predicament. We were released from contracts, guarantees, and wished well by folks that had spent their precious time with us. With that, for all the vendors we did work with, I especially thank Ocean Key Resort and Hyatt Regency Key West for all the accommodations they made for us… In the end, it worked out vendor-wise, but personally, I felt devastated. It was by no means the end of the world (so many things are so much more important), but it was MY world for the previous three months and I felt like I was watching it all crumble.

As all of the phone calls were being made and the items cancelled, I also contacted Laura to halt the printing of our invitatoin suite so that we could print them for another date, time, and venue. Unfortunately, as it turns out, everyting had been printed a few days prior and were in the process of drying for mailing to me.

Of course. OF COURSE.

A few days later, I received a package with my invitations in the hopes that some items could be used no matter what. Alas, as it turns out, only two slithers of shiny would still work: the RSVP envelopes and a memorial card (for “in lieu of gifts”). Everything else was unusable as they were printed and I would need to start everything all over again. Blood, sweat, tears, and a lot of money went into all of the paper I had in front of me, with very little of it unusable.

All of our work…Laura, her team, me, my fiance’…had to start over.

But first, where were we going to have the wedding and when were we going to have it? I couldn’t think about that just yet. I needed time to recover, which I did among all of my Key West slithers of shiny, so I sat down & had myself a good, old-fashioned pity party. It was a good one. I throw a fine party.

So, if you think your own wedding planning isn’t going so well or there are unexpected bumps in the road as you’re doing it, now you can say “thank God all I had to worry about was…”.
And, until next time…
“Courage doesn't always roar.
Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying,
‘I will try again tomorrow.’”
~~ Mary Anne Radmacher


Creative Tip: Cupcake Signs

In honor of my birthday {yes, I'm 30 years old today!}, I decided to post some signs for one of my very favorite things ~ cupcakes! Cupcakes are perfect for birthdays, engagment parties, showers, weddings, anniversaries...or just any day that you want something sweet!

Here are a few signs that were used at a client's recent wedding.

Cupcakes work well on towers or can also be given out as favors in sweet take-out boxes at each place setting. The possibilities for cupcakes are truly endless!

{via Butter Cream Cupcakery in Colorado}

{above two images via Vanilla Bake Shop in Santa Monica}



Destination Bride-to-Be

After a brief hiatus, our Destination Bride-to-Be checks in with her pre-wedding adventures!

What an incredible time it has been since my last post! I am feeling so loved, inspired and thankful. Over Memorial Day Weekend my sister threw me the most amazing bridal shower and bachelorette party. Friends and family traveled from near and far to spend the weekend celebrating with me in Los Angeles. I will never forget the special moments I shared with so many people who are so close to my heart. Before the events I had a friend make us a few logos and our monogram for the wedding, which you can check out in the photos below.

On Saturday morning, before the bachelorette party, I treated my bridesmaids to a blow dry and style at Dry Bar in Brentwood. It was so nice not having to do our own hair for the big day ahead. We then went to brunch and ventured over to the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills to get ready. My sister booked us a suite for two nights of pure enjoyment along with rooms for all of the girls to crash in after the party!

Bachelorette Party Favors: Engraved Wine Glasses, See’s Candies, and Water Bottles

Everyone meet at the hotel where we prepped for the day by drinking champagne and munching on snacks. When everyone showed up they were wearing my wedding colors, orange and blue…what a fantastic surprise!


Opening Funny Gifts

My Favorite, Texas Sheet Cake!

A limo then picked us up and transported us to two wineries in Malibu. We had such a blast wine tasting. After wine tasting we had a scrumptious dinner at Dukes on the water in Malibu.

I was in for a shock at our next stop! We went to Hamburger Mary’s…for those of you that don’t know they specialize in drag and burlesque shows. It was amazingly hilarious, we had so much fun getting into the action, and it was STUNNING.

My favorite entertainers of the night

The next morning we all went to brunch. All day Sunday we lounged by the pool and then went to dinner with my parents who got into town earlier that day. At dinner I gave my sister and bridesmaids their wedding thank you gifts. I figured it would be easier for them to hang on to everything rather than Nate and I trying to transport it all down to Mexico. All my maids now have their jewelry, beach bags, and a few other items for the main event in Cabo.
Monday morning we headed down to my sisters place in Hermosa Beach for my bridal shower.

Bridal Shower Favors: Luggage Tags and Water Bottles

Our group of women (and my dad and flower girl) had lunch at Hot’s Kitchen, a very unique taco shop. Honestly, they were some of the best tacos I have ever eaten!

We then ventured back to my sisters place for desert and gifts. After the normal bridal shower activities we headed down to the beach to relax and play Corn Hole…my dad built the game and brought it all the way down from Oregon. It was all extremely entertaining.

Me with My Bridesmaids

Wow, what an exhilarating yet overwhelming weekend! I want to say a gigantic THANK YOU to all of you who planned a participated in this thrilling weekend of events. I am humbled by the outpouring of love and support. Sabryna…you rock!
Lots of Love,

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