California Ranch DIY Details: How Two Part 2 – Signs!

Happy Tuesday Friends!

Last month we started a series on guiding you in achieving aspects to a DIY ranch wedding, using Shirley & Spencer’s wedding as a case study. Today we are sharing with you the second part of that series and it is all about signage!

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Sure, people can probably figure out what your desserts are, the process of how to ‘sign’ your guestbook and and the components of those fancy blue cocktails all on their own, but what’s the fun in that? Over the last several years, chalkboard artwork has become (and remained) a staple in the whole rustic, handmade wedding movement. I myself am a sucker for great signage. As you can see, Shirley decided to go with a combo of chalkboard signs with a few handmade-strung signs, and I just love how they all turned out. There are just 3 simple steps to having amazing DIY signs at your wedding, and here they are:

Step 1: Nail Down Your Jargon

Figure out the content of what you want each sign to say, then cut it down to the bare minimum. For my sake, please keep it concise. None of your guests want to have to squint to read a whole sentence on a small chalkboard. Once you figure out what needs to be communicated, determine if you want to keep the language traditional by just coming out and saying what needs to be said, or if you want to find a way to say it in a cheeky way (I almost always go for cheeky, but that’s just me; NOTE – being clever takes time, if you want to be witty with your signs, make sure you start thinking through this sooner rather than later!).



Step 2: Practice Makes Perfect

With any DIY projects it is very unlikely that you’ll get it perfect on the first try. Once you have your language down and you know what medium you want the sign to be crafted on, don’t think that you can just grab your writing utensil and be done with it in 2 minutes.  Sketch out your design and wording in pencil until you are happy with it, then carefully go for the real thing! Remember to keep something handy to quickly make minor mistakes disappear as you work to create the final product.




Step 3: Display With Purpose

I can’t tell you how often brides spend a ton of time creating super cute signs but then forget to think through the logistics and on the day there are gorgeous signs but with no way for them to stand upright (so guests will actually be able to read them). With every sign you make, you have a great opportunity to display your sign with flare!  Whether you choose an easel that fits your style or some kind of twine for hanging, please remember two things: 1) every sign you make needs to be able to be seen by your guests and 2) remember to keep with the feel of your wedding and choose a way to display your signs that fits your overall style.



Be Warned: A Note Regarding Chalkboard Markers

Finally, I leave you with both a warning and a tip specifically regarding writing on chalkboards. Warning: if want to use the chalkboard sign again without repainting it, do not use chalkboard markers. Yes, they make your signs look amazing, but you will not be able to get the marker remnants off the board, no matter how much elbow-grease you put into it (trust me on this one). Fear not, you have another option to get a similar look: wet the edge or your chalk before using it to allow the chalk to go on smoothly and create clear lines of font for your signs.


I wish you the best of luck in creating fabulous signs for your big day!

California Ranch DIY Details ‘How-To’; Part 1

Happy Tuesday friends!

Everyone loves a rustic, California ranch style, DIY wedding and here are Marisa Nicole, it is kind of our specialty! Shirley & Spencer’s Napa Valley celebration over labor day weekend was just such a wedding and I am happy to say that everything turned out simply gorgeous! After spending nine months with the couple planning and designing their day, and then finally bringing all our dreams and ideas to life, we thought this wedding would serve as an ideal case study that could help those planning weddings for next year see exactly what it takes to create this kind of fabulous fete. Therefore, for the next few weeks, we’ll be breaking down some of the various DIY details of this wedding and sharing some fun and easy tips on ‘how to’ achieve the perfect rustic California wedding!


Part 1 – Simple Yet Elegant Table Runners (that won’t run away)!

Step 1: Cut a long strip of a fabric of your choice (12 inches wide please, burlap is pictured) to act as a table runner to spice up and frame  an already super cute wooden farm table (or banquet style table with linen of your choice)! Make sure it is longer than your table by a few feet but not exactly touching the ground (most banquets are 8 feet long, so making each runner 11 feet long usually does the trick nicely). Gather all other materials that you will need (twine, lace ribbon, scissors) and we can begin making your tables look rustic fab!

securedownloadStep 2: Grab each end of the cloth and gather it into pleats. Be careful not to just gather the cloth to avoid a clumped mess later! Using twine, tie the pleats together and secure with a knot.

securedownload-1Step 3: Beautify the knot by covering it with lace ribbon and tying it into a bow that sits right over the pleats.


securedownload-3Step 4: Repeat the above steps on the other side of the table runner.

photo 1Step 5: Place all other fun DIY items (candles, table numbers, favors) over the table runner to keep it from blowing away!

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We hope that your guests love your DIY tablescapes. Stay tuned next Tuesday for Part 2 of the ‘How-to’ Series!

Love in the Hollywood Hills: Alana & Jack Married!


Happy Friday Friends!

I just love it when we get to work with couples that everyone can tell are simply perfect for each other. Alana & Jack are precisely that couple (and it doesn’t hurt that they are ridiculously good looking, so I knew from the get-go that the photos would turn out awesome!).

Goldstein Wallis-8Goldstein_Wallis_Amanda_McKinnon_Photography_Wallis022_low For the backdrop of their little fete, they chose the home of a close friend in the Hollywood Hills. Alana and I had so much fun working out the design details for their day. It was important to the couple that the whole party had a sense of movement to it. We swapped out a traditional banquet style table set-up for small cocktail tables, so the guests would feel more like they were in an intimate French café rather than a stuffy formal gathering.

Goldstein_Wallis_Amanda_McKinnon_Photography_Wallis237_low Goldstein Wallis-2

Goldstein_Wallis_Amanda_McKinnon_Photography_AM0553_lowGoldstein Wallis-3One of the things I loved so much about this couple (and their family) was how much time and energy they all invested into the details of their day. Alana & Jack created their own super cute invitations. These are still some of my favorite printed items of last year! To bring our Parisian feel to life, we brought in flowers, food and signage that would fit the bill. I am still in love with these simple yet fabulous milk glass arrangements with which Alana’s dad adorned the tables.

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Goldstein Wallis-4Alana’s family and friends handcrafted the boutonnieres, and I just love how they turned out! It was so funny to show up the morning of the wedding where Alana & the gals were getting ready to find a whole table full of ladies creating boutonnieres like nobody’s business.

Goldstein Wallis-7The week before the wedding, Jack, along with his dad, worked like crazy landscaping the property to make everything for the big day look lush and green. Those lovely lace doilies that are layered onto each of our mini tablescapes were individually gathered and hand stained by Alana’s sister. Jack, along with his new dad-in-law, worked together to build the chuppah from the ground up.  All that to say, this wedding was truly a family affair!

Goldstein_Wallis_Amanda_McKinnon_Photography_AM0452_lowGoldstein Wallis-6Between the chalkboard signage, wishing tree guest book, amazing family members (who weren’t afraid to get dirty and help our team turn over the ceremony to a reception in a matter of minutes – and then go crazy and party like it is 1999!), handmade details galore and sweet couple, this wedding was definitely one of the most memorable from last wedding season. I hope you enjoy the photos as much as I enjoyed helping these love birds get hitched!

Vendor Love

Sunrise/Breakfast Inspired Styled Wedding!


This morning I am happy to share with you all a sweet little shoot that we created with Becca Rillo Photography! It has been featured on several blogs over the past year (including Trendy BridePaper Moon WeddingsThe Frosted Petticoat, and Urban Style). At the first meeting I have with each of our couples, I always ask them what they like to do together. I can’t tell you how many times the couple says, “we love to go to brunch.” From reflecting on this single phenomenon, the idea emerged to put together a wedding for a couple that just loves the morning, getting up to exercise, and all that the sun rising and the most important meal of the day have to offer!





For this wedding, the guests were invited to partake in a short hike up to the fabulous Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook, where the couple would tie the knot with gorgeous views of downtown Los Angeles in the distance. Upon arrival, the guests were provided with shots of espresso to help them wake up and get ready for the sunrise ceremony, along with sunglasses and blankets to get them comfortable and ready to watch the show!

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Breakfast Shoot Resized-3After the ceremony, festivities commenced with one of my most loved set-ups of the entire year – a cereal bar with everyone’s childhood faves to bring out their kid at heart! We also created a brunch spread with super cute signs from both Prim & Pixie and Painted Joy, styled to perfection by the dream combo of Becca, Judy (from Enchanted Gardens) and yours truly.

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BeccaRillo_20120412_0100Breakfast Shoot Resized-4One of my personal favorite details of this shoot was the waffle cake Becca created for the couple. Every time I look at these photos, I am overcome with the pressing desire to bust out the old waffle maker and indulge! There are so many fun and beautiful things you can do at a morning wedding, and today I hope you consider getting up early and making a day out of your celebration!

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BeccaRillo_20120412_0108 Breakfast Shoot Resized-6Vendor Love: