happy anniversary

every now and then, we unexpectedly encounter someone who makes such a huge impact on our life that it forever alters the course our life is taking. 

my senior year of college i had such an encounter when lynne baron contacted me regarding a custom gown for her daughter ashley. ashley had recently become engaged to gabriel rodriguez.  although i didn't know it at the time, my life would never be the same. i met with ashleyand her mother and we began the process of working on her wedding together.  i was scared to death because i had never created anything for anyone other than friends. 

throughout the course of their engagement, i experienced a whole new world of possibilities as we worked on ashley's dress and plans for the wedding. not only did i learn the art form of event design and coordination, make my first flower arrangements and stretch my talents past what i thought i was capable of,  but i also made life long friendships with people i now partner and collaborate with on a regular basis (ashley is now the creative master and writer behind the incredible blog 'not without salt' and gabe is co owner of gabriel boone, and is one of my top wedding photographers that i work with).

december 13th is a special day that not only marks the sixth anniversary of two good friends,  but it marks the anniversary of when i realized what i wanted to do with my lifeit's been six years of marriage for gabe and ashley,  but for me its been six years of pursuing my dreams and passions. 

perhaps it is because this was my first real wedding, or maybe because this was the day that changed my life forever as i fell in love with event design, but this is and will probably always be my favorite wedding. although these pictures are a walk down memory lane, i have no doubt that you will find this timeless, classic, inspiration filled wedding to be every bit as chic and elegant as it was six years ago.

the dress

ashley wanted to be distinctive. her mocha colored wedding gown accomplished this for her.  this off-the- shoulder ball gown was crafted from duchesse silk satin. the vintage inspired lace bodice was adorned with hundreds of austrian crystals that ashley and i sewed on by hand. the back of the bodice was closed shut with forty handmade buttons. to add drama to the back of the gown, i created lace and satin detachable panels that overlapped the cathedral length train. this dress sculpted from fabric was truly a work of art. it took about eight months to design and an entire month to create.



ashley and gabehappy anniversary!  it's been six years, but i still remember your wedding like it was yesterday.  ashley, you were the epitome of elegance, carrying yourself with such grace and class.  i'll never forget how calm you were as you descended the staircase to walk down the aisle . . . so poised, confident and excited.

you are by far the most talented couple that i know . . . there is no doubt in my mind that you will both be so successful with your own passions. playing a part in your wedding was amazing, but what's greater for me is the friendship that has continued since that day. thank you for dreaming with me, challenging me to greater things . . . and even more, believing in me and encouraging me.   i feel privileged to call you my friends.

lynne, you were so much more than a mother of the bride to me . . . you changed my life when you taught me that every event could be a work of art.  Your passion for a styled life and beautiful things mixed with your compassion and love for people helped shape me into who i am today. thank you for taking me under your wings, giving me the opportunity to find myself, introducing me to a whole new world of possibilities and impacting me in ways you will never know. a large part of who i am today is because of you.  i will cherish our friendship always. 


lulu weddings

the girls of lulu weddings are visiting my studio today for their december get together. this seattle group of really talented female photographers have a great website with tons of recommendations for other great vendors. check out this great resource at http://www.luluweddings.com/



jenny and mac

along with her mother, jenny and i worked for about 14 months planning and designing this wedding. we combined jenny's eclectic style and  love for handmade objects and funky details with her mother's flair for elegance, romance and beauty.  because combining styles can sometimes be a tricky process, i was thrilled when both women loved how the wedding turned out. seeing both mother and daughter beaming throughout the entire evening was the perfect way to end the year of planning. it really was such a perfect day.

i hope you enjoy these details, photographed by michele. 



bouquets were formed from south american garden roses, locally grown garden roses, traditional roses, hypericum berries, scabiosa pods, lucadendron and clematis vines. 

as not to obstruct the amazing view of the san juan islands, we used a non traditional clear span tent for the reception. grey linens were draped over each table to form a solid foundation to build the color palette on top of. 


to add interest, we created a variety of centerpieces in different kinds of urns and vases.  we collected pink, peach and grey glass votive holders and vases for this wedding as well. the reception flowers echoed the brides bouquet. once again, dolce design created all of the stationery items. the lantern chandelier was created from anthropologie lanterns. we custom made the cake table cloth with grey tulle and grey and peach handmade flowers. although we made all of the gum paste flowers, the cake itself was created by the talented haggen artist, karen.

my crew of young guys that work with me wanted to surprise jenny, so late in the evening they snuck down the side of the cliff and created a fire works display. the bride and her guests all loved watching the sky light up.  (nice job erik, tyson and andrew!) 

jenny and mac-  jenny, I have never changed color palettes with a client as many times as we did, but I have also never laughed as much as i did with you.  thank you for making planning your wedding so much fun. . . we really could write a book about all of our experiences!  thank you also for being such a bright, playful, kind-kindhearted woman who brings joy into every situation and genuinely loves people. mac, you are  a gentle, calm, unwavering and solid support for jenny. the two of you are so good together, and your interaction with each other shows that your marriage will be one filled with much laughter, friendship, love and stead fast devotion. thank you for letting me be part of your lives over the past year. your wedding is one i will always remember fondly.



first glimpse

blogging is addicting. it is also incredibly time consuming.  i have to laugh at myself now for my impatience as i so often eagerly await other bloggers new entries, wondering "why in the world is it taking so long to throw up a few pictures!?" 

so, although i would love to sit here and keep posting more of my recent weddings, my hands are quite full this week in the studio preparing for my next wedding.  i have favor boxes to tie, arrangements to prep, vases and lanterns to pack, fabric to iron, a wedding dress to pick up and more shopping to do. tomorrow i have peonies arriving from holland, garden roses from south america, orchids from hawaii, gardenias from california  and magnolia leaves from south carolina.

even though i have to set the blog addiction aside and continue the preparations for the wedding this weekend, i wanted to leave you with the first glimpse of the next wedding i will be posting.  

i love this image michele  captured that displays our work. the lantern chandelier, which took over eight hours to create, hung above a cake that was adorned with hundreds of sugar paste flowers i formed and painted just days before the wedding. the cake was set on top of a custom couture linen that was fashioned from countless amounts of hand made fabric flowers.

it was an incredible wedding with countless details i am eager to share. here is your first glimpse to enjoy.


classic goth makeover, part 2

ben first contacted me about his wedding about a year before the actual event. this was a groom who absolutely adored his bride, and wanted to make sure every little detail for the wedding was perfect for her.  it was also important to them to have their personalities shine through the wedding.

he began by telling me they wanted a goth wedding.  to be honest i wasn't quite sure what to say. i immediately pictured a bride wearing a black wedding dress with heavy black eye makeup walking down the aisle next to black flower arrangements with really loud music playing.  before i could say "that's really not the kind of work we do", ben proceeded to explain his definition of goth.

what he was really looking for was a classic 19th century look with a modern edge to it; think excessive wax dripping over the edge of candles, ornate candelabras, tightly packed european arrnagements of solid blown open roses, luxurious linens, gold accents and wax seals. instead of the dark, cold and very black wedding i was initially picturing, they really wanted something light, warm and inviting. 

even though turning a dark portico/ parking garage into an elegant wedding venue was a bit of a challenge, i loved the outcome of this 19th century inspired, classic goth wedding that ben and china commissioned me to design.

michele m waite is the photographer for these amazing photos.


the dress

china chose the most incredible  vera wang gown for her wedding. although this strapless, princess seamed dress, constructed of silk peau de soi, was simple in the front, it featured a dramatic train formed of tiered gathered tulle and was crowned with an oversized bow.  china was absolutely stunning.

the bouquet

we wanted to make china distinctive, so despite the champagne and ivory tone on tone color pallete we chose for the decor, china carried a bouquet i arranged with 'black magic' roses and wrapped with a satin ribbon. 


the ceremony decor

we began the portico makeover by having the entire room draped with raw silk .  Although transforming a room with draped fabric can be quite expensive, it was an essential component if we were going to make this an elegant affair.

we kept the ceremony decor simple, because we were going to have to flip the entire room very quickly for the reception. the aisles were lined with water filled glass cylinder vases of varying heights that floated gold and ivory candles. rose petals filled in the gaps between the cylinders.  the chuppah (the traditional jewish canopy that the wedding vows are exchanged under) was constructed of simple wood poles that we covered with thick clumps of 'vendela' roses and topped with a brown and gold woven silk gauze. a program was laid on each chiavari chair for subtle detailing throughout the room. the orange tint of the light bulbs in the chandelier cast a candle lit glow creating a warm ambience.

the reception

we had an hour to flip the ceremony into the reception. the room flip included cleaning up from the ceremony, setting up tables, laying down the linens, decorating each table, putting out each place setting and lighting hundreds of candles. needless to say, we had our hands full that evening.

brown and gold woven silk gauze was puddled down the length of each table.  'vendela' rose arrangements of dfferent sizes were randomly placed inbetween the hundreds of dripping pillar candles.  place cards and menus closed shut with a red wax seal greated guests at each place setting. brittany of dolce design was the artist behind all of the beautiful stationery elements.

the reception space was formed with rectangular tables placed end to end forming long banquet style seating. we also alternated massive sized arrangements (each constructed with sixteen dozen roses) and vintage inspired candelabras to fill empty space and offering dramtic height into the room.

i love this picture of china walking arround  before any of the guests were let into the room for dinner. she was so delighted as she walked to each table, taking in every detail.  seeing how happy she was made all of the hard work more than worth it.


as do many of our couples, ben and china hosted a dessert buffet for their guests, the centerpiece of which was their wedding cake.  this couture cake, draped in fondant and decorated with swags and hand made sugar paste flowers was crafted by the incredibly talented bonnie of new renaissance cakes.  it was the perfect compliment to the look and feel of the entire evening and echoed all of the other design elements.                                           


ben and china, you are a wonderful couple and i loved bringing your style to life by transforming your space into the classic goth wedding you were dreaming of.  china, you were so beautiful that day, carrying yourself with such poise and feminine confidence. ben, you are so good to china, and it was a privillege to work with a groom that showed his love and devotion for his fiance through meticulously planning every detail to be just what she wanted it to be. i hope your love for one another continues to grow deeper and you enjoy a long and happy marriage.