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Creating the Ceremony Scene: Southwest meets Contemporary

Dreaming up unique ceremony altar spaces is one of my favorite things to do.  When Carrie and John asked me to design something crafty, yet modern, I was totally on board!  Their save the date had a palette of burnt oranges and turquoise with a Southwestern geometric motif.  I wanted their backdrop to mirror this with dramatic scale and a contemporary design.  I also wanted to bring in native succulents and dried Cholla cactus.

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It began with a sketch and then I needed to brainstorm what it would actually be made of.  I wanted to use lightweight materials like paper for an airy and delicate garland.  I cut different sized triangle and diamond shapes in varying shades of orange, and to bring a little depth and a contrasting pop of color, I made geometric boxes out of turquoise and aqua paper. I cut out feather shapes from a scrap piece of leather and painted one side of them with metallic paint in gold and copper.

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I went out into the New Mexico hills and foraged fallen Cholla cactus.  Luckily, once it has dried, the skin and very sharp spines fall off, making it a wonderful, natural material for a Southwestern installation!  The groom’s mom had a perfectly complementary rug to place under the altar and I just love how it tied everything together!

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The ceremony took place at the Center for Contemporary Arts in Santa Fe.  I am in love with the way the garland’s geometric shadow played on their beautiful white gallery walls! After the ceremony it became the backdrop for the photo booth; I love when installation pieces serve double duty during a wedding.

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It truly was a joy to custom design something so unique for such a wonderful couple ! I am so glad it was part of a beautiful wedding day!

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Real Wedding ~ Lally & Doug

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Lally and Doug were married on a crisp autumn day on October.  The most amazing thing about this wedding was the amount of love that  poured out of everyone’s hearts.  The couple and their families have such a close bond and it was highlighted for such a special occasion.  Many of Lally and Doug’s close friends flew in from all over the country to celebrate with them and it was very clear that the friendships are held near and dear to their hearts.  It was a beautiful thing to witness such a profound and genuine love.  Twin Lens Photography did an impeccable job of capturing this love and highlighting the perfect moments between the bride and groom and documenting an incredible day!

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To honor a tradition of the past, Lally wore the wedding dress that not only her mother wore, but her grandmother wore as well.  It fit perfectly and looked incredible on the third generation bride!

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The bridesmaids were in beautiful, flowy Joanne August dresses in a dark teal color.  This was accented perfectly by the coral junior bridesmaids dresses for a nod to the vibrant Santa Fe color palette.

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Lally and her father had a grand entrance to the ceremony via horse and carriage.  This was kept as a surprise from Doug as he awaited at the altar. The ceremony took place in a large open field with a stunning backdrop of the sweeping Sangre de Cristo mountain range, dotted with golden trees.

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Andrea Soorikian Design  built a custom wood arbor for Lally and Doug to stand beneath as they said their vows.  The poles were adorned with gauzy fabric drapes and blooms in soft blush,  peach and dusty green.  The ceremony was filled with beautiful readings and songs performed by family members.  The guests were led to the cocktail hour by a mariachi band where they sipped margaritas and enjoyed ceviche shooters and mini tuna tartare tacos.

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The reception was held is a beautiful tent adorned with chandeliers and tables with richly colored centerpieces.  Amber candles, dried Choya cactus, air plants and succulents accented the hot pink dahlias, orange roses, coral Gloriosa lilies and antique hydrangea.

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Guests dined on a deconstructed salad with pears, goat cheese, dried cranberries and a balsamic drizzle accompanied by a gazpacho shooter.  The entree nodded to Santa Fe fare with a local poblano stuffed with calabacitas (a local New Mexican of squash and zucchini) and braised short ribs on top of a green chile polenta.

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The dessert also had a little Santa Fe spice!  Mayan Chocolate Cake was mixed with a hint of red chile for an added kick!  It was draped with a cascade of beautiful flowers.

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After dinner and a series of heartfelt toasts guests enjoyed the most epic dance party.  Funkiphino, a 13 piece band based out of Denver put on an unforgettable show!  The dance floor was packed until 2 am!  A late night taco bar was set up to keep guests fueled and even had mini churros with a dulce du leche dipping sauce.

To view the full gallery of images, click HERE

 

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Lally & Doug

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Lally and Doug were married on a crisp autumn day on October.  The most amazing thing about this wedding was the amount of love that  poured out of everyone’s hearts.  The couple and their families have such a close bond and it was highlighted for such a special occasion.  Many of Lally and Doug’s close friends flew in from all over the country to celebrate with them and it was very clear that the friendships are held near and dear to their hearts.  It was a beautiful thing to witness such a profound and genuine love.  Twin Lens Photography did an impeccable job of capturing this love and highlighting the perfect moments between the bride and groom and documenting an incredible day!

To honor a tradition of the past, Lally wore the wedding dress that not only her mother wore, but her grandmother wore as well.  It fit perfectly and looked incredible on the third generation bride!  The bridesmaids were in beautiful, flowy Joanne August dresses in a dark teal color.  This was accented perfectly by the coral junior bridesmaids dresses for a nod to the vibrant Santa Fe color palette.  Lally and her father had a grand entrance to the ceremony via horse and carriage.  This was kept as a surprise from Doug as he awaited at the altar.

The ceremony took place in a large open field with a stunning backdrop of the sweeping Sangre de Cristo mountain range, dotted with golden trees in a crisp autumn day.  Andrea Soorikian Design  built a custom wood arbor for Lally and Doug to stand beneath as they said their vows.  The poles were adorned with gauzy fabric drapes and blooms in soft blush,  peach and dusty green.  The ceremony was filled with beautiful readings and songs performed by family members.  The guests were led to the cocktail hour by a mariachi band where they sipped margaritas and enjoyed ceviche shooters and mini tuna tartare tacos.

The reception was held is a beautiful tent adorned with chandeliers and tables with richly colored centerpieces.  Amber candles, dried Choya cactus, air plants and succulents accented the hot pink dahlias, orange roses, coral Gloriosa lilies and antique hydrangea.  Guests dined on a deconstructed salad with pears, goat cheese, dried cranberries and a balsamic drizzle accompanied by a gazpacho shooter.  The entree nodded to Santa Fe fare with a local poblano stuffed with calabacitas (a local New Mexican of squash ans zucchini) and braised short ribs on top of a green chile polenta. The dessert also had a little Santa Fe spice!  Mayan Chocolate Cake was mixed with a hint of red chile for an added kick!  It was draped with a cascade of beautiful flowers.

After dinner and a series of heartfelt toasts guests enjoyed the most epic dance party.  Funkiphino, a 13 piece band based out of Denver put on an unforgettable show!  The dance floor was packed until 2 am!  A late night taco bar was set up to keep guests fueled and even had mini churros with a dulce du leche dipping sauce.

 

Photography ~ Twin Lens Images / Cocktail Musicians ~ Mariachi Pourvenir  / Hair and Makeup ~ Jess Evans / Bridesmaids dresses ~ Johanna August / Calligraphy ~ Sherry Bishop  / Rentals ~ Classic Party Rentals  / Venue + Catering ~ Las Campanas / Floral Design ~ Andrea Soorikian Design / Cake ~ Chocolate Maven / Band ~ Funkiphino /

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The Himmeli Hack

Holy Himmelis!  What the heck is a himmeli, you ask?  Well, they’ve been popping up all over the internet, and these geometric tube structures are all the rage! Himmelis are a Finnish type of mobile originally made out of straw.  The word Himmeli is Swedish for “Sky/Heaven” making it very appropriate to use these lil’ guys as a hanging decoration.

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I had an idea to install a TON of these awesome geometric designs over a dance floor for a recent wedding.  My initial search for the “how-to” led to tutorials made with brass tubing.  Not only did it seem a little heavy and dangerous to hang brass tubing….but dang…it was getting expensive.  Enter: The Himmeli Hack.   It begins with my favorite mantra, “There’s nothing a little spray paint can’t fix!”  Yup, you guessed it, a little metallic spray paint and an Amazon order of 500 clear plastic drinking straws and we were in business!  Himmelis for days!  They are lightweight, cheap and easy to transport!   Boom-shaka-laka!

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The best part is that there are so many options for the types of shapes you want to create and you can really let your imagination run wild!  Above are a few of my favorite designs.  Now, for a tutorial I recommend checking this out…I totally renegaded this DIY and didn’t measure a thing.  Sometimes it is more fun to fly by the seat of your pants! Here’s a peek at the finished design-it’s a Himmeli Party!

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The Makings Of: Aaron and Johanna’s Tabletop

Here’s a little behind the scenes sneak peek for you!  As part of “The Makings Of” series, I am excited to show you the inspiration for Aaron and Johanna’s wedding tabletop.  To complement their modern and whimsical invitation, we designed a tabletop equally as fanciful, with pops of neon and geometric motifs.  We wanted to bring elements of weathered wood, copper and yarn together with natural florals and ferns.  

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Of course it starts with a sketch.  The long reception tables will be set with white linens and grey napkins. Thrifted silverware dip-dyed in neon coral, copper and burgundy would frame a geometric menu printed on blush paper and a triangular first course plate.

 

We had to design a table that could accommodate a family style dinner service with multiple dishes and serving platters.  That meant we couldn’t have large centerpieces that took up the whole table.  But we didn’t want to compromise on design.  The plan was to have a small, floral centerpiece of coral Godetia, burgundy dahlias, trailing vines and ferns. Down the center of the table would be a weathered wood plank which would be wrapped with various yarns to complement the color palette of burgundy and neon coral. But of course, finding the perfect shade of neon coral yarn is tough.  So….

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We dyed our own yarn!  We watered down the perfect shade of neon coral acrylic paint and dyed loads of yarn that Johanna had scored at a garage sale for $5!  The result was the perfect shade of retina-bleed neon!

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And oh my goodness does it look fabulous against the neutral grey of the wood.  Along with the yarn, we also wrapped the planks with delicate coral threads and (my new most favorite material ever) copper foil tape!  It brings the perfect pop of metallic and bling!  I am also loving how the silverware is turning out.  These little details are what creative dreams are made of!  Aaron and Johanna’s tables are going to look so spectacular and be extra special because of the personal, crafty touches.  I CANNOT wait to see it all come together!

 

 

 

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You had me at “Alfresco”

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Ahhh, Summer in Santa Fe.  Everything about it is so wonderful, qué no? My favorite thing about summer here is dining alfresco.  Oh, to be sitting under a portal, cool breeze on your skin, sipping a fabulous cocktail as the sun dips below the horizon. There’s really nothing better than enjoying a meal with friends as laughter bubbles into the dusk and the stars begin to peek out of the cooling blue sky. I had the pleasure of working with my good friend Shanti to bring such a night to life.  She is a wonderful chef and wanted to create a lovely dinner party in her backyard. I brought in the décor, and we designed a menu that would highlight the bounty of the Santa Fe local harvests and treat the guests to a delectable and beautiful celebration.

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First, we started with a cocktail. We served a prosecco cocktail with a splash of rosé Lillet, grapefruit soda and lavender-infused simple syrup. Let me tell you, they were amazing! We also served a Basil-infused martini with basil straight from the Shanti’s garden.

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Along with the fabulous sips, guests nibbled on chilled watermelon bites with feta and fresh chopped mint. Is your mouth watering yet?

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I created a tabletop filled with festive, rich color. Silk Dupioni runners from Thailand were layered on the table to bring punches of teal, magenta and saffron to the table. They coordinated beautifully with the fuchsia napkins. Citron bud vases filled with Crespedia dotted along the table with local dahlias set in low bud vases.

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Each setting received an individual demi-baguette from a local bakery, wrapped with parchment and tied with teal raffia. We decided to serve individual baguettes because…

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…we had an heirloom tomato bar! It was complete with gooey Burrata mozzarella, flavored olive oils, aged balsamic vinegar and specialty sea salts. There was also fresh chopped basil, sopresatta and fried sliced of bacon! Guests served a thickly sliced slab of tomato and decorated it with all of the fixings their heart desired. So, of course, what better way to sop up the leftover goodness than with a fresh baked baguette of your own! Oh my goodness, I can taste it now…it was heaven!

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Shanti is an amazing chef and pours her heart into each dish she creates. Her meals always use fresh ingredients and are thoughtfully prepared–if I could eat at her house everyday, I would! These soup shooters were also served as an appetizer and believe me, they were as delicious as they were beautiful. We enjoyed a roasted red beet gazpacho and a chilled avocado soup with spicy Pepitas.

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She roasted local Shishito peppers from the Santa Fe Farmer’s Market and they were topped with edible violas for a beautiful visual contrast.

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Along with the heirloom tomato bar, guests dined on herb-garlic grilled eggplant, a white bean and sage salad, home-made icebox pickles, a lemon-ricotta asparagus tart, assorted cheeses, and the most beautiful watermelon radishes you ever did see! Since I’m a sucker for signage, I calligraphied little tags to highlight each amazing element of the vignette.

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I mean, that color, c’mon!

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We plunked bottles of rosé down the table and let guests serve themselves.  The table was bountiful and the company was adorable!

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The best part was as the sun began to set, the twinkle light above began to glow and the candles flickered among the glass. There’s just something about that light that gets me every time.

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Then there was dessert! Shanti whipped up the most decadent 6-layer lemon chiffon cake, complete with edible pansies and orchids as the garnish. To complement dessert, guests sipped on a delightfully fizzy moscato that we served in colorful Moroccan tea glasses.

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We also commissioned specialty peach-mango-coconut paletas for an after dinner treat. I just love the diagonal two-tone.

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Even though summer is coming to an end, I am so thankful for evenings like these. Thank you Shanti for the opportunity to create with you and to have the pleasure of enjoying such a beautiful meal! Goodbye summer, ’til next year!

Featured image, Cameron Johnson, All other photos, Andy Johnson

 

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Real Wedding ~ Shawn and Elizabeth

Shawn and Elizabeth hosted the perfect Summer-time soiree, complete with a beautiful outdoor ceremony underneath an apple tree, wildflowers galore, lawn games and the most scrumptious brunch inspired by Southern fare.  Shawn and Liz are dear friends and I felt so privileged to design a beautiful wedding day with such a lovely couple!

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How beautiful is Elizabeth’s Lazaro dress?  Talk about a stunning bride!!The gorgeous ruffles and perfect lace detailing just had Southern belle written all over it!  I love the color palette for the wedding party attire.  The gents sported J.Crew grey suits which I think looked so dapper with Shawn’s navy Hugo Boss suit.  The gals chose their own dress style in either taupe or fig, also from J.Crew.

 

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How sweet are these flower girls?  I love their laid back, cotton summer dresses; they’re not too fussy and perfect for the outdoor venue.  Elizabeth and her bridesmaids crafted custom fans that doubled as programs to let guests know who the players were.

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The apple tree under which the ceremony took place was strung with hanging vases of wildflowers and satin ribbons.  They looked so lovely swaying in the breeze!

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Every outdoor wedding has got to have lawn games!  How adorable are the custom corn hole bags?

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Now, I’ve got a funny story and a few words of wisdom for you.  If you’re going to infuse your own vodka with rhubarb a few days before your wedding, wear gloves!!  Liz, a connoisseur of gourmet cocktails, single-handedly infused all of her vodka with rhubarb to make the glorious “Taste of Summer” signature cocktail.  The only downside, rhubarb will dye your hands hot pink as Liz unfortunately found out!!  She was lucky enough NOT to sport hot-pink palms for her wedding, but it sure was a close call!!

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These escort cards were such a fun project.  We put a handful of wildflowers seeds in a kraft paper pouch and then sewed them to a card printed with the guests names.  They were placed in flats of wheat grass with a sign that said, “Sow the Love!”  I just adore sweet favors that do double duty as escort cards!

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For a touch of vintage elegance, Liz and her mom sourced mismatched china from thrift stores and garage sales all over Santa Fe and Albuquerque.  There were hundreds and plates and a ton of delicate tea cups and saucers.  The coffee and tea display was just darling!

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Each place setting has an adorable, heart-shaped birdseed favor.  This was extra appropriate as the venue, the Randal Davey Audubon Center is also a bird and nature preserve.

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OK, let’s talk food!  Liz is a serious foodie and quite the amazing cook herself!  I am so lucky to have been a guest a her table and to chat menus wit her. That said, the wedding feast was fabulous and inspired.  I love that the wedding focused around brunch, probably my most favorite 6 letter word, ever! Liz collaborated with Marja Custom Catering to create a spectacular menu centered around her favorite seasonal brunch items.  The appetizers were highlighted with tomato soup shooters with slices of grilled cheese and fried green tomatoes with grilled shrimp.  Seriously, guests were in heaven!

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Guests dined on delicious eggs Florentine, grilled asparagus with tomato salsa, red chile bacon and green chile sausages.  But, the piece de resistance was the blueberry-passionfruit blintz; hot dang they were off the chain!

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Then there was dessert!  Yes, I know you thought it couldn’t get any better!  First, there was a beautiful butter cream cake, beautifully accented with fresh summer blooms.  Then there was a delightful array of French Macarons….man, I could eat 1,000 of those!

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But, the cutest part was the individual apple-raspberry rosewater pies with a biscuit topper.  Yes, stop traffic, they were not only adorable, they were delicious!  Marja Custom Catering really knocked it out of the park!

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The Randal Davey Audubon Center is a really spectacular venue.  The kids were in heaven among the orchards and rolling lawns amidst a beautiful historical adobe home.

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Now this is just a smidgen of the photos from their gallery….there are sooo many beautiful ones to see, you MUST click HERE to peep the rest!!

Photography~  Eric Cousineau Photography/ Make-up~ Jess Evans / Bride’s Dress~Lazaro / Groom’s Suit~ Hugo Boss / Bridesmaids and Groomsmen attire~ J.Crew / Ceremony and Reception Location~ Randal Davey Audubon Center  / Rentals ~ Classic Party Rentals /  Catering~Marja Custom Catering / Floral Design~ Artichokes and Pomegranates/ Cake ~ Treehouse Pastry/ Getaway Car ~ Santa Fe Classic Limo

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The Makings Of: Aaron and Johanna’s Wedding Invitation

I’m excited to be sharing a new series called “The Makings Of.”  Here, I will be showcasing behind the scenes tidbits of current projects I’m working on with my clients.  To me, the best part of any creative endeavor is the process and the path which the artist takes to get to the final product.  Today, I’d like to share with you the makings of Aaron and Johanna’s wedding invitation.  What you must know about them first, is that they are hands down, the coolest.  They’ve got style and pizazz and are basically dream clients.  I love that they are looking for something out of the box and are totally cool with my quirky ideas.  Together we have cooked up a modern and whimsical invitation suite that is perfectly unique and totally “them!” Let’s talk paper, shall we?

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I do love a good invitation.  One that screams from the mountain top, “Get ready, this is going to be one AWESOME wedding!”  Well, Johanna and Aaron’s invite screams, “THIS IS GOING TO BE THE BEST WEDDING EVER! MAKE SURE YOU HAVE YOUR PARTY PANTS ON!!”  I must say, since it was designed and printed in-house, I am pretty darn proud of how this turned out.  Johanna and I really turned up the DIY gears on this one…printing, spray painting, wrapping, cutting, calligraphing.  The studio was a-whirl with all things paper!

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Of course we started with a color palette.  To me, any successful design stays tried and true to the original scheme.  It gives consistency and most importantly, will always be the sounding board to which you return when deciding if something matches.

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Once the color palette was solidified we chose our materials.  We ordered pre-cut cover stock paper from Paper Source in the perfect color scheme.  Oh, paper, it’s the best!  Then Johanna gave me a copy of a doodle she used for some notes to her bridesmaids.  Our motif was beginning to take shape.  I scanned the image and loosely copied the design to echo on all pieces of the invite suite.  We chose a font that mirrored the geometric and modern feel and accented with a script font for just a touch of whimsy!

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Then came the details.  To me, this is what OCD dreams are made of!  We got down with some serious spray paint….the backs of the invite were sprayed a fluorescent coral to match the accent on the front of the invite.   The coral reception card was cut on a diagonal and accented with an opaque white triangle to add more depth and the RSVP card got a metallic triangle detail of its own too!  Then, we sprayed one side of the fig paper with a coat of shiny gold and cut giant pieces of confetti!   The entire suite was wrapped with coral and gold thread and placed into a gravel colored envelope.  I calligraphied the names on front to match the script font on the invite.  Did I mention that I LOVE consistency?!?

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One of my most favorite things about this invite suite is the cheeky RSVP.  I can’t tell you how exciting it is to have something other than “Decline with Regret” as an RSVP option. Johanna decided to give her guests three options:

“Will be there with our party pants”

Will be there with no pants”

“Darn, Can’t make it”

Hee hee, I love it!  How stoked would you be if this came in the mail?  I just love that when you see it, you immediately think of Aaron and Johanna and know that one seriously good time is on its way!

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Real Wedding ~ Hanna and Reece

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Hanna and Reece celebrated their nuptials on a crisp spring day in April at the Four Seasons Rancho Encantado.  I just absolutely adore the color palette Hannah chose of cobalt blues, dusty shale and a touch of lavender.  We had such a blast designing a classy and elegant celebration!

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Andrea Soorikian Designs provided lush hand-tied bouquets for the bride and bridesmaids.  I just love how they look with those beautiful J.Crew gowns.  Hanna also had the most beautiful cameo pin from her grandmother that was attached to her bouquet as a keepsake for the ceremony.

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We worked with Little Bird Creative to create a custom invitation suite inspired by Ikat patterns with punches of cobalt.  We were able to save a little mula by only having the main invitation letterpressed and the rest of the suite flat-printed.  I think it looks absolutely beautiful, don’t you?

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Hanna and Reece love to concoct fabulous cocktails together when they host dinner parties and serve unique creations.  Recently, Hanna tried her hand at a handmade passion fruit sorbet.  We challenged the Four Seasons to serve a creative cocktail inspired by this.  During our tasting, we sipped on an unique champagne cocktail where they infused a passion fruit sorbet with spicy chiles and then served it in a tall glass of local bubbly.  I must say the result was fantastic; a little sweet with a little heat and they looked adorable with the cobalt stripey straws.

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The reception was elegant and joyous with traditional touches.  I love the simple beauty of this cake by Maggie Faralla.  The spring blooms were the perfect accent to the clean lines of the fondant.  My favorite tradition was the reception attire. Hanna swapped out her ivory sash for a black one and Reece changed into an ivory dinner jacket.  They looked so snazzy!

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To continue their appreciation for good sips, Hanna and Reece hosted a Scotch and Bourbon Bar after dinner.  They also offered their guests petit jars packaged with a few of their favorite beverages.  There was a beautiful French Earl Grey Tea, African Coffee Beans and a red chile infused drinking chocolate mix from local chocolate house, Kakawa.  Yum!

To see the full gallery of images from Hanna and Reece’s wedding, click HERE
Photos: Articulate Photo

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Tracy & Scott

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The bride was able to get ready in the historic home of Randal Davey, specifically in Mrs. Davey’s boudoir with walls painted by Mr. Davey himself.  I loved Tracy’s fabulous frock from BHLDN.  It was short and spunky, just like her.  And those shoes…I am a sucker for sparkles!   The bouquets from Artichokes and Pomegranates were so fresh and bright.  They fit perfectly into our punchy and festive color palette.   The ceremony design was inspired by Mexican folk art, centered around paper flowers and colorful ribbons.  Their ceremony was so heartfelt and personal, the best kind!  Did I mention there wasn’t a dry eye in the house?  Guests were escorted from the ceremony site to the cocktail reception via open air trams.  It was a perfectly warm night for the short ride.  The mixologists at the Hotel St. Francis prepared a green chile, orange margarita that was delicious!  Escort cards doubled as favors with a heart Milagro keepsake and goodie bags filled with Biscochitos, a classic New Mexican cookie.   The tables were uniquely styled with pincushion Protea, succulents in planters adorned with gilded lace, agate slices, cactus terrariums and gorgeous floral arrangements of Billy Balls, peonies, sweetheart roses and lilies, freesia and honeysuckle, which I was lucky enough to forage as it had bloomed at the perfect time!  Everything in the room was so colorful and festive; it really added to the joyous atmosphere and paved the way for heartfelt toasts and a rocking dance party!

Photography~ Vlad Photo  / Programs, Place cards, Menus,~ Jessie Baca Weddings and Events / Make-up~ Jess Evans / Bride’s Dress~ BHLDN/ Bride’s Shoes ~ Manolo Blahnik / Ceremony and Cocktail Music ~ Victor Alvarez of Savor / Ceremony Location~ Randal Davey Audubon Center / Bridal Bouquets and Boutonnieres~ Artichokes and Pomegranates / Ceremony Backdrop and Centerpiece Floral Design~ Jessie Baca Weddings and Events / Open Air Tram Transportation ~ Custom Tours by Clarice / Reception Location~ Hotel St. Francis / DJ~ Absolute Entertainment DJ Services

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