classic goth makeover, part 1

although i love producing events that give me a challenge, i wasn't quite sure what to think when ben and china picked the chapel bar as the venue for their wedding. don't get me wrong, chapel bar itself is an amazing building.  the tall ceilings, dark ambience, old world interior created the perfect ambience for the 19th century classic goth look my clients were dreaming about.  they wanted a space that was untraditional, a little funky and would surprise people when they received their invitation.  chapel bar, sitting majestically on seattle's capitol hill with her grand pillars and a dramatic staircase entrance,  met all of their criteria, so it seemed like the best option for the wedding.

however, there were some obstacles to overcome. the bar itself could not appropriately hold the number of guests that were invited for a sit down ceremony and reception.  if we were to use this venue, we were going to have to use the outside veranda to hold these portions of the wedding. the building that houses the chapel bar, had once been a funeral home.  the veranda was where the hearse used to park to receive the coffins.

the challenge: turning the veranda which was basically a  dark covered garage into an elegant space to host both the ceremony and reception.

these pictures below (poorly photographed with my blackberry) will give you a deep appreciation for my next posting which will show the makeover, as we turned chapel bar's portico into the classic goth wedding my clients dreamed about.



autumn couture

this couture wedding corresponds with the design inspirations that i posted in the last entry. there are so many details to this wedding, so let me highlight a few for you to enjoy as you read along.

the gown

the bride's couture gown  that i designed and constructed for her was made from over 50 yards of raw silk and hundreds of tiny austriancrystals. the weight of the dress was held up with over a thousand yards of crinoline in the petticoat she wore underneath. this dress took me about 2 months to design for the bride, and  about 3 days to construct. it is by far the the fullest dress i have ever made. because this bride spent her entire engagement getting into better shape, we held off on contructing the gown until the week before her wedding.  the sleepless nights were worth it when i saw her in her gown; she was perfect.

the bouquet

i constructed the bouquet using vendella roses, snowberries, brown cymbidium orchids, magnolia leaves, green grapes (i love fruit in arrangements) and crocosmia pods, and, as requested by the bride, a few sea shells that held sentimental value. curly willow was then wound throughout the entire bouquet. i then tied off the bouquet with a chocolate brown satin ribbon.

 the custom linens

i constructed the table linen out of lush chocolate brown velvet. the napkins were made from gold spun damask fabric. the table was then layered with endless yards of raw silk. you can compare this table with my sketches in the last entry to gain a better understanding of the design process and see the "before and after"

the centerpieces

the centerpieces were constructed from peach roses, leonidas roses, lucadendron, crocosmia, calla lilies, poppy pods, artichokes, eggplants and pears. They were contained in an eclectic variety of vintage urns, rustic twig-woven baskets and and dark wood cake pedestals.  Rolled beeswax candles dusted with sparkle powder were alternated with the centerpieces for lighting and a touch of glamour.

the art gallery

the art gallery was lent to me from the private collection of gerald baron's personal work.

the favors

the chocolate balls placed at each setting were hollow in the middle and filled with truffles for each guest to enjoy. each ball rested on a bed of spun sugar and was tied with french ribbon. they were removed from the place settin before dinner started by the servers.  We then set them on top of a bed of vintage tulling and placed the entire unit in a clear box. The favors were then returned to each guest's place setting shortly before the evening came to an end.  ashley e rodriguez was the brilliant artist that created these.

the cake

the bride could not decide what kind of cake to have, so i made her all three of her favorite flavors in different forms.   the tiered cake was enrobed in fondant and wrapped with a satin ribbon and adorned with sugar paste leaves that i cut out and hand painted.  the cupcakes were iced in chocolate before i piped a chocolate rose on each one and dusted it with gold luster dust. the third cake was a carrot cake that i intentionally iced  rough and fluffy to create a juxtaposition between it and the tiered cake.

additional credits:

photography: michele m waite

venue: resort semiahmoo

creative collaboration: lynne baron design


autumn inspiration

autumn is my favorite season of the year. it is the season of abundance, boasting deep colors, fibrous textures and a bountiful harvest. 

needless to say, when tina and reed chose an autumn date for their wedding i was thrilled.  the bride and groom wanted their intimate wedding, hosting 25 people, to be part classic, part elegant, a little bit rustic and excessively rich in detail.  combining the splendor of the season with raw northwest textures, locally harvested flowers and vegetables and luxuriously chic fabrics created the perfect ambience for this couture autumn wedding.

this posting will showcase a bit of the design process featuring the color palette and some  of my water-colored sketches i used to propose my ideas to my client. the next entry will have the images from the actual wedding itself.


the color palette


rendering of the reception table proposal . . . floor covered with abundant leaves, vintage chandelier, candle lit twig trees, custom velvet table cloth and gold napkins, pedestals of fruit and vegetables, fabrics, chargers, urns and candles. 



rendering of the reception art gallery  




the SMD studio

before i start posting pictures of my work, i wanted to share where it all comes together. i stated in my last entry that i get to wake up thrilled everyday, because i love my career. not only do i love what i do, but i love where i do it at, as i have been blessed with an amazing place to design in.

the SMD studio.

some days it is my office for endless paper work, other days it hosts meetings.  It might be a dress makers studio and transform the next day into a floral shop.  it is a wonderful multi-purpose space that allows me the room i need to create whatever my project of the day might be, host parties, get my work done or even just spend time with friends.

enjoy these pictures of my studio, photographed by friend, studio mate and amazing photographer, michele m waite.





two passions

i have two passions.



i am one of the lucky few people who get to wake up thrilled everyday, because my career allows me to combine my passions. you see, everyday i have the opportunity to serve and love people with the things i design and create with my hands.  i get the privilege of discovering the depth and uniqueness of people. . . their desires and dreams,  and then respond with a design that is exclusively  theirs.

whether i am planning a wedding, designing an event, constructing a gown or arranging flowers, i am in my element when i get to create, experiment, explore new possibilities and produce beautiful things.  but what’s more, however, is that i am most satisfied when i am able to delight a person with what I have created. There is nothing better or more rewarding than people experiencing joy and excitement as a result of something i crafted specifically for them.

this blog will be my journal showcasing my two passions.  my hope is that you will see my heart for both what i created and who i created it for.

welcome to SMD.

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