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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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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 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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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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Sneak Peek ~ Tyler and Josh

The end of the year always means I finally get my hot little hands on some incredible images from the season’s weddings and boy-oh-boy am I excited to share it ALL!  I am just squealing with delight as I have so much to blog about.  But, one thing at a time.  I thought I’d give you a little sneak peek into Tyler and Josh’s reception set-up.  Marisa of Marisa Millefiori knocked it out of the park with some stellar floral pieces.  We called the grand arrangement for the escort cards (pictured below), “The Mothership”.  Specialty linens, chairs and glassware were provided by Classic Party Rentals.  It was so unbelievably beautiful, the Four Seasons Rancho Encantado chose to document it for their promotional materials.  Here are a few of their shots.

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AND…. that’s not all, behold the most bad-ass wedding video, courtesy of Small Town Moon production studios.  This covers Tyler and Josh’s welcome party at the Coyote Cantina, the ceremony at the Church of the Holy Faith and the reception at the Four Seasons Rancho Encantado.  This video has it all, including a sentimental sweetness with the shot of Tyler’s grand entrance to the church and Josh’s reaction–hands down the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen!  And just when you think it’s come to a close: a rocking dance party with the talented Party Machine Band at the helm.  Conchita, the tequila shot-bearing donkey even showed up!  You’ll get goosebumps, maybe a tear, and of course, ear-to-ear smiles.  I think the video perfectly captures the amazing spirits of Tyler and Josh, two of the most fabulous people ever made!

JOSH + TYLER from Scott Hussion on Vimeo.

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Holidays at the Hitching Post

Hi All!  I wanted to offer you a glimpse into the rather colorful holiday decorations here at Casa Baca.  I’m rarely one for a traditional red and green Christmas…unless we are referring to New Mexican chile…I’ve been know to have Christmas trees decked out in ALL orange, or ALL even turquoise!  This year, I wanted to get funky and super colorful.  I was feeling a circus-y, Folk art-y handmade Christmas.  My color palette stemmed from bright orange, pink and turquoise with touches of shiny gold tinsel, natural kraft paper and even neon textiles.

 

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I decided that I wanted Circus Zebras to grace the tree.  “Why Circus Zebras?” you ask; I have no idea.  I’m not sure if a Circus Zebra is a real thing, but for a whimsical tree, who cares?!  I made these by painting and scanning an ink drawing, then printing a bunch in black and white on a thick card-stock paper and then got to detailing.  Oh boy, here’s where the fun is!

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The zebras got neon saddle blankets. So fancy, huh?

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Ohhh, and glittered stripes…my kind of zebra!

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Circus/ Folk artsy fart-sy inspiration is never complete without some crepe paper fringe, right?!

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Neon poms and a backing of soft felt.

Apologies, I forgot to take a picture of the tinsel that was sandwiched in between the paper and felt.  It was just some regular ol’ tinsel form the dollar store, trimmed to edge the zebra perfectly.  (Also not pictured: the hot glue burns that came with sandwiching that bling).

VOILA!  The finished zebras!  They were the perfect addition to this year’s wrapping paper scheme.  Let’s talk about that shall we.

I rarely buy wrapping paper as I’ve had a giant roll of kraft paper hanging around for the last 8 years….I might be finally reaching the end!  But I like to start with a neutral palette and then get crafty with the ties and trim that grace a package.  To me, this is the best part, better than the present itself.  I remember on Christmas asking my mom (I mean Santa) just to wrap a bunch of empty boxes because the unwrapping was the most fun to me!

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That said, the pressies were adorned with fringed crepe paper, felt cut-outs, neon yarn and poms, gold paper disks and more gold tinsel!  Call me a total nerd, but I love when the presents under the tree totally match.  It must be from all those years of reading Martha Stewart and seeing the styled Christmas shoots where everything coordinated.  Dang you Martha, I blame you for my OCD/Christmas snobbery!

So yeah, the ornaments match too.  Luckily, I have about a thousand ornaments and I LOVE them all.  But, I would seriously need at least 7 trees in my Casa to display each one, so every year, depending on the tree theme (Geeze, I’m a “themed tree” person, I want to punch myself…ugh) certain ornaments make the cut.  I recently acquired a collection of vintage yarn ornaments from Equador.  They belonged to the mister’s grandmother, making them the best kind of vintage.  I also had a set of felt doves that I made years ago.  With the colorful lights, they are just happy and perfectly Folk-arty

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Oh, the rest of the house, you ask? Well, my goal was to have a bunch of blooming bulbs gracing every square inch. Needless to say, I started my paper whites about a month too late (I’ll be lucky if they make it here by March), but the green-thumbed-I-sing-to-my-bulbs-and-they-bloom-magic Marsia Millefiori gifted me with the most beautiful Amaryllis, making me jumps and squeal with delight!  I stuck two little Christmas Clowns that I made in the pot to hang out.  I smile huge every time I walk past.

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I hope you all have a beautiful holiday season.  I’ve so enjoyed the crafting and prepping for Christmas.  Hopefully I’ll be doing snow angels in a few days…or at least snuggled on the couch watching a Christmas Story on repeat.  xo!

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Southwestern Weddings-Feature on the Four Seasons Wedding Blog

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I am so honored to have a feature on the Four Seasons Wedding blog.  They interviewed me about Southwestern weddings and I shared some fun tips to create a wedding with some festive flair!
From the article:
The desert landscapes, bold sunsets and picture-perfect weather of a Southwestern wedding evoke a drama all their own. And no one understands the locale’s power better than event planner Jessie Baca. She has designed countless ceremonies, receptions and celebrations that are inspired by the region’s scenery and her client’s personal style, including the distinctive affair at Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado Santa Fe in the slideshow above. Whether you’re tying the knot in the Southwest or just looking to add Southwestern charm to your wedding, Baca’s wisdom will spice up your décor, menu and more.SEE THE SLIDE SHOW & READ MORE

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Spiked! A DIY for you!

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Raise your hand if you want a life-size cactus made out of succulents and moss at your wedding!!  You’d be surprised that this request has come more than once after Reid and Erin popularized the living cactus at their wedding last year and the talented Andrea Soorikian made their vision a reality with the original “Curtis the Cactus”.  This time, I tried my hand at constructing a lil’ Saguaro of my own.  I loved creating it so much, I wanted to show you how!

To make your own (almost) 4 feet tall cactus, here’s what you’ll need:

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One thing you should know about me, I hate measuring, reading directions or anything that will make your life easier.  So for me to record actual measurements, is a really big deal. You’re welcome.  Also, I purchased 3/4″ PVC pipe and just stood in the hardware store fumbling all the fittings, making sure they fit.  I also made sure the PVC fit snugly into the metal pipe base.  Also, with a little elbow grease and the wonderful help of my assistant, Sarah, we were able to cut the PVC pipe into the proper sizes with a regular ol’ hand saw…forgot to draw that.

 

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I found all of these moss-y, foam-y goodies at Hobby Lobby.  The moss is awesome-it comes on a thin, plastic grid that can easily be cut with scissors and molded however you want.

 

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Now, some of you may know that I start every wedding season with a succulent farm.  By the end of the season, it has grown, been used for multiple weddings and I am usually sad that I can’t drag every single one of them in for the winter.  Every time I do, the poor little things get leggy and sad and there’s not much hope for them by the spring.  So, that said, this project was absolutely perfect to use up my 250+ succulents for their last hoo-rah!

 

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So, once you’ve got your PVC pieces cut, as you begin to assemble, stab the foam disks and stack them as you go, securing the PVC fitting with epoxy once the foam is on and the pieces attached.  The parts that go around the elbows and tee fittings were done afterwards by wiring separate pieces.  Then, begin the very satisfying moss wrap.  The moss ribbon is fantastic for the corners and tops of the cactus and the moss sheet easily goes around the base and secured with moss pins.

 

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Now, time for a little personality.  I gave my cactus some cute racer stripes to define where his spikes would go with the brightly colored Spanish moss….yes, I think it’s a “He.”

 

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Then I prepped all of my succulents.  The larger ones I put onto toothpicks (unpainted) and the smaller ones I just used a thin gauge wire.  They were easily stuck into the foam, through the moss.

 

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Once all the succulents were in place….dang it took a LOT!  I put the painted toothpicks in clusters of 3-4 along the moss stripes.  The finishing touch were the paper “flower” blooms placed on top of on the arms. Que cute, no?  I just love this little guy!  He is going on the center of the place card display for this weekend’s wedding.  It is a surprise for the bride and I think she is just going to pee her pants, it’s so cute!

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Get your galoshes and sell your soul to the weather gods!

It’s April and here in Santa Fe we’re lucky if we get a glimmer of a spring shower.  I’ve taken to listening to this while I work just to trick my brain and manifest some precipitation around here.

All these thoughts of rain made me think of the important topic…what do you do when it rains on your wedding day?  I feel like the majority of my weddings every season are spent reading doppler radar and skirting weather issues.  Santa Fe weather is fickle, I’ve seen snow in May and Indian Summers in October.  With our clockwork afternoon monsoon showers in July and August, I can’t tell you how many ceremonies I’ve pushed back, relocated and/or tented!

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My most important piece of advice is to be overly prepared.  I always say, “let’s plan for the worst and hope for the best!”  Most tenting companies will allow you to reserve a tent without penalty of a re-stocking fee when you cancel up to 5 days prior to the wedding.  But, that still leaves room for those freak rain showers for which Santa Fe is famous.  Well, I say if it looks like rain, why not take advantage of it?!

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That’s what we did for Ricki and Geoff’s wedding.   (Disclaimer: this wedding took place in Southern California where the weather seems to be perfect 365 days a year, but on this day it wasn’t.  Luckily, I’ve had some practice with finicky Santa Fe weather, making this a piece of cake!) Three days before the wedding when we saw the weather report go from cloudy to steady showers the entire day of the wedding, I secured a huge tent to cover the ceremony space that was going to take place on a large lawn.  Since it was so overcast, the tent was very dark, so we added some amber colored up lighting and lots of lanterns with candles creating a warm and cozy glow.

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One of the dilemmas we ran into was getting the wedding party processional, and most importantly the bride, to the tent.  I had a 20 foot gap in between the room where they were staged and the ceremony tent that couldn’t be tented since it was technically a fire lane.  That is where Bella Umbrella came to the rescue.  I called them three days prior to the wedding and rush-shipped vintage umbrellas in as assortment of colors to match Ricki’s rustic palette.

Thankfully, a quick trip to Target provided mis-matched galoshes for each bridesmaid…because who likes to jump puddles in strappy stilettos?

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Most importantly, we embraced the weather.  Instead of trying to fight and control it, which is impossible to do, we were able to take creative solutions that made the day even better than we could have planned.  Guests were gaga over the twinkly and intimate feeling that the ceremony had, which would have been impossible had it not rained!

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Photos by Chrisman Studios

To see the Ricki and Geoff’s entire wedding, click here.

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