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Monday
Nov012010

vintage circus wedding, part 1

this next wedding is one of my all time favorite events that i have ever designed. erin, the bride, is an incredible graphic designer, and came to me with a million different styles that she loved. she wanted a funky yet classic, eclectic yet orderly, produced but approachable wedding.  we dreamed and sorted through her "tim burton" fantasy ideas for nearly a year before coming up with what follows.  erin put so much trust in me, knew that i understood her style, and basically let go and empowered and released me to execute the massive amounts of details that comprised this vintage circus inspired wedding. we did full design, coordination and then i even came out of cake retirement to create the dessert display for this wedding.  i wish i had a photo of her face when she arrived at the reception tent and saw all that we had created for her.  Erin's tears of happiness and excitement made all of the hours of work more than worth it. 
handmade pinwheels constructed from vintage book pages, hundreds of yards of silk draping, old gramophones, a ribbon strung ceiling, grandma's chandelier, custom newspapers for programs,  "scratch and see" place cards, stacks of vintage trunks and boxes, cakes mixed with pies and cupcakes on assorted stands, old family wedding photos, mini globes, circus tickets, a hand made cake topper, and loads of stripes . . . enjoy all of these details that evoke the ambience of an old world, vintage circus.

the ceremony was held at the ruins, one of the most unique venues offered in seattle.
 
guests held lit candles as the bride made her grand entrance.  the dim ambience made a powerful statement as the bride walked down the aisle.
after the ceremony, the guests made their way to a lovely estate in Issaquah, where we had erected and transformed the tent. Cocktails in vintage glasses, h'oursdevours and croquet awaited the guests upon arrival. The guests were blocked from viewing the tent with a solid wall of silk fabric in variegated colors, that we would later pull back to signal the start of dinner. Guests found their names and scratched the gold circles to find what table they were to be seated at. an old chandelier that once belonged to the bride's grandmother was hung from a center point, where we also strung hundreds of yards of ribbon that reached out to the exterior sides of the canopy.
i constructed the bride's bouquet using garden roses, leonidas roses, cox combe, hypericum berries, black berries, lucadendron, ferns, amaranthus and curly willow.
i had old furniture that was either given to me or found at a garage sale reupholstered in linen.  we then layered each piece with custom pillows we created just for the occasion. 
so many fun details we were able to create for the bride.  the tables were full and very eclectic.  there were so many elements on each one to stimulate the visual senses.
the "just married" sign that is propped up in the grass, was supposed to be hung in the tent behind the dance floor.  i poorly underestimated how heavy it was, and within seconds of hanging it up, it went crashing to the ground, losing much of the vintage glitter glass we had covered it in.  my plan: throw it in the truck, it's ruined, no time to fix it.  my lead designer, erik, had a better plan:  prop it up far away in the woods where people won't see the damage, yet still offer a very cool element to the decor.  i am very lucky to have erik who thinks quick and problem solves and often comes up with better ideas than my original plan. 
here is a closer view of the inside of the tent.  part of our job is to make our work look easy and effortless. when guests arrive, the air needs to feel calm and relaxed.  if people only really knew what goes on behind the scenes sometimes, and the moments of utter craziness and stress that can accompany the set up.  if you ever try this idea for a ceiling treatment, allow for a great deal of ribbon and time.  i underestimated both.  my staff is amazing at dealing with whatever challenges i throw at them.  i didn't know if this was going to get done it time; i am sure my panicked urges to "work faster" were probably not neither helpful nor appreciated as much as i at the time thought they would be, and yes, this did take longer than the 45 minutes i allowed for, but i could not have been more pleased with the results. 
erik, my design lead, is also a pyro-tech at heart and created an incredible fireworks display that went off right as the bride and groom fed each other their first bite of cake. although the guests were delighted with the surprise, unfortunately the neighbors were not a fan.
erin was a dream client to work with because of the immense amount of freedom and trust she gave me.  it afforded me the confidence to be creative, dream big and create without being hindered.  even if she couldn't fully envision how it would come together, she would just say "go for it."  
thank you, erin, for this experience and for believing in me. 
erin has recently started her own stationer design business.  do check out hobson house design and support her business if you have stationery needs.
other vendor notes:
photography: la vie photography
dj and lighting: good times dj service

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Reader Comments (5)

Steve - you are such a talented artist, but even more importantly, a wonderful person. It was such an honor working with you on my wedding. You so far exceeded any preconceived notions I had, it was beyond words. I think every day of the beauty you created! It was the best day of my life not only because I was marrying my soul mate, but because you created such a perfectly surreal wonderland to get lost with him in. With so much appreciation, Erin & Richard

November 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterErin May

Incredible doesn't even begin to describe what you created!

Keep up the inspirational work Steve! :)

November 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGrace Kim

Erin, than you so much for your kind words. The best part of that day was seeing your reaction. You really were so great to work with and I am glad we will continue to work together on many other weddings together in the future.

November 7, 2010 | Unregistered Commentersteve

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