January 6, 2010

"Always Be Looking" - You never know where you might find your next inspiration!

Today's topic is finding INSPIRATION in obscure places! Sometimes, the hardest part in event planning is finding new inspirations! It's so easy to just stick to the things we do best! "Chocolate Brown and Sage Green" - "Pink and Brown" - "Classic White" - "Champagne and Gold" - "Fuchsia and Orange" - "Black and White" I find that the best thing to do to stay away from this is to create a "theme" or a "mantra" for every event. It is so much fun and I think it gives the client something to talk about when they get excited and share the details of their event with friends. Sometimes its difficult but in the end it really gives you a clear picture of the experience you are creating for your client. Plus, it doesn't allow you to just keep using the same things over and over again. It forces you to think outside the box and really work to make each event unique and personal. I try to incorporate an element from the couple or from the story behind the event so that it all comes full circle in the end. It really makes it special!
For this particular wedding, the couple wanted to have a Spanish Fiesta but they really wanted it to be super classy and super fun! I have to be honest... I struggled with this one for a while. Everything I was coming up with felt like a "spanish cantina" and that was DEFINITELY NOT what we wanted. I was searching everywhere - the internet, books, magazines etc. One day, I came home to find the spring Saks Catalog sitting on my counter but it was laying upside down. I was excited to see what Saks would have for the spring! Little did I know that turning the catalog over to shop would unveil the perfect picture to bring my wedding theme to life!
I turned the catalog over and this is what I saw! AMAZING! PERFECT! Just what I needed! I flipped through the catalog and found so many inspiring images. I saved it and scanned some of the pages to share with you...

This is the cover of the Saks Fifth Avenue catalog that inspired the "look" for the wedding. It was so cool! I ended up painting this exact image on the bar. I distressed a piece of wood to cover the rented bar we would have at the event and painted this image directly onto the front of it. It looked great! Everyone loved it. Little did they know it was the artwork from the front of a Saks Catalog...
PS. Thank you Saks! I think I have bought PLENTY of shoes, clothing and makeup to be able to recreate your cover on the front of the bar at one of the weddings I designed... :)

Inside the catalog, there was a story about traveling to Mexico and just becoming totally immersed in the culture and all that is native to Mexico. We ended up calling the theme to the wedding "Once Upon a Time in Mexico" because the couple met there and fell in love there. It was just so romantic! So, we carried it through everything we did. At the wedding, the officiant started the wedding ceremony with, "Once Upon a Time in Mexico, two people met under a star- filled sky and fell in love. Tonight, these lovers meet to unite in marriage and to celebrate a love that will last a lifetime..." It was just so romantic! Everyone loved it!

We used these images as inspiration too! We had Mariachi's come to play for the ceremony and the reception. It was incredible! The mariachi's played "Can't Help Falling in Love" while the Bride walked down the aisle. They also played El Noi De La Mare while the families and the bridesmaids walked down the aisle. If you haven't heard that song, I DEFINITELY recommend finding it on iTunes or online and listening to that version from the movie "Vicky Christina Barcelona." It is absolutely lovely!

These were the bridesmaids dresses. I found them at J Crew. For those of you who are not aware, J Crew does a HUGE bridal business. They have adorable bridesmaids dresses and beautiful weddings dresses as well. The prices are extremely affordable and they are very versatile! I always recommend them! They do several styles in several different colors so that if you are so inclined, you can let your bridesmaids pick out the style that they like the best and just instruct them to order in the color you choose. It's really a lot of fun! And honestly, most of the dresses are styles that people would actually wear again. I know... I know... EVERYONE says that but seriously! These really are allowed back into the closet and can be re-worn again! Your bridesmaids will LOVE YOU! I PROMISE!!!

This was the wedding cake! Isn't it unbelievable??? I absolutely thought it was incredible! Sooooo perfect for what they were doing!

So, these were the linens for the wedding. I can promise you that this picture absolutely does not do the linens justice. They were absolutely GORGEOUS! I came across them from one of my favorite linen vendors. BBJ Linen features the Carlisle Lamour Linen as part of their collection. I got an email from BBJ announcing their new linens for 2007 so I went in to see it in person. I was soooo excited! I WAS BLOWN AWAY by the rich colors and the amazing design. For those of you in the industry, you know that it is SOOOOO HARD to find great linens. They are ALL so boring only because most people just are not willing to take risks with a lot of color at events. Well, let me tell you, I AM NOT AFRAID! I told my sales person that I wanted to go ahead and order it for the wedding. To be honest, she looked at me like I was crazy! She said she thought it was terrible and could not wait to see pictures of this linen at the wedding.

She then told me the story of the linen. Apparently, the owner of BBJ was in Spain on vacation he came across a mural on the street that captivated him. He stood there and admired it for over an hour. He then sketched the basic design and took photographs of it. When he returned to the states, he took it to his design department and asked them to produce a linen that mirrored its beauty. And so the Carlisle Lamour Linen was born! I just thought this was such a cool story! So, the tables were draped in this gorgeous linen and were accented with red napkins. It really was spectacular! Everyone was just buzzing about it all night.

The backyard was then "tented" with Paper Lanterns. We hung 120 paper lanterns across the entire yard and at night when the sun went down it was quite a sight! We strung them with fish wire so at night, you couldn't see how they were suspended...

Here are some pictures of the final product! I think it really turned out gorgeous! It was so fun! We had a great spanish catering company come in to do tapas etc and they set up stations around the perimeter of the yard. There was also a fish tacos station, a fajitas station, a ceviche station, a carne asada station, a flan station and an ensalada station. Of course, fresh margaritas and cerveza was readily available too!

At the end of the evening, everyone received a box of fresh Pralines to take home! So delicious! It just was the final touch to a perfect evening!

So, this is "Once Upon a Time in Mexico." I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did... When I was in Catering Sales in the hotel industry, my boss Andrea Sorensen would always be telling me to remember to "ABC - ALWAYS BE CLOSING!" I was constantly being challenged to bring in new business (weddings and events) to the hotel and to ALWAYS BE CLOSING them and getting clients to sign contracts. Though that acronym is still applicable to my business I have a new one that I live by. The new acronym and lesson of the day is "ABL - ALWAYS BE LOOKING" because you NEVER KNOW where you might find your next inspiration!

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