Friday, December 12, 2008

The Blackout Wedding

The week of September 15th started black. Literally.  Ninety percent of greater Cincinnati was without power due to hurricane wind gusts that knocked out power lines all around the city. Peterloon Estate, where I was to be coordinating a wedding, called me in the middle of the week to let me know they were, too, without power. But SURELY they'd not be without power on Saturday… right? Surely, the energy company would come to our rescue and restore power for the wedding… right?  WRONG!
A plan was quickly put into place! To handle the practical needs of the day, we rented a king-sized generator to supply our power needs for the tented reception, including the lighting and the band.  A catering tent was rented because the estate's kitchen was also without power. And, because the venue's restrooms would not be available due to the blackout, we also rented a luxury restroom trailer from Camargo Rental (who provided all of the rentals for the reception). But my beautiful bride didn't deserve just any old bathroom... this one featured hardwood floors, marble sinks and a state of the art hand dryer!

And when the big day came in, like an autumn storm, we were ready.  The wedding went off without a hitch, despite no power! We considered it a moral victory.

Below are photos from the lovely wedding ceremony held at the Indian Hill Church....

...after which the guests retired to the Peterloon grounds for the reception. We augmented the generator-powered spotlights with a TON of candles that were rush-ordered earlier in the week.
All of the candlelight was actually SO ROMANTIC AND BEAUTIFUL! Votive candles hanging from shepherd's hooks delineated walking paths for guests. Everyone loved the romantic glow throughout the grounds.  It really was a great wedding, and a great day for my team--we felt satisfied that even a city-wide blackout couldn't keep the party from going on.

Here is the beautiful couple, Kelly and Matt, who were able to fully enjoy their beautiful wedding day!

One of the best parts of my job is knowing I was able to help provide a wonderful experience for my clients that they can remember for the rest of their lives. Here is a generous note the mother of the bride sent me following the wedding.

"I can't express my gratitude and appreciation for all your hard work and support. Kelly and I knew instantly that you were the right person to help her dream wedding come true.  The night was magical and your attention to detail, advice and organizational skills made it all work. I could enjoy our out of town guests, family and friends and especially, Kelly and Matt, knowing you were in control. When the power went out, I knew we could count on you… and you more than pulled through. You are gifted and a delightful person to work with and to know. Thank you, thank you!"

Photographs by Michael Bambino & Co.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Paella Please!

This week at a wedding industry networking event, I met Hector Esteve, who has a unique, specialized catering business called "Paella At Your Place." 
I visited him last night at the Chateau Pomije Wine Store in O'Bryanville where he was sampling this flavorful Spanish dish. Check out my video report below (thanks to my new Flip video camcorder!).

To have this at your next event, big or small, visit Hector's website: or call him at 513.520.5502. 
Cincinnati Magazine just gave him raving reviews in the December issue! Add me to his fan list!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Lauren & Jordan's hip affair

A beautiful event's secret is always in the details...and that was very true of this lovely, uniquely designed wedding!
Here is the beautiful couple! Lauren had a very clear vision for her wedding design... funky, chic and hip! I'm so glad I was able to be part of the team to help bring her vision to life.

Above is Lauren's amazing bouquet created by Mt. Lookout Sprouts... the bouquet features red and black magic roses, black callas, ferns (the curly brown things!), and black feathers.

I love that while Lauren had black feather accents in her bouquet, her bridal party's bouquets were accented by white feathers.

This custom built chuppah was the focal point of the (17 minute!) ceremony. Many, many conversations were had over the design... the fabric, the size, the lighting, but it all came together! Special thanks to Steve Brock and his talents with this project!

I love this photo! Lauren came down part of the aisle by herself (how brave!) and then her parents met her about 2/3 up and walked with her the rest of the way.

An aerial reception room shot... round and square tables were mixed in the room with alternating red velvet and black & white patterned linens.

(Above) This is one of the 3 centerpieces created by Sprouts.

(Above) The finished look with lighting in place (Lighting by Goodwin)... "red fabric" on the walls, red mosiac on the ceiling and pinspot lighing for the tables.

(Above) The newly married couple performing their first dance. I think they were more nervous about this choreographed dance than anything else!

Candy bar!

The above and below pictures feature Lauren's very personal touches (including the custom labels she created for the candy bar bags).

Lauren is a very talented graphic artist and created her own invitations, (amazing! wish I had a picture of them to share) as well as created all of the printed pieces used at the ceremony and reception.
How cool are those "Mr. and Mrs." signs for the sweetheart table chairs!
Below is a collage of more of her beautiful work... She created direction signs that were placed on landings and in the elevators. The bar had her signature drinks sign.

Her programs were such a hit! And the escort card... can't forget those... they were little black envelopes with a feather meticulously attached to each one.

All of this was wonderful attention to detail that completed the overall look.

Isn't that ring bearer pillow great?

I love Before and After Pictures to see how creativity and beauty transform a space!

The first set below is the ceremony room before we built the lovely chuppah.

I took this "Before" photograph months before the wedding to determine what size the chuppah needed to be and how it would fit into the room....
The room has blue wallpaper and favors a blue tint.


Here is a centerpiece before and after the lighting was in place....

What a difference lighting can make! Here's my lighting soapbox: Lighting is a HUGE contributor to the overall design of a space... I would forgo a lot of other design elements before not having lighting because it has a very significant impact on the overall look of a room.

Isn't it great when a wedding really reflects the personality of the couple?
Congrats Lauren & Jordan and best wishes for your marriage!
Images captured by the lovely and radically talented Neysa Ruhl.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Custom Aisle Runners

I love custom aisle runners! They are so much better than the paper type runners that the florist will sell you or that you can buy from a Michael's type place.

You can find a beautiful runner selection, or create a custom runner, from Original Runners. And best of all -- they are having a 15% off sale until December 15th!

Here are 2 custom runners that we used for weddings this past year. It was just another way to customize the look!
I also pretty certain that the runner pictured below in these photos from Ashlee Simpson's wedding was from Original Runners, too, because they carry this exact design! It's called Bed of Red Roses. It's almost hard to tell from the photo below what is the runner verses the real roses. Love it!

P.S. Just because I am posting shots from Ashlee Simpson's wedding does NOT, I repeat- NOT- mean that I'm a fan of her music :) HOWEVER, her wedding design was very cool (designed by celebrity planner Mindy Weiss).
I can say, though, that Jessica Simpson went to my high school and church back in Texas... she was a cheerleader but not very liked! Go figure!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Chic New Bridal Bouquets

The use of feathers in wedding elements (invitations, bouquets, centerpieces) seemed to be all the rage this past year! I had several brides add feathers to their wedding design - peacock feathers, black feather, white feathers...very chic!
Now there is Emplume, offering beautiful feather bouquets and boutonneries! One of my brides shared this website with me recently and I wanted to pass it along.

Look at these bouquets!

LOVE the red one!

Look at these fabulous boutonnieres!

Everything they create is custom and prices range from $150- $450 for the bouquet and $20-$45 for a boutonniere (they also have bridesmaids bouquets).
Check them out! They've made a fan out of me!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Emergency Bride Kit

I'm always on the lookout for products that will help my brides in a pinch. On your wedding day, and on the honeymoon, there's so much that needs to be remembered, considered, and planned for that having to cover one less base is a real help. I always have an emergency kit with me (including band-aids, stain remover, extra deodorant!, super glue, hairspray, all sorts of pins, etc.), to come to the aid of my brides! I thought I'd pass along some of the great finds that've come across my desk over time. These are handy, portable helps in times of need! And they're great quality products, too.

Supersmile Whitening Mouthrinse is a mouthwash that comes in a tiny envelope! You just add water and it has all the minty freshness you need! Great for an airplane or the chapel bridal suite!

La Fresh products have been around a while, but they're still terrific: they package needed toiletries (make-up remover, sunscreen, moisturizer) in these little single-use packets. Great for cruising through airport security and easily stashable in a clutch purse or back pack.

Emercen-C is a fabulous product that Stevie never travels without. I also believe that it's saved us from lots of colds and days with sniffly noses. The simple idea is that vitamin C fights colds, so how about a BLAST of the stuff to keep them away? Great to have everywhere.

So there's a few ideas for you! Hope they help you as much as they do me!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

From Fashion to Wedding!

I get my best ideas for event design from keeping an inspiration journal and adding anything I see that I like – it could be a fashionable dress from a magazine, or a new kind of floral arrangement I see when checking into a hotel in a new town.

Of all the things I look at to inspire, fashion is my favorite inspirtation for wedding! Why? Fashion tells me what’s coming: New ideas and trends first appear in fashion, then move into home/interior design, then finally weddings and events. Watching fashion keeps me on top of what's happening!

I fell in love with the dress in this photo and set out to put together a table arrangement that reflects this look! Here’s what I came up with... (These are always fun exercises for me!) These are very simple and elegant looks.

[By the way, I can't find this dress anywhere for sale! If you see it, let me know! :) ]

The first look was called "Fuschia and Ice." It's a great winter wedding contemporary look!

I started with a beautiful textured fuschia linen. The chairs in the photo are "ice chiavari chairs." They are see through... very cool!

I used silver chargers and silver napkins. My votives on the tables were actually "snowballs." The BEAUTIFUL flowers were put together by the very talented Katie Elfers. The arrangement is a bed of carnations with orchids and ferns. Katie also added a peacock feather to the arrangment!

Amo Ink contributed the lovely menu cards and table number that completed the look.

Below are 2 very contemporary napkin folds to complete the Fuschia and Ice look.

The 2nd look was Fuschia and Chocolate... I find this a great fall wedding look! I used the same table cloth, but add chocolate brown lamour napkins and changed out the ice chairs for mahogony chiavari chairs. Adding the brown brings out the necklace the model's wearing in the inspiration picture.

Adding a flower detail to complement Amo Ink's menu card is a chic touch!

So there you go! From fashion to wedding! Feel free to send me inspiration photos that you'd like to see in a table setting! This type of project keeps me on my toes and... it's what I do!

Special thanks to Molly from Camargo Rental for helping me pull this all together in their showroom!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Surprise Wedding Update #2

I've probably had more interest and questions about our surprise wedding than anything I've ever posted about. So, while I don't yet have the professional photos back, I do want to share some about the wedding. It happened last month, and it was incredibly special. I'll share some taken-with-a-friend's-tiny-digital-camera photos (thanks Lori!) and tell you about it:

There was a ladies' luncheon on the day of the wedding at the Bonboneire tea room.

Kelly with mom and stepmom:

Men in suits! Right before the wedding at the home of dear friends:

Daddy with his adorable, sweet boys! We love these guys:

Our beautiful bride! Great hair by Sam Hills!

Below is during the small 30 person -- rained out :( -- ceremony. That's my Stevie presiding in the back-up plan living room wedding ceremony...always have a back up plan for outdoor weddings!

The small private dinner following the ceremony turned out great. Low and high arrangements on each table.
In the Hummer limo on the way to the big surprise reception...

And I guess that's all you're going to see for now! What WAS this 'surprise reception' all about? Who showed up for it? Were David and Kelly surprised yet again? Find out all this and more in the next installment of Surprise Wedding Update... with professional photos!
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