Archives for August 2015

Garden Party Love at Hope Ranch: Haely & David Married!

Happy Tuesday, lovelies!

Get ready for some serious swoonage friends, because today is the day that we share one of our favorite weddings of 2014 with you. Haely & Dave are an awesome couple, who love to have fun and live life to the fullest. They came to me and wanted to create an English Garden Party Chic celebration that just happens to also be the party of the year for their nearest and dearest.

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They wanted their venue to be a super special place, where few of their guests had actually been to before and in a location where it was far enough away from Los Angeles where the whole celebration could go on all weekend long. Taking their look, feel and vibe into account, I immediately thought of private residence that I had done a wedding at before in Hope Ranch, Santa Barbara. The couple fell in love with the venue at first sight and we got to work designing their day. Dave has a real head for financials and Haely has quite the eye for all things fabulous, so with our powers combined we created quite the wedding dream team. Thankfully Andrew Abajian was there to capture each and every fantastic moment.

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Haely envisioned a luxe yet light garden party type of celebration. Our color story incorporated whites, creams, champagne and soft pinks (swoon). We brought in vintage pieces to help bring a bit of a throwback feel to the day (doors, furniture and props, oh my!). We used wooden tables and chairs, paired with gorgeous ruffled blooms and greenery, to bring the garden party feel to life. We draped champagne chiffon over cabanas and archways (oh the romance…). We hung varying sized lighted lanterns in the dance area and bistro lights over the dining area to create a sense of enchantment everywhere you looked.

resized for blog-12resized for blog-2resized for blog-14resized for blog-11Haely & Dave’s guests having a great time was probably one of the couple’s top priorities for their day. They provided school-bus style shuttles from where the guests were staying to the wedding, after-party and back again at the end of the night (super fun!). Each guest was greeted at the ceremony by a homemade lemonade station, and the night only got better from there. Everyone had a blast – playing life-size jenga and corn-hole, feasting like kings and dancing their booties off to a live band. Haely & Dave aren’t big cake eaters, so we ditched the traditional cake and cutting for a fondue swap instead. We dipped fruit and bite-sized sweets into chocolate for dessert. Yum!

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If you haven’t noticed from my incessant gushing, I seriously loved working with this couple and this whole wedding was just a dream! The style, the romance, the fun-loving personalities – not to mention the amazing vendor team that made this wedding happen – it just doesn’t get much better than this.

Vendor Love


Seating Assignments Success 101

Happy Tuesday Folks!

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The task of planning your seating arrangements can be both daunting and time-consuming. Unfortunately, it is one of those jobs that no one can do for you and that you can’t actually attack until all your RSVP’s are accounted for! As the bride and groom, it is up to you to group and place all your friends and family in a way that both makes sense and allows for them to have the best time possible at your celebration. There are four parts to planning your seat assignments that you should know in order to set up yourself up for success. So enough beating around the bush, let’s dive in!

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Part 1- Give Yourself Time

You never know how long it is going to take for you and your partner to nail this down. Some couples breeze through it, while others takes hours to complete (once I had a couple tell me that it took them almost seven hours to finish!). Keeping this in mind, it is important that you allow yourself enough time to do it right. You also need to account for the time it may take you to consult others, compromise, etc. Seating your guests, whether it is by individual seats or by tables, isn’t always straight-forward, so we want you to be smart! It may take you only 30 minutes, but then again it may not. Don’t put unneeded pressure on yourself by only allotting an hour to do this. Depending on your guests, this project can be tricky, so give yourselves plenty of time.

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Part 2- Think It Through

Be thoughtful when you do decided whom to put where. This means you are thinking about who will have a good time with who, not just who knows each other already, who is single, who is together, who has kids, and who doesn’t. Clumping people together by a simple category like that can not only make your guests uncomfortable, but it isn’t offering them the most of your reception. You invited all these great people, so use what you know about them and let them all mingle. Think of your seat arrangements like a good puzzle or a game of chess. Think ahead! Don’t just do the obvious.

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Part 3- Get To Grouping

In the same way that this project takes time, it takes work. You have to sit down with your seating arrangements and your guest list and just start. In order to make the most of your tables, especially if you don’t want to pay for extra ones, you need to fill them to capacity with guests. This means you need to talk to your wedding planner, rental company or caterer about how many people fit at each table, and do your best to abide by that number. You can be off by one or two, that is fine, but scooting people in to maximize your table is just not going to work. On the other hand, you also don’t want to under fill a table. It really is like a puzzle folks! Because being overcrowded is equally as uncomfortable as too much space, so remember: full, or missing one or two- that is the rule. You don’t want your guests wondering why there are only 6 people seated at a table for 10… trust us, they will most likely not be good thoughts, and you want your guests to be happy and comfortable right? So do the work! They will be grateful, and you will be happy you did.

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Step 4- Seek Advice Wisely

Let it be said that sometimes parents want to be involved in this process, and if that is the case, we highly suggest and encourage that you don’t give them free reign over your whole seating plan. We suggest limiting them to a specific number of tables that directly reflect the number of guests they need to give input on. For example, if they have family members they’ve invited or want to seat, give them the amount of tables they need, say 4, and tell them they need to fit their guests into those tables. You can also talk to them about who they want at what table, or who should be at what table, if you need their input. Especially if you have a large wedding, you are most likely going to need the aid of your family, so please utilize them, but we just urge you to be smart about it. Having too many chiefs is going to cause an issue, so communicate what you need from them, what you have already firmly decided and go from there.

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Now that you know the four important parts of planning your seating assignments, we are going to break it down for you into a step-by-step process:

  • Step 1 – Have all your data: guest list, how many guests at each table, your layout.
  • Step 2 – Sit down and don’t allow yourself to get distracted: no phone, no email-just you and your significant other.
  • Step 3 – Start thinking and grouping: who would go well with whom, and where you want them.
  • Step 4 – Consult: If you have people who you don’t know how to place and need your family, set those names asides with the amount of tables needed to seat them, and ask for help.
  • Step 5 – Don’t touch it: It will be tempting, but don’t do it (unless you absolutely have to due to a last minute cancellation or addition). There is no need to second guess yourself once the task is completed.

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One last tip is to keep in mind that sometimes people are going to change their minds. Someone thinks they can or cannot come to your wedding, and then all of a sudden the situation changes and their RSVP is not what you thought it was a month out. Whatever the case, it is important to wait to print, draw or write out your place assignments no earlier than 2 weeks before your wedding day. You will be glad you waited. With all that said, we hope you feel a bit more comfortable with tackling the task of planning your seating arrangements. Like we’ve said, it isn’t necessarily fun, but it sure is necessary. And just remember, you want your guests to have fun! So set them up for success too.

Photo Cred: Image 1 by Andrew Abajian, Image 2 by Ronca Productions, Image 3 by Kim Fox, Image 4 by Iris & Light, Image 5 by Iris & Light, Image 6 Amanda McKinnon Photography , Image 7 (left) Kristyn Hogan, Image 8 (right) by Melani Lust Photography 


Sassy, Stunning Signage: Making Use of the Ultimate Communication Tool

Hello Lovelies!

Oh how we love a good sign! Great signage is easy to love because it does so many things to support your wedding day by working to bring your vision to life, enhance your theme, and communicate key pieces of information to your guests. Today we are going to share a guide of sorts to creating fab, fresh wedding signage because we know that figuring out how, when and where to place them can be overwhelming. There are endless opportunities for signage, and it is important to find its place in your aesthetic. With that said, here’s the low-down on all that is signage…resized for blog

Step 1 – Choose Your Medium

  • Chalk – Clean, Rustic, and just plain delightful!
  • Window – A modern twist on the classic chalkboard sign. Be sure to place this puppy in front of something with color so that the words are visible.
  • Mirror – A great way to bring a touch of glam to your day. Careful when taking pictures though…
  • Printed – The perfect way to reiterate your wedding branding and the look of your day at every opportunity!
  • Organic Items (Paint, Ink, Vinyl, etc.) – If you can dream it up, and it fits the look of your day, do it!

resized for blog-2Step 2 – Determine Where To Place It

  • Welcome: Let your guests know that they’re in the right place. Typically this sign has the couple’s names, wedding date, and any other info they’d like to include.
  • Menu: Your guests want to know what it is that they are eating: an individual menu at each place setting is good if you’re serving a plated meal and a larger displayed menu usually works well if you’re having a buffet! Going family style? Either will do the trick!
  • Explanatory: If you have your guests doing something that isn’t completely self-explanatory, such as a fun activity that you want your guests to participate in, then you need to tell them specifically what you want them to do.
  • Seating: If you want your guests to sit in a specific spot or at a specific table, you do need to find a way to clearly communicate that to your guests.
  • Schedule: Want your guests to be informed of the timeline? A sign will do the trick!
  • Directional: If your venue is a little tricky, or you think your guests will get lost, point the arrow in the right direction!
  • Social Media: Have a hashtag? Let your guests know what it is so you don’t miss out on any of those great candid photos of you or your guests.
  • Love Quotes: No shame in getting cheesy on your big day! Express your love as a couple, just don’t go too overboard with how many you have.
  • Above & Beyond: Honestly, there are endless places for signage and it is all up to you and your creativity when it comes to designing your day.resized for blog-3

Step 3 – Use Text & Design That Shows Your Style!

There are so many purposeful uses for signs, as they certainly communicate, but they also do something really great… they show your personality! So whatever your personality is, make sure that your signage is helping do the job of expressing it. What we mean by this is that both the copy and look of your sign serves a purpose, so know what you want that purpose to be. Whatever you put together should serve the aesthetic, whether it is formal, cheeky, vintage, etc. But remember, the more signs you have the more fun and casual your ceremony or reception will feel, so use sparingly if that isn’t the feel you are going for. Just so we can be crystal clear, here are some examples of how signage can do the job:

resized for blog-4Humor: If you have a sense of humor, show it! Let your signs be fumy, sarcastic, or whatever you want, just like you.
resized for blog-6Theme: People don’t always process what they are seeing until they see a word that helps them get there, so help your guests out! If you are going for Parisian, give them a hint (a Bon Jour or Merci!).

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Personality: Are you cheeky? Be cheeky! You want your guests to see you, as a couple, who you are, what you’re like, all over your wedding, so don’t be afraid to let your personalities show.

resized for blog-7A Few Rules of Thumb

  1. Signage is great, but still please use no more than one to two signs per décor area.
  2. A sign is no good if we have no way to display it!
    • If it is framed it needs a stand, a chalkboard needs to either be viewable at eye-level or it needs an easel. Remember to pick something that is pleasing to the eye, and that also goes with your theme. It may seem like a small detail, but what you put together needs to serve your aesthetic, so choose wisely!
  3. Be as consistent with your chosen medium(s)
    • This means you need to stick to two forms of signage (chalk, printed, mirror, etc.). One works well, and two can be just as good as one, but three is simply too many.

We hope that this little guide has given you some ideas on how to incorporate signage into your wedding, and all the fun, exciting ways to use them to show off who you are as a couple.

Photo Cred: Image 1 by Jacquelynn Brynn Photography, Image 2 (left) by Luminaire Images Photography, Image 3 (right) by Brooke Courtney Photography, Image 4 (left) by Megan Welker Photography, Image 5 (right) by Kay English Photography, Image 6 (left) by Deer Pearl Flowers, Image 7 (right) by The Style Co., Image 8 (left) by Brosnan Photographic, Image 9 (right) by Favor Couture, Image 10 (left) by Wild Whim Design + Photography, Image 11 (right) by Hello Love Photography, Image 12 (left) by Lauren & Delwyn, Image 13 (right) by Taylor Lord Photography