Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Anatomy of A Perfect Wedding - Finale: The Finer Details

To wrap up this post series, I'm going to cover why I think the perfect wedding is all in the details. People will remember them... it's what sets every wedding apart from another. And if you make the details helpful or memorable to the guest, that's what will stick in their minds and they'll be all too happy to recount how wonderfully they were treated and how special your wedding was.

For example, here are a few details I loved about Ben & Brooke's wedding...

The bride wore a sixpence in her shoe for good luck. Her groom surprised her with it at the rehearsal dinner.

We added something special to the bouquets with vintage jeweled brooches the bride gave her maids, vintage hankies embroidered with the bride's monogram, and fresh berries to give them texture...

Beautiful chapel doors adorned with floral, berries and twigs.

I love to recommend my brides wear gorgeous flowers in their hair on the right side of their head so they can be seen in the ceremony photos. It adds such a romantic look.

The same for the bridesmaids... stunning!

Vintage hankies were handed out to women before the ceremony for dabbing away tears of joy.

One white rose was featured for each of the families' deceased loved ones.

Instead of guests just departing from the church, we made a grand exit line and the ladies waved goodbye to the couple with their new hankies.

Signage that makes guests feel communicated with and welcomed.

Instead of a traditional guest book, we had guests write notes on vintage postcards and then they hung them on ribbon that was wrapped around a tree.

Pommegranate martinis to match the bridesmaid dresses and wedding color palate.

Dressing up the dog, of course...

Escort cards hung with ribbon from beautiful shell garland on the vines growing along the patio

Seating vignettes with vintage patchwork blankets for guests to cuddle up in while enjoying the crisp Arizona fall night later in the reception.

Cigar and Cognac station for the gentlemen's pleasure.

To explain the Farmers' Market Favors set up, we had a chalkboard featuring all the goodies guests were welcome to take from the array of homemade items harvested from both families' gardens and orchards.

The farmers market favors were housed in the bride's father's antique Model A Ford outside the tent for guests to help themselves.

Apples picked from the groom's family orchard and many other farmers market favors.

Narcissus bulbs (bride Christmastime family tradition) with planting instructions...

Fresh radishes from the garden...

Dried herbs from the bride's mom's garden were featured in jars with homemade tags.

Hand-canned apricot preserves made from family trees were in small jars covered in burlap and linen and tied with string.

The bags to hold the guests' farmers market favors were stamped with the bride & grooms' beautiful wedding monogram.

Beautifully-draped entrance to the tent, with flowers to greet guests...

This hand-made wooden arbor was built over the family-style head table. Green vines were draped over it and votives were hung from ribbon to add to the garden ambiance.

Handmade table signs made by the groom from an old tree that needed to be cut down, and hand written on by a calligrapher to match the rest of the calligraphy pieces. Names of the tables were all significant places in Brooke & Ben's love story, and were explained on the backs of the Escort cards.

The centerpieces were housed in the bride's family's own sterling silver coffee pots, urns, etc.

Gorgeous place cards with calligraphy...

Pretty place settings with chargers, vintage embroidered napkins, antique lace linen overlays, and a rosemary sprig, traditionally used in weddings to symbolize remembrance and fidelity.

Notice Brooke's Bolero jacket - she wore it for the reception to cover herself for her husband since she was now a married woman. Awesome!

And finally... a beautiful antique cake topper on a fantastic cake...

Friday, February 19, 2010

Anatomy of A Perfect Wedding Part 2: The OTHER Activites

Continuing on with my series, I'm posting about what I think made one of my recent weddings just perfect. We're onto the other activities aside from the actual wedding. Often times, it's these other itinerary items you provide your guests that make such a memorable impact on them and give you a chance to really catch up with them when it's harder to do in only a few hours at your very scheduled reception.

For some examples, Brooke & Ben had a wine party/shower for out-of-towners on Thursday night prior to the wedding, and Ben hosted a guy's kickball tournament & BBQ at the park the next day, while the women got their nails done and enjoyed a beautiful brunch.

Hosting a fun sporting activity is a great way to get people interacting and relaxing at the same time. You could play flag football (girls included), ping pong tourneys, even bowling during bad or winter weather - and add a casual, inexpensive beer & brat fry... Just getting guests to mingle with more people will do wonders for their social enjoyment the rest of the weekend.

Now, on to the rehearsal dinner! Brooke & Ben had so much family coming from out of town that they wanted to show their guests a fantastic, truly Arizonan party, courtesy of the Wild West. Instead of a typical rehearsal dinner in a restaurant, they loaded their guests onto school buses and drove them an hour outside of the hustle and bustle of Phoenix to enjoy a night at a ranch under a blanket of stars in the breathtaking desert canyon of Saguaro Lake. This is one amazing location and a party their guests will never forget.

And of course, doing something casual gives your guests an excuse to let loose and have a great time...

Up next... the Finer Details

Monday, February 1, 2010

Anatomy of A Perfect Wedding Part 1: The Invitation Suite

I can't begin to describe how blessed I am to have planned this next featured wedding. Brooke & Ben are about as in love as two people could ever get. And their wedding was pure magic. Utterly breath-taking, sentimental magic. I can't describe it. I just have to show you. And I could not do that without the overwhelmingly talented Stuart Thurlkill of Eyes2See Photography. Wow. That's all I can muster right now.

There were so many meaningful details throughout this wedding, that it seemed really truly perfect. They began with this MOST perfect invitation suite designed by the incredible Erin Raspberry Napier of Lucky Luxe Couture Correspondence. I fell in love with a vintage hanky save-the-date concept and HAD to have it. Luckily, my bride agreed and so her mother set out to search for the cutest authentic vintage hankies to print on. They were mailed to guests and immediately set the scene for the ultimate romantic, vintage chic wedding. From there on, hankies played a major role in the wedding (more on that later!)
(Click on images to enlarge)

Following the Save The Date were these beautiful letterpress invitations...

The Response Cards shown below were re-used as Escort Cards for the Reception. The apple tree featured in the suite represented many things: the earthy, outdoors that the couple loved, the fact that we were using apples from the Groom's family orchards throughout the reception in both the actual meal as well as favors, and it was a picture of what was to come for the guests as the reception was outdoors at the brides' family home, which was surrounded by enormous trees.

Finally, what really made these invitations special was the calligraphy, done by the unbelievable Jennifer Schmitt, and the real vintage stamps used on every envelope. Dreamy.

Up next... The Rehearsal Dinner