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Romantic Wedding Inspiration at Villa San Juan Capistrano

Can we start planting bougainvillea everywhere? These colorful flowering vines bring a certain style to every space they inhabit and this shoot by Gregory Ross tapped into that beauty. Erin McDonald created an alluring escape, with romantic gems from Found Vintage Rentals and gorgeous paper goods by Written Word Calligraphy.  Tuesdays can be tough; this gallery makes the day a whole lot better already.


From Gregory Ross… Inspired by the beauty of old world Spanish architecture, Erin and I conceptualized an editorial filled with effortless, organic details and lovely pops of our favorite native South American vine – bougainvillea.

We wanted to help couples visualize a scene that is authentic, yet vibrant with a focus on fashion and meaningful details.

We topped a stunning Karen Willis Holmes dress with one of their textural, layered trains for a bridal look with a little bit of drama. And Erica Elizabeth’s Spanish-inspired lace veil was a perfect match for such an ethereal dress. Our groom looked dapper, outfitted head-to-toe in The Black Tux.

Inessa Nichols crafted florals that were beyond beautiful and fit in perfectly with our locations: The Villa San Juan Capistrano and The Mission San Juan Capistrano.

Beautiful signature cocktails, crafted and served by The Whaling Club, gave our editorial a fun spin, and included:

Maid in Mexico, featuring tequila, cucumber, mint and lime, and the Jalisco Sunset, featuring tequila, ruby red grapefruit, pomegranate and lime.

And those handwritten paper goods by Written Word Calligraphy?!! So good.

Photography: Gregory Ross | Event Design: Erin McDonald | Floral Design: Inessa Nichols | Wedding Dress: Karen Willis Holmes | Hair And Makeup: Italia Pierfederici | Calligraphy: Written Word Calligraphy | Venue: The Villa San Juan Capistrano | Drink Specialist: The Whaling Club | Furniture Rentals: Found Vintage Rentals | Model: Austin Moreno | Model: Jennifer Monge | Ribbon: Silk And Willow | Tabletop Rentals: Dish Wish | Tuxedo Rental: The Black Tux | Veil: Erica Elizabeth Designs

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Romantic Santa Barbara Winery Estate Wedding

A stylish Santa Barbara fete straight out of a dream, this what happens when an uber chic blogger ties the knot. It’s ultimate lovefest adorned with Plum Pretty Sugar robes and TEAM Hair & Makeup looks that are sure to leave you spellbound. Complete with captures from Brandon Aquino snaps and T&C Photographie filming, you can see it all unfold below!


From the beautiful Bride… Even though my husband and I and the majority of our families live in Chicago, we fell in love with the Santa Barbara area over several vacations there. For a time, we were also debating a European destination for our wedding, specifically, the French Riviera, and traveled there to research. Given the similarities of the areas, I was thrilled to bring a little bit of France to the “American Riviera” when we finally selected Santa Barbara.

In both places you can find a chic ocean paradise not far from rolling hills and wine country. Since our guests were flying all the way out to California, we wanted to give them as much of everything as possible.

Wine is pretty essential to both cultures, so we invited guests to join us on a tasting tour at three of our favorite wineries as a kickoff to the weekend on Thursday.

We also wanted provide our guests with a taste of Saint-Tropez, so we hosted our welcome party on Friday outdoors at the La Pacifica Terrace at the Four Seasons Biltmore, with views of palm trees and the water. We featured themed French cocktails, crepes, seafood and a lively French playlist.

Our wedding ceremony and reception was held at Sunstone Winery with mountain vistas, vineyard backdrops and rosemary and lavender scents in the air. Built with authentic stone and materials shipped from France, the Villa at Sunstone was the perfect way to transport our guests to Provence. We could not have ordered a more beautiful day in a more stunning setting.

Our menu, planned with the brilliant folks at New West Catering, featured a rich duck course, succulent cote de boeuf, a stunning seafood bouillabaisse, a cheese course and, of course, French bread with dipping oils. Planning (and tasting!) the menu was by far our favorite part of the planning!

My husband made one of the biggest contributions to the planning, right at the last minute. The weekend was in full swing and I still had not settled on a first dance song, too entrenched in other details. He stepped in and made the perfect decision: Louis Armstrong’s rendition of La Vie En Rose. It was a great choice for such a sweet moment. We’ve only heard it play once since, on Valentine’s Day at a romantic dinner in New York City. It brought tears to my eyes… proof to him that he made the right choice!

We also wanted to be sure to pay homage to our own families and cultures. We surprised my husband’s family with a hookah lounge outside after dinner and hired an Arabic drummer for our grand entrance. As family traditions, these were really special ways to incorporate their heritage.
And, as a treat for our guests, but especially for me, my mother serenaded us with the Ave Maria during a special moment in our ceremony, something I have been dreaming about for a long time.

We included several things that we were able to take back home with us and keep forever: a Moroccan wedding blanket hung over our bench at dinner now drapes our guest bed; a religious statue used during our ceremony will sit in my mother’s garden; wooden cutting boards for dinner service now get used in our kitchen!

The keepsakes are such a special way to remind us of that incredible weekend, everyday. We were so blessed to have such an amazing setting to begin our lives together, and, somehow, each day since has been even more beautiful!

Photography: Brandon Aquino | Videography: T&C Photographie | Event Planning: Rani Hoover | Floral Design: Renae's Bouquet | Wedding Dress: Vera Wang | Cakes: Enjoy Cupcakes | Stationery: Twin Ravens Press | Bride's Shoes: Oscar De La Renta | Catering: New West Catering | Hair & Makeup: TEAM Hair And Makeup | Groom's Shoes: Prada | Venue: Sunstone Winery | After Party Dress: BHLDN | After Party Shoes: Valentino | Bride And Bridesmaids' Robes: Plum Pretty Sugar | Calligraphy And Signage: Susan Silverberg | Earrings: BHLDN | Groom's Tux: Givenchy | Hookah: So Cal Hookahs | Rentals: Town And Country | Rentals: Personal Collection Of Anna Rice Of Sunstone

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
For membership information, click here
These Featured Designers are members of our Look Book.
For membership information, click here
Meet SMP Blogger Bride: Mary of Memorandum!

You’ll probably recognize this pretty face, her lengthy blonde locks and fab ‘work-wear’ style as the editor behind Memorandum. She rocks a panama hat and red lip like no other, and today, we’re welcoming Mary Orton to our gorgeous team of Blogger Brides here at SMP! We’re over-the-moon excited to follow along in her wedding planning journey. Get to know Mary (and her handsome Groom-to-be) a bit better and see more of her style in the gallery from Jenny Morgan and Melanie Riccardi.

From Mary OrtonI’m the founder and editor of Memorandum, a fashion blog that’s all about style from a working gal’s perspective. I’m not talking about a bunch of grey sheath dresses and and pant suits, but seamlessly incorporating the fashion and personal style that you might typically leave for nights and weekends into your everyday! I’m a huge fan of personal style blogs, but after graduating college and starting my career in NYC, I didn’t feel like there was much out there that helped me “up” my style game during the workweek. To fill this void and speak to other professional women like me, I started Memorandum, where I tackle everything from how to make trends work-appropriate, to how to style accessories and workwear pieces casually on the weekends. This August, I’ll be tying the knot with my fiancé Rich, and I’m thrilled to join the SMP family to share all of the tips and tricks I’ve learned during the wedding planning process!

Rich and I were introduced by one of my best friends from college after we graduated and were both working for different investment banks in New York City. It wasn’t an intentional “set-up,” but when life gives you a killer eighties cover band, an aggressive dance floor, and an open bar, love has to be in the air… right? A little trash talk about our respective hometown NFL teams later (for the record, my Packers won the Super Bowl that year), and Rich asked to take me to dinner the following weekend.

We quickly became inseparable and dated in NYC for two years before work brought Rich back to San Francisco, where he’s originally from. After another two years of bi-coastal long-distance (woof), Rich came to NYC to celebrate my birthday last November. After a beautiful dinner and a Broadway show, Rich arranged for us to gain backstage entry to the Broadway Theater where we had attended our first show together four years prior. I’ve always been an enormous musical theater fan, and lucky for me, Rich developed a love for it as well after we started dating. 

Since the two of us had gone to innumerable shows together, it wasn’t tough for Rich to convince me that we were going backstage for a post-show behind-the-scenes “tour” as a little birthday surprise. However, instead of a tour, we walked onto an empty stage and he dropped to one knee as we looked out onto the completely empty, but still beautifully lit-up Broadway Theater. He had timed it perfectly with the stage managers to make sure the theater was completely empty, since he knew I wasn’t a “public proposal” kind of girl. I said yes (on the condition that we raise our children Packer fans of course) and soon after, I finally moved from NYC to join him on the left coast in San Francisco, where I now live and work.

We’re getting married this August in Wisconsin, which is where I grew up and where my family lives. Although planning from afar isn’t the easiest, the wedding process has been so much fun, and I’m excited to share all of it here on Style Me Pretty! While I’ve truly enjoyed the journey, I have to say that I did not come into the engagement with 18 wedding Pinterest boards already sketching out my future nuptials like some of my girlfriends who have been “planning their weddings” for basically their whole lives! Additionally, very few of my best friends are married already, so I haven’t had the advantage of going through the process with someone else before. I started at square one and have had so much to learn! But, with the help of resources like SMP and lots of tips from friends and family, I’ve learned so much, and hope to pass along some ideas to all of you in the coming months!

Photography: Jenny Morgan | Photography: Melanie Riccardi | Styling: Mary Orton

The Sound of Music with The FlashDance

The reception is the perfect place for guests to let loose, but curating the ultimate dance party (with seamless transitions)? Well, it’s no east feat. Which is why we turn our tables to the professionals dance party starters. Cue The FlashDance, who has given us an inside scoop on what it takes to create a memorable musical fete below!


Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t or shouldn’t walk down the aisle to whatever suits your fancy! You will never regret the parts of the wedding that you, as a couple, incorporate from your actual life (not someone else’s). You most certainly will regret walking down the aisle to some stuffy chamber music because a relative insisted, or trying to be extra hip and doing something trendy. Be authentic and true to yourself with every song you choose. Try not to choose too many songs, less is more. Make your recessional (after you kiss) song upbeat and fun! Sevie Wonder or Michael Jackson are good, but maybe Johnny Cash or The Smiths is more your style.

First Dance

Limit to one song that’s less than 3 minutes (if possible). Have the father & daughter start the dance, mother & son join halfway through. I like to ask guests to join as well for the last portion. Immediately following the first slow dance, everyone of your friends (bridal party if you have one) should look like track runners on their starting blocks waiting for the gun to fire. The “gun” should be a seriously amazing song, a surefire party starter! All of your ‘go to’ dancers should know that as soon as the father daughter song is over it’s time to rush the dance floor and nothing gets a party hype like all your guests dancing like lunatics to a super fun song! Why do our first dance before dinner you ask? Good question!

ONE | You know when everyone hugs the wall nervously waiting for the first person to shake it? Yeah, it’s not a good look. If you have your first dance before dinner you will clear the awkward energy on the dance floor and get everyone really excited for the dance party that will follow after entrees

TWO | If you get nervous about slow dancing in front of everyone, it’s nice to get this out of the way and enjoy your dinner, rather than let it weigh heavy on you while you pound martinis and push your food around on your plate!

THREE | Everyone is still looking cute, hair is in place, outfits are not a sweaty disheveled mess, and as a result you will actually get some great photos of your first dance!

Cut the cake

Please do it before the dancing starts (pretty please)? If you absolutely can’t do that, please DO NOT stop the music for an audience. Instead, grab your sweetheart, your photographer, and maybe your folks and go do it in a corner! Nobody else really cares and announcing it and/or changing music will put a halt to all dancing which will take even the most experienced maestro 20 – 30 minutes to recover from.


Get all speeches out of the way before dinner is over! Nobody wants to be waiting around to party while Uncle Jim talks about the time you crashed your dad’s car when you were 16… Another quick note, it’s way more natural to have the guests who are speaking just come up and announce themselves (if necessary) no need to have your DJ stumble over people’s names that everyone already knows.

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Elegant California Coast Inspiration Shoot

If a coastal ceremony awash with soft hues sounds like a dream scenario then start scrolling and prepare to be swept away m’dears. Because with Honey Honey Photography snapping up the magic of Everly Events, each and every lush detail is just begging to be bookmarked.

From Shirley Han of Everly EventsWith summer just right around the corner, I knew it was the perfect opportunity to take advantage of the abundant sunshine we have here in California, and with coastlines so beautiful, selecting this location was a no-brainer! For a windswept and effortless look and feel, I selected a very soft and cool palette to give a romantic and dreamy look that could really be implemented in any season of the year. The soft whites, creams, lavender, and shades of dusty blue really gave off a subtle and gentle look that I feel any one can really implement and use for his or her wedding or event.

I chose the beautiful and secluded El Matador State Beach in Malibu, California, which is surrounded by dramatic rock formations and endless views of the ocean – this was also the perfect setting for an intimate tabletop, set for two. Nature is always changing and going with the flow, so I kept that same mentality in mind when our team of vendors was on-site at the shoot. To give you an idea, our team created 3 different bouquets/floral arrangements (all while on the beach!), showcased 3 different beautiful beach-inspired hair styles, and even had a trio of cakes to go along with our dessert, because three cakes is always better than one! I wanted to show that you can have options, to not be tied down to just one or two choices when it comes to your wedding, and that being flexible and willing to try new things will lead to fresh and innovative ideas that you may have thought were not initially possible.

A big thank you to all of our amazing vendors who took part of this shoot – Emma from Honey Honey Photography for her talented eye and dreamy photos, Laura from Dish Wish Events for her timeless and chic pieces that are perfect for dressing up a table, Alexandra and Shauna from Archive Rentals for their beautiful furniture and chairs, Chries from California Floral & Design for her flawless florals and attention to detail, Rita from M Cakes Sweets for her delightful cakes and desserts, Alley from Alley & Co. for her elegant hand lettering and stationary, Winnie Couture for the ethereal wedding dress, Kelly for being the most patient and beautiful model I could ask for, and of course, the masters behind the scenes, Tina and Rebecca from the amazing team over at Theresa Huang Hair & Make-Up Design for making our model look picture perfect.

We hope you all enjoy these photos just as much as we enjoyed designing and planning this inspiration shoot!

Photography: Honey Honey Photography | Floral Design: California Floral & Design | Wedding Dress: Winnie Couture | Venue: El Matador State Beach | Cake + Dessert: M Cakes Sweets | Event Design + Styling: Everly Events | Hair + Make-Up: Theresa Huang Makeup & Hair Design | Invitations + Calligraphy: Alley and Co. | Rentals: Archive Vintage Rentals | Tableware: Dish Wish Events

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
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Finding Your Perfect Wedding Venue with L’Relyea Events + A Promotion!

Loves, meet L’Relyea Events, the talented team of venue scouting specialists that are about to take your wedding to a whole new level of amazing.  Think an entire day of venue tours, lunch and wine tasting, all guided by a planning professional that knows everything there is to know about finding the perfect locale for you and your sweetie.  Day of your dreams in one, two, three?  Yes, please.

If you’re anything like me (and I know you are), you’ve been planning your wedding day since before you were even engaged.  So finding the perfect venue to host all of the happiness?  Sooo important. That’s where L’Relyea Events comes in.  They’ll spend an entire day getting to know you and yours + your wedding vision, so that they can find a locale that best suits everything you’re looking for.  From fabulous wineries to drop-dead gorgeous ballrooms to private estates that are as romantic as they are stunning, they’ll narrow down the field to just a handful that will work well with your style AND price point.  They’ll even follow up with detailed info on each venue you visit, with helpful notes and suggestions.  It’s awesome.

So what are you waiting for, m’dears?  Contact L’Relyea Events today to book your venue scouting experience.  You’ll love their never-ending attention to detail and their ability to paint the picture of how your wedding weekend/day will go.  And don’t forget to ask them about their planning services for a day that is pure perfection… and then some.


For their 2015 brides, L’Relyea Events is offering 50% off the Venue Scouting Package! And if you are recently engaged and looking to get hitched in 2016, L’Relyea Events has something for you, too! With the purchase of their “Un” Planning Service Package, they would like to offer you 25% off your Venue Scouting Package when booked by December 31, 2015!