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Fall Palm Springs Estate Wedding

As a true creative talent, it’s no big surprise this product designer-turned-bride planned a day that easily claims a spot on our “LOVE” list. Along with the help of friend and fellow creative Oak And Owl, she spent her wedding planning days scouring flea markets and thrift shops (not to mention to trips to India!) for just the right pieces to bring the design vision to life. Lane Dittoe didn’t miss a beat, and you can see all the pretty results in the gallery right here.


From The Bride…Our relationship grew slowly; first date in August, second date in September, third date in October with the time in between filled with phone conversations, international Skype calls and emails. Early October we were walking in Del Mar and stopped to watch a small wedding taking place on the beach. It was a perfect California October day, warm and dry with long shadows and we both agreed – even without fully knowing that one day we would marry – that October was our favorite month and would be the perfect month to have a wedding.

Two years later Kjell proposed with his Norwegian great-grandmothers engagement ring after acceding by helicopter atop Tower Butte in Arizona, just before a 10-day long house boat trip on Lake Powell. We spend much of our leisure time in the desert and felt that it would be appropriate to celebrate our wedding in our favorite climate. We were drawn to Palm Springs as a destination, close enough for most of our guests to travel to easily yet far enough away to keep it special. I have designed gift and home décor product for HomArt for nearly 14 years and a close relationship with the owners of HomArt introduced us to John O’neil and Ed Smith, the owners of Casa De Los Arcos. John designed the home as a pièce de résistance to his architecture career and together they christened the home Casa De Los Arcos paying homage to the 84 arches throughout the home. The moment Kjell and I walked through the front gate of the property we knew that this home had all of the warmth, light and extraordinary details of the place we would want to celebrate our wedding day.

Nancy and I were grade school friends and in our adult years often talked of a collaboration of my product design and her floral design, from the moment I said “yes” to Kjell I knew that Nancy and I would finally have our first collaboration. Nancy’s knowledge and respect in the industry opened up connections for us to put together a talented team – Lane Dittoe for photography, Amy Clarke for hair and makeup and Signature Party for rentals. Partnering with Nancy on the event design was a great pairing between the two of us, sharing a similar design aesthetic and appreciation for the beautiful venue we wanted to compliment the arid setting with tillandsias and succulents while softening it with garden roses and greenery and warming up the whole palate with brass accents.

Over the course of 8 months Nancy and I scoured flea markets, thrift shops and online sources for vintage brass candlesticks and vessels. Two trips to India found me coming home with a second suitcase full of brass, both times given to me from Indian business contacts as a wedding gift. Having not found the perfect footed brass compotes that I had envisioned, Kjell welded smaller scaled brass candlesticks onto the bottoms of some of the brass bowls to give the added height we desired for Nancy’s reaching centerpiece arrangements. Since I live and breathe design on a daily basis it was engrained in me to design our own monogram and invitation suite and of course utilize HomArt product into the design of the day, from picture frames framing the bar signage to one of a kind furniture pieces from HomArt’s FOUND Collection to cast brass feathers on each guests place setting.

On the wedding day our guests arrived to Casa De Los Arcos via shuttle from the nearby Alcazar Hotel, which we had blocked for our guests for the wedding weekend. On a warmer than anticipated Palm Springs day our guests sipped champagne and infused waters in the air-conditioned home or under the misters on the patio before taking their seat on one of the lawns which flanks the pool in the backyard of the residence. Lead by the entourage of 4 nephews and a niece proudly taking on the roll of ring bearers, sign carriers and flower girl our bridal party (my sister and sister-in-law and Kjell’s best childhood friends) stood proudly next to us underneath the pergola as we exchanged vows in front of 99 of our close friends, family members and colleagues. During the cocktail reception Lane Dittoe captured Kjell and I in the “magic hour” light just as the sun was falling behind the San Jacinto mountains. Kjell and I both agreed that we don’t think that we had ever smiled so much for so long in our life, we were truly floating and it was so comfortable to be in front of Lane’s camera.

The lawns of Casa De Los Arcos provided a perfect layout for a double kings table to stretch down with the desert mountains as a backdrop. We dined under the stars on a locally and sustainably sourced meal cooked on site by the Foundation 10 Catering team. Wine flowed, toasts streamed and music floated through the air on our perfect Palm Springs October evening. While we encouraged coat & tie and “fancy dress” there were several details of the day that we chose to keep casual and perhaps non-traditional; the bridal party wore their own black suits and dresses, a ukulele played some of our favorite songs acoustically during the ceremony, we drank out of stem-less wine glasses and, salads and side dishes were served family style, all to encourage sharing and conversation and allow our guests to feel at home at Casa De Los Arcos.

Photography: Lane Dittoe | Coordination: The Walk Down The Aisle Coordination: Gina Leslie | Floral Design: Oak And Owl | Cake: Extraordinary Desserts | Catering: Foundation 10 Catering | Palm Springs, CA | Hair And Makeup: Amy Clarke | Grooms Suit: Vera Wang | Ceremony Music: Jillian Bordeaux | Custom Feather Brooch: The Whitedress | Bride Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Brides Dress: Reem Acra | Decor : Julia Long Adams With HomArt | Event Design & Coordination: Oak And Owl | Film Processing: Goodman Film Lab | Letterpress: The Aesthetic Union | Paper Goods: Brides Own Design | Photo Assistant: Jon CU | Reception Music: DJ Shige Koike And DJ Matt Dazzla | Rentals: Signature Party Rentals | Suite Photographed: Chris Bliss | Venue: Casa De Los Arcos | Palm Springs, CA

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Secret Garden-Inspired Alabama Wedding

You may think you’ve seen a “secret garden” wedding done before, but I can assure you that you’ve never a day quite as charming as this. Think ‘maids dressed in lavender, mixed blooms a’plenty and a pint-sized bridal party all sweet in a row. Simply Bloom Photography came along for the fun, and the gallery is every garden bride’s dream come to life.


From Simply Bloom PhotographyThe bride described envisioning a “secret garden” theme for her wedding day. She also outlined that her style is very eclectic and that her dress as well as the bridesmaids’ are flowing and ethereal.

Paige and Jesse were a dream couple to photograph and their wedding embodied just that. Every detail felt like an organic and artistic choice. It was apparent that they fully trusted all their vendors, because the final result was a masterpiece from each contributor.

One of our favorite moments to capture was when the bride saw her father for the first time on the day. It was everything Paige promised it would be: heartfelt, warm, emotional and plain moving, even for us behind the lens.

Photography: Simply Bloom Photography | Wedding Planner: Finery Boutique | Florist: In Bloom | Wedding Dress: Jacinda Gown By Watters | Cake: Diann Laney | Catering: Betty Lankford | Hair Stylist: Fringe Salon | Band & DJ: Act Of Congress | Make-up Artist: Nancy Finnegan | Plantation Mansion: Creekside Plantation

Crafty Pie Wedding Invitations + A Discount + A Giveaway!

My love for all things paper runs deep; that’s the truth. Today, I’m gushing over online wedding invitation boutique Crafty Pie. Specializing in unique, modern + vintage invitations, save the dates, and day of wedding stationery, Crafty Pie makes it easy — and fun — for couples to showcase their own style!

Not only are all of Crafty Pie’s designs completely customizable, but couples can also choose from a variety of colors, fonts and wording to match their wedding or event. And did I mention all of this customization is free? Fabulous. Crafty Pie’s  gorgeous designs are printed on eco-friendly card stocks that come in a variety of textures and thicknesses, from 110lb felt textured stock to 220lb double thick matte! Adding to the customization, Crafty Pie also offers a variety of pretty printed backer options ranging from solids to patterns.

With a gorgeous range of styles and designs, I’m seriously smitten with Crafty Pie invitations! And get this, they offer free shipping on all US orders! Ready to order? Crafty Pie is offering a 15% off coupon code good through April 30, 2015! Use code SMP2015. Oh, but there’s more good stuff…


What: One lucky reader will win a $250 gift certificate to be used toward anything on the Crafty Pie website!

How: To enter, comment on this post with your favorite paper suite. A winner will be chosen randomly and announced on Friday, April 10, 2015 in the Social Hour. Good luck! 


Letterpress 101

We’re talking about one of my absolute favorite topics today, SMPers. Letterpress is how I personally got my start in the wedding industry, so I can appreciate the love (and hard work!) that goes into the process, resulting in some of the prettiest wedding invitations you’ll ever set eyes on. So we teamed up with the lovely gals at Printerette Press and 2nd Truth to give you a behind the scenes peek at just how those gorgeous invites come to life.


From Printerette PressAt Printerette Press, when we work with clients to create custom designs, we begin the relationship with a consultation – in person or digitally. This is often one of the most fun parts of the process! We love getting to know our clients and piecing together the details that will soon become the perfect pieces for their event. We ask loads of questions (and sometimes they’re a little weird!) to really get to know the people and the event.

Sometimes our clients like to tweak designs from our existing collection to fit their wedding. Other times, we start from scratch to create fully custom pieces just for them. Beginning the design process is where we like to get our hands a little dirty! A lot of our invitation suites incorporate unique details like custom portraiture, hand lettering, watercolor details, etc. so this is the place for us to pull out the sketchbook, paint brushes, and anything else we need to get the creative juices flowing.

We communicate back and forth with our clients using digital proofs. And when the design is approved and ready, we move to print. We offer a few different print methods for our clients, but our most popular is the one that we do in-house: Letterpress.


After our design is approved by our client we are ready to go to print! (In the case of the example shown here, we first had the watercolor peonies digitally printed onto our paper before we begin the letterpress process.) The first step in the letterpress process is to make plates. Each color on a letterpress printed piece requires it’s own run through the press, and thus, it’s own plate. In the case of our wedding invitation example, we created a plate for the reply card and invitation (to be printed in gray), and another plate for the silver foil. So, the invitation will pass through the press twice (once for gray, once for silver foil), and the reply card will pass through just once (for the gray).

Plate making is something we just recently started doing, and let us say it’s been quite the learning experience. That being said, we’re very glad to be able to make them in-house. A well-made plate is one of the most essential pieces of a letterpress job. If you don’t have a good plate, you don’t have a good print. To make a plate, the design is printed in reverse on film and then adhered with suction to photopolymer plastic. Then, we expose it to light for several minutes. Once the design from the film has been exposed to the plastic, we wash away the unexposed plastic so that only our design remains. After drying and exposing the plastic to light one final time to harden the design, we are all set to print!


A Pantone color palette (a designer’s color Bible), provides the “recipe” for mixing each color. To mix the gray shown here, we mixed 80% transparent white, 19% black, and 1% red. Getting an ink color precisely correct can be a challenging task – so having a specific formula of a color is really important. That’s where the Pantone formula guide, and our super accurate scale comes in very handy.


One of the more difficult tasks a letterpress printer faces is perfectly lining up the plate to the area of the paper you need to print on (This is called “registration”). Getting everything straight, centered, aligned can take a few tries before we get it perfect. The more colors we have on a job, the more complicated the registration is because it requires that we register multiple plates.

Once the plates are set, it’s go time! Certain things to concentrate on are the amount of pressure + packing you have behind the paper. This allows you to either gently tap the paper, or punch it harder to get a deep impression. We like to print with a really nice, deep impression. To look really letterpress-y, you know?

We have a couple of presses at Printerette Press. The bulk of our jobs are printed on the Heidelberg Windmill, pictured here. The windmill pulls each sheet into it’s clam-shell, prints it, and spits it out on the other side in a windmill motion. It’s very fast, very efficient, and sometimes a little scary. After all of the steps in printing are finished, we trim them up using our stack paper cutter and voila! a handcrafted wedding suite that beautifully sets the tone for our client’s wedding.


It is a largely hand done process on antique equipment that yields a texturally luxurious and one of a kind finished product.


Each color on a letterpress job requires it’s own run through the press, and it’s own plate. The more colors, the more materials and production time. Digital printing definitely will save on costs due to the less involved printing process. While you can achieve more colors with digital printing, the process is often called “flat” printing, because the final result includes no textural qualities and requires less hands on production. We specialize in letterpress but offer both methods to cater to all kinds of budgets.


The metallics that you often times see on invitations is an entirely different process called foil stamping. A main difference is when it comes to the color gold for example. If a bride wants pure gold, we typically suggest the route of foil stamping due to the fact that gold letterpress ink typically looks more bronze because it lacks the metallic effect that foil stamping has to offer. The combination of foil stamping and letterpress is unbelievably gorgeous and has quickly become a trending request in our shop.


The process is incredibly customizable. We specialize in quirky designs that speak to each and every client that we work with. We have a collection of suites to provide brides with a stepping stone, but are always open to tweaking these existing designs, or creating something entirely new!


The paper we use is 100% cotton. It is a bi-product of the textile industry and is made up of cotton linters that would otherwise be garbage. We also use soy based inks.


As soon as the design is approved to print it typically takes around 15 business days for production.


We pride ourselves in working hands on with our brides to ensure that we can figure out ways of keeping everything in their budget. By working with different print methods and materials, we are able to accommodate nearly any budget.

Photography: 2nd Truth | Stationery: Printerette Press | Design Studio + Letterpress Print Shop: Printerette Press | Venue: Printerette Press

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