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EXCLUSIVE: The Savvy Planning Duo Behind Bash, Please Dishes on the Industry — p. 86


The Stars of Bravo’s Toned Up Share Their Best Post-Engagement Fitness Tips — p. 22

Distinct Destination Weddings in Iceland, Montenegro, and Uruguay p. 26 A Fairytale in France p. 76 The Influence of the Blogosphere as Seen Through the Wedding Chicks p. 42




Contents DESIGN & DÉCOR An Alternative Expo p.8 Old-Fashioned Sustainability p.12 Photo Revamp p.13 Invitation Inspiration p.16


FASHION & BEAUTY Custom Design, Vintage Charm p.18 In Living Color p.19 Something Borrowed p.20 Slim Down for the Gown p.22

----CONTRIBUTORS Amanda Herzberg, Brandon Kidd, Kaitlyn McQuaid, Gwendolyn Purdom ----MARKETING COORDINATOR Jenny Palmer ----CLIENT SERVICES MANAGER Krystle Blume

Get inspired by this colorful shoot styled by Indie Wed’s Kelly Maron Horvath PAGE 8


ACCOUNT MANAGERS Amanda Herzberg, Miranda Myers

DESTINATIONS & LOCATIONS Distinct Destinations p.26 Woods, Wine, and Weddings p.30 Wedding Destination: India p.30 A Royal Retreat p.31

----NEW BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT Ellie Fehd Shannon Painter Kellan Hegedus ----ASSISTANT TO THE PUBLISHER Samantha Slawinski

FOOD & DRINK Respectfully Delicious p.32 Heavy Metal p.34 A Sustainable Spread p.35 Wine and Dine for a Cause p.35

Add a unique accent to your dress with a lace overlay PAGE 19




Contents INDUSTRY EXPERTS Read Up p.37 Party Politics p.39 Digital Inspiration p.42

REAL WEDDINGS Victorian Royalty with a Personal Touch p.46 A Hollywood Love Story, Tarantino Style p.54 Outdoor Elegance p.60 Magic Mirrors p.68

An unforgettable Chicago wedding inspired by True Romance

ON THE COVER Photography: Chris Force Photo assistant: Sheila Barabad, Photo retouching: Samantha Simmons Model: Sydney B for Factor Women Stylist: Sarah Stachelski for Jenny Yoo Collection Hair and makeup: Kate Johnson for Factor Artists Dress: Georgeanne by Jenny Yoo Collection, $1,950, available at Earrings: Valerie by Erin Gallagher, $275, available at Hair clip: Katrina by Sara Gabriel, $88, available at Jenny Yoo Collection Flowers: Foxglove Studio ----Visit our website at or write to us at: Modern Weddings 900 North Franklin Street Suite 300 Chicago, IL 60610 (T) 312.386.7932 (F) 312.276.8085


FEATURES Fairytale in France p.76 Modern Metallics with a Rustic Twist p.82 The Stylish, Savy Skills of Bash, Please p.86 From This Day Forward p.90

PLUS Letter From the Editor p.4 Resource Guide p.94 RSVP: Lisa Gorjestani p.96

Modern Weddings (ISSN 2329-7999) is published twice per year by ALARM Press at: 900 North Franklin Street Suite 300 Chicago, IL 60610 Periodicals postage PENDING at Chicago, IL and additional mailing office(s). POSTMASTER: Send address corrections to Modern Weddings at 900 North Franklin Street Suite 300 Chicago, IL 60610 ----Retailers: To carry Modern Weddings in your store, please call 201.634.7411. ----Š 2013 Modern Weddings. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is strictly prohibited. MODERN WEDDINGS is a trademark of Modern Weddings.

The ladies of Bash, Please share their wedding wisdom PAGE 86




When my boyfriend proposed last April (spoiler alert: I said yes), it was the most exciting thing that ever happened to me. But with that excitement soon came an outpouring of anticipation, stress, and anxiety. I was, in a word, overwhelmed. Once the planning process begins, the pressure to have a unique affair that will wow your guests grows, and the plethora of options for everything—the cake, dress, music, food…I’m talking everything—makes it difficult to know where to start. Given my tornado of emotions, I, like most brides-to-be, sought guidance from magazines, but I couldn’t find anything that really spoke to me. As luck would have it, soon after my engagement, ALARM Press announced Modern Weddings as a new, upcoming title. As our editorial team started pitching killer story ideas and gathering beautiful imagery, I soaked up every detail on my hunt for wedding inspiration. And, as the pages came together, I found myself relieved to finally have a magazine that focuses on the various design elements that go

into the big day. We interviewed the ladies behind the alwayschic event-production and styling company Bash, Please (p. 86), revealed the the beauty of an Indian wedding in France (p. 76), learned about the alternative wedding options awaiting us at Indie Wed’s shows (p. 8), and so much more. As someone who’s walked away from most of the weddings she’s attended with more ideas of what she doesn’t want than what she does, I can honestly say that I wish I could somehow incorporate all of the pages of this book into my own nuptial celebration. I’m thrilled to share this first issue with all of the brides-to-be as you prepare to start a new chapter in life, and hopefully these pages will subdue that initial stress and spark nothing but inspiration.

Jenny Palmer Marketing Director


Brandon Kidd is an internationally known fineart fashion and wedding photographer. His work has been seen on the pages of People magazine and Pacific Weddings as well as many leading online wedding publications, including Style Me Pretty and Green Wedding Shoes. Brandon currently resides in Southern California, yet is often found traveling.

Gwendolyn Purdom is a Chicago-based writer, editor, and producer who covers everything from architecture to drama to pets. Her work has appeared in The Chicago Tribune, Runner’s World, Washingtonian, and USA Today. Her passion is sharing quirky untold stories—whether interviewing Ken Burns and Hugh Hefner or chronicling her own tryout to be a Washington Nationals baseball mascot.

Kaitlyn McQuaid is a freelance photographer based in Chicago. Her work consists mainly of still-life and event photography with a particular interest in food and product. Her photos can be found in a variety of publications and blogs, especially those with an emphasis on the Chicago food scene. In addition to image making, McQuaid is a music maker and is currently learning the banjo.

Amanda Herzberg is a writer and account manager for Modern Weddings. She graduated from DePaul University’s graduate program for writing and publishing in June of 2013 and was honored with outstanding academic achievement. In her spare time, Herzberg plays/ coaches recreational soccer, works as a freelance makeup artist, and stays actively involved with the USO.

Cocoa Island by COMO. Photo courtesy of COMO Hotels and Resorts

Oberoi Hotel & Resorts Udaivilas. Photo courtesy of Oberoi Hotel & Resorts

Jumeirah International, Jumeirah Dhevanafushi. Photo courtesy of Jumeirah International

Jumeirah International, Jumeirah Dhevanafushi. Photo courtesy of Jumeirah International

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An Alternative Expo

Indie Wed offers inspiring ideas for nontraditional weddings

A small bespoke gown designer, an artist who silkscreens wedding invitations in her studio, a fun local band—these are just a few examples of the artisans available at Indie Wed, the longest-running independent wedding show in the country. To learn more about “wedding planning…redefined,” we caught up with Indie Wed producer Kelly Maron Horvath, the art director for this shapely shoot. How is Indie Wed different from other bridal events? Unlike most traditional ballroom wedding expos, Indie Wed only features smaller independent businesses. The show is also curated, meaning we hand-pick from a pool of applications to ensure a diverse and interesting selection of vendors. We don’t just stick our vendors in little trade-show booths, but instead we allow them to create unique displays where attendees have the ability to actually experience their goods or services rather than just snag business cards. What can brides expect to learn or find at Indie Wed? Indie Wed is a great resource to not only find out who the up-and-coming talents are in the wedding industry, but it is also a place to be inspired. There is not one corner of Indie Wed where you won’t find something interesting to look at. While we hope you will find several amazing vendors for your wedding day, what you will certainly leave with is a head spinning with creative ideas for transforming your event.

Photography: Amanda Megan Miller Photography Styling and décor: Jayne Weddings Cake, mini-cakes, and cookies: Elysia Root Cakes Bon-bons and dipped marshmallows: Truffle Truffle Florals: Pollen Dresses: Mignonette Bridal Jewelry: Glint & Gleam Hair: Debra Petrielli Make-up: Jennifer Brown Rentals: Tablescapes Venue: Room 1520


This colorful and geometric shoot was put on entirely by Indie Wed staff members and vendors who regularly participate in the company’s non-traditional wedding shows.



P rints Charming Incorporating clean graphic prints like Ikat or Greek key into lounge pillows or place settings adds visual interest that's fresh and funky.


Life of the (Other) Parties

Cincy Event Planning offers advice for tying together your supplemental wedding events

Embroidered down-filled pillow by DL Rhein, $120,

The ceremony and reception still get all the glory, but in reality, celebrating a marriage often can stretch into a multi-day experience. Showers, engagement parties, rehearsal dinners, and even day-after brunches are all part of the fun. “The details and feel of the individual parties should complement but not compete with the wedding reception,” says Julie Schmidt of Cincy Event Planning. “It should be a beautiful buildup that culminates in an amazing wedding day.” Rather than designing a repetitive theme or color palette to tie these auxiliary events together, Schmidt suggests personalizing the celebrations. “Keeping the events personal is a way to keep the events feeling cohesive,” she says. “As long as the party is focused on the couple’s personality, it will feel consistent.”

Tray from Neiman Marcus, $225,

Working with her own Ohio-based clients, Schmidt loves using golds, champagnes, and other touches of festive sparkle—as well as champagne bars stocked with fresh fruit and different juices, wine, or bourbon tastings—to liven up engagement parties and supplemen-

Left: Images courtesy of companies featured. Right: Photo by Amanda Donaho Photography,

tal events. “The guests can create their own drinks—no need for a bartender—and hosts don’t feel the need to have a full bar,” she says. Whatever the party, Schmidt, who’s found inspiration in everything from a thrift shop gold apple to a fabulous Kate Spade shoe for weddings she’s worked on, tells her brides not to get caught up in expectations. “I’ve had to talk a few brides into adding a third or fourth accent color to the design, but adding those additional colors can give you depth and contrast that you can’t achieve with just two colors,” she says. “Don’t try to incorporate every idea you’ve seen on Pinterest. Think about the feel that you want and focus on the details, food, music, etc. that fit with the feel of the event.”

Prime Time Party Rentals has been in business for more than 16 years and emerged as the winner of 2013’s Better Business Bureau Eclipse Integrity Award. “We specialize in everything a bride would need to put the art in her party,” says sales and marketing manager Amy Grasso. “We love the style and taste that Cincy [Event Planning] brings to the table,” she says, “and enjoy seeing their events come to life with our inventory.”

We strive to make your vision a reality!

t: 937.296.9262 w w w. pr im e tim ep a r t y r ent a l . c om



Our passion is you. Cincy Event Planning wants to get to know you and what you love. This allows us to create a beautifully balanced, timeless, classic and modern design based on YOUR vision. Our ideas are fresh, innovative and a step ahead of the rest – in fact, we’re a little different… but different is good in our book. | 513.673.2300

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Old-Fashioned Sustainability Copper and gold accents enhance the natural glamor of the Villa at Sunstone in Santa Ynez, California

Built with more than 80 percent reclaimed materials shipped specially from France, the Villa at Sunstone is as impressive in its aesthetic as it is in its sustainability. Designer Davia Lee of Davia Lee Events was awed by both. Resembling a French countryside estate, the vineyard villa feels innately romantic. Pair this with Lee’s inspired vision and the Villa becomes the perfect setting for a tender proposal or a dreamlike wedding overlooking Sunstone Winery and the Santa Ynez Mountains, both of which Lee has arranged.

Photos by Danielle Capito Photography,

“I wanted to create a modern romance that would still complement the old-world feel of the villa,” Lee says. “And I wanted it to be a glamorous, natural environment that was inviting and organic to play off of the sustainability.” Careful to keep the scene both enchanting and seamless, Lee hand-selected the gold details in the table accents and the hanging copper lanterns adorning the old oak. The scene is unexpected but natural. “It was an absolutely stunning setting that complemented the simplicity of the property.”



P hoto Revamp Your wedding photographer will capture your first kiss, your father-daughter dance, and the cutting of the cake, but these additions to traditional camerawork will offer a fresh, fun perspective of the big day.

Glitter Guts, or “the mobile photo booth,” provides a goofy, creative way for your guests to grab a prop and leave you a token of their time at your event. Select unique sets and backdrops for a fully customizable experience. Price upon request,

Nearly every wedding attendee is likely snapping iPhone photos and scattering them about Instagram and Facebook during your reception. Insert WedPics: a platform that aggregates all of your guests’ candid photos into a single, private but shareable social network. Users simply download the app and join the album through a unique wedding ID, and the couple has the ability to delete unwanted content, view which guests have joined, and turn social-network sharing on or off.

Left: Photos by Danielle Capito Photography, Right: Images courtesy of the companies featured.





A Blank Canvas

Chicago’s VenueOne Meeting and Event Center offers boundless options for your party

The newly improved and re-launched VenueOne Meeting and Event Center in Chicago provides a versatile and accommodating urban wedding space. Located in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood, the spot was designed with suitability in mind. With rental packages that include custom furniture and linens, lighting, sound, and catering services, VenueOne functions as an all-inclusive option that’s also completely customizable. “The space is very flexible and can be dramatic and edgy or playful and romantic,” says Rachel

Photo by Kaitlyn McQuaid,

De Marte, culinary director at VenueOne. “There is plenty of space for the ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception with the ability to separate the front gallery area from the main space to allow for the reveal of the dining room following cocktail hour.” The entire event space is wired with adjustable LED lighting and is equipped with a selection of roughly seven different groupings of lounge furniture. Clients can tailor any wedding or event to match their inspired vision with ease, making the venue a true make-it-your-own blank canvas.


R E AL P H O T OGR A P HE R S The GlitterGuts photobooth uses real photographers to blend traditional portraiture with installation art: the result is a unique experience for couples who are interested in something different, exciting, and personal for their wedding. Lorem Ipsum



Invitation Inspiration Chicago’s Elizabeth Grace crafts beautiful stationary sets that range from classic to romantic to contemporary

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The Fresh Cutting Edge Simple, chic floral trends are making a comeback, according to Lisa Cardella of Ixora Floral Studio in California. “I have what I call my Anthropologie brides who are still doing that wildflowery, vintagevases sort of look,” she says, “but then I also have a lot of clients now who leave it in my hands to create something that might be a little bit more contemporary and not so fussy looking. You don’t want it to be a wedding that they’ve seen 50 times. You want it to be different and creative, but it still definitely has a wedding feel. It’s just a bit more current. It’s cleaner lines, less clutter, a little more tailored look.” Here Cardella shares some of her current favorite floral looks.

Green and white cymbidium orchids, “monkey tails” or fiddlehead fronds, succulents, arabicum, and goddess calla lilies come together for a whimsical bride’s bouqet.

The long stems of French tulips make them a great centerpiece that won’t obstruct anyone’s view of table-mates or the bridal party.

For a fresh, clean tabletop look, pair mini calla lilies, lysimachia, and Fuji mums.

Facing page: Photo by Kaitlyn McQuaid, This page: Images courtesy of Ixora Floral Studio.





Custom Design, Vintage Charm

Bridal shop Dame Couture outfits “individualist brides” in the northern Chicago suburbs

Every bride dreams of finding the perfect dress for her wedding day—that makes-her-feel-like-a-princess gown as unforgettable as the day itself—but for designer Holly Greenhagen, it’s less about finding the perfect dress and more about creating it. The owner of Dame Couture, an alternative dress boutique in Evanston, Illinois, Greenhagen fills a niche in the world of wedding dresses by incorporating unique customizations into her work, which includes vintage restyling. Now with a decade in the books—having outfitted “individualist brides” since 2004—Holly’s designs continue to diversify and transcend. How did you get started designing wedding dresses? I was always sewing—my mom taught me to sew when I was 13. I was always making clothes for myself, and costumes, but it never occurred to me to make it a career. I tried a couple of different businesses, making regular clothes for every day, but it was really hard to compete. At one point, I made a few dresses for someone opening a wedding-accessories store, which didn’t end up opening, so I had these dresses and decided to try selling them to see what would happen. Your newest endeavor is set to be an assortment of vintage restyles. Can you describe this new collection? There are so many pretty vintage wedding dresses out there, but many of them aren’t very wearable as they are. They have great details that are not currently in fashion, which make them different, and there are vintage laces and satins that are not made anymore. It’s a treat to find those fabrics, to work with them, and to be able to offer them, so I thought that maybe I should buy some dresses and restyle them. I don’t think of this as a collection—more as a fun segment of the rack to have for people like me who like vintage.

This page: Image courtesy of Dame Couture. Facing page: Image courtesy of Enzoani.


In Living Color Using colored lace overlay and embroidery, designers are amping up their gowns without sacrificing their distinctive bridal quality.




Something Borrowed

Kirstie Kelly gives you killer tips for finding “the dress”— and she’ll lend you her collection to help the hunt

Prepping For Wedding-Party Success Catering to many body types and considering numerous opinions, brides have it tough when trying to please every bridesmaid. But for a smooth and successful selection process, Briana Griffiths—owner of the Minneapolis Bella Bridesmaid—believes that the most important step is preparation. “You should narrow down whether you want short or long and if you want to keep everyone in the same style or different styles,” Griffiths says. “Having that information when you come in makes it easier for us to pull styles that are going to work for everyone.” She also believes that a balance must be struck between what’s agreeable and what’s right for the desired look. “Decide whether you want to do the same or different styles,” Griffiths says. “It’s a question of whether you want the traditional look of everyone being the same or something more eclectic—mixing and matching styles, for instance, is really popular right now.” Her bottom line: come armed with a vision and at least a few key specs.

For fashion designer Kirstie Kelly, implementing her “Borrow Me” program was a no-brainer, allowing brides-to-be to try on pieces from her wedding collection for more than mere minutes. “It brings all of the elements together of having a unique experience, finding the dream gown, and enjoying the moment with family and friends,” she says. Kelly allows her dresses to be “rented” for 48 hours (with a $35 flat rate per gown) before you must either ship it back or buy it, which leaves plenty of time to turn the affair into a party. Here she shares five essential tips for finding “the dress.”

Kirstie Kelly’s Five Dress-Hunting Tips 1. Keep your mind open and entertain any direction you might be thinking. Just like your future

Left: Images courtesy of Amsale. Right: Photos by Elizabeth Messina,

partner, finding the “one” is a natural process particular to each individual bride. 2. Remember that size is just a number. Bridal gowns are generally sized smaller than average ready-to-wear collections. Don’t be surprised if you end up purchasing a size 14 when you’re normally a size 10. 3. Be nice to your budget. Bridal gowns in high quality are available at reasonable prices if you know where to look. 4. Make an appointment! Call bridal salons in advance so you can make sure to have undivided attention from a professional consultant. It’s worth it! 5. Go for it. This is a day to celebrate and look your best while marrying the person of your dreams. Embrace the excitement and beauty of this time; you deserve it.


Style Your Bridal Party From Head To Toe


Acting as support team for the bride and groom on the big day, the wedding party is a fundamental part of any wedding. We asked Katie Jackson-Meara of Chicago-based event-planning and styling company So Dressed Up to offer her favorite looks for bridesmaids and groomsmen so that those standing by your side are doing so in style.

Cufflinks: custom-initial script-font cufflinks by White Truffle Studio, $42, Shoes: Lori heel by Kate Spade, $328, Hair clip: Castile Clip by Deepa Gurnani, $140, Dress: the Marlene by LulaKate, price upon request, Men’s suit: Black by Vera Wang, price upon request, Bowtie: Aaron Paisley graphite / light-blue tie by The Tie Bar, $15, Clutch: Evening Belle small silka by Kate Spade, $198, Bracelet: mini monogram bracelet by Marinette Jewelry, $64, Earrings: All Wrapped Up pearl drop earrings by Kate Spade, $68,

Images courtesy of the companies featured





Slim Down For The Gown The stars of Bravo’s Toned Up give post-engagement fitness tips

When Katrina Hodgson, co-founder of fitness empire Tone It Up, got engaged last year, she jumped on the opportunity to help other brides with their foray into fitness by creating the Tone It Up Wedding Series. Now she and partner Karena Dawn are spreading their fitness techniques even further, starring in a new show called Toned Up for Bravo. Here Hodgson shares tips for becoming your best self for the big day—sans bridalbody obsession, last-minute crash diets, or forgetting meals thanks to the stress that wedding planning can spawn. Work out in the mornings. “So much comes up later in the day!” Hodgson says. “When you wake up, walk or run away from your house for 15 minutes and run right back. No cell phone

Image courtesy of Tone It Up

or E-mails—just you and the pavement.” She suggests adding an additional toning workout three times a week. Prepare your meals on Sundays. “Make it a priority with your fiancé,” she says. “Nutrients and exercise affect your mood and hormones, and taking care of your health will make wedding planning a more enjoyable experience for both you and your hubby-to-be.” Join a community. “There are more than 250,000 women and more than 4,000 brides in the Tone It Up community right now,” Hodgson says, noting that it’s free to join. “For brides, it’s nice to connect with someone who’s also getting married and going through the same thing.” For more, check out




A M akeup M aven’s Best Advice

Make Up For Ever HD microfinish powder, $34, “This is simply the finest powder available on the market today. It eliminates the need for the old-school heavy powders used in decades past and is virtually invisible. The silky smooth, ultra-finely ground powder sets foundation beautifully without looking or feeling heavy.”

Traci Fine, a Chicago-based model turned makeup artist to the stars, knows that the last thing you want to be thinking about on your wedding day is your picture-perfect look not lasting as long as the day’s activities. So how can you design a makeup plan that’ll keep up with you and your guests? Here Fine spills some of her favorite foolproof bridal products.

Make Up For Ever Aqua Lip waterproof lip liner, $18, “This is the perfect long-wear lip pencil. It acts like a stain and can be worn alone with balm or gloss, as well as with any color lipstick. Almost the color of a natural lip, it defines the lip line without being obvious.”

Ellis Faas Hot Lips in pink nude, $35, “It’s a long-wear lip color that’s really velvety and soft—not dry like many of the stains and long-wear colors that are currently on the market. This is a revolutionary formula, and Ellis Faas has nailed it with this product.”

Model in a Bottle setting spray, $18, “After trying every setting spray out there, this gets my vote for number one. Your makeup will last from the first kiss to the last dance. It was also on Oprah’s list of favorite things!”

Ellis Faas Skin Veil foundation, $90, “I love this foundation for a soft, natural, dewy look that lasts all day.”

Images courtesy of the companies featured



The Choice Is Yours

Owner Gabriella Risatti describes the catalyst for her big-city bridal boutique and what motivates her emphasis on “experience”

Following a few bad boutique outings with friends, fashion-industry veteran Gabriella Risatti was moved to open a more specialized, personalized bridal boutique—one that would enrich the dress-shopping experience. Playing from a decade of experience in the buying offices for lines such as Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein, Risatti opened Gabriella New York Bridal Salon in Lower Manhattan, subsequently reinventing the “city girl’s” bridal boutique. “I wanted to be no-pressure—just a nice experience, start to finish,” Risatti says. “I wanted it to feel like you’re at home or your

best friend’s home. It’s the ritual and the experience of trying on the gown that is really special and fun.” The quickly ascending bridal expert also expresses surprise at the tendency of other stores to house their gowns out of sight, and at how much of the selection process is left to the stylists. “We do everything head to toe for the bride, but we want them to be very involved in choosing their gown,” Risatti says. “Because sometimes I say one dress is my favorite, but what I’ve really learned is that when the right dress goes on the right girl, the dress will change—it really comes to life.”

Photo by Trent Bailey Photography,



Distinct Destinations



Tie the knot in one of these far-flung spots

Destination weddings usually translate to nuptials taking place under the bright lights of Vegas or on Mexico’s sandy beaches. But when getting married far from home, why not take the road less traveled? We checked out the best wedding spots that Iceland, Montenegro, and Uruguay have to offer with a little help from The Venue Report, an online resource guide for venues of all kinds of celebrations including weddings, showers, birthday parties, and getaways. “Destination weddings are about authenticity, embracing the locale, and having lots of onsite adventurous activities at the fingertips of your guests,” says Cortnie Purdy, founder of The Venue Report. We took her advice and found the best spots for the globe-trotting betrothed. ICELAND: HOTEL RANGA Say “I do” in a traditional Icelandic country church or, if the outdoors suits your style, in front of the nearby Skógarfoss waterfalls. With 51 rooms ranging from luxurious to cozy, as well as continental suites, the hotel is equipped for parties of all sizes. And if you’re lucky, the aurora borealis will make an appearance for a magically colorful wedding night to remember. MONTENEGRO: AMAN SVETI STEFAN Attached to the coast of Montenegro by a tiny isthmus, Sveti Stefan offers breathtaking views of the Adriatic Sea, more than 800 olive trees, and cedar and pine forests on three sides. The village dates back to the 15th Century, and the resort boasts a chapel for ceremonies as well as a cottage courtyard, beach café, dining room, and multiple terraces for a plethora of reception options. Your guests also can enjoy a number of water sports, bird watching, cycling, and wine tasting, leaving no shortage of adventure. URUGUAY: PLAYA VIK The peninsula of José Ignacio, which faces west and offers stunning views across the southern Atlantic Ocean, is home to Playa Vik, a luxurious bohemian resort renowned for its contemporary architecture, rugged landscape, and pristine beaches. Kite-boarding and horseback riding await your wedding party by day with breathtaking sunsets and exquisite fine dining ready to enjoy in the evenings.

Images courtesy of the resorts featured


Montenegro’s Aman Sveti Stefan, located along the Adriatic Sea, is just one possible wedding destination that lies off the beaten path.




Thinking Outside The Reception Hall

A dedicated champagne salon in Chicago provides a colorful alternative to ritzy rooms

The Grand Regency Manor Located in Southfield, Michigan, this wedding venue offers timeless elegance for both ballroom and garden weddings. We chatted with general manager Jovann Mihalian about what makes her state and event center a prime place for nuptials. On the East Coast, many flock to Martha’s Vineyard to get married, and on the West Coast, Ojai is a big wedding destination. How is Michigan a contender for the Midwest’s equivalent of these spots? When getting married, couples should consider the most unique state in the US: Michigan. Experiencing all four seasons, it is the epitome of the perfect place to get married. Whether you want a sunny warm wedding, a beautiful colorful fall wedding, a winter white festive wedding, or a spring wedding, Michigan is the place to be.

Every good party calls for some bubbly. So hosting a rehearsal dinner or personal reception at a chic lounge devoted to the stuff could be the unique venue choice that you haven’t considered. Chicago’s RM Champagne Salon cites icons like Grace Kelly and Salvador Dalí as the inspiration behind its high-style concept, and it shows: the salon is dripping in candlelight, antique mirrors, and plenty of old-fashioned glamor—all with an urban edge.

Why is Regency Manor an ideal wedding venue?

“Couples want a night on the town, all dressed up, but they don’t want their guests to feel restricted or the space to feel stuffy,” says Alyssa Stark of Element Collective hospitality group.

For outdoor ceremonies, our beautiful garden allows you to have the beauty of nature at the same location as your wedding. The food is delicious, the setup for valet feels as if you’re arriving at a castle, and our staff is there from the beginning to the end, walking with you every step of the way to ensure that your wedding is magical and stress-free.

The intimate space, just off Chicago’s famous Restaurant Row, features more than 60 champagnes and sparkling wines—bubbling with the potential for a wedding party to do something different. “If you are a bride that wants the ballroom at the Ritz, then this probably won’t work for you,” Stark says, “because it already has so much detail and personality.”

Left: Image courtesy of Regency Manor. Right: Photo by Kina Wicks,

If detail and personality are your style, however, then an alternative venue like RM might be worth raising a glass to.

(RM) CHAMPAGNE PAIRING Accommodating larger parties doesn’t have to mean giving up your event space’s personality. Some brides and grooms with whom Stark has worked at RM (shown left) have kept things interesting by combining the intimate feel of RM and the laid-back sophistication of another Element Collective venture, the 9,000-square-foot Nellcôte in Chicago’s popular West Randolph restaurant corridor. “The vibe there is decadent but casual, feminine,” Stark says. “I think that brides and grooms love this space for the same reason. It gives the bride-to-be a fairytale wedding without taking away the groom’s sense of style.” Aside from its special details like 16 Schonbek crystal chandeliers and its distinction as the only restaurant in the country to mill its own flour in-house daily, the Italian restaurant has a fun backstory too: Nellcôte gets its name and attitude from the Villa Nellcôte, an ornate 16-room mansion in the Côte d’Azur region of southern France, where The Rolling Stones recorded Exile on Main St. during the summer of 1971.



Trust and (a Twist on) Tradition

With the faith of its client, Austin-based event planner Clink puts a contemporary spin on a conventional Indian wedding

Not looking to head overseas to get married (or you’re saving it for the honeymoon)? You still can infuse your festivities with distinctive cultural flavor closer to home. And that’s just what Denise Silverman and her team at Clink delivered for one Austin couple. “Aarti and Purav wanted a modern twist on a traditional Indian wedding,” Silverman says. “They told us about what cultural elements they wanted to incorporate, and then we supplemented that with other suggestions and ideas.” The bold event featured hanging parasols inspired by a local Thai restaurant’s décor; a palette of magenta, purple, and white; and

design choices based on an image of a blue orchid that Aarti had found. “We transformed a conference room at Lakeway Resort into an explosion of color and texture,” Silverman says. The celebration, which spanned multiple days like a traditional Indian wedding, was just the combination of heritage and contemporary vision that the couple hoped to achieve. “They were both vocal about what they wanted to see and very open to new ideas,” Silverman says. “It’s all about a trusting relationship between the planner and the client. When a client trusts you, the sky is the limit as to what you can achieve together.”

Image courtesy of Clink




Woods, Wine,and Weddings Tie the knot in a scenic vineyard locale in South Central Pennsylvania

Just a 90-minute drive from Philadelphia and an hour north of Baltimore, Naylor Wine Cellars is a quaint, accessible gem of an East Coast wedding destination. The winery, located in York County, Pennsylvania, is picturesque in its natural setting, inspiring relaxation and contentedness. As a wedding venue, the winery can express nearly any desired effect, from understated chic to nature-inspired glamor. “What makes the day special for our couples is that the area is a blank canvas that can be molded into as simple or as elegant as they can imagine,” says winery vice president Janey P. Potter. Intimate and romantic in the removed surroundings, ceremonies here are held either beneath the cover of the outdoor pavilion, situated in a woodsy area just behind the winery, or on the lawn, with the vineyard acting as backdrop. From either location, guests are graced with a view of the Pennsylvania countryside that spans miles surrounding the venue.


Wedding Destination: India Who needs to fret about wedding colors when your bridal party is drenched in jewel-toned silk saris, your ceremony is on a secluded beach at sunset, and your reception is in an ornate palace ballroom? For a bride who wants to make a bold statement, an exotic destination like India could be a perfect fit. So what do you need to know before you renew your passport and your guests book their flights? Ian Cambata of Greaves Tours, a travel company that focuses exclusively on Indian tours, shares some wedding-related pointers.

MUST-SEES: “The Taj Mahal, Udaipur, Shimla, and Kerala—or even venturing off to The Maldives or Sri Lanka, just a stone’s throw from India.” ACCOMMODATIONS: “In India, the wedding tradition is centuries old, and all the major hotels are highly experienced at creating special venues and an ambiance that is romantic and luxe—from al-fresco gatherings in candle-lit gardens to intimate temple blessings. Alternatively, you can take over a quiet and romantic game-park hotel for a stunning event under the stars.” SOMETHING DIFFERENT: “The main difference is that the celebrations continue for at least three days. It’s worth noting, though, that you can only have a wedding blessing in India.

The actual marriage has to take place in your home country either before or after your trip.” LOCAL TRADITIONS: “Couples can experience an authentic blessing by Hindu priests in ancient temples, along with celebrations that include Indian cuisine and flower arrangements covering canopies, dripping in garlands from trees, and traditional Indian ‘dia’ oil lamps and lanterns everywhere.” PLANNING AHEAD: “Time of year is very important as the best wedding celebrations are outdoors, and the weather can be very hot from mid-April to the end of September. Also, depending on the number of guests, the reservations should be made at least a year in advance, along with international flights and visas.”

This page: Left: Image courtesy of Naylor Wine Cellars. Right: Images courtesy of Greaves Tours. Facing page: Photo by Paul Retherford Photography,



A Royal Retreat Castle Farms’ French Renaissance-style grounds make for a regal wedding setting Dramatic destinations need not be coastal affairs. Take, for instance, Castle Farms, tucked between the wooded landscapes and lakeside banks for which the middle of the country is known. Built in 1918, the National Registerlisted, French Renaissance-style castle is a pleasant surprise in Charlevoix, Michigan. Albert Loeb, then-president of Sears, Roebuck & Company, originally modeled the property after the castles in Normandy, France—and that’s only part of the castle’s storied past. (Under different ownership, the castle became known for rock concerts, featuring famous groups such as Aerosmith, The Beach Boys, and The Doobie Brothers.) Since the farms started hosting weddings in 2002, they’ve held more than 800. Other perks of the getaway estate? Three outdoor courtyards, five distinctive reception sites, and alternative indoor spaces in case the fickle Midwest weather doesn’t cooperate—with appropriately regal names to boot.







Respectfully Delicious

Wedding food doesn’t have to be bland. Take it from Contemporary Catering: your food should be as telling as any other day-of detail.

Wedding food traditionally has gotten a bad rap, but with so many innovative things happening with food right now, what are some ideas for couples who are looking to keep their wedding fare fresh and interesting? They should try to bring out authentic foods from their backgrounds. People love regional cuisine that highlights the bride and groom’s heritage. Every dish served should be tied to the story of the couple and their traditions. What are some recent industry trends? We’re finding that guests really like live stations, where the food is cooked to serve per their request. Some interesting stations we’ve done include a raw bar, wood-fired pizza station, panini station, burrata bar, dim-sum cart, and slider bar. Where should couples draw the line when planning a menu while still considering dietary restrictions and preferences? It’s important to translate any dietary restrictions into a beautiful menu, but couples should draw the line when the menu starts to pull too far away from the celebratory vision. Food, like anything on their wedding day, should represent the bride and groom. We make sure to carefully guide the bride and groom on a “style” of dining that can serve their preferences without forcing guests to eat something too unfamiliar. How do couples get a specialty menu that works for their budget without breaking the bank? We always recommend sitting down and engaging with your caterer. More often than not, the caterer can design a menu that is more cost effective than a couple’s initial selection.

This page: Photo by Caroline Tran, Facing page: Photo by Amy Squires.


Contemporary Catering offers a variety of food for the big day, such as this delicious plate of sea bass with roasted tomatoes, carrots, and kale.




Heavy Metal

These high-shine cakes in gold, silver, and other metallics pack a punch of pretty, high-wattage cool. Frosting your fête just got a little fiercer.

CAKE DESIGN: Erica O’Brien Cake Design PHOTO: Brooke Allison Photography

CAKE DESIGN: Sharon Wee Creations

CAKE DESIGN: Yummy Cupcakes & Cakes

CAKE DESIGN: Nine Cakes / PHOTO: Heather Waraksa



Wine and Dine for a Cause OneHope Wine makes charitable donation a delicious endeavor

A Sustainable Spread One of the world’s largest natural-history museums introduces eco-friendly catering for weddings and special events Its exhibits might contain fossils and artifacts that date back millions of years, but the Chicago Field Museum’s latest undertaking is shifting the institution’s focus to a trend that couldn’t be more current: sustainable dining. Field to Table, the museum’s new catering concept that launched on January 1, aims to complement weddings and other private events in the museum with fresh, locally sourced menus that are personalized for every couple. With brides and bridal professionals more conscious than ever of the food they’re serving to guests, and with dietary restrictions and socially responsible dishes getting so much buzz, it’s perfect timing for such a venture. Offerings will change with the seasons, with late fall / early winter serving up plates like a brown-sugar-and-mustard short rib offered with butternut-squash puree and Brussels sprouts. “Utilizing locally sourced, seasonal ingredients from sustainable vendors supports intense flavor profiles and enhances guest experience,” says Field to Table’s VP of food and beverage, Brian Stapleton. “Eco-friendly and sustainable products currently represent a large part of the market place, and this market share continues to grow.” Also growing? Our hunger.

What if the champagne toast at your wedding could somehow help fight childhood hunger? Matrimony isn’t typically synonymous with charity, but when your big day generates quite the bill, wouldn’t it be nice to give a bit of it back? Insert OneHope Wine, a social enterprise that donates 50 percent of the profits from each bottle to various charities. We caught up with company director Megan Robinson to chat about how it married its philanthropic wine to weddings. How did you connect the dots to involve weddings with OneHope? We were in our fourth year when, in one week, we had three different brides reach out about integrating OneHope into their big day in order to give back to something greater. The idea for OneHope Weddings developed that day.

Is there a way that couples can personalize their OneHope Weddings experience? Absolutely! We can donate an additional percentage back to the cause of their choice, from human-trafficking organizations to funding a water well in Africa. We also create custom bar signage, glass tags, and bottleneckers and provide an impact report breaking down exactly how much they were able to fund. Have you had couples pick a cause that’s close to their hearts? Yes—a bride and groom honored their late pet by using our Pinot for Paws, and they included a hang tag with a picture of their pet on each bottle. Their purchase provides eight forever homes to shelter animals in need.

Left: Image courtesy of Aramark Parks and Destinations. Right: Photo by Braedon Flynn,





Wedding Wisdom From Fiona Leahy


We chat with the celebrity wedding planner, stylist, and mind behind Just Married: How to Celebrate Your Wedding in Style

30 weddings (her rule calls for no more than four per year so as to give the proper attention to each). She shares with us planning advice, her wedding must-haves, and why eloping sounds so appealing. What are the three most important aspects of a wedding? Positive energy, love, and friends and family. All the flowers and cake in the world don’t matter if you don’t have the first three.

The first wedding that Fiona Leahy ever planned took place in an Irish Castle and celebrated the nuptials of burlesque dancer Dita Von Teese and rock star Marilyn Manson with a blend of Gothic and Victorian aesthetics. “I had never done a wedding before, so I was nervous!” Leahy says. “But I threw myself into it; it was all consuming, and I loved it because so many aspects of what I love were involved from food and beverages to interior design to music.” Since that iconic affair, the planner extraordinaire has tackled more than

Images courtesy of Just Married, copyright Gestalten 2013

Now that you’re quite the experienced wedding planner, what is your advice for those looking to break into the field? There is nothing like experience, and I’m still learning! You have to throw yourself into this field and work on weddings, even at first if it’s for your experience only; it’s invaluable. Do an internship or offer to work on your friend’s weddings. I started on a friend’s wedding! I would suggest that route over going to college; however, getting knowledge on budgets and

finance also is important, as every great idea ends up as a line on a budget. In your book’s preface, you wrote that your journey has made you want to “get married 10 different times in completely different ways.” If you had to describe your own personal dream wedding, what would it look like? Gosh, I have so many ideas, but it really depends very much on whom I end up marrying. I have to say that the romance of an elopement—perfectly planned and designed, of course—would be appealing. I like intimate affairs, so something small and beautiful with a hint of nostalgia. What’s the most important thing for couples to remember while journeying through the wedding-planning process? To enjoy it as a project and a collaboration and not to be daunted. Also, remember the bigger picture, the marriage, and don’t get lost in the details.



Read Up

Check out these titles for even more hardcover wedding inspiration

The Wedding Dress: 300 Years of Bridal Fashions By Edwina Ehrman, $50, V&A Publishing Published by the Victoria and Albert Museum, this book draws on V&A’s surviving wedding garments as well as the museum’s collection of photographs, letters, memoirs, newspaper accounts, and genealogical research to present the history of the wedding dress from 1700 to present. Delving beyond fashion, the book examines our collective image of brides and how the industry has transformed.

Wedding Cakes By Rosalind Miller, $40, Cicada This pastel-clad book is perfect for finding delectable looks to present to a baker or for learning the wedding-cake-making ropes to tackle the task on your own. With step-by-step photography and easy instructions, it’s a clear how-to for high-end wedding-cake making and decorating. Your friends and family will never have been more impressed when you tell them that you made each and every sugar flower adorning your cake on the big day.

Vogue Weddings: Brides, Dresses, Designers Edited by Hamish Bowles and Chloe Malle, $85, Alfred A. Knopf In Vogue’s rich, more-than-120-year history, the fashion magazine has published the weddings of royalty, models, artists, musicians, actors, and designers. This glossy collection of 370 pages was edited by the European editor-at-large for American Vogue, Hamish Bowles, along with social editor Chloe Malle, and features a foreword by designer Vera Wang. The likes of Drew Barrymore, Natalie Portman, and Carey Mulligan all grace the pages, making it a star-studded source for wedding inspiration.

Images courtesy of the publishers


photos by abby liga / liga photography

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Party Politics With a background in major political and corporate functions, Chicago-based Michelle Durpetti Events offers unparalleled logistics for your big day

After launching her career coordinating high-powered political events for families like the Clintons and others, Michelle Durpetti knows a thing or two about the nuances of planning.

Here Comes the Planner An event coordinator speaks about enjoying her own big day Bonnie Dutka is used to worrying about every little detail of a wedding. It’s her job. But when it came time to plan her own ceremony and reception in 2012, that occupational hazard came into play in ways that Dutka wasn’t expecting. “When I’m on the other side, planning, of course you’re close to the client, but you don’t have an emotional tie to everything,” says Dutka, the planner behind Mobella Events in Florida. “It took two weeks for me to decide whether to put my middle name on the program or not. Stuff that usually would take me seconds would take me weeks.” A born planner (who used to plan her own birthday parties as a child), Dutka ultimately tapped her professional background to bring her own “modern romantic” vision to life with celestial accents, mood lighting, and personal touches that expressed her and her husband’s personalities. “It was really hard for me to just relax, because I knew all the things that were going on behind the scenes,” Dutka says. “The vendors are my friends, so I almost wanted to check on them—but then I realized that this is the only day that I get to relax, so I give that advice to planners. Enjoy your day. Be the guest for once.”

“We did very large-scale, intricately timed events, and we sort of parlayed that into weddings,” Durpetti says. “So now what separates us from other planners is that when you invest with us, it’s really about creating a timeline and keeping track of all the vendors and all the quotes. Our strength is really logistical.” Making that kind of oversight a priority, Durpetti says, is a step that too many brides tend to overlook. “Some brides think that this is a luxury item that I don’t need to afford myself,” she says. “And I disagree, because I think ultimately, when you’re a planner that does your job correctly, vendors are relieved that you’re involved.” While planning out the celebration, Durpetti actually plots details down to the minute—from welcoming wine pours to the first dance to the best-man toast. Of course, things don’t always go according to plan: during one of Durpetti’s favorite weddings, a guest bumped into the bride, spilling red wine all over her gown. Luckily, after some blotting and baby powder to soak up the stain, the party was back up and running.

A regular collaborator of Mobella Events, Lee Forrest Design is an award-winning floral boutique that provides a guiding voice, based on the bride’s tastes and personality, in making floral design choices. Forrest calls Bonnie Dutka of Mobella “organized, on point, and an excellent communicator,” and it shows in their work, as the two have teamed up on some of the Orlando area’s most unique events. Forrest and Dutka both anticipate many exciting weddings and new design elements in their future.

“In all reality, it’s not about the wedding; it’s about the marriage,” Durpetti says. “I love going on this journey with their clients and getting them to the point where they’re celebrating their marriage, enjoying the day, surrounded by love from their family and friends, and not stressed out at all because we’re handling the details.”

Left: Photo by FatCatz Photography, Right: Photo by Carasco Photography,





Mother (And Daughter) Knows Best

The two-generation team at Kate and Campbell shares wisdom for brides-to-be and their moms Wedding-planning duo Barb Campbell and Kate Ferguson have a unique perspective when it comes to working with bridal clients and their mothers: they’ve been through it themselves. Combining daughter Ferguson’s business savvy and mother Campbell’s creativity, the two formed Kate and Campbell Creative Weddings and Events in Atlanta. “We’ve found that it’s very reassuring for [clients] when they see that there are two of us,” Campell says. “The moms relate to me and the brides relate to Katie. I’ve been an MOB and understand the mom’s role, and Katie was married about four-and-a-half years ago, so she knows just what the bride is experiencing.” What else have they learned? Campbell offers

insight for sharing (and sometimes surviving) your wedding planning with Mom: “Communication is key. Talk it out. That’s important for us, for the couple, for the mom and daughter. When there’s an issue, take a deep breath and talk it through.” “When they don’t see eye to eye, it’s usually about budget, the guest list, or the ‘look’ of the wedding. Yes, we pick up on this right away! There will be some subtle, or not-sosubtle, eye rolling! There might be a few snappy responses when the mom makes a suggestion or two. Then the mom might call me and vent, and the bride might call Katie and vent, and we talk them off the cliff and all is well.” “Sometimes mom and daughter have a completely different vision for the wedding. Mom wants elegant and traditional, for example, and the bride wants something a little trendier. We try to help

Venue photo by Anna and Spencer Photography,

find that happy medium for them, whether it’s using bolder colors in a traditional way or using elegant flowers in more contemporary arrangements.” “This is such a special time for a mom and her daughter. As a mom, it’s an opportunity to work closely together with your daughter, to shop with her, to do crafty things together, to communicate often do we get those chances with our adult children? To moms, I suggest taking a deep breath and remembering that this is your daughter’s wedding. Suggest ideas. Vent to your planner, and have your planner tactfully offer your suggestions! For daughters, remember that as much as mom and dad would like you to have everything you dream of, sometimes they just can’t afford to do so. Be grateful for what they can provide. Ask us about ways to get the look you want for less. Let your mom share this excitement with you, even if you have to bite your lip at times. It’s all worth it when you walk down the aisle and your mom and dad have shared this exciting time with you.”

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Customized, trend-conscious photography with enough classic images to make your parents happy. Jacksonville, FL








Rocking the Wedding Bells A pro’s advice for choosing (and becoming) a live wedding band

Digital Inspiration An undeniable modern resource, blogs inspire almost every bride-to-be. Modern Weddings spoke with Wedding Chicks’ Amy Squires and Jocey Canrinus about their original blog creation and its continued influence in the wedding world. When Wedding Chicks started, bridal blogs were not yet the powerhouse that they are now. What made you decide to go down this digital road? We were ready to move out of photography and invitation design, and one day, while chatting via flip phones, Wedding Chicks was born. Blogs like yours have helped transform the world of wedding planning. Why do you think wedding blogs have become so influential? When we hear that, it’s quite emotional for us. We started out as two girls making a pretty blog, not knowing what it would become, but blogs like ours have become so influential because they are a daily—and sometimes hourly—source of inspiration for every aspect of a wedding. You probably look at hundreds of weddings every day. What still inspires you about them? We’re okay with looking at the same thing over and over. Although it may be familiar to us, it’s more than likely “new” and exciting to the newly engaged.

Between mastering the choreographed steps that you and your fiancé have been practicing for your first dance and your fear that your great aunt might break a hip getting “a little bit softer now” in “Shout,” designing the sound for your big day can be a nerve-wracking experience. But if it’s done right, a good band or DJ can prove to be one of the most memorable parts of a wedding. We caught up with John Shortridge of Nashville-based wedding band Live Revival on wedding-music dos, don’ts, and songs that are guaranteed to get everybody on the dance floor. What would you say are the most important factors in choosing a wedding musician? My advice to couples is to find a band that knows the ins and outs of a wedding reception and who will understand that even though they do this every weekend, for the bride and groom, this is their one big day coming from months of planning and headaches. Find a band that gets this and approaches their “weekend gig” with the same level of care that you put into your wedding day. What advice would you give to musicians

Left: Photo by Erich McVey, Right: Images courtesy of Live Revival.

who are looking to book weddings? You have to show clients that you are the real deal musically and a class act either through playing live or a good promo video. After you have that, you need to know that brides won’t book you unless they think you are genuine and not just there for the paycheck. Charge what your band is actually worth. So many bands will charge through the roof just because it’s a wedding and they know that people are generally prepared to spend a lot. Most of the time you won’t get booked, and if you do and don’t live up to the fortune that your client forked over, then you are likely to not get a good review. What songs get requested the most for a couple’s first dance and the father-daughter dance? “At Last” and “I Loved Her First.” What song gets the most people out on the dance floor? This is a tie between “Don’t Stop Believing” and “Sweet Home Alabama.” They will never fail you!

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REAL WEDDINGS Everyone has different thoughts on what makes a wedding truly beautiful. Between today’s wedding blogs and the endless pages of Pinterest, the hunt for the ultimate inspiration for your big day can be a daunting one. To help, we gathered 15 special weddings that each exude beauty in their own way.






PHOTOGRAPHY: Michael + Anna Costa Photography

N atalie & Brett

CATERING: Ojai Valley Inn & Spa

A visually stunning event, Natalie and Brett’s lux California affair was a Victorian-inspired masterpiece. Sonia Hopkins of XOXO Bride describes the event as one that expressed style and grace in each of the many layers of detail. “Natalie and Brett’s wedding was full of imagery, sharing Victorian royalty and detailed precision throughout,” Hopkins says. “The stunning display of the bride’s personal collection of antique China plates, the handmade Victorian crowns, and the breathtaking floral arrangements all gave the event so much depth and texture.” Ultimately, though, the theme of the event design was fabric—fabric swaging in the draping of the tent, fabric adorning the crown-shaped centerpieces, and ribbons and lace to accent the finer details from the guest tables to the wine bottles. Hopkins says that the search for these varied and beautiful fabrics truly was a labor of love—one that translated perfectly into this wedding fit for a king and queen.

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CEREMONY VENUE: Ojai Presbyterian Church (Ojai, CA) RECEPTION VENUE: Ojai Valley Inn & Spa PLANNING: XOXO Bride FLOWERS: Camilla Svensson Burns BRIDE’S DRESS: Lazaro



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PHOTOGRAPHY: Christine LeGrand Photography

M egan & Jordan

RECEPTION VENUE: Hunter Museum of American Art (Chattanooga, TN)

CEREMONY VENUE: Patten Chapel at University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

PLANNING: Veo Weddings & Events For dedicated University of Tennessee fans Megan and Jordan, incorporating their bold team colors was paramount in the planning of their wedding. Bright orange, however, doesn’t exactly scream “formal wedding.” “We started working on color patterns that would accent the color but not make it the main focus,” says planner Veronica Seaman of Veo Weddings & Events. “We utilized other bright colors to make the color blend well. Bright yellow and pink became more of the focus for this spring wedding, and these colors perfectly framed all of the Tennessee accents.” Details to personalize the event included airport-code table numbers that celebrated the couple’s love of travel, late-night Sonic delivery as a nod to the bride’s family owning several franchises, and, of course, a Tennessee Vols pom-pom send-off. But the fan-favorite touch? A sweet serenade from groom to bride. “A lot of grooms surprise me, and not always in a good way, but Jordan pulled off a great surprise not only on the bride but also on me,” Seaman says. “Just after the first dances, Jordan pulls me to the side, saying that he has been secretly working with the band and that he plans to sing to his bride. He sang Michael Bublé’s ‘Everything.’ He was wonderful, and by the time it was over, everyone was in tears!”

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CATERING: Impressions Catering FLOWERS: Humphreys Flowers




“Live Revival is not your typical cheese wedding band,” says guitarist and manager John Shortridge. Specializing in everything from rock and top-40 tunes to dance, country, Motown, and slow ballads, the group feels that an exceptional live band—and a diverse selection—is essential for one’s wedding night. Shortridge and company also love the excitement and energy that come with weddings. “ I love being in a position to help turn months and months of planning and headaches into a night that is truly stressfree and fun,” he says. The band collaborates with Veo Weddings at least a few times each year, and for Megan and Jordan’s wedding, Shortridge says that the design elements particularly stood out. “They took a basically rectangular room and made it absolutely breathtaking, taking extra care to make the stage look really cool—which we always appreciate,” he says. “They didn’t overlook a single detail!”

Co-producing four to six events each year with Veo Weddings, Impressions Catering is a full-service catering and eventproduction company that specializes in custom weddings, corporate events, and other out-of-the-box social gatherings. “We’re experts in making sure things work together seamlessly and flawlessly,” says owner Greg Hicks, ”from choosing the right lighting to enhancing décor and atmosphere as well as determining the perfect menu and the best way to serve it.” The company loved working on Megan and Jordan’s wedding because the self-proclaimed “foodie” couple loves food as much as it does. “In preparing for a tasting, Jordan challenged us with the idea of Brazilianstyle sword of beef for dinner,” Hicks says. “I think he was joking, but we rose to the occasion and produced a plated entrée that included a miniature flank-steak ‘sword’ standing straight up out of the plate, drizzled with a Brazilian chimichurri; it became one of three entrées that were served to each guest.”

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FROM “HELLO” TO “I DO” M elissa & Justin Melissa and Justin’s vision for their wedding was simple: they wanted to party! The designers at Reve Events, Crystal Shea and Tiffany Tuzzolo—conveniently, Melissa’s business partners—knew just how to turn this vision into a breathtaking reality. “We steered away from formalities, such as place cards and assigned tables,” Shea says, “and went for a more ‘organic’ social experience.” Held at the very venue where Melissa and Justin first met and also worked together, the event was innately symbolic and felt natural. “One night, Melissa and Justin were visiting the rooftop of the venue, and there was one of the beautiful sunsets Long Beach is known for,” Tuzzolo says. “Those lovely hues of pale peach and deep blues became the color palette.” Relying on the bride and groom’s shared interests to guide their organic-herb-plant party favors and photo-scape décor selections, this Reve Events wedding was, without doubt, a unique and inspired celebration.


PHOTOGRAPHY: Kimberly Mufferi Photography CEREMONY VENUE: Allegria Hotel (Long Beach, NY) RECEPTION VENUE: Allegria Hotel PLANNING: Reve Events CATERING: Allegria Hotel FLOWERS: Pedestals Floral Decorators BRIDE’S DRESS: CB Couture from RK Bridal GROOM’S ATTIRE: Black by Vera Wang from Men’s Wearhouse


Impressions Catering and Events G r e at e v e n t s c r e at e l a s t i n g I m p r e s s i o n s !





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Impressions Catering and Events is a full-service catering and event production firm who strives to use and provide the highest quality ingredients, prepared with the strictest of standards, and delivered in an exceptional and remarkable fashion!



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PHOTOGRAPHY: Fandl Photography

N icola & Jess

RECEPTION VENUE: Ivanhoe Country Club (Mundelein, IL)

She wanted fairytale princess; he wanted rustic and simple. Reny Pederson of Bliss Weddings and Events struck a balance and created a memorable nuptial celebration that was both elegant and modest. Nicola and Jess’s wedding at the Ivanhoe Country Club was a gorgeous display of outdoor influences with the potential for glamor.

CATERING: Ivanhoe Country Club

“The ballroom is very neutral,” Pederson says. “The bride’s love of ivory, champagne, bronze, and brushed gold was perfect for this space.” The palette was complemented by the occasional presence of rich, brown curly willows and bursts of bright, white lilies. Crystal-studded accessories, including the bride’s bouquet of ribbon-bound orchids, also dotted the event and added an understated sparkle in the midst of the wood-beam construction and mahogany chair details. Gold-rimmed wine glasses and regal taupe damask linens added to the drama of the ballroom design, and amber-lit, ivory fabric backdrops made for a romantic, candlelit glow, creating “that perfect balance of warmth and formality,” Pederson says.

CEREMONY VENUE: Holy Cross Lutheran Church (Libertyville, IL)

PLANNING: Bliss Weddings and Events FLOWERS: Jesse Deckard of Event Creative BRIDE’S DRESS: Priscilla of the Boston Jewel Collection GROOM’S ATTIRE: Calvin Klein



A HOLLYWOOD LOVE STORY, TARANTINO STYLE Cassandra & Dan Turning the 1993 cult flick True Romance (written by gore enthusiast Quentin Tarantino) into the inspiration behind a style-savvy wedding was a challenge for planner Katie Jane Sprenkle of Jayne Weddings—but it was the kind that Sprenkle, a former graphic designer, loves. The quirky movie was the couple’s favorite. “I had to mix Cassandra’s girly-ness with this ’90s punk film,” Sprenkle says. “That was the challenge, but that also was the best part of the job.” To achieve the feat, Sprenkle worked closely with the design-minded couple to give subtle nods to the film through touches like gold-sequined table runners that referenced the gold Elvis suits that Christian Slater’s character dreamed about in the movie; comic-book blocks at lounge tables to signify the movie characters meeting in a comic-book shop; and old Kung Fu movies, a recurring subject in the film, silently streaming on walls throughout the reception. The result was a one-of-a-kind event that was completely unique to the couple but still cohesive and elegant, which, Sprenkle says, always is the goal. “A lot of my brides have these giant Pinterest boards that have nothing to do with who they are as a couple,” Sprenkle says. “It’s not something meaningful to them; it’s just pretty flowers and rustic furniture. Talk to your fiancé instead and think about the things that are important to you first. I love looking at the reception hall and just seeing the couple everywhere.”

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PHOTOGRAPHY: Pen / Carlson CEREMONY VENUE: Salvage One (Chicago, IL) RECEPTION VENUE: Salvage One PLANNING: Jayne Weddings & Events CATERING: Fig Catering, Cheap Tart Bakery, and Luscious Layers Bakery FLOWERS: Fleur BRIDE’S DRESS: Jim Hjelm by JLM Couture GROOM’S ATTIRE: Proper Suit HAIR AND MAKEUP: Carley Martin



The Chicago-based team of Toast and Jam DJs provided the music for this Jayne Weddings event and claims personalization and dedication as their defining qualities. “We reject line dances, props, and other gimmicks in favor of perfectlyplanned and well-timed soundtracks,” says Mary Nisi, company president. Toast and Jam pairs the betrothed with a DJ during the very first meeting. This same DJ builds a true relationship with clients by learning their musical tastes, establishing a timeline, considering any guest sensitivities, and ultimately ensuring a fun and successful event. And although Toast and Jam DJs are music experts, they also know the value of understanding their clients’ desires above imposing their own creative will. “Weddings are joyous occasions that bring together the most important people in a couple’s lives,” Nisi says. “We are honored to be a part of that most special day.”

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Outdoor Events, Inc. is a highend rental-services company that offers a range of varied and customizable chairs, heaters, fans, and audio/visual equipment. “We are constantly updating our inventory, but if a customer wants something we don’t have, we make every effort to find it,” says Pam Edwards, corporate and special events manager. “With more than 15 years of experience, we have dealt with every possible bridal situation,” Edwards says. “We’ve learned to be prepared and expect last-minute challenges.”


PHOTOGRAPHY: Charles Smith of Charles Smith Photographers

Allison & Brian

RECEPTION VENUE: The Marina at The Waters

CEREMONY VENUE: The Chapel at The Waters (Pike Road, AL) PLANNING: Invision Events

For Allison and Brian’s lakeside nuptials, planner Julie Bunkley of Georgia- and Alabama-based Invision Events wanted to let the stark elegance of the church and the reception venue speak for itself. “You don’t have to bring in tons and tons of things for you to be in a beautiful setting,” Bunkley says. “Really, my job is to complement the beauty that is already there.”

CATERING: It’s Your Day Catering

Held at The Marina at The Waters in Pike Road, AL, the reception spanned a long pier connecting two boathouses where seafood buffets were stationed and guests danced beneath understated string lights to the couple’s favorite songs by Van Morrison, The Grateful Dead, and The Allman Brothers. A palette of cream and navy, with punches of hot pink, added an appropriate nautical touch for the waterfront setting.

GROOM’S ATTIRE: Brooks Brothers

The minimal but striking result was just what bride Allison had envisioned. “I wanted our guests to feel comfortable, kick off their shoes, and dance the night away,” she says. “Our first dance, hands down, was my favorite part of the day. It was our first chance to really take it all in and just focus on each other.”

FLOWERS: Dana’s Floral Design BRIDE’S DRESS: Allure Bridals

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PHOTOGRAPHY: David Schwartz Photography

Jodi & M att

RECEPTION VENUE: Chrysler Museum (Norfolk, VA)

CEREMONY VENUE: Norfolk Botanical Gardens (Norfolk, VA) PLANNING: Antonia Christianson Events CATERING: Chesapeake Bay Catering

Jodi always wanted a fall-themed wedding. She loved the idea of transforming seasonal warmth and a bold palette into an atmosphere of ease and familiarity. Antonia Christianson of Antonia Christianson Events supplied the means to this end, creating an energetic autumn occasion for Jodi and Matt that exuded Southern charm and style. A rich atmosphere emerged from vibrant orange and jewel-toned linens and the stunning floral accents that were embellished with seasonal fruits and vegetables. Handmade, farm-style tables were interspersed throughout the historic Chrysler Museum event space to foster casual mingling through the night. Guests dined on the heirloom China of both families and drank from Waterford crystal goblets—the perfect combination of style and practiced comfort. “Our favorite detail of the evening was the hand-carved Waterford-style vase that Matt recreated from the first day they met,” Christianson says. “Everything in the particulars was sentimental, making for a fun and heartfelt event.”

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FLOWERS: Daevid’s Flower Design BRIDE’S DRESS: Ava Clara




Daevid’s Flowers and Décor has specialized in designing for brides and special events for more than 20 years. Although the company works with Antonia Christianson Events about twice each year, Jodi and Matt’s wedding was particularly memorable because all of the floral components were kept a complete surprise from the bride and groom.

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PHOTOGRAPHY: David Tosti for Samuel Lippke Studios

Alexandra & David

RECEPTION VENUE: Rancho Valencia

CEREMONY VENUE: Rancho Valencia (Santa Fe, CA) PLANNING: Thomas Bui Lifestyle CATERING: Rancho Valencia

Since she was a little girl, bride Alexandra had envisioned having an outdoor California wedding. So when she and now husband Dave decided on Rancho Valencia for their rustic, elegant San Diego event, the setting could not have been more perfect. “I wanted something that said classic elegance but that also had a hint of contemporary flair with a natural twist,” Alexandra says. White tent drapings created a warm and intimate ambiance accentuated by the bride’s favorite coral peonies at the center of each table. And with subtle accents like gold, textured dinner plates and the chandelier-bedecked tent ceiling, the event was truly charming. “The bride did not want to have it in a hotel ballroom,” says event designer Thomas Bui. “With a tent, we had an empty palette to create and design what we wanted.”

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FLOWERS: Adorations Botanical Artistry BRIDE’S DRESS: Monique Lhuillier BRIDE’S SHOES: Jimmy Choo GROOM’S ATTIRE: Hugo Boss GROOM’S SHOES: Gucci




Boutique bakery Cake makes amazing custom creations for the ultimate party “There are always good feelings that go with wedding cakes,” says Jen Duncan, part owner of the San Diego-based specialty-cake boutique Cake (found at After determining that their culinary backgrounds were best applied to designing and baking cakes, Duncan and partner Kim Gafter opened Cake in 2000, crafting extravagantly decorated works of edible art. “The wedding cakes stuck with me because none of them are the same,” Duncan says. “I’m not making hundreds of bear claws or jellyrolls.” And with the ability to handle nearly any request, the Cake creations are as personal as they are delicious. “The cake doesn’t have to be a fourtier cake with fresh flowers and piping,” Duncan says. “It just has to taste super good.”

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Jeannie & James

RECEPTION VENUE: Celestial Ballroom at The US Grant

Jeannie and James had just three months to plan their dream wedding before following a job to Taipei, Taiwan. With the help of designer Thomas Bui of Thomas Bui Lifestyle, the bride and groom sacrificed no detail. Their New Year’s Eve wedding had all of the “glitzy, glam, wow factor” that the couple specifically requested. Blue backlighting, offset by the soft glow of tabletop candlelight, created a romantic ambiance that was complemented perfectly by silvery, sequined table skirts and bright white accent elements. Bride Jeannie says that Bui could not have been more accurate in his design implementation. “I interviewed five different planners, but I had a special feeling from the moment I got my first E-mail response from Thomas,” she says. “He asked really probing questions about what we wanted and was extremely warm—I intuitively knew I wanted him to design our wedding.”

CEREMONY VENUE: Crystal Ballroom at The US Grant (San Diego, CA) PLANNING: Thomas Bui Lifestyle CATERING: The US Grant, Cake, and Room for Dessert FLOWERS: Adorations Botanical Artistry BRIDE’S DRESS: Allure Bridals GROOM’S ATTIRE: Rented from Gentelman’s Tux Shop

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COUNTRY CHARACTER Jamie & John This vintage, country-Western-inspired wedding oozes not only Jamie and John’s imaginative character, but also a captivating, eclectic charm that incorporates such detail elements as burned edges, white lace, and parchment. Planner Carley Evangelista of Jenz Carli Event Consulting says that she and partner Jens Tuin were immediately swept up in the couple’s well-thought inspiration. “As their planners, we were very impressed with the fullness of their vision,” she says. “Jamie knew the world in which she wanted to be married.” It was up to the Jenz Carli designers, however, to ensure the flawless execution of this elaborate affair and its accompanying details. “That’s why we do what we do,” Evangelista says. “We want the bride to lose herself in a world that stems from her imagination and stay there all night.”


PHOTOGRAPHY: Sweet Pea Photography CEREMONY VENUE: Naylor Winery (Wrightsville, PA) RECEPTION VENUE: Naylor Winery PLANNING: Jenz Carli Event Consulting CATERING: The Wholy Chicken FLOWERS: Hand-created by bride BRIDE’S DRESS: Etsy GROOM’S ATTIRE: Men’s Warehouse



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SWEET DETAILS K at & Jon A cake stand hewn and crafted from tree stumps and a fantastical twinkle-lights dance floor are just a few of the imaginative components that defined Kat and Jon’s rustic, woodsy wedding. Every element was purposeful, representative, and carefully selected, down to the minutest details. Even the cake, shaped exactly like a giant cinnamon bun, evidences this thoughtful coordination. “Kat and Jon wanted cinnamon buns because when they first started dating they would make cinnamon buns together frequently,” says planner Carley Evangelista. “We then had cinnamon buns distributed as the dessert, and hardened, glazed cinnamon buns also made an appearance as decoration throughout the event.” The planners zeroed in on this and other such morsels from the bride and groom’s story as well as their vision for the wedding, allowing them to weave sentimentality into the overall aesthetic and ambiance. The final result: a beautiful, airy, and seemingly effortless occasion.

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PHOTOGRAPHY: Jonathan Ambrose Photography CEREMONY VENUE: Lauxmont Farms (York, PA) RECEPTION VENUE: Lauxmont Farms PLANNING: Jenz Carli Event Consulting CATERING: Country Home Catering FLOWERS: Hand-created by bride BRIDE’S DRESS: David’s Bridal GROOM’S ATTIRE: Express Men

Henri McMillian, Jr | | 267-283-7434 | 215-313-5073





PHOTOGRAPHY: Dave Robbins Photography

K imberly & P atrick

RECEPTION VENUE: The Institute of Contemporary Art

Waterfront, stadium seating defines the uniqueness and modernity of Kimberly and Patrick’s elegant Boston wedding. Held at the Institute of Contemporary Art, the couple settled on the venue under the guidance of designer Alexis Eliopoulos O’Mara of Unique Weddings by Alexis. She says that the bride and groom’s vision of clean lines and contemporary elegance emerged quite naturally after evaluating the museum and the artwork on display. “It was important to the couple to respect the space while designing within it,” O’Mara says. “The wall of mirrored windows on exhibit during the wedding was a huge inspiration.” With the Boston skyline acting as a backdrop during dinner, every view was beautiful, and the carefully selected design elements—including the orange-and-grey color palette, the bold and varied lighting, and the oversized, flower-filled frames hanging from the reception-theater ceiling—customized the scene for the occasion.

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CEREMONY VENUE: The Institute of Contemporary Art (Boston, MA) PLANNING: Unique Weddings by Alexis CATERING: Wolfgang Puck FLOWERS: Winston Flowers BRIDE’S DRESS: Monique Lhuillier GROOM’S ATTIRE: Tuxedo by Ermenegildo Zegna, tie by Armani




The Urban Guerilla Orchestra is a premiere wedding band in the Northeast and MidAtlantic regions of the US that specializes in customized musical services. UGO routinely collaborates with new partners such as Unique Weddings, and its all-star cast of members has worked with A-name artists such as Michael Jackson, Quincy Jones, Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight, and The Roots.

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A CONSIDERED CELEBRATION— “CAKE WALK” INCLUDED Amanda & Jake Amanda and Jake didn’t come to Stephanie Johnson of Minnesota-based Park Place Planning & Events with wedding colors or a set vision in mind. “Their biggest request was that we find a way to take the different details they wanted and then connect the dots to make everything flow and feel like a comfortable, thoughtful, flawless event and celebration of their marriage,” Johnson says. “They wanted not one wedding cake but an extensive ‘cake walk’ of their favorites to share with guests. They wanted to somehow sneak into the décor petite wooden animal figurines that the couple had started exchanging as gifts. They wanted the groom to ‘ jam’ with his old band for a part of the reception. They wanted to somehow call out their love of biking—so important to them that they actually got engaged on a bike ride. But their fear was that these details wouldn’t come together in a way that felt elegant and thoughtful.” With all that to consider, Johnson looked to the couple’s natural style and the personality of the space, an old theater that has been refurbished for events. Martha’s Gardens floral design created unique vignettes for each table. The bride’s sister designed quirky but clean paper pieces. The bride’s family prayer shawl was incorporated into their chuppah and combined with lush greens and potted florals. “There were so many fun and unique details throughout this wedding that it is hard to choose a favorite,” Johnson says.


PHOTOGRAPHY: Jeff Loves Jessica CEREMONY VENUE: Aria at The Jeune Lune (Minneapolis, MN) RECEPTION VENUE: Aria at The Jeune Lune PLANNING: Park Place Planning & Events CATERING: Fabulous Catering FLOWERS: Martha’s Gardens BRIDE’S DRESS: Nordstrom GROOM’S ATTIRE: Heimie’s Haberdashery

Photo by Brooke Michaelson Photography

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PHOTOGRAPHY: Kelly Maughan Photography

P atty & Ben

CATERING: Lanning’s Foods

Inspired by the lighthearted and silly character that so obviously defines Patty and Ben, their wedding was everything bright and fun. Adria Hall of Pink Peony Planning and Design started her creative process by asking the bride and groom to forget wedding planning and instead focus on the everyday things that they love. “‘Balloons!’ was the first thing Patty said, so we built the entire design around them,” Hall says. “We kept the whole thing fun and sweet, just like them.” Yellow polka-dotted napkins, chalkboard signage, and a floor-to-ceiling wall of ribbons behind the cake table illustrate just some of the elements that contributed to this playful palette. As for Hall’s advice to other brides, grooms, and wedding professionals? “Buck tradition,” she says. “This wedding was fun, beautiful, and a perfect reflection of Patty and Ben’s relationship, because so many times throughout the planning process we chose to do something untraditional.”

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CEREMONY VENUE: Church of the Holy Spirit at Kenyon College (Gambier, OH) RECEPTION VENUE: Gund Hall at Kenyon College PLANNING: Pink Peony Planning and Design FLOWERS: Pink Peony Planning and Design BRIDE’S DRESS: Universe Bridal GROOM’S ATTIRE: Men’s Wearhouse



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N ancy & Lou

RECEPTION VENUE: Atelier Laurent

CEREMONY VENUE: Atelier Laurent (San Francisco, CA) PLANNING: Atelier Joya Event Design and Florals CATERING: Jessica Lasky Fine Catering

Nancy and Lou envisioned a wedding celebration as full of love and zest as they are. Wanting something truly unique to express their dynamic, the couple selected the Atelier Laurent gallery space in San Francisco to serve as both event and reception venue. Shannon Leahy of Atelier Joya Event Design and Florals says that the gallery was not only beautiful but held a perfect balance of natural and industrial elements. “We love the light-filled, open canvas that the event space provides,” Leahy says. “And the artwork is beautiful; we wanted to maintain the feeling of the gallery space.” The bride and groom too hoped to let the artwork serve as focal point for the décor, so the additional design elements were comprised primarily of very modest elements: leather napkin ties, wooden bowls passed family style at dinner, and cement vessels filled with spring flowers, all complemented by clear, acrylic chairs and pure, white linens.

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FLOWERS: Atelier Joya BRIDE’S DRESS: Oscar de la Renta GROOM’S ATTIRE: Burberry



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RENU & NAVIN The three-day destination affair that was Renu and Navin’s wedding was a stunning display of color, culture, and character. From the French-garden-party welcome dinner to the traditional Indian sangeet on day two, to the nuptials in the ruins of a medieval castle behind a countryside château, the couple’s love for all things Parisian was perfectly intertwined with elements of a traditional Indian wedding. Lauren Sozman of New York- and Paris-based Loli Events was a part of crafting the French-fusion event. “Because we had three days to work with, we could really capture all the concepts that the bride loved,” Sozman says. The celebration was both glam and cozy, making it that much more intimate and special. And to top off the magnificent three days, the event concluded with a surprise fireworks display courtesy of the bride’s father. “We made everyone go outside,” Sozman says, “and the sky just lit up over the ruins.”

PHOTOGRAPHY: Glen Alisop for Christian Oth VENUE FOR DAYS 1 AND 2: Hostellerie la Briqueterie (Vinay, France) VENUE FOR DAY 3: Château de Fère (Fère-enTardenois, France) PLANNING: Loli Events CATERING: Respective venues FLOWERS: Madame Artisan Fleuriste


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PHOTOGRAPHY: Mi Belle Photographers CEREMONY VENUE: Ojai Valley Inn & Spa (Ojai, CA) RECEPTION VENUE: Ojai Valley Inn & Spa PLANNING: Lisa Gorjestani for Details Event Planning CATERING: Ojai Valley Inn & Spa FLOWERS: Floral Art (Venice, CA) BRIDE’S DRESS: Laguna

BEKKI & DAVE Bekki and Dave’s sunny Ojai Valley wedding was every bit as warm and inviting as it appears. The Ojai Valley Inn & Spa provided an ideal locale for this fun, fresh outdoor event. The neutral chic design scheme, fashioned by designer Lisa Gorjestani of Details Event Planning, played perfectly off of the stunning natural elements of the place. A flower-lined grass aisle and the ceremony’s elegant tree drapings displayed Gorjestani’s knack for transforming a simple space into something truly elegant. The event conceptualization centered primarily on the unexpected, however, and truly illustrated the couple’s laid-back nature. “We had so many unexpected details,” Gorjestani says. “On the ride from the ceremony to the barn, we created life-size cut-outs of the couple and stationed them beside the road—guests really got a kick out of this, and it made the short drive a unique one.” The reception space was an artistic display that combined metallic and rustic pieces. And although the focus was not meant to be the décor, the silver and white accents dotting the solid-wood, ranch-style furniture was nonetheless a beautiful representation of the bride and groom’s vision—to create something welcoming and natural. “Fun works!” Gorjestani says, noting the incredible energy that powered the entire occasion.





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Facing page and top: Photos by Our Labor of Love, Bottom: Photo by Max & Friends Photography,




Much like the couples for which they plan weddings, Paige Appel and Kelly Harris experienced a marriage of sorts when they merged their respective companies—Bash and Yes, Please—into a singular creative event-production and styling company. Considering that their list of common interests includes “confetti canons,” “crooked teeth,” and “funny jokes,” and shared dislikes are “Marriott ballrooms,” “stale cheese,” and “people who take themselves too seriously,” their unification was a match made in heaven. We caught up with the LAbased duo as they dished on their two-day wedding school and one-ofa-kind bridal show, as well as the recent boom in their chosen industry. What inspired you to come up with tools and new ways for wedding planners to be successful, such as The Cream and WedPrep School? We feel that community is important—in both life and work. To inspire others is also inspiring to us. We don’t see competition as a challenging obstacle; we see empowerment as a way to thrive in this industry. There’s room for everyone. Tell us about The Cream. How is it different from other bridal shows? It’s a really good party! It has

one cohesive theme to it, one color palette, and one idea that everyone has to turn into their own. It’s a thoughtful gathering of a curated community and not just booths with books to look through. It’s creative, experimental, and loads of fun. Why do you think the bridal industry has seen a massive boom in the past five years or so? Options are unlimited now. It used to be a cookie-cutter industry, and now there are so many creative people thinking in innovative ways about their weddings that the sky

has busted wide open with opportunity. The blogs have really helped this movement in getting the word and the photos out there about the options available now. But with the proliferation of bridal blogs, Pinterest, etc., brides can feel bombarded with choices and inspirations. How do you suggest that they narrow down those visions and ideas? We ask them to create a Pinterest board, and then we go in and edit it. We then create our own project board with a culmination of their ideas and our own take on their vision. Once they see how we envision the cohesive design, they usually let go of any residual inspiration that didn’t fit into the overall aesthetic. What should a bride look for in a planner? Comfort, creativity, and

This page: Image courtesy of Bash, Please. Facing page: Photo by Our Labor of Love,

collaboration. We always say that our clients should feel like we are their brutally honest best friends and passionate advocates for their wedding day. If they don’t trust us, it never works out. What kind of person do you think it takes to be a part of this industry? A person with motivation, passion, a thinking cap, and the ability to understand the human experience. Do you have any advice for planners that are looking to break into the field? Be honest about your level of expertise and stay humble. You will learn something new with every client and every event. What are your favorite wedding traditions to break? The garter and bouquet tosses. Major snooze fest.


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PRODUCTION: Be Inspired PR EVENT DESIGN: Chic Celebrations PHOTOGRAPHY: Brandon Kidd Photography VENUE: Shade Hotel (Manhattan Beach, CA) CAKE: Torrance Bakery FLORAL DESIGN: The Hidden Garden STATIONERY: Hello!Lucky CALLIGRAPHY: Copper Willow Paper Studio RENTALS: Signature Party Rentals FUNNEL CAKES: The Fry Girl MAKEUP: Nyrie Aitken for Symmetry Beauty using Tarte cosmetics HAIR: Camila Padilla for Symmetry Beauty WEDDING DRESS: Jenny Yoo Collection BRIDESMAID DRESS: Aria Dress CHANDELIER: CB2





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RESOURCE GUIDE CATERING Contemporary Catering Los Angeles, CA 310.558.8190

Cake San Diego, CA 619.295.2253

Field to Table Catering Chicago, IL 312.665.7604

Impressions Catering Chattanooga, TN 423.614.4051

OneHope Wine Newport Beach, CA 866.983.2266

Pure Kitchen Catering Chicago, IL 312.224.8277

DESIGN & DÉCOR Atelier Joya Event Design & Florals San Francisco, CA 415.944.8773

Aztec Events & Tents Austin, TX 866.318.5001

Daevid’s Flowers and Decor Norfolk, VA 757.313.9700

Elizabeth Grace Chicago, IL 773.477.9830

Fiona Leahy Design London, UK +

Indie Wed

Ixora Floral Studio Sierra Madre, CA 626.355.0040

Lee Forrest Design Orlando, FL 407.770.0440

ENTERTAINMENT Live Revival Nashville, TN 615.828.4808

Urban Guerilla Orchestra Philadelphia, PA 267.283.7434

Toast & Jam Chicago, IL 312.217.0588

Prime Time Party Rental Dayton, OH 937.296.9262

EVENT PLANNERS Antonia Christianson Events Virginia Beach, VA 757.541.8223

Bash, Please Culver City, CA 310.237.6582

Bliss Weddings & Events Chicago, IL 312.927.6090

Chic Celebrations Southern California 714.712.0834

Cincy Event Planning Milford, OH 513.673.2300

Clink Events Austin, TX 512.236.0264

Davia Lee Events Buellton, CA 805.588.4793

Details Event Planning Los Angeles, CA 310.476.8188

Invision Events Auburn, AL 251.605.0145

Jayne Weddings & Events CA | IL | PA 215.990.3760

Jenz Carli Event Consulting Philadelphia, PA 717.615.1772

Kate and Campbell Weddings Atlanta, GA 678.234.5557

Loli Events New York | Paris 646.481.2724

Michelle Durpetti Events Chicago, IL 312.988.9900

Mobella Events Orlando, FL 407.733.8354

Outdoor Events Columbus, GA 706.221.1900


Park Place Planning & Events Minneapolis / St. Paul, MN 651.785.6234

Pink Peony Planning & Design

Kirstie Kelly El Segundo, CA 310.322.6100

Salon361 Columbus, OH | Louisville, KY 502.779.0328 Mount Vernon, OH 740.392.3616

Reve Weddings & Events

So Dressed Up Levittown, NY 516.350.5560

Thomas Bui Lifestyle San Diego, CA 858.663.8516

Unique Weddings by Alexis Boston, MA 617.833.5661

Veo Weddings & Events Chattanooga, TN 423.987.7967 Chicago, IL 773.220.9410

Tone It Up

Traci Fine Chicago, IL 847.847.8972



Wedding Chicks


TRAVEL Greaves Tours Highland Park, IL 800.318.7801

VENUES Castle Farms Charlevoix, MI 231.237.0884

XOXO Bride Ojai, CA 805.644.9696

Kensington Court



Altered Hues San Diego, CA 619.379.9365

Bella Bridesmaid Excelsior, MN 952.474.5086

Colori Bella Hair Studio Oceanside, NY 516.825.7500

Dame Couture Evanston, IL 847.866.7599

Gabriella New York Bridal Salon New York, NY 212.206.1915 Ann Arbor, MI 734.761.1799

Fandl Photography Chicago, IL 773.865.3400

George Street Photo & Video National 866.831.4103

GlitterGuts Photography Chicago, IL 773.615.5446

Rebecca Davison Photography Jacksonville, FL 904.343.7500 Chicago, IL 312.432.0500

Naylor Wine Cellars Stewartstown, PA 717.993.2431

RM Champagne Salon Chicago, IL 312.243.1199

Regency Manor & Banquet Center Southfield, MI 248.353.1133

Venue One Chicago, IL 312.605.8300

Image by Fandl Photography





LISA GORJESTANI The event planner extraordinaire—who has worked with the likes of Halle Berry, Dustin Hoffman, and Max Brooks— tells us about the biggest wedding misconceptions, her bridal dos and don’ts, and how she really feels about Pinterest.

fun during the planning, and don’t sweat the small stuff.

Every time I book a new wedding, I immediately feel… motivated and determined to create something great.

I think Pinterest is… fabulous! It’s such a great way to share ideas and understand vision.

When planning a celebrity wedding, it’s most important to… keep things quiet! I completely respect my clients’ privacy. My clients should know that when I’m planning their wedding, I always… give 110 percent. The thing that inspires me most is… traveling, gourmet food shops, and Veranda Magazine. As a bridal-industry expert, I always recommend… to have

Brides should always… create the day of their dreams. But never… lose sight of what this is all about.

The biggest misconception about weddings is that… it gets easier. There are always challenges no matter how long you’ve been in the business. My idea of the perfect wedding is… a very intimate affair, with everyone at one long table at a villa in Italy. My own wedding was… preMartha Stewart. Need I say more? If I weren’t a wedding planner, I would be… the best full-time mom ever and a philanthropist.

Portrait courtesy of Lisa Gorjestani. Photos by Mi Belle Photographers,

fresh ingredients locally sourced

Imagine your bridal event at The Field Museum From exquisitely beautiful, to elegant and romantic, our planners will fulfill your most cherished wedding dreams. Every detail of your day will be attentively orchestrated— from the fresh, locally-sourced cuisine to the warm and inviting ambience of this one of a kind venue.

To get started, contact our event specialists


Modern Weddings Issue 1  
Modern Weddings Issue 1  

Spring/Summer 2014