Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Oscar Inspiration for Gowns and Events!

When I want to know about the hottest fashion trends, the first place I look is... Hollywood. That's the reason I enjoy watching or reading about celebrity events--well, among the reasons I like it! Who doesn't like a little celebrity gossip? :)

I may have told you this before, but it's fascinating to see how it always holds true: The development of wedding trends follows this sequence: They always first appear in fashion, then in home decor, and finally make their way to weddings.

Anyway, while watching the Oscars last Sunday, I couldn't help but imagine some of those gorgeous gowns as wedding dresses (I love my job!). Then, when seeing photos of all of those fabulous after-parties, I could help feeling that I was also staying current (or even slightly ahead of the curve) with wedding and event ideas! So here's what seems to be happening...


Since dresses have been on my mind lately, we'll start here: check out this very chic navy mermaid gown by Monique Lhuillier.. I imagine it in white or ivory, but I'd like to make that satin "belt" in black... that would keep with the Black & White dress trend for 2010. So sleek!

Another dress I imagined as a wedding gown was Queen Latifah's sparkling asymmetrical soft pink gown. This dress is actually part of a trend we're seeing right now (as mentioned in one of my Favorite Things of 2009 posts): see the asymmetrical shoulder strap? This trend is on the move, I tell ya. (For this gown to be bridal, I'd keep the shoulder and waist sparkle exactly the way it is, but just change the color to ivory.)

Now, my absolute favorite dress from the Oscars was worn by Demi Moore (Elizabeth Banks wore a similar type dress by Versace). I love the tight bodice drop waist with ruffle skirt and short train. Can you picture this as a bridal gown? GORGEOUS!

In Demi's Atelier Versace gown (a closer look below), I love the 2 toned bodice that intermixes darker and lighter shades of nude... can't you see this in 2 shades of soft ivories? The ruffles are so feminine and I love how they gather at the hip into a loose floral shape.

So, those were my inspirations for gowns... onto PARTIES!

In reading about the elements that made up the Oscars' after-parties, I realized most of these are only extensions of what we've already been seeing: comfort food presented in a fresh, modern way, themed decor, bright colors and (mini) desserts galore! Here are some items that really caught my interest...

At the Governor's Ball (the official post-Academy Awards party), they chose a 1930's, classic Hollywood Art deco design. The theme's title was "Streamline Moderne". The colors were soft, in shades of rose and mauve. A tri-level drop ceiling held fiber-optic chandeliers in swirling patterns - very cool design.
The lighting effects were changed throughout the evening, which is a great way to keep a party feeling interesting and different throughout the night.

At Elton John's Viewing Party, the decor was mostly red with punches of tangerine and a bit of off white scattered among chairs. The carpet was also off white, which made the bold colors stand out even more.

It's really interesting to me that just 2 chairs at the tables are off white. I dig creative, unexpected touches like that! The tangerine orchids are really beautiful as well, and pop on top of the red linens.


What really stood out to me, in everything I read, was the 19-piece all-woman orchestra, called Moon Glow, at the Governor's Ball! I also saw that Grace Jones performed at Elton's John's party, which is, again, totally unexpected. Crazy blast from the 80's, and a provocative choice as well (of course, we'd expect nothing less of Elton John)!

in FOOD:

- Trays of In-N-Out burgers in mini boxes of 4 (yum!) served by staff dressed up in the fast food chain's uniform (cute idea... good for marketing, too!), double baked mini-potatoes (MINI- anything is very IN right now!), and corn fritters. Now that's my kind of party!

The more serious menu items were:
- Oscar-shaped smoked salmon and organic chicken
- Yukon gold potatoes and baked truffle en croute (yum!)
- Spring vegetable compote, risotto with king prawns, Wahoo & New York steak


- Baked Alaska with coffee toffee gelato
- Mini Magnolia red velvet cupcakes (with Oscar nominee names printed on top of them), mini brownies, and mini Krispy Kremes
- Godiva chocolates and champagne, served during a cocktail hour (I like this idea! Why don't we serve some fancy chocolates during a cocktail hour at a reception? I love it!)
- Crispy milk chocolate bar (yum, what's a crispy chocolate bar??)

So, hamburgers and donuts at celebrity parties. I say, bring it on!


Champagne was everywhere, as you'd expect, but the most interesting drink was the Golden Glamour, a special cocktail with champagne, vanilla liqueur and passion fruit juice - sounds tasty!


Apparently, the photo booth is still very much in vogue, which celebrities enjoyed at the Vanity Fair post Oscar party. Love that cute belted dress Jessica Seinfeld is wearing below!

Hope you enjoyed the peek into the parties of the rich and famous and can apply some of things into your own celebrations. I know I will...

Governor's Ball photos by Line 8 photography
Cupcake and photobooth images by Jeff Vespa/VF1/
Elton John party images by Dimitrios Kambouris/

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

"Say Yes to the Dress" FITNESS CONTEST

Calling all brides who have fitness goals for their big day!

Revolution Fitness and viva bella events are teaming up to host the:

SAY YES TO THE DRESS (Fitting You Like a Glove) CONTEST

What is it?
A contest for BRIDES who want to meet their fitness goals for their wedding. This contest will have you looking your best on your wedding day and looking awesome in that honeymoon bathing suit! (fianc├ęs are welcome, too!)

What's involved?
24 group personal training sessions over 8 weeks (3x per week) at Revolution Fitness in Oakley (no gym membership required)
Nutritional coaching
Motivation to help you reach your goals (from Certified Trainers)

How & What do I win?
The bride who has the highest percentage of change (in inches lost), will WIN Cash back* from Revolution Fitness & WIN Wedding Services** from viva bella events

How much?
$500 for all 8 weeks

When does it start?
Monday, March 29th!

How do I sign up?
Sign up by emailing or call 513-272-2345

Revolution Fitness is a premier fitness facility, recently voted Best of Cincinnati Gyms for 2010 by City Beat! We at big fans of them here at viva bella events and might join in a few classes to help us get back in shape, too (post baby pounds still hanging around!).
We believe in your fitness because we know how important it is for a bride to feel her best on her wedding day!
Current viva bella clients who sign up will receiving something extra special from us!

* Cash back determined by number of participants; (10% of enrollment fee goes into the pot-- so if 10 brides sign up you can win your $500 back
** Wedding services determined on an individual bases determined on where you are in the planning process and your wedding planning needs

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Our Favorite Things: Dresses

Photo by Corina Lecca

I'm continuing my never-ending (!) review of our favorite things from 2009.

The wedding gown...
It's often the first thing a bride chooses in the wedding planning process. And why not? For many women, they've imagined themselves in a wedding gown since they were a little girl. (I know I did!) There's just something about seeing a woman in a wedding gown that feels somehow... important. Magical.

Here are some of the magical gowns worn by our brides last year!

First up is Sarah, married last May in the Rose Garden at Ault Park. Sarah is a fashion model in New York City, so when it came time for her to choose a dress, she had many couture options available to her. She chose to wear a gorgeous Oscar de la Renta wedding gown (which fit her like a glove, given the samples of these dresses are made to fit her body, specifically!). The dress is white guipure lace with a portrait neckline and full skirt - or as Sarah likes to describe it, "yummy guipure handmade lace." Stunning!

Sarah's photos courtesy of Jen Francis from Essenza Studio.
Wow, I love the intricate lace detail in her dress.

I can't write about Sarah without sharing that she is the oldest of NINE siblings in her family! Yes, all from the same parents and YES, her parents are still very happily married. It was hard to take care of Sarah on the wedding day because, as the oldest, she was always taking care of everyone else! Her family is truly beautiful in every way and it was apparent that there is an amazingly tight bond among all of them. Naturally, her family was very involved in the wedding day, but there were two extra special family touches. First, her father not only walked her down the aisle and gave her away, but also officiated the wedding! Secondly, her sisters sang to her as she walked down the aisle. What a lovely moment. Here's the beautiful bunch on that special day.

Next is Leslie, who wore a Lazaro gown, of the JLM Couture line. Leslie had a unique shopping experience for her dress: she flew to New York City to be filmed by a crew with the TLC cable wedding show, Say Yes to the Dress. The camera crew was also present on Leslie's May 2009 wedding day to capture Leslie and her dress in action. Leslie's Lazaro gown is an ivory alencon lace on net over silk satin organza. Below is a photo of the scalloped V-neckline and cap sleeves that made for a delicately feminine bodice. So pretty! (I also really just love this photograph below. Leslie looks so beautiful and it's just a terrific photo by April Rentz of Bluebird Photography).

Another beautiful feature of the dress was the woven bias ribbon at the natural waist line....
...yet my favorite aspect was the back of the dress, featuring a tiered, pleated tulle sweep train.
It created beautiful movement as Leslie walked. Below is a picture of her and Adam on their wedding day.
Leslie's photos courtesy of Bluebird Photography

Next is our second Sarah, who wore a Judd Waddell strapless silk a-line dress. Sarah is so petite and fit that this dress was perfect for her. Below is a picture of her and Brian walking in Garfield Park, in downtown Cincinnati--always a popular location for wedding photos. Photos by Chad Moon.Sarah carried an all-white Calla Lily bouquet, which coordinated very well with the style of her dress. I really love the beautiful accent lace on the bodice, pictured below.

I'm excited to say that Sarah's sister, Jennifer, is getting married in May 2012. Her family has hired me for that wedding as well. (Yes, that's more than two years away!) I really enjoy working with families multiple times--I feel that much more qualified to represent their style and taste, and we all have the comfort of familiarity to enjoy.

Finally, we have Amber, who wore a dramatic gown from Romona Keveza's 2010 collection (pictured on the model in the opening photograph of this post).

What an amazing photograph (below) by Laura Leppert of Amber descending the staircase. Amber's long veil was perfect with this dress.

The front of the dress was strapless but with a twist: a swath of material extended from the top of the bodice around to the back. Unique, and soooo pretty!

Here are Amber and her husband, Michael, recessing after their Plum Street Temple ceremony.

Below is the back of the dress, which was, again, very unique. The offset streaming material was charming and elegant, as you can plainly see.

(A post about Amber and Michael's beautiful wedding is forthcoming!)

So, those were 4 of our favorite gowns from the past year - it was so hard to pick because I have a thing for wedding dresses. :) I also just realized that 3 of the 4 dresses had lace--shows you what my tastes are!

I can't wait to see what our 2010 brides will wear. I'm pretty excited about some of the coming trends: Asymmetrical (like Amber's), Black & White, and even knee-length dresses! Watch this space for more Wedding Gown Gushing from Dora...

Friday, March 12, 2010

Baby Bella!

I mentioned in a previous post that Kortnee Miller of Kortnee Kate Photography flew to Dallas to take my sister's engagement photos over Valentine's Day weekend. Stevie, Joy and I were also in Dallas that weekend (so my husband could eat and breathe basketball day and night during the NBA All-Star weekend).

Kortnee came over for dinner after the engagement photo session, and grabbed a few photos of Joy before she went to bed... of course, I have to share them with the world!

I can't help kissing those chubby cheeks all the time. I love her expression in this one:

I laugh at myself sometimes when I see how enamored of her I am!

I wonder if my girl's wedding will be natural (say, a backyard Texas BBQ under pecan trees), or if she'll be a frilly girl and want all the sparkle and glamor of a modern event. Will she let me help her plan it? What will her style be? Here's to finding all those things out over the next 25ish years...

Thanks for indulging my need to show off pictures of my girl... Now back to wedding planning!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

We Are Family

My family is complicated. Isn't everyone's? :)

I have the beautiful family I was born into, I have a great family I married into, and I also have a "Blind Side" family (if you haven't seen that movie, it's a MUST! Be sure to bring some Kleenex...).

Eighteen years ago, I was a Texas teenager with a broken family and a broken heart. For a number of reasons, I moved in with my Sunday School teacher's family (Stevie calls them the Bs) during my junior year in high school. The move was only supposed to be temporary, but as we like tell the story, I moved in and never left! :) They adopted me into their hearts, and I them. The experience of living with them changed my life both emotionally and spiritually, and set me on a new course. I probably would've never gone to the college I went to, so not met my husband (Stevie and I met in college), and not ended up in Cincinnati (the job that relocated me to Cinci is one the Bs helped me get).

All that said, I met my "Blind Side" sister, Amy, when she was 7 years old: when I came by the B's house to discuss possibly staying with them for a couple of weeks, she was laying on the couch watching TV. (I remember her being very sleepy and very sweet.) Over the course of the year, I became her de facto big sister. Being a big sister was new for me, as I had always been the baby in the family. Amy would look through my stuff (!), wanted to be with me when my friends were over, and she cried when I went to college.... all typical little sister stuff! Over the years, we've become great friends.... and true sisters!

Here are some pictures over the years... don't we look just alike?! ;)
Top left photo: my high school graduation... Amy was so little and so cute! Top right photo: My 2002 wedding. Bottom left: Amy's college graduation with a Bachelor in Nursing. She's an amazing nurse! Also pictured is our little sister, Gracie, born when I was in college. Bottom right: Amy was there for the birth of my daughter last September.

Why am I posting about Amy B? Well, she'll all grown up, as you can see, and is getting married this summer in Dallas... boy, I'm so excited! Stevie and I just love the man she is marrying. We know there is an amazing adventure awaiting them. I'm also super excited to help her plan this wedding! (Did you think for a second I wouldn't get in on that?!)

Of course, I couldn't possibly be part of her wedding planning puzzle without pulling in a few of my favorite vendors... so, we're shipping in DJ Toad to rock it out at the reception and Kortnee Kate to capture the day in pictures. Also, amo-ink is designing her the wedding stationary. Quite a team, I'd say!

Below are Amy and Lauren's engagement photos that Kortnee flew to Dallas to take. Kortnee did an amazing job of capturing who they are!

Look at that great smile!
All the color in the photos is amazing... Amy's adorable green coat and purple scarf (that she knitted herself... I got a green one for Christmas!) really pop in front of the blue door, don't they?

I love this picture! It very much feels like Lauren being silly and cool at the same time while Amy patiently smiles!So sweet!
The next two photos below were taken at a cute cafe in Dallas that Lauren, Amy, Stevie and I bonded over during the holidays... we sipped coffee while talking about marriage. We ended up closing the restaurant down and moving to an IHOP to talk more. It was a great night! I'm so glad they took pictures at our cute cafe.

Look at the adorable heart shaped cinnamon in the latte! Too cute.
Super fun photo in front of the Dallas skyline! It looks like a postcard that says "Save the date! Lauren & Amy in Dallas, Texas on July 30, 2010!"

Congrats, little sis! Can't wait 'til the big day!

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