Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Wedding Magazine Photoshoot Part Three: The Sanctuary Resort & Spa

In wrapping up our three-part series on the wedding venue & food styling photo shoot we did with Erica Velasco Photographers for Phoenix Bride & Groom Magazine, we saved the exquisite Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa for last (to see the other two shoots in this series, go here and here).  This world-class luxury Scottsdale resort is perched on the side of Camelback Mountain overlooking Paradise Valley and Phoenix, and it's head chef, Beau MacMillan, is amazing in his own right, and has actually defeated the great Bobby Flay in Iron Chef - basically my favorite TV show.

In addition to the beautiful wedding venue they have, there is also a quaint and utterly lovely private home even further up the mountain, where you can host smaller events, weddings, meetings, etc.  The view is stunning.  So when we were planning our decor for this shoot, I decided on a color palette that would complement the lush green surroundings and earthy brown mountains, but that would be set apart from it as well, without competing.  I chose an orchid color and moss green, complimented with white and gold.  Little did I know at the time that the Pantone color of the year for 2014 would turn out to be Radiant Orchid!

The view and the profile of the mountain next to you makes you feel as though you're literally in the most beautiful landscape painting, so I also found art in the linens by using some hand-painted chair covers from Wildflower Linens.  Each cover is one-of-a-kind, which is so fun. 

The floral centerpiece by Butterfly Petals is truly art of nature.  I really love centerpieces that flow off of a table, and Butterfly Petals absolutely delivered.  The grapewood and moss and twigs sprawled across and down the entire table provided this dramatic table scene that really tied into the natural surroundings, yet made a glamorous statement as well.

The Menu

Elements at Sanctuary is known for their Asian-inspired fare, and Chef Beau's team outdid themselves with their take on a surf-and-turf theme.

BLT salad of heirloom tomatoes, smoked bacon, tempura avocado (yes, I just said that), spiced brioche and buttermilk vinaigrette
Braised prime beef short rib and butter-braised lobster claw, served with glazed bok choy and lobster wontons.
Dessert was a sculptured thing of beauty that mimicked the moss in the centerpiece with green tea sponge cake, white chocolate ganache, matcha macarons and passion fruit pineapple sorbet

Imagine sipping wine and watching the sunset while surrounded by this beauty... ah...

Pretty gorgeous view for a food shot, huh?  Nice job, Erica!

Vendor Team

Magazine Feature: Phoenix Bride & Groom
Stylist/Coordinator: Monica McQueen with Très Chic Weddings & Events
Linens: Wildflower Linens
Rentals: Classic Party Rentals

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Wedding Magazine Photoshoot : Westin Phoenix Downtown

This is Part Deux of our 3-part series on the magazine photo shoot we styled for the fabulous Phoenix Bride & Groom Magazine.   In case you missed it, here's a quick overview of what we're doing, and the first part of the series.  This feature was shot at the new Westin Phoenix Downtown, and it was a fantastic experience. 

For those brides looking for a chic, urban setting in the heart of downtown, I highly recommend the Westin.  Not only does it feel more like a boutique hotel in a high rise, but the views are beautiful and the service and food were wonderful.  With this venue, you get the cool vibe of being downtown with the comforts of a luxury hotel feel - not something all too common in Phoenix.

Their ballroom has floor-to-ceiling windows showing off the view that is surrounded by the tall buildings of downtown, so my design was centered around that - and more importantly not obstructing it.  The best way to do that?  Clear furniture from KOOL. Party Rentals.  They also provided the hip neon glow-in-the-dark cocktail table we used for the cocktail hour shoot at the rooftop pool.  Super cool.

Butterfly Petals created a stunning white orchid and glass orb display for the sweetheart table we designed and it's just so elegant. 

The fabulous Erica Velasco Photographers took the lovely photos.

The Menu:

Citrus-Poached Shrimp Ceviche served on individual tasting spoons
Petite Beef Filet in a Cabernet Bordelaise Sauce, paired with Grilled Prawns with Piperade Sauce and Roasted Fingerling Potatoes with Sauteed Asparagus
And for dessert - Flambéed Lemon Thyme Cake with Brown Butter Mousse and Fresh Fig Compote

Here's the rooftop pool deck we started on for a cocktail hour feel where the Westin provided the first course.  Isn't this an awesome view for a cocktail party?

And here we've moved to the ballroom area with the urban views and our sweetheart table.  Love!

I adore the clear votive stands Butterfly Petals provided for the mercury glass votives - they were absolutely perfect for the table design.

Since the flame on this flambéed dessert is blue, it's hard to see, but trust me, it's a show-stopping presentation, which we plated on these unique clear/blue dessert plates from BBJ Linens, and setting it over the clear table with white flower petals underneath it made it look like it was floating!

Vendor Team

Magazine Feature: Phoenix Bride & Groom
Stylist/Coordinator: Monica McQueen with Très Chic Weddings & Events
Dessert Plate: BBJ Linens 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Wedding Magazine Photoshoot: Desert Botanical Gardens & Fabulous Food

I got to style 3 different photo shoots for the fantastic Phoenix Bride & Groom Magazine, where we had 3 different wedding venues in Metro Phoenix and we asked their onsite catering teams to pair their ideas for food with my designs.  This was so much fun.  You can see the entire feature in their new issue, which can be viewed on their website.

So, this week, we'll be featuring three blog posts on the different shoot locations.  Each photo shoot is very different from the other, in terms of color palettes, venues, and feel and I'm excited to share them!  All of the photos were taken by Erica Velasco Photographers, whose work I adore, and the gorgeous floral art was all provided by Butterfly Petals

The first shoot location we will feature is at the beautiful Desert Botanical Gardens in Tempe, where you'll find the most amazing desert cactus and landscape you've ever seen.  This is a perfect venue for an outdoor wedding ceremony and outdoor or indoor reception for an intimate gathering of 20 or large wedding of 300 people.

The Inspiration

I was inspired by the desert colors and wanted to create a clean and simple design that highlighted the natural beauty of the surroundings, yet had colors that popped off of the green background and made the desert sparkle and shimmer. Therefore, I chose Teal, Bright Yellow and White with some Sparkle, of course.

This venue screamed for some incredible linens to be used and Wildflower Linens has the perfect succulent chair covers and sparkly overlays to make the table eye-popping.

So here's a closer look at the prettiness...

I love how Amanda at Butterfly Petals selected these cool white vessels that look like cactus!  And the casual springy floral of tulips and mums and the organic feel to them - so simple and happy.  My favorite floral addition was the teal blue glittered succulents to match the chair covers.  Did you know you can do anything with glitter? :)  I love adding glitter to floral focal points.


The Food

Then Fabulous Food Fine Catering and Events came in and created one of the most incredible catering meals I've seen - you'd never know this meal wasn't straight out of a 5-star fine dining establishment.  I was so impressed with their team.  At Desert Botanical Gardens, you can select from a group of caterers, but Fabulous Food also runs the onsite restaurant, Gertrude's.

I mean look at these plates... stunning!!  If you're a foodie like I am, you will love what's coming.  Fabulous Food is known for using the highest quality, seasonal ingredients that are local and sustainably grown and they just do such a great job of plating presentation.  AND?  It's absolutely delicious.  

Here's the menu:

Salad of Asparagus, enoki mushrooms and baby fennel finished with a pea puree, chive oil, yogurt and lemon zest.  (Hungry yet?)

Isn't this just the most fresh looking salad ever?

Next up is Two Sisters Squash and Corn - Patti Pan Squash, Shaved Kabocha, Amaranth, Corn Puree with Lime Zest, Fresh Farmer's Cheese and Micro Cilantro.

And who doesn't want a sushi course for their wedding?  Look at this crudo salad of Hamachi Sashimi, Strawberry Rhubarb & Rose Pesto with Micro Wasabi.  It's a work of art.

 For the entree, feast your eyes on Duck Leg Confit, Duck Sausage, Blueberry Infused Red Cabbage with Ancho Glaze and Stone Fruit.

And how creative is this?  I have so many brides who really don't care for cake at all -- how about a Fromage plate with Apple Whiskey Poached D'Anjou Pear, Shaft Blue Cheese, Walnut Shortbread, Duck Prosciutto with Candied Golden Beet Puree and Figs.  I'm dying over here.  Duck Prosciutto???? Yes please. 

Stay tuned for more delicious prettiness tomorrow for our second shoot!

Vendor Team:
Magazine: Phoenix Bride & Groom
Stylist/Coordinator: Monica McQueen with Très Chic Weddings & Events
Photography: Erica Velasco Photographers
Floral: Butterfly Petals
Food: Fabulous Food Fine Events and Catering
Linens: Wildflower Linens
Chivari Chairs: Classic Party Rentals

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Sneak Peak Video of Gorgeous Sanctuary Wedding

I can't wait to share all of the photos from this beautiful wedding with you, but this incredible cinema trailer by the uber talented Artisan Production team will surely whet your appetite.  Aaron and Matt from Artisan are so talented and this video is a perfect example of the art you get when you pay for excellent videographers/cinematographers.  Stunning, I tell you.

I love this video so much because it reminds me of what an amazing day this was and how much I adore Courtney and Damien.  Once in a while, we work with couples that you can literally feel the love they have, and you just know they were made for each other.  We became close friends with this special couple throughout the planning process and I can't wait to watch their marriage blossom.


Damien & Courtney from Artisan Production on Vimeo.