Friday, December 24, 2010

Threw something together based on a potential color scheme for a great friend's upcoming wedding :)  Congrats to Stephanie and Jason!

Steph's Wedding

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Using antique windows and doors is the new way to bring elegance to your wedding en plein aire.


Function for your fête:
Write menus on windowpanes with white markers :: paint a door with chalkboard paint and use chalk to inscribe directions to ceremony, reception, and cocktail hour :: have a fence and window combination frame your altar or dining area :: calligraph table assignments in each pane :: use a large framed antique window as a guestbook, with an engagement picture mounted in the middle::

So buy some sandpaper and get to work!  If you can find some cool windows and fences, grab a paintbrush and get to whitewashing.  Think of it as a bonding experience between you and your soon-to-be-mister.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

fifty fiesta!

Sorry I haven't posted in a while - I've been doing THIS:

Fifty Fiesta

My mom and dad have the same birthday (cool, right?) - and since my dad was recovering from back surgery during his 50th birthday, we decided to make a joint 50th birthday celebration when my mom turned 50 (3 years later).  So, here it is!

[fun details: votive-shaped holes were cut out of fruit to make for a beautiful decorative accent :: nacho cheese flowed out of a fondue fountain, and guests dipped tortilla chips, empanadas, flautas, and jalapeño poppers :: luminarias were made with baby pictures of the "birthday boy and girl" printed on vellum, with candlelight showing through as the sun set :: guests wrote birthday wishes on small cards and hung them from twine with a clothespin :: sangria, coronas, dulce de leche, churros, and a taco bar made up part of the menu, as did homemade cinnamon chips and fruit salsa]

Friday, April 16, 2010

[fall] in love.

This inspiration board is from a wedding for which I was the day-of wedding coordinator.  Set in beautiful Santa Barbara on a private estate at El Capitan Ranch, this gorgeous October wedding used notes of deep purple and chocolate brown to create a warm, fall atmosphere.

El Capitan
fall in love deux

photos by evoke photography []

favorite details . . . 
:: put some sand in the bottom of a mason jar, top it with a votive candle, and tie with a ribbon in your wedding colors -- hang from shepherd hooks lining the altar :: instead of flower petals, the bride had deep purple and brown fall leaves lining the aisle :: use your engagement photos placed in frames to mark table numbers :: branches served as tall centerpieces with hanging votives for soft lighting inside the tent :: the men wore chocolate brown tuxes and swapped out dress shoes for classic Vans shoes ::  market lights were strung over the cocktail hour area as the sun set ::

Thanks Mark and Tanisha for letting me be involved in your beautiful day!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

age well.

vintage is the new "new".  Go to a few flea markets, pull stuff out of your grandma's attic, and make it work.  It's antique chic.

Use an old typewriter to allow guests to write wishes for the bride and groom   :::   a skeleton key and package tag make great place cards  :::  set up a photo area, complete with large mismatched empty frames, masquerade masks and moustaches on wooden dowels for guests to play with during the cocktail hour and reception

Monday, March 22, 2010

think outside the [vase]

Flowers aren't just for bouquets, centerpieces, and boutonnieres.  Use blooms in new ways to add variety to your day. 
These "kermit blossoms" are stuck into floral foam to make a cool (and scented) ring bearer pillow. So cute!
Add a sprig of lavender or any other (edible) flower to garnish your signature cocktail.
Throw large chrysanthemums, hydrangeas, or gerbera daisies into a fountain or any other water feature to add more floral decor.
Ok, this is so cool.  These "beach balls" are actually covered in flowers, floating in a pool near the reception site.  Way to think creatively, guys!

Don't be confined to a little box - glass or not.  Flowers can go (almost) anywhere - so go for it!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

[don't] have your cake.

It might seem sacrilegious, but I'm going to go ahead and say it: you don't have to have a wedding cake.

Here are some great options for an alternative to a wedding cake:

un-wedding cake

top left: make your own cookie cake! Martha Stewart gives a great step-by-step instruction (or, if you'd rather have someone else do the dirty work, bring the photo to a baker and have them duplicate the dessert.

top right: cupcake lollipops!  I wouldn't recommend trying this one on your own unless you are an experienced baker, but prop these lollipops up by sticking them in a boxed bed of moss or short grass to make an adorable spring garden

2nd row left: French macarons look très chic when displayed on paper-wrapped boxes of varying heights

2nd row right: chocolate and vanilla mousse in small clear dishes are placed on tiered plates

bottom left: use the paper cone pattern in the previous post [cone original] and fill with small chocolate chip cookies.  For added excitement, serve with individual paper cartons of milk

3rd row right: Go to the Jones Soda website and custom create your own labels, choose your own flavor, and add a quote to a soda bottle - arrange on a tiered cake platter, on a distressed cupboard, or on overturned wooden crates to offer to guests.

bottom right: offer s'mores packets to guests, and even provide a fire pit for them to make s'mores if your venue allows

Monday, March 1, 2010

save it.

The ring is on, the champagne is gone, and now... the questions start rolling in.  "So, have you picked a date yet?" "Where's the wedding taking place?" "Where should we book accommodations?" and even eventually, "When are you having kids?"

Well, at least you can help answer some of the questions for your wedding guests.

Sending out "Save the Dates" were once intended for those having a long engagement or a destination wedding, but are now becoming somewhat expected.  Guests are becoming increasingly eager to book travel arrangements, and aren't always willing to wait for 6-8 weeks before the wedding when you send out the invitations.

Help them remember your wedding date, or get a jump start on finding out who can realistically make it to your big day, by sending out a memorable "save-the-date" (I would abbreviate it, but then it's STD, and well... that's just weird).

Oh, Martha Stewart, I can't get enough of your sweet DIY crafts.

How cool are these paper airplane save the dates??  Set the theme for a fun destination wedding, or any wedding with a lot of out-of-town guests, with this playful idea.

Find the step-by-step instructions, as well as a template for the envelope and the paper airplane, here.

Another cool idea is to include stickers for your guests that they can stick on their calendars and organizers.  You can purchase them already printed at many online sticker sources [] or [], or order them blank and print them yourself using the template provided.

Love the postcard idea, but want something a little more?  Add a small envelope on the back, with the wedding information tucked inside.  Use a date stamp (find at any office supply store) and handwrite the rest of the information for a personal touch.

Note:  even though this is a postcard, you won't be saving on stamps - due to weight, this requires first class postage.

Want your postcard personally designed?  Try Mark Kipling Design.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

guidezilla wedding

So... people have been asking when I am going to post pictures of my own wedding - so here they are!

[photos by: JDexterPhotography]
[flowers by: Details of the Day]
[catering & venue: The Rincon Beach Club]

schussel wedding

And although I planned my own wedding, I, too, needed help the day of.  So, Melissa Sylvester, wedding and event coordinator from the Rincon Beach Club, took control and did an INCREDIBLE job!  [P.S. - they cater outside events too! Definitely a must for the Santa Barbara area].

Fun details:
- Instead of a full dinner, we did an hors d'oeuvres and dessert reception, including baked brie with pesto and assorted fruit, fresh baked cookies with shot glasses of milk, chocolate fondue, lime brulée on individual spoons, and a full candy bar.

- Our candy bar featured candies that were favorites of the bride, groom, mother of the bride, father of the bride, mother of the groom, and father of the groom.  Guests were able to fill up cellophane bags with their candy mix and sealed them with stickers that said "Brett and Nicole."

- A lounge area around a fire pit was complemented by a s'mores bar and a s'mores attendent, who assisted guests with roasting marshmallows and creating the perfect s'more.

- Our amazing florist Gretchen from Details of the Day used limes and coffee beans in our centerpieces to tie in the green and brown color scheme.  She also hung votive candles from the altar to create a candlelit atmosphere.

Monday, February 22, 2010

cone original

It's probably the easiest wedding craft you can make, and one of the most versatile.  What is it?  A paper cone.

Martha Stewart provides an easy template to make these cones for a variety of uses.

1. Print out this template on heavy cardstock
2. Cut out cone template and trace onto scrapbook paper in your wedding colors
3. Cut out cones, roll, and fasten with glue (hold with a paper clip on each end until glue dries) or fasten with a sticker label
4.  Fill with whatever your heart desires!

This paper cone is used to shower the bride and groom with flower petals after they say "I do." [have labels made at My Wedding Labels]  For an eco-friendly option, fill with birdseed, flower seeds, or Ecofetti.

Place two cones in a short glass vase and have the florist place small flower arrangements inside.  Often times, a florist will have extra blossoms from creating your bouquet and centerpieces, and would be more than happy to place them wherever you like.  Use this idea as a low centerpiece, or to decorate the guest book table, the gift table, or the buffet line.

"Pommes Frites" is just a classy way of saying french fries.  Have these mini hors d'œuvres served during cocktail hour with your personalized paper cones for a casual-chic snack.

Fill with Jordan almonds, personalized M&M's, or lemon drops for a great favor idea.

Have fun with this easy DIY craft!  Call up your bridesmaids, and start the assembly line.   There's lots you can do with this easy cone - so get creative!

Friday, February 19, 2010

mason jar

Want to tap into your country-girl roots?  Look no further.  A "rustic country" wedding is what you're after.  So grab your loved ones, have a good old fashioned barn raising, and start dancing.  But please.  Just because there may be livestock present, no chicken dance.

rustic country

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

the giving tree.

A nice alternative to a traditional guestbook is a "Wishing Tree"- guests write wishes for the bride and groom on a small piece of paper, then hang it on a small tree or manzanita branch in a vase.  Here are some ideas to inspire you.

the giving tree.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Citrus Sweet

Vibrant yellow, cream, black, and small splashes of green make this a beautiful color scheme option for a spring or summer wedding.  It was gorgeous outside today (78˚ in the middle of February... don't be jealous!) and I might have jumped ahead a few seasons.  So sue me.


Toss in some small lemons and limes in tall glass vases for an inexpensive centerpiece!  Slice up a few, too, and place them in the glass vases below flower arrangements.  Also, baskets of lemons with some of their original leaves tucked inside make nice accents.

To go along with the theme, serve lemonade and limeade (spiked, perhaps?) in glass infusion jars during cocktail hour.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Lighting at a wedding can get expensive.  REAL expensive.  How do you create mood lighting without shelling out so much cash?  Here are some do it yourself lighting options that can make an evening wedding glow.
[note: if your wedding venue has a "no open flame" restriction, use battery-operated flameless candles.  These luminarias will hide any sight of a fake candle, and will give the same effect as a votive - without the fire danger!] 

These paper luminaries hang from white twinkle lights, and are fashioned out of paper bags.  Martha Stewart gives a "how to:"

Tools and Materials
Strings of full-size Christmas lights with clear bulbs (remove every other bulb)
Light-colored paper bags about 7 inches wide (for each lantern, you'll need two the same size)
A utility knife
A ruler
2-inch round self-stick labels
2-inch-wide single-face satin ribbon (one 48-inch length for each lantern)
Paper Lanterns How-To1. Trim the tops of each bag to make straight edges. For the top of each lantern, stick a label on the inside bottom center of one bag to reinforce. Reaching inside the bag with a utility knife, cut two 1 1/2-inch slits, making an X on the label.
2. To attach bags to lights, first remove a bulb, and slide the socket through the X, and then screw the bulb back in.
3. For the lantern bottom, slide a second bag up over the first one.
4. Lay the center of the ribbon on top of the wire at the socket; wrap ribbon snugly down sides of bags. Knot at bottom and let ends hang.
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ 
Next, for a more personalized touch, use photos of the bride or groom (either their engagement photos, or of their childhood) to create a photo display as well as soft lighting along tables.  This idea also works well for bridal showers!
Each luminary is made from three photo frames with the backs removed. 
Print photos (black & white works best) onto ecru-colored vellum and fasten to back of frame with tape or glue around edges.
Glue photo frames together to make a triangular form.  Place a votive candle in the middle, light, and enjoy.
[credit: Martha Stewart]
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ 

For a nice table centerpiece, or even to line a walkway, use different sizes of paper bags to create soft light.  

Tools and Materials
Light-colored paper lunch bags in various sizes
Scalloped rotary cutter
12-inch gold-colored doilies (white ones won't show through as well)
Utility knife
Glue stick or Xyron sticker-making machine
Votive candles in glass holders
Utility lighter
Luminarias How-To
1. Lay each bag flat; use a ruler to guide the scalloped rotary cutter as you cut a new top edge 1 inch below the bag's original edge.
2. To cut doilies to fit the bag, lay a bag flat on the work surface. Lay a doily on the bag, and determine where to cut in order to create a pleasing design. Cut straight lines with a ruler and a utility knife; use scissors to snip along curves. The final size of the doily should be 1/8 inch narrower than the width of the bag so the doily will lay flat inside.
3. Coat the gold side of the doily generously with glue from the glue stick, or coat it with self-adhesive using the Xyron machine. Attach doily to the inside of the front of the bag, positioning it as desired. After gluing, close the bag, and run your hand firmly over the design to seal. Open the bag, and let dry at least 1 hour.
4. Set the bag in desired location, and then put the votive candle, in its holder, inside. Light the wick once the candle holder has been securely placed; do not carry the lit luminaria.
[credit: Martha Stewart]

Use an accent, but don't abuse it!

Sometimes, when we have a "theme" or an "accent" we want to add to a wedding, it becomes very easy to let it go overboard.  The point is subtlety - make sure the theme doesn't take over your whole wedding.  The following inspiration board is a good example of letting an accent do just that: accentuate your decor - not overload it.  Using the damask print sparingly is a nice touch, but too much can make even your sober guests dizzy.

damask chic

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Paramount Ranch Wedding - "Go West"

Inspiration board from a wedding I coordinated at Paramount Ranch in Agoura Hills, CA (where they filmed Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman and M*A*S*H).  Working with a national park always has its special rules, but this wedding turned out beautifully.

Flowers: Details of the Day
Photography: Laurel Dailey

Go West

Special details:

  • The bride and groom hired a square dance caller to teach and call out traditional square dances - the hit of the evening!
  • Cocktail hour took place in the middle of the western town used for many Hollywood motion pictures; drinks were served from the "Saloon"
  • The bride and groom are the outdoors-y type, and decided to make a "Trail Mix bar" - apothecary jars were filled with granola, banana chips, dried cranberries, almonds, and yogurt chips, and guests filled up small tin-tie paper bags with their own special trail mix combination.
Here's a picture from the trail mix bar:

Do It Yourself Tip:

We found simple wood cut-out shapes at a craft store (sheriff star [shown]; horseshoe; barn; apple; fence).  Then:
1. Paint them deep red (or any color matching the scheme); let dry.
2. Hot glue twine to the back, enough to tie around the apothecary jar
3. Write jar's contents on the painted shape with metallic permanent marker
4. Fill jar with desired contents; insert small metal candy scoop; provide little paper bags for guests to fill as their wedding favor!


I'm no "blogger" by any means.  Well, at least I didn't think so, until now... as I'm writing my first blog.  What's my purpose? Let me make it simple:

I love weddings.

I am already married, had the most perfect wedding I could have ever hoped for, and I still love weddings.  I have been a consult for weddings, been a "day-of" coordinator, ran rehearsals, assisted with planning, and been a bride.  I've been there.

Here, I will be posting inspiration, DIY projects, things I love, new ideas, and everything wedding.  So, enjoy, leave comments, tell me what you like and what you don't.  And, if you're a southern California bride, I'd love to help you plan your special day - in person!