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#SMPWedding101 – Tips for Getting the Perfect Sparkler Photo

It’s time to get the patriotic party started! Your red, white and blue bashes are bound to be full of fireworks and sparklers so to ensure every picture perfect moment is just right, we turned to a couple pros who’ve snapped that sparkly shot with brides and grooms galore. Archetype Studio Inc. know the magic for that moment and with these tips in hand, we’re looking at some fabulous festivities ahead!


For great photos, use event approved sparklers, not the standard 4th of July fireworks type – they can cause serious burns and they burn out too fast! Wedding and event sparklers are usually 15” or longer and don’t produce as much smoke as the traditional firework sparklers. And check your local ordinances on the use of all firework varieties to make sure no laws are being broken and everyone is safe!


Pre-light a few sparkler sticks and use the moments before the main event to test your exposure on these pre-lit practice sparklers.


Want to up the romantic ante? Ask a couple to pause for a nice long kiss in the middle of the sparkler show. This will provide a chance to fire off a few shots while everyone isn’t moving and makes it easier to lock on the focus in the challenging low-light environment.


Stay low, or kneel for the shot. Being slightly below eye level usually allows the sparklers to frame the holder, and as a bonus, may save your own hair from catching fire!


Birchbox + SMP ‘I Definitely Do’ box
Waldorf Astoria


For our California Brides… Discount from L’Relyea Events

For our Tri-State Brides… Discount and giveaway from Alexandra Grecco

For our New England Brides… Discount from Sweet Monday Photography

Photography: Archetype Studio Inc.

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Elegant 4th of July Vineyard Wedding

This weekend is for celebrating, with friends and family, summer sips and sparklers. And what better way to get the party started than with a little love from Caroline Tran and one breathtakingly beautiful bash from the 4th last year. Sterling Engagements orchestrated it all with Shawna Yamamoto’s fabulous florals spread across every inch of Triunfo Creek Vineyards. Pour yourself a glass, settle in with all these pretty pics, and don’t miss Fiske Film’s video below – some good vibes are about to begin!


From Caroline Tran… Ellie and Rob had a romantic vineyard wedding on the 4th of July. They had an elegant wedding where they exchanged vows under a huge oak tree. They had a few subtle nods to the 4th of July, but kept everything elegant and romantic, highlighting the beautiful vineyard and cute farmhouse. 

From Sterling EngagementsAmerica and us, this was the phrase Ellie and Rob used for their wedding website to detail their 4th of July wedding. It really was the perfect definition though of what this day truly was and their love story. Ellie and Rob met because their friends for months and month insisted that they must. Two brilliant like-minded financial professionals, with a knack for life, love, family and travel. When they finally connected, the spark was undeniable and their journey together began almost instantly. I was introduced to them by a client and from our first meeting their intentions were so clear. They wanted to plan a day that was elegant, whimsical, classic yet incredibly fun. They both have an extremely modern yet eclectic style but were practical, and it was such a pleasure to design their day together and infuse their taste with the beauty of their venue.

Triunfo Creek is one of my most favorite hidden gems in Los Angeles. This charming vineyard farmhouse tucked away in the Santa Monica mountains was truly the perfect venue for Ellie and Rob. Upon visiting they knew right away this was their place and 4th of July became the best date to pair with their wishes for a summer wedding. Ellie had an assortment of ideas right from the beginning, of her desired ambiance and setting that she wanted to create for their guests. Together from the invitations, to the menu, to the décor, every last detail was deliberately thought out and developed to capture their vision.

One of my favorite details from the day was being able to incorporate these sweet butterflies Ellie had collected and wanted to infuse somehow but wasn’t quite sure where. As we designed the components for the day, I assured her we would effortlessly land them in places to become what truly was the very best of natural fits. They were the perfect accent of golden elegance, whimsy and sweetness we could ever hope for. We also of course loved being able to bring in the big tassel adorned balloons for her adorable flower girls. Walking down the aisle with them in hand – was one of my most favorite moments to watch, they were so proud, so excited and also maybe a touch of nervous, but I told them to let the balloons lead the way to Ellie and they did so well!

Ellie and Rob’s day truly was one of the most special ways to spend the 4th of July. It was stunning, memorable and so fun. The sweetest of celebrations, Ellie said on multiple occasions, the adventure is just beginning and I’m so honored we were able to be a part of it.

Photography: Caroline Tran | Videography: Fiske Films | Event Planning: Sterling Engagements | Floral Design: Shawna Yamamoto | Cake: Sweet Lady Jane | Stationary: Prim And Pixie | Catering: Justine's Private Cuisine | Hair & Makeup: 1011 Makeup | Lighting: Stage Labs | Band: Jay Sterling Music | Officiant: Dream Day Weddings | Bar Catering: Cocktail Concierge | Linens: Designer Specialty Linens | Rentals: A Rental Connection | Wedding Venue: Triunfo Creek Vineyards

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Refreshing Raspberry-Mint Signature Cocktail

This holiday weekend holds some of my favorite summertime traditions… fireworks, sparklers, s’mores, warm summer nights, laughs with family and friends and of course, kicking it all off with a fabulous cocktail. For those of you saying your I Do’s this weekend (or if you’re planning a Fourth of July fete for next year!), this colorful sip adorned with striped red straws will have you toasting in style. A huge thanks to Strawberry Milk Events for providing the recipe and KT Merry for her festive capture!

Refreshing Raspberry-Mint Signature Cocktail
prep time
2 Minute/s
cook time
total time
2 Minute/s
Serves 1Ingredients
  • 1 Part Absolut Citron (about an ounce and a half)
  • Lemon-Lime Soda
  • 6 whole Raspberries
  • 4 whole mint leaves
  • 1 lime wedge (don’t leave it out; it makes a surprisingly big difference)
  1. Muddle 4 raspberries and 3 mint leaves in a highball glass.
  2. Fill with ice cubes. Add Absolut Citron.
  3. Fill with lemon-lime soda. Stir.
  4. Garnish with lime, a pretty mint leaf (which you saved the best for last) and the leftover raspberries!

Photography: KT Merry Photography | Designer: Strawberry Milk Events | Catering: Movable Feast Catering | Groom’s Attire: Louis Purple

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Sparkling Fourth of July Details We Love

I’ll be the first to admit that the traditional end-of-night fireworks show will always be my favorite part of the Fourth of July (though these lobster rolls definitely take a close second). With those celebratory pyrotechnics in mind, I present to you the sparkliest, prettiest, glitteriest wedding details of my dreams. Think of them as fireworks for when you say “I Do,” that don’t require permits or an engineer.

Fourth of July Sparkle
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Fourth of July Sparkle
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