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Fashion Monday: Tony Hamawy Fall Inspiration

Autumn is my favorite season— notwithstanding my birthday is nestled neatly within those months, this period of change, regrowth and beauty has always been an amazing event for me.  Bridal designer Tony Hamawy sent out his inspiration for fall, and I must say, I’m captivated.


Fall Wedding Inspiration


Loving their style? See more inspiration on their Pinterest Boards and Facebook Page.

What the Superbowl and Grammys Have to Do with Your Wedding

Yes, I know this is a bit late. You’ll have to forgive me– we’re ve been in complete Euphoria with my Baltimore Ravens’ win!  As well yelled, cried, cheered, stressed and danced our way around the house that fateful night, I couldn’t help to be struck by some things that made me gasp, sigh and admire in terms of pulling off an event.  I thought, “I havegot to tell my brides this!” Your wedding, in essence, is the Superbowl of your  life.  You’ve worked hard in your relationship to get there. You’ve invested quite a bit of money for it to turn out splendidly.  There can be no margin for error.

beyonce superbowl intro

To ensure we are all on the same page, let’s agree that Beyoncé rocked it.  With the stakes already high with the “Harbowl” (the first time in history two brothers, in our case, the Harbaughs, have battled for a championship), the pressure was on to pull off an exquisite performance.  The challenge was accepted and met.  What did we learn, luxelings?

Special Effects Can Change Everything.    A show with fire, sparks, lights and unique staging, the running joke was that “I went to a Beyoncé concert and a football game broke out”.  Her performance made you forget you were at a football game in a closed stadium.  Special effects and lighting can do the same thing for your venue as well. If you love your venue location, but let’s say, the room makes your vodka curdle, consider bringing in some spot and uplighting.  A soft color wash of your room, even when coupled with a few gobos can truly transform your space.

Be Prepared.  Clearly, the power company and those at the Superdome were not. With my team on the cusp of a huge blow out, the power cuts off.  In my buffalo wing and martini rage, I’ll admit, I blamed Beyoncé.  But it turns out, she had her own generator for her performance.  For whatever reason, what happened at the Superdome was their snafu and theirs alone.  Can you imagine– in the middle of your wedding the power just cuts off?  Or the caterer runs out of food?  The bartender shrugs and says the rum is gone (makes me giggle and think of this clip from Pirates of the Caribbean– “Why is the rum gone!?”) Accidents can happen, but an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  If you have a power heavy event, especially in a historic or outdoor venue, consider bringing additional power.  What good is your band or DJ if no one can hear them?  Check with your caterer to discuss their policies for overages.  Plan accordingly for your bar, especially if you want to incorporate signature drinks.  Many signature cocktails consist of several liquors, you will want to make sure they are easily replenished throughout the evening.

Not to be outdone, the Grammy’s put on some great collaborative performances, but it was their after-party’s that got my attention.  I absolutely adored the Recording Academy’s Bollywood inspired affair, as  Red Line Management’s after party.

belly dancers for wedding with themed tent

You’re Not Limited to Just a Band or DJ for Your Entertainment.  With the Recording Academy’s party, their entertainment matched their theme. Belly dancers performed as well as danced through the aisles of the tables and lounge areas with acrobats and musicians. It gave the feel of an old eastern celebration, not only transforming the space, but transporting your guests as well. You can’t beat that kind of experience.

jewel tone bollywood event inspiration

Don’t Be Afraid of Color.  If you’re daring, explore beautiful jewel tones for your tables and chairs, especially if your event space is extremely large or dark.  These pops of color keep your event from looking overly sparse and adds tremendous character. Also look to create a unique lounge area for your guests– rentals from gorgeous places like Raj Tents  can help you duplicate this sultan type affair with these vivid tents.  You can also create other unique lounge areas with plush sofas and ottomans.

modern style glass tent for weddings

Modern is the New Black.  I love, love, love this clean look at the Mondrian.  In addition to the SAG Awards Deco Glam party, I’ll admit I am very happy to see the shift from the vintage and rustic styles head toward a more lush glam and streamlined modern look. Going modern is truly not that hard, as you can see with this clear tent and monochromatic theme.  What makes it stand out re the lines and styles of the furniture and the details.  The key with the less is more approach is to make it look intentional, not sparse.  Find great containers for your centerpieces, add a pattern, or bring in lighting — the possibilities are endless!

P.S.– Also from the superbowl, want to know why your photographer won’t send you all of your pictures?  This guy will tell you.



Bring Coachella to Your Next Event

So you’re tired of the same old dinner party, the same routine wedding festivities, the humdrum of birthday parties, right?  There is no need to get down– take some inspiration from this year’s Coachella Festival.  If you haven’t heard about Coachella ( how could you escape it this year when they basically “resurrected” Tupac for a “live” hologram concert performance), we’ll give you the skinny:  it’s a three day long annual music and arts festival in the Coachella Valley.  It’s frequented by some of the biggest names in the entertainment and fashion industry with performances, exhibits and parties throughout the sprawling desert backdrop.

Each year, it seems Coachella gets better and better (cue another mention of the amazing Tupac performance).  All of the artists, performers and brands really bring it for this weekend.  There were some great ideas that could translate nicely for your next event.  Take a look:

Armani TMobile at Coachella

Several people enjoyed the Armani Exchange and TMobile Carnival Party.  We’ve posted before about getting your Coney Island on with your event— be it with food and drink or decor and details.  The most important thing with having a theme is to remain authentic  to the details and your personality.  Basically, “skip the cheese, go for the meat“.  Don’t go for the ultra cheesy details, but be authentic as possible.

Uplighting at Coachella

Lighting is ridiculously awesome.  It can transform any space into something dramatic and exciting.  The key to incorporating good lighting is your base– look at your area’s walls, floors, etc.   Make sure your lighting has something to reflect off of to create striking pillars or soft washes of colors.

Pool Parties at Coachella

If you’ve got a pool at your next party, don’t neglect it! Incorporate it in your party.  The open air atmosphere can add so much to your event.  Create custom cabanas by having personalized pillows with your pictures, monograms, colors or wedding logo. This gives your guests a great place to find respite or catch up on conversation.  Your pool can be a well designed focal point as we shared with The Braxton Premiere Party.

What would you inspires you from Coachella?


I Dare You: Alternating Table Designs

burgundy and merlot centerpieces with calla lilies and other flowers with black goblets

white flowers with black linens and black ghost chairs

I think this concept that Colin Cowie used for Jay-Z and Coldplay’s NYE party is smart, chic and modern.  There were to two different table designs alternating through the party. I don’t just mean “alternating centerpieces”—I mean completely different chairs, centerpieces and linens.

On silver tables, were beautiful florals in shades of merlot, burgundy and purple.  Paired with dark runners and varying holders, the black goblets are gorgeous!  The clear mirage chairs scream uberchic.

Not to be outdone, the “black” table featured all white florals in different containers with the black goblets and black mirage chairs.

There are other guest tables that appear to be squares with black linens and silver covered chiavaris.  these tables had fuchsia flowers bunched in the center.

Different concept—one event.  It is striking.

Greatest Moments in the History of Weddings

This is a glimpse into some of the greatest moments in the history of weddings—not the greatest weddings in the history in time.  It’s small (and not so small) moments and gestures that changed weddings or are so endearing, we hope that they catch on for other weddings in the future.  While I couldn’t list all of my favorites, here are a few that are remarkable.

J.Lo’s Surprise Wedding


This moment is great, because Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony truly did catch their family and friends off guard with their backyard nuptials.  There are no other pictures that are known or seen publicly, which makes this all the more extraordinary.  I love the idea of completely surprising your guests with a  wedding in a meaningful and personal setting.  Can you imagine the guests who decided to skip the party only to find that it was a wedding later? Mmmmhmmmm!

A King Gives Up His Throne


I remember being so captivated by this story in high school (a mere two years ago…UGH perhaps in dog years….).  If you aren’t aware of this unassuming couple, it is American socialite  Wallis Simpson and her husband, Prince Edward, Duke of Windsor.  Wallis was a two time divorcee and as King and the head of the Church of England, the king could not marry her because of the religious complications.  His love for her was so great that he abdicated his throne in order to marry her.  It was his brother, King George that inherited the throne (yes, the one from The King’s Speech) and gave his brother the title of “Duke of Windsor”.  As the wife of a Duke, Wallis was known as a Duchess, however she could not have the “Her Royal Highness” with her name.  But knowing all this, I love their garb for the day: Classic, elegant, and uncomplicated to the point of being understated.

Princess Diana


From one royal wedding to another…Princess Diana’s wedding had captivated not only her country, but he world.  Her wedding inspired many weddings of her time and those many years later (Mariah Carey’s wedding with Tommy Mottola was patterned after the royal wedding.  Diana’s wedding made it okay for women to splurge:  her wedding dress was a puff ball meringue wedding dress, with huge puffed sleeves and a frilly neckline. The dress was made of silk taffeta, decorated with lace, hand embroidery, sequins, and 10,000 pearls. It was designed by Elizabeth and David Emanuel, and had a 25-foot train.

American Royalty


First, this is the best picture ever.  Second, when JFK Jr. finally wed, you heard hearts break across the world.  However, you couldn’t help but to become endeared to his new beautiful bride, Carolyn Bessette.  The evening wedding ceremony took place in the wood-frame Brack Chapel of the First African Baptist Church on the private Cumberland Island (not too far where we are in the St. Simons/Jekyll Island area). What made this wedding so beautiful was its intimacy and timelessness.  Looking at this picture today, you would have a hard time believing it took place over 10 years ago.  Moreover, the intimacy and personal details made it even more special:  the bride wore Jackie Kennedy Onassis’ clip in her hair and her bouquet was designed by the same woman who designed the White House rose garden.  JFK Jr. wore his father’s wristwatch.  Additionally, the church, which had no electricity, was lit with candles and kerosene lamps, and the couple stood under an altar adorned with greenery arranged by Efigenio Pinhiero, Jackie Kennedy’s longtime butler.  The guests were shuttled to Greyfield Inn, where they dined on the couple’s favorite food and watched their first dance to a Prince song.  If for nothing else, this saves them a special place in my heart.

Surviving a Beach Wedding


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All of these delicious pictures are of Survivor contestants Rob + Amber’s wedding,  created by the illustrious Colin Cowie.  This is a gorgeous wedding which completely revolutionized how beach weddings would take place and be experienced.  The vibrant colors, estate seating, dotted with whimsical, yet upscale, elements into the décor.  After this, many couples began to create dynamic and large events on the beach or nearby.




I’ve been a fan of Fergie since she was Stacy Ferguson: 1/3 of Wild Orchid.  When Mindy Weiss planned the wedding for Fergie and Josh Duhamel, it was a beautiful, lush affair.  While this is fabulous in its own right, what made it to the great wedding moment list is what happened during the reception.  A slide show was shown with photos of the couple at different stages in their lives. At the end, Josh surprised Fergie with a video segment of 40 of their closest friends dancing and lip-synching to her hit, “Fergalicious.” The video included a pregnant Rebecca Romijn dancing at her house and Stacey Kiebler and boyfriend Geoff Stultz singing and dancing in the shower.

At the conclusion of the meal, an after party was held in a third tent decorated to look like a Moroccan lounge. The tent included couches and a graffiti mural that read “Fergie Loves Josh.” At one point Kid Rock jumped on stage and sang his hit “All Summer Long,” joined by the bride.  This is a wonderful homage to the significant other to honor their achievements by including your family and friends.  It makes the day all the more meaningful.

At Last…



If Christina Aguilera’s Christian Lacroix wedding dress in 2005 wasn’t sumptuous enough, it was only surpassed by her talent and generosity.  First, guest received invitations in a silk lined invitation box came a note which read, “While we celebrate the richness of life and all the circumstances that have blessed us in career and love, we are mindful of those who are suffering greatly as a result of hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The best gift you could give us is a donation to any of the organizations helping the stricken citizens of New Orleans.”  Also, during the reception, Christina serenaded her husband with her rendition of “At Last”.  If you’ve never heard her cover of the song, you are missing one of the best covers of Etta James’ classic.  I’ve always thought one of the best things an artistic couple or member of that couple could do is perform or present their art to their significant other at the wedding reception.  Also, Christina’s wedding décor sparked the love for hanging crystals and crystal trees.

Event Vision: New Orleans Cocktail Hour Part II


New Orleans inspiration board for weddings and events



We talked about food and drinks in Part I of our Event Vision: New Orleans Inspiration Series.  Today, we’ll focus on décor.  Since your cocktail hour will be a less structured and traditional part of your wedding reception, you can really embellish with details and color.  Unfortunately many people believe that the only thing available for New Orleans inspiration is Mardi Gras—which can quickly turn your event from a stylish fete into an instant cheesefest.  There is so much more to New Orleans than Mardi Gras and food—however, the same principals can apply to your décor:  go big and bold…with no apologies. 



Hanging Parasols for decor unusual unique wedding inspiration ideas Hanging parasols for wedding decor ideas lighting


One thing New Orleans is known for is parasols.  You can opt to use them as props for your pictures or photo booth, but definitely consider having them become an integral part of your décor.  Don’t confuse them with the oriental parasols, but seek out colorful and ornate Victorian parasols and hang them from the ceiling of your tent or reception venue.  They make a great entrance or lighting fixtures!




French Quarter in New Orleans


If your wedding is outside, you can still have your bit of New Orleans. One of my favorite things is the French Quarter’s wrought iron balconies.  You can have your own variation by bringing in your own iron elements such as arches, gates and fences and hanging lush ferns from them. 





Tufted bench for weddings lounge furniture 
Purple Baroque mirror frame for weddiing decor Tufted bench sofa seating Lounge furniture for weddings parties and events




New Orleans is an old city—full of rich history and culture.  Many of its architecture and design influences come from baroque periods and designers.  You can bring the old world into the new world by  incorporating modern pieces like these tufted benches for seating and baroque mirrors and frames.


Roses, ranunculus, peonies stock centerpiece bouquet arrangement elizabeth anne designs melissa schollaert

Photo:  Melissa Schollaert via featured wedding on Elizabeth Anne Designs



I really do love this arrangement of lush flowers on this antique gold stand.  Its fullness makes up for its size but provides soft colors (but feel free to go bolder!) which will look great on cocktail tables and bistro sets. 


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Speaking of bistro sets, toss a few around in your cocktail hour if it is outside, along with some vintage street lamps.  Both are a part of the New Orleans experience and can easily transport your guests. 



Don’t forget your décor for your reception either—small touches like naming your tables after New Orleans’ famous streets, making your food buffet look like it’s part of a Mardi Gras float can bring so much authenticity to your event.  Don’t forget about the music, either (you’d better not!):  Play songs from natives like Louis Armstrong, the Marsalis brothers, etc. to get people in the spirit.  If you really  want to get people moving—when it is time to get your guests to move on to the reception, do it Mardi Gras style with a trumpet player playing “When the Saints Go Marching In” taking them into the reception pied piper style.  If this doesn’t work for your event, you could always do it for your wedding reception entrance or send off, where guests can toss feathers and beads.


I hope this inspires you for your New Orleans’ themed wedding! 


*Garnish*: for more inspiration, check out these links:•-married/

Inspiration: The Governors Ball 2007

This is our last week of getting inspired by the gorgeous décor at the past Governors Balls.  We’ve seen the art deco décor of 2010, the Asian zen atmosphere of 2009, the lush red and gold tones of 2008 and here we are with our final installation this week:  2007’s Tuscan Countryside. I absolutely LOVE this décor with the pergolas, smooth lounge furniture and rich linens.

Tuscan Countryside burgundy wine colored inspired Governors Ball 2007 image65_thumbPaisley linens tangerine orange and rust colored red with orange centerpieces 

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Inspiration: The Governors Ball 2008

Hanging Bubbles Crystal Balls

2008’s Governors Ball was an upscale, yet whimsical event in comparison to that of 2009 and 2010.  What I love is how Hollywood was doing the suspended bubbles (hanging crystal balls) at the beginning of 2008 and they are still a hit in current wedding decor and style trends. But you know what else I love that is absolutely unique—look at the framed quilted fabric! DIVINE! (I, too, love that this is a trend that is picking up in the wedding arena as well).

hanging bubbles crystal ball hanging bubbles crystal balls

Rectangular table with Lampshade Centerpieces with rose bases centerpieces Composite rose centerpieces in candle holders on tables with Lounge furniture cocktail hour

I found this setup so interesting.  It made this party feel like a glamorously casual event. For example, the long rectangle tables come with lighting with the lampshade centerpieces (love the roses bunches at the bases!)—ever been at an event that has been way too dark or the lighting itself was not flattering?  Additionally, I love that there are wine glasses on each table. It makes it intuitively interactive and festive.  If you  look at the first picture, you will notice this gorgeous peach covered lounge furniture is right next to the tables.  It may sound odd, but it makes perfect sense.  I hear so many brides saying “I want my guests to be able to mingle and get to know each other”.  If that’s the case, integrate your lounge area directly into your seating arrangements. This makes a better flow without guests worrying about a free for all for seats—they can move around the room, say hello to friends and not worry about if they are taking someone else’s seat.  Naturally, the mirrored tables with composite roses in candle holders (GORGEOUS AND SMART) are simple enough to make an impact and small enough to encourage socializing.   Each table is its own island in the scope of the design.

Rose centerpiece with crystal container Governors Ball 2008
Tall Rose Centerpieces with orchids on rectangular tables Lampshade Centerpieces for Rose bases

Lampshade Centerpieces for Rose bases Tall Rose Centerpiece with red linens, red glasses and goblets, ghost chairs and red quilted tufted sofa bench

I love how this year’s ball not only included multiple seating arrangements but a completely different and unique design altogether with this oveall table, square clear chairs and quilted bench seating. All things aside, between you and me…I really want that chair.

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Awesome photos found on Flickr

Inspiration: The Governors Ball 2009

Governors Ball 2009

In 2009, the Governors Ball took a slightly less “overdone” approach.  It may not look like it—but in comparison to the 2010 Governors Ball, which we talked about yesterday, and the 2008 Governors Ball, which we will see tomorrow, it is the most scaled down version.  However this does not mean plain or ordinary. The theme for this year’s ball was to create a zen atmosphere, as shown with its bonsai like centerpieces, bamboo shadows on the ceilings and serene lighting. Once again, I love the different table dynamic—consisting of rectangle and square tables this year showcasing the dimension of the design (and room) with alternating tall and low centerpieces.

Long rectangle table idea for wedding with runner Square table with  tree centerpiece

Square tables featured a simple sculpted tree centerpiece with votive candles at the base, as the rectangle tables were adorned in satin with a sheer applique runner with three varied centerpieces in its center.  Other rectangle tables featured small square lamps with one centerpiece. This is completely attainable for any event.

Hanging Parasols as lighting in tent for weddings and events

This has to be one of my favorite parts of 2009’s ball—the bar/cocktail area.  First, how could you not fall in love with the hanging parasols with varied colors and designs.  If you are looking for something to do in your tent, but the hanging crystals or chandeliers are not for you, this is a great alternative.   The area is kept clean and simple with lounge seating, a few cocktail tables (LOVE those linens) and bamboo trees.  even the bar itself is a work of art, with its Asian influenced structures and lighting to complete it.

Governors Ball 2009

Governors Ball 2009

Inspiration: The Governors Ball 2010

Governors Ball 2010

With the Academy Awards coming up at the end of the month, I thought it would be great to recap some of the past Governors Balls this week.  They make for great inspiration and even observation. These Oscar “After Parties” are beautifully styled, feature equally styled culinary fare from the best chefs and endless entertainment.

The 2010 theme was the 1930s Art Deco design style called Streamline Moderne. It has an old Hollywood feel to it, n’est-ce pas?  I also love this overview of the tables—look at the dynamic some tables are round, others are oval.  Also some tables have different linens.  Love it!

Governors Ball 2010

Silver Chiavari Chair Covers With Gold Linens and Sheer Overlay

Lampshade centerpieces Branch Centerpiece for Weddings and Events

Governors Ball 2010 Governors Ball 2010

There is also a Governors Ball Preview—I absolutely LOVE these tablescapes:

Long Rectangle  Table with Gold linens and white overlays with candles and low centerpieces

Clear Plates at tablescapes table decor setting Pink rose centerpieces pink calla lily centerpieces in square silver vases