Tuesday, August 31, 2010

One of the prettiest places for a wedding

By: Jessica Robinson

Caitlin and Mike applied for our deserving couple contest back in 2009.  They were going through some family issues and struggling financially.  Mike was lost his job and went back to school full time and they were living off of one income.  They are such a loving couple, devoted to their family and to each other.  We couldn't of selected a more grateful and truly deserving couple.

The setting: The Farmer's Museum in Cooperstown, New York.  They were married in the chapel on the grounds, Cornwallville Church.  Then the reception following in the barn at the museum.  The Farmer's Museum is a spectacular venue that has deep roots in New York State's rural history.  The museum is set on 120 acres of pristine farm land which has been a working farm since the 1790's.  The Farmer's Museum is a private, non-profit educational organization.  

Caitlin had a really great inspiration board she had created for us.  From that we designed many just gathered looks.  I used old aluminum sap buckets from my parent's sugar house to showcase some antique purple hydrangea I picked out of my gardens at 4:30 am the morning of the wedding.  For her centerpieces we created three different looks.  One was in wooden crates, lined with sheet moss and overflowing with seasonal flowers.  The other were a chocolate footed metal urns filled with antique hydrangea, garden spray roses and locally grown flowers.  For a simple look, we gathered bright pink and purple salvia, fresh mint, fresh sage leaves and garden roses in various sized mason jars.  Then, clustered them together on the tables.  The smell of fresh herbs is intense and wonderful for a summery wedding.
The bride carried a hand-tied bouquet of white dahlias, patience garden roses, locally grown millet and wrapped with wide ivory satin ribbon.  The groom's boutonniere was a simple dahlia bloom wrapped with a touch of natural twine.  The bridesmaids carried a garden mix of purple statice, purple dahlias, creme de la creme roses and garden spray roses.  Each was wrapped with a fancy chocolate ribbon with copper sequins, then vintage rhinestone buttons for added detail.

I'm really looking forward to all of the incredible images that Justin & Mary Marantz took.  Their truly gifted artists capturing the details of the wedding in a way not many can.  

Touches of detail to Boutonnieres

By: Jessica Robinson
With all of the weddings we've planned and designed over the years, we've done so many unique things with flowers.  Your bridal bouquet is a main focal point to the wedding, but don't forget to spice up his boutonniere a bit!

The boutonnieres should coordinate with the look and feel of the rest of the wedding.  The camera's will be focused on him just as much as you.  Guys usually don't want anything to frilly, so keep it simple but with some detail.  You'll notice that our boutonnieres are always dressed for the occasion.  Meaning, we wrap the stem with a touch of ribbon or twine, depending on the style and formality of the wedding.  Then add other seasonal touches like millet, grass twisted and weaved around the stem or even a peacock feather.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Shades of Pink at Lord Thompson Manor

By: Jessica Robinson

Here's a sneak preview of today's pretty wedding.  The setting: Lord Thompson Manor, Thompson, Connecticut.  Set away from the fuss of the everyday world, it's tucked back on a wonderfully manicured property.  Wind down their gravel driveway into a picturesque and just lovely setting.

What sets Lord Thompson Manor aside from other venues is the weekend wedding idea.  When you reserve their facility, you become pampered for the entire weekend.  Not rushed out the door for the next wedding to take over!
We used a combination of hot lady, cool water, Anna and Faith roses for the entire wedding.  The bride carried a lush hand tied bouquet of white cymbidium orchids with pink throats and ivory garden roses.  I adorned the stems with ivory satin French knots... so pretty!
Jackie, from Lord Thompson Manor will create one of a kind menu cards.  Each of which is personalized with all of your guests names.  A really wonderful personalization.  The manor has a real working fireplace, perfect for that New England autumn or winter wedding.  The smell of real wood burning in a fireplace just gets me.  It makes you feel warm and cozy. 

Enjoy breakfast on their patio or in the sun room and enjoy the company of great friends and family.  Everything in life is so rushed these days, it's nice to take the entire weekend to embrace your wedding.  The details are wonderful for this wedding.  Lord Thompson Manor set up a delicious candy station for the couple with most pink and red candies.  Candles are everywhere which adds so much romance and ambiance.
Of course, these are just a few images I took... dying to see what the fabulous Alissa Dinneen took!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Challenges of wedding planning

By: Jessica Robinson
The challenges you are faced with while planning your wedding can be enormous.  As you plan your wedding, you take on a new roll: wedding planner.  It's like a complete new job.  Like you don't have so much going on in your life already.  If you have the funds available, it's a great idea to hire a wedding coordinator to help with the daunting task.
Wedding planners offer various packages to fit your needs.  Whether you need help from the very beginning stages to assist you with selecting a venue, the design concept and other vendor suggestions or just planning month of and day of to help keep everything in order.  If you live out of town, but planning a wedding in another state a wedding planner might be a must.  (especially if you do not have a ton of vacation days you can take to take on the tasks yourself)

Some area planners to consider:
Sixpence For Your Shoe
Chandelier Events
Details Wedding & Party Planning
Wedding Istas
EST Occasions

I find it helpful to make check lists.  Now, my husband hates them... but I honestly think it makes me feel as though I'm accomplishing things when I can check things off.  Make a spread sheet in Word and check away!  You'll find it helpful to come up with an initial budget and give yourself an idea of how you want to spend it.  Which areas you have more for (or are more important to you).

Most importantly, don't stress out!  Things go wrong with weddings all the time.  The most important thing is that you understand that and know that you have hired the best of the best to take care of the details.  All of your vendors come together and work well together. 

One of my favorite ladies in the wedding business is Sara Faella.  She's the creative force behind Sara Faella Designer Stylist.  She'll come to you and take care of your hair and make-up needs.  She also designs some pretty fabulous couture hair pieces and accessories.

Have your cake and eat it too!  Kelly's Sweet Rewards makes some amazing wedding cake creations!  Let her creative mind come up with something wonderful for your wedding.  Now, if you are looking for something unique for favors or to have in your out of town guest bags, try her cake balls, red velvet cake dipped in scrumptious chocolate.  Bit size tasty treats!  Lovely Cakes is another wonderful company!  If you are looking for someone to make pastries and confections besides your wedding cake try Toria Dolce Fine Desserts & Wedding Cakes.  Now, for the most yummy candy station, handcrafted sugar cookies and other wonderful treats contact Jennifer at Cookie Creatives.  She just made some of the most tempting treats for a wedding we worked on together.  All I can say is Yum!

Deserving couple @ La Cupola Ristorante & Inn

By: Jessica Robinson

As many of you know, each year our company designs a wedding for a deserving couple.  We look for a couple that has experienced financial hardship, yet still gives back to their community.  We feel as though we've been so very fortunate in life and in business that this is simply our way of giving back. 

With the unstable economy, there are quite a few families struggling with finances.  Most are just lucky to still have a job.   Giving back to a few very lucky couples every year makes us feel so good.  It also is a wonderful way to be even more creative and connect with some pretty talented wedding professionals in the industry.  For 2011, we had chosen two teams of professionals to create two deserving couple weddings.  But, while at La Cupola one evening for dinner....we told Frank what we did each year and he said "we should host one here, it would be beautiful!".. and so the plan began.  So we set out to find one more deserving couple (someone who really could use a helping hand and honestly could not afford any sort of a wedding) and one more team of professionals.

What I love most about this couple, is that they are real and genuine.   Life sometimes hands us unexpected hardships and hurdles.  It makes us stronger individuals and grateful for what we do have in our lives.  Life isn't perfect, but if you can stick together and come stronger as a couple even with tough finances... you're golden!

the couple: Christina and Dustin
Details:  October 2011 wedding @ La Cupola Ristorante & Inn, Litchfield, Connecticut

Vendors involved:
Chandelier Events
Stacey Ilyse Photography
Sara Faella
The Spa at Litchfield Hills
Fizz Paperie
Kelly's Sweet Rewards

This is one of her inspiration boards we created for her initial design concept.  I absolutely adore Style Me Pretty blog and love the way you can create your own inspiration boards on her site!  Check this one out and make one of your own!  Give me your input and let us know what you think!! We LOVE to hear your comments!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Wedding @ The Farmer's Museum

By: Jessica Robinson

We traveled up to Cooperstown, New York to design Caitlin and Mike's wedding.  I cannot tell you how much I loved the scenic trip through New York and the stunning country side views. 

Their wedding was beautiful!  The location: The Farmer's Museum, Cooperstown, New York
Our team of designers headed up (very early) on Saturday morning to decorate the site.  We hung green galvanized lanterns from the beams of the barn, adding that sparkle glow to the reception.  All of the couple's place cards were hung from two trees (manzanita branches in tall cylinder vases) strung with natural twine and attached with wooden clothes pins.  It looked amazing!  Definitely caught your attention as you walked in.  Thanks to our lead designer (Melissa) for putting this together!
Their centerpieces were all different. Some with wooden crates, lined with moss and filled with an abundance of summery flowers.  Others were chocolate/bronze footed urns with similar flowers.  The third design was simple.  Clusters of various jars filled with fresh, fragrant mint, colorful salvia, dahlias and garden spray roses.  We clustered antique purple hydrangea in sap buckets at every entrance to the barn.  The entire look was lovely!
Cookie Creatives by Jennifer handmade so many fabulous candies and of course the prettiest hand decorated sugar cookies.  They were displayed on the most yummy candy station I've ever designed!  Scott hand delivered out of town guest (burlap) bags that we filled with Rasinets, bottles of water, Goat boy soaps (lavender goat heads), raspberry rhubarb jam from Lamothe's Sugar House and Crunch and Munch.  They were really cute and the perfect touch as a thank you for guests traveling to join the happy couple.

Justin & Mary Marantz were kind enough to photograph every last little detail.... I can hardly wait to see what they captured!  They are incredibly talented and very, very generous!  Her cake was designed by ABC cakes.

Caitlin looked absolutely stunning in her Modern Trousseau gown which was provided by The White Dress by the Shore.  The weather could not have been more perfect for their summer wedding.  More details to follow in a few weeks...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Paper Quilling class

By: Jessica Robinson

This coming fall we'll be hosting a class at River City Art Center.  It's situated in the historic town of Collinsville, Connecticut.  I'm hoping many of you will join us for a really fun, creative class with Kate of River City Art Center to create some really amazing DIY stationery pieces for your own weddings. There will be about 12 spaces and they'll fill quickly for sure!  We'll have fun, get to know one in other better and just have a great time doing some DIY projects.  I'll bring the wine!

Paper quilling (also known as Paper filigree) is beautiful and creative way of rolling, bending and pinching the paper then making designs out of the paper.  There are numerous things you can design with paper quilling.  I love the idea of making your own save the dates and even table numbers.  You can make your own signs for guest tables and candy station (identifying the different candies).

Kate is one of the most energetic people I know and VERY creative!  We'll be working with her to have a 4 week class so couples will be able to learn how to design your very own art projects.  I'd love to see more creativity for Save the Dates, table numbers and even stationery for dessert tables!!  LOVE!   Maybe even create your very own Family Tree out of paper quilling... and guests could sign on leaves you can place on the tree afterward.   Creative...use your imagination!!
 Let us know if you would like to join us this fall.  We'd love to have you!

Jessica's Country Flowers happenings

By: Jessica Robinson

 It's been a very busy summer filled to the brim with some pretty gorgeous weddings!  We've had the pleasure this year of traveling beyond Connecticut and even beyond New England to design some incredible weddings.  This coming weekend we are making the trip to The Farmer's Museum in Cooperstown, New York to design our first deserving couple wedding for this year.  Her flowers were donated by Hartford Florist Supply and First Bloom Farm donated a few things as well.

Many wonderfully talented wedding professionals have come together to put on a wedding Caitlin and Mike will never forget. With all of the struggles they have faced over the past year and just recently, they are SO very deserving!  Look at our blog next week and we'll hopefully have some images of the wedding to post!
Some of Caitlin and Mike's vendors are:
Justin & Mary Marantz
ABC Cakes
The White Dress by the Shore and Modern Trousseau
Cookie Creatives by Jennifer

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Preparing for a Farmer's Museum wedding

By Jessica Robinson

So, our first deserving couple wedding of the season is next weekend.  With Justin & Mary, ABC Cakes, Cookie Creatives by Jennifer and she's wearing Modern Trousseau compliments of The White Dress by the Shore.  Her dress is beautiful!  I'm dying to see this wedding complete and so everyone can drop their jaws over the fabulous (creative) images Justin & Mary Marantz will capture!

These weddings become so personal to me.  It brings more joy to me, knowing we designed a wedding for someone who really, really deserved to have a pretty wedding... knowing you helped them out.  You helped to start a life and started it out right.

All of her flowers are coming from Hartford Florist Supply.  Rick was kind enough to donate many things.  We also have flowers being donated (and grown locally, right in Connecticut) from Maggie at First Bloom Farm. 

Cookie Creatives by Jennifer and I will be collaborating on the most yummy candy and dessert station ever!  It's a wonderful collection of handmade treats, old-fashioned rock candy, caramel chocolate popcorn and all waiting for guests to take home and enjoy.  It should be a beautiful display!  I've put together some really fun glass candy jars, vintage wooden trays and various glass vintage pieces to display it all perfectly!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Summer inspired table setting

This photo shoot was created at La Cupola Ristorante & Inn. Which is situated in the historic town of Litchfield, Connecticut. This beautiful stone villa style reception venue overlooks Bantam river and a large pond. The owner (Frank Rosa) is from Italy and loves weddings. He believes that weddings should be an intimate gathering of family and close friends. Frank loves family style reception tables vs. the typical round tables. It is this amazing, quaint setting that lets people connect and enjoy each others company.

With my table designs, I wanted to create a look that was simplistic, yet completely romantic.  We sought out to create something different, but completely affordable.  Something that said romantic summer nights and complete sophistication.

Hand tied bouquet of 'Miranda' and 'Patience' garden roses, sarencena lilies and pink cymbidium orchids. I wrapped the stems with natural twine which I purchased at Ocean State job lot in the tool section. ($2.60 roll for 260 feet of twine)

The table setting featured farmhouse style tables. Then I added chocolate color burlap for a simple runner. The texture of burlap is wonderful and even the smell of it adds to the overall feel of this table setting. (burlap was $2.99 a yard at JoAnn Fabrics, but you can order online from various vendors for less) Three chocolate stone urns were overflowing with antique green hydrangea, 'Miranda' garden roses, 'Cool water' and 'Faith' roses. I used a collection of various vintage drinking cups and dessert cups as vases to bring a little touch of color and more detail to the table setting. (I found some wonderful vintage glasses on Etsy. In Burlington, Connecticut there is a wonderful shop that sells Depression glass and various vintage glassware.) I filled pint mayo jars with dry beans for really cute luminaries for the table. Adding some texture and more interest.

Sara Faella creates couture head pieces. She has a incredible selection of things on her web site to pick from. Anything from birdcage veils to floral and feather clips adorned with Swarovski crystals and tons of detail. She also travels throughout New England styling hair and make-up for clients. Her pieces paired wonderfully with the gowns from The Plumed Serpent. Alison showcased a short, cocktail style dress that was stylish and fun. She also had the most gorgeous sophisticated gown. The full length gown -Romona Keveza organza gown with rouched bodice and full ballgown skirt covered with hand formed organza flowers. The short gown is Anne Bowen's "Botanical Gardens" tea length faille gown. It has a high/low hem and is accented by tulle peeping from the hem. All accessories are Debra Moreland for Paris.

Kelly's Sweet Rewards created cakes that coordinated to each of our table settings. She also hand crafted the most delicate cupcakes with sugar flowers. They were carrot cake and packaged beautifully. She also dips red velvet cake in chocolate to create what she calls "cake balls". They are these bit size, purely yummy treats that your guests would surely remember as they savored every single bite! Linen napkins designed by Butterfly & company were a perfect addition to the cake table.  Gorgeous yet simple menu cards were designed by Fizz Paperie.  We worked with Jillian last fall on a wedding and the invites were to die for!
Photography: Jamie Collins Photography
Flowers & event design: Jessica's Country Flowers
Location: La Cupola Ristorante & Inn, Litchfield, CT
Stationery: (menu cards and place cards) Fizz Paperie
Hair & Make-up styling: Sara Faella
Dress: The Plumed Serpent
Cakes and cupcake favors: Kelly's Sweet Rewards
Rentals: Rentals Unlimited
Tea Dipped Napkins: Butterfly & Company

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Real wedding Winter Wonderland at Society Room

August 10, 2010 by Jessica Robinson

Katie and Alan were married at the Society Room in Hartford, Connecticut on February 13, 2010.  It was a winter wonderland theme wedding and with snow freshly fallen in Connecticut, made the perfect scenery.  I was jumping out of my skin when the absolutely fabulous Jamie Collins Photography happily agreed to photograph every lovely detail!!  You can see the entire wedding featured on Style Me Pretty blog.  Style Me Pretty is a terrific wedding blog that features a wide variety of simply gorgeous weddings (from simple backyard affairs to over the top sophisticated ballroom weddings)!

I think winter weddings can be so utterly warm and inviting, as well as completely romantic.  Fireplaces glowing with logs burning... that smell of firewood burning is amazing for the senses.  It makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, like you are in Grandma's house and cookies are coming out of her oven.

Katie and Alan had their first look photos taken prior to the ceremony so they could completely enjoy cocktail hour.  They headed to the newly renovated Old State House to take images before their ceremony. The Old State House charges a minimal fee of $200 to take photos for one hour.  But, as you can see from the images, so worth the little fee.  It's a stunning place for a unique venue, rich with history and architecture.  They also took photos together at City Hall in downtown Hartford, Connecticut.

Lots of couples choose to have photographs prior to the ceremony.  It's a personal preference.  You need to think about whether it works for you or not.  You need to decide what works best for you.  In the fall (with shorter days) sometimes it's a good idea to see each other prior to the ceremony and get the photos done first.  That way you can enjoy the ceremony and cocktail hour, without the worry of rushing images and loosing sunlight fast.  On the other hand, you need to think whether you want your fiancee to see you prior to the ceremony.  I personally wanted to see the look on his face as I glided down the aisle in sure bliss.  I literally floated down the aisle towards the love of my life!

Katie had the most beautiful gown with lace detailing by Watters.  We created a lush hand-tied bouquet of 'patience' garden roses, 'vendella' roses, white cattelya orchids and white sweet peas.  Wrapping the stems with a very wide ivory satin ribbon and the most gorgeous broach from Regina B (which looked like snow swirling through the sky).  The groom's boutonniere was white sweet peas wrapped with thin ivory satin ribbon which was simple and different. (I made several spare boutonnieres for the groom since sweet peas are rather delicate) The rest of the gentlemen had boutonnieres which were white mini calla lilies and a crystal branch with stems wrapped with thin ivory satin ribbon.  The bridesmaids carried hand-tied bouquets of white mini calla lilies, white cymbidium orchids, ivory roses and white sweet peas.  We wrapped the stems with a dark chocolate/copper color ribbon with copper sequins and thread detailing.

The ceremony and reception were in the ballroom at The Society Room.  We created  one look for the ceremony, then completely transformed the room while guests enjoyed cocktail hour upstairs on the balcony to create a completely new look.  During the ceremony, we lined the bar area with vintage-style containers filled with white hydrangea and pillar candles in metal square luminaries.  We created the perfect backdrop with two 12-ft. tall curly willow "trees".  They were decorated at the top with white dendrobium orchids and surrounded at the trunk with vendella roses and white cymbidium orchids, then added hanging luminaries.  Sixpence For Your Shoe hung their program card off the back of each chair with a deep eggplant color satin ribbon.

I created a dramatic escort card display with Manzanita branches which I sprayed with snow and iridescent glitter to add that wintery look.  Button mums tightly clustered together at the base looked like snow and touches of white cattelya orchids, white cymbidium orchids and vendella roses added more interest.  Sixpence For Your Shoe draped the tree with crystal garlands (purchased at www.save-on-crafts.com) and hung their escort cards with white wire from those crystals.  This was a show stopping pieces as guests entered the venue.

Tables were draped in an ivory shimmer crinkle taffeta linen from Cloth Connection, white napkins with the added napkin treatment Sixpence did (deep eggplant satin ribbon with a vintage-style ring on each napkin which they purchased off of Ebay).  Because the room has such enormously tall ceilings we created some tall centerpieces and some low centerpieces.  Custom wooden bases, made from recycled wood from the sugar house at my parents farm were made by my talented husband, Scott.  Arrangements at the top of those bases were white hydrangea, white dendrobium orchids and vendella roses.  Along with hanging luminaries and stems of sparkly crystals.  Touches of moss at the base of the arrangement and white cattelya and white cymbidium orchids along with votive cups added interest.  Low centerpieces were of white hydrangea, white sweet peas and vendella roses in a vintage-style square footed urn which came from R&S Baskets in Massachusetts.

For double duty, the two "trees" which highlighted the ceremony were used as the couple's backdrop during dinner with their sweet heart table set in front of them.   Low pieces which covered the bar area during the ceremony were moved throughout the reception venue (on window sills, in the pub area, etc.)

The Society Room of Hartford is a stunning location.  Featuring thirty-five foot tall mural ceiling in the main ballroom, marble, brass and bronze accents throughout the facility.  A setting with history and a Great Gatsby era. A coffee station was set up in the lounge pub area.  We also set up the candy station in this area.  Which I hand dipped over 150 caramel/chocolate apples for with custom created tags by Sixpence For Your Shoe.  I packaged each apple in a corsage bag, added ribbon which was purchased at Costco and used silver metallic roping to attach the tags.  Acandystore.com provided all of the candy, which were all white which included white chocolate peppermint bark, coconut squares dipped in white chocolate, Joy almonds, yogurt covered raisins, white jelly beans and many more.  I purchased candy jars at Walmart and Sixpence For Your Shoe provided the candy scoops.  Little clear bags with labels were on the table for guests to help themselves to candy to take home.

Sixpence For Your Shoe purchased a variety of vintage frames off of Ebay and spray painted them silver for their table numbers.  Butterfly & Company had tea-dipped the most incredible, real linen napkins to be used with the coffee station and cake after dinner!

Photography: Jamie Collins Photography
Cinematography: Chris Walsh Productions
Flowers: Jessica's Country Flowers
Event Design: Jessica's Country Flowers
Event Planning: Sixpence For Your Shoe
Ceremony Location: The Society Room
Reception Location: The Society Room, Hartford, CT
Linens: Cloth Connections
Invitations: Sixpence For Your Shoe
Bride's Jewelry: (bracelet and earrings) Haute Bride
Broach for bouquet: Regina B
Bride's Dress: Watters
Bridesmaids gowns: Jim Hjelm
Make-up Artist: Sandra Downie
Tuxes: rentals from Men's warehouse (groom's Calvin Klein, groomsmen's Ralph Lauren Chaps)
Cake: Cakes by Donna
Cake stand: Raise the Cake
Card box: The Wedding Main St
Cocktail napkins: Butterfly & Company
Candy: Acandystore.com