Decorating weddings and special events over the years, I've often helped clients with other aspects of their events besides the decorating. I want to share that information and advice with you. I also want to highlight other event vendors whose work I like and different local venues. I invite you to ask questions as well.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011


How many times have you been subjected to donning a questionable ensemble and made to parade in public? Unless you're a K-Mart model, you know I'm talking about bridesmaid dress hell. I personally have a couple gems in my closet as proof of past fashion missteps I've endured. Ah, the things we do for (people in) love. So, I say to you...

Don't traumatize your bridesmaids with horrendous outfits and bizarre styling requests.

Do find outfits that flatter various skin tones, shapes, sizes and styles.

Like a photo of a lovely waterfall taken just as a garbage truck rolls by - no subject of a picture looks good if the background is unattractive. Yes, it's your day to shine. But you want your wedding to be one big, pretty picture where everything works together as beautifully as possible.

If your favorite color combination happens to be something like hot pink and orange – which can be a very fun combination in certain situations - give a moment's thought as to how these colors will look on each of your besties. Not every skin tone or hair color looks great with every color outfit. If your girls can't carry such bright hues, perhaps black dresses could be an alternative choice. And using those bright colors in the bouquets will pop very nicely in front of black dresses! If black doesn't work for you, maybe neutrals. Or my favorite pseudo-neutral - a nice sage green, which goes with most any flower colors you could put in the bouquets. Also, beyond how the color palette you like works for the dresses, always consider how it will blend with the venue you have chosen as well.

Once you've decided on your color(s) think about the different body types your bridesmaids have in relation to the types of dresses they would be most comfortable wearing. Sometimes within a group of bridesmaids there can be very different heights and shapes - where one dress DOESN'T fit all. In this situation maybe allowing each to choose a different dress style, all in the same fabric and color, would be a more flattering approach.

And, don't overlook the accessories. Everyone has their own unique style, which makes the world an interesting place. But this is the one day when you nicely ask your bridesmaids to help you bring yours to life. Unmatched shoes can sometimes work for an informal garden wedding. But otherwise try to coordinate the group. The same goes for the jewelry – and earings or necklaces that compliment the outfits can be a lovely gift from you. Another thoughtful gesture would be to pay for their hair and make-up as well. Being a participant in a wedding can be expensive. And you want to express your gratitude to these important people contributing to your special day. So, keep that in mind when you are eying that fuchsia taffeta dress. Because love can be blind, but your bridesmaids aren't.

Friday, May 20, 2011


Amongst all the possible elements decorating your event – beautiful florals, attractive linens, opulent table settings – lighting is often an afterthought. Or even worse, overlooked all together. This is a huge mistake, as proper lighting can really set the mood and elevate the entire look of a room. Let's put it this way. How do you feel on a veranda on a sunny afternoon? How do you feel at a special candlelit dinner? How do you feel in an office with fluorescent lighting? More than likely your venue will not have fluorescent lighting. But if it does – change venues immediately!

Perhaps your event will be held during daylight hours outside or in a room that lets in good light. Then you don't have to do anything - but pray for sunlight! But it's always important to at least consider what light you have at your site, natural or otherwise. Viewing your site at the same time of day as when your event is to be held and at the same time of year is best. You can then determine whether you will need to add any candles or special lighting. See if there is any already available, like uplighting on columns around the room or existing pinspotting.

What is pinspotting you ask? Pinspotting is when lights (either permanently mounted on the ceiling or that have to be brought in and mounted on stands) are directed right on your centerpieces. Generally there should be two lights on tall centerpieces and one on low ones. And candlelight should still be incorporated on your tables. Other key areas, like your place card table and cake table, are also usually pinspotted, as well as having a gentle light wash over your dance floor. You could even have a custom gobo made (like perhaps your monogram) to be projected on the dance floor.

If you have your heart set on just a candlelit event make sure of your venue's open flame policy. Some venues will allow real flame, but enclosed within a holder. Other venues, like museums and galleries, will not permit any flame whatsoever. So, if your venue does not allow any real flame an alternative could be using LED votive candles - some even flicker a little. Static LED lights, which come in a variety of colors, can also be attractive.

I recently incorporated LED lights into arrangement designs at a low light site with no flames permitted and no pinspotting to be utilized either. Because the theme color was red I nestled several red lights amongst glass beads that filled tall glass cylinders. It gave a soft, glowy look that didn't look gimmicky or detract from the florals placed on top of the cylinders. For the cocktail tables I put individual lights in small cylinders also filled with glass pebbles, each with a single flower tucked in. I think it was a fun way to add a needed bit of warm light to the room. But no matter what tack you take, specialty lighting, hanging lanterns or an array of candles, just be sure to consider your lighting options. And as they say, let there be light!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Style Me Pretty Feature

A wedding we decorated is featured in Style Me Pretty! Please take a look at

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Ah, the guest list. Probably to be the most debated aspect of your entire affair. From the wrangling of your parents to include the “very dear friends” who they haven't seen since 1983 (and which they aren't paying for!) right down to the thoughtful guests who include their children on the response card - as if it were an oversight that they weren't invited. It wasn't. So, take a deep breath and...

Do treat all (invited!) guests with courtesy
Don't buckle to BAD GUEST BEHAVIOR

First, let's consider the “more the merrier” family who are attempting to commandeer your wedding (and remember it's YOUR wedding!) by rudely including their “adorable” children. Weddings are an expense to which the adults were graciously invited, not their children. Send the offenders a nice note informing them that your wedding is a child free zone and for their convenience include babysitting information.

The overzealous parents who feel the need to invite every person they've ever met is a little more problematic. Sometimes it is a thin line to tread in navigating a new family - and there are plenty of future years to step on toes! Hopefully mentioning the expense of extra guests will get the wanted response of accepting a smaller invitation list – or even better a check! But if you are met with blank stares and there are people that you feel obligated to include, there's always the option of sending out an announcement. But don't expect a gift, as people not invited to the wedding are in no way required to give one.

So after a bit of angst you've finally figured out the guest list and the invitations have been sent – hopefully with the correct postage. Be sure to check this at the post office. Now the exciting time of receiving responses begins. When I was getting married I got such delight in receiving our little response envelopes. I would rush to check the mail every day! It was so exciting to be able to know who to look forward to seeing on our special day.

But know that there will always be those few guests, or not so few, who find it a great imposition to check that preferred entrĂ©e box and pop that already addressed and stamped envelope into a mailbox. Yes, you will be making countless phone calls to see whether MIA guests are attending or not. And this does need to be checked. Because the inconsiderate non-responder is the most likely one to show up at your event – with a date. You don't want the embarrassment of a last minute seating issue.

Once you have your final guest list it's onto the dinner seating dilemma. One bride even produced a whole chart where each guest could be moved around little tables until the perfect seating arrangement was determined. But try not to fret about this too much. Aside from the two uncles who haven't spoken in fifteen years and are both members of the NRA, your guests should be able to remain pleasant for the duration of one meal. Hopefully they will then be up from their seats and happily cutting the rug for the remainder of the evening!

I do think it's a good idea to put significant others together when possible, which can get tricky if only one of a couple is in the wedding party. In that case, perhaps instead of a Head Table you and the Groom could sit at a Sweet Heart table while the bridal party is mixed amongst the other guests. But ultimately, regardless of who sits where, don't loose site of what a great gift it is to have family and friends all together, all at once to help celebrate one of the most important days of your life.

Friday, February 25, 2011


Black is my favorite non-color. And like White it can be dressed up (there is that little thing called a Black Tie Event!) or dressed down nicely. In times past no one would think of wearing Black to a wedding as it was seen as a sign of mourning – maybe for some that is still true! Nevertheless, a bride recently wrote me asking for ideas of how to incorporate Black into her wedding decoration.

If your bridesmaids are wearing Black, which is very common these days, there are a couple of approaches. Other than dead flowers (which we do not like!) there aren't any truly Black flowers. Although, there are flowers with Black parts. Anemones come to mind first. They have a Black center with surrounding petals that come in White, Blush, Red, Magenta or Blue. Ornithogalum Arabicum also have Black centers, but with clusters of White petaled flowers on each stem. There are Black centers on some Sunflowers. But, consider that the combination of Sunflowers and Black can make for a very Autumnal or Halloweeny feel, which is fine if that is the look you are going for. There are also deep Burgundy Mini Calla Lilies and Uluhe Fern Shoots that can read as Black too.

If you don't want Black within the flowers of the bouquets they can be tied off with pieces of fabric from the Bridesmaids' dresses or sheer or opaque Black ribbon. Another idea for tying off the bouquets could be to have a band of ribbon of a different color and then wrap a thin band of Black ribbon (either opaque or perhaps an ornate Filigree design) on top of it. Also, instead of using the usual White Pearl pins, putting Black Pearl pins either on Black ribbon or a different color ribbon can be very pretty. An alternative for the Black pins would be Black Rhinestones attached to the enclosure or nestled amongst the flowers.

Beyond the personal flowers Black can have a place at your guest tables with specialty linens, chairs, chair cushions or chair covers. The vessels used for the centerpieces could be Black or have accents of Black. Using Black river rocks can lend the centerpieces a more modern or Asian feel. Surrounding candle holders are another option for introducing Black to the tables. Also, tying Black ribbons around each guest's napkin or having Black within the table numbers (on either the frames or the graphics) are other nice touches.

Of course Black can (and should - to carry the theme) be introduced on the save the date cards, invitations and place cards in the text or graphics. The cake is another fun place to see Black. Having tasteful Black bands of a delicate Filigree pattern on White icing looks spectacular! If you want to be very graphic and bold, pairing Black with bright colors like Turquoise, Orange or Hot Pink can be a great visual statement - and these intense colors will virtually pop in front of a Black Bridesmaid's dress! But I do love the classic neutral palette of all White and Ivory with accents of Black. Adding some Blushes or even Light Pinks into the mix is quite lovely. Yes, Black is a great addition to the modern wedding. It's as clear as...!