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Featured on 100 Layer Cake

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I am over the moon that our “Mexi-Modern” Wedding Inspiration shoot is featured on 100 Layer Cake!  I am excited to share some more pictures as well as the original sketches for the design.  The inspiration for this photo shoot came to me when I stumbled upon a book cover I found in my grandmothers library.  The spine was color-blocked with teal, French blue, terra cotta, bubblegum and citron green.  This unusual combo surprisingly worked, and I knew I wanted to bring this palette to life with a modern yet crafty design, but needed the perfect opportunity. A few months later, I received an email from Tim Mannle, a Connecticut based wedding photographer who was going to be visiting New Mexico. He asked if I would put together an inspiration shoot at a venue in Santa Fe.  Coincidentally, the Center for Contemporary Arts was interested in highlighting their modern space as an event venue.  The perfect opportunity had presented itself!

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Using geometric design cues and throwing a touch of neon in to the color palette, the theme Mexi-Modern was born. The handmade elements of painted terra cotta, yarn crafts and thread tassels are reminiscent of Mexican folk art and these were paired with patterns of ikat and geometric motifs.  The clean setting of whitewashed brick walls and raw concrete was the ideal urban space to allow this modern mixture of craft and contemporary really pop.  This modern shoot blended the perfect amount of craft and contemporary.

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The concept for the ceremony scene was a bare tipi structure made of large wood poles.  I created “Ojos de Dreams;” a melding of the Ojo de Dios Mexican yarn crafts and the Native American dreamcatcher.  The result was a graphic and bold design, and paired with rustic wood and yarn, these magical pieces embodied the “Mexi-Modern” theme perfectly.  Our “tipi” was decorated with geometric garlands in teal, blue and citron  and the “Ojos de Dreams”.

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The metal, industrial chairs were also decorated with tasseled garlands and hand-embroidered pillows. Embellished maracas and tambourines rested on the seats for the guests to cheer on the bride and groom as they walked down the aisle.

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The bridal bouquet created by Melissa Paquin of Renegade Floral was lush and textural with blooms in peach, pale yellow, coral and ivory.  Cascading ribbons with geometric patterns paired beautifully with the thread tassels in neon yellow, coral, teal and blue. The grooms unique orchid boutonniere even had a few tassels on it!

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To juxtapose with the lush bouquet and to keep with the contemporary space, my wing-woman Johanna Frenz took on the wardrobe styling and she put the bride in an ivory jumpsuit!  It was fabulous with a pair of cobalt J.Crew pumps, a woven sash of Ecuadorian fabric, and a hot pink peony in the bride’s hair.   This unexpected look fit right in to our Mexi-Modern scene.

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Bringing the design for the tablescape to life was one of my favorite things to create.  A weathered wood table was topped with ikat fabric runners and edged with blue, teal and neon tassels.  Set diagonally on the runners were long wood boxes filled with sand, a spot for the punch of whole citrus fruits and fresh flowers to gather.

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Hot pink taper candles, set in brushed gold candlesticks brought a festive vibe.  I painted terra cotta chargers to echo the geometric motif and keep the color palette alive.  Individual place settings were kept modern with clean lines of the flatware and place cards made of laser cut wood.  We had the ikat fabric to match the napkins and stitched geometric hems in neon thread.

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Of course, we had to include the tequila shots, poured into classic Mexican glassware, and accented with key lime slices and salted rims.

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The tequila also made another appearance on our Paleta Bar.  Johanna also happens to makes a mean popsicle and to spin-off the classic Mexican paleta, she made them a little booze-y; the “Tequila-Limon” and “Guava-Colada” pops.  What a great alternative dessert or even a signature cocktail for a summer wedding!

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We collaborated with Cassie Templeman of Peanut Press for the print elements. She knocked it out of the park with her design and we were over-the-moon thrilled!  It was clean and modern but still carried the thread of our Central American folk-art motif. 

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To complete the invitation suite, Cassie wrapped it up in neon cord, made custom laser-cut wood elements, and sourced the perfect vintage stamps.

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To think that this idea first began with an arbitrary mix of colors on a book’s spine…and the result was a photo shoot that combined handmade folk art and modern neon. We were blown away that it worked! Every element added a particular touch that helped to create this cohesive and distinct mash-up, Mexi-Modern!

Click HERE to see the feature on 100 Layer Cake

Concept + Art Direction ~ Jessie Baca of Jessie Baca Weddings and Events / Styling, Paletas~ Johanna Frenz of Jessie Baca Weddings and Events / Photographer ~ Tim Mannle / Stationery ~ Cassie Templeman of Peanut Press, / Floral ~ Melissa Paquin of Renegade Floral / Make-Up ~ Svetlana Britt / Models ~ Nicole and Kai Kuller / Venue ~ Center for Contemporary Arts

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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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